WWE Battleground did go down on Sunday night in Tampa Bay, Florida and we have a ton of coverage for you. We did a Battleground podcast right after the show happened. Brian Fritz and Michael Wiseman were at the event and got live reaction from fans who attended live. We even had Michael’s reaction to The Miz winning the Battle Royal to become the Intercontinental Champion. We had a whole lot of coverage for an event that in many ways seemed to fail to deliver. In fact, it missed on producing one of the main matches promoted for this show that upset a lot of the core fan base.
They would take away a match on the regular show as it turned out and gave us a bonus match on the pre-show. Was Adam Rose against Fandango a suitable replacement? Not exactly! It was Adam Rose’s birthday, so he got to have a match and they continued the feud with Fandango, with his former dancer partners in Layla and Summer Rae in Rose’s corner. Rose got the win, the bunny had no clothes on and nobody seemed to care.
The Usos had an interview on the pre-show and it was announced that would be the opening match on the card when we got going at the top of the clock.
The original scheduled pre-show match was as awful as one likely would have expected. Perhaps the worst news of this match was Cameron won and the feud with Naomi will continue as we all cringe at the thought of that.
Not much else to take away form pre-show as you had Renee Young on panel with regulars Booker-T, Alex Riley and Christian joined in as the third member on the expert panel.
The opening match as promised on the pre-show was the Usos against Luke Harper and Eric Rowan in a best two out of three falls match for the tag team championships. Right off the bat they had me excited with one of the Usos knocking the sheep mask clean off Rowan’s face. I will just say the build-up to the first two falls lacked anything of any substance, but where this match won me over was in the third fall to decide the winner. There were a ton of false finishes and you really were in a position of truly not knowing who was going over in this one. At times the Usos seemed destined to lose, but in the end with two big splashes from the top they got the win. A total side note, but is it only me that thinks the Usos should bring back the old 80’s masked confusion gimmick? It would make a ton of sense as without masks, most fans can’t tell them apart. The Usos also have new merchandise with “USO Crazy” in “Fruity Pebbles” orange and blue that looks much like a past John Cena designed shirt from a few years back.
Up next, this was suppose to be Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. It didn’t end up happening nor did the match even take place. We will get to all of the in the segments section below. Instead, we got A.J Lee and Paige in a match that was fairly sloppy and did not deliver a clear heel and face. As Lee retained her title and seemed to frustrate Paige who is still teasing a heel turn that has yet to take place. Oddly this feud looks like it continues, but with two clean wins logically why would A.J give Paige another shot? This is a question for them to answer on Raw.
The battle for the hearts and minds of America was next. Rusev with Lana and it was business as usual for the Rusev gimmick. People wondered with the real life tragedy in Ukraine, if they would move forward. Lana even referenced it in her promo as “recent current events” and how Americans were blaming Russia for them. As for the match it ended up with Swagger able to damage Rusev more than anyone else. He latched Rusev in the “patriot lock”. Rusev would get to the ropes and followed Swagger to the floor and chop blocked the American. Swagger applies another ankle lock, but Rusev breaks free sending Swagger into the post and knocking him out, Rusev beat the count and won by count out. Obviously just like Apollo Creed and Rocky, we will get a rematch at Summerslam.
Next, we had Wyatt vs. Jericho and this match felt very awkward as fans really seemed confused on which way they wanted to go in this one. It wasn’t a horrible match, but it really wasn’t all that compelling to be honest. In the end, the match ended with an unexpected “Code-Breaker” and feud seems to continue on to Summerslam. The sad thing is I really can’t tell you any spots that stood out in this match. We did get to see Bray do his crab walk and all of that, but this match felt like it just happened. This program needs to get better in the ring as it didn’t live up to the considerable hype.
The Intercontinental Title Battle Royal was next. At this point I started having some serious issues with my feed. It seems I was not alone. So to give you a blow for blow on this on I can not. What I can do is tell you I felt the Miz winning was a massive mistake and you had several better options to go with at the top of that list. The Miz played the cowardly heel through out the match and sneaked in at the end to eliminate Dolph Ziggler. People will say Miz has “heat” with fans. As I did on the podcast, I asked you if this is just “heat” like normal wrestling “heat,” or is this what people reference as “X-Pac Heat”? That is the debate and one we can have for weeks to come, as it looks like Miz is going to have a prominent position in the mid-card. Barrett was there and cut a promo, but with my feed trouble I heard none of it. It was from reports more or less that the “Bad News” for the winner was that he would return and take them out at some point.
The main event was next with the Fatal Four Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I will give this match at least this much as they really tried hard to make you think Cena was not going to win. There were lots of false finishes and lots of guys working together only to have disagreements when it got down to the nitty-gritty of it all. In the end, Cena was able to get the win and not stop the wave of momentum that is currently behind Roman Reigns as he pinned the most likely person to take the fall in this match you would think in Kane. Up next is you know who when “Plan C”, the worst kept secret in wrestling is revealed likely tonight on Raw.
There was a really silly segment in which Randy Orton went looking for Kane to apologize for Monday and get both on the same page for the main event. While somewhat amusing, this was a Raw level segment on pay-per-view that had a theme of stalling all night long.
Now we get to the three segments of Ambrose and Rollins instead of a match. The answer to why all of this happened remains a mystery. It started with Rollins cutting a promo and being jumped by Ambrose. Triple H and tons of backstage people would break it up. Hunter kicked Ambrose out of the building for the night and basically the match was cancelled. Hunter then said Ambrose was not going to get in the way of his plans.
Later in the night, Rollins would head to the ring demanding to be declared the winner. It also established he was still in the building to perhaps cash in later in the night as he teased in the interview. Rollins would be declared the winner via forfeit and as he made his way to the back, was jumped by Ambrose again. While I hate the fact we did not get our match here, I do at least admit the logic so far has made complete sense. That was all about to change.
Later on in the show, Rollins was with two security guys being escorted to his car. Wait a second, what happened to “Plan B” and Rollins cashing in should Cena or Reigns win the main event? If that wasn’t bad enough, as Rollins tells the security guys to go away he doesn’t need them. Rollins scans the lot looking for Ambrose, but no sign of him. Suddenly out of the trunk of a car pops up Ambrose and beats the heck out of Rollins. Logically, does Ambrose have x-ray vision or does he have super hearing? Because aside from that, how would he know when to jump out of the trunk? This is WWE where logic and reason takes a holiday on what seems like a regular basis. It was the cherry on the sundae that annoyed most to no end about not getting this match.
There was a Goldust and Stardust segment that had to do with nothing the show. Only reason I bother to mention it is it was at this event last year these two were a part of the match of the night against Rollins and Reigns. What a difference a year makes and not in a good way.
Show Rating: 2 Good Tag Team Matches in 2 years = Battleground
This show was the definition of what they mean by a “skipable” show. If you woke-up today regretting not seeing this show, you really have no reason to feel that way. It meant nothing as WWE was merely doing what they had to do and even a little less to get on to the event they really are focused on, Summerslam. If it was anything close to what we saw last night, the WWE Network should raise the white flag. Although, all indications are this is far from the case.
For me it has been two years of Battleground and two thumbs down for each show that have been rightfully earned.