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   July 30, 2014



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Battle may be over but WWE Battleground still leaves unresolved issues
By MATTHEW ASHER - SLAM! Wrestling


The Big Show clocks Randy Orton. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea


It's been a strange few weeks since Night of Champions. We have no WWE Champion and even though it's clear Triple H wants Randy Orton to regain the WWE Title, he's making him earn it against Daniel Bryan as opposed to just handing it to him.

There are a couple major questions that need to be answered tonight. Will RVD be able to finally capture the only WWE title that has eluded him? Will the Rhodes Family have jobs at the end of the night? And of course, who will walk out of Battleground as the WWE Champion?

Live from the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, NY, is the inaugural WWE Battleground PPV.

WWE Battleground Kickoff Match - Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler

Sandow cuts a promo about how he's not only going to destroy Ziggler tonight but he hints that he may even cash in his MITB case tonight and become a champion "we can model our life after."


There's a lot of back and forth with a bunch of near pinfalls. Of course, nobody can sell it like Ziggler who takes a beating but makes a comeback. Near the end of the match it looks like Sandow, who had already removed his knee brace, further injured his leg allowing Dolph to hit the Zig-Zag for the win.

After the match the pre show continues with the Battleground Panel including the Miz, Tensai and Titus O'Neil who talk about their predictions and what they hope will happen tonight. We're also treated to a video package quickly summarizing the upcoming matches tonight

Strangely the opening match isn't previewed. Which happens to be...

Match 1 - Battleground Hardcore Rules Match for the World Heavyweight Championship - Rob Van Dam w/ Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Alberto Del Rio (c)

Before we start the match, I want to apologize for the onslaught of initials you will be reading in this match. We get to see the lovely Lilian Garcia, with some pink streaks in her hair in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness. Lillian informs us that ADR wants to be introduced in Spanish which she obliges.

Throughout the match JBL, King and Cole hint about Sandow considering cashing in his MITB case but because of his leg injury he might not be able to. This ends up being true because Sandow is nowhere to be seen after the match

ADR quickly goes outside looking for a weapon but RVD is having none of it. RVD nails a standing moonsault from the barricade. After a few replays RVD brings a chair in and nails ADR with a DDT on the chair. RVD covers but ADR kicks out. ADR hits a backbreaker, kickout at 2.

Back and forth action. Ricardo motions to RVD and they introduce a ladder into the match. RVD Irish Whips ADR into the ladder and knocks him out of the ring.

RVD goes for Rolling Thunder but ADR gets out of the way. RVD braces himself on the ladder but ADR hits him with a nice enziguri to the back of the head. ADR then mocks RVD and brings a trashcan into the mix, hitting him several times. ADR goes to the top turnbuckle with trash can in hand but RVD hits a standing dropkick to ADR in the midsection.

RVD starts to build momentum and maneuvers the ladder. RVD body slams ADR onto the ladder and hits a split-legged moonsault on ADR for a near fall. RVD puts ADR on the ladder and attempts Rolling Thunder again but ADR escapes.


Alberto del Rio uses a garbage can on Rob Van Dam. Photo by Andrea Kellaway
ADR locks on the cross armbreaker. Ricardo brings the bucket into the ring and nails ADR a few times with it. RVD attempts a school-boy roll up but ADR kicks out. Ricardo and Alberto have words before Ricardo nails ADR a few times with the bucket before ADR beats him out of the ring.

Meanwhile RVD hits ADR with the ladder outside the ring. Standing on the outside of the ring, RVD nails ADR with a Five Star Frog Splash while the ladder is on top of ADR. Still not enough to put him away. The crowd chants "We want tables!" but Van Dam gets a chair and goes for a Van Terminator but misses it. Maybe he should have listened to the crowd.

ADR hits RVD with a drop toe hold on the chair, follows up with a Superkick and then locks in the cross armbreaker using the chair for additional leverage. RVD has no choice but to tap out.

Winner via submission...and STILL World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio.
Rating: 7/10

We go backstage to Zeb Colter and the Real Americans. Per usual he insults the town. This time he mentions that Canadians are sneaking across the border into America and questions why this city would be proud that their main claim to fame is the Buffalo wing. He adds that the Real Americans need to take Santino and Khali, drop them in some boiling Crisco and then toss them in the ring with the Real American so they can be "Fried, died and laid to the side." Okay...

We get a live shot of Niagara Falls which King says he believes is Buffalo's main claim to fame. Can't argue with that one.

Match 2 - Tag Match - Great Khali w/ Hornswaggle and Santino Marella vs. The Real Americans (Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro w/ Zeb Colter)

The match starts out with Swagger and Santino. For some reason the crowd is really enthusiastic about chanting "We the People" throughout the match, even when Swagger and Cesario don't say it.


