411s Instant Access 10.06.13: WWE Battleground 2013
Posted by Scott Slimmer on 10.07.2013
They say that anything can happen in sports entertainment. Like a Goldust match stealing the show in 2013 on a card with both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan Join Scott Slimmer and Tony Acero for a complete breakdown of all of the action from Battleground.
Hey kids, I'm Scott, and this is 411's Instant Access: WWE Battleground 2013. Instant Access is the companion piece to 411 Live Pay-Per-View Coverage and features immediate reaction to wrestling pay-per-views. The focus in Instant Access is on first thoughts and initial reactions instead of play-by-play with the goal of providing you with instant access to one TWO writers' thoughts on the show. Here's the team for Battleground:
Okay kids, enough with the explanations. Let's get to the wrestling.
Kick-Off Show Match Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
Match Result: Dolph Ziggler defeats Damien Sandow with the Zig Zag. Match Length: 10:22 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This was a fine match, and it was definitely good enough for the Kickoff Show. The real problem here is that there was no real reason for this match, and that has a lot to do with both Ziggler and Sandow being quite directionless lately. What we saw in this match is that both guys can work an entertaining match, but it's hard to really care about them when it's clear that WWE doesn't really care about them. This match didn't do anything to indicate where either guy might go from here, and Ziggler's lackluster World Championship run earlier this year even makes us questions whether Sandow will get any real benefit out of his eventual Money in the Bank cash-in. Match Rating: Slimmer: **½
Battleground Hardcore Rules Match for the World Heavyweight Championship Alberto Del Rio (Champion) vs. Rob Van Dam w/ Ricardo Rodriguez
Match Result: Alberto Del Rio defeats Rob Van Dam with the Cross Arm Breaker. Match Length: 17:08 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This was a fairly tame "hardcore" match by ECW standards, but it did feel different from most of that matches we've seen in WWE in 2013. WWE knows that Van Dam is only available to them for a limited amount of time due to his unique 90-day contract, and they're definitely trying to get the most out of him while he's around. Van Dam and Del Rio worked together quite well, and this definitely didn't feel like just another Del Rio match. However, as much as I enjoyed the match itself, the problem here has been the overall Del Rio / Van Dam feud or lack thereof. Van Dam became the Number One Contender after SummerSlam, and that's pretty much the entire feud. Yes, Ricardo Rodriguez was awkwardly paired with Van Dam to try to provide some emotional underpinnings for the feud, but the entire storyline just seemed shoehorned into place. What this feud has really proven is just how much the World Championship really has become WWE's B-level title. There was a time from maybe 2007 2009 when the World Championship really was on par with the WWE Championship, but it seems as though the end of the brand extension really has put the WWE Championship back on top for good. Acero: Perhaps it's the bloodlust in me, but hearing "RVD in a Hardcore match" brings about a lot of expectations that the 2013 version of the WWE just isn't ready to give me. The match was a solid affair that built nicely to the climax - even if it was a bit easy to detect due to RVD's actions. I just don't think they know what a hardcore match is anymore, at the very least , the definition has changed. On the plus side, the match had more usage of outside weapons than the last few PPVs of Extreme Rules. No cash-in, and I'm glad considering Sandow had just lost to Dolph Ziggler. This - yet again - leaves the World Heavyweight Championship in the position of limbo, with no direction. Match Rating: Slimmer: ***½ Acero: *** Average Match Rating: ***¼
Santino Marella & The Great Khali w/ Hornswoggle vs. The Real Americans w/ Zeb Colter
Match Result: Antonio Cesaro defeats the Great Khali with the Cesaro Swing. Match Length: 7:11 Match Analysis: Slimmer: Yes, the Cesaro Swing to the Great Khali was incredibly impressive. But it would have been just as impressive on Raw tomorrow night. This match never should have been on PPV. It was thrown together with only the faintest of background, and it will most likely have no lasting ramifications. This was a textbook example of a match that would have been well-suited to Raw taking up valuable time on a PPV. Acero: There was one sole purpose for this entire match, and although it took too long to get there, I'm sure there were plenty who loved seeing it. I was a bit indifferent considering the match that preceded it was hot garbage. Also, this needs to be expressed:
@ScottSlimmer He beat him at 7-11??? That's some racial profiling right there
Match Rating: Slimmer: *¾ Acero: * Average Match Rating: *½
Intercontinental Championship Match Curtis Axel (Champion) w/ Paul Heyman vs. R-Truth
Match Result: Curtis Axel defeats R-Truth with the Hangman's Facebuster. Match Length: 7:36 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This match certainly wasn't a show stealer, but it was better than I expected. Axel and Truth managed to fit a respectable amount of action into eight minutes, and they definitely had chemistry with each other. However, as was the case with several of the matches on this show, this match had very little build. Truth seemed to be put in front of Axel just to burn time, and he never seemed like a credible challenger. I can't see Truth getting a rematch, so Axel will most likely move on to a new challenger. Whether that challenger is just another stall tactic or a real threat to the title remains to be seen. Acero: Not even five seconds into the match, and the crowd started in with the boring chants. With reason, considering the WWE did very little in the way of making anyone care about this match. As a match, it was a solid enough affair, but with no characters to care about it was simple the second step of a bridge to get us to the next match (the first step being Cesaro's big swing). Perfectly meh match. Match Rating: Slimmer: **½ Acero: ** Average Match Rating: **¼
Divas Championship Match AJ Lee (Champion) w/ Tamina Snuka vs. Brie Bella w/ Nikki Bella
Match Result: AJ Lee defeats Brie Bella with roll-up pin. Match Length: 6:37 Match Analysis: Slimmer: After last month's chaotic Fatal 4-Way Divas Match, it was a good idea to go back to a simpler one-on-one match this time around. The Divas matches have been getting incrementally better each month, and tonight AJ and Brie had a fairly respectable outing. It certainly wasn't memorable, but it certainly wasn't cringe-worthy. Now that AJ has gone through Brie, I'd love to see her defend against Natalya in a one-on-one PPV match. Acero: My biggest fears were quelled tonight after the beautiful and beloved AJ Lee had help from her Amazonian friend, Tamina, to retain her Divas Championship. If she continues to take out each diva from Total Divas, I'd be a happy man. The match had its issues, including a miscommunication of sorts near the end, but I will definitely applaud Brie because it seems like she is legit trying to get better and has slowly become better and better each time she gets in the ring. Is she good? No, not yet, but her dedication shows, and she worked the hell out of that pole...wait, what? Match Rating: Slimmer: *¼ Acero: ****** (Editor's Note: I shit you not, he gave this match six freaking stars. We'll blame it on the decreased blood flow to his brain.) Average Match Rating: ***¾
Cody Rhodes & Goldust w/ Dusty Rhodes vs. The Shield
Match Result: Cody Rhodes defeats Seth Rollins with the Cross Rhodes. Match Length: 13:54 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This match is a perfect example of how great in-ring action and a compelling story can come together to create a truly magical moment. Cody and Goldust wrestled as well as I've ever seen them, and that's especially remarkable considering that Goldust is definitely past his prime, to say the least. Across the ring, the Shield definitely held up their end of the bargain as well. The Shield's frenetic teamwork has been the basis of their dominance for a year, and the cohesive strength of their offense makes it even more impressive when a team is finally able to defeat them. Of course, what made this match truly outstanding was the rich storyline behind it. This story has been building since SummerSlam, but in many ways it's really been building since the mid-70's. This match was a great example of how incorporating the rich history of this industry into an ongoing storyline can truly enhance its emotional impact. WWE often tries to keep its fans focused on the present while ignoring anything that happened more than three months ago, but this match demonstrated what can happen when they respect the collective memory of their fan base. This was a classic tale of redemption, but the classic stories are often the ones that ring most true. Cody, Goldust, and Dusty all played their parts, and the celebration on the end with wrestlers of several generations actually did bring a tear to my eye. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why we love professional wrestling. Acero: Cole's overselling of the moment notwithstanding, this had a beautiful ending and is proof that at least some of what the WWE is doing as far as storytelling is working extremely well. The Shield looked as they usually do - strong - and all the Rhodes played their roles well. We got a Bionic Elbow from The American Dream, and these guys made this shit feel supremely epic. Having a few of the people come from the back added something, but admittedly, wasn't needed, as Dusty with tears in his eyes was more than enough. Solid moment that - had it ended the show - would have been a great way to go. As for the rating, it's hard to give this thing a three star rating - even though that's what it deserves - because the emotion added a hell of a lot to it. Match Rating: Slimmer: ****¼ Acero: **** Average Match Rating: ****¼
Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt w/ Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
Match Result: Bray Wyatt defeats Kofi Kingston with Sister Abigail. Match Length: 8:27 Match Analysis: Slimmer: This was one of the many matches on the card that was thrown together with very little in the way of a feud, so I suppose it speaks to Kofi and Bray's talent that they were still able to give us a very enjoyable match. The Bray Wyatt character really is something special, and now we've seen that the character can work well against both a monster like Kane and a high flyer like Kingston. I wouldn't expect this feud to go much farther, but it did serve to continue building the Wyatt Family's momentum. Acero: Definitely Bray Wyatt's best match to date, and that includes (especially includes) his match against Kane - which I thought was crap. Kofi had a lot to do with that, I think, but I still cannot deny Wyatt the respect he so readily deserves. Homeboy is so into his character, and watching him in the ring is every bit as awesome as it should be. His little addition to the look-back in the corner, going all Linda Blair on our asses, was creepy as fuck-all, and although he fell just a bit, it still got the message across: Bray Wyatt is creepy as fuck. Good shit. Match Rating: Slimmer: *** Acero: ***½ Average Match Rating: ***¼
CM Punk vs. Ryback w/ Paul Heyman
Match Result: CM Punk defeats Ryback with a low blow. Match Length: 14:47 Match Analysis: Slimmer: Some time back in 2012 I wrote that the great Ryback experiment was finally over. It's now late 2013, so clearly I was wrong. However, even though the experiment has lasted a year longer than I thought it would, I'm still convinced that the result is the same. WWE has tried to push Ryback as a face, and they've tried to push Ryback as a heel. He's got a phenomenal look, and he's not horrible on the mic. The problem is that he's limited in the ring, and there's just not much that anyone can do to work around that fact. CM Punk is approaching Flair and Michaels territory in his ability to have a great match with just about anyone, but tonight he only managed middling with Ryback. That really does say more about Ryback than it does about Punk. That being said, the low-blow finish to the match definitely suggests that we'll get a rematch next month at Hell in a Cell. Acero: Any spark Ryback may have had flittering in the darkness has pretty much expired in my eyes. In other words, Punk seemed to really be the savior of the match. It's not that Ryback did badly, he simply was uninteresting, particularly because this was one of those Cena-like matches where the face gets his ass beat for quite some time only to get somewhat lucky at the end. The good news is, it was CM Punk, and he didn't no sell the beating he took prior to the win. I'm hoping that we move a bit forward here, but not sure where. Slightly above average match due to Punk. Match Rating: Slimmer: *** Acero: *** Average Match Rating: ***
WWE Championship Match Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Match Result: No Contest Match Length: 25:00ish, depending on when you want to say we all conceded the fact that there wasn't going to be an actual finish Match Analysis: Slimmer: We've all seen screwy finishes on PPV in the past. We've seen DQs and countouts and double pinfalls and Dusty finishes. They're disappointing, but we've seen them before, and in many ways we're used to them. However, even screwy finished usually still follow the bizarre internal logic of professional wrestling, and it's the lack of internal logic that made the finish of this match so frustrating. Actually, let me rephrase that. It's the lack of internal logic that made the COMPLETE LACK OF A FINISH of this match so frustrating. There wasn't a pinfall, a DQ, a countout, a Dusty finish, or ANY KIND OF FINISH. There was just Big Show knocking out everyone in sight and Brad Maddox up on the stage being completely useless. Okay, so Show knocked out two referees. What's happened in that case every time it's ever happened in the past? You send down a third referee! And if that referee gets knocked out, you send down a fourth! Maybe you just send one close enough to the ring to call for a double disqualification or a no contest or, well, anything. But