The expectations for the first edition of Battleground were very low. I’m a WWE addict and I wouldn’t have watched it if it weren’t free on Sky Sports. However, they delivered an above average show on this one. It joins Extreme Rules, Payback and Money in the Bank on the list of over-achieving pay-per-views since Wrestlemania. Let’s see what surprises it had to offer.
Well the opening video package and the flashy graphics throughout the thing were a nice touch. The hardcore rules match was a good way to open. Van Dam put on another show stealing performance, but tapped out in the end to the cross armbreaker with his arm trapped in a chair. It was very lame to see Del Rio continue to hold the belt, and Sandow not cash in, but you can’t have everything.
Zeb and his boys cut an awesome promo backstage, which was so, so funny! The continuously popular Americans won over their farcical opponents Marella and Khali, after Cesaro defied the odds again to use the “Cesaro Swing” on the giant. When will he and Swagger turn face and cash in on this momentum as the good guy patriots.
Curtis Axel beat R-Truth and retained his Intercontinental Championship – Shocker. AJ stole a win from Brie after Tamina helped with a distraction.
Then we were truly greeted to the highlight of the night – the main reason I stayed up all night to watch the show. Cody, Goldust and Dusty cut an absolutely epic promo backstage before the match, which really fired up the crowd. Cody pinned Rollins for the win after a perfectly crafted tag match which included an old fashioned whipping for Ambrose from The Dream’s leather belt. An emphatic Crossroads was enough to seal the deal, and secure jobs for all three members of the family. The victors were greeted on the stage as they made their way to the back by an army of faces, including icons of the business Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson and Fit Finlay. It was a very touching ending to a special match.
Kofi and Bray Wyatt contested another filler match. The most memorable moment of which saw the enigmatic Bray crawl backwards upside down towards Kofi like a giant spider – creepy as hell!
Punk and Ryback had a very decent match, but the crowd was dead throughout, as they were for much of the night bar the Rhodes match. Both of the guys looked real strong and the ending to the match was interesting. Paul Heyman distracted the referee but it backfired and enabled Punk to low blow Ryback and get the pin on him. This was different to say the least. Ryback came out actually looking strong. He performed well, pulled out some new moves and only lost dirty. Maybe there is hope for him yet.
As that night drew to it’s conclusion, there were 45 minutes remaining in the show. A convenient power outage in the arena took away ten of those and left me staring at a “Technical difficulties” card for what felt like an eternity. The awesome panel of Miz, Titus and… Tensai gave their views on proceedings. Tensai started a “Yes!” chant which was awesome.
The main event match itself was very good. Both of these men really stepped up and made the bout interesting and dynamic. It ended in controversy when Big Show came down and knocked out the referee, right when Orton looked set to tap to the LeBell Lock. Scott Armstrong was then ushered out, which was hilarious, but Show had a change of heart and knocked him out too. He then knocked out Orton, after The Viper got right in his face for going against his orders. The bell never rang, but he stood over Bryan and Orton in the ring as the show went off the air. It was very good to see the giant finally snap and react, and it wasn’t at all expected.
I will explain my rating. Overall I thought that the show reached above the expectations it was given by all of us in the pro wrestling community. The matches were mostly decent or very good, there were some real feel good moments for once (e.g. Rhodes, Big Show) and there were a couple of well executed swerves. The direction for the future looks good now. I loved the graphics on the screen, and I also loved the ultra slow motion replays! The main event was outstanding, and summed up what for me was another recent example of WWE massively overachieving with a seriously underwhelming pay-per-view card on paper.
Thanks for reading.