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WWE Battleground Thoughts
What did everyone else think of Battleground?
I must say I was a tad disappointed. I am not saying I didn't enjoy it, but I think my expectations were too high. While the main event delivered exactly what I had in mind, all other matches felt just a little off in some way. My thinking is that many matches were hindered by the build up to something bigger at SummerSlam. It's hard to imagine any of these feuds really being over, besides the Tag Team Title angle between the Usos and the Wyatt Family.
Today, I'll quickly go over some thoughts concerning all these matches and the possible matches to book for SummerSlam from these results.
Tag Team Titles – Usos vs Wyatts
I was surprised at how this match ended with the champions retaining. I am not not saying it was the wrong decision, because I honestly think they couldn't do wrong here. There is no doubt that The Usos are the hottest face tag team in a really long time, and only seem to be getting better or better (I say seem because I think they were always this good, but they are getting more opportunities to show it off now). The Wyatts as champions would have been incredibly entertaining, and they still can be down the line, as you can see that they are just as impressive in the ring as the Usos these days (if not better). At this point, I think the feud is exhausted in the current format of 2-on-2. I am not saying they couldn't have a 3rd match at SummerSlam with a bigger gimmick than 2 out of 3 falls, I just wouldn't expect it. I think they will face each other again, but in a different dynamic.
You must also remember that it's very unlikely that the Usos will ever do anything but compete as a tag team. Is there really a purpose of seeing them feud against each other and move onto singles careers? I highly doubt that, so there's every reason to make them a successful long term tag team. Meanwhile Luke Harper is undoubtedly making waves in the company and impressing people, which will likely turn into a singles run sooner rather than later. I hope the Wyatt Family stays together for a while longer as they are. If any changes are required, I'd like to see them add a 4th member over having Harper disassociate himself too early. It will happen, but efforts should be made to let him work in the confines of the stable and team for a little bit longer.
The other tag teams will be looking to move into contention very soon. RybAxel had some decent TV time in the battle royal, while Goldust and Stardust had a backstage segment on the PPV also. Look for both teams to make an impact in L.A. In August.
As for the match, I really thought this would steal the show. And it did, but I still expected better. I think the match at Money in the Bank was a better one overall. The ending sequence to the 2 out of 3 falls match was simply amazing, but I felt the other 2 falls were quick and didn't really build a great story. It was like they wanted to tie them up quickly so that they could get to the final 5 minutes right away. It felt rushed somehow. It was amazing, no question. I just think the other falls could have been used better.
Divas Title - Paige vs AJ Lee
The Divas title match was complicated. I was very confused by Paige's actions in this bout, asking for AJ to “come on” or whatever it was. It felt like there was something missing, and maybe we'll find out what it is tonight or sometime during the build to SummerSlam. I can understand that, but it did mean this match suffered just a bit. The bad botch through the ropes also stood out, and dropped my enjoyment of this match. I think both ladies are incredibly talented and deserving of their spots on PPV (much more than the other Divas who kicked off the show, or the Bellas). This was the first match that felt like the competitors were saving something for the bigger show next month. I think this was confirmed later on in the broadcast where the SummerSlam promo aired with both Paige and AJ having rather prominent parts.
So, I'll be slightly forgiving to the match quality as I expect more out of it in the next few weeks, but I certainly didn't feel they reached expectations for Battleground. IT was above average, no doubt. But not spectacular in the way I expected, even from a Divas match. Next month, perhaps?
Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose
The match didn't even take place, while I was absolutely fine with. If we are getting several rematches next PPV, I can certainly understand holding off on Dean Ambrose getting his lunatic hands on Seth Rollins in an official capacity. I think their segments were tremendous all night, from the first attack backstage, to the forfeiture in the ring attack, to the garage attack. They have a very fresh character in Dean Ambrose, and having him salivating this intensely to get his rival in the ring is adding a lot to the storyline without Rollins even needing to do a thing. Ambrose is carrying this feud with his antics, while Rollins just plays the heel, and he is doing a more than capable job of it, but Dean is stealing the spotlight in almost every way.