Antonio Cesaro's swing of The Great Khali was one of the night's highlights. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Santino breaks out the Cobra early but Swagger gets out of the ring. No worries, Hornswoggle produces his own Cobra but Swagger grabs it and tears it up. Swagger tags in Cesaro and both men go to work on Santino including tearing the Cobra off Santino's arm.

There's an extended beat down on Santino before both Khali gets the hot tag and starts to manhandle Cesaro including one of the nastiest chops I've ever heard. JBL said that chop might have knocked one of the languages out of Antonio. After Santino takes Swagger out of the ring Cesaro tries to chop down Khali. When Khali is dropped Cesaro successfully executes the Cesaro Swing on Khali and gets in 10 full rotations before he covers up Khali for the three count.

Winner via pinfall...The Real Americans.
Rating: 6/10

That swing definitely did something to Cesaro who needs both Swagger and Zeb to hold on to keep him on his feet during the post match celebration. We're notified that it took about 30 seconds for Cesaro to be trending on Twitter. Once you see the move, you'll understand why.

We're shown a Breast Cancer Awareness package featuring Alica Fox, John Cena and Layla. Shots of all the pink ribbons and pink signs in the ring. We now hear the modified Mr. Perfect theme which means our next match.


Curtis Axel retains his Intercontinental title, defeating R-Truth. Photo by Andrea Kellaway
Match 3 - Intercontinental Championship Match - Curtis Axel (c) w/ Paul Heyman vs. R-Truth

We're shown a quick package of R-Truth's victory over Axel on Raw and then Axel's payback on Smackdown.

R-Truth starts off hot, but Axel is able to regain his composure outside of the ring and delivers a devastating slam on R-Truth into the barricade. Both men trade some nice high kicks. Truth starts to gain control and gets several near falls. Heyman, who will now be known as the Palrus, looks more and more nervous as the match progresses. But Axel puts away Truth after some words of encouragement by the Paulrus.

Winner by pinfall...and STILL Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel
Rating: 5/10

In case you missed the Kickoff match we're shown a quick video package of how Damien hurt his leg and allowing Dolph to pick up the win.


Brie Bella clotheslines AJ Lee. Photo by Andrea Kellaway
Match 4 - Divas Championship Match - Brie Bella w/ Nikki vs. AJ Lee (c) w/ Tamina Snuka

Brie starts off the match by slapping the taste out of AJ's mouth. AJ runs out of the ring and Tamina prevents Brie from attacking outside the ring. AJ shoves Brie into the ringpost outside the ring and gains control of the match but can't put Brie away.

Both Divas get several near falls. Just as Brie looks like she has it won, Tamina grabs Nikki and puts her in a chokehold outside, drawing Brie's attention. AJ is able to pick up the win following the distraction.

Winner by pinfall...and STILL Divas Champion AJ Lee
Rating: 4/10

We're now treated to a video package of the Rhodes Family and their trials and tribulations over the past several weeks. That brings us to a backstage interview with all 3 members of the Rhodes Family. Dusty talks about modern families who are truly down on their luck and says no matter what the Rhodes Family will leave Buffalo with their heads held high. Goldust, sporting pink gloves tonight, says after tonight he and Cody will expose The Shield as nothing more than corporate puppets. Cody talks about the talents and abilities of his family (including his "sparkplug of a Cuban mother with a work ethic like nobody else"). Cody says tonight he fights for his family.


The victorious Rhodes family.
Match 5 - Non-title Tag Match - Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns w/ US Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Cody Rhodes & Goldust w/ Dusty Rhodes

After the Shield makes their entrance out comes the Rhodes Family. Before they make their way to the ring, Goldust holds back Cody allowing the Rhodes Family to mock the Shield's trademark fistbump.

Cody and Seth start off the match but almost instantly Roman and Goldust get involved. The Shield stares down Dusty and his two sons get to his side to prevent any harm from coming to their father. Roman and Goldust get back in the ring and go to work on each other.

Both Rollins and Reigns get an extended beat down on Cody. During this Ambrose and Dusty have words with each other but don't come to blows. Cody gets caught up on the Tree of Woe but counters Rollins and hits a perfect moonsault on Rollins before both men tag in their partners.

Goldust starts to unload on Reigns and it looks like he's about to one-up his brother with a Moonsault of his own, but turns it into a cross body. Goldust goes for another running cross body but Reigns ducks and Goldust flies out of the ring onto the floor and it not moving. The ref gets to a count of 9 before Goldust crawls back into the ring.

