By Jason Powell
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WWE Battleground 2015
Aired live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
St. Louis, Missouri at Scottrade Center
A video package opened the event and played up the battleground theme. It touched on the top matches on the show…
Powell’s POV: For those who missed it, King Barrett defeated R-Truth to keep the one-dimensional king gimmick on the Kickoff Show. My full coverage of the Kickoff Show is available on the main page.
Pyro shot off on the stage… Michael Cole, JBL, and Jerry Lawler were on commentary…
1. Randy Orton vs. Sheamus. Orton got a favorable response, yet nothing special considering it’s his hometown, yet Cole described it as thunderous. Sheamus set his Money in the Bank briefcase under the ropes in his corner and the referee allowed it because, you know, no wrestler would ever use it as a weapon.
Orton whipped Sheamus into the barricade early on. Back inside the ring, Sheamus performed the Irish Curse backbreaker a few times. “Are you not entertained?” he asked the crowd. Does he really want us to answer? Sheamus also leapt off the second rope and dropped a knee on Orton at 6:00.
Orton and Sheamus traded punches in mid-ring for the “yeah/boo” dynamic. Orton got the better of it and clotheslined Sheamus a couple times. Orton went for his slam, but Shemaus saw it coming. Orton still managed to clothesline Sheamus to ringside. Sheamus pulled Orton to the floor and the brawl continued there. Orton dropped Sheamus on the broadcast team’s table.
Back inside the ring, Orton dodged the Brogue Kick and then came back with a power slam for a two count. Sheamus came back with a slam for a two count. Orton dodged a Brogue Kick and then Sheamus avoided the RKO. Sheamus went for the cloverleaf, but Orton kicked him off. Sheamus performed White Noise for a two count.
At 11:45, Orton took offensive control and performed a nice suplex for a two count. A short time later, Orton caught Sheamus on the ropes. They traded punches and Orton got the better of it, then performed a superplex that was well received by the live crowd. Orton got another two count. Cole noted that Bob Orton Jr. was at the building earlier.
Randy performed a hanging DDT to a big pop. We got vintage Cole with the vintage Orton call. Orton played to the fired up crowd and then struck the Viper’s Pose. Orton went for the RKO, but Sheamus rolled him up for two. When Orton stood up, Sheamus connected with a Brogue Kick.
Sheamus applied the cloverleaf in mid-ring. Orton pulled to the ropes, but Sheamus pulled him back into the middle of the ring. Orton pulled himself to the ropes to break the hold. Once they stood up, Orton performed the RKO and pinned Sheamus clean…
Randy Orton defeated Sheamus in 16:55.
Powell’s POV: A very good match. They benefitted from being in Orton’s hometown and having a receptive crowd, but they definitely worked hard and delivered the best match we’ve seen from them lately. I still hope this is the end of the program because it’s hard to get fired up about watching two guys who have worked together so many times feuding over nothing in particular. Sheamus still has no juice despite being the MITB contract holder.
The broadcast team hyped the main event. Cole said social media will be blowing up just as it was after Stephanie McMahon said she wanted a revolution in the Divas division. Footage aired of Stephanie introducing Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Sasha Banks on Raw…
Backstage, JoJo interviewed Stephanie McMahon, who was booed. JoJo asked Steph about the commotion that the Divas segment cause on Raw. Stephanie dropped a Wrestling at the Chase reference and then announced a three-way match for Battleground involving the three factions that were established on Raw…
New Day made their entrance and delivered a promo along the way. They spoke about not being able to lose if you’re positive. They said they had to lose the tag title match so they could win. Xavier dropped a “Don’t Be a Menace to South Central…” reference by saying “message.” The Players interrupted their attempt to start a “New Day Rocks” chant…
2. The Prime Time Players vs. Kofi Kingston and Big E (w/Xavier Woods) for the WWE Tag Team Championship. At 5:00, E performed a big splash onto Darren Young on the ring apron. Young sold and then made his usual hot tag to Titus O’Neil, who worked over legal man Kingston and E.
