Wednesday, September 2, 2015

WWE Battleground 2014: Results and observations from the show

WWE Battleground in Tampa, Fla. felt like a prequel, a prologue if you will. It felt like the quiet before the storm that will be Summerslam in August.

WWE Battleground 2014: Results and observations from the show

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WWE Battleground in Tampa, Fla. felt like a prequel, a prologue if you will. It felt like the quiet before the storm that will be Summerslam in August.

In theory, that isn’t the worst possible idea. In WWE’s eyes, Summerslam is the second-biggest annual event of the year, behind WrestleMania of course. So it makes sense for the WWE to save all of its big happenings for an event of such stature.

The only problem with that is that events like Battleground suffer. That’s what happened Sunday night.

On paper, Battleground should have been a very entertaining show. I personally looked forward to four or five matches on the card, which is something I haven’t done in quite some time.

What we got instead was more or less like the prelude to bigger things to come. One match over-delivered whereas the others underwhelmed. If you are a subscriber to the WWE Network, this may or may not upset you.

If you ordered this event via traditional pay-per-view, and paid upwards of $50 of your hard earned money then you are definitely upset.

Before we go any further, let’s run through the results:

- Pre-show match: Adam Rose def. Fandango

- Pre-show match: Cameron def. Naomi

- WWE Tag Team Championship – The Usos def. The Wyatt Family

- WWE Divas Championship - AJ Lee def. Paige

- Rusev def. Jack Swagger via count-out

- Chris Jericho def. Bray Wyatt

- The Miz wins the Intercontinental Championship in a battle royal

- WWE World Heavyweight Championship - John Cena def. Randy Orton, Kane, Roman Reigns

Main event didn’t live up to the hype

Although the outcome of John Cena retaining his title was kind of obvious, I thought that getting to that point would make for some quality entertainment.

Was I so wrong for thinking that four capable performers like Cena, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Kane could pull this off? I don’t think so.

What we got was a pretty standard match that had a less-than-inspired finish. There wasn’t much to it. There could have been, but there just wasn’t. I expected more, which was something I said multiple times during this show.

Chris Jericho versus Bray Wyatt was underwhelming

I expected more from this match as well. I don’t know what it was with these two. Maybe Chris Jericho and Bray Wyatt need more time to build up chemistry with each other, but this match on this night did not live up to its potential.

The finish, which I called correctly, came out of nowhere and the crowd wasn’t feeling it. Instead of feeling good that Jericho had defeated Wyatt, they were left wondering what just happened.

I wasn’t upset by the outcome — I thought Jericho needed the victory to give him back some credibility — I simply wasn’t a huge fan of how it was executed.

Seth Rollins versus Dean Ambrose never happened

At the very least, I expected Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose to have an actual match together. The fans didn’t even receive that Sunday night, which alone helped this event fall short of expectations.

Rollins and Ambrose did have a couple of scrums throughout the show, which I guess was supposed to satisfy the fans until they got to the two of them in the ring together.

I can see why the WWE went about this the way they did. Firstly, It builds anticipation for their potential match at Summerslam. Seeing them brawl each other simply made me want to see the match even more.

If these two are booked to go at it at Summerslam, it should steal the show, just like I thought it would at Battleground.

Like I said earlier, if you paid to see this event via traditional pay-per-view, you have every right to be upset that this match didn’t take place. I’m pretty sure there are a lot of people that bought this event wanting to see this particular match among others. Unfortunately, they didn’t get that.

Tag Team title match tore the house down

Speaking of stealing the show, that’s exactly what The Usos and The Wyatt Family did at Battleground during their best two-out-of-three falls match.

The first two falls happened kind of quickly and were sort of uneventful. The last fall, however, was fantastic.

These two teams took this match much further than I expected and my expectations were pretty high. The numerous near falls, the crazy sequences of moves had the crowd going crazy at the Tampa Bay Times Forum and rightfully so. These two teams were leaving it all in the ring.

Everyone talks about how pay-per-views need a hot opening match to get the crowd going for the rest of the show. The Usos and The Wyatt Family provided just that. Unfortunately, the rest of the card did not deliver.

After this match, the momentum of the show went along very slowly and even grinded to a complete stop at times.

Why Lana’s promo didn’t cross the line

Due to the recent tragedy involving the Malaysian airplane, everyone expected the WWE to sort of pull back on what Lana and Rusev said every week.

I personally didn’t expect them to mention what happened in any way. Well, they did mention it, but in a very tactful manner.

The WWE was very careful to call the tragedy “current events.” Lana never mentioned Malaysia, Ukraine or an airplane. Did she cross a line by saying that the United States was to blame for it? Maybe, but that’s nothing new in professional wrestling.

Do you think this is the first time a wrestling angle has involved some type of worldly conflict? If you say yes then you are sadly mistaken and misinformed.

I can take you back to Fritz Von Erich playing an evil German while World War II was still fresh people’s memories. Where do you think the name Fritz Von Erich came from? Newsflash: Fritz Von Erich isn’t his real name. Look up Jack Barton Adkisson.

How many times did wrestling promotions have an evil Russian during the Cold War? Remember Nikolai Volkoff? How about Ivan and Nikita Koloff?

The WWE built an entire WrestleMania main event around the first Gulf War with Hulk Hogan and Sgt. Slaughter.

I know we live in a different society where everyone is hypersensitive to political correctness, but this is nothing new in wrestling. The WWE had to mention it, even in as slight a manner as Sunday night. Should they exploit the tragedy? No and I don’t believe they did that at Battleground.

Did they push it too far by putting Vladimir Putin’s face on the titantron again? I lean toward yes, but nothing Lana said was completely out of line. I believe they handled that part in particular with care.

Why the Rusev-Jack Swagger finish was good

I usually don’t like count-out finishes on pay-per-views, but in the specific case of Rusev, I don’t mind it. Actually, I like it.

The reason why it worked for me at Battleground was because Jack Swagger took it right to Rusev and essentially had him reeling.

In essence, he came pretty close to defeating the unstoppable Rusev. But he fell just short due to some freak happening that cost him the match. Notice Swagger wasn’t pinned nor did he tap out. He was counted out after beating up Rusev pretty good.

From a storyline stand point, there’s nothing wrong with that. If anything, it makes Swagger look stronger because he’s the only one that has come that close. That’s the story the WWE should tell at least.

The Miz won the Intercontinental Championship

He was one of my favorites, so I’m not very surprised that The Miz regained the Intercontinental title at Battleground.

The only problem was that the WWE made it pretty obvious during the match. While people were fighting it out in the ring, The Miz was noticeably absent from the action. Instead, he decided to hang out on the outside of the ring.

How do I know this? That’s because the WWE shot him multiple times lying on the floor outside of the ring. John Bradshaw Layfield even mentioned during the match.

Unlike when Santino Marella popped up from behind Alberto Del Rio during the 2011 Royal Rumble, there was no element of surprise when The Miz dumped Dolph Ziggler over the top rope to win the title.

Although I didn’t predict him to win, I’m not upset that The Miz won the title. He’s done good work with this arrogant movie star character he has now.

Sports Producer
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The Squared Circle is a one-stop shop of pro wrestling news, recaps and observations. You can also enjoy interviews with some of your favorite stars from the world of professional wrestling both nationally and locally. Reach Vaughn at vjohnson@philly.com.

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