So it seems that my fairly positive outlook on Battleground was not shared by the majority of the internet wrestling community. Well I watched Raw last night and lets see how things have continued. I’m going to go through hour by hour again and give a general overview. Some of the filler bullshit will be discarded and unmentioned.
Hour One: The first hour of the show was quite boring to be honest, with not a lot to report about match wise. The total bitch of wrestling Stephanie McMahon fired Big Show and condemned Brad Maddox. It was announced that Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan will be facing off to declare a new champion once and for all, inside Hell in a Cell. It was also announced that there would be a special referee for that fight. Booker T was presented as one of three Hall of Famer candidates for the position. This Pittsburgh crowd was dead throughout, even when hometown icon Bruno Sammartino came to the stage to say a few words. Oh, and Los Matadores faced 3MB… again.
Hour Two: CM Punk and R-Truth took on Ryback and Curtis Axel. This was predictable, but it was executed dynamically with Ryback goading Punk to come to the ring, and Truth coming to join him straight away to even the odds. This was the first decent match of the evening. Punk got the hot tag and destroyed everyone, before tagging in Truth to finish off Axel for the win. Bob Backlund was brought out as the second choice for the referee gig, and cut a random as fuck, awkward shouting promo, which the dead crowd barely reacted to. I can’t say I blamed them with this one to be fair.
Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton revisited their great feud of the past and had a really good match. There was some real fine technique, high spots and some great reversals. One particular highlight was when Kofi attempted a cross body off the top rope, but was hit with a wicked powerslam from mid-air. Randy won after hitting his mean DDT on the outside using the barricade, dragging Kofi’s carcass back inside avoiding the count, and drilling him with an RKO.
Bryan ran down and attacked Orton after the match, dishing out some of his own medicine. It took Finlay, Jamie Noble and a bunch of referees to hold the dragon back. A short while later, Shawn Michaels came out as expected to be presented as the third candidate to be ref and inevitable winner of the vote cast by fans using the WWE app. He cut a really great promo which had everything you needed: His friendship with Hunter, his mentor relationship with Bryan, and his personal history with Orton. Who will he side with? It was perfect as you would expect but this stupid crowd was silent throughout.
Hour Three: Alberto Del Rio came to the ring after flirting and sucking up to “Bickie” backstage. She came out and announced his opponent, Ricardo Rodriguez. At this point, I was ready for him to become the new Edge and the two of them to embark on a loving romance. That’s when she turned around and announced that he will be defending his title at Hell in the Cell against… get this, John Cena! The bell rang, he was flabbergasted, Ricardo rolled him up and got the win. Del Rio savagely beat his former friend down afterwards in a rage. Absolutely insane news, and the crowd were still dead!
It was announced that HBK had won the vote, not a big surprise. Then we saw a rematch of the pay-per-view match between The Real Americans and Khali/Santino. This was just an excuse to see Cesaro give Khali and Hornswaggle the swing. They really know how to take something that’s cool and unique and rinse it to hell. Before Miz TV could start, the arena went black and The Wyatt’s tried to ambush the man himself. He managed to escape, and Kane needs to come back soon and save Bray from a severe lack of solid direction.
In the main event, The Shield took on Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes and Goldust in a six man tag. Hunter sat at ringside throughout. Bryan came close to winning but the match descended into chaos. It was eventually stopped for disqualification after Ambrose used a steel chair. Triple H reversed the decision and restarted the match as a NO DQ. Randy Orton came out to RKO Bryan and screw him out of the match. The Shield beat everyone down, until Big Show arrived. He headed straight for Triple H, who was literally hiding behind The Hounds of Justice.
The numbers looked to be too much for Show at first but he eventually exploded scattering Shield members all over the place, and gave a straight up knockout shot to his former boss. Daniel Bryan celebrated over Hunter’s forlorn body with Yes! chants and the crowd finally came to life going crazy. This was a really rewarding moment and a good pay-off for the fans at the beginning of the road to the next pay-per-view Hell in a Cell.
As always, I will explain my rating. I thought the best thing the show did was get in there early and make Hell in a Cell a big deal. It’s the first week and we know John Cena is returning, and Shawn Michaels will referee a cell rematch for the title. That’s the two main events sorted, and boy are they bigger than those for the last two shows Battleground and Night of Champions. There were a bunch of random legend appearances, which are always awesome. There were even a few really decent matches. I wouldn’t say it was top tier, but despite a slow start, it turned out to be a very productive episode for the WWE – a big improvement on the build to the last pay-per-view. Hell in a Cell looks to put the company back on the right track in terms of PPV quality. Let’s hope it can.
Thanks for reading, and do come back.