Woods interfered enough to let Kofi take offensive control, which didn’t last long. Young tagged in and performed the Gut Check on Kingston, then Titus performed his finisher on Big E and pinned him…
The Prime Time Players defeated New Day in 8:50 to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Powell’s POV: Good work. The teams didn’t get enough time to do anything memorable or out of the ordinary for them, but they filled the time nicely while performing a good version of their usual style of match. Yes, I’m bitter that we didn’t get to see Big E skip and clap his way to the ring.
Backstage, Paige spoke with her new faction members Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Becky was back to her traditional look with her goggles. They spoke about creating a revolution, and Charlotte said they would do it with flair. Insert your own “woooooo” here…
Cole instructed viewers how to order their free month of WWE Network. It seems silly, but I suppose it makes sense to push the network to people who are at a viewing party… The broadcast team set up a video package for the Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns feud…
3. Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt. Wyatt was on the offensive for the first three minutes and then Reigns connected with a clothesline that sent him to ringside. Reigns followed and ran Wyatt into the barricade. Back inside the ring, Reigns threw a couple of forearms and then Wyatt caught him with a running cross body block at 4:00.
There was a lengthy Bray Wyatt headlock in mid-ring. Reigns came back with some of his signature offense. Reigns had Wyatt draped over the ring apron. He took a run at him on the floor, but Wyatt caught him with a wicked clothesline from the ring apron. Cool spot. Back inside the ring, Reigns performed a walking powerbomb and got a two count.
At 16:15, Wyatt performed a nice uranage for a two count. Wyatt set up for Sister Abigail, but Reigns rolled him up. Wyatt kicked out, then Reigns performed a Superman Punch for a good near fall. Reigns went to the corner and set up for his spear and received some boos. When Reigns charged, Wyatt lifted his boot. Wyatt followed with a wicked clothesline and got another two count.
Wyatt set up for his finisher, but Reigns fought his way out of it and hit Wyatt with several headbutts. Reigns backed Wyatt into the corner and clotheslined him ten times, which the fans counted along with. Once Wyatt regained control, he went to ringside and grabbed a chair. When Wyatt turned around, Reigns punched him.
Reigns threw four chairs inside the ring. Suddenly, a man in a hoodie (Luke Harper) attacked Reigns, which the referee missed because he was clearing the chairs out of the ring. Wyatt rolled Reigns inside the ring, hit Sister Abigail, and pinned him. The announcers questioned who the supposed mystery man was until he entered the ring, removed his hoodie, and revealed himself to be Harper…
Bray Wyatt pinned Roman Reigns in 22:05.
Powell’s POV: A good dramatic match with some suspenseful near falls. The long rest with the headlock dragged, but it was fun when they picked up the pace down the stretch. I’m not sure what to read into Reigns being booed by some. The easy answer is that there are still fans rejecting him, but Wyatt is also popular with fans by heel standards, so it’s hard to say for sure. Either way, I was entertained by the match and assume we’ll see a rematch or even a tag match at SummerSlam perhaps with Wyatt and Harper facing Reigns and Dean Ambrose. Speaking of Harper, I have no idea why the broadcast team played up the mystery when it was so obvious it was him due the beard. Okay, so maybe someone in the cheap seats thought it was Zeb Colter, but I think everyone other than that person and the broadcast team knew.
A commercial aired for SummerSlam in Brooklyn… Members of the St. Louis Cardinals were shown in the front row…
Backstage, JoJo interviewed BAD (Beautiful And Dangerous) – Naomi, Sasha Banks, and Tamina. Sasha had the NXT Championship with her. The trio said they are on the same page…
The three women’s factions made their entrance. Cole said this is Nikki Bella’s 238th day as champion. He said she won the title in the same venue. Cole said AJ Lee still holds the record for longest reign at 295 days…
4. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella, Alicia Fox) vs. Sasha Banks (w/Naomi, Tamina) vs. Charlotte (w/Paige, Becky Lynch). Nikki teased working the match, then headed to ringside and whispered in her sister’s ear. Brie smiled and entered the ring to start the match.
Sasha draped Brie over the middle rope and Charlotte on the bottom rope and then dropped a knee on Brie, which knocked Brie onto Charlotte. Cool spot. Sasha mocked Charlotte with a strut and a woooo, but Charlotte rolled her up. Sasha came back by spinning her around her body, grabbing her by the hair, and slamming her to the mat.
