Hello Dwellers and Welcome To The Basement…
Tonight was the WWE Network’s Battleground special, and this video is my RAW VIEW on tonight’s show… from the pre show all the way through to the main event.
Now this is the first Network special to air following the Draft, and considering the split up of a number of acts, it makes me wonder as to why wasn’t the Draft held this week, this way the split up of talent would have bigger impact with the story lines… cause back in the day, the drafts would be after say Backlash or another pay-per-view event.
However this night did get off to a good start… I caught a Charmander in Pokemon Go… And we got Cesaro pointing out how much B.S. is associated with the two most overrated jocks in wrestling with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens taking up valuable time because they can’t work with anyone else because it exposes how much they suck.
First match of the night on the pre-show was The Usos vs FaBreeze…Seriously, why wasn’t the team of Tyler Breeze and Fandango called that? The cross marketing potential and skits involving Febreze air freshener writes itself. Rather generic tag team bout with way too many ‘super kicks’ and ‘dives’ to get the crowd going,… and because of Marty & Sarah Love Wrestling Podcast on MLW Radio… I can’t listen to Mauro Ranallo’s commentary without laughing. FaBreeze got the win with Tyler Breeze getting his knees up to counter a splash and getting an Uso in a small package. Also to note that The Usos were rather boo’ed out of the building… then again they are apart of the Anao’i family, and fans have gotten sick of that family when one realizes how over pushed it has always been.
And let me say this… I can’t wait until the Battle Lines tune is removed from WWE programming, like all pay-per-view themes…I get flippin’ sick of hearing them.
The main show got things started with Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs Sasha Banks and a mystery partner. You know, I’m going to just say it, Dana needs to get attire similar to Beth Phoneix’s old gear, something that fits her body and that she doesn’t have to fidget with constantly. The heels did have good heat coming in, and Sasha got a legit pop like a boss… god that was terrible pun to type and to say. However the pop of the night goes to Bayley, who was Sasha’s mystery partner. In comparison to the Usos / FaBreeze match, this was a hot match from the start and the women were able to control the crowd to properly tell the story, with misdirection, hot tags and classic tag team psychology. The finish saw Sasha isolate Charlotte and getting a submission win with the Banks Statement cross-face. I will not be surprised if at SummerSlam we see Sasha challenging for the Women’s title.
Up next was the six-person tag between Tag Team Champions The New Day and the Wyatt Family… the Swamp fight as its called, certainly was very original and fed into the story, unlike some totally nonsensical asinine ineptitude that I could mention… anyway, the match had a story of Xavier Woods being scared so much that a yellow streak appeared on his back and being a non-factor while the Wyatts dominating a good chunk of the bout. Nothing particularly memorable as the Wyatts are better used in bouts where they wander around the arena. There was an incredibly weird spot with Stroman missing a big boot in the corner and hoping up over the top rope to the floor. Xavier came to life at the end of the match with a flurry on Bray but in the day he’s pinned by Bray following Sister Abigal. Did get a chuckle when Rowan stepped right on Xavier after the match.
The first championship match of the night was for the United States Championship with Rusev defending against Zack Ryder… and Lana gave off some vibes of Debra McMichael in WCW by looking like a beauty queen… except she didn’t have a sash. I do thing Rusev needs pyro when he comes out and does that jump & pose. Loved that Rusev had ‘US Champ’ on the front of his trunks, reminded me of Rick Rude… Zack Ryder was decked out in Red White and Blue… with Saxton saying it was a hybrid of Sting and Randy Savage’s patriotic attire from the early 90s…. okay… to me it looked like the same crap Eddie Guerrero wore when he teamed with Art Barr. Match itself was pretty standard, Rusev dominating Ryder who was covering up, hanging in there and looking for his opportunities to get some offense in. However Rusev countered the El-Bro Drop by getting his knees up and then locking in the Accolade, Zack appeared as if he was going to break out of it only for the Champion to lock it in deeper to retain via submission. Following the match Rusev beat down on Zack, only for Mojo Rawley to run in for the save… and Rusev walked out. Mojo got a fairly decent reaction… but this doesn’t make sense as Rusev is on RAW, while Zack and Mojo are both on SmackDown.
There was a time filler segment with Foley, Stephanie and Seth… which I hope stuff like that only remains on RAW and we don’t see it on Tuesday nights… and this was followed lame duck tired as hell stunt show… if you’ve seen one Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn match, you’ve seen them all. It’s the same routine… and it isn’t entertaining, it doesn’t look like a intense fight by wrestling standards… it’s just… indy crap. They do the same stuff in every match and damn near in the same order. And when they do something new, and dramatic, such as the brainbuster suplex on the ring edge, it's made pointless as it didn’t end the match and they were no-selling the result of it mere moments later… and the constant no-selling, no-story, just spot after spot crap needs to stop. Sami got the win, but it doesn’t matter, cause they are going to continue to feud because they can’t work against anyone else cause no one else is stupid enough to have a match with no logic. As generic as the Usos / FaBreeze match was, it at least had logic to it.
