Written by: Scrooge McSuck from DaWrestlingsite.com
– We’re a month away from SummerSlam, traditionally booked like the elite PPV it should be, and a month removed from the heavily hyped (but slightly disappointing) Money In The Bank… that just screams bad news for Battleground, but who knows, maybe we’ll be surprised and they will deliver a big winner. The card certainly looks good enough to manage such a task.
– Originally brought to us via the WWE Network (and something called Pay-Per-View) on July 20th, 2014, from the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL. Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL are at ringside to call the action, unless otherwise noted.
Kickoff Match #1: Adam Rose vs. Fandango:
Fandango is now going solo, with budget cuts taking effect on his entrance and being double-dumped by Summer Rae and Layla. Speaking of them, they’re part of the Rose Buds, and hey, it’s Adam Rose’s birthday! Do you think he’s going to win, knowing this? Fandango attacks at the bell and takes Rose down with a back suplex for two. The Rosebud nonsense works its way around the ring, angering Fandango. Layla gives him a slap, and then Summer Rae gives him one to the other cheek. Rose tosses him in the ring, hits a Spinebuster, and finishes with the Party Foul at 1:22. SERIOUSLY?! That was shorter than most matches from the Attitude Era. Not worth rating, it was barely a match. Breaking news: JBL still hates the rabbit.
Kickoff Match #2: Naomi vs. Cameron:
Please make this one no longer than 90-seconds. For those who have trouble remembering which one is which, Naomi is the one who’s finisher is throwing her ass in the opponent’s face, and Cameron is the one with the really goofy hair color. I guess Naomi retains the “Somebody Call My Momma” music, but both are sporting new looks. Cameron looks like a slutty school girl and Naomi looks like a slutty Racetrack Flag. JBL makes a dated Dr. Shelby reference as the match is already dragging. Crowd pops, possibly because of Cameron’s skirt flipping up. Naomi misses a dropkick, but still retains control and comes off the ropes with a Thesz Press. Cameron tries taking a walk, but Naomi says “nu-uh, ho” and throws her to the floor. Cameron hits the ropes in slow motion, then in slow motion and poorly done. Cameron with a “school girl” and handful of ass for the cheap three count at 3:12. DUD At least it was semi-short, but both are such poor workers, it didn’t matter.
WWE Tag Team Championship; 2 out of 3 Falls Match:
The Uso’s © vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan:
I’m always a sucker for 2 out of 3 Fall Matches, especially when it comes to the Tag Team Championship. These teams have been feuding on-and-off for a good while now, but it’s only the second time meeting on PPV. Uso’s have been reigning Champions since shortly before WrestleMania XXX. Fall #1: Jey Uso bitch slaps Rowan’s mask off to start. The Uso’s clear the ring early, but Harper recovers and puts a hurting on Jey. Rowan controls with a chinlock and an elbow gets a two count. Harper drives a knee to the face for two and gives him the old Gator-Roll. Jey counters with a bak suplex and tags out to Jimmy. Harper greets him with a running boot, and it gets three at 5:45?! Holy crap, didn’t see that coming, but that’s more of as good thing surprise.
Fall #2: Harper crushes Jimmy in the corner and Rowan comes off the ropes with a splash for two. Harper steals Sgt. Slaughter’s old “Noogie of Doom” as the crowd tries to rally the Champions. Jimmy fights free but collapses under a slam attempt. Jimmy tries trading blows with Harper, unsuccessfully. Harper misses a charge to the corner, Jey gets the blind tag, and rolls Harper up for the three count at 8:11, meaning we’re going to a third and decisive fall… who could’ve seen that coming?
Fall #3: Harper and Rowan stomp Jimmy out like a camp fire. Rowan with a fall-away slam for two. Harper with a guillotine slingshot for another two count. Rowan misses a charge to the corner, as foes Harper, causing himself to fall to the arena floor. Jimmy gets the first hot tag of the match and quickly goes flying over the top with a no-hands plancha. Rowan gets dumped to the floor and Jimmy with a plancha on him, as well. He runs the security wall and dives on top of Harper! Back inside the ring, a flying body press gets two! Harper counters a Samoan Drop, but he can’t avoid an enziguri. Jimmy charges into the corner with a butt to the face, but Harper shows no sign of pain and quickly crushes Jimmy in the opposite corner. Jimmy fights out of a back breaker and comes off the top with a corkscrew moonsault for two! Harper blocks a superkick and knocks Jimmy to the floor with a running boot. Rowan follows him out with a suicide dive! Jey and Rowan battle on the floor. Harper tries a dive, but this time Jey clocks him with a roundhouse kick, and Jimmy rolls him up for two! Harper with the Ligerbomb, but that only gets two! Rowan to the top rope, missing a splash! Jey with the Splash on Rowan… for two! Jey goes to the top again, but Harper runs interference. Rowan and the Uso’s all pile up on the top rope, and Rowan actually takes them both over with a Super-Plex! That only gets two. Jey breaks up the double chokeslam spot. Harper no-sells a superkick and hits the discuss clothesline for two! Double Superkick from the Uso’s to both challengers, and a double-team splash finally puts Harper away for the deciding fall at 18:51. ***3/4 Great way to open the show. The “quick” falls early on can be explained by luck, leaving both teams to have to pull out all the tricks to overcome the desperation of avoiding losing a second fall. Pretty much non-stop action and hard work from all involved.
