Thursday, 24 July 2014

WWE Battleground

WWE Battleground

Live on Pay Per View on Sunday 20th July at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida, WWE presented its second Battleground PPV. With no real special interest and drawing point, would the show be able to build, create and maintain profiles of potential rising stars for the future? More importantly, would it create a strong bridge to the glistening horizon of Summerslam? Here are the results from the card below.

WWE Tag Team Championship
Two out of Three Falls
The Uso’s Vs Luke Harper and Erick Rowan

The action begins as Jey Uso takes on Erick Rowan with Rowan taking the lead. Harper entered a short while later to take a first fall within ten minutes of the action packed thriller.

The Uso’s took the second fall by Jimmy roughly four to five minutes after in another tense run through.

The rushed yet pleasing match lead to a top rope fall of Luke Harper in the quest for the final fall. Jimmy was then tagged in as we had a flying Uso.

The swiftness of the match continued as Rowan dropped a splash which missed. Uso Jey took a two fall on Rowan. The Wyatt’s dropped a double superplex lading to a Rowan 2 fall on Jimmy. After the confusion of which Uso is in the ring with viewers WWE used it on Smackdown previously (as mentioned here first) to cause debate. “Sure it’s Jimmy?” one of the announce team remarked. Tag to Luke Harper was made.  Twirl forearm miss. Superkick. Harper counters to a pin. Stopped by Uso partner. Jimmy Uso kick to face. Tag. Double chin kick. Erick Rowan soon outside. Tag in corner. Jimmy and Jey double climb to the top for a double splash to boos after being cheered throughout. The splash on Luke Harper for second of three falls allowed The Uso’s to retain the gold.

Seth Rollins Vs Dean Ambrose

The inevitable battle is set for tonight. The three month brotherhood is over. Seth begins an interview with potentially cutie pie if he grows more hair, Tom Phillips. Let’s give him a chance. The pair was soon interrupted by Dean Ambrose on an assault of Rollins. Triple H arrives and sends Ambrose out of arena. “You’re not going to screw this up.” Hunter says. The match is clearly cancelled due to Ambrose’s actions. The announce team confirm this.

Divas Championship
Paige Vs AJ (c)

The recap of both Paige and AJ’s victories over three months to create this empty feud is shown. Paige admitted “I’m not ready” from her fluke victory three months ago on the post Wrestlemania Raw title win. Advancing three months on, flunkie Paige has not had any memorability and highly incapable as one of the worst Diva’s champs in WWE’s history. She is also acknoweldefd as the youngest.

“CM Punk!” chants filled the arena as AJ enteredFans sided with Punk’s wife as default support for Punk rather than AJ herself. A knee from Paige starting was weak. AJ spins into a roll up. Counter. Break. Back spin kick by AJ. Paige gives a cheap kick for two fall. Paige then walks over to AJ looking misguided. Paige was then heard talking to AJ in ground hold. AJ rolls Paige through which was again badly sold by Paige. Paige is then pleading with AJ “AJ come on…” in frustration. The pair were then both down in a second after a blink and miss it moment as all diva matches, especially Paige matches over the last three months would have it. Paige screams and lunges at AJ taking both outside as AJ is slammed into the barricade. Both are up the top turnbuckle now. Paige bungles another high risk move dropping AJ with a corner powerbomb as AJ was still on the top rope and could have broken AJ’s neck on the dismount. This has not been the first time Paige has almost injured stars. She injured Tamina on PPV after Wretlemania. She then almost hurt two others in follow up PPV matches on the turnbuckle with severe botches.

AJ gets the knees up in the other corner on a comeback. Spin round by Paige reversed into a Black Widow by AJ. Paige wails like a banshee whilst standing still. Flips AJ over following with a neckbreaker over for a two fall on AJ as Paige becomes frustrated in her flaws to regain the title. She tries a PTO as AJ counters and kicks out. The swift Shining Wizard by AJ nails Paige to the mat as AJ covers to retain the Divas title in a three fall victory. Paige proved to remain a flunkie champion of no in-ring value and a severe liability after bungled botches in recent months. AJ was decent but not spectacular.

Randy Orton finds Kane in the boiler room shadows to discuss the details of the main event.

