It’s time for another pay per view offering from WWE. This time, it’s the inaugural “Battleground” show, which is main evented by another match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship.
Technically this is the third outing between the two, though their bout at “SummerSlam” didn’t have any actual fighting. This time there is no current WWE Champion, after Triple H stripped the belt off of Bryan following the shenanigans at “Night of Champions.”
The night’s other big match is a meeting between CM Punk and Ryback. It’s the latest chapter in Punk’s battle with his former best friend Paul Heyman. Ryback cost Punk a match against Heyman at “Night of Champions,” leading to this fight. Seeing as Bryan and Orton will likely keep going until “Hell in a Cell,” this probably won’t be the closing chapter in Punk and Heyman’s story.
The scheduled card for the show is below:
- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship
- CM Punk vs. Ryback
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship (Hardcore match)
- Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield – If Cody and Goldust win, they get jobs
- Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth for the Intercontinental Championship
- Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
- AJ Lee vs. Brie Bella for the Divas Championship
- Santino Marella & The Great Khali vs. The Real Americans
Before “WWE Battleground” kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, the preshow is streamed live with a kickoff match between Dolph Ziggler and Damien Sandow, starting at 7:30 ET.
Follow “WWE Battleground” with Zap2it throughout the night.
7:30 p.m. – The “expert superstar panel” this month consists of The Miz, Titus O’Neil and Tensai. At least they’re getting paid for the show. It’s also nice that they’ve completely given up on giving Tensai, Sweet T or whatever he’s called this week a character. Tensai asks the question we’re all wondering, whether or not Sandow will cash in his Money in the Bank contact for an impromptu World Heavyweight Championship match after Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam.
Backstage, WWE does the right thing by letting Heyman speak for Ryback to promote the match against CM Punk. It’s also announced that the hardcore match between Del Rio and Vam Dam for the World Heavyweight Championship will kick off the show. Before all that, Sandow and Ziggler will light up the preshow with what should be a pretty good match.
7:44 p.m. – It’s always weird when they throw to commercial during the preshow match, even if it is to promos for their own shows. Ziggler and Sandow are putting on a better show than what will be seen in at least a couple of “Battleground’s” matches. This doesn’t belong on a preshow.
7:51 p.m. – Sandow ‘injured his knee’ after removing his kneepad, allowing Ziggler to get the win with a Zig Zag. That was a really fun match between two men who are likely the future of wrestling. Maybe Sandow won’t be cashing in Money in the Bank tonight, if they’re going for an injury angle.
7:57 p.m. – The entire panel of experts says Bryan will walk out with the WWE Championship tonight, so that’s probably exactly what will not happen. It’s time for “WWE Battleground”!
Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio
8:08 p.m. – “WWE Battleground” is live in Buffalo, N.Y. and out first is Rob Van Dam for his hardcore match against Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship. The pink streak continues as all the wrestlers are wearing specialty clothing in the color throughout October in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Even the bad guys are getting in on the act, so maybe they’re not so evil after all. For some reason, Ricardo Rodriguez is still acting as ring announcer for RVD.
RVD gets into the hardcore vibe of their match early with a vicious DDT to Del Rio on a steel chair. The champ quickly recovers though, nailing a backstabber on Van Dam. He then goes after RVD with the chair. Hardcore matches definitely aren’t what they used to be, but that’s necessary to avoid concussions.
8:13 p.m. – Luckily, no one currently in the company can do hardcore quite like ECW original RVD, so he knows how to make it count. Step one, get a ladder. After that, chaos ensues. It doesn’t take long for Del Rio to take control though. He does some damage with a garbage can before RVD kicks is back in his face as the crowd starts to rally behind him.
8:19 p.m. – Ouch! RVD goes for a Rolling Thunder on Del Rio, but he rolls out of the way and Vam Dam eats the ladder. ADR then slaps on the arm lock, but it’s broken up by Ricardo and his trust spit bucket.
Awesome moment has Del Rio on the outside with a ladder laying on top of him. RVD nails the Five Star Frog Splash from the ring apron. Once he gets ADR back in the ring, Rob tries to capitalize with a Van Terminator, but Alberto ducks out of the way. Del Rio wraps Van Dam’s arm up in a steel chair and stomps it repeatedly before locking in the cross arm breaker for the win. No way Sandow will cash in Money in the Bank on another heel.
Winner: Alberto Del Rio
8:27 p.m. – Backstage, Zeb Coulter and the Real Americans are complaining about illegal immigrants sneaking into the country. He’s talking specifically about Canadians this time. How can you hate Canadians?
The Real Americans vs. The Great Khali and Santino Marella
8:28 p.m. – The United States Champion doesn’t have a match on the show, but for some reason we get this. It’s good to see Antonio Cesaro doing anything, but this is a glorified Smackdown match at best.
This match is everything you expect: Santino is a cartoon, the bad guys are made to look like fools, Khali doesn’t move around much and Hornswoggle (the leprechaun) is there to just run around.