Following that train wreck, was the second Starlets match of the night, between Natalya and The Lass Kicker Becky Lynch… and these two had a solid wreslting match that reminded the world of what wrestling should look like when you have an emotional rivalry. Nice psychology, solid exchange of holds, this was solid, and Nattie was heeling it perfectly with trash talking and showing off which makes the crowd get behind Becky. I loved that Becky was made sure to move at a pace that showed the effect of Nattie’s offense, everything here was done for a reason with them each trying to go for their favorite submission holds which saw Natalya getting the submission win with the sharpshooter.
There was a pointless backstage skit with Shane and Bryan motivating Ambrose… which was followed by the match for the Intercontinental Championship, with challenger Darren Young being seconded by Bob Backlund facing The Miz who has his gorgeous wife Maryse in his corner… who were wearing masks from… Eyes Wide Shut? Well there’s an image that certain fans of mine would approve of… anyway this match like Becky vs Nattie, was pretty much a straight up wrestling match, with Maryse being the perfect distraction as a manager to help Miz gain and keep an advantage. This was the kind of match you’d see in Mid-South, and Mid-Atlantic back in the 80s, solid, hard working match. Then things got weird Miz tried to walk out of the match, Backlund blocked him, then Maryse slapped him which caused the legend to snap and he got shoved down. Darren Young locked in the cross-face chicken wing and then the match was then thrown out…. Young then snapped like Backlund did back in the day, looking down at his hands… much like with MoJo running in, this didn’t make much sense since Miz and Young are on different shows.
That chaos was followed by the Six-Man tag between John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass facing the Turkey Club Sandwich, and Cena, Enzo and Cass certainly carried this match, and exposed that The Club as a unit and separately don’t belong in the WWE. Cena, Enzo and Cass all got decent pops, but nothing like the one Bayley got earlier in the night, and Enzo just slayed it… good luck to those who transcribe his promos. The match itself was solid from the word go, with Enzo being used as a cruise missile to keep the Goyem Club off balance, but with Enzo and Cass doing everything and keeping Cena on the apron. Enzo was the star of the match, serving as the babyface in peril for a good chunk of the match. The match broke down to everyone getting their big moves in which resulted in AJ hitting Gallows with a forearm, and other general mayhem happening. Big Cass murking AJ with the big boot was awesome. The finish game with Cena hitting AJ with a Super-AA off the ropes. This was a lot of fun with Big Cass and Enzo looking like stars.
At just before 10:30, we got The Highlight Reel hosted by Chris Jericho with his guest Randy Orton. This was basically to give some build towards Orton’s match with the drug test failing Brock Lesnar as well to give Orton a program to work with in the form of Jericho to get back into the flow of things. Orton’s promo was a bit formulaic in the ‘missing the crowd’ aspect, and Jericho was giving Orton a ‘run down’ of what has been happening before giving him the gift of ‘Jericho’… drink it in man… Orton explains he is facing Brock to make an impact, which is much better than what Jericho did years ago and faced Fandango… as well as stating that it takes 20 suplexes to get to Suplex City but it takes 1 RKO to get to ViperVille withou any enhancement... like the ones need to to perform that Lesnar takes, Segment ended with Orton dropping Jericho with an RKO.
This show went well past the 11 PM hour mark, there was a great shot of the brand locker rooms getting together to watch the main event, and then Shane, Steph, Foley and Bryan all headed to the ring before the participants of the match made their entrances… and Roman Reigns was booed out of the United States to the point that one thought he was Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. This match got off to a rather… meh start… there was no real sense of urgency, which is amazing considering the two title matches we got on RAW and SmackDown… there was a fun bit that saw Dean and Seth being cheered for beating down Reigns… and the more I think about it, Reigns just didn’t belong in the match, he simply stuck out like the Pyogenic Granuloma on my face. When he wasn’t in the fight, it was solid, but when he was involved he sucked the life out of the match. Things got chaotic with a series of signature moves between Reigns and Rollins which allowed Dean Ambrose nail Dirty Deeds on Reigns and get the 3-count to retain the title. I actually thought the title was headed to RAW. The show ending with Ambrose being hoisted up high by the SmackDown roster was a great image
Overally...this show had its moments, clearly the two women’s matches and followed by the two six-man tags carried the work load. The Main Event was… pretty average, the US and IC title matches were solid, if not remarkable… and I already spent enough time on that illogical spot fest… I’d give this show a solid B… good, solid, but at the end of day nothing special.