WWE Battleground 2016 (7/24/2016)- Washington D.C.
Your commentary team for this PPV will be Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and JBL. Cole noted that while he and Byron will remain on Raw, JBL will be headed over to Smackdown Live. JBL then said “I am going home to Smackdown on Tuesday nights. Live.” Never before has it been so clear to me exactly when Vince shouted at an announcer to make sure he got in the word Vince wanted (as if someone who is subscribed to the WWE Network didn’t already know that Smackdown was going to be live from now on).
DANA BROOKE & CHARLOTTE vs. SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY- 6.5/10
Bayley is the mystery partner. She got a big pop for her debut… but you have to wonder they wouldn’t just draft her in the draft and not make the GMs both look silly for picking the likes of Nia Jax and f*cking CARMELLA instead of her. Now that I think about it… has she even been drafted? This is a cross-branded PPV and the announcers specifically said that Sasha picked Bayley. She might not even officially be on the main roster. Either way, the GMs still look stupid for not picking her during the draft.
JBL tells us that his “sources tell him” that this is a one-time deal and Bayley isn’t on the main roster. This came right after Cole told us that Bayley beat Nia Jax this week on NXT… so for a fan who does not watch NXT, the first thing they learn about Nia Jax is that she lost to someone who isn’t even good enough to get called up to the main roster.
This was a good opener and Bayley got a big pop, but I think her presence here was a mistake. First of all, if she isn’t going to be on the main roster after this, then people are going to be even more disappointed than they were after the draft because not only did they not get they wanted, but WWE has now teased them with the thing they want but still won’t give it to them. Secondly, whether she is going to be on the main roster after this or not, the biggest piece of news coming out of this match will be Bayley. The problem is that the entire purpose of this match was so Sasha could make Charlotte tap out clean to earn a shot at the Women’s Title, so that is what should really be the big story coming out of this match, but it won’t be. And if you don’t believe me… 99% of the announcers’ comments after the match were about Bayley.
THE WYATT FAMILY vs. THE NEW DAY- 6.5/10
The video package for this match made me realize just how bad this feud has been. New Day cut a promo bragging about being the longest-reigning WWE Tag Team Champions of all time. Who cares when you rarely ever defend the belts? They’ve only defended the titles on three of the last six WWE Network specials/PPVs… including not defending them at WrestleMania. Also, this claim would be more impressive if they weren’t completely ignoring the old tag titles (which were unified with this one), which have had a much-remembered longest tag title reign that was substantially longer than this one by a team that is a glaring omission from the WWE Hall of Fame. It comes across as WWE selectively ignoring their history so that they can claim this supposedly important accolade, which makes it all come across as phony, which is one of the worst things you can do to a babyface.
New Day then cut a promo, the purpose of which was to show us that Big E. and Kofi aren’t scared of the Wyatts, but Xavier thinks they should be.
Byron accidentally referred to Xavier as “James Woods.” I’ll be surprised if he has any hearing left after Vince is done with him.
They actually had a great spot in the very beginning where Big E. and Strowman were going to start off for their teams, but Woods wanted in so he tagged in… and then Bray tagged and Woods froze up, so Kofi tagged himself in to start off, while Woods just stood there, frozen.
The match itself was good but the booking was ridiculous. It all built up to a spot where Woods had to overcome his fear of Bray Wyatt, and he almost beat the entire Wyatt Family single-handedly, showing that Big E. and Kofi were right all along and Woods was wrong for showing fear of a group of men who TRIED TO MURDER HIM. Then Bray pinned Woods clean, so Woods still takes loss, and meanwhile our tag team champions have lost a to a trio that is being broken up, and the tag champs on are not even on the brand that is getting two of the Wyatts, so where do you go from here?
Cole hypes up “the return of Roman Reigns,” specifically avoiding any mention of exactly what it is that Roman is returning from.
WWE UNITED STATES TITLE MATCH: Rusev(c) (w/Lana) vs. Zack Ryder- 5.75/10
Lana is dressed in something reminiscent of a (VERY short) wedding dress, and makes sure to remind us that Rusev is her fiancé, which means “he is the only one that can have me.” Ryder is dressed in “patriotic” gear that makes him look like the biggest dork in the world. Especially those glasses. I think it would be more disgraceful to the USA to have a guy dressed like that as the US Champion than it would for an evil Bulgarian champion to bone his evil Russian fiancée on top of the United States Title.
As if Ryder couldn’t come across as any more of a loser, Cole said that Ryder told him that his dad thinks he has a chance to win tonight, but his mother doesn’t. Geez! Even HIS OWN MOTHER doesn’t believe in him enough to think he even has an outside chance of winning!