8:37 p.m. – Of course the match isn’t without a cool moment as Cesaro pulls out the airplane spin on Khali for the win. The crowd dug the visual of the giant being spun around. Now, let’s get to matches people want to see.
Winners: The Real Americans
Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth
8:42 p.m. – Axel is the first wrestling of the night NOT wearing a Breast Cancer Awareness shirt. Talk about a villain. Heyman is out to manage Axel, because he hasn’t given up like the rest of us have on him just yet.
8:46 p.m. – All the same, it’s not likely that Truth will win this match, because winning titles isn’t something he does often. Axel is pretty aggressive, just hammering R-Truth with elbows any chance he gets. Paul, who is the star of an excellent “Paulrus” sign in the crowd, is pleased with his protege or whatever he thinks Axel is.
You can always tell a crowd loves a match when they stop watching to start chanting the announcers’ names instead. Outside of those moments, the arena is dead for this one. That’s what happens when you don’t give people a reason to care about either of the men fighting. Cue the “boring” chant. Axel ends it quickly with some sort of twisting neckbreaker. This match would have been better if they just gave Heyman a microphone at ringside.
Winner: Curtis Axel
A.J. Lee vs. Brie Bella
8:54 p.m. – The people love crazy A.J., regardless of whether she’s a heel or face. They seem to like the Bellas too, though. That one’s surprising, because no one likes reality TV stars. Brie starts off the match aggressively, but A.J. can throw out some evil moves to take over.
A.J. rams Brie into the mat, chokes her on the rope, throws her into the turnbuckle and still can’t get a pin. She also throws out a Fujiwara armbar, which is nice to see from anyone, let alone a diva. The women’s division is actually starting to come together with some decent characters and wrestling skills that make for enjoyable matches.
9:02 p.m. – In the end, A.J. steals a win after Brie is distracted by her twin sister getting attacked outside the ring. Clever move from A.J., who is one of the more entertaining champions in WWE at this point.
Winner: A.J. Lee
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Shield
9:06 p.m. – If the Rhodes brothers win this match, they get their WWE jobs back. If not, they’re gone forever, along with their dad “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. Dusty is in his sons’ corner, just to make things exciting. Dusty looks like he’s lost some weight over the last year or two and he can still cut a promo better than 90% of the locker room.
Dean Ambrose is managing fellow Shield members Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, rather then defending his United States Championship on the show. Figure that one out.
9:10 p.m. – The entire Rhodes family comes to the ring to Dusty’s awesome old theme song. Cody’s wearing black and gold attire to match his brother, Goldust.
This is the crowd reaction that’s been missing from the night. A well-told story leading to a match makes people care. The audience is cheering for Cody and want him to get some revenge against Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. The Rhodes family is dominating the match so far and Goldust is looking good for a guy who doesn’t regularly wrestle.
9:17 p.m. – Cody might be getting the biggest crowd reaction of his career and he takes advantage of it with a huge top rope moonsault, before tagging in Goldust. The crowd is eating it up. All good things must come to an end, though. Goldust ends up down outside the ring. He barely makes it back in the ring before the ten count. Now, it’s time for The Shield to go to work.
9:23 p.m. – Finally, Cody gets tagged in and rallies for his team, taking out Rollins and Reigns, but still can’t get the pin. Of all the moves he could pull out, it’s a muscle buster that almost gets him the win. Somewhere, Samoa Joe is crying. The pin gets broken up, though.
Finally, Dusty goes after Ambrose and the crowd gets to see a Bionic Elbow from the Hall of Famer. In the ring, Cody hits Crossrhodes on Seth for the pin. Goldust, Cody and Dusty get their jobs back! The crowd explodes as the family hugs it out in the ring.
Winners: Cody Rhodes and Goldust
The locker room empties out to congratulate them, along with several legends. How you doing, Arn Anderson? Backstage we find out Triple H and Stephanie left the arena. Why did they wait until after a good match to do it? There were plenty of chances earlier in the night.
Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
9:35 p.m. – The Wyatt Family still has the coolest entrance in wrestling at the moment. The simplicity of it is why it works so well. The Family is looking for make Kofi their next sacrifice, after Kane. No one knows exactly what it is they do with these guys after they go away.
They’ve already lost the cloud who is singing Fandango’s theme for some reason. It’s not for a lack of intensity though, as Wyatt only knows how to hit one way: hard. This is another match that is suffering from not having a strong story to back it up. The fans like the Wyatt Family, but are never given a reason to root for Kofi, because he disappears a lot and doesn’t win often. He’s got all the talent in the world, but you need more than flashy moves to win over the crowd for more than a couple minutes.