The kick-off panel are introduced. Joining Renee Young, the new Josh Mathews as fans call it, were Booker T, Alex Riley and Christian.

Rusev w/ Lana Vs Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter

After Lana speaks she slaps Zeb to start the match. Rusev is sent over the top rope by Jack Swagger. Now the match officially begins. Phantom turn and American hero Swagger leads. Rusev running charge. Slam. Patriot Lock. Outside Swagger jabs Rusev’s leg and locks in the submission again. The final moment in the meek match was when Jack Swagger was counted out as Rusev quickly gets back in after knocking Jack head on into the ring post to receive the victory.  

Lana wasn’t finished and set Rusev onto Swagger for further embarrassment. Here it comes.  The Rusev Crush!

Backstage comes the idiotic Cody Rhodes as Stardust. It was a pointless segment and WWE should can it. It isn’t working at all. Goldust retained some quality, though nothing hilarious to speak of. Simply put, this was laughable.

Seth Rollins Vs Dean Ambrose

Time for take two of this match. Seth Rollins arrives. He came to accept victory via forfeit. Your winner by forfeit over Dean Ambrose is Seth Rollins.

Dean Ambrose came back from nowhere and attacked Rollins ringside. He hurled Rollins over the Spanish Announce table. Ambrose charged a running jump over the table to Rollins. Triple H marches down the aisle as the golden Money in the Bank ticket briefcase lay sitting in the middle. Ambrose was being carried out by his arms and legs after the scuffle by security. His legs were open but in jeans, so no real joy for those fan lovers. Referees, security and Triple H had all gone made. The pair fought back with one another until Ambrose was finally dragged out by all arms and legs for good. Fans were unimpressed by were respectful the mini brawl would lead to another hot contet later on in WWE land.

Chris Jericho Vs Bray Wyatt

Returning ‘surprise’ from two weeks ago on Raw (of which everyone knew about by then) comes Chris Jericho. His first match back in the saddle was against Bray Wyatt. Choosing to boost his deflated ego, ignorant Jericho attempted to use the ever popular Bray Wyatt to regain his flagging profile after he continually returns for cash to leave shortly after to do his rock band thing. Occassionaly he partakes in ‘writing.’ Yeah, right…

Jerry Lawler starts speaking of Wyatt derogatorily as “He’s nuts.”

Y2J takes early control.

Soon after Michael Cole adds “Bray Wyatt  loves to talk doesn’t he?” as JBL followed with a response.
“Everyone loves to listen” JBL said.

It became a standard match with nothing interest as Jericho leads into an outside attack.
Harper Rowan out. Leg touch of Y2J.

Wyatt knocks Jericho off the apron Jericho. Y2J puts Bray into the corner post. The turnbuckle axe handle was used by Jericho. He was soon caught from behind with slams by Wyatt. Two fall followed. Enziguri by Jericho on Wyatt came after with no real effect.

Wyatt countered as both went down. The ‘Spider’ crab gave Bray his adrenaline rush of resurgence. Wyatt charged for Jericho who moved as Bray hit his head on the bottom turnbuckle.

Jericho attempts the Walls of Jericho as Bray countered it superbly. Chris Jericho then made quick work of Bray Wyatt dropping the Codebreaker on him and covering for the lacklustre three fall victory.

“Jericho may be someone Bray Wyatt has never faced.” Jerry Lawler posed.

Michael Cole added – “Resilience, guts and determination.”


Well, he got the paycheck.

Seth Rollins was careful seen leaving with two security guards at his side. He told them he was okay now. As they left Seth noticed his car was missing. Perplexed for way too long to make the segment boring, Dean Ambrose takes a while before emerging from the boot of the car to assault him again. Okay, now this is getting boring and tedious now. Less is more. WWE should have let Rollins leave instead.  

Intercontinental Championship
Battle Royal
Big E, Alberto Del Rio, Antonio Cesaro, R-Truth, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Zack Ryder, Titus O’Neil, Damien Sandow, Heath Slater, Diego, Sin Cara, Xavier Woods, The Great Khali, Kofi Kingston, Bo Dallas, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Sheamus

The now vacant Intercontinental title was up for grabs at Battleground in, wait for it, a Battle Royal. Nothing to do with the names, of course. Bad News Barrett arrives for a handover of the title. Barrett was stripped due to shoulder injury. He was due to lose it anyway. The run was highly uneventful.