Obviously this will be an even hotter match next month, so great job here. I don't even know if they can make this a standard 1-on-1 match anymore. Even without an official first match, they've skipped to the need of a gimmick match. We'll see if they go this route, but this is certainly among the strongest storylines in WWE in 2014, if not #1.
Rusev vs Swagger
First, let me comment on the Russia comments. Anyone offended by this needs to take a step back. I know the world has changed a lot since 1991, but Sgt. Slaughter did so much worse in his feuds with Warrior and Hogan. First, when you really break this down, all she did was say “the person I am a fan of had nothing to do with something people are accusing him of.” That is not controversial in any way. I understand the microscope that can be pointed towards everyone, but this is ridiculous to think it crossed any line. Sure, I was tense that it could reach a controversial level, but it didn't. There's nothing to be in a panic over, nor should WWE be scrutinized for this. The amount of people offended by anything these days is the only thing that really offends me. The world is in a massive state of pussification.
As for this match and feud, it delivered almost what was expected. I'm glad it didn't end with a tap out loss for Swagger, because it would be pointless for him to turn face and just lose. These needs to be more of chase towards the endgame here. The count out victory works to keep both reasonably credible while still leaving doubt as to who was the better man.
Bray Wyatt vs Chris Jericho
Was there really an attack on Twitter calling this an upset? Or that the wrong man won? It's moments like this that I wonder if I'm wasting my time writing for imbeciles.
Bray getting the win does nothing for anyone. If Jericho really was the underdog, then Bray wouldn't have gained anything from winning. If Jericho was the betting favorite, then the moment Bray eventually gets the big win (and don't even doubt that likelihood) it'll mean much more.
Angles should rarely be for 1 PPV. Especially when using talents like Jericho who is a certified future Hall of Famer, and future major star in Bray Wyatt. This needs to be extended, and a Bray win the first night only kills momentum.
As for the match, standard. Jericho looked to be blown up a bit, and very red in the chest and shoulders. Hopefully they can overachieve next month.
Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal (Miz/Sheamus/Ziggler)
It's a wonder where this title situation seems to be going. Miz as sneaky heel champion is fine with me. Now the question is who takes him on. I understand that he's been building something up with Sheamus, but no one is better to challenge him than Ziggler after how the match ended last night. Would a triple threat to merge the titles work? I'm sure it can, as long as it's not a 2 fall match like WrestleMania 2000 was for Jericho vs Benoit vs Angle. It worked then, but it wouldn't jive in 2014 as a unification match. Now if there is no goal to merge the belts, then go for it. Merge them accidentally if you wish, but do it with elimination rules, or first fall wins all.
Some decent stories could be built out of this. Slater and Cesaro might have something going; Big E. and Kofi Kingston made a strong impression as a team, Ryback vs Sheamus for the US Title while Ziggler takes on the Miz for the IC would work; Bo Dallas looked to have some decent heel heat that could lead to something. Lots of options coming out of this.
Roman failed to win the WWE Championship, which I guess was expected. He looked as good as possible in the loss, nailing his spots and getting the crowd behind him. Now, I do sense that the crowd was mildly disinterested in his push, and I'm not surprised. While the IWC tends to over exaggerate everything, there's certainly going to have a casual fan reaction to any star that is overpraised by the company.
I think the comparisons to Batista are quite apt. The Animal's rise was very quick and rushed. It started at Survivor Series in a very subtle way with him looking at the belt backstage, and it only got bigger as the story grew. By WrestleMania 21, only 5 months later, he was champion in the main event of the whole show – that show included John Cena's crowning moment as well, but Batista's was the last match! He was quickly shipped over to Smackdown, and in retrospect it was the best thing they could do with him. Both Cena and Batista were unproven as champions at the same time, but there's also little doubt that Cena had more going for him and therefore his move to Raw made sense. Batista still needed work in all departments (like Roman) and was moved to the B show to help make up for that. And it worked. Batista never had a classic match in that first run, nor a great angle. But his credibility was slowly built up and improving. Even the injury that ended the title reign did more to help him than hurt him because he never lost the title.
