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WWE Battleground 2014 preview: Desperate times call for desperate Emails

Baby come back (guitar riff) ... you can stream it all, on, me!


The sky is falling!

Well, not really, but WWE has been taking it on the chin over its new digital network, which is a shame, because it happens to be a terrific product and a tremendous value for pro wrestling fans. But I'm sure a lot of folks, like me, signed up just to stream the pay-per-view (PPV) events.

Which equates to plenty of downtime in between log ins.

That must have set off a programming flag somewhere in the matrix, because I received an Email earlier this week begging reminding me to make sure I could log in before showtime. You know, just in case. Sounds like one of those 128-point safety checks the car dealership gives you.

Have a look:

Dear Hulk Jesse,

WWE's Battleground pay-per-view event will be LIVE on WWE Network this Sunday.

We have noticed that you haven't accessed your WWE Network account in more than two weeks. To be ready to watch Battleground on Sunday, please make sure you are able to login to your account. Don't wait until the last minute!

If you have forgotten your password, please click here and we will email you a temporary password.

If you need additional assistance, or if you have any questions regarding your subscription, please contact us at 1-866-308-5684 before Battleground this Sunday.

Thank you,
WWE Network

U nervous?

WWE must really want a big number for this weekend's brouhaha, which takes place on Sunday night (July 20, 2014) inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum in Tampa, Florida. But is Battleground the event to get fence-straddlers to tune in? Let's take a look at the current line up and see what's for sale.

Drum roll, please:

John Cena (c) vs. Kane vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns:

This fatal four-way match for the WWE Championship features the "John Cena can lose his title without being pinned" gimmick. But in reality, the real attracrtion here is watching Roman Reigns, as he slowly ascends to the top of the pro wrestling mountain.

That said, Kane and Randy Orton are just props to pop in and out in between "tension between Reigns and Cena" spots, to which there will be plenty, and that's a good thing. It's also important to note that Cena can work a good match when he needs to, so this bout should deliver.

Word around the Cageside water cooler is that Cena moves on to defend his title against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam so he'll probably end up pinning Kane because it's Kane and who cares. Even knowing all that, it's the execution I'm most looking forward to.

And Cena/Reigns reenacting Hogan/Warrior from the 1990 Royal Rumble should be fun, too.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E vs. Bo Dallas vs. Cesaro vs. Curtis Axel vs. Diego vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango vs. Heath Slater vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. R-Truth vs. Ryback vs. Sheamus vs. Sin Cara vs. The Great Khali vs. The Miz vs. Titus O'Neil vs. Xavier Woods vs. Zack Ryder:

Ah, the patented 20-man battle royal match for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship. This is essentially a replay of the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal -- except for the fact that Cesaro won't win -- and the