Regardless of whether you thought last night’s WWE’s Battleground pay-per-view was good, bad, exciting, disappointing, or somewhere in between, it’s safe to say that there were a few big moments and outcomes that led to controversy amongst fans. I, of course, spent my time watching this event with the DTJ Universe in our wonderful little Facebook community (facebook.com/groups/doingthejob) and watched the opinions fly back and forth like…crap…something that flies back and forth.
Before we get into anything, however, for the eight people that watch Tough Talk on the WWE Network, Daniel Bryan channeled his inner Jeremy Piven by calling the PPV “Battlefield”, and it was hilarious…
It is not necessary to review the entire show, so let’s get the small stuff out of the way first. An end was put to the Wade/Bad News/King Barrett and R-Truth feud, so that’s a good thing. Orton faced Sheamus for 387th time and it was the same match we saw each time prior. All three members of The New Day are absolutely fantastic in their role, and as I’ve been saying, they’re this generation’s Edge and Christian. The Big Show may have turned face again, by shutting up and knockout out The Miz, but who really knows. And finally, it’s a shame that Cesaro and Rusev weren’t on this card considering their involvement in the United States title picture recently, but considering the Cena vs. Owens rubber match was already built in, I understand it. What I can’t understand how after main eventing last month’s PPV, they just flat out had nothing for Dean Ambrose whatsoever. It doesn’t matter if the Great Khali is in that position; how do you go from putting someone in your main event to not even on the next card? Anyway, onto important things that did happen last night.
Brie Bella Held Her Own
The match featuring Brie Bella, Charlotte, and Sasha Banks was really good. Anyone reading likely already knows what the two NXT ladies are capable of, so no need to discuss this. But I feel like Brie was unfairly bashed just because of who she is and the girls she was in the ring with. Look, based on track record and match quality, are Sasha and Charlotte better than either Bella? Of course. Do I personally want to see much more of the NXT women than the current main roster crop? Absolutely. Do I sound like the guy whose relationship Jerry and Elaine were trying to break up in that episode of Seinfeld that asked himself a question before promptly answering it? You betcha. But Brie got much better in that match from start to finish and hung with them the more it went on.
By the way, her back and forth Daniel Bryan-like kicks while her competitors were down were not bad, at least not enough to embarrass any fan of her husband that was watching and gave her the business for it. Simply put, anyone that spoke out against Brie on this particular night did so with a completely biased opinion and gave her no chance in that match against the other two more highly skilled girls. She did just fine, got out of the way when necessary, and did nothing to take away from that match.
What’s Next For Roman Reigns And Bray Wyatt?
The match itself was at worst, “above average”, and at best, “really good”. Fact is, it exceeded people’s expectations. (Side note: If one of our co-hosts, Denny Lugz, ever declares that Sheamus is somehow better than Roman Reigns in any capacity, after Reigns has had more quality matches in less than a year and draws way more crowd response than the non-existent one Sheamus garners, I’m going to lose my freaking mind.) As we saw, something involving Bray Wyatt ended in interference (shocker), as Luke Harper reunited with him and cost Reigns the match.
Now, the HOT RUMOR, as the aforementioned DTJ co-host would say, is that this is the storyline Sting is likely to get involved with, setting up a team of himself and Reigns vs. Wyatt and Harper. As much as I personally love Roman, this sounds like a big, overflowing bucket of fried meh. If it happens at all, we’ll have to see how they play it out, but I can’t imagine a good enough reasoning for this. The added rumor is that Erick Rowan was supposed to reunite the entire Wyatt Family, with Dean Ambrose added to the mix on the other side, but Rowan’s injury may scrap those plans, or allow a new member to be introduced by Bray. New blood is all well and good (not that anything Wyatt could do at this point would draw any interest for fans that have been paying attention for the past two years), but a temporary Shield 2.0 with Sting? To quote Booker T, what da hell?! That’s just…weird.
Kevin Owens Losing To John Cena Was Not The End Of The World
Everyone take a deep breath. Good? Good. The public outcry over John Cena defeating Kevin Owens in their third, fantastic rubber match, when everyone thought Owens would take the United States title was beyond hilarious. The “LOL Cena wins” mentality that this somehow makes Kevin look bad or demotes him…come on, now. Stop acting (warning, silly IWC word alert) butt-hurt and look at the big picture.
For starters we don’t even know if these two are finished with each other, and if not, then this loss is practically moot. But pretending that they are and that Cena won this feud, here’s the take away for Owens. He made his NXT, not main roster, but (bold, italics, underlined, all caps) NXT debut a mere seven months ago. Seven! What’s more, he made his main roster debut only three months ago. Within that miniscule amount of time, they’ve put the NXT title on him, turned him into Brock Lesnar lite, and fast-tracked him the most high profile superstar of the past 15 years to feud with in his first main roster angle. With that, he defeated said superstar in his first match and ultimately engaged in a series of matches that set the wrestling world ablaze, while kicking out of like eight AA’s, which included a trifecta in the finale, capped off by a top rope one right before he lasted 32 seconds in the STF and tapped out. Despite losing the war, I think his credibility is higher than just about anyone else’s.