For Reigns today, many of those keys should be used. Keep him away from the main event. Let him feud with Orton and HHH, and not let his promos or the announcers hype be about how he wants to be WWE Champion. Let his crusade be against the Authority. Then, when he overcomes it to chase the title, it won't feel like the shove down our throats that it's tasting like right now.
I don't doubt Roman Reigns can be the next huge star. He's over and has the look, and is decent enough on the mic and in the ring to be able to get to the point of taking it all to the next level. But it could damage him in the long run if he's given too much too soon. I am not his biggest fan, but I am a fan of the company behind him, so I want what's best for their business. Roman Reigns shouldn't be looking to take the title until the Rumble. I'd also concentrate on building the Rumble hype around someone else's ascension instead, and letting Roman get the win instead. I don't mean the way Batista took Bryan's win this past year. I mean the way Bret Hart was shown as the main winner for 1997, but Stone Cold stole it from him and it led to his career taking off. Maybe give several guys a real push to win it, both a mix of established stars and new rising faces. I know they tend to do that, but there's still usually one name that stands out. 2005 had Cena and Batista look to be making their impact, but only one man could. Cena still get his match, but only one man won it with the Rumble victory, and that's close to what should happen here. Maybe Cena wants his redemption from losing the title, or Batista wants it after the disastrous 2014 so far, or Orton regaining it for the Authority. As for rising stars, maybe Daniel Bryan will be back by then, Dolph Ziggler is getting more and more popular every day, and Bray Wyatt will certainly be a contender also. Let many names look to need the victory, but give Roman the win. It'll just work out better for all involved.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Cena vs Brock. There's really no more to add here.
So, what do I expect the card to be?
Rollins vs Ambrose
Miz vs Sheamus vs Ziggler
Rusev vs Swagger (maybe a tag match with Lana and Zeb involved)
Jericho vs Wyatt
AJ vs Paige
Usos vs Wyatts vs Dust Bros vs RybAxel (maybe TLC match?)
Reigns vs Orton (maybe HHH)
Cena vs Brock
By the way, I must say the SummerSlam promo that was on the PPV last night was brutally awful. It started out amazing, with the music and images combining for something “epic” as they later used to describe it. But once the music went pop... seriously WWE, **** off. I don't want the return of standard hard rock or metal, even though that is much closer to my type of music. But pop music just doesn't add excitement. If you're going to go with house score to start off the promo, go all the way with it. You can have the sponsors use their song to advertise the album in many other segments, but it just ruined that promo. I shook my head, and will tonight when it's replayed.
Tuesday Night Titans
For July 22rd's edition of Tuesday Night Titans, Xanman and myself talked about Roman Reigns as WWE Champion, the best matches of 2014 so far, and our prospects for the breakout stars moving forward.
We also continued our coverage of ECW supercards, continuing on with 1995’s Return of the Funker
New Wrestling Podcasts with LordsofPain
Less than 24 hours after all of the bombastic action of WWE Battleground, John Cena is still your WWE World Heavyweight Champion, although WWE COO Triple H has already set the wheels in motion for Cena's title defense at SummerSlam. With special guest star Flo Rida joining in the festivities tonight on Raw, what else can the WWE Universe look forward to, and what blockbuster bit of breaking news may determine the fate of WWE's most prestigious prize? WWE.com has some ideas about how Monday’s most exciting show is preparing to heat up Miami.
1. New extremes for Ambrose and Rollins?
Seth Rollins didn’t earn his victory over Dean Ambrose at WWE Battleground —The Lunatic Fringe was ejected from the building after ambushing Mr. Money in the Bank backstage— but he did earn his fair share of scrapes and bruises courtesy of his former “brother.” After Rollins was declared the victor via forfeit last night, Ambrose not only attacked his one-time ally to incite another pull-apart brawl, but launched a third strike from the trunk of Rollins’ own car!
Having failed to defeat Mr. Money in the Bank in an official WWE bout, Ambrose will no doubt be hungry for retribution against his Authority-aligned nemesis tonight in Miami.
