Welcome to The Wrestling Kennection's LIVE Battleground 2017 PPV Coverage!!!
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Singles Match "Perfect Ten" Tye Dillinger vs. "Drama King" Aiden English
RESULT: Aiden English wins via pinfall; English won after using a swinging full-nelson facebuster to pin Dillinger for the three count.
THOUGHTS: A surprisingly intense little back-and-forth in the latest installment between Dillinger and English, this time with the "Drama King" picking up a much-needed win in what was already becoming a one-sided feud. This either means they can finally moves these two on to other opponents, or we're in for three more pre-show matches so Aiden can even the SCORRRRRRRRE! *song pun TOTALLY intended*
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 0/10 Greg - 0/10 Julie - 0/10 Nick - 1/10
Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship The Usos (c) vs. The New Day w/Big E
RESULT: NEWWW champions The New Day win via pinfall; Xavier Woods pinned Jimmy Uso after a Trouble-in-Paradise/ropewalk elbow combo.
THOUGHTS: Always smart by WWE to have New Day open any pay-per-view, as they can almost guarantee a hot start to the show, and this match was no exception. These two teams have developed a good, fluid in-ring chemistry over the years.
The Usos were aggressive from the get-go and played that up further with a NASTY double powerbomb to Kofi after catching him on his "trust fall" dive, and proceeded to dismantle Woods, whose resilience was on display here as well and played the Ricky Morton role to a tee. After Kofi managed his way back in, then we saw an intense exchange of near falls, including a sliding superkick on a diving Xavier, followed up by a superkick-Samoan Splash combo on Kofi, both leading to really good false finishes that had the live audience on edge. It would be the slight hesitation to put Kofi away that led to New Day capitalizing, putting the Usos away and capturing their 3rd tag title reign.
While it was certainly a barn-burner of a match and a great opener, I still feel like the title change would've had more impact at SummerSlam for a triumphant, end-of-the-season kind of feel. That said, congrats to The New Day on being the first dual-brand tag champs.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 0/10 Greg - 1/10 Julie - 1/10 Nick - 1/10
Singles Match "The Artist" Shinsuke Nakamura vs. "Lone Wolf" Baron Corbin
RESULT: Shinsuke Nakamura wins via DQ; Corbin was disqualified after countering Nakamura's reverse exploder with a low blow.
THOUGHTS: A classic case of Nakamura's technician versus Corbin's big man, Shinsuke attempting to dissect Baron with multiple strikes and submissions, while Baron had simple but brutal counters for each of those attempts. I feel like more could have been done between these two, but that's what non-finishes like a DQ do, keep a feud open for a more intense, satisfying finish down the road.
As I expected, Corbin didn't want to lose face as the MITB holder with a straight loss to Shinusuke, so he takes the low road out with a blatant low blow. So Nakamura nets a PPV win, Corbin retains his "in-ring cred" by not taking a straight-up pinfall, and the feud will most likely continue.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 1/10 Greg - 2/10 Julie - 1/10 Nick - 1/10
Women's Fatal Five-Way Elimination Match (Winner faces Smackdown Women's Champion at SummerSlam) Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Tamina Snuka vs. Lana vs. Natalya Neidhart
RESULT: 1st elimination: Becky Lynch eliminated Tamina via submission with the Dis-Arm-Her @ 8:00. 2nd elimination: Becky Lynch eliminated Lana via submission with the Dis-Arm-Her @ 8:20. 3rd elimination: Natalya Neidhart eliminated Becky via pinfall after rolling her up with a handful of tights @ 8:30. 4th (final) elimination: Natalya Neidhart eliminated Charlotte via pinfall after hitting a school boy roll-up into the bottom turnbuckle.
THOUGHTS: For as much as the partnership between Lana and Tamina was played up at the start of this match, it also served to highlight the vast difference in in-ring experience; whereas Tamina was around to break up two of Becky's submission attempts on Lana, Lana hesitated to repay that favor to Tamina when the latter found herself in and ultimately tapped out to Becky's Dis-Arm-Her. After that, the eliminations came in short order, leading up to Natalya versus Charlotte, with Natalya finally netting a solid win over Charlotte in their long-standing rivalry.
Can't say I was wowed by how rushed and uninspired this felt, as it has felt like a pretty good representation of the overall lazy booking of the Smackdown Women's division the last few months.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 1/10 Greg - 2/10 Julie - 1/10 Nick - 3/10 (1st pick)
WWE United States Championship Singles Match "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles (c) vs. "The New Face of America" Kevin Owens
RESULT: NEWWW Champion Kevin Owens wins via pinfall(?); Owens countered Styles' crossface into a cradle for a three count.
