Last night, WWE presented Battleground live from Tampa, the company’s final pay-per-view on the road to Summerslam. While not being as hyped as last month’s Money in the Bank PPV, Battleground featured four great title matches that were everything you’d want in a battle for WWE gold.
Let’s get right to the highlights.
WWE World Heavyweight Title Match (Winner: John Cena)
The Fatal Fourway for the WWE World Heavyweight Title match was the Battleground main event, and boy did it deliver. Featuring face of the company John Cena, future face Roman Reigns, and the Authority’s lackeys Randy Orton and Kane, the match was not very pretty, but filled with great spots. While a solid match, the ending was all too familiar as Super Cena won. Again.
Against all odds, Cena pulled out the victory for like the 479th straight time.
While the outcome wasn’t all that surprising (unfortunately), the match itself was still everything you’d want from a main event for the title. Big spots? That was accomplished when Cena and Reigns double power-bombed Kane while he suplexed Orton off the turnbuckle. Seriously, it was an awesome spot from four guys who definitely aren’t high-flyers.
As the match broke down, each star took their turns putting on a show. And none of the four men were more impressive than Roman Reigns, who unleashed an absolutely monstrous minute of fury. Reigns threw Orton over the announcers table before taking out Cena and Kane in the ring. The powerhouse wasn’t finished as he hit the outside of the ring to hit running double-kicks to all three of his opponents, before destroying half of the arena with this massive spear to Orton.
That’s when things got really fun, and a bit frustrating for fans. Reigns hit the ring only to be taken down by a recovering Cena. As the Champ set up for his five-knuckle shuffle, Reigns zeroed in on victory by delivering a monstrous Superman Punch.
Reigns followed it up with a massive Spear to Cena, only to have Kane break up the 1-2-3. There were four separate occasions towards the close of the match where Reigns delivered a Spear for the near-fall, only to have his pin attempt broken up before he could capture his first title. The final time lead us to a crazy finish, with each star hitting their finisher before Cena slid in and stole victory from the jaws of defeat (and our happiness).
LOL CENA WINS. AGAIN.
WWE Tag-Team Title Match (Winner: The Usos)
Despite being what feels like the 25th time these two teams have met in the past two months, this was your match of the night folks.
The first match of the Battleground PPV was a two out of three falls match between the Usos and The Wyatt Family’s Harper and Rowan. And boy did it make things tough on every match that had to follow.
After each team secured one pinfall, things really went to the next level. As is the case in most Uso matches, there were plenty of high-flying spots. But not all of them came from the twins as Harper and Rowan took turns wowing the crowd. First up was Harper, who decided that it’s okay for a man his size to suicide dive out of the ring, despite what we all thought were the laws of physics preventing such madness.
That was nothing compared to the unbelievable double-suplex deliverd by Rowan on BOTH Uso’s late in the match.
And somehow, that wasn’t enough to secure the victory for the Wyatt Family. That was just the first of about 36 near-falls for both teams. Harper took a kick to the face from an Uso and somehow just used it to propel himself into a vicious clothesline that very nearly won the Wyatt’s the tag titles before his pin attempt was broken up.
For their part, the Uso’s never quit in a match that saw them unable to put the Wyatt’s away no matter what was thrown at them. Finally, the Usos were able to clear the ring of Harper thanks to a double super-kick, and then hit an awesome double flying splash on Rowan for the 1-2-3 and title retention. This might have been the best tag match we’ve seen since the TLC heyday.
In a bit of a surprise, the Usos overcame the odds and were able to walk out Tag Champs yet again.
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (Winner: Seth Rollins)
In what had all the potential to be the match of the night, WWE failed miserably in robbing us of finally getting our Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose pay-off match. After months of battling, the two former brothers were finally set to face off in the ring. Only WWE decided they wouldn’t.
During a backstage interview prior to the match, Seth Rollins berated Ambrose and promised to dispose of the WWE’s resident lunatic. This lead to Ambrose attacking Rollins until security were able to separate the two. At this point Triple H showed up and threw Ambrose out of the building, effectively killing any chance we had of seeing the match-up. That wasn’t the last we heard from Ambrose however.
