The first WWE PPV after the official brand extension took place this Sunday. The card for Battleground was stacked up with big names and iconic feuds. The RAW vs. SmackDown rivalry officially began. Let’s see what the biggest surprises Battleground had to offer were!
Bayley still not on the main roster
Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks and her Mystery Partner opened the show last night. The majority of the WWE Universe expected that mystery partner to be revealed as Bayley, especially after much less-experienced female talent got drafted before her. The fans expected to see the Hugger as a late call-up at Battleground.
In reality, things turned out differently. Bayley got the solid pop we’d expect for her first main roster appearance. However, the commentators made it crystal clear that the Hugger stays on NXT and that the Battleground appearance is a “one off thing”. That was a surprise.
There is no logical reason to keep Bayley in developmental. Even if it is to make her the first two-times NXT Women’s Champion, it’s still not worth it. It’s unfair that such an all-round great competitor is still getting jumped over on the way to the main roster.
Mojo Rawley takes on Rusev
Rusev has been on such a killer roll lately that squashing Zack Ryder was no surprise. I must admit, Ryder lost in such a pitiful manner that it was almost uncomfortable to watch. The Bulgarian Brute has become a super athlete once again. So far, so good. Then, Mojo Rawley appeared.
It’s actually logical for the WWE to give a recent call-up a storyline. It’s debatable whether Mojo will win or not because Rusev has way too much potential as a champ to risk the fate of the US title on a childish overexcited character. Then again, Mojo has so much energy, it’s likely the fans would end up cheering for him.
What was most shocking in the whole scenario was that Zack Ryder turned out to be a stepping stone for his own developmental rookie/partner. How sad is that? The guy he never wanted to tag with, using almost the exact same gimmick Zack created and failed to escape, gets the push Zack never had. It’s a very harsh slap in the face, if you ask me.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn steal the show
The Owens/Zayn feud had lost some steam over time. It had been on for almost two years and it had started to seem like these two weren’t going to do anything else. No matter how great Zayn and Owens are, their rivalry had dragged on for two long and had to end. The fans were actually happy to hear that Battleground was going to be the last stop for these two. The match had happened so many times before that it didn’t sound particularly exciting. This assumption could not have ended up being further from the truth!
Owens vs. Zayn stole the show. The Shield war didn’t even come close. Although the fans still care dearly about the Shield, the stable has been gone for two years now, so the emotions were quite low and a bit forced. Owens vs. Zayn, on the other hand, was on fire! The story-telling was brilliant. The match was of NXT quality, meaning – it was perfection.
The way Owens yelled at Zayn “Don’t make me do this! Stay down!”; the way Zayn held Owens gently in his arms before delivering the final blow – the feelings were unstoppable. This fight was expected to be just the end point of a feud that had dragged on for too long and ended up being the best match, in terms of wrestling and also – the most emotional battle of the night. What a pleasant surprise!
Dean Ambrose Retains
No one saw that coming. All pointers were leading us to believe that Ambrose would lose at Battleground. First of all, he was the one to get split from the other two ex-Shield members, so the common theory was that Rollins and Reigns would keep the title between themselves and would feud over it. Also, Ambrose had retained the same week. There was no way he’d do the same twice in a week. And, Ambrose, keeping the title would mean that RAW – the top brand, would have to relinquish possession of the WWE Championship, in favor of SmackDown. None of this sounded plausible. Yet, the reality is that the Lunatic Fringe kept the gold. Not only that, but he did it by pinning the unbeatable Roman Reigns clean.
In a way, it isn’t senseless to book things this way. After all, we were all blind to see the truth. The feud had nothing to do with giving a push to Ambrose, Rollins, or Reigns, no – things were far bigger than that. Dean Ambrose, as a retaining champion at Battleground, means only one thing – SmackDown itself is getting a push. After all, possibly the most surprising fact about his victory is that SmackDown ended up still in charge of the biggest prize in the WWE. Not too shabby for a “B show”, don’t you think?
What things did you find most surprising at Battleground? Leave a comment and let us know!