Barrett spoke before the battle. “I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news… Initially it will be great. The reality is, delaying the inevitable” in regards to becoming the new IC champ. Great way to value the title and elevate the carrier. At least WWE set a rematch and honourable turn for Barrett. Shame though, as Barrett can’t talk for toffee.

So the battle finally starts as Khali is set upon by all. Khali magically pushed everyone away making all of them weak challengers instantly.

Xavier Woods was first out by Khali. Ryder went too. Sheamus uses the Brogue Kick on Khali all drop Khali. Ziggler holds on. Sin Cara out by Bo Dallas. Ziggler again holds on as The Miz is on the ground outside. Truth and Axel are both out early. Axel was a firm favourite on the Wrestling Wonders poll to win. WWE should have left him towards the end, at least.

Sandow was next to be dumped over the top rope to huge boo’s. Diego is next out. Ryback and Sheamus stare each other down. Both were boo’ed or met silence. Fans are telling WWE clearly. This isn’t going to wash. They view neither in the same way as a star that do WWE. This in itself is a major problem WWE need to fix. They hope someone they are remotely interested in or can get behind as a growing star will gain the crucial platform elevating title.

Ryback was soon out. Miz tries to hurl Sheamus out after coming back in. Miz began hiding outside again. Ziggler came third time lucky, holding on from elimination. Dallas ran a knee to the back of Titus tipping him over. Kofi attempted a powerbomb on Cesaro dangling underneath Cesarso’s legs, careful not to touch the bottom floor. What a wonderous place to be. Cesaro pulls them both back in to avoid elimination. Ziggler top rope drops Del Rio. Rio deserved better treatment than that. Repetitive Ziggler holds on for fourth time. Big E tries to beat over Cesaro. Cesaro dumps Big E who almost messes up and takes Antonio with him. Kofi lands on Big E shoulders on the outside and tried to pull Cesaro off. Though WWE are fascinated with the ‘stupid spot’ with Kofi’s elimination avoidance, this with Kofi and Cesaro, worked very well. Less is more.

Cesaro suplexes Kofi back in to stay in the game. Kofi was then seated on the top rope and almost tips Cesaro over with tense leg scissors. Finally Cesaro suplexes Kofi out with great action by both quickly afterwards. Heath Slater then took the upset of the night by dumping Cesaro off with such ease afterwards. Slater was then out next before he could even celebrate. It was an okay spot and by Slater, but not to someone of Cesaro’s magnitude.

Ziggler then dropkicks Dallas out. Sheamus and Ziggler square off. Both point to the Intercontinental  title as The Miz was unmentioned on the ground next to it, in front of the announce team.

Ziggles was almost flipped over again for the fifth time. Hmm… Ziggler almost drops Sheamus but one foot touched. Ziggler was then caught atop Sheamus. Amid the quick confusion, Sheamus dropkicks Ziggles out. Sheamus’ plans to unify the IC and United States titles is complete. The Miz then charges in and hurls Sheamus over the top rope to steal the win by fluke chance to become the new Intercontinental Champion.

The Miz has a movie out soon.  JBL instantly mentions them. The announcers then instantly plugged the WWE Network. That’s the value off the IC title. Forgettable.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Fatal 4 Way
Randy Orton Vs Kane Vs Roman Reigns Vs John Cena

Randy Orton takes John Cena outside as Kane and Reigns take it to each other inside. Orton returns for Reigns. Orton has comfortably slipped back into wearing his retro blue name tights tonight. Never failing to make a pair of tights look good. Cena comically runs in and stops whilst trotting along the spot to lift Orton up from behind. It did not look good. Kane and Orton start working together. “You can’t wrestle” plagues John Cena. Once again the action is all about Cena as the chants rain with indecision high in favour of “Cena Sucks!” They chant for Reigns in defiance. The five knuckle shuffle is dropped on Randy Orton. Kane sent over the top rope. The pair stare down interrupted by The Authority’s pawns. Cena/Reigns has been saved for another day.

