It’s time to step into WWE territory once again as we take a look at their latest pay per view offering, Battleground, shown live in the early hours of this past Monday morning on Sky Box Office here in Britain.
The show began with the first title match of the evening as Wyatt Family members Erick Rowan and Luke Harper challenged Jimmy & Jey Uso for the Tag Team titles in a best of three falls match.
To say that this was a great way to start the show would be an understatement. In fact it was a tremendous way to start the show, an example of tag team wrestling at it’s finest.
All four men put in great performances, and once again Bray’s boys impressed the hell out of me as they dominated the majority of the match. I can guarantee that I wasn’t the only one who wanted them to walk away with the gold. As for the pin falls…..
The first fall went to the Wyatts. After Jey had taken the punching bag treatment for a few minutes he managed to get the hot tag to his brother, but as soon as Jimmy came into the ring Harper connected with a running boot to the head to take the first pin.
The second fall happened just a few minutes later. After Jimmy had taken a battering he managed to get back to his corner for the hot tag. Jey quickly rolled Harper up for the equalising three count.
The third fall was the best of the lot as the match moved became a knockdown, drag out affair. Both teams took it up to eleven and brought out the big guns as they tried to put each other way, and as time went on both teams became more and more frustrated at their inability to put the others away.
Eventually something had to give, and that was the Wyatts. After Rowan was sent packing the Usos focused their attack on Harper, and after taking him down with a double superkick the brothers climbed to the top rope and came down with a double superfly splash for the title retaining pin.
The second title match of the evening saw Paige challenging A.J. Lee for the Divas title. Moving on…..
The non-title action began with Rusev, accompanied by Lana, taking on Zeb Colter guy Jack Swagger.
Ah, nothing like a good old fashioned Cold War rivalry. After the usual jaw-jacking at the beginning we got a match which was, for the most part, quite entertaining. At first it was essentially a big brawl as Swagger gave the Bulgarian the woodshed treatment, but it wasn’t long before Rusev came back into the match with his impressive power game.
After some more good back and forth exchanges Swagger managed to apply the ankle lock. At one point it looked like Rusev was going to tap until he made it to the ropes, but when he went outside the ring to recover Swagger followed him out and applied the lock again.
This proved to be an unwise move. As the referee made his count Rusev countered by sending Swagger head first into the ring post. Swagger collapsed to the floor like a sack of spuds, while Rusev barely made it back into the ring to take the count out win.
That wasn’t the end of things though. As Swagger was being checked over at ringside Rusev grabbed him and threw him back into the ring, adding insult to injury by putting him in the camel clutch.
The next match was meant to be Dean Ambrose against Seth Rollins, but when Ambrose attacked Rollins during a backstage interview Triple H had him thrown out of the building.
Rollins still came out for his match and demanded that he be announced the winner by forfeit, and when he duly was everything seemed right with his world. But as he headed back down the aisle Ambrose attacked him, instigating a brawl. Eventually it took about twelve people to stop them before Ambrose was carried out of the arena.
Normal service resumed when Bray Wyatt, accompanied by his boys, took on the returning Chris Jericho.
This may not have been the best match of Wyatt’s main roster tenure, and there may have been a iffy moment or two along the way, but overall it was still a pretty decent encounter.
Both guys looked good early on, and when Harper and Rowan were thrown out for their attempted interference things only got better. The lack of any outside assistance really helped this one as both men got a chance to show what they could do.
Jericho looked okay, although his overuse of the word “baby” did get a bit annoying at time, and if I’m to be completely honest the outcome was a little surprising. Both of them had some of their biggest weapons negated, and it seemed a little odd when Jericho suddenly connected with the code breaker for the winning pin.
The penultimate contest was the battle royal to crown a new Intercontinental Champion.
With stars ranging from bit part players like Xavier Woods and Zack Ryder through to former main event kings like the Miz, Sheamus and the Great Khali, this proved to be quite entertaining, although I couldn’t help but think that perhaps a one on one or tournament would have been a better way to fill the void left by the injury to Bad News Barrett.
It began with Khali flexing his muscles when everyone else tried to gang up on him, but that was about it for him when he was the third man eliminated. The others followed at regular intervals, and perhaps what was most surprising was that Heath Slater made it to the final five, although he didn’t last much longer after that.
It eventually got down to Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler. The action got a little messy at times, and when the show-off finally dispatched the Irishman it looked like he’d won the gold.
The only problem was that he wasn’t the final man. The Miz had spent most of the time recovering at ringside having taken a battering during his somewhat brief appearances, and as Ziggler began to celebrate what he thought was his victory Miz came up from behind and dumped him over the top rope to win the gold.
The main event saw Randy Orton, Kane and Roman Reigns challenging John Cena for the WWE World title in a fatal four way match.
As far as main events go this was a pretty decent affair. The four protagonists put in a good account of themselves, and even though certain parts of this match were quite predictable everything was well played out.
As expected Orton and Kane acted as a unit as they attempted to do the Authority’s bidding, and whenever Orton went for a cover Kane stood guard to make sure that the prone man lying dazed at ringside didn’t get in to try and break up the pin.
But even the best laid plans can fall to pieces, and the alliance between the Viper and the Devil’s favourite demon soon imploded when Kane went for a cover himself.
The match definitely became more interesting from that moment on. Not only did we get Kane and Orton beating the proverbial out of each other but we finally got the confrontation between Cena and Reigns, and for a few brief moments, and with the crowd firmly behind him, it actually felt like Reigns was in with a real chance of winning the title.
It just wasn’t meant to be though. As the heavy artillery came out all four men came close to getting the pin, and a somewhat frantic finish saw Reigns spear Kane, Orton breaking up the pin and taking Reigns down with an RKO before Cena came back to take Orton down with an attitude adjuster on top of Kane. Cena then covered the masked man to take the title-retaining pin.
In conclusion – the day after the show I saw a few posts on my Twitter and Facebook feeds saying that basically said this show was boring. Well chaps, I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you.
While this won’t go down as the best show of the year for me Battleground was a pretty decent affair. Granted the matches varied in quality, and I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get the Rollins/Ambrose match, but overall I finished my viewing feeling entertained by what I had seen.
As for my match of the night they saved the best for first this time around. The Usos/Wyatts opener was a fine example of modern day tag team wrestling, action packed from start to finish, which is why it’s getting the prestigious no-prize.
So with all of that out of the way there’s just one more thing left to do, and that’s to give this show the thumbs up.
By day I’m an unemployed retail worker, and at weekends I volunteer at a local museum, but by night I’m the author of The Two Sheds Review, Britain’s longest running professional wrestling and mixed martial arts blog. Visit my site at www.twoshedsreview.vze.com. It’s been online in one form or another since June 2000!