Monday, 21 July 2014

WWE Battleground 2014 Review (Cena vs Kane vs Orton vs Reigns)

My expectations for Battleground were actually pretty high (Check out the preview here - I was looking forward to pretty much every match on the card for a number of different reasons. Were those expectations met? Let's find out shall we. 

John Cena defeats Kane and Randy Orton and Roman Reigns in a Fatal Fourway Match to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship


Photo credit -

Before we got to our main event of the evening, there was a horrendous backstage segment, where Randy Orton attempted to track down his Authority stable-mate Kane. Orton standing backstage with red lighting behind him shouting "Kane....Kane...Where are you Kane?" was so poorly acted it made the upcoming The Marine 4 (starring The Miz) look good. There really was no point to this segment as Kane reminding Orton that it was every man for himself was nothing that we hadn't heard on the last week of WWE television. 

I thought the match itself was a solid main event fourway, with plenty of dramatic near falls, which is exactly what I expect from a match like this from WWE. Not only that but there was also an effective story told with the four men in the ring, with Orton and Kane's uneasy partnership being used effectively in the early part of the match, it was strange seeing Kane work as Orton's heavy, but as soon as Kane went for a pin off a DDT to Reigns, the partnership disintergrated. A confrontation between Cena and Reigns was also teased a number of times, firstly broken up by Orton and Kane, before Kane broke up a second showdown with his classic sit up spot. When Reigns and Cena finally went at it, it didn't quite get the reaction that it should have, after being built to rather well throughout the match.
Hands up who had called for a Tower of Doom in this match? I certainly hadn't! A rather well worked Powerbomb from Reigns and Cena on Kane, whilst Kane superplexed Orton across the ring was a good addition to the match, as was Reigns and Cena trapping Orton in a Half Boston Crab and Crossface combination. The near falls had the crowd popping with each man looking like he could have the match won on te number of occassions. A particular favourite for me was Reigns cutting off Cena's Five Knuckle Shuffle attempt with a Superman Punch, in what felt like a reference to the finish of Cena's WrestleMania 28 bout with The Rock.

The undoubted star of this match was Roman Reigns. Similiar to Survivor Series and Royal Rumble, this match was ALL about Roman Reigns. He needed to look like he belonged in this main event and he certainly did here. Hitting his Running Dropkick to Cena and Kane who were hung up in the ropes and one to Orton who was on the announce table was the moment that Reigns announced himself onto the main event scene for me. 
The finish was the expect finisher fest, with Reigns hitting a Spear on Kane, followed by Orton hitting Reigns with an RKO, before Cena hit Orton with an Attitude Adjustment onto Kane to pick up the victory and retain the title. I have absolute no problem with Cena holding onto the title for two reasons 1. He only won it last month 2. He's the only bankable star to main event the second biggest PPV of the year next month. Cena's moveset was shown up a little here though as he ended up hitting four or five Attitude Adjustments, I'm not sure why he didn't pull out a few of his other moves, the Diving Leg Drop bulldog perhaps?

Moving forward, there's no doubt about it Cena will be facing Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam in what is a huge main event and if it's anything like their Extreme Rules 2012 bout will be excellent. Reigns and Orton could potentially face off agaisnt each other at SummerSlam, but I'd be much more interested in a Reigns vs Triple H bout. Who knows what's next for Kane?! 

Match Rating - ***

Seth Rollins defeats Dean Ambrose by Forfeit


Photo credit -

This was the match that never happened, and rightly so. More on that later, let's have a look at how it went down. 

Following a superb video package for the match, it appeared that Rollins vs Ambrose would be the second match on the show. Cut to a decent Seth Rollins promo, describing Ambrose as cochroach that he would squash and superbly recalling Ambrose saying "Is that all you guys got?" during his beat down by The Authority last Monday, saying "No, that's not all I got". Ambrose had had enough and attacked Rollins and the two brawled in the backstage area. The brawl was quickly broken up and Authority leader Triple H had Ambrose ejected from the building by security. The brawling between Rollins and Ambrose looked so good and I was fully invested into the fact that these guys hate each other guts. 

Later in the night, Rollins came out to the ring and asked the referee to award him the Forfeit victory, which he duly got. Rollins has really settled into this new role and I'm enjoying seeing him perform recently. Of course, it wouldn't be wrestling if Ambrose didn't make a miraculous return to jump his enemy, I guess Ambrose used his knowledge of the building after entering through the crowd with The Shield for over a year, a shame that the commentary couldn't come up with an explanation like that. This brawl topped the last one as Ambrose and Rollins really went at it, with multiple pull apart from referees and security and even Triple H. It really got home how these two feel about each other. 