Brie charged across the ring to break up a cover by Sasha and appeared to take a knee to the nose in the process. She checked her nose, but continued. Charlotte struck both women and then worked over Sasha briefly before Brie broke it up and performed a couple of dropkicks. The were some boos. Brie performed a double bulldog.
Brie performed Daniel Bryan style kicks on both women which were greeted with “no” chants. Funny. Charlotte went for a spear on Sasha, who moved, causing Charlotte to spear Brie. With Brie at ringside (and still checking her nose), Charlotte and Sasha were left alone to work. Sasha performed a neckbreaker and got a two count. Brie went to the top rope and ended up performing a missile dropkick onto both opponents.
Brie yelled “Brie Mode” and then performed running knees on both women. She caught Charlotte with a second knee, but Sasha grabbed Brie and sent her to the floor. Nikki and Alicia checked on Brie. The other four women at ringside walked over and glared. Brie was sent onto her teammates a short time later following a dropkick by Sasha and they nearly failed to break her fall.
Sasha performed a fairly tentative suicide dive, then Charlotte followed up with a tope. Back inside the ring, Sasha applied the Bank Statement on Charlotte, but Brie ran in and broke it up, then ran Sasha through the ropes and into the post. Brie set up for a facebuster, but Charlotte countered into a Figure Eight and got the submission win.
“Team Bella is mortal!” Cole exclaimed. Ugh. Paige and Becky Lynch ran in and celebrated with Charlotte…
Charlotte defeated Brie Bella and Sasha Banks in 11:30.
Powell’s POV: Several readers pointed out that Cole said “Team Bella is mortal,” so I made the quote switch above. This was better than what we typically see from the Divas on WWE pay-per-views, but NXT viewers know how much better it could have been if there was no Bella involvement and it was just Charlotte vs. Sasha. I still question this faction war approach. I was worried the finish would be a lousy brawl between the tree trios, so at least we got something better than that. The addition of the NXT trio makes the division better, but I just can’t help but feel it would be much better if they established the new characters rather than force them into factions.
The Kickoff show panel spoke about how great everything in WWE is briefly… Cole set up a John Cena vs. Kevin Owens video package…
Kevin Owens got a big pop during his entrance. The boos started during the wait for Cena. Owens yelled that he’s waited for this moment for ten years and it’s his title and his time. The crowd sang “John Cena Sucks” loudly as his music played and he made his entrance. Eden handled the in-ring introductions for the title match…
5. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens for the U.S. Championship. The broadcast team praised Cena for being a fighting champion and ran through some of the names he’s faced. Owens caught Cena with an early punch. They replayed it a short time later and Cole said Cena hadn’t been the same since. Owens threw a dropkick at Cena in 2:00.
Owens put Cena in a Torture Rack and then dropped him into a neckbreaker. Owens taunted the Cena fans by asking, “Is that your hero?” Based on this live crowd split, hundreds of fans were offended by Owens. Cena came back with a dropkick of his own at 4:00. JBL said neither dropkick got a lot of height yet said they were effective.
Cena performed his top rope leg drop and got a two count. Owens came back with a wicked DDT that they replayed a couple times. Cena did his build to the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Owens rolled onto the ring apron while Cena was playing to the crowd. Moments later, Owens went for a top rope senton, but Cena lifted his knees at 7:00.
Owens avoided Cena’s Attitude Adjustment and then performed a pair of of Cena shoulder blocks and his slam. Owens did the “You Can’t See Me” bit and performed the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena came back by hoisting up Owens in the Electric Chair and then dropped him face first onto the mat. Cena applied the STF. Owens reached for the ropes. Cena tried to pull him back to the middle of the ring, but Owens rolled on his back and then regained offensive control with a backbreaker at 8:35.
Cena went for the springboard stunner, but Owens caught him and performed a German suplex. Owens followed with a cannonball in the corner and got a two count. “Are you calling it like you should, Cole?” Owens barked while looking at the broadcast team.
At 10:45, Cena came back with a sunset flip powerbomb for a two count. Cena leapt off the ropes and Owens caught him and dropped him with a powerbomb for a good near fall.
