WWE Battleground was a controversial PPV in which we saw new champions, a new Number One Contender crowned, and the return of the Punjabi Prison match and with it the return of one of the most devastating monsters in WWE history. While understandably many may be disappointed with this PPV, this Battleground provided one of the best WWE Tag Title matches in recent history.
The Kick-Off Show featured Aiden English redeeming himself with a win over Tye Dillinger. This was quite a good match, English’s finishing move is great; this feud should continue due to the 50/50 booking, but both men (particularly Dillinger) are capable of so much more.
The New Day are the New Smackdown Tag Team Champions! What a match to begin Battleground; unfortunately, this is by far the best the show would get, but this match would steal the show on any PPV. Some incredible near falls including a superkick from an elbow drop, kicking out of the midnight hour, Kofi somehow kicking out of a superkick into a splash, all for Xavier Woods to get the win for his team with the Trouble in Paradise into an Elbow Drop from one side of the ring to the other! This was phenomenal, The New Day are the first team to hold both the Raw & Smackdown Tag Titles and I’d be more than happy for Summerslam to be just Four Straight Hours of The New Day vs The Usos at this point; nothing could really follow this, unbelievable match.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin ends in disqualification when Mr. Money in the Bank goes low on the King of Strong Style. Perhaps hurt by the quality of the match before, this was just too slow to really elicit any true excitement; yes that is Corbin’s style and it works as a heel, but tis matches like this that make it feel like Nakamura is just being wasted. Corbin attacked Nakamura with the briefcase after the match hitting the End of Days. If this is Shinsukes first Summerslam feud then that will feel a bit disappointing at this stage.
Natalya became the Number One Contender for Naomi’s Smackdown Women’s Championship at Summerslam. With Naomi on commentary, Tamina & Lana looked to team up but soon fell victim to Becky Lynch; Tamina was able to save Lana from Becky but Lana could not help Tamina before both were eliminated to the submission hold; interesting to see where the Tamina Lana story goes from here with that tension created, great work there. Natalya surprisingly rolled up Becky to eliminate her before beating Charlotte Flair to win the match. Thought this would have ended with Becky & Charlotte going at it for the win but Natalya is a nice swerve; she deserves it more than anyone and her and Naomi will do great at Summerslam. Perhaps Lana & Tamina will have to put their differences aside to face Becky & Charlotte in Brooklyn?
Kevin Owens once again became the true Face of America defeating AJ Styles to win his third United States Championship. This certainly had a big fight feel going in and looked to be slowly building perfectly (with ample time left by this match), before Owens won by rolling Styles into a pin while in a cross-face after a referee bump. This was just so anticlimactic and a really odd ending, a match with so much potential that was building so well completely ruined; makes us wonder what the point of Maddison Square Garden was? A really disappointing ending to what looked to be a great match at one point. A true highlight was Kevin Owens on Talking Smack, hilariously ripping Renee Young and making a slight ‘The Elite’ reference for all us awful marks out there, he was a prime example of why that show needs to come back and remain and prominent feature of WWE programming,
John Cena defeated Rusev in the Flag Match. This was just very slow; hurt by the fact that we have already seen this feud so comprehensively, this fell incredibly flat. For Rusev’s first feud back this is perhaps the worst thing imaginable, Cena not only won but made Rusev at in the early goings of the match; not the way to build what should be an absolute monster. For the record, you will not find a bigger John Cena fan than this writer, but this just didn’t work. A flag match in itself makes it nearly impossible to have a good match, and it was clear both men tried their hardest, but the stipulation made the match so slow and boring, this match fell completely flat again. The AA off the podium through the tables was exciting, but incredibly predictable once the tables were brought out and positioned. Hopefully both men move on and we can just forget this ever happened.
The Fashion Files and Breezango’s attempt to finally solve the case fails miserably. It’s all done backstage as The Ascension come in and say it was them, but Breezango clearly know it’s not. For what possible reason would you have potential monsters like the Ascension in this trying to be funny and crack jokes? Breezango is attacked and the camera lays on the ground as Breezango is laid out and dragged away. This is very similar to something you’d expect from Harper & Rowan. It’s great that the Fashion Files will continue as its arguably the best thing on Smackdown but this has the potential to derail it; very disappointing once again not to get any closer here.
Mike Kanellis lost his debut PPV match falling victim to Sami Zayn. This wasn’t built effectively and it showed here. Put in the unfortunate spot between the John Cena Flag Match & The Main Event this hardly stood a chance, another very disappointing match. Maria ran interference preventing Zayn from hitting an exploder, but this time Zayn was able to hit it anyway and get the win with the Helluva Kick. With the 50/50 Booking this feud should continue. ==, but again just not really PPV quality here.
Jinder Mahal retained the WWE Championship over Randy Orton inside the Punjabi Prison with the help of the Singh Brothers and the Returning Great Khali! A quick note, why did Jinder come to first when he is the champion, tradition please! The two men put on a good, but slow, but acceptable match. Randy hit Jinder with an amazing counter, hitting the RKO out of nowhere countering the Khallas. The Singh Brothers found a way to get involved coming out from under the ring to leave Orton inside the first structure while helping Jinder out, I’ll never get tired of seeing Randy whip the life out of the Singh’s and one of them took an amazing shot through the top of the structure through an announce table! It is great heel work by Jinder but just repetitive and very slow. Just as Randy looked to have the match one the Great Khali returned and choked Orton, taking him out allowing Jinder to retain. I can definitely understand why people would have really liked this match and it did tick all the boxes, and its ‘Great’ to see the Great Khali back, but personally this fell flat once again; as did the PPV as a whole. Battleground seemed to really underwhelm, especially considering how amazing Great Balls of Fire was only a few weeks ago. WWE looks to be under the reign of the great Indian Stable of The Great Khali, the Singh Brothers and WWE Champion Jinder Mahal.