Friday, August 4, 2017

WWE Battleground 2017

Where were you on the night of July 23rd, where the 2017 edition of WWE's Battleground PPV took place?

I'll tell you where I was... not watching the show. Instead, I was on a road trip to Terrebonne on a nice Sunday aftertoon enjoying the outdoors and spent the evening doing some cleaning and eventually settling down to play a rubbish fighting game on the Xbox for the purpose of gaining future review material. It would only be until later that night that I even remembered that there was a WWE PPV going on that night.

Maybe this wrestling stuff isn't for me anymore... or maybe I need to look elsewhere... but that's perhaps a discussion for another time.

So that's the haphazard reasoning behind the lateness of this musings. Fortunately, this being posted on the WWE Network, I can watch the show at my leisure... and instantly regret doing so. Seriously, there is so many other shows on the On Demand side of things I would rather be watching, but because there's some sense of "duty" that people seem to think I have, I might as well share my musings on this show...

The show opens with this goofy video where everyone has flags photoshopped on their faces and it just looks so ridiculous and hokey that it's almost endearing. If only the rest of the show was this hokey...

The New Day defeated Smackdown tag-team champions The Usos to win the titles in a match where I came into it not caring about either team, but lowered expectations resulted in me really enjoying the match. This was a nice classic style of wrestling match that told a simple story; give the good guys worthwhile bad guys, let them go nuts with the fast-paced bits, and let the good guys prevail with a nice clean win. New Day as Smackdown tag champions is not the worst thing to happen and they're still fairly popular folks, so that's fine. Now all they need are worthwhile opponents to feud with and all is well.

And then it goes downhill from there...

Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Baron Corbin via DQ when Corbin went below the belt. He then hits Nakamura with the briefcase and his End of Days finishers (sort of an STO kind of thing - look it up). I wasn't feeling this match; not sure if it was the clash of physical styles or just the fact that I didn't care about either guy... but this didn't click. I've seen better Nakamura matches in the past and the Baron simply doesn't instill any awe or wonder to get me interested in his antics. Hell, it took me a while to register that he was this year's Money In The Bank winner; that's how invisible he is to me.

Natalya defeated Charlotte, Becky Lynch, Tamina Snuka, and Lana in a Five-Way Elimination match to earn a Women's Title shot at Summerslam. For those wondering, Becky eliminates Tamina first with her Dis-Arm-Er submission, then does the same to Lana before getting rolled up by Nattie. All of that happens in less than a minute, which begs the question as to why bother with a Five-Way if all the falls are going to take place in the last couple minutes of the match. The finish comes when Charlotte misses a moonsault and Nattie steals a pin, as it were. So... yeah, this one felt like a compressed version of what should've been a longer match, but because Lana was in there, they had to keep it short.

Nattie vs. Naomi at Summerslam for the title might not be the most desirable match-up for some folks, but I don't know. I don't think I actually mind this. And who knows? Maybe Nattie might be the one to win the title and then we can do the whole Montreal Screwjob thing in November or something to commemorate THAT event's 20th anniversary.

Maybe I should stop giving them ideas...

Hey, kids! Remember when AJ Styles defeated Kevin Owens to win the US title at Madison Square Garden a couple weeks ago on a random house show? Remember how excited everyone was?

Kevin Owens defeated United States champion AJ Styles with a roll-up to counter AJ's crossface to win back the title. The good news is that the Face Of America has his gold once again. The bad news is that he'd lose it back to AJ Styles a couple days later on Smackdown. And then all of a sudden, that special MSG moment that will most likely be relegated to some future DVD release means nothing. It's almost as though they made the title change for the sake of having a title change and engaging in endless speculation.

You know, Vince Russo was begging for a job recently. I wonder if he wrote this...

Also more bad news; this match was weak sauce. Now weak sauce from KO and AJ is nowhere near as weak sauce as anything involving McSon-In-Law and Roman Reigns circa Mania 32, but I don't know. I couldn't get into this one as much for some reason and that's a bit of a letdown. Still a solid outing, but... I was just underwhelmed.

On the bright side, IWGP United States champion Kenny Omega can smile and rest easy; his U.S. title reign will last longer than AJ Styles' did... assuming AJ's second reign doesn't end prematurely, at least.

John Cena defeated Rusev in a flag match that lasted too long and damn near put me to sleep. Flag matches in general suck. And this was the suckiest of them all. Not to mention Cena vs. Rusev is almost never interesting because Cena is the "Real American" or something while Rusev is the "Evil Foreigner" or something and thus of course, #CenaWinsLOL. Maybe we should've had a Monster Truck match where Rusev drives his Wrestlemania tank around and runs over Cena's car collection or something. And then Cena can push Rusev off the roof of Cobo Hall or something.

The gimmick is the big drawback. Just as Hell In A Cell is a relic of the Attitude Era, he Flag match is a relic of an older time when wrestling was more "protected" and wasn't as "exposed" as it is today. It's easy to get a cheap pop with a patriotic angle and a simple straightforward match would've sufficed. Hell, I'd argue it would've been better than having two guys bring their flags to the ring and then fight so that one of them can post the flag back to the entrance. Some things are best left in the past.

Sami Zayn defeated Mike Bennett-Kanellis-Bennett in a match that bored me to tears. I'm starting to wonder if the only reason WWE signed Mike Bennett in the first place was so they could bring Maria back into the fold and it was a package deal they were forced to deal with. I'm no wrestling booker with years of experience; I'm just a rambling idiot, but I would think that if you wanted to make a guy look like a big deal, you'd give him convincing victories to prove he's just that... and not have him get beat by a guy who is essentially glorified enhancement talent... with all due respect to Sami Zayn, who has seen better days from my vantage point. WWE Creative might not care about wins and losses, but they're just as important a character building block as whatever hackneyed and convoluted storytelling devices they concoct.

WWE Champion Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison match that lasted way the fuck too long to retain the title. Mahal's Sing Brothers escorts were banned from ringside... so instead, we get the GREAT FUCKING KHALI as someone we're supposed to buy as a viable threat to Randy Orton. Need I remind you that the Great Khali was last seen in WWE as a Punjabi Playboy who did Kiss Cams. Yes, he is a former World champion in WWE, but the guy simply wasn't that good of a giant. He wasn't imposing, he wasn't awe-inspiring, his gibberish at times was more humorous than ominous, calling him a lumbering oaf would be an insult to lumbering oafs... he is, essentially, the Giant Gonzales of our generation, only without the furry body suit. Fortunately, it appears to have been a one-off deal.

And that was Battleground. A big waste of time.

I'm done.

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