Kane covers for a chance to win as Randy Orton is notably upset with Kane’s actions.

The crowd in attendance cheers “YES!” for the break up. Kane slaps Orton and goes for him with a suplex from the top turnbuckle. All four do a corner move as Cena and Reigns double flip Kane, who drops Orton down. It was well conducted, though failed to boost the audience fully lacking impact. Not enough was done to gauge the audience interest beforehand. Cena and Reigns were both dropped with the double middle rope DDT from Randy Orton with excellent precision. Kane stopped Orton getting a three fall. Reigns returns to fight Orton. Reigns was then flip rolled by Orton into a beautiful half crab submission. It was the freshest part of the match. Orton is really starting to change the outlook and his appearance fantastically. Small changes have the biggest impact.

Cena locks on the STF with no visible pressure as Reigns has a leg lock applied. They tried to make it look believable but the problem here is Cena. His application of the hold is laboured and lazy. No one can take it seriously and it is also affecting the man every time he uses it, not to mention his opponent.

Kane received the Attitude Adjustment next. Cena and Orton fight in-ring with Cena re-applying the the boredom STF lock. Cena rolls Orton back from ropes in another empty lock after trying to reach the rope break.  Orton  was doing his best to carry Cena to combinability. Fans failed to care.  “Boring!” rang from the crowd. Reigns stops Orton grabbing the ropes from outside and hurls him out and over the announce table as Cena stands in the ring and stares in upset, with hands on hips. The pair trade fists. The cheer/boo factor on punches is as predictable as ever on Reigns/Cena respectively. Cena fails to lock in the submission and gets a Samoan Drop instead. Reigns pounds the mat. Roman misses the Superman punch as Cena gears the five knuckle shuffle. Reigns quickly gets up and hits the punch as Cena runs the ropes. Only when they are beefy favour can they avoid it. Reigns hits the spear as Kane breaks the close count. Everyone gets punched to the outside as Reigns stands tall. Spear into the table outside knocks Orton and Reigns. Reigns goes inside to be stopped by the grip of Kane. Roman counters and uses the Spear for a quick cover. Two fall break up by Cena who covers. Reigns stops the count. Reigns tossed outside by Cena. Cena gives the Attitude Adjustment to Kane, saved by Roman Reigns. Reigns covers again quickly as Cena halts momentum.

Cena tries the AA once more to Reigns, stopped by Kane. Chokeslam delivered to Cena then Reigns. Two fall cover on Reigns. Kane tries to adopt the Tombstone Piledriver. Spear by Roman Reigns stops it. Orton saves the game with a strong RKO on Reigns. John Cena then quickly AA’s Randy Orton and covers Kane to raise the WWE World Heavyweight Championship after Randy Orton did the sealing finisher to close the PPV.

Tonight Triple H failed to implement Plan B. The diversion of Plan B in the form of Seth Rollins is enough to through certain fans off the scent. Though with the impending return of Brock Lesnar, it seems ‘Plan C’ is only just around the corner. For fans, this one is set to be a scorcher. They cannot wait to see Cena be pummelled by ‘The Beast.’ One question remains. Is WWE brave enough to drop the title from Cena? All the major foundations were laid for Summerslam. Is it enough or will fans be severely let down with expectations as they had hoped Battleground would give back to them?

PPV Rating – 3/10

Men/ Women of their matches – Jimmy Uso, AJ, Rusev, Bray Wyatt, Antonio Cesaro, Randy Orton

Man/Woman of the PPV – Randy Orton

The fallout between the two former ‘brothers’ was bungled. Neither were fantastic and helped one another in making the show work, which is commendable, however it went on far too long and ended in a foolhardy fashion. Less is more. It should have stopped at two returns of Ambrose to further enhance both in the contest for future cards. Missing a match, personally was fine, but fans were really expecting this and felt cheated. Not even another match was filled which made the PPV short and long in mediocre tedium.

Rusev For the first time tonight we saw something in Rusev. While it was minimal, it was a tad better of Swagger and an improvement, nonetheless.

