July 20, 2015 by Joey Keogh
I’ll be the first to admit that the prospect of Battleground, a sort of filler PPV in between Money In The Bank and Summerslam, was even less appealing this year than usual – not least because of an under-filled card boasting three re-matches out of seven matches total (four if you count Barrett/Truth, which we won’t because it’s humiliating for all concerned). But, thanks to some innovative planning on the part of WWE and a couple of big surprises they somehow managed to keep under their hats, Battleground 2015 turned out to be more fun than not. Or, at the very least, diverting enough that we won’t be complaining about it until next year’s event inevitably rolls around. We begin, as always, with the kick-off show, which is still stretched to an hour in spite of the fact it only includes only one, very short, match. Renee does her best to chair the “experts” panel, while Corey Graves, who believes in his own importance more than the rest of the world combined, appears to have stuffed an entire picnic blanket into his pocket. A pre-recorded Bray Wyatt interview opposite Byron is sad, not just because the big man is sporting a man-bun (curse you, Conor Mc Gregor), but because it showcases his undeniable talent and further solidifies the fact he’s being utterly wasted here (more on that later). The New Day make things momentarily exciting by invading the panel, with Xavier Woods chugging Corey’s Mountain Dew (brave man) and Renee gamely copping a feel of Big E‘s massive bicep. They also commandeer Byron and turn him into a human puppet, forcing him to do their chant against his will. As for the one match, thankfully, Barrett wins the stupid comedy bout opposite R-Truth, so at least we go out on a high. Kind of.
Sheamus Vs. Randy Orton
How fun to see these two jerking the curtain tonight – and to get their lame-ass match out of the way, at the same time! Let’s face it, we’ve seen this bout a million times before and, although it’s painful to watch two lads who are supposedly at the top of their game going through the motions like this, at least we can take solace in the fact that this is probably the last time they’re going to face each other. At least until RAW tomorrow night. This is a home-town show for Orton so the crowd go absolutely nuts for him, while Sheamo is sporting a cute little septum ring, presumably because he’s about to start a pop-punk band on the side. Orton wins with an RKO because of course he does. This match is meaningless and lasts much too long, particularly in the context of what is already a filler-laden show. But it’s inoffensive enough not to dwell on it too much.
Winner: Randy Orton
Tag Team Championship Match: The New Day Vs. The Prime Time Players
The St. Louis, MI crowd are super-hot for this match (along with everything else tonight, in fairness to them) but they’re a bit confused by The New Day‘s chant, choosing to shout that they rock instead of suck. This may be down to confusion on their part, or it may be because The New Day are so incredibly over right now that nobody feels the need to fake-boo them anymore. Their opponents, on the other hand, are sporting snazzy new gold trunks to match their titles, titles they don’t plan on giving up any time soon. Xavier Woods, who is not technically involved in the match, stakes a claim for being present at ringside at all times by being incredibly animated throughout; celebrating when his team does well and chastising The Prime Time Players for their supposedly bad move-sets, even yelling “Worst leg drop ever!” at one stage. His team-mates get some cool spots in, including a massive Splash by E onto the apron followed by an abdominal stretch in the middle of the ring to a horrified Darren Young. However, this is the Players’ match and Titus wins it for them with a gnarly Spinebuster, meaning this great feud is going to rumble on for another little bit, much to our collective delight.
Winners: The Prime Time Players
Bray Wyatt Vs. Roman Reigns
I had mixed feelings about this one; on the one hand, it’s awesome to see Wyatt getting some PPV action, but on the other, I think we all felt certain he was going to lose to Reigns tonight. Luckily, we were very wrong and the powers that be proved they still had a couple of interesting tricks up their collective sleeve. Wyatt gets a little pop as he enters, with Cole helpfully explaining to his fellow commentators that he calls them his fireflies and oh my god if he says that one more time JBL and King should set him on fucking fire because seriously I can’t take it anymore. Wyatt hits a cool DDT off the apron, setting into motion a series of impressive spots that sees Reigns taking a predictable beating. We know how this goes, he’s the new Cena so obviously all of the odds are going to be against him at first before he makes a triumphant comeback in the final couple of minutes and wins it. indeed, he hits a Superman Punch towards the end that seems to have sealed the deal, as Wyatt kicking out feels like a cock tease. He then powers out of a Sister Abigail, setting the wheels in motion even further. They trade head-butts for a bit before Reigns strands Wyatt in the corner, clotheslining the hell out of him. Finally, Reigns hits a Samoan Drop and, although Wyatt manages to survive it, we know his time is probably up. But, just when it all seems hopeless, a mysterious hooded figure grabs Reigns on the outside and slams him into the turnbuckle, throwing him off base long enough for Wyatt to drag him back into the ring and Sister Abigail him for the win. Afterwards, Luke Harper reveals himself as the mystery assailant, lighting a fire under this feud that a million fireflies couldn’t even come close to igniting.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Divas Triple Threat: Brie Bella Vs. Charlotte Vs. Sasha Banks
Coming off the back of what happened on RAW this past week, coupled with the lack of an IC title match thanks to Ryback‘s injury, the Divas get a surprise shot at doing something interesting tonight with one lady from each team taking a place in a triple threat match that, unfortunately, doesn’t last nearly as long as it should (there are only seven matches on the card, come on). Brie is included, which can only be a bad thing, along with NXT stars Charlotte and Sasha. Thankfully, she gets “hurt” early on and spends much of her time writhing around in obviously-faked pain by the ropes, allowing the other two to show her how it’s done. Charlotte and Sasha absolutely kill it, surprising no one, while the main roster chicks cheer them on from ringside throughout. The crowd stay behind them, too, which is wonderful to see. There are some super-cool moments, including a couple of suicide dives to the outside, and Charlotte ultimately wins it with the Figure-8 lock, out of which Brie taps. It’s not quite the revolution we were hoping for just yet, but it’s certainly a start.