Reigns and Rollins isolate Goldust. The Bizarre One is able to counter several attacks, but can't tag in Cody. He finally gets the hot tag and Cody starts to clean house. Cody nails Rollins with a Spinning Alabama Slam but only gets 2. Cody gets another cover but Reigns breaks up the count. Rhodes hits the Disaster Kick on Reigns knocking him out of the ring.

Ambrose gets Cody's attention for a second and then turns his attention to Dusty. The time for talking has gone as Dusty undoes his belt buckle nails Dean before unloads an Atomic Elbow on Dean. Reigns comes over to take out Dusty but Goldust cuts him off leaving just Cody and Rollins in the ring.

Rollins attempts a school boy pin but Cody kicks out and delivers the most theatrical (but still devastating) Cross Rhodes I've ever seen. Is it enough? In the words of Daniel Bryan: YES! YES! YES!

Winners by pinfall...The Rhodes Family!
Rating: 10/10 (If only for the Rhodes Family catharsis)

The brothers embrace each other in the ring and Dusty finally joins his two sons as they all raise their hands in victory. It may not have been for the tag team belts, but it was a great win. The locker room empties including Dean Malenko, Arn Anderson and Finlay and they all congratulate the Rhodes on their victory. King summed up this by saying if you look up "Feel Good Moment" in the dictionary, this is what you'd see. I have to agree.

We get a quick promo reminding us in just three weeks Hell in the Cell takes place in Miami Florida.

We go back to the the Battleground Kickoff Panel of Miz, Tensai and Titus O'Neil. They guys do a quick recap of what they've enjoyed seeing in the show tonight.

We go backstage to Brad Maddox on the phone (talking to Steph and Hunter) and he looks devastated. Apparently Steph and Hunter were called away on business before the PPV started. Vickie Guerrero enters the room and Brad says he needs her help to make sure the show doesn't spiral more out of control. Vickie just laughs in Brad's face and leaves. I smell foreshadowing...


Bray Wyatt laughs at a prone Kofi Kingston. Photo by Andrea Kellaway
Match 6 - Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt w/ Luke Harper and Erick Rowan

Nothing to do with the match, but on Kofi's tights, his little Rasta Man looks like he's wearing a Bane Mask. If that was intentional I say keep it up. It looks good.

Kofi starts out quick but Bray takes control and proceeds to dissect Kofi. Several times Kofi gets a little momentum but Bray continues to regain control. Kofi hits the Boom Drop and goes for Trouble in Paradise but Bray is able to avoid launches himself into Kofi knocking the wind out of both of them momentarily.

Bray does his creepy turnbuckle move and then starts walking on his hands towards Kofi. King describes that as Linda Blair-esque. (If you don't get the reference, watch the original Exorcist movie and you'll understand.)

Bray goes outside next to his family and Kofi throws caution to the wind diving over the ropes onto all three family members. ECW chants come out and Kofi gets a 2 count. Kofi goes for the SOS but Bray catches him and hits the Sister Abigail and that's all she wrote.

Winner by pinfall...Bray Wyatt.
Rating: 7/10

After the match Rowan picks up Kofi. He and Luke Harper get a couple of shots on Kofi. Bray delivers yet another cryptic message after Kofi is unconscious.

We get another pimping of Thy Kingdom Come Blu-Ray and then are shown highlights of the previous match as well as showing Cesaro swinging Khali.

Before the next match we get a recap of why Ryback and Punk are facing off next.

Match 7 - Ryback w/ Paul Heyman vs. CM Punk

Lots of "Goldberg!" chants echo through the arena. Punk gets the early advantage. Ryback gets out of the ring and Paulrus reminds Ryback that Punk is a Bully. That seems to help for a little. It goes back and forth for a while. The crowd starts chanting "You can't wrestle!" Ryback acknowledges the chants and simply says he doesn't care and continues to beat up Punk.

The beginning of the match favors Ryback. It's slow (not in a bad way) and methodical. The match goes to the ground and Punk is finally able to start fighting back. Punk starts to build up steam and motions for the GTS. Before he can, Paulrus grabs the mike and reminds everyone that he is the best in the world because he was able to pin Punk with both hands tied (or handcuffed) behind his back.


Paul Heyman accompanies Goldberg, er, Ryback. Photo by Andrea Kellaway
This gives Ryback the chance to hit two powerbombs and can't hit a third one as Punk is able to counter it. Punk goes to the top turnbuckle and goes for the Macho Man elbow but only gets a long 2 count for his efforts.

Punk corners Ryback and hits several running knees. Ryback picks up Punk for another powerslam but Punk counters with a hurricanrana. Punk goes for the GTS again but Ryback counters. Ryback gets Punk on the ropes.

