Did the predictability in any way harm Bayley’s debut at Battleground?
Jason Hall: No. Did you hear that pop? The only thing that ruined Bayley’s debut is the constant reminder by JBL that it was a likely “one-time deal.” Why have someone that over participate in one match then go back to developmental, especially when the “protegé” on the losing team can’t even manage to put her teammate’s foot on the rope correctly? WWE actually gave us what we wanted with Bayley and still didn’t fully deliver.
Daniel DeMarco: Not for me, because until Bayley’s music played, I had doubts to whether it was really going to be her or not. She was the obvious choice, and that was kind of the problem with how WWE can flop on seemingly obvious things nowadays. But overall, Bayley’s debut was awesome. Seeing Sasha Banks all smiles in the ring during her entrance was exactly the reaction of everyone else. It was a long time coming, and much deserved. It was a special moment to finally witness.
Riley Kontek: No, the reaction she got was great and seeing her in a main roster ring was awesome. What harmed Bayley’s debut was having to work with a green, dangerous worker like Dana Brooke. Bayley is known for putting on great matches, but the spots she had with Dana were sloppy. It wasn’t Bayley’s fault, but it nevertheless came off that way. She got her share of the spotlight, though, which should outshine the rest of the shaky parts of the night.
Travis Wakeman: Predictability, no. But from a logical standpoint, I’d say yes. Though, it’s tough to say her debut was “harmed” with the positive crowd reaction the whole thing got but for me, I have an issue with the fact that you have all these women drafted from NXT and yet the mystery partner is someone who is still in NXT. Don’t get me wrong, I get the storyline connection with Sasha-Charlotte-Bayley, but if you can just show up whenever you feel like it if you’re an NXT star, what’s the point of having a draft? I’m a big proponent of not having any logic holes in your storylines and I realize we’ll never get that from WWE, but that was my issue. That was my issue with the brand split the first time around.
Joseph Nardone: Not at all. If anything it helped. The crowd was anticipating her music hitting while in a self-worked frenzy. It made for one of the biggest pops of the year. Sure, we all like surprises with our wrestling, but if one doesn’t want any of the hats tipped before events happen, s/he would have to go Internet dark forever. Rumors of her being Sasha’s tag team partner were unavoidable otherwise.
Either way, everyone got their moment. She got hers, we got ours through hers, and I can’t imagine anyone is complaining today.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn at Battleground was ___________.
JH: Awesome. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn is the best rivalry in WWE. The growing feeling was that they should have been drafted to separate shows so their rivalry wouldn’t get stale. Guess what? It hasn’t. They literally can do this forever.
DD: A brawl. That match was a brawl. Owens and Zayn sure put on a show, and in the midst of the mayhem managed to throw in some cool psychology for the match. You will never convince me their rivalry is over, and WWE would be utterly foolish to permanently end their rivalry, but if it is taking a rest for the time being, that was a good match to cap off this chapter of their storied feud. And to think, that was a tame match by their old standards. Yet it blew the ceiling off the arena with that crowd losing their minds. Those two guys came from the bottom over a decade ago, and it is fantastic to see where they have come, and to still be doing it together. It will be remembered as an all-time great wrestling rivalries and one of the best stories in professional wrestling annals.
RK: Fantastic. What else would you expect from Zayn and Owens? They are incapable of having a bad match. The storytelling in the ring was awesome, as was the technical aspect of the wrestling itself. I really hope this isn’t the end of the feud. These two are great together. It’s definitely in the running for match of the year, though I still think Zayn’s encounter with Shinsuke Nakamura stilll holds that place.
TW: Quite possibly the Match of the Year and easily the best match between the two men in NXT or WWE. This was a terrific way to end the feud and allow both men to go in new directions, but now you have the problem of both men being on the same show, and it will be interesting to see how they book each man going forward with that being the case. As far as the match, it just doesn’t get any better than that. It’s common these days to hear the crowd chant “this is awesome,” but these two actually got a standing ovation during the match.
JN: Gnarly! Other positive adjectives, too. All of them, really.
That match was spectacular. Yes, Sami made a few mistakes, but the two of them put on a Match of the Year type of outing.
Also, even though the two have fought about a billion times between all the promotions they have been in, that match left me wanting more. That would be like eating something you like every single day and never getting sick of it. Eventually a man would grow weary of pizza, but here I am, begging for the WWE to give me more Owens vs. Sami.
Horrible analogies are welcomed, obviously.
Was The Shield triple threat all you hoped it would be?
JH: Yes. It was another good match between any number of the three former Shield members. All of them have great chemistry with one another and for all the criticism he gets, no one is legitimately calling Roman Reigns a “bad wrestler,” so having him just step into a match and not demi-god no-sell was great. I don’t know where this theory of Ambrose retaining was the “least obvious” choice, however. Anyone who knows wrestling could have predicted the guy on the babyface-led show would win the title so Stephanie McMahon could just hand a new world championship to her hand-picked choice, Seth Rollins.
DD: Exceeded my expectations. After two years of anticipation and knowing it would one day come, WWE really dropped the ball with the buildup to this match. From Money in the Bank until now, very little was done to build excitement. Now, did you watch that pre-match promo? That is the sort of thing WWE should have been doing for the last month; as in, actually making us excited for it. On top of that, triple threat matches are notoriously hard to book in wrestling. Something about the odd dynamic of three wrestlers simultaneously is difficult. But these guys did it. Was it a Match of the Year contender? No. But it certainly brought out some emotion in me while watching, and built and built all the way to the finish. And just to cap it off, WWE did the right thing – Dean Ambrose won, and he won clean. Bravo, WWE. Bravo. The long anticipated Shield triple threat was a success.
RK: The result was right. The action was solid. It had an important feel. So yes, it definitely delivered. Dean Ambrose came out of this looking like a million bucks. Rollins looked great as well. Reigns took the pin, an obvious punishment for his suspension. I loved the match, and it was a shining moment on an otherwise dull Battleground card.
TW: I suppose, though my hopes weren’t that big. These three men know each other quite well and as a result, work well together. I thought the match was about what most would have expected. I could have done without the dual locker room screens full of Superstars hoping their brand would get the world champion, particularly if another title ends up being introduced. I was a little surprised with the result. I fully expected the title to go back over to Raw and though I was sure Roman Reigns wasn’t going to win the match, I felt that Rollins would. I think it’s nice to see WWE giving SmackDown so much in terms of the more popular commissioner, the more popular general manager and now, the WWE World Championship.
JN: Not at all. My issues with this are mostly with two of the guys involved not living up to their ends of the bargain.
To be clear: Seth Rollins did what he had to do, before the match and after.
As for the other two, yikes.
Roman Reigns came off suspension looking a bit less in shape. His character is so incredibly hated that him being in any match takes away from the experience of it all. The WWE not turning him heel heading into this match really put him in a position to fail.
Also, at what point are people going to acknowledge that Dean Ambrose has four wrestling moves, trots about the ring with the grace of a broken mop, and needs to be carried by more talented wrestlers like Rollins?
Anyway, the match was short, too. That didn’t help.