Monday, July 21, 2014

Battleground Report

Going into Battleground, I was looking forward to what was a surprisingly strong card. Diving right into it, we start with the Battleground Kickoff. The gorgeous Renee Young leads the way for Booker T, Alex Riley and Christian. A second Kickoff match was added in Adam Rose vs. Fandango. Not sure why this was done as Fandango has been feuding with Dolph Ziggler and was supposed to be in the Battle Royal. This match lasted less than two minutes as Fandango got distracted by Summer Rae and Layla being at ringside, allowing Rose to win. It gets an extra half star for Layla. *

Next on the Battleground Kickoff Show, besides the recap of everything that we've seen numerous times over the weeks, was the eagerly anticipated clash of the Funkadactyls! Well, not that eagerly anticipated, but it was still a former team facing off in singles action. Both of them were sporting some new attire and neither was really that great. The match was not awful, but Cameron is still very green. She ended up using a handful of tights to beat her former partner. Side note, I wish someone got a new theme that had vocals. Just, anyone. Anyway, it ended at 3:17. *1/2

The official show now begins the same way that it started at the last Pay-Per-View. The Usos and the Wyatts in an old school 2 Out of 3 Falls match. Their match at Money in the Bank damn near stole the show but tonight, they accomplished that feat. The first fall was slow but ended with a vicious big boot from Luke Harper in 4:47. The Usos picked up the second fall in 8:10 with a rollup even though Harper's shoulder looked up. This is where things became must see. The next ten minutes were tag team wrestling at it's finest as we got a lot of near falls and Harper shook off a superkick in badass fashion before hitting his huge clothesline. The pin was broken up though and it took a double superkick followed by a double top rope splash for the Usos to retain at 18:48. Excellent opener that really showed the Usos are atop the tag team mountain. ****

Seth Rollins gets interviewed after an awesome Shield breakup video package as it looks like Rollins/Ambrose is up next. Surprising. Dean Ambrose attacks him in the middle of the interview and is kicked out of the building. The crowd did not like that at all. The guy getting the loudest pops in the company gets kicked out and my "show stealer" pick won't happen. Pssh. Instead, we are treated to the Divas Championship match which I had high hopes for. My two favorite Divas collide. But, this disappointed the hell out of me. It's like Paige and AJ were on completely different pages (no pun intended) and they botched a few moves. This could've been so much more, but they fumbled their chance. Kevin Dunn must be so happy. Paige countering the Black Widow was cool as I've yet to see that. AJ wins with the Shining Wizard around the 7:12 mark. Paige applauds for AJ as the weird "Frenemies" thing continues and I'm not sure where it's going. Disappointing but still not terrible. *3/4

A really cool SummerSlam promo is shown that features a lot of Superstars. It's pretty cool, go check it out.

Next up, Rusev met Jack Swagger in a battle of Russia vs. USA. I'm surprised that they continue the useless Vladimir Putin stuff. Anyway, Jack Swagger comes out and the crowd isn't as hype for him as I hoped, but since the Dean Ambrose stuff, they've kinda died. This should've been a harder hitting match than it was, but it was decent. However, the ending it my issue. Rusev and Swagger battle on the outside and Rusev reverses the Patriot Lock and sends Swagger into the steel steps. He then wins via countout at 10:05. Why not do a double countout? Did Rusevl really need to win if it wasn't going to be via pin or submission? And then the post match attack. The end left a sour taste in my mouth. **1/2

More Goldust/Stardust stuff and people seem really divided on them. You either hate it or love it. I wish that Cody Rhodes was doing much more. But I also really like the character so I'm cool with it. Seth Rollins comes out and demands a forfeit which he gets. However, as he's leaving, Dean Ambrose saves this segment by coming out and these two brawl as the crowd goes nuts. Seriously, nobody is more over than Ambrose right now. The brawl was one of the most entertaining parts of the show, but I wish we got a match, even with a dusty finish. This just feels like a build up to SummerSlam.

Chris Jericho goes one on one with Bray Wyatt here in another match that I looked forward to. They got a good amount of time but things didn't click the way I hoped. First off, I disliked Luke Harper and Erick Rowan just leaving once the official kicked them out. It was weird for their characters. Anyway, while the match again, wasn't bad, it could've been better. Things didn't click and they botched a few moves. Hopefully the SummerSlam blowoff will be better. Jericho surprises a lot of people by winning with the Codebreaker at 15:10. A disappointment. **3/4

The Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal followed and was your typical Battle Royal. There were clearly too many competitors so the ring was far too crowded. Once things started to empty, it was pretty interesting. Sheamus and Ryback had a face off that I would love to see turn into a US Title feud. Bo Dallas eliminated Titus O'Neill and celebrated like he won the entire thing. Kofi Kingston had a typical Kofi elimination prevention moment. The shock of the night came as Heath Slater eliminated Cesaro. I had pegged Cesaro to win but Slater shocked us all. Sheamus was in dominant fashion throughout but a fantastic superkick from Dolph Ziggler eliminated him. However, The Miz, who spent most of the match on the outside, snuck in and tossed him over to win in 14:20. The "hide and get a cheap win" has been done to death in battle royals but this was entertaining. It once again showed that Dolph Ziggler should be doing so much more than he currently does. **3/4

Main event time as this was the match that I was not looking forward to. Don't get me wrong, I expected it to be entertaining and solid, but it was incredibly predictable. Roman Reigns got pretty much no pop from the crowd which was surprising. The crowd didn't really seem invested in the main event. It was a good match, but there was no outcome that could've worked. John Cena is the same old shit, Randy Orton bored the hell out of us in his most recent title run, Kane is Kane and Roman Reigns is so not ready. They tried very hard to make the Cena/Reigns interactions special, but I'm just not feeling it. Cena retains after a barrage of finishers ends with an Attitude Adjustment at 19:01. Decent, but the finishing sequence has also been done to death. ***

Overall: 5/10; Mediocre. The show disappointed me. The opener was far and away my favorite part of the card. The main event was good, but too obvious and the rest of the card was full of decent matches. It was a very middling show that was clearly a placeholder until SummerSlam.