7/25 WWE Battleground Review: Nice way to close the book on this era of WWE with the pending reboot


WWE Battleground Review

July 25, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

With the first WWE Draft in over five years taking place this past week, the intrigue for WWE Battleground may have been high or low depending on your level of interest in the current WWE product. It definitely felt like the closing of a chapter of a book that has started to grow quite tiresome the last few years.

You can argue whether or not RAW or Smackdown got the better end of the deal coming out the draft, but one thing is for certain: things are shaking up and hopefully for the better. WWE desperately needs this from a creative standpoint. Business might be holding steady, but the interest level was tanking.

Dean Ambrose keeps the WWE Championship on Smackdown Live

First off, Roman Reigns shouldn’t have been in this match. Whether or not the policy violation was as underwhelming as rumored around the internet the past week, it still set a pretty bad example for the entire Wellness Policy testing. You make a mistake, you get punished and more than just 30 or 60 days without pay. This show would have been fine without Reigns on the card. Did he add something to the main event? Sure. Still, I didn’t like it and he should have been pulled.

That decision isn’t my call so why not focus on what ended up happening. What happened was a fine main event to cap off a fine show. I liked the addition of Stephanie McMahon, Mick Foley, Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan at ringside. By no means did I think this title was heading back to RAW, but it would have been a pleasant surprise had they gone in that direction. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns all worked hard. Playing off The Shield history was fun. I’m just glad we are going to get a break from these guys with a relaunch.

The big question coming out of this match was what happens to the “flagship” show every Monday night being without a World Champion? It’s pretty obvious we are going to get a similar scenario to what we got back in 2002 when Eric Bischoff was forced to create a champion for his brand with Triple H. I was actually very intrigued by the idea of a champion traveling between both shows reminiscent of the old pro wrestling territory days. It’s pretty clear that won’t be happening based on WWE’s emphasis tonight with the Smackdown crew.

Bayley gets the call from Sasha Banks

What a great moment this was to witness on Sunday night. WWE has a great clip that I’ll be posting below this showing the smile on the face of Sasha Banks as Bayley’s music hits. The DC crowd gave Bayley a huge reaction and it was just one of those genuine moments. You knew it could be her, you weren’t sure and then once you got the moment, it just felt right. Based on other videos and commentary, it appears this may not have been the “official” main roster debut of Bayley. This might upset some wrestling fans, but I think tonight was a good test for the future.

Enzo Amore breaks through in a big way in DC

Outside out Bayley’s reaction, Enzo Amore clearly had a huge connection with the audience. Between his stellar promo skills and his charisma in the ring, it’s pretty clear we have a future player on our hands and even John Cena had to take notice smiling from the corner. While I’m not ready to crown Enzo has the next big huge star of WWE, he continues to show a ton of upside as a babyface act with Big Cass and it certainly doesn’t hurt to get the rub from the biggest star in WWE the last decade in Cena.

Quick Thoughts

* The ending to The Miz vs. Darren Young was sloppy and poorly executed
* I’m not a fan of heel Natalya at all
* Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn might have the best chemistry in wrestling today
* Rusev and Zack Ryder just never felt like it got out of second gear
* Does Bray Wyatt going solo to Smackdown help him? I sure think so
* Chris Jericho was very entertaining in his back-and-forth with Randy Orton

Overall Impression

67% of people in our @wrestleview poll on Twitter gave the show a thumbs up as of 1:43 a.m. ET (12:43 a.m. CT). With another 26% giving it a thumbs in the middle, it’s safe to say most people that tuned in enjoyed WWE Battleground.

While this was by no means one of WWE’s strongest showings of the year, it was a nice way to cap off a series of rivalries and close the book on this era for the company just 24 hours before we get full reboots on both RAW and Smackdown Live.

Anything different at this point is a good thing, right?

Let me know what you thought of the show in the comments below.