Pruett's Pause: WWE Battleground 2014 - WWE tries to lull fans to sleep with a lack of Ambrose vs. Rollins, potentially offensive humor, and an all-around unexciting show
By Will Pruett
One of the most fascinating parts of watching/evaluating/enjoying professional wrestling is seeing how wrestling shows are constructed. The emotional journey of a wrestling show is an under-appreciated element in the art of professional wrestling. Recently, I wrote about WrestleMania and the absolutely transcendent emotional journey it took fans on. The ebb and flow of that show was beautiful and I still consider it one of the best, start to finish, wrestling shows I have ever seen. Battleground was almost the exact opposite of this. The journey of Battleground was seemingly constructed to make fans regret spending three hours of their lives on this show.
Let's start with the beginning, which was actually amazing. The Uso's retained the WWE Tag Team Championships against Harper and Rowan in great two out of three falls match. The first and second falls didn't impress too much, but the third told a great story and was fun to watch. I was surprised to see the babyface team come out with the titles, but I'm guessing there is a reason coming down the storyline bend.
From this point forward, WWE seemed adamant about making sure fans didn't enjoy this show. They took the most anticipated match on the card (Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins) and decided against delivering it. They did this three times. The first was showing this video package, then throwing Ambrose out of the arena. The next was the "forfeit" promo followed by the attack from Ambrose. The third was the parking lot brawl. While I'm sure WWE wanted to save this match for SummerSlam, they did so by promoting and not delivering it on a paid event. This is not okay.
After the first Rollins and Ambrose letdown, they gave us a women's match with ill-defined characters failing to become more defined. A.J. Lee and Paige had quite a few botched moments and they never seemed or click. I said from the beginning that this feud didn't seem natural for either woman. While they may be great wrestlers, I don't sense the chemistry.
Moving on, Lana delivered an awkward promo with an odd mention of the recent flight shot down over the Ukraine. Perhaps WWE should leave current events alone. This show would have been a great opportunity to have Lana get cut off quickly by Zeb Colter or for her to just tell Rusev to crush some things. They didn't need to make "recent events" an issue in this feud and in WWE.
(Quick side note: WWE's apology for this is idiotic.)
The match between Swagger and Rusev wasn't quite what I had hoped it would be. The fans in the arena had their spirits quelled by this point and these two guys weren't ready to deliver a match on par with the heat they were garnering.
Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho had a great chance to save this show, but the match failed to deliver on the level it needed to. Once again, it wasn't bad, but it was disappointing. The finish came seemingly out of nowhere. The fans weren't expecting it and it deflated the show even more.
The introductions for every Battle Royal participant was a parade of jobbers and it gave the fans yet another chance to go grab a beer. It took a long long time for all of these guys to get to the ring and it was another moment where this show was stretching for time. It's like they didn't book a mid-card actually capable of filling a special event. The Miz's win came off flat because no one cared about him. Ziggler had an opportunity to pop the crowd, but Miz taking home the Intercontinental Championship labelled the title and the match as inconsequential.
Finally, there was the main event, which wasn't bad. Roman Reigns, John Cena, Kane, and Randy Orton all worked hard about the four men couldn't save a show determined to lull fans into a deep sleep. The damage was done.
This show started off as an exciting display of tag team wrestling and everything to follow was an attempt to shut down any excitement. It's weird to see a show this bad from modern WWE, but a lack of roster depth, combined with a lack of compelling stories, and exacerbated by the removal of Rollins and Ambrose, really hurt this show.
It was probably a D- effort from WWE, who has been great for most of the year. You can't win them all, but they weren't even trying to win with Battleground.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at email@example.com or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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