The SmarK Rant for WWE Battleground 2015–07.19.15

The SmarK Rant for WWE Battleground 2015

For those invested in the minutia of my life when it comes to these things, I’m doing this rant on a Microsoft Surface tablet, which has now replaced my beloved iPad due to the fact that I can do things like have the full version of Office running on it with an actual Windows keyboard. For me, the Surface Type keyboard destroys even the best iPad Bluetooth keyboard. Save your scorn, I’m a big boy who knows what he’s getting into.

Live from St. Louis, MO

Your hosts are Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and JBL.

Sheamus v. Randy Orton

Sheamus apparently called him “Randy Bore-Ton” on Twitter leading up to the show, so you know shit is on now. Feuds in 2015, ladies and gents. Usual headlocks to start and Sheamus bails, so they brawl outside and Orton wins that battle. Back in, they slug it out with forearms, but Sheamus catches him with the backbreaker. That move name is now banned due to Vince reasons, by the way. You may not refer to the act of breaking someone’s back, apparently. Sheamus goes up with a flying knee for two and hits the chinlock. Who had 5:30 in the pool? Orton sends him into the post to break. They slug it out and JBL is like “Oh man, there’s a FIGHT breaking out!” as if this was the most exciting sequence he’s ever seen. They trade finisher attempts and head to the floor again, where Orton drops him on the table with something that didn’t look particularly impressive. Back in, powerslam gets two, but Sheamus gets the rolling senton for two. Orton blocks the Brogue Kick, but Sheamus hits White Noise for two. The Network is kind of jumping around on me here. Orton comes back with an exploder suplex for two. Sheamus goes up and Orton brings him down with a superplex for two. Draping DDT, but Orton takes forever to set up the RKO, allowing Sheamus to Brogue him. Well he’s got no one to blame but himself for that. Sheamus with the Cloverleaf, but Orton makes the ropes. RKO OUTTA NOWHERE finishes at 16:41. Sucks to be the briefcase holder, as usual. Crowd was desperately wanting this to be great, but it was just the same boring TV match they’ve had a million times. **1/2

Meanwhile, Stephanie McMahon continues to take credit for “changing the landscape of the Divas division”. And of course she makes sure to stand right next to tiny JoJo and stress how much taller she is. Apparently tonight it’s a Divas triple threat match, and if they don’t tear the house down, Stephanie will be quite upset. Could they make these poor girls look ANY more small and useless next to the mighty Steph?

WWE Tag team titles: The Primetime Players v. The New Day

Xavier reassures us that sometimes you have to lose so that you can win later on. Yeah, that’s called 50/50 booking and it’s why the ratings are in the toilet, Xavier. This is not 3 on 2, as a note, although Xavier is hanging around at ringside. Young with a neckbreaker and northern lights suplex for two on Kofi. So why can you call something a “neckbreaker” but not a “backbreaker”? Isn’t breaking a neck intrinsically worse? Cole notes that Mark Henry has been taking the PTP under his wing, which probably explains why Young was out for so long with injuries. The Players work on Big E while Xavier offers critique (“That was the worst legdrop ever!”) until Young gets dumped due to Woods pulling down the top rope. Woods is as confused about the sequence of events as anyone. New Day controls in the heel corner while Woods tries to single-handedly save this match from dying by never shutting up. Big E splashes Young on the apron for two and goes to the abdominal stretch, and the Network skips around again to Young escaping the Big Ending and making the hot tag to Titus. He runs wild with his usual sloppy offense, but Woods hits him from the apron and Kofi gets two. Back to Young and he takes care of Woods, but he walks into Kofi’s wacky kick. He comes back with the double knees and Clash of the Titus on Big E finishes at 8:50. That is a huge mistake unless they’re putting those things back on the New Day tomorrow night on RAW. Stretching this out for another month is killing an already dead feud. *1/2

Meanwhile, Paige and her team are ready to tear down the house, as dictated by official corporate mandate of Principal Owner Stephanie McMahon and ratified by the legal division. The legal team would like to stress that no actual houses will literally be torn down in the course of the sports entertainment that will take place, but it is simply a metaphor, and thus the WWE will not be legally responsible for any building demolitions that occur as a result of people watching said match. For more information, refer to Reading this disclaimer signifies the WWE Universe’s acceptance of the terms of the verbal agreement not to tear down any houses, unless they are already a licensed contractor or in possession of a tank.

Roman Reigns v. Bray Wyatt

Count St. Louis in with the cities that don’t care for Reigns. Bray pounds him down to start, but Roman fires back in the corner and dumps him, to which the crowd is not receptive. I mean really, the point of this feud is supposed to be that Wyatt is trying to kidnap his daughter or something, you’d think Reigns would be a LITTLE more angry here. Back in, Wyatt puts him down with a clothesline, but Reigns tosses him again and beats him up on the floor. Cole describes this as the “perfect combo of power and brains”. And they WONDER why this poor bastard can’t get himself over? Back in, Wyatt chokes him out, but Reigns comes back with the samoan drop and some guy in the front row just stands up and goes “BOOOO!” while giving the thumbs down. I feel like that’s just needlessly hurtful. Back to the floor and Reigns meets the stairs. Back in and Wyatt slugs away in the corner, then tosses Reigns as it feels like 50% of the match has been one guy throwing the other one to the floor. Wyatt with a DDT on the apron as some of the crowd likes Wyatt and most just don’t care about either guy. Wyatt with the senton for two and he hits the chinlock while the damn camera changes angles OVER AND OVER. It’s a CHINLOCK, calm the fuck down. Constantly zooming in and out on Bray’s face does not make this match any more exciting. Reigns escapes with a suplex and I don’t think this crowd could give any less of a shit. Reigns makes the comeback to crickets, and Wyatt blocks the apron dropkick and follows with a senton on the floor. The replay shows that Reigns was in absolutely no position to actually hit that move, so as usual, great job WWE camera crew! Back in, that gets two for Wyatt. Reigns comes back with a powerbomb out of the corner for two and they lay around waiting for the “This is awesome” chant that instead manifests as “Let’s go Wyatt”. Roman manages to hit his dropkick on a second try, but Wyatt counters the superman punch with a uranage for two. Reigns reverses Sister Abigail into the superman punch for two, and now after 18 minutes of dead silence the crowd suddenly chants “this is awesome”, which is why I have such disdain for that chant. This match is objectively not awesome. Wyatt blocks the spear with a punch for two. Roman powers out of another Sister Abigail and hits a samoan drop, and now they head to the floor AGAIN. Bray grabs some chairs, but Roman throws his own into the ring, and Luke Harper returns and sends Roman into the post, allowing Bray to get the pin at 22:00. That long for THAT finish? **1/2