– We prepare for the most anticipated match of the night between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, but a pre-match brawl backstage results in Triple H throwing Ambrose out of the building… are you serious?!
WWE Divas Championship Match:
A.J. Lee © vs. Paige:
I guess they are holding off from fully turning Paige heel after teasing it the night that A.J. Lee returned from her hiatus. A.J. is being firly established as a babyface, because… I don’t know, I liked her as a heel, but these two should be able to have a decent match, if they’re given more than 5-minutes to work. Paige offers a handshake, and unfortunately, no sucker punch. Crowd chants “CM Punk”, because people just can’t get over it. Whip to the ropes, and they trade near falls. Paige with a superkick for two. Paige stomps away in the corner and plants A.J. with a slam for two. JBL and Lawler make old-people jokes about the deceased Fabulous Moolah… stay classy. Paige grabs a chinlock, then turns it into a modified surfboard. A.J. counters a slam with a Tornado DDT. WEAK SAUCE tackle through the ropes. Paige with a sloppy sunset Powerbomb from the top rope for two. A.J. tries a dive off the second rope, but Paige catches. She goes for a powerslam, but A.J. turns it into the Black Widow! Paige hangs in and counters with a hair-pulled hip toss. Paige Turner gets two! Paige goes for the Scorpion Crosslock, but A.J. rolls through and hits the Shining Wizard for three at 7:13. Well, that was short. *1/2 I don’t know what they’re selling with the angle, but I’m not buying, since it makes zero sense. The wrestling was fine, but a bit underwhelming considering expectations.
Jack Swagger (w/ Zeb Colter) vs. Rusev (w/ Lana):
Yes, I’m actually looking forward to this one, and am surprised at how wisely they are using Swagger and Colter in the role of babyface. The result shouldn’t be in doubt, but the crowd reacted better than I would’ve expected to their confrontations. Lana’s pre-match promos are starting to become tired. Slugfest before the bell results in Swagger sending Rusev to the floor with a clothesline. Rusev charges, but Swagger picks the ankle, sending him to the floor to rethink his plan. Rusev pounds away in the corner. Swagger avoids a charge and goes for the ankle again, same result as the first attempt. Swagger throws him back inside and splashes him in the corner. Rusev returns the favor and throws him over with a fallaway slam. Rusev grabs the vulcan nerve pinch, and why not? It’s a character from the 1970’s, so might as well bring offense from the era with it. Crowd rallies behind Swagger with a “We The People” chant. Swagger mounts a comeback, only to get dumped to the floor. Swagger finally pumps himself up, re-enters the ring, and puts a hurting on Rusev. Avalanche to the corner, running big boot, and the Swagger Bomb gets two! Swagger battles back from a flurry of rights and lefts and connects with a Powerslam for two. Rusev knocks Swagger silly with a knee lift, but the running kick is countered with the Patriot Lock! Rusev hangs on and makes it to the ropes. They take it to the floor, with Swagger clipping the leg and grabbing the hold again. Rusev counters, ramming Swagger into the post, and rolls back into the ring for a Count-Out victory at 9:55. Well, the gimmick is from the 1970’s, so might as well go with a finish from the era, too. ** Decent match, but you can tell they’re still working on extending Rusev’s matches. I smell rematch at SummerSlam with this finish. Might as well make it Submission Only, since both men use Submission holds for finishers.
– Goldust and Stardust act goofy.
– Seth Rollins is awarded a victory via forfeit, but Dean Ambrose shows up anyway for a pull-apart brawl that goes all around the ring and into the crowd. I guess this is supposed to make up for robbing us of what should’ve been a MOTNC? Rollins worked an injury angle on Raw, but that was all kayfabe from what reports have surfaced, so why the awful example of a bait-and-switch?!