you don't just let the PPV limp off the air like that. It's frustrating whenever we don't get a clean finish in the main event of a PPV, but this one really did seem to sting just a bit more. Don't get me wrong; I understand that Show's interference was designed to keep the feud going for another month. In fact, preventing another match from being ruined like Show ruined this match will be a sound justification for having the next title match inside of Hell in a Cell. The goal makes perfect sense, but the means to that end don't quite sit right with me. Anyway, you can definitely expect the Bryan / Orton feud to continue through Hell in a Cell. I suppose the only real question is whether the WWE Championship match at Hell in a Cell is a one-on-one match between Bryan and Orton or whether Big Show gets inserted to make it a Triple Threat Match. Acero: The match started off a little too slow for my liking, and with the power outage causing a bit of a doldrum in the crowd, it took a while to get into it. It picked up eventually though, and there were times I thought Daniel Bryan died. Seriously; my arm tingled for him. I suppose the biggest issue people are going to have is the ending. I believe that most people thought Big Show was going to come down and knock Bryan out, allowing Orton to win the title, and this includes myself. What we got was only a slight swerve and although I knew the story wouldn't end here, I'm not 100% sure I like what the end result was on screen. It didn't make sense for the match to simply no longer continue, and although (like I said) I knew we were going to continue on with this, it would have almost been better if they went with the predictable instead of trying to add another layer of nonsense that included a fired ref and a double KO. I'm not saying I wanted Bryan to win that way, but it will be interesting to see the follow up. Match Rating: Slimmer: ***½ Acero: ***½ Average Match Rating: ***½
Match of the Night: Slimmer: Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield (****¼)
This match was a classic example of great in-ring action combined with great storytelling and real emotion. The fact that this was the one truly memorable moment on an otherwise forgettable card makes it an easy pick for MotN. Acero: Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. The Shield (****)
This had the entire package. It had character investment, heart, emotion, and wrestling, all in one big ball. The Shield continues to do great things as a group, and although it's somewhat noticeable when Ambrose isn't in there, they're still pretty solid as a team. Cody looked like a damned star in that ring, and Goldust's return is apparently set in stone. I'm glad to see him back, and although I don't want the teaming to be a permanent thing between them, it was nice to see it as a one-off and the amount of respect that was weighing in on this match was awesome. The entire build seemed incredibly organic, never forced, and the end result was every bit as feel good as it should have been.
Trash of the Night: Slimmer: None
Most of the matches on this show were forgettable, and some of them weren't all that good, but none of them were actively bad. I try not to simply give TotN to the worst match on the card, but rather to a match that truly was trash. None of tonight's matches met that standard for me, so there you go. Acero: Santino Marella & The Great Khali vs. The Real Americans (*)
Any Khali match nearly automatically gets the Trash of the Night by default, but if there is a need for an explanation, then so be it. There was hardly anything redeeming about this and it appears that not even Jack Swagger is taking his role seriously anymore. The match was created for one reason only, and that was for the Big Swing of Khali. While impressive, I don't like when the WWE latches onto something and shoves it down our throat it really seems to belittle the love for it that I feel the fans created not them.
Final Analysis: Slimmer: This looked like a good card going into the show, but ultimately only the Rhodes / Shield and Del Rio / Van Dam matches met or exceeded expectations. Punk / Ryback and Bryan / Orton both had their problems, and everything was totally forgettable. However, there was nothing aggressively bad, and even the forgettable matches were somewhat entertaining. This is certainly not an all-time classic PPV, but it was a good(ish) show with one really great moment. Acero: The expectations for this PPV were definitely low, and the build focused around three matches. With that being the backing, this was a satisfying watch with minor hiccups including some back to back matches that truly didn't matter and were uninteresting. Pretty solid PPV, I think, especially considering what was expected.
Verdict: Slimmer: **¾ Acero: ***½ Average Match Rating: ***