Let’s go ahead get this out of the way: the overall show last night was a giant mess. Incoherency reigned supreme. If you tuned in to catch final build for WWE Battleground this coming Sunday, or even just to catch a little bit of wrestling, you undoubtedly left disappointed. So what happened?
CM Punk opened the show with a decent match against Big E Langston. My issue here is that Big E has been off screen for weeks (almost two months?), and having him lose his first match sets a bad tone moving forward. You could make the argument he was at least competitive. What you can’t argue is that nobody else, perhaps somebody NOT returning from an extended absence, would have filled this role just as easily.
Unfortunately, things only got worse for the CM Punk/Paul Heyman storyline. Curtis Axel looked like a complete fool in his loss against R Truth. Then, Paul Heyman came out and “proposed” to Ryback that he be a Paul Heyman guy. That segment was as terrible as you could envision. Heyman and Ryback were both hamming it up, just not quite enough for the audience to feel okay laughing at it, but more than enough for it to feel completely surreal. I’m not really sure why Heyman signed off on this. I also can’t figure out how this is supposed to make fans feel more hatred against Heyman and Ryback. This feud has stumbled to a crawl since Night of Champions, and it needs something to remind us why things were so incredible right before SummerSlam. Last night was just another huge misstep.
There was also something weird going on with the mid-card. Kofi Kingston won a match against Fandango, but when Bray Wyatt came out afterwards, he didn’t attack – he just sat in his rocking chair and said some stuff about Sister Abigail. Huh? In another head scratching moment, WWE gave Santino Marella a victory over Antonio Cesaro… at 10:55pm. With only five minutes left in the show. On the go-home show before a Pay-Per-View. Keep in mind that, at this point, Daniel Bryan (one of the two men in this Sunday’s main-event) had failed to even make an appearance on the show.
And perhaps that’s the biggest issue with last night’s show. WWE has failed to make Battleground an even remotely interesting Pay-Per-View purchase, in spite of the fact that Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton are both incredibly hot right now. When the last show before a pay-per-view is dedicated to as much filler as there was last night, including a time-consuming debut to creative’s new favorite “gimmick” tag-team, you have to re-think the storyline build. You should probably rethink the “pay-per-view every three weeks” mentality, too.
And what was up with Big Show? I’ve praised his work over the last few weeks, but he deserves a “vintage Big Show” bad acting award for his delivery last night. Bah.
Ending on a good note, I really liked the interaction between the Rhodes family and the power-couple. It was my favorite ten minutes of the entire show. Cody Rhodes is getting the biggest bump from this story-line, looking like an absolute star being in the ring with Triple H, Dusty, Stephanie, and Goldust. I’m looking forward to seeing him and Goldust face Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns this Sunday – even if the logic behind having your tag-team champions in action against somebody OTHER than the number-one contenders still boggles my mind. I’m really hoping bigger and brighter things are in Cody Rhodes future. Unfortunately, WWE has erased any confidence I once had in the creative direction of the company.
What did you think about last night’s show? Was it as bad as it seemed, or am I just being “internet critical”? Let me know in the comments below! And be sure to follow Between the Ropes on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest wrestling conversation.