2. The Intercontinental Title goes ‘Hollywood’
Does this mean we have to be subjected to another obnoxious “letter” from this preening egotist? Regardless of how the WWE Universe feels about The Miz these days, The Awesome One has captured the Intercontinental Championship for an impressive third time, outlasting (and arguably outsmarting) some of WWE’s most elite Superstars in a massive Battle Royal at WWE Battleground.
Given his tendency to boast since returning from the set of “The Marine 4: Moving Target,” one can only imagine how The Miz will commemorate his third Intercontinental Title reign. However, as the self-professed “A-Lister” ponders how to best pamper his “moneymaker” for his next close-up, he’d be wise to consider which Superstars will be eyeing his championship this week on Raw.
3. Y2J: Buzzard beater
Despite his incredible accomplishments as one of the most prolific competitors in sports-entertainment history, Chris Jericho might have faced his most unusual challenge last night when he battled the ruthless Bray Wyatt at WWE Battleground. Following weeks of mind games that made even the charismatic Fozzy frontman uneasy, Y2J’s experience enabled him to prevail when he silenced “The Man of 1,000 Truths” with an incredible Codebreaker.
Now that Jericho has defeated Wyatt — much to the delight of legions of Jerichoholics — how will The Eater of Worlds seek to spread his macabre message? Is Wyatt done preying on “the best in the world at what he does”?
4. Red, white and bruised
Resembling some bizarre, alternate ending to “Rocky IV,” the United States’ star-spangled hero, Jack Swagger, fell to “The Hero of the Russian Federation,” Rusev, at WWE Battleground, giving The Bulgarian Brute his most difficult battle before Swagger was counted out. After the match, Rusev continued to assert his dominance over his American foe when he locked an unconscious Swagger in the Accolade.
Even though Rusev’s victory over The Real American gave Lana some new fodder to proclaim Russia’s superiority over the United States, the American flag’s colors don’t run — and neither do Swagger and Zeb Colter. Will the patriots unleash their counter-attack on Raw?
5. The Champ’s still here
If you witnessed the conclusion of Raw, you would have assumed that there’d be no way John Cena would be able to leave WWE Battleground with the WWE World Heavyweight Title. However, The Champ has made a career of defying expectations and beating the odds, so why stop now?
Despite The Authority’s plans to pry the championship from Cena’s grasp in last night’s Fatal 4-Way Match, Cena defeated Roman Reigns and two Authority-aligned Superstars, Randy Orton and Kane. When Cena sealed a victory by using an Attitude Adjustment to send The Viper crashing onto The Devil’s Favorite Demon, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon had to be squirming in their seats wherever they were.
With the Cenation leader still in possession of sports-entertainment’s most prestigious prize, how will The Authority respond on Raw? Also, what’s next for Reigns, who came closer than ever to winning his first World Championship in WWE?
Live Raw Discussion
Intro - HHH
HHH ripping into the internet is sort of funny, but not in an obvious joke way. It's more that HHH is the figurehead of everyone who says the internet audience does not matter, yet this segment of the audience is big enough to be mocked in the opening segment of Raw?
Odd that they hype up the possibility of Reigns vs Cena as a match the fans want. I won't deny that it would be a decent SummerSlam main event, just like Daniel Bryan vs Cena worked last year at the same event. The problem of course is that Brock is going to get his chance instead. I am honestly surprised more fans aren't acknowledging Lesnar's name. Maybe WWE formatted the segment perfectly to not leave any openings, but I thought there were quite a few, but no Brock chants.
Live Raw Discussion
Reigns vs Kane/Orton
Meh. More of the same booking for whoever WWE feels should be the top guy. At least the breakdown between Orton and Kane made sense for the handicap loss to occur, but I'm not the targeted audience for this stuff.
I'm not commenting on this silly DivasBS. At least it's out of the way.
Bo Dallas vs Damien Sandow
Is Bo a face or heel? Is this a heel vs heel match?
This is so ****ing stupid.
Highlight Reel – Wyatt Family Takeover?
They keep talking about what happened during the commercial break, but not describing it too well. It's annoying to the TV fan, but I can't help but think it works well to get people to get the app. Then again, they show it just a minute later, so maybe not?