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt (w/ Harper & Rowan):
You know, these comebacks from Jericho become more meaningless unless he actually WINS a match once in a while, especially on PPV (or whatever you want to call these on the WWE Network). Sorry, I’m still pissed about the non-Ambrose/Rollins match we were offered. Wyatt is still sporting a nasty black eye, courtesy of a potato shot from Ric Flair at a house show in MSG. Lockup and Jericho gives a clean break. They trade blows, with Wyatt no-selling the chops. Whip to the corner and Wyatt comes exploding out with a clothesline. Poor camera work there, catching Jericho call the spot in Wyatt’s ear in a close-up. Jericho counters a suplex attempt, but he lets go off the Walls of Jericho to take a swing at Harper. Jericho knocks Wyatt to the apron, and to the floor with a springboard dropkick. He heads to the top rope and dives onto the Wyatt Family pile. Harper tries to get physically involved, resulting in his and Rowan’s ejection.
Wyatt uses the distraction to throw Jericho off the apron, into the security wall. Back in the ring, Wyatt pounds away with rights. Charge to the corner meets the post. Jericho comes off the ropes with forearms and from the top rope with a double axehandle. Wyatt counters the bulldog with an awkward tilt-o-whirl stomach buster for a near fall. Wyatt goes for the back splash, but Jericho gets the knees up. Jericho with a running enziguri for two! They slug it out on the top rope until Wyatt takes him down with another weird body buster. Wyatt meets boot on a charge and Jericho takes him down with the bulldog, but the Lionsault meets knees. Wyatt does his creepy Spider walk and plants Jericho with a modified Rock Bottom for two. Wyatt charges into the corner at full speed with an avalanche. Jericho with a roll up, knocking Wyatt’s head backwards into the bottom turnbuckle. Wyatt with a DDT on the apron for two. Jericho counters Sister Abigail, but Wyatt fights out of another Walls of Jericho attempt. Criss-cross, and Wyatt’s body tackle gets two. Jericho from out of nowhere with the Codebreaker… for three at 15:01?! Well, color me surprised, I guess. **3/4 Good wrestling, but I just don’t have much emotional involvement with the program. Definitely a match that looked better on paper than it turned out to be.
– Another commercial for Saturday Night’s Main Event on the WWE Network, and again, they used Animotion’s Obsession to promote them being added to the Network’s Vault, despite EDITING THE SONG OUT ON THE ACTUAL EPISODES. I’m not in love with the song, but it takes away the genuine feel of the show, especially when they are using it to advertise them.
WWE Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal:
(Participants: Big E., Alberto Del Rio, Cesaro, R-Truth, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Zack Ryder, Titus O’Neil, Damien Sandow (dressed as… geeky retired old man?), Heath Slater, Diego, Sin Cara 2.0, Xavier Woods, The Great Khali, Kofi Kingston, Bo Dallas, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Sheamus)
How did Ryder sneak into this thing? Khali needs to stay out of a wrestling ring. He looks physically incapable of walking these days without looking like he’s going to fall over. Sheamus is the reigning U.S. Champion, so he’s not winning. Former Intercontinental Champion and recently injured Bad News Barrett shows up to deliver some BAD NEWS… whoever wins will just be keeping the title warm for him. Everyone dog piles Khali and shamelessly sell him over-powering ALL OF THEM. Khali dumps Woods at 0:41, and then Zack Ryder at 0:45 (at least he wasn’t first, right?). Sheamus with the Brogue Kick, and a bunch of guys team up to dump Khali at 1:07. Bo Dallas tosses Sin Cara 2.0 at 1:32. Ryback tosses R-Truth at 2:47. Curtis Axel is dumped with little fanfare at 2:51. Diego tosses Sandow at 3:19. Ryback tosses Diego at 3:37. Where did the Miz go? Sheamus and Ryback do a mini-match until a Brogue Kick sends Ryback out at 4:50. Miz shows up out of nowhere to unsuccessfully attack Sheamus, and a Zig Zag from Ziggler sends him to the floor, via beneath the ropes.
