WWE went rolling right on through the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, New York, last night (Sun., Oct. 6, 2013) with Battleground, featuring Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton duking it out in a solid match before Big Show ran down to ruin the party by straight up knocking everyone out. No finish, no resolution, no fun.
Click here to check out the live blog.
Let's not waste any more time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show:
- Really enjoyed Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam, mostly because it struck that perfect balance between adding high spots into a straight wrestling match without overdoing it too much with the "Hardcore Rules" stipulation. RVD, despite his age and the wear and tear on his body, worked his ass off and the result was a fine PPV opener. I wonder if opening the show with it was strategic to get us to think Damien Sandow might cash in after just working and losing his match to Dolph Ziggler in the pre-show (which wasn't bad but wasn't really worth writing about either).
- The Giant Swing is turning the Real Americans babyface. Really, it's just nice to see Antonio Cesaro doing something that is getting over to the larger audience. He's always been a damn fine wrestler who can talk better than WWE has ever given him the opportunity to. Before now, though, he never had that thing to connect him to the crowd. Now he does, and I hope he takes it and runs with it.
- "LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION HAS ARRIVED!" I'm so glad Curt Axel said this, otherwise we may not have known as much.
- Really felt like Brie Bella improved a great deal in the ring last night. She's been better and better since getting more of a chance to actually get better and while I don't exactly have high hopes for what she can do in the future, she's at least shown that WWE could dedicate more time to her work in the ring and it wouldn't be a complete waste of time. It might even be worth it.
- I'm not sure Cody Rhodes has ever cut a better promo than the one he pulled out last night before taking on The Shield. Also, Goldust breaking out the Darth Maul facepaint was a nice touch, considering.
- The story was just right for it going in for the Rhodes Brothers to have a five-star match with Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. We just needed everyone to be at the top of their game and, not surprisingly, they were. Goldust looked as crisp as he ever has, and Cody was on fire with an inspiration I'm not sure we've ever seen from him before. We don't even need to talk about Reigns and Rollins; they're good each time, every time. Hell, even "The American Dream" was awesome breaking out his belt and smacking Dean Ambrose with it. They also laid out the match about as beautifully as they could, building perfectly to Cody hitting the Cross Rhodes with all the emotion in the world behind him. Goldust rushing in to hug his brother after the pinfall felt real, or at least as real as it can in pro wrestling. Thank god the crowd was into this. This may have actually been a five-star match.
- Holy shit, that was awesome. Maybe "Match of the Year" so far.
- That creepy backwards walk Bray Wyatt did to Kofi Kingston was a neat new little wrinkle in his act. I'm surprised the two had a fairly good match, too.
- I don't know how much I like the commentary team acting like Paul Heyman is an evil genius simply for causing a distraction just before CM Punk was about to put away Ryback. Pretty standard fare for a heel manager and while it's necessar to put the heels over to get heat for the babyface, there's no need for overkill.
- Punk's running knee in the corner just isn't the same without the follow up bulldog.
- Thought Punk and Ryback had a better match at Hell in a Cell last year, although I did like the nod the creative team gave to it by ending this one on a low blow. Nothing with Heyman was surprising and it felt very much like they didn't want to advance anything too much here. This could have been a Raw match and it wouldn't have done much for me.
- POWER OUTAGE CONSPIRACY! BEST FOR BUSINESS-AH!
- There were some saying on Twitter during the power outage that it smelled like an angle. Let's just get it out there and be real about it: That would have been the stupidest angle WWE could have ever done, and that includes the Katie Vick storyline. Thankfully, the power came back and the PPV feed returned with 30 minutes available for the main event. I suppose we got a cool down from the co-main and main after all.
- Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton was a good match. It was. They have good chemistry and I enjoy watching them wrestle each other.
- That's the only good thing I can say about the main event last night because dear god was this the stupidest end to a show fans had to pay for in history. This was worse than Halloween Havoc just going off the air before Goldberg vs. DDP because at least then you wanted to tune in the next night to see how they would explain it. This was worlds away from that. This was like Triple H and Stephanie McMahon knocking on your door, confirming you purchased the show, thanking you, then kicking you in the crotch before leaving with a big smile. "We really got 'em, Steph", Triple H would say, super proud of the big swerve they had pulled off.
- Seriously, Big Show just knocking everyone out? That's what this was building towards? He runs in, apparently not of his own free will, and knocks out Bryan but RIGHT THEN has his big epiphany and decides to kill everyone else before shouting "NO MORE" to the crowd who has no idea how to react because they want to cheer him but the show they paid good money to see is ending on the shittiest note possible.
- I get it that Orton vs. Bryan is happening in another three weeks at Hell in a Cell, or at least that seems to be the stated plan but after this many inconclusive finishes, we have ZERO reason to believe we're FINALLY going to get one there. And they'll tell us we will because it's going to be inside the Cell but we'll politely remind them that that's how they tried to hype Punk vs. Ryback last year and that ended up having a smoz finish too. This was just the absolute worst way to get here.
- I'm actually hoping Triple H shows up to Raw tonight and fires the shit out of Big Show. If they book a triple threat at Hell in a Cell between Show, Bryan, and Orton, this entire storyline, which was so promising, will go to shit. And we know they can do it well because they knocked it out of the park with the Rhodes family, who went over clean against The Shield, a trio who are almost always booked strong, even when they reportedly have heat on themselves. So there are no excuses for the main event angle to be so poorly done when the secondary angle has been so masterfully executed.
That ending really left a sour taste.
Plenty of good to great wrestling, despite the bullshit main event finish.
That's it from me, Cagesiders. Now it's your turn to sound off in the comments section below with all your thoughts on last night's show.