But that wasn't it! As Rollins was ushered out of the building by Triple H (I'm not quite sure why), Ambrose popped out of the boot of a car, in superb visual, before unleashing another vicious attack on Rollins. BRAWLIN' HELL! The two battled over a car, before Rollins made his escape in that same car, leaving his luggage behind! Rollins making his escape means this isn't the last we've seen of the feud between the former Shield partners. 

This was the single best outcome for this match, yes Ambrose and Rollins could have had a fantastic match on this show, but where did they go after that? These segments added to the anticipation to a future match between the two, with people now chomping at the bit to see them collide in an actual match. SummerSlam is the perfect place for that match to take place, so holding off on a match this month, will make next month's match even bigger than it would have been. I fully expect an electric atmosphere in Los Angeles! 

Chris Jericho defeats Bray Wyatt


Photo credit -

In the surprise result of the night, Chris Jericho upset Bray Wyatt in a decent outing for the pair. 

The early story of the bout involved Wyatt's cohorts Erick Rowan and Luke Harper getting involved on numerous occassions, including distracting Jericho as he attempted to lock in the Walls of Jericho and taking a leaping splash from Jericho on the outside. They were quickly ejected from the arena by the referee, meaning we got to see Wyatt and Jericho go at it one on one for the majority of the match up. 

As the story going into this one was fairly weak, that theme continued in this match. There was no real story being told, once Harper and Rowan were ejected, just a number of interconnected moments. Some of those moments worked very well, like Jericho being pushed off the apron into a cameraman or a lovely rope hung Jawbreaker from Wyatt, and some of them not so much, such as the Indy repeat spot after Wyatt slipt whilst attempting a Gutbuster and rubbish DDT onto the apron from Jericho. 

The finish seemed to come out of the proverbial nowhere, as Jericho pulled out a Codebreaker to get the win. It wasn't perhaps the result that everyone had wanted, but I can see why WWE went in this direction. This was Jericho's return match on PPV, and fans had gotten used to him looking at the lights on his last run, it just pushes his credibility up a little for him to go back to his usual ways over the next few months. It also gives Bray Wyatt a reason to be unhappy with Jericho now, which was missing from their rivalry before, meaning a SummerSlam rematch should be a much better outing. 

Match Rating - ** 1/4

Rusev defeats Jack Swagger via Countout


Photo credit -

Oh dear, oh dear. Yes, I'm still shaking my head at Lana referencing the MH17 plane incident incident in Russia. I'm all for bringing current events into storylines, but when people have lost lives then that is step over the line. To clarify, I'm not angry at Lana, I realise I'm supposed to dislike the things that she's saying (apart from this line I had no interest in the rest of the promo), I'm pissed at WWE for over stepping the mark surrounding a very sensitive issue.WWE deserve all the backlash that they get for allowing this promo to air on television just four days after 298 people died. 

After forcing myself to put the promo out of my mind, I actually quite enjoyed this heavyweight clash. Some solid storytelling involving Swagger attempting to get the Patriot Lock on Rusev numerous time (unfortunately the commentary team didn't reference that the move could be more effective because Rusev is bare foot), with Rusev quickly escaping on numerous occassions. The live crowd were really into it and I was surprised by how comfortable Jack Swagger looked as a babyface, maybe he's been in the wrong role ever since his debut? 

The finish was another clever one, as Swagger locked on the Ankle Lock on the outside, with Rusev managing to escape, rolling through and sending Swagger clashing into the ring post. This allowed Rusev to get the victory via Countout. Swagger's selling of the ringpost was stellar. Clearly another set up for a rematch at SummerSlam, especially with Rusev continuing to beat Swagger after the match, locking in The Accolade. 

Match Rating -  ** 

AJ Lee defeats Paige to retain the Diva's Championship


Photo credit -

Here was WWE's chance to salvage Paige's last four months on the main roster, so the commentary team shilling the WWE Network as the match begun was not the best start. 

However, this turned into a rather enjoyable tussle between two of WWE's most capable female competitors, Yes some moves perhaps weren't polished as they should of been, Paige's Sunset Bomb for example, but the storytelling more than made up for it. Paige was going for pins after almost every move she hit, and the desperation showed in her face everytime that she couldn't get the victory! Throw into the mix a pleasing moment that saw Paige break out of the Black Widow submission hold to hit a Paige Turner, only for a AJ to kick out at two and there's not much more the two girls could have done with their alotted time.

Match Rating * 3/4

The Usos defeat The Wyatt Family (Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) in a Best Two Out Of Three Falls Match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championships


Photo credit -

Put simply, this was the match of the night. An absolute belter of a tag team contest, that grew as it went along and built into a sweltering final segment, that had the live crowd and myself not knowing which way it was going to go. 

