Let’s get a few things straight from the start here, this isn’t going to be the sort of look back that slates Battleground. There has been quite enough of that from different quarters already. Also, they’re wrong to do so. Nobody moans more than me when a show masquerading as a PPV is no better than the weekly programme. But it wasn’t the case here.
Likewise, it wasn’t the best example of a premier event either. It was average. But PPV average.
Picking out the highlights here should illustrate the point. Does this mean missing half the card goes against it? Perhaps. But we all need toilet breaks and stock up supplies when watching live, or parts to skip when watching on catch-up.
The most positive reaction from the crowd on the night went to The New Day taking gold from the Usos. A fine match lead to cheers and it shows how over and valuable the trio are.
The Fatal 5-way for the Women’s belt once again failed to live up to its name: not one person died. Nor did the women exactly kill it but the result was a fresh direction. Remember a while ago, yours truly moaned that Natayla should have been given the Money in the Bank briefcase, somebody in the halls of WWE must have been listening. Or thought so themselves or planned it. But the idea of WWE Creative planning so well in advanced is far-fetched. There’s more chance that Vince McMahon personally reads every word I write and follows my career avidly.
It means Natayla can use her experience to carry the SummerSlam match with Naomi.
Based on the 5-way on display here, the bar does need raising.
As does the United States Championship. The Miz, an often-derided Superstar, continues to elevate Raw’s secondary title (as he did with the belt on SmackDown), yet two of the most lauded wrestlers in the business have further devalued the gold in question.
It should be impossible for AJ Styles and Kevin Owens to be slightly above mediocre. It seems the Land of Opportunity can make anything happened and they’ve pulled it off.
Who now cares about the man holding the US Title?
Still, it was cool to claim Owens and AJ had a good match and slag off John Cena versus Rusev.
Sure, we all knew Cena had to win. Rusev has had solid pushes crushed by this opponent before, so he can absorb this defeat. What it does is highlight the regard Cena has for the Bulgarian. He knew they could put on a good match and they did.
The stipulation gave us a reason to go up the ramp which in turn meant we saw some big hits. Cena needing props to see off Rusev does the loser no harm. It was almost like John was putting someone over. Almost.
Jinder Mahal against Randy Orton in a Punjabi Prison match drew more groans than sounds of excitement from the WWE Universe. To be fair to the former jobber, WWE should have moved his story on from Orton by now.
Again, they proved to be good methodical workers but in a match already viewed as a crammed concept, it didn’t go down well.
Then the inevitable happened followed by genuine shocks.
As expected the Singh Brothers interfered. They’d been hiding beneath the ring and prevented The Viper from escaping. For their troubles Sami Singh took a bump from high up through an announce table. It was a bad landing, almost as bad as Tom Philips’ commentary.
Still, even when it looked like Orton would prevail, we knew he couldn’t. What prevented this was a shock. Down the ramp walked The Great Khali. In a time when we have to accept Mahal as WWE Champion, it’s not a stretch to pretend Khali is a threat again.
He placed his gigantic hands through the cage and choked out Randy – Indian Interference Outta Nowhere – to allow his kayfabe countryman slowly climb and ascend to victory.
Brace yourself for Cena squashing Jinder sometime soon.