9:43 p.m. – Wyatt just did an upside down crab walk, like little kids in scary movies. It was disturbing. Then he fell down and it was funny. Kofi answered with a huge flip out of the ring, which took out the entire Wyatt Family. After a bit more back and forth, Wyatt reverses a S.O.S. into Sister Abigail, both of those are names of wrestling moves if you couldn’t tell. He gets the win before his cronies put a final beating on Kofi to end the segment.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
9:49 p.m. – Time for the next chapter in the CM Punk vs. Paul Heyman story, now with more Ryback!
Ryback is wearing a pink shirt, which really hurts the credibility of his bully image. Punk is also wearing pink, but looks rock and roll while doing it.
Talk about a brutal match, Punk and Ryback waste no time getting down to business, beating each other up inside and outside of the ring. Punk takes the lead early on. The crowd is cheering Punk on, while chanting that Ryback can’t wrestle. He must appreciate that while wrestling in a wrestling ring.
10:01 p.m. – Eventually Ryback starts turning things around, even as he’s showered with Goldberg chants. Once Ryback gets Punk into a submission hold, Heyman begs him not to give up because he wants the pain to continue Naturally, that inspires Punk to fight back, so he starts kicking Ryback as much as he can.
10:05 p.m. – As Punk calls for the Go To Sleep, Heyman gets a microphone to declare himself the best in the world. This is what the Axel match was missing. Heyman distracts Punk just enough for Ryback to recover and lay Punk out with a mean-looking powerbomb. It doesn’t do the job, so Heyman demands he do it again.
Punk gets out of the powerbomb but completely whiffs a kick to the head. Don’t tell the announcers, they just explain that he “didn’t get all of it.” Punk then goes to the top rope for the Macho Man elbow drop.
10:09 p.m. – After some more back and forth, Heyman looks to hit Punk with a kendo stick. The ref catches him though and gives Punk the opportunity to hit Ryback with a low blow, which gets the three count. He beat Heyman at his own evil game. Just another piece in this long feud and, honestly, one of Punk’s lesser PPV outings in recent months. He’s not in contention for best match on a show, which is different for him.
Winner: CM Punk
Before the main event, watch this a couple hundred times and see how you feel after:
You all good? Alright, let’s get to the WWE Championship match.
10:18 p.m. – In tribute to WCW, the “Battleground” pay per view feed has disappeared going into the main event. It should be fun to see this get explained. Stay tuned as we wait for it to come back!
10:22 p.m. – And suddenly the feed is back. Michael Cole says there was a power outage. It’s just like the Super Bowl, but with way less people watching. The crew still seems to be getting a couple minor issues worked out, but Daniel Bryan waits for no man and the crowd needs to chant “Yes” along with him. Let’s see if one of these guys actually walks out the the title.
10:33 p.m. – After Orton being the aggressor early on, Bryan was able to shift the momentum with many kicks, because no one does them better. It didn’t last though, as “sadistic” Randy took over. They keep playing up the return of this version of Orton, while failing to talk about what he was actually like. That Orton was one where you legitimately didn’t know what he would do. He was also fond of kicking people in the head. That’s not who this one is.
10:37 p.m. – Once on the outside, it’s all Bryan again. He kicks Randy, throws him around and gets him back in the ring before the 10 count. However, when he goes for a top rope move, Orton counters into a powerbomb and locks in a Boston crab. Of course, you don’t out-wrestle someone like Daniel Bryan and he’s able to reverse it into a pin attempt, before going for the Yes lock. Back on the outside though, Randy bounces Daniel off the announce table the the ring post before tossing him back in.
10:42 p.m. – These two are really pulling out all the stops as Orton superplexes Bryan, before they trade punches. It comes to an end with a kick with Bryan, but it’s still not enough for the pin.
Outside the ring, Randy tries to powerbomb Daniel through the announce table, but Bryan reverses, kicks him, and delivers a huge crossbody from the top rope. Back in the ring, Bryan lands the Flying Goat headbutt, but only gets a two count from it. Bryan loses his temper, landing five vicious dropkicks to Orton in the corner as the crowd goes wild.
10:46 p.m. – Orton ducks one of Bryan’s kicks and counters with an impressive T-Bone suplex. Orton goes for the RKO, but Bryan dodges it. He puts the Yes lock on Orton, and is about to win then Big Show’s music plays. He runs to the ring, yanks the referee out and punches Bryan, knocking him out. Then GM Brad Maddox brings out the referee who screwed up the count at “Night of Champions.” Of course, Big Show also punches him out. He’s a conflicted giant who is prone to crying.
Big Show then gets in the ring, getting in Orton’s face. Randy is whining like a baby and pushes Show, so he gets punched. Big Show then celebrates like he’s some kind of hero, which … I mean, he screwed the entire match up and ended “Battleground” on a down note. You’re a real hero, Show. What a crumby ending. He’s screaming “no more.” Which might mean something if he didn’t already knock everyone out.
Winner: No one.
It’ll be interesting to see how that plays out tomorrow on “WWE RAW,” but it puts a bit of a damper on the show you just spent 55 dollars on. Maybe they should have stuck with the power outage.