WWE – Battleground 2014 (Cert 15)
1 Disc Blu-ray / DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 163 minutes approx.
The inaugural Battleground show appeared in late 2013 and wasn’t a huge success, due to being tucked in between two other PPVs in quick succession and being poorly booked as the result of being a pure stop gap show. Would there be an improvement second time around?
Unfortunately no as it was apparent early on that this was another filler show designed to set the scene for Summerslam the following month and the match quality suffered as a result – no to mention the company’s fortunes as the show only drew 99,000 PPV buys (excluding WWE network views) which is embarrassingly low for them.
Battleground took place on July 20th at the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida before 11,700 fans and our commentators as always are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL. As ever, while my match review won’t contain any results, expect plenty of opinion.
WWE Tag Title 2 out of 3 Falls Match – The Usos (c) vs. Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
You know there is a problem when the opener is the best match on the show, with an even bigger caveat that it comes from a feud which had pretty much run its course. After a shaky start in which the first two falls were decided inside five minutes, the two teams then went for broke and delivered an exciting and breathless onslaught of tight, intense exchanges of near falls before a victor was crowned. Great stuff.
WWE Divas Title Match – AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige
This is a rematch of the rematch so to speak, as AJ returned to WWE the night after the Money In The Bank PPV and defeated Paige for the Divas title in an impromptu title match just as Paige did to AJ after Wrestlemania 30. An okay match but not as good as it should have been considering the talent involved. Some of the more ambitious moves didn’t work so well but both ladies are canny enough to compensate.
Jack Swagger vs. Rusev
Rusev’s best outing to date against the surprise new babyface Swagger who also made a god account for himself, although the real story is what happened before the match. Displaying the lack of class and tact he is known for, Vince McMahon tried to engender some heat for Lana by having refute the blame placed on Russia for the “recent events”, referring to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 being shot down. The fans ignored this hackneyed cheap tactic but the mainstream press didn’t and the WWE issued a grovelling apology for anyone who “misinterpreted” Lana’s word.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
Despite being a well built up and eagerly anticipated match it doesn’t happen as Ambrose was thrown out of the building earlier in the show. The idea was to save this match until Summerslam so why hype it for this show? Rollins comes out to accept the forfeit victory but guess who shows up to rain on his parade?
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
Jericho made his umpteenth return to the WWE since his initially departure in 2005 (and will be gone again by the time you read this) interrupting The Miz only to be attacked by the Wyatt Family. I guess they’re not Fozzy fans. Match was okay but for some reason the chemistry wasn’t quite there and Jericho was unable to cover this with his usual flair and wealth of experience. Wyatt had an ugly black eye courtesy of an errant Ric Flair punch from a house show at MSG a few nights earlier.
Battle Royale for the vacant WWE IC Title
Bad News Barrett was forced to relinquish the title necessitating in this match to crown a new champion. A rather unspectacular affair, save for some usual Kofi Kingston hijinks and a hit last couple of minutes. Also of note is that it marks the last WWE appearance of Alberto Del Rio who was fired a few days later after hitting a WWE employee who reportedly made a racial joke about him – just in case you needed confirmation how seriously WWE takes its anti-bullying campaign and its stance against racism…
WWE World Heavyweight Title Fatal four Way Match – John Cena (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Kane
One of these things is not like the other. Roman Reigns gets his second post-Shield PPV main event while the other three have been there before ad nauseum. Not much to the match for that very reason and Reigns isn’t yet a strong enough worker to make much of a difference either. Since a title change was never in question this could have – and should have – been a TV main event.
The worst thing about this show is how it was so blatantly posited as a buffer leading up to Summerslam with very little effort having gone into encouraging the audience to invest in it. Perhaps if Vince didn’t insist on a PPV every month the matches here could have been built up more thoroughly and had more meaning. It also would have spared us the egregious bait and switch with the Rollins vs Ambrose match which you should never do on PPV.
Again the wrestlers worked hard but the rewards for both them and the fans were non-existent. The very definition of a missable show.
Best Match – Usos vs Luke Harper & Erick Rowan
English & Spanish Language
Battleground Kickoff Show Match – Adam Rose vs. Fandango
Battleground Kickoff Show Match – Naomi vs. Cameron
Battleground Fallout – The Usos Are Turnt Up!
Battleground Fallout – John Cena Reacts to Battleground
Exclusive – The Miz Reflects on the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
Blu Ray Only:
Monday Night RAW 30th June 2014
John Cena’s WWE 2K15 Cover is Unveiled
Jack Swagger & Zeb Colter Have A Message for Rusev & Lana
Chris Jericho Crashes The Miz’s Return to Raw
Smackdown 4th July 2014
Dean Ambrose Makes a Promise to Seth Rollins
Monday Night RAW 7th July 2014
Roman Is Raw
Bray Wyatt Wonders When Chris Jericho Will “Save Us”
Smackdown 11th July 2014
AJ Lee vs. Cameron
Monday Night RAW 14th July 2014
Paul Heyman Offers The Authority a “Plan C”
Ric Flair Picks a Winner for the Fatal 4-Way
2-on-3 Handicap Match: John Cena & Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins, Randy Orton & Kane
Rating – ** ½
Man In Black