WWE Battleground showcased a very good in ring product. We were given another Match of the Year contender between John Cena and Kevin Owens, for one. Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns fought hard to produce a worthy bout, and even the Prime Time Players wrestled a good match with The New Day. The main event was the typical Brock Lesnar match, which is no bad thing at all! However, the in-ring product was let down by some strange logic storyline-wise and questionable victory decisions.
Randy Orton vs Sheamus
How many times have we seen this match in the past few months? Far too many, for my liking! Since Sheamus debuted in the WWE, he’s fought Orton countless times. This match didn’t deviate much from their standard match routine, but included just enough differences to make it a decent PPV match. Sheamus’ Gladiator impressions produced entertainment as well, from his question “Are you not entertained?” to the thumbs up/thumbs down echo of Commodus (or possibly Batista?). Sheamus looked strong just before falling to the RKO outta nowhere! My question is: why not let Sheamus get the victory? Even a dirty one? Sheamus has just (unexpectedly) won the Money in the Bank contract. WWE have a dodgy track record of handling their Money in the Bank winners over the years. They seem to give the winners loss after loss before giving them a surprise contract cash-in. Why not build them up? Why not let Sheamus pin Orton? Orton surely doesn’t need the victory? He’s over as it is! Sheamus needs lots of victories.
WINNER: Randy Orton
VERDICT: 7/10. A match we’ve seen all too often, but one that still delivered in the ring.
Prime Time Players (c) vs The New Day (WWE Tag Team Championship Match)
Before and since becoming the tag team champions, Prime Time Players have not proved themselves worthy of the championships. I thought the titles would have been better left with The New Day, with PTP chasing the titles for a while. PTP are only decent in the ring, nothing more. Titus O’Neill is more wooden than Eli Cottonwood (if that’s his name? The guy from NXT Season 1 or 2 who was 7 foot tall). Darren Young is average. However, this match must have been one of their best matches in their career. Both teams seemed determined to put on a show. O’Neill got a little bit too excited at times and messed things up a little, but it was soon glossed over. It was a fast-paced, exciting contest. Kofi Kingston and Darren Young gave us the speed and smooth moves; Big E and Titus gave us the big, impressive moves (like Big E’s splash to Young on the ring apron!). Both teams were on fire! PTP picked up a deserved victory.
Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt
Roman Reigns hasn’t delivered during the build up to this match. Wyatt has carried it by himself, which he is more than capable of doing (see the build up to his match with the Undertaker!). However, Reigns more than carried his side of this brutal and hard-hitting match. It started off slow, almost too slow. But when the two got into their stride, they sucked in the audience. Wyatt was on the offence for most of the match. His headlocks almost lasted long enough to suck the energy out of the match, but Wyatt’s too clever to let that happen. Of note during the match was Wyatt’s clothesline of Reigns as Reigns attempted his jumping apron double kick (whatever it’s called), Reigns sit-down powerbomb, and the Superman Punch/Sister Abigail flowing reversals. The end came as someone kicked Reigns, leading to Wyatt’s Uranage on the apron and Sister Abigail for the victory. Who was the mysterious interferer? None other than Luke Harper! The partial reunion of the Wyatt Family can only be a good thing. They need each other! Apart from the interference, Reigns and Wyatt gave us a very good match.
WINNER: Bray Wyatt
VERDICT: 8/10. Brutal and hard-hitting, Reigns and Wyatt pushed each other to the limit.
Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Brie Bella
To further the Diva’s Revolution (or should we say Stephanie McMahon’s Revolution?!), Charlotte and Banks were featured in this triple threat match. Of course, you know you’re going to get a wrestling clinic with those two women in the ring. But ‘wrestling clinic’ and ‘Brie Bella’ are rarely in the same sentence. However, to her credit, Brie hung fairly well with the two NXT wrestlers. There were times when she looked out of her depth, but she tried her best, and even channelled the moves of hubby Daniel Bryan to help her along. Each wrestler had their moment to shine, but the focus was mainly on the NXT women, to great effect. It wasn’t up to the unbelievably high standard they’ve attained on NXT, but it was a far better Diva’s match than we’ve seen all year from the main roster ladies. And Charlotte’s victory stamped a seal of approval on the Diva’s Revolution. But we will see how long it lasts!
VERDICT: 8/10. One of the best Diva’s matches of the year so far!
John Cena (c) vs Kevin Owens (United States Championship Match)
How do these two guys keep doing it? Their first two matches were Match of the Year contenders, and so was their rubber match. Cena and Owens have brought the best out of each other. Cena wants to prove he’s better than the ‘indie’ wrestlers, and Owens wants to prove that he’s better than ‘Super Cena.’ All the superlatives in the world could not do justice to the majesty of this match. I can’t choose between the three matches, but along with the first one, the doubt at the outcome multiplied the suspense tenfold (we all knew Cena would win at Money in the Bank). Just watch the match, if you haven’t! Full of massive moves, heart-stopping kickouts and innovation from both wrestlers, it’s an almost perfect match. However, the outcome bothered me a lot. Owens tapped out to Cena’s STF. In terms of the match, it didn’t take anything away from Owens. But in the bigger picture, with two straight losses to Cena (and the loss of his NXT Championship), has Owens suffered the same fate as Wyatt and Rusev? No one comes out of a feud with Cena on the winning side. And where does Owens go from here? He cleanly tapped out to Cena in their rubber match. Do they fight again? Owens needs to stay where he is in the WWE, not fall down the ladder. If he does, the WWE have lost a sure-fire star.
WINNER: John Cena
VERDICT: 9/10. Another Match of the Year contender from the two wrestlers!
Seth Rollins (c) vs Brock Lesnar (WWE Championship Match)
How would Rollins fare against The Beast? About as well as Roman Reigns did at WrestleMania! German Suplex followed German Suplex until I thought Rollins would roll into a little ball and cry in the corner. To Rollins’ credit, however, he fought back for a few minutes, attacking Lesnar’s knee and hurling suicide dive after suicide dive to Lesnar on the outside. It was admirable…but mistaken. Lesnar rebounded back with more suplexes. I’m surprised Rollins’ neck is in one piece! Although Lesnar dominated the match, Rollins’ few minutes of offence made it seem feasible that he could defeat the Beast. However, as Lesnar hoisted Rollins up for the F-5, the lights went down and Rollins was all but forgotten about. The Undertaker returned and brawled with Lesnar before levelling him with two chokeslams. Rollins disappeared and the result of the match wasn’t revealed until Monday Night Raw. The total absence of Rollins during the end sequence made it apparent that he’s playing second fiddle to the two part timers. He’s the WWE Champion! Doesn’t that count for anything? As for Taker vs Lesnar, that ship has sailed. A year and a half after Lesnar beat the streak, Taker decides to seek revenge? Why wait so long? Why did Lesnar look scared? He beat the streak! He should have laughed in Taker’s face…
WINNER: Brock Lesnar By DQ
VERDICT: 7/10. Typical Lesnar match, but nothing wrong with that! However, the ending put a downer on Lesnar and Rollins good work.
OVERALL VERDICT: 8/10. A strong PPV in the ring, including a Match of the Year contender in John Cena vs Kevin Owens. Every match delivered the goods, but some endings left a bad taste in the mouth.