Meanwhile, Team BAD is all about the swag tonight.

Sasha Banks v. Charlotte v. Brie Bella

It’s Sasha’s PPV debut and she doesn’t even get to use her own music! It just makes all the supposed new stars look like nobodies. Charlotte dumps Brie, but gets yanked off the apron and Brie attacks Sasha. Sasha stacks up the others in the corner and hits the double stomp for two on Charlotte, then chokes her out in the corner for two. Charlotte rolls her up for two, but Sasha takes her down for two. Brie reminds us that she exists again by slugging it out with Sasha, but Charlotte makes the comeback and boots Sasha down for two. Brie gets a double bulldog for two as the crowd just viciously turns on her, as she sticks out like a sore thumb here. Charlotte thankfully gets rid of Brie and fights with Sasha over a backslide, but Sasha gets a neckbreaker off that for two. JBL is like “WCW invasion and nWo and other stuff that existed!” Brie gets sent into her own team on the floor and Sasha follows with a dive, as does Charlotte. Back in, Sasha catches Charlotte with the Bank Statement, but Brie breaks it up, and Charlotte finishes her with the Figure Eight at 11:30. “Team Bella is mortal!” declares Cole. Come on, now. They can’t even decide if the Bellas are supposed to be heels or babyfaces from week to week and now we’re supposed to buy them as unbeatable mega-heels? This was marginally better than the usual time-wasting Divas match but this whole three-way stable thing Is not doing them any favors, especially when Brie kept dragging down the match every time it got good. **3/4

US title: John Cena v. Kevin Owens

Owens grinds him down with a headlock to start as FINALLY this crowd wakes up. They slug it out and Owens wins that with a dropkick, and an inverted TKO gets two. Cena comes back with shoulderblocks, but Owens gets the senton for two before the Network suddenly jumps to the aftermath of a Cena dropkick. Spinning slam gets two and Cena goes up with the guillotine legdrop for two. JBL: “How many times have you seen people kick out of that?” Literally every Cena match ever? Owens puts him down with a DDT, but Cena comes back with the usual before Owens retreats to the apron to escape. Back in with a swanton, but that hits Cena’s knees. Owens keeps coming regardless with Cena’s series of stuff, but Cena gets the STF. Owens makes the ropes and gets a backbreaker for two, then thankfully counters the stupid stunner into a german suplex and a cannonball in the corner for two. They slug it out and Cena gets the sunset bomb for two, but he goes up and gets caught with a powerbomb for two. Cena with the FU for two. They fight on the top and Owens gets the fisherman’s buster for two from there. Cena counters another powerbomb into a rana, but Owens hits his own FU and STF before Cena makes the ropes. Cena with a tornado DDT for two, but the stunner is countered with an Owens lariat. The package neckbreaker gets two. Cena escapes the Pop Up Powerbomb and gets the FU for two. He comes back with clotheslines, but walks into the powerbomb for two. Owens goes up and they slug it out on top, which leads to an FU from the top for two. Cena is bummed about this development, and Owen gets a small package for two as a result. Back to the STF for Cena…and Owens taps at 22:10. SERIOUSLY? Say it with me: #CENAWINSLOL. The match was still great, but more of the same we’ve already seen. **** So what was the point of even putting Owens over in the first place? And then they spent five weeks building up the story of Owens avoiding the open challenge matches on RAW to lead to this, where he just taps clean in the middle anyway? Like what “story” is that supposed to be telling?

The Miz joins us to kill some time now that the IC title match is cancelled. He feels like he’s the toughest guy in the building and Big Show has been missing since the Attitude Era, which brings Show out to knock him out. So why couldn’t they have just done a match and shaved 10 minutes off Roman Reigns v. Bray Wyatt?

WWE World title: Seth Rollins v. Brock Lesnar

Seth wisely runs away and attacks from behind instead, but Brock casually catches him and starts throwing suplexes. Seth decides to run away, so Brock chases him down and chucks him back into the ring like a sack of garbage. Rollins finally lands on his feet and goes to Brock’s legs, but Brock powers out of the Pedigree. Seth keeps coming with a dive to the floor, but Brock shakes it off and goes back to throwing him around. After 13 suplexes he hits the F5, but Undertaker’s music interrupts and he magically appears in the ring and kicks Brock in the nuts. Chokeslam and tombstone follow as I guess it’s a Sports Entertainment Finish at 9:00 or so. That was pretty weird. Undertaker looks OLD. But you gotta pop that rating tomorrow night, I guess.

The Pulse

Pretty decent undercard with nothing bad and the usual Cena-Owens greatness, but I don’t get the Undertaker thing in terms of what the storyline is supposed to be. I’d call it a mild thumbs up, but there’s really nothing here to go out of your way to see and it’ll probably be a bunch of rematches next month anyway.