The first two falls were so intelligently done, as they both came off of supposed hot tags for the Usos, with Harper hitting a Big boot on Jimmy to give his team the lead before Jey equalled the score with an awkward school boy roll up. Having the falls come before the hot tag could really get going, meant that it was saved up until latter in the match, and what a hot tag it was! After the Wyatt's had worked over Jey for sometime, Jimmy exploded out of the blocks, hitting plancha's on both Harper and Rowan, before getting a near fall off a Diving Crossbody. "Jimmy's everywhere" was probably Michael Cole's best bit of commentary all night. 

The false finishes here were something else, and came thick and fast as the four men kept a terrific pace. There were numerous occassions when the crowd was convinced that the match was over, including a superkick to Luke Harper as he attempted a sucide dive, a terrific sitout powerbomb from Harper (which was nicely built up to), a Superfly splash, a double superplex from Erick Rowan. But my personal favourite was Luke Harper's no-sell of Jey's Superkick, before delivering a Discus Clothesline, as I just didn't see it coming and I was fully convinced that the match was over. 

The actual finish saw both Usos deliver multiple superkicks to both Rowan and Harper, before hitting a Double Superfly splash on Harper to hold onto their tag team titles. The splash was a little awkward looking, and perhaps, just like Cena's over-use of the Attitude Adjustment in the main event, there were a few too many superkicks, but that didn't take too much away from this exciting slice of tag team action.

Match Rating - ****

The Miz wins a Nineteen Man Over-The-Top Rope Battle Royal to win the Intercontinental Championship


Photo credit -


WWE must have been stuck for time here, as every single entrant got an entrance for this match, which really slowed down the pace of the PPV. Luckily, former Intercontinental Champion, the injured, Bad News Barrett was out to cut a very good promo reminding whoever won the battle royal that it was still Barrett's title and he'd be coming for it once he recovered from his shoulder injury. Barrett looked pretty emotional cutting this promo, and we hope he make a speedy recovery. 

As battle royals go, this wasn't bad. I wouldn't say it was as good as the Andre the Giant Battle Royal earlier in the year, but it was passable with a few entertaining moments. After some of the filler (Great Khali, Xavier Woods, Zack Ryder, Sin Cara, R-Truth, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow and Diego) were tossed over the top rope this match really got going, with a showdown between Sheamus and Ryback. Sheamus would come out on top eliminating Ryback with a Brogue Kick. There was also some interesting sequences involving Kofi Kingston staying in the match, and whilst landing on the eliminated Big E's shoulders might not be his best, it was still a decent spot. 

It seemed the final two were Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler, who engaged in a botch laden few minutes of action, including Ziggler slipping up on Fameasser attempt and Sheamus doing the same with a Powerbomb), which was a real shame as what they had planned out would have looked very good if pulled off. Luckily, the pair did manage to recover, with some nice near eliminations before Ziggler managed to send Sheamus packing with a(nother) superkick. However, that wasn't the final two as The Miz snook his way back into the match and tossed Ziggler over the top rope to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Miz had been in and out of the ring, attempting sneak attacks on a number of occassions, which was a nice twist on a tired pro wrestling trope. 

I'm interested to see where Miz goes with the Intercontinental title, after his previous reigns fell flat. However with his new conceited Hollywood star gimmick, I have a lot more hope for this reign than I did for his last. A feud with Ziggler could elevate both guys and the championship at the same time, as both are capable of getting the desired reaction out of an audience and putting on decent bouts.

Match Rating - N/A

Bits and Bobs

There was a marvellously bizarre promo from Stardust and Goldust. I have absolutely no idea what Stardust was saying (something about a Cosmic key?) but I was completely capitvated by it. They got genuine laughter from, as it was just so strange to watch, which doesn't happen often with WWE. Whilst I am enjoying Cody's run as Stardust, I do hope that this isn't a permanent thing, and is more of a set up for a Cody and Goldust feud, as I think this gimmick could get stale pretty quick.

The Pre-Show panel were on hand for two occasions and anyone who watched the Pre-Show got to here Renee Young, Booker T, Christian and Alex Riley say exactly the same things they had said earlier in the night!


So that was my review of WWE's Battleground PPV. Overall, I enjoyed this show a lot, with The Usos vs The Wyatt Family and the main event coming across as the two strongest matches. With only a few weeks until SummerSlam, I had expected this PPV to be used to move the right wrestlers into the right spots, and to up the ante for the Biggest Show of the Summer, with a number of feud (Rollins/Ambrose, Swagger/Rusev etc.) being intensified to create bigger matches for the bigger PPV to come. Beyond Lana's promo, I had no major complaints either, which is always good.

What did you think of Battleground? Let us know on and on Twitter @ATPWrestling!      

No comments:

Post a comment