Powell’s POV: The powerbomb was cool live, but it looked a little silly when they replayed it because it was obvious that Cena wasn’t performing a move unless his goal was to hit the first ever top rope crotch driver.
Cena performed an Attitude Adjustment and got a two count. At 13:10, Owens performed a fisherman’s buster suplex off the second rope and covered Cena for another good two count. The broadcast team played up Cena suffering a shoulder injury. Owens barked at Cole to “watch this.” Owens went for his finisher, but Cena turned it into a huracanrana.
Owens came right back with a superkick and then an Attitude Adjustment and then applied the STF as the broadcast team played up the possibility of Owens beat Cena with his own finisher. Cena slowly crawled his way to the ropes to break the hold, which received lots of boos and some high-pitched cheers.
Cena performed a tornado DDT for a two count at 15:40. Owens threw three punches at Cena, who performed the springboard stunner. Although the stunner looked better than usual, Owens dropped Cena with a clothesline and Cole claimed that Cena didn’t get all of the stunner. Owens performed a fisherman’s suplex onto his own knee and got another two count.
Owens went for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but Cena avoided it and hit the Attitude Adjustment for another two count. Cena performed a running clothesline that JBL said was Cena showing frustration. Cena went for a second running clothesline, but Owens dodged it and then hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb for a two count.
Powell’s POV: Now that they’ve kicked out of all the finishers, one of the next finishing moves used may actually be the winner.
JBL asked if there was a time limit. There should be, but Vince McMahon doesn’t believe in them. Anyway, Cena performed an AA off the middle rope and then covered Owens, who kicked out at the last moment. Cena sat up and looked straight ahead in shock for at least ten seconds. Cole said the last time he saw that look on Cena’s face is when he lost to The Rock at WrestleMania.
Cena went to pick up Owens, who caught him in a small package for a near fall. Cena applied the STF again. Owens teased tapping, yet kept crawling toward the ropes. Cena pulled Owens back to the middle of the ring and then Owens tapped out…
John Cena defeated Kevin Owens in 22:15 to retain the U.S. Championship.
Powell’s POV: Another awesome match from Cena and Owens. I really hope WWE starts to limit all of the kickouts from finishing moves and saves that for huge matches, but I expected to see it here because that was their thing in the first two matches. I’m not surprised to see Owens lose, but I am a little fearful of where they go next with him. He came in so hot with the shocking upset win over Cena, and now he’s lost twice to him. Worse yet, they didn’t really take care of him on Raw leading up to this match. It would be a huge mistake to make him just another guy on Raw. Here’s hoping that he does something big on Raw tomorrow night to get his heat back before he moves into whatever is coming up next for him.
The broadcast team recapped the Ryback injury situation and then The Miz made his entrance. Miz asked the crowd to shut up. He complained about Ryback getting injured and depriving him of what was supposed to be his night to win the Intercontinental Championship.
Miz said he’s known Ryback since Tough Enough and when the going gets tough, Ryback gets injured. Miz said he doesn’t think Ryback is hurt, he said he believes Ryback is afraid of him. Miz said Ryback is off with an injury and who knows where Big Show is.
“In my opinion, Big Show has been missing since the Attitude Era,” Miz said. Nice. Miz said The Authority should do what’s best for business by naming him the new Intercontinental Champion. If not, Miz said he would just take the title like “a real city” Los Angeles is going to take the Rams from St. Louis. Funny.
Big Show’s music played and he walked to the ring. Miz said he and Show should team up. Show hit Miz with the knockout punch and then turned around and headed backstage without saying a word…
Powell’s POV: A strong promo from Miz. He’s one of the most consistently entertaining promos in the game today. I also got a kick out of Show knocking him out and then just heading backstage.
An ad aired for Tough Enough… The SummerSlam ad aired… Cole hyped that SummerSlam is five weeks away. He said the question is who will be the champion at SummerSlam, then set up the video package for the main event…
Seth Rollins made his entrance for the main event. Lawler asked if you’ve ever walked through a graveyard by yourself in the middle of the night. Um, no. Anyway, he said that’s what it must feel like for Rollins. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman made their entrance. Lilian Garcia handled the in-ring introductions for the title match…
6. Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The bell rang and Lesnar charged at Rollins and then gave him a few shoulder blocks to the gut in the corner. Lesnar set up for a German suplex, but Rollins gave him repeated elbows to the head to force his way free.