While the ref is distracted Heyman grabs a kendo stick. But before he can unload on Punk the ref turns around Heyman stops in his tracks. This allows punk to kick Ryback with a very low blow and gets the win. #turnaroundisfairplay

Winner by pinfall...CM Punk
Rating: 7/10

We get one of those "Don't Try This At Home" promos. I can't remember the last time I saw one and it seems odd that they would wait this long into the event before showing the reminder.

We go back to the Battleground Kickoff Panel to briefly talk about the main event before we're treated to a package chronicling the last month for Bryan and Orton.

I'm not sure if this is because here in Atlanta there's a lightning heavy rainstorm but for a few minutes there's nothing but the "Technical Difficulties" picture on the screen. Finally there's a cut to the ring and it's explained there was a power outage in Buffalo (King blames the government shutdown) but we're about to be back on. At least this didn't happen during the actual match.


Randy Orton struggles to lift Daniel Bryan outside the ring. Photo by Andrea Kellaway
Match 8 - Main Event for the Vacant WWE Championship - Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan

During the early stages of the match Cole talks about Bryan's early days in pro wrestling and even mentions his "American Dragon" moniker. Bryan starts off strong unloading kick after kick on Orton. Bryan continues his beatdown but when he goes for a top rope move Orton counters with a clothesline for a 2 count.

Orton now has control and slows down the pace temporarily but Bryan fights back, hitting a suicide dive. Bryan goes top rope for a missile dropkick but Orton counters into a full Boston Crab. Bryan escapes but can't get the Yes! Lock on Orton.

The fighting spills out of the ring as Orton whips Bryan into the ring steps and uses the ring post and barriers to his advantage. Both men get into the ring at the count of 8 and we get some back and forth action. Orton nails Bryan with a superplex but can only get a 2 count. The two men trade European Uppercuts and Bryan tries a backslide pin but only gets 2. He follow up with a kick to the back of Orton's head. Orton kicks out.

Orton moves to the exterior of the ring. Bryan tries to suplex him back into the ring but Orton counters and suplexes Bryan out of the ring instead. Orton goes outside, rips off the cover of the Spanish announce table and loads Bryan up for a powerbomb. Bryan counters and whips Orton into the ring steps.

WHAT YOU THINK
What did you think of WWE Battleground?
It was great - 3%
It was okay - 12%
Didn't like it - 34%
Didn't see it - 51%
Bryan rolls into the ring at the count of 8 but goes outside to reset the count. I guess you have to win the title either via pin or submission only because there was no way Orton was getting back in the ring on time. Bryan hits a flying crossbody from the top rope and rolls Orton back in the ring. Now Cole informs us that yes, you can only win the title inside the ring.

Bryan goes for another high risk move and nails the flying headbutt but Orton just kicks out. Daniel picks up the pace and hits five running kicks in a row on Orton. The crowd is chanting Yes! Bryan continues to kick Orton but Orton counters with a modified suplex. On the replay it looks like Bryan landed on his right shoulder and he's definitely favoring it.

Orton hits his elevated DDT and starts riling up the crowd by mocking Bryan. Orton goes for the RKO, Bryan counters into the Yes! Lock. Cue the Big Show music. What?

Big Show runs to the ring and tosses the ref out of the ring. Bryan can't believe it and asks Show why. Show hits him with his KO punch and you can tell this was something he didn't want to do. Brad Maddox is at the entrance ramp and motions for another referee to come to the ring. Which referee you ask? Why it's the very same one that Triple H accused of a fast count last month and fired because of it.

We get a very slow and methodical...2 count? Big Show drags the ref out of the ring after he gets to two and KO's the ref. Orton is livid and Maddox can't believe it. Show steps into the ring and stares down Orton. Orton asks if Show knows how stupid he is and how much trouble he's about to be in for his actions.

Orton keeps running his mouth and we all know what's coming next. Big Show KO's Orton and it's clear Show has reached his breaking point (whatever happened to that PPV?)

No Contest
Rating: 7/10

Maddox stands in disbelief and Show stares him down. Show goes to the top rope and yells out "No more!" Just as we go off air JBL says that Show better enjoy this moment because his day of reckoning is about to come.

Show Rating: 7/10

RELATED LINKS

  • Live at Battleground: Fans left ornery
  • Countdown to WWE Battleground
  • WWE Battleground Photo Gallery

    Matthew Asher is a freelance journalist currently living in Atlanta. He would like to suggest to the Big Show that he find a 24-hour life insurance dealer because there's a really good chance he's going to need it by the end of Monday Night Raw.