Rollins hit the ring to have his arm raised as the winner via forfeit much to the chagrin of the WWE Universe. As Rollins made his way out, Ambrose made his return, absolutely destroying Rollins ringside before security was able to forcefully carry him out of the building. To cap things off, Triple H emerged to raise Rollins hand in victory, just in case the crowd wasn’t already angry enough.
Later, we found Rollins in the parking lot making a hasty exit from the arena and looking around from Ambrose. While Seth thought he had finally made a clean escape, Ambrose emerged from the trunk of a car (seriously).
After running away from Ambrose (and taking some blows on top of his rental car), Rollins was finally able to get rid of Ambrose and hop in his car to speed off from the arena. So much for the Authority’s Plan B.
While we may not have gotten our pay-off match, the two still were able to tell a great story and continue this awesome rivalry.
Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho (Winner: Chris Jericho)
In what was probably the biggest surprise of the night, Chris Jericho made his PPV return to take on Bray Wyatt, beating the Eater of Worlds following a massive Codebreaker.
The match itself was actually a bit of a letdown. With a great worker like Jericho in the ring against Wyatt, who’s no slouch in the ring himself, the two failed to really captivate the audience the way the Uso’s and Wyatts had earlier in the night. Jericho seemed a bit rusty, landing some blows pretty stiffly while trying to get back into the swing of things.
Wyatt was his usual creepy self. After seeing his disciples Rowan and Harper tossed from ringside, Bray was forced to handle things on his own. Despite dominating Y2J for stretches at a time, Bray eventually succumbed to Jericho’s finisher for the 1-2-3.
It was a bit of disappointment to see Wyatt lose to Jericho. It made the Eater of Worlds look weak since he couldn’t pull out the victory without his disciples at ringside. Hopefully the two get another shot at this rivalry and deliver in the way we know they can.
Intercontinental Title Battle Royal (Winner: The Miz)
Leave it to WWE to use the Intercontinental Title Battle Royal for this week’s “How Can WWE Screw Dolph Ziggler and his Fans?”
In a match featuring some of the WWE’s top mid-card stars (and Zack Ryder), the crowd was firmly behind the Show-Off, Dolph Ziggler. After starting off with 20 superstars, the battle royal eventually boiled down to the match favorites.
With Cesaro, Sheamus, Big E, Ziggler, Miz, Alberto Del Rio and Heath Slater (okay so not all favorites) remaining, things really started to pick up in the ring. Cesaro delivered a massive belly-to-belly suplex to toss Big E over the ropes and out of the Battle Royal. Next up for the King of Swing was his newest nemesis, Kofi Kingston. Cesaro attempted to toss Kingston out of the ring, and Kofi did what he always does, pulled off a minor miracle to avoid elimination.
Alas, it wasn’t enough as Kingston was eliminated upon his return to the ring. This was followed immediately by our biggest surprise of the match, Heath Slater eliminating Cesaro. Once again, Cesaro suffered a surprising defeat.
Once things finally calmed down, we were left with fan-favorite Ziggler and US Champ Sheamus as our final two contestants, or so we thought. Ziggler and Sheamus put on quite a finish, each nearly securing an elimination before Dolph was able to shock the Irishman and knock him off the apron, securing himself the Intercontinental title. Or not.
The Miz was on the outside of the ring, having been thrown through the middle ropes and not officially eliminated. Miz made his way back in as Ziggler thought he had won and tossed the Show-Off over the top rope to secure himself the IC belt. And Ziggler fans everywhere cursed the company.
Seriously, this would have been a surprise if Michael Cole hadn’t repeatedly mentioned that Miz wasn’t officially eliminated yet. Instead, fans everywhere knew exactly what was coming when Ziggler eliminated Sheamus. And now the Miz push that most of us don’t want is coming. Thanks a lot WWE.
Adam Rose defeated Fandango via pinfall
Cameron defeated Namoi via roll-up
AJ Lee defeated Paige via pinfall
Rusev defeated Jack Swagger via count-out
Images Courtesy WWE