As ‘frenemies’ AJ and Paige’s feud was something of a weak building block. However, with a short stack of divas WWE don’t have many options left. Splitting up Cameron and Naomi will naturally send them on paths to contention. WWE needs to get new divas, as well as call ups and one’s who can wrestle, fast. Relying on Triple H’s ego to select someone who is ‘favourable’ with the public on NXT does not mean they will be good on mainstream television. WWE need to look at already trained females and natural or progressive ability. Triple H attempted to use Paige as a mechanism for an ego boost with fans. It backfired un-categorically. If serious, WWE should look at Kana and Tsukasa Fujimoto for starters. They can get them on the Japanese circuit as they seem to be expanding their tour over there. I also hear Hailey Hatred is free and looking for mainstream US success. All are capable and could adapt to the WWE way if outlined beforehand a rough expectancy of WWE’s wrestling culture.

Randy Orton was vital to upholding the Fatal 4 Way. Chosen as The Authority’s lead figure places Orton at the centre of raising main stream talent. Tasked with creating Roman Reigns with the added support of Kane, WWE have an expert who never fails to have bad matches. The only problem is Cena is so often relied upon that no-one else can grow. Roman Reigns is WWE’s next protégé to fight Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania for the title win. Better get a move on. Reigns, as much as we like and respect him, is nowhere near ready. All matches have been in dual competition and Reigns has no actual core being. For a strong WWE push with no backstory or reasoning, Reigns is in deep trouble at falling soon.

Chris Jericho has returned to WWE. Again. Here for yet another short spell, Jericho, who has only returned for the paycheck and fan cheers, will soon leave again for another Rock Band tour. Using Bray Wyatt to receive another chance at popularism, Jericho proved to be slow and outdated. Taking a headliner in the making, Jericho defeated any chance of Wyatt gaining real stardom with fans as a concept. The ignorance of people in it for the money, such as Jericho, Cena and Steve Austin actually ruin any chance a new age star has to evolve. It is all about their own ego, not the industry. This shames the business, the grafters and the premise of the sport. Sometimes you must think for yourself about you’re your actions and their consequences. As a match this was wasteful and truly missed a spark.

The tag team match up with the Uso’s and the Wyatt members Erick Rowan and Luke Harper was a pleasant delight. The music with Harper and Rowan has changed to a more empty rock theme and is just as bad as the previous one. If WWE want to get a ‘dark’ theme for them I suggest really thinking about it. Without good music, there is no way WWE will reward them and neither will fans fully take to them. All four men were exceptional tonight given the lack of time and a specialised match which needed to boost their battling but probably would’ve been better as single, Hardcore or Anywhere Falls.

Rob Van Dam was a very late cancellation with barely any explanation on television. Van Dam suffered an injury and this clearly affected the Battle Royal. It could and did survive without Van Dam but his presence gone from it was enough to cause fans discomfort. Knowing it was stacked with ‘WWE favourites’ rather than potential candidates who can elevate a new chapter in WWE, it still sucked. The construction of the battle was far better than previous Battle Royals, but WWE didn’t do anything to help support its stars who need re-elevating. It was a perfect chance for Alberto Del Rio, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow and Antonio Cesaro to regain a place on the card as strong challengers for the future of the IC title, when sitting out from headline matches.

It was rather humourous after the Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose injury spots on the post Battleground Raw how WWE trolled the fans making them believe Dolph Ziggler had a chance of winning for the dirt sheet marks.

WWE took another backward step with its praise of fluke champions that will never materialise for the company and in turn devalue the title and its opponents. For an envisaged future on the horizon, it looks bleak. Why WWE disrespect its hard workers who really can grow the company and competition is beyond reckless. They need to create a place for all of the talent available that will grow and then figure out what to do with the lumps like Ryback, The Great Khali, Big Show and Mark Henry later. There isn’t long left to go before fans revolt again. With CM Punk truly gone, Daniel Bryan out and John Cena battling short stays with stars who are a part of the past are not enough for a current landscape. Though it kept the suspense in the main event, WWE chose not to plan their pre-Summerslam PPV enough

With Summerslam approaching, and a couple of matches laid out, WWE have nothing else on. Will it be a throw away card like Battleground? Or will it pick up the ball and run with it?

As one of the Big 4 PPV’s, WWE need to use it to make the platform recognise new stars in their respective brackets.

© Max Waltham 24th July 2014

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