An argument that I’ve heard, countering the belief that it won’t hurt Kevin Owens: “Look at guys like Rusev, Barrett, and Wyatt who have lost feuds with Cena; it certainly knocked them down a level.” With all due respect, none of those guys are Kevin Owens in the ring or on the mic, and not one of them had a match with Cena that was anywhere close to the worst of the recent three matches, let alone the best. None of them have the history, respect, and pre-WWE following, or will sell merchandise like he has and will, either. Also, he’s the only one to come up from NXT since it’s blown up, and as the top guy there, burying him would be like burying NXT. The dude will be just fine.
Finally, the best part of Raw each week is John Cena’s US Open Challenge. Now we get to continue to see that.
This Version of Brock Lesnar Vs. Seth Rollins Does Not Work
Here is how WWE painted themselves into a no-win corner with this matchup. Brock Lesnar is a monster and the most dominant force in the company’s history, now working as a babyface. Seth Rollins is a smaller sniveling, weasely heel who can’t defeat anyone on his own in a legitimate match without outside help (remember, the one match he won by himself against Ambrose was a gimmick match). Alright, fine so far I suppose. Then they take away all his help. Uh oh. Where is my proper interest in this one particular match that WWE is trying to get across?
Scenario One: Lesnar defeats Rollins clean.
Great, watching the dominant face brutalize the smaller heel for 20 minutes. Fun. All that does is make us hope the heel mounts a comeback to keep the match interesting. “But we’re supposed to want to watch the piece of crap heel get his comeuppance.” If Rollins had kept getting one over on Brock every single week, sure, but Lesnar has gotten one up on Rollins just about every step of the way since the title loss. It’s not like they’ve made the fans clamor to finally see it. Plus, we’ve already seen three matches where someone gets German suplexed into oblivion. The bloom is off the rose on that one, I’m sorry.
Scenario Two: Rollins wins clean.
Obviously this can’t happen. It would make Rollins look like a hero to conquer the conqueror.
Scenario Three: Rollins cheats to win.
The most believable one. However, we’re still watching 20 straight minutes of a one-sided match, at which point the fact that Rollins has survived at all makes us give Rollins respect, which for Kevin Owens is fine, but for this particular type of heel is not. In addition, it makes not just Lesnar, but Paul Heyman, the mastermind look stupid, after all of their success to go down to something cheap. The only way this works is if Rollins introduces a new Authority member, or something monumental…not a distracted ref, pulling of the tights, etc. That would just spit on the whole mystique they’ve created around Brock to fall to something so insignificant.
Scenario Four: Regardless of outcome, Rollins doesn’t get dominated.
This would make for a much more interesting match, but the sacrifice is storytelling in that the slimy heel has done what other faces couldn’t do: he hung toe to toe with the Beast, looking strong which, again, goes against his character and, what’s more, gains our respect.
There will be a million rebuttals to the train of thought that has just been laid out, but the fact is that you can’t have a babyface as dominant, near unbeatable as Lesnar against a heel as weak as Rollins when he has no help, and make both the match we are watching interesting while keeping the story making sense without sacrificing one, the other, or both.
The Undertaker’s Polarizing Return
The argument can be made that WWE was trying to return The Undertaker as a heel. After all, he stopped the babyface from pinning the hated heel to take the title (it kind of reminded me of his return at Judgement Day 2000 in The Rock’s Iron Man match against Triple H), then kicked him in the balls for good measure. What?
But the fact is, people still love Taker. Clearly, it stinks that we got a no-contest not even far into a main event match to get a feel for. What’s worse, it sets up a rematch that no one wants to see, anyway. Furthermore, if Taker gets his win back, big deal, he already lost the streak. And if he loses, is that it?
In reality, we need to see how this story develops to really know how we’ll feel heading toward Summerslam. But as far as Battleground goes, a quizzical “huh?” is really what this event will be remembered for.
Suffice it to say, tune in this Tuesday night at 8PM or download to your heart’s content afterwards to hear yours truly along with M2J and Denny Lugz fully break down the show plus Raw, your emails, voicemails, Buy or Sell, and so much more!
(Oh and for real, go join our Facebook group and chime in on the discussion…for the low price of just $9.99! But sign up now and we’ll waive the fee and give you a lifetime subscription, absolutely free! Just use promo code “makeitreigninthisbitch” or “taylorswif4life”. Don’t delay!)