Rusev wins clean, once again humiliating an American babyface who purports to represent the USA, this time doing it right in America’s capitol. Does Vince think Putin is going to invade and wants to get on his good side or something?
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Rusev keeps beating Ryder down. Mojo Rawley comes out to make the save. He starts screaming and generally being hyped all up in Rusev’s face, and Rusev totally no-sells it. Mojo got a pretty pitiful pop for a guy who was born twenty minutes from the arena in one direction and played college football twenty minutes from the arena in another direction.
SHANE, STEPH, & ROLLINS BACKSTAGE- pointless and stupid. Rollins just rambled while Steph and Foley kept trying to plug how great Raw will be even though there are supposedly no cameras around and everyone watching this PPV already knows about the brand split angle, so there is no reason for them to be plugging Raw, either within kayfabe or outside of it.
SAMI ZAYN vs. KEVIN OWENS- 8.75/10
JBL tells us to think of all of the opportunities these two have lost because of their hatred for each other… and that’s exactly the thing that WWE has completely failed to show in this feud. There was the IC Title match at Extreme Rules and that’s it (the match at WrestleMania doesn’t count because their hatred for each other had nothing to do with Zayn costing Owens the match. Anyone else in the match would have done exactly what Sami did if it was them there instead of Sami).
The match was awesome, but the wrong guy won and these two really need to be on separate brands.
NATALYA vs. BECKY LYNCH- 7.5/10
Nattie wins (mostly) cleanly with the sharpshooter in one heck of a brawl. This had more of a “this isn’t a wrestling match; this is a fight” feel than any women’s match I’ve seen since the last Cheerleader Melissa vs. Wesna Busic match. They did just enough to make Nattie’s win feel cheap, but not necessarily undeserved. I’d love to see these two get the chance to blow this off at SummerSlam in some sort of No DQs or Falls Count Anywhere match.
SHANE, BRYAN, & AMBROSE BACKSTAGE- Dean gets a pep talk, then cuts a good promo.
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH: The Miz(c) (w/Maryse) vs. Darren Young (w/Bob Backlund)- 5.25/10
This was going fine until we got a stupid non-finish involving Backlund losing his shirt. Darren had the crossface chickenwing locked in on the outside but the ref just ordered the bell rung and the match was over and we never got an official announcement (it shouldn’t have been a count-out because Darren hadn’t been out of the ring for more than a second or two). Darren shoved a referee who tried to get him off of Miz, which actually got a good reaction from the crowd. Darren did Backlund’s old gimmick where he would stare at his hands after snapping as if he didn’t know what had just happened. How about we just let Darren be his own person instead of recycling Backlund’s angles?
THE CLUB vs. JOHN CENA, COLIN CASSADY, & ENZO AMORE- 8/10
Enzo’s gear tonight is worse than Ryder’s was. It might actually be the worst gear in the history of wrestling. Enzo cut an extremely long promo before the match. Then Cass talked. It’s a freakin’ PPV, guys!
This was a great, action-packed six-man tag that managed to keep the pace slow so that everything felt like it mattered. But like almost every other men’s match so far, the wrong finish happened! What would you pin AJ here if you don’t have to? Hell… AJ should have been the one getting the pin here, beating Enzo. Now that Cena has beaten AJ, what does he have to work for?
CHRIS JERICHO’S HIGHLIGHT REEL WITH SPECIAL GUEST RANDY ORTON- OH MY G-D HOW LONG IS THIS GOING TO GO?!
I’m not going to deny that this felt big and was a fun segment, but it still shouldn’t have happened on a freakin’ PPV. Silly me for thinking that WWE would actually give one of the biggest matches they have 30-40 minutes on a PPV.
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Dean Ambrose(c) vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns- 8.5/10
Shane, Steph, Dragon, and Foley are all at ringside for this match because apparently doing this gimmick once this week wasn’t enough.
Roman entered the usual way instead of through the crowd. He was heavily booed. The other two were heavily cheered. They had a really awesome Triple Threat match, making great use of the three-way stipulation. I was completely shocked that Dean won clean in the middle, with no controversy whatsoever that would lead to them splitting the belt. The whole Smackdown roster (minus Alexa Bliss!, American Alpha, and Carmella) came out to celebrate with Dean.
An awesome show inside the ring from WWE, but a good chunk of the finishes seemed very backward to me. I was quite happy to see that it looks like they are only going to have one top champion per division, which is the way it should be.