Sunday night, the WWE took to the WWE Network to present Battleground. The pay-per-view, which was weak on paper, somewhat lived up to its billing. There wasn’t a lot memorable about the night, but there were a couple quality matches.
In the main event, Dean Ambrose retained his WWE Championship in beating Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. Ambrose pinned Reigns after Reigns disposed of Rollins. It was a great match that continues to establish Ambrose as one of the top stars.
The Intercontinental and United States Champions both kept their belts, as The Miz bested Darren Young and Rusev defeated Zack Ryder. The tag champions, The New Day, did not defend their belts, but they were defeated by The Wyatt Family. The same thing happened for the Women’s Champion, as Charlotte teamed up with Dana Brooke in a losing effort.
Let’s take a look at the card, hand out some awards and make some notes from Sunday night’s Battleground.
Wrestler of the Night: Dean Ambrose
I would have Bayley here, but I don’t think she had an impactful enough showing as she should have. Instead, the man who remains the WWE Champion gets the nod. In probably the biggest win of his career, Ambrose looked sharp in his defeat of former Shield teammates Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. There was a ton of focus on Ambrose, and to keep the title before the brand split is very meaningful. It shows the WWE is committed to Ambrose as their champion.
Match of the Night: Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
For the second time this year, Sami Zayn was involved in a Match of the Year candidate. First, Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura added their names to the Match of the Year conversation, and after tonight, Owens-Zayn is in that category. From a storytelling and in-ring work perspective, this match was easily the best of the show. You could feel the animosity and hatred. Per usual, this was a technical masterpiece. I don’t think Owens and Zayn are capable of having a bad match.
Notes and Observations
The Usos vs. Breezango
- I swear, every time we see The Usos, they have more and more tattoos. You’d think with the hectic wrestling schedule the WWE has, wrestling on freshly needled tattoos wouldn’t be ideal.
- Tyler Breeze and Fandango did a really neat double team with a slingshot, forearm and flying elbow toward the beginning of the match. This team is starting to grow on me, and apparently the fans. They got a good reaction.
- The right team got the victory. The Usos are stale as hell. If they never threw another superkick in one of their matches, it would still be too many. All their matches are the same. I’m looking forward to seeing Breezango and what they can do on SmackDown in their tag team division.
Sasha Banks & Bayley vs. Charlotte & Dana Brooke
- I don’t think it was much of a surprise that Sasha Banks made her mystery partner Bayley. It was a good pick, as I think she is best suited to leave NXT and give the fans another extremely over woman on the main roster.
- Charlotte and Sasha Banks badly botched a flying head scissors. That was a very scary spot.
- I think Dana Brooke is way too green to be on the main roster. She is still dangerous in the ring and is very limited. She is going to get somebody seriously hurt.
- So should we assume Bayley will be on Raw? She wasn’t drafted, so she still could be on NXT, but I would have to assume she stays on the main roster. Plus, they’ll probably want to have her in the women’s title hunt.
The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family
- Big E made a Bone Crusher reference. I doubt many of the fans even know who that is. “Never Scared” is a great pump-up song, though.
- I was extremely satisfied with The New Day-Wyatt Family match. There was good storytelling in the ring. Everybody played their part well. I think the right team won, as the Wyatts too often are defeated in combat, taking away from their credibility.
- Xavier Woods was the star of the match. He overcame is fear only to be re-captivated by Wyatt at the end, which led to The New Day’s demise. It’s kind of hokey, but Woods makes it work.
- I was really hoping Luke Harper came back, even though I doubt he’ll be back anytime soon. He is the best worker in The Wyatt Family and really improving on the mic.
U.S. Championship Match: Rusev vs. Zack Ryder
- Zack Ryder’s counter to the suplex into the neck breaker was very impressive. I think his move-set is pretty limited, but he’s been pulling out some good moves lately.
- I really hope Rusev starts making his way toward the main event scene. He is a great heel, puts on great matches and is awesome on the mic. He legitimately makes me laugh with some of the things he says.
- Mojo Rawley officially make his main roster debut by coming out to relieve Zack Ryder after Rusev beat him down. He didn’t get physical though. That was kind of weird. I think Ryder and Rawley will be in the tag team division on SmackDown.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
- Kevin Owens and his constant trash talk during his matches is so great. It’s little things like that which make Owens so over. He’s one of the best heels in the company.
- Sami Zayn badly botched a slingshot moonsault off the ropes to the outside. It looked super dangerous, for him more than Owens.
- Holy cow was that Brain Buster on the apron look dangerous. There is no give in that part of the ring. Owens always takes some really dangerous bumps, especially at the hands of Zayn. That shows how much he trusts him.
- Whenever Zayn and Owens get in that hockey fight, Frye-Takayama spot, it’s awesome. Just two guys slugging each other in the face.
- Zayn going over was the right call. Owens claimed to put him out of action with the injury and has made Zayn’s life a living hell since coming to WWE. Zayn finally got the upper hand and the payoff was great.
John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Club
- This is almost unnecessary to say, but Enzo and Cass are way over with the WWE crowds. They might be the most over team since the Attitude Era, even more than New Day.
- “Never make eye contact with somebody when you’re eating a banana.” -Enzo, one upping JBL and his Byron hatred all night. Enzo’s promos never get old. He’s a master on the stick. Plus, watching John Cena’s reaction to Enzo’s wild promos is hilarious. It’s like he doesn’t know what to make of it.
- When Enzo was about to make the hot tag, Karl Anderson cut him off with a brutal flying knee. That was an underrated spot in this match. It looked brutal.
- Another great spot by Anderson was his Spine Buster on Cena on the announce table. That followed some sloppy spots previous to that.
- I think the Club should have gone over here, seeing as they are actually a group. I also didn’t like Cena pinning Styles. I guess it gets his win back from the last pay-per-view, but I want to see Styles come out on top in this feud, especially because it does seem like Cena will be doing more outside projects going forward.
Highlight Reel feat. Randy Orton
- Having an episode of the Highlight Reel on a pay-per-view should never happen, unless it’s on the pre-show. That is something that should only be on Raw or SmackDown.
- Damn, Randy Orton with the line, “No enhancement needed.” Shot across the bow of Brock Lesnar.
WWE Championship Match: Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns
- It seems time did not make the heart grow fonder. Fans still hate Roman Reigns.
- Having the locker rooms split up watching this match reminded of me of Survivor Series during the Invasion angle.
- Loved the double Powerbomb on Roman Reigns through the announce table. Reminiscent of The Shield.
- The match itself was great. All the guys worked hard, took some hard bumps and ended an otherwise unspectacular card in impressive fashion.
- Here’s what I didn’t like about the finish: Reigns takes the Buckle Bomb and doesn’t even sell it. He hits the Superman Punch and Spear on Rollins. Now, I know it leads to him getting DDT’d by Ambrose and taking the pin, but I hate when he (and Cena) no-sell stuff.
- It was a nice touch to have the SmackDown locker room come out and celebrate with Ambrose. The WWE title coming to SmackDown is huge and will help the initial ratings during this early live Tuesday endeavor.