Rollins fled to ringside and Lesnar smiled, then chased Rollins on the floor and back inside the ring. Rollins caught Lesnar with a kick to the gut and then several to the legs. Rollins went for a dropkick, but Lesnar caught his legs. Brock went for the F5, but Rollins slipped way.
Lesnar performed his first German suplex at 1:30, then followed up with a second and a third. Heyman counted each German suplex at ringside. Lesnar looked down at Rollins and smiled, then performed a fourth German suplex. A brief “Suplex City” chant started and then Lesnar performed a fifth German suplex.
Rollins ended up at ringside. He grabbed his title belt and started to lave. Lesnar left the ring and hurdled the barricade to catch Rollins and then threw him back over the barricade. Lesnar smiled as he brought the title back to the timekeeper’s area. Lesnar rolled Rollins back inside the ring at 3:45.
Lesnar performed his sixth German suplex at 4:00. He went for a seventh German suplex, but Rollins landed on his feet and then caught Lesnar with a series of kicks. With Lesnar down, Rollins performed three superkicks. Brock got back to his feet and Rollins performed another superkick. Rollins set up for The Pedigree, but Lesnar forced his way out.
Lesnar put Rollins in position for the F5, but Rollins slipped out of that and kneed Lesnar’s back and knocked him to ringside. Rollins performed a pair of suicide dives. Rollins returned to the ring, but Lesnar followed and performed his seventh suplex. “Get up,” Lesnar yelled at Rollins.
Lesnar performed German suplexes numbers eight, nine, ten, and eleven. Rollins got to his knees and Lesnar caught him with a slap that drew gasps from the crowd. Lesnar performed a twelfth German suplex. Rollins slapped Lesnar, then immediately regretted it. Lesnar hit him with the thirteenth German suplex.
Lesnar performed the F5 and went for the cover at 9:05. The referee counted to two and the lights went out and the gong sounded. When the lights came on, Undertaker was in the ring and Rollins was gone. Lesnar looked shocked, as did Heyman. Lesnar went after Taker, who grabbed him by the throat and tried to chokeslam him.
Lesnar dodged the chokeslam and then hoisted up Taker for the F5. Taker slipped out of that and kicked Lesnar below the belt. Once Lesnar got up, Taker grabbed him by the throat and chokeslammed him. The announcers laid out. An Undertaker chant started. Taker picked up Lesnar and put him down with a Tombstone piledriver. Taker looked down at Lesnar and then shot Heyman a look. The crowd cheered.
Taker hoisted up Lesnar again and performed a second Tombstone piledriver while the broadcast team remained silent. The fans chanted “one more time.” However, Taker knelt down and stuck his tongue out while his music and light show played. Taker left the ring as his music continued to play. He looked back at Lesnar, then held up his fist to end the show…
Seth Rollins fought Brock Lesnar to an unannounced finish in 9:05 when Undertaker interfered.
Powell’s POV: A hot finish to presumably set up the big SummerSlam match. Will the match be Taker vs. Lesnar or could they add Rollins to that mix and make it a Triple Threat? Rollins completely disappeared and then the broadcast team did moments later. I like the idea of the broadcast team laying out, but I am never a fan of unannounced finishes, particularly in a pay-per-view main event. Still, the live crowd seemed very satisfied by Taker’s appearance.
It felt odd to see Lesnar sell so much for Taker after being such a dominant force. He worked four minutes with Rollins and dominated that time, so it’s not like the excuse could be that he worked a grueling match before Taker attacked him. I had no desire to see another Taker vs. Lesnar match after their WrestleMania match, yet I must admit that this is an intriguing situation and I am curious to see where they go. It feels like a big money match with or without Rollins, but here’s hoping they don’t damage Lesnar in the process.
Overall, a strong show with good wrestling and a huge return at the end. I’ll have more to say about it tonight in Dot Net Members’ audio with Jake Barnett, and in Tuesday’s WWE Battleground Hit List. Thanks for watching along with me tonight.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...