WWE served up a useless PPV event on Sunday night at Battleground, which isn’t to say that some of the action wasn’t of high quality or that there wasn’t at least one major surprise, but the end of the show left many viewers wondering exactly why Battleground was needed at all. Coming just three weeks after a solid Money In the Bank show that already started the build toward SummerSlam (four weeks away), Battleground is caught in the middle and really did little to advance the momentum forward.
There were two key highlights worth mentioning. One came right off the bat, with the best-of-three falls match for the WWE World Tag Team Title between holders The Usos and challengers Luke Harper and Eric Rowan. This was a classic match and one of the best tag team (or any) matches so far of 2014. There were plenty of near falls and a solid story told in the ring, including simple gestures and looks from the wrestlers as the action went on. The lack of a title change was a bit disappointing, as the two members of the Wyatt Family have done enough now to deserve holding the titles. But still they wait. Hopefully another match (and a title change) at SummerSlam is upcoming.
The other highlight was the one true surprise of the night — Chris Jericho pinning Bray Wyatt. Jericho has been the setup man in most of recent returns to WWE, assisting talent such as CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and even an (ill-fated) attempt to get Fandango over. So most thought more of the same was coming Sunday, but in an entertaining match, Jericho got the better of Wyatt, who had no chance of help from Harper and Rowan as they were ejected from ringside by the referee about halfway through. This could set up another SummerSlam rematch, as well, where it would be fully expected that Wyatt would win on that bigger stage. But it was good to see WWE book Jericho into a PPV win.
The rest of the show could have been a special episode of Monday Night Raw. Even the four-way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Title was a bit of a letdown, as John Cena, Roman Reigns, Randy Orton and Kane all got their spots in, Cena kicked out of everything and he eventually pinned Kane for the win to retain the title. It could have been a Raw main event and no one would have known the difference. It didn’t stand out, and the same could be said for the rest of the matches on the card.
Even the battle royal for the Intercontinental Championship was a letdown, as The Miz won the title after hiding for most of the bout, then eliminating Ziggler at the end. Afterward, Ziggler sat at ringside in front of a barrier with a sullen look, much like the one many had when this show was over. And you can’t really blame Ziggler, who works as hard as anyone in the ring only to see no-talents like The Miz, who draw no crowd reaction whatsoever, be rewarded with a belt.
Another disappointment was the decision to scrap the Dean Ambrose–Seth Rollins match, instead showcasing a series of brawls between the pair, one of which was backstage and another was in the parking lot. This was a match many felt was the highlight of the card, and the bait-and-switch pulled off by WWE here was a disgrace. Though, with many viewers now getting PPVs for just the $9.95 monthly cost of a WWE Network subscription, you have to wonder if Vince McMahon feels PPVs require the same level of entertainment as before. Those who paid $55 to watch on cable or satellite had to be more than a little ticked at the match not happening.
WWE has a lot of work to do in the four weeks before SummerSlam. Battleground didn’t live up to PPV standards and really shouldn’t exist. A longer build toward SummerSlam would be more effective in the future, especially if WWE can’t put together a solid Battleground show anyway.