As strong a talker as Wyatt is, it's very easy to lose interest in his long winded segments since they have occurred so much. The attack on Jericho really was what they should have concentrated on.
The Miz vs Dolph Ziggler
Let's see if these guys can pull off a great match. It should go towards my possible SummerSlam prediction if done right.
I think they've finally nailed the Miz character, or at the very least found the right direction for it. There's certainly something to the delusional D-list movie star thinking he's a hot shot. The funny thing is that there are at least 2 legitimate A-list movie stars who could confront him. The Rock is a long shot, but Batista is not only possible but logical. It wouldn't be while Miz is IC champion, but it could happen in the near future.
Dolph is so freaking over, it's insane. Very organic. Odd thing is that he's so much like Shawn Michaels circa 92-96, yet HBK's best friend is in charge and doesn't seem to put 2 and 2 together.
Honestly, a big problem is that they have so much potential main event talent that it's difficult to filter out who should get the chances. I'm not saying Dolph should get it before Roman. Dolph's style is not what WWE should be looking for, but Dolph, Wyatt, Barrett, Ryback, Harper, Sheamus, Rollins, Ambrose, Cesaro, and Rusev are all very possible and legitimate contenders as main event stars to be in the mix with Roman Reigns for the next 5-10 years.
And that's not including The Miz getting back to the top, because performances like we just saw vs Ziggler should keep him involved. More matches like that, and he'll be WWE Champion before Ziggler. Dolph made the match, but The Miz has history in the main event that would give him a step ahead of the rest. Tremendous match.
AJ and Paige vs Natalya and Emma
Paige is getting easier on the eyes every week. AJ too. I wish these ladies were around in the age of Divas in Playboy. I'll take either of them over Torrie, Sable, Maria, Ashley...etc. Not that I haven't viewed those images a thousand times, but I'd look at AJ or Paige 2 thousand times.
It's great that AJ brings out the CM Punk chants, but it's also a curse.
Paige heel turn? I'm not sure if this will work, as there will still be lots of fans who will enjoy seeing a legit diva be an ass kicker. It'll work long term, but just an attack won't do it. I know I'd be popping live in attendance, and I wouldn't be alone. In fact you can hear some cheers in Miami.
It's nights like this that I want to go to bed early. **** this shit.
There's a decent joke here about Cena, a no talent rapper, having the night off while Flo Rida gets some airtime... I'm no rap expert, other than thinking it's all shit.
I do like the Raw shirt he's wearing. And, at least we have Cesaro vs Ambrose coming up, and Brock Lesnar in some capacity.
Stephanie McMahon Arrest
This is beyond stupid. This took way too long, it was not moving along well at all, just a complete abomination.
RybAxel vs Kof-E
I guess it's the official debut of the tag team of Kofi and Big E. I guess they could end up involved in my proposed Tag Title 4 way at SummerSlam, but would they replace RybAxel, and make it 3 face teams vs 1 duo of heels in Harper and Rowan? I guess my idea was never on the table.
Whoa whoa whoa...what?
Very interesting. As LOPposter TeamFarrell (a.k.a. COACH) put it, Malcolm Xavier Woods.
Rusev vs Khali
I must say that an Accolade on Khali will be impressive.
Wait, no Swagger mention or update? Did I miss it?
Cesaro vs Ambrose
I guess this will be the main event. Nothing wrong with that.
Dean's sit down should have been presented as his protest to get the title shot. It would be a nice touch.
Is anyone really surprised? When Heyman was saying “Plan C” I kept hoping he'd follow it up with “M Punk.”
I know, I know.
I really worry about what will happen to the WWE with Brock Lesnar as WWE Champion with his part time schedule. I think it could really backfire having a champion who isn't around.
I know Brock vs Cena will be awesome. I have no doubt. It just feels like another mistake in the long line of errors WWE have gone with that end up being short term benefits with long term after effects. They might have a rabbit in their hat, but it seems like a real risk having a champion walk away for months at a time. I can't see how that is good for business at a time when WWE is going to be looking to keep as many current subscribers to WWE Network, and generate new ones. I hope I am wrong, but I think this is a risk that just won't pan out.
And on that note, Peace out
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