THOUGHTS: I REALLY didn't get the finish here; the ref bump leading into a double pinfall being counted I would've understood on its own, as it would keep Styles-Owens going into and possibly culminating at SummerSlam (though having this on top of the DQ booking for Nakamura-Corbin is a little too heavy on PPV non-finishes for my liking).
There was clearly a miscommunication here, as both men's shoulders were indeed counted down, meaning the match would be a draw and champion AJ would retain, yet Owens was awarded the title. Styles was quite animated following the odd finish, which lends credence to the idea that something went awry during the end of the match.
Owens and Styles' in-ring exchange up to that point certainly had more of an action-packed feel to it than their Backlash installment, but the finish really took a lot of luster out of the whole match, both for the reasons I already mentioned and the fact that Styles had just won the title; a victory like the one AJ had at Madison Square Garden just doesn't mean as much if there isn't a quality-length reign to back it up.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 1/10 Greg - 2/10 Julie - 1/10 Nick - 4/10
Flag Match (First to place their flag in its pedestal wins) John Cena vs. "The Bulgarian Brute" Rusev
RESULT: John Cena wins the Flag Match; Cena planted the US Flag after putting Rusev through two tables with an Attitude Adjustment.
THOUGHTS: A outdated match concept and a slow methodical style, even under a veil of fervent patriotism, didn't jostle the Philly crowd nearly as much as I imagine WWE and Vince would have liked. Though Cena and Rusev have built a respectable in-ring chemistry with each other, there was nothing here we haven't already seen between the two men. All in all, a match that effectively shut down what was a decently pumped live audience.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 2/10 Greg - 4/10 (LOCK) Julie - 2/10 Nick - 4/10
Singles Match Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis w/Maria Kanellis
RESULT: Sami Zayn wins via pinfall; Zayn pinned Kanellis following an exploder and the Helluva Kick.
THOUGHTS: The follow-up from their recent match on Smackdown, this time ending with Zayn being wise to Maria's involvement and countering Mike into the EXPLODAH and the Helluva Kick for the three count. Classic 50-50 booking here, with the likely rubber match coming in a week or two leading up to SummerSlam, though the loss for Mike doesn't do him favors in terms of establishing him as a dangerous individual within the guise of "The Power of Love."
Ever since the Fatal Five-Way and the oddball finish to Styles-Owens, Battleground's taken a steady dip in terms of quality. With due respect to Orton and Mahal, the upcoming Punjabi Prison match doesn't give me high hopes for a turnaround, especially if the rumored Great Khali involvement comes to pass.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 2/10 Greg - 5/10 Julie - 3/10 Nick - 4/10
WWE World Championship Punjabi Prison Match "The Modern-Day Maharaja" Jinder Mahal (c) vs. "The Viper" Randy Orton
RESULT: Jinder Mahal wins the Punjabi Prison Match; Great Khali held Orton in a mid-air chokehold while Mahal made his escape.
THOUGHTS: This was not a fun match to sit through. Not only did the cages cut down on a lot of visibility for the fans, but so much of the match was focused on getting out the doors rather then at least try to establish a more solid match formula between Orton and Mahal, who have been methodical and plodding at best.
The kendo sticks and steel chairs did add an air of brutality, and the Singh Brothers stowing away under the ring for a mid-match interruption was a mildly interesting bit, but didn't do much in the long run to keep this from being the "third time a charm" in terms of a disappointing match concept known as the Punjabi Prison. Methinks Vince needs to shelve this concept for good and ship it off to whatever dusty archive Indiana Jones keeps his swag in. Better yet, where's Rollins' "Pyro-Mania" when you need it?
Khali's involvement was called by many pundits, so the shock of the audience was muted at best here. I will give that Khali could probably serve as a more effective bodyguard than the Singhs put together, but he should NOT get back in the ring, if there's any real sense in the writers' room.
This PPV was a tale of two halves; the first half had a fun, energetic and impactful vibe to it and had the Philly crowd pumped, then WWE lost them following the unusual ending to the US Title match and slip-slided from there, ending with a dull thud known as the Punjabi Prison. A very "middle-to-low road" kind of PPV effort from WWE tonight.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 3/10 Greg - 6/10 (WINNER) Julie - 5/10 (LOCK) Nick - 4/10