US Championship Match: John Cena Vs. Kevin Owens
Of all the matches we expected to have a screwy finish tonight, this is probably number one. Happily, it ends clean, and both men come out of it looking great, which is really, really nice to see. It kicks off with a long-ass promo that reiterates what these two are feuding about, as if we might possibly not know. It’s clearly to kill time, because this match shows up with about an hour left in the show, but the crowd are so hot for it they don’t even seem to care that much. Owens dominates from the outset, hungry to finally get his hands on Cena in much the same way Lesnar is with Rollins. Cena pins him after a top rope leg drop and Owens kicks out easy. An attempt at a senton from the top is countered when Cena throws his knees up, signalling for the first time that there’s still life in the old Superman yet. King helpfully reminds us that Owens is fat, so we should be impressed that he can even get up off his sofa let alone climb to the top rope without pausing for breath. Cena hits a rolling Yoshi Tonic, marking one of the most innovative moments of his entire wrestling career, but Owens makes him pay for it with a brainbuster from the top followed by an AA and an STF. However, Cena hits an AA from the second rope, and follows it up with his own STF, out of which Owens inevitably taps after a respectable twenty seconds or so. It’s probably not the ending most of us wanted, but this is the most captivating Cena has been in months and both he and Owens came out of this match looking terrific, so we can only be excited for what’s to come.
Winner: John Cena
World Heavyweight Championship Match: Seth Rollins Vs. Brock Lesnar
If the last match was going to escape a screwy finish, then the Main Event definitely had to end in a weird way, otherwise this simply wouldn’t have been a WWE PPV. Luckily, the weirdest shit happened at the end of this match. But before that, The Miz comes out to kill some time by calling Ryback out for being a pussy. He gets KO punched by Show for his trouble, which is kind of sad because, much like Owens and Wyatt, he’s just saying what we’re all thinking. Rollins enters the arena solo, with Kane banished thanks to his ineptitude on RAW, and Mercury and Noble still weeping over their destroyed car. Rollins has a lot of heat in St. Louis and, to his credit, he manages to generate even more by yelling lots before the match gets started. Lesnar has barely even made it into the ring before he’s trying for his first German Suplex of the night, with Rollins clinging to the ropes for dear life. He then makes the mistake of kicking Lesnar’s sore legs, too cocky for his own good as usual, and pays the price for it soon after as The Beast books him on a one-way trip to Suplex City, his enigmatic manager shouting “I told you!” from the sidelines as he does so. For a bit, it’s Suplex after Suplex after Suplex, much like it was with Cena on that one, fateful Summerslam night. Rollins manages to wriggle out of Lesnar’s grasp long enough to grab the title and make a run for it, but he’s soon dragged back and suffering for his recent transgressions for good measure, too. Suddenly, just when it seems like it’s about to wrap up, Taker’s music hits, the lights go down and the Deadman is facing up to the guy who broke his legendary streak a little over a year ago. To his credit, Lesnar actually looks scared for once. Taker tries to chokeslam him right off the bat, but Lesnar counters with the F5. But Taker counteracts that with a swift kick to the nuts, dispensing with the formalities. Lesnar then eats two devastating tombstone piledrivers and The Undertaker strolls out triumphantly, the fans’ deafening chants ringing in his ears as he does so. It’s not the ending we were expecting, and it wasn’t the most memorable PPV to begin with, but Battleground ended on the weirdest, most surprising high conceivable and for that we should be grateful.
Winner: Rollins (by DQ)