With such a lackluster build up, how did WWE manage with Battleground? Well, quite surprisingly actually! The brand split officially starts tomorrow, so they went for it.
Unfortunately I did not see the Pre Show so I will just be reviewing the PPV itself.
Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks with …. BAYLEY
As a once off favour to her former rival, NXT’s big star Bayley made her WWE PPV debut. It was completely expected, and the crowd knew before her music hit, that it had to be her. If they did not have Bayley it would have been a huge disaster, and I knew it would be with Sasha’s bright ring attire. So much fun to see Bayley get over right off the bat with the crowd, and the fun she had with Sasha. The match itself was pretty good, there was a big botch on a head scissor but they managed to recover pretty quickly. Dana improves slowly, but everyone else was carrying her, but not a huge amount. There were some pretty good spots hit, and Bayley was just a huge delight. Sasha got the win over Charlotte, next stop no doubt will be those two for the title at Summerslam.
The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family
I hate that the compound segment pretty much killed the momentum of this feud for me, but all the same they had a pretty solid match. The Wyatt’s will now be split up due to being drafted to different shows (still doesn’t make sense why Shane and Bryan wouldn’t draft the team … anyway), so this was almost their final hurrah for now. The build up during the match for Xavier Woods to finally do something was great, I like that it was almost like he was in a trance with Bray due to absolute fear of the man. When he snapped out of it though he was on fire, and that was a pretty great moment. All six men did a great job in the match and there was not a dull moment, it was a far better match than expected. Looking forward to seeing whats next for all of them, and amazing Bray got the win. HE WON A FEUD!
U.S. Title Match Rusev (c) w/Lana vs. Zack Ryder
This was a pretty good match, not one sided and Ryder actually got in a lot of good offense. I loved that with every move he managed to hit, Rusev would get angrier. Lana btw looked amazing in what she was wearing, I absolutely loved it. I was so sure that the US title may go to Smackdown and Ryder would win, but it was not to be. After a hard fought battle, Rusev looked in the Accolade and Ryder was forced to tap out. Post match Rusev would attempt a beat down but Mojo came to the rescue of his Hype Brother. It looks like the boys may be a team again, and I am fine with that.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
WOW JUST WOW! Match Of The Year contender without a doubt, and I have said that about a few matches this year but hot damn. Did these two deliver the goods with this match, by golly! The match to end the feud … at least for now, was epic. There were so many great spots and moments, the action get kept coming and coming and both men were at the top of their game. If anyone wants to say either guy is not that good, sure that is an opinion but that would be the opinion of a fucking idiot. They did not hesitate to do some dangerous looking moves and some jaw dropping moments, so many I couldn’t even remember them all to list. The ending was fantastic with Sami hitting not one but two Helluva Kicks to Owens to get the 1,2,3! This match is going to be one I will have fun watching over and over, so happy for them both!
Natalya vs. Becky Lynch
This match has had some weird build up, but at least they managed to have two different feuds with the women going. Natalya has a new attitude and I like it a lot. She has this ego going on, and showing off how much better she believes she is, and it’s working for her. The match itself was as the commentators put it a clinic, it was full of technical moves and psychology. Natalya grounded Becky and it made sense, focusing on the legs and trying to avoid getting put in the Disarmer. Glad we had two womens matches on the actual event and both were given time and really good. Becky and Natalya really delivered, and I do hope they continue the feud now they are both on Smackdown.
IC Title Match: The Miz (c) w/Maryse vs. Darren Young w/Bob Backlund
Not a bad match, a great showcase for Darren Young who showcased everything he has been learning from Backlund. The Miz was good too, and I liked how he couldn’t predict what was going to come next. It felt obvious the title was not going to change hands, but they did keep me entertained for most of it. Unfortunately the ending was horrible, they didn’t want Young or The Miz to have a clear loss but what they did instead was stupid. Maryse slapped Backlund, which got him really angry, so Maryse tried to tell The Miz he had hit her. The Miz was trying to get to Backlund but Young just went crazy and put the Chicken Wing on outside the ring, I thought it was a DQ ending but it could have been double count out. It showed Young as being really strong because he locked that in, but the stuff with Maryse and Backlund was not good.
John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Club
This started off with Enzo and Cass doing their thing, but then Enzo just took it to a whole other level. The crowd were insanely into it all and how over Enzo is, it is insane. Sorry Luke, the man is not going anywhere and his schtick will be staying. Not only was Enzo over on the mic, he was over through the entire match. He was in the ring the most for his team as The Club isolated him for a lot of the time. Cass threw him around as a weapon and that was crazy but really fun to see, things got very crazy in this match. There were spots in the match where everyone was in the ring or they were all outside, and even towards the end Cena used Enzo as a weapon. I thought everyone looked really strong, but Enzo was the star. I thought it was hysterical when AJ got in the ring, the crowd chanted Soccer Mom at him. Hey, I have that hair style and it is awesome! As expected John Cena got the pin on AJ styles, to continue their feud. What would have been better – Enzo getting the pin.
The Highlight Reel with Guest Randy Orton
Randy Orton got an amazing ovation and he was pretty pumped to be back, and he’s looking like he hasn’t missed a step either. I actually really enjoyed their back and forth on the mic, with Orton really enjoying himself with everything. Jericho was on edge the whole time but playing it cool, I thought it was funny. When Orton said Jericho’s hair looked like Ellen I nearly lost it and then the crowd started chanting about it. Eventually they got on to the subject of Brock Lesnar and the crowd did not seem to be behind the Beast, they were behind the Viper. The jab that Orton took about the drug test failure on Lesnar was a jaw dropping moment, and this feud is surely going to be a heated one. Of course we got an RKO OuttaNowhere to end the segment, and I was happy.
WWE Title Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
The Commissioners and General Managers came out first to watch the match, made sense I guess. Roman Reigns got booed out of the building, and those boos and that heat lasted through the entire match, no matter what happened. I am sure there were some booking decisions made against Reigns as punishment for the drug test failure. However this was a great match with lots of action and these three men did their very best to deliver. A big highlight moment was actually the video package they made for this match, so well done and just greatly put together. The other big highlight was Ambrose and Rollins double teaming Reigns, they did the old Shield powerbomb and put him through an announce table. Rollins then hitting them both with chairs was a great touch, and I was loving it. So many amazing moments and moves, they all did work really hard.
Reigns didn’t seem to have missed a beat with his time away, and Ambrose seems so much more fluid, and its very exciting to see him work. Rollins was incredible, as always, he did so much and he worked so hard. I am glad Rollins did not get pinned, and Reigns took the clean pin from Ambrose. That is two clean pins he has on these guys in the matter of a few days. Not only is that a huge thing to help Ambrose be put over as the top guy, but it is a huge thing for the new Smackdown brand. Reigns getting the clean pin, would have certainly been punishment. Smackdown celebrated their big win with the WWE Title in their camp. Funny seeing The Uso’s lift him up when he pinned their beloved cousin.
Overall thoughts – I thought Battleground was one of the best PPV’s of this year, I enjoyed every match and the show was great fun. It had a great flow and I liked all of the match placements. I am so curious to see what happens from here, will there be two top titles now or will the WWE Title get defended on both shows? What happens with the Tag Titles and Womens title? Lots to find out, don’t mess this up WWE!