O’Neil with back breakers and casual throw of Sheamus, but his show-boating allows Dallas to attack from behind and knock him out at 6:13. Cesaro interrupts the celebration. Kofi misses Trouble in Paradise and gets back dropped over the top rope, but he hangs on and slips back in through the ropes. Del Rio with the Cross Armbreaker on Ziggler, because why not. Ziggler hangs Del Rio up across the top rope and tosses him out at 8:06. Miz gets beat up for a few seconds and back to taking a nap. Cesaro belly-to-belly’s Big E. out at 8:43. Kofi with a contrived spot from the shoulders of Big E., lands back in the ring to avoid elimination. Cesaro FINALLY eliminates Kofi with a suplex at 9:59. Slater sneaks up and tosses Cesaro at 10:06! THE FUCK!? Sheamus knocks Slater out with the Brogue Kick at 10:31! Sheamus tosses Dallas to the apron and clubs him across the chest. Ziggler dropkicks Dallas off the apron and out at 11:03. Sheamus wins a slugfest with Ziggler. They counter each others signature spots until they blow a spot in pretty ugly fashion. There’s another concussion for Ziggler if dropped any more wrong on his head. Ziggler knocks Sheamus out at 14:04, after another bit of back-and-forth, and Miz sneaks in to toss Ziggler and win the IC Title at 14:10. Decent by Battle Royal standards, but mostly meaningless fluff. Bo Dallas should’ve been given the strap for obvious reasons (he’s fresh, with a developing character, and undefeated streak), but Miz is a fine choice… right? Because EVERYONE loves the Miz… right? I’m sorry, but the Miz was probably my last pick (of serious choices) to win. Just because he’s an after-thought didn’t make him a good choice, especially with how much of a loser he was made to look like throughout the match.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match:
John Cena © vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. The Demon Kane:
I still don’t understand why Reigns is involved in the match after all the nonsense where Reigns was being kept out of the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. Why not just make it a Handicap Match. As much of a Kane fan I’ve been… it’s time to say goodbye to Kane in a meaningful role. I’m just over it now. Spoiler alert: Cena wins, LOL. Sorry, I’m on the bandwagon with that dumb joke. Cena has both belts, despite rumors they “quietly” retired the big gold belt last week by giving it to Flair. Pretty weak reactions all around during introductions. Cena and Orton take it to the floor in Part 1342 in their PPV Wars. Kane and Orton try to single out Reigns, but he holds his own. Cena with his sucky “fisherman” suplex on Orton for a two count. Now it’s Cena’s turn to fight 2-on-1 while Reigns plays Solitaire in the floor. Cena and Reigns tease a confrontation to a minimal reaction, but it’s broken up by OrtKane. Kane with a DDT on Reigns for two, pissing Orton off. They trade blows, and it all builds to a super-sized Powerbomb/Super-Plex spot. Orton somehow recovers and hits Cena and Reigns with his rope-assisted DDT, but Kane breaks the cover. Kane with a big boot to Orton for two. Reigns with a Samoan Drop on Kane for two. Orton takes Reigns down and slaps on a single-leg crab. Reigns counters and Cena slaps on the STF, but Kane interrupts. Cena gives him the AA, but the momentum sends him to the floor. Cena with the STF on Orton for a second time, solo version, but it’s too soon for the match to end.
Cena pulls Orton from the ropes, reapplies the hold, and Reigns makes the save by pulling Orton to the floor and tossing him over the announcers table. Cena and Reigns having a big showdown wouldn’t be a bad idea, but Cena’s fought the Shield quite a few times over the years, so it’s not some kind of uncharted territory. Reigns with a Samoan Drop, but the Superman Punch misses. Cena with the back suplex, and the 5-Knuckle Shuffle is countered with Superman Punch, attempt #2. Reigns with the Spear, but Kane breaks the pinfall. Again, poor camera work shows Cena peaking over Reign’s body to make sure Kane was in position to break the cover. Reigns with the Superman Punch to Kane, and the running kicks to the heads of all three men. Spear to Orton, through the security wall… thay spot is over-done, for the record. Spear to Kane, but Cena breaks the cover. Cena covers, and Reigns breaks it. Cena with the AA on Kane, Reigns interrupts. Reigns covers… you know the rest. Cena with the AA on Reigns, but Kane breaks it up at two. Kane with Chokeslam’s, but Reigns kicks out at two. Reigns slips out of the Tombstone and the Spear gets two. Orton with the RKO on Reigns, Cena drops Orton with the AA across Kane, and Cena covers Kane for three to retain at 18:12. That seemed out of nowhere, but at the same time, not quite. *** WWE seems to have been working a lot of multi-challenger matches lately, and unfortunately, it’s become a tired trend. This was good for what it was, and was about as good as I was expecting, but Cena’s victory never seemed in doubt, and the main event scene is brutally dull with Cena, Orton, and Kane still involved.
Final Thoughts: Thanks for the wonderful bait and switch, WWE. Seriously, this is 2014, not 1981. Doing this kind of bullcrap is false advertisement at it’s best, since these aren’t genuine fights where a number of reasons could be used to explain a big match not taking place. Take away what would’ve/could’ve/should’ve been the MOTN, and you have a lot of filler. The Tag Title Match opening the PPV was great, the rest was good, but unfortunately, uninspired, boring, and with tons of lame finishes. Wyatt doing a clean job with little build up? Miz winning the IC Title by playing a cowardly chump who couldn’t eliminate anyone? Whatever the fuck Paige and A.J. were going for? I’m sorry, but while the actual wrestling says otherwise, this has easily been the worst WWE produced PPV of 2014 (so far). Thumbs Way Down.