When Eric and I made our predictions, I was pretty worried that Battleground would turn out to be bland and insignificant show. It wasn’t perfect and there were certainly aspects of it that we could’ve done without, but overall I’d say it surpassed our expectations.
So what exactly were we so happy about? What aggravated Eric to the point that he sent me several angry text messages when it happened? Hit the jump and find out!
Eric: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
The best match of the night without a doubt would be Sami vs KO. This wasn’t just the best match of the night, but perhaps the best match in a very long while in WWE. I don’t mean best only because of entertainment value, this match had it all. It was technical, there was close call after close call. There were no cheap shots or cheap finishes. This match had passion and drama. It truly felt as though it was story-telling. Loved this match, and is easily candidate for match of the year.
Jesse: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
No argument from me on this one. Zayn and Owens told an intense, personal story that featured some of the very best spots of the night, including two particularly stiff-looking ones on the ring apron. They really sold it as a potential final encounter between these long-time rivals, but I doubt that will be the case. Zayn vs. Nakamura at Takeover: Dallas is the only other match from 2016 that even holds up to this one, so I guess that means this is the Year of Sami. With any luck, this will catapult him straight into the title picture.
Eric: The Miz vs. Darren Young – Intercontinental Championship
This match didn’t even technically have an ending so I am not sure if you could call this an actual match. It lacked story or purpose to be quite honest. This is where Cesaro could have been placed and it would automatically be ten times more credible. Not because Young is a bad worker, but because no fans are invested in him and no one cares about the Miz. This match was truly a bathroom break match. Even the Orton return promo was a better quality match with an RKO finish.
Jesse: The Miz vs. Darren Young – Intercontinental Championship
It makes me sad to see the Intercontinental Title be treated so inconsequentially. The Miz is a fine heel and he’s had a nice, long run in the WWE, but at this point he’s met more with indifference than heat. Then you have Darren Young, whose push seemed to come out of nowhere and is a premise that is trying to capitalize more on current events than build a new star. I can already tell he’s not going to make it. When you have that much apathy going on before the match even begins, it requires a hell of a bout to shake people out of that and this looked like it belonged more on an episode of Main Event than on a pay-per-view. That’s not even taking the ending into account, which made no sense and is one of the more bizarre ones I’ve seen in some time.
Surprise of the Night
Eric: I could have guessed that Reigns would not have won this match, and I am pleased that he went through a table. That narrowed my choices to a 50/50, and I truly believed that Seth Rollins would come out of this match victorious. Everything was pointing to him being the #1 guy going forward which would mean championship, but WWE decided to listen to the fans and allow Ambrose to retain his title twice in one week, and two consecutive PPV’s leaving the fans happy. I can’t remember the last time WWE left their fans happy with the end results two PPV’s in a row.
Jesse: That’s three for three where I agree with Eric. Told ya, we make a great team! When Roman was suspended, it was widely assumed that Dean was only holding the belt so that he could drop it to one of his former comrades at Battleground. As an Ambrose fan, this didn’t sit well with me and I went into this pay-per-view fully expecting to come away disappointed. When Dean pinned Roman to retain his title (that’s right, pinned Roman!), I jumped off my couch like I was a 10-year old kid and reveled in the fact that my guy is taking the biggest prize in wrestling to SmackDown with him. Now he just needs to avoid Cena and his shovel…
(I also couldn’t believe that Randy called out Brock for his failed drug test. Talk about a mic drop.)
Our Loudest Objection
Eric: Becky Lynch losing
Becky… losing… again. This is old news and tiring news. Becky was supposed to be a part of the new women’s revolution. What happened? She is a solid worker and over with the fans. She was the first woman drafted to Smackdown, and she loses to an established diva that does not benefit from this win at all. I guess WWE can’t have the good guys win every match, but Becky deserves better if she is going to be one of the top divas on Smackdown.
Jesse: No Tag Team or Woman’s Title matches
This was a gripe of mine heading into the show and I’m still kind of ticked about it now that it’s over. At least Charlotte being in a tag match meant that we got to see Bayley, but I don’t know how the New Day can continuously get away with not defending their titles and then brag about being the longest reigning champions. That’s something that a heel group would do, yet these guys are one of the most popular acts in the company. The worst part of all this is that the Wyatts actually had a legitimate chance to finally win some championship gold, but now Bray and Rowan are headed to SmackDown.
Eric: Bayley as Sasha’s “surprise” partner
I already wrote about Ambrose winning, which truthfully was my favorite moment, but just to give fair attention to more of the card, I would say Bayley showing up to help Sasha. I can’t claim this as a surprise though because everyone was pretty much expecting it. The reaction Bayley got was easily main event level, and she can clearly be the face of the women’s division for years to come. Fans love and respect her, she’s great with families and especially kids. I see her doing make-a-wish and cheering sick children up with her joy, smile, and of course hugs. I love seeing a woman like this on the PPV and hope to see her more frequently on live television going forward.
Jesse: Enzo Amore’s promo
If Bayley’s debut wasn’t one of your favorite moments, you better check your pulse. Myself, I got a kick out of Enzo’s verbal onslaught against The Club, which was full of his usual zingers and putdowns. The match that followed was entertaining, but there aren’t many guys in the business who can steal the show on the mic like Enzo can.
“Don’t pee in the wind.”
“Don’t wear crocks. Ever.”
“Don’t ever make eye contact while eating a banana.”
Comedy gold. That’s it from us, people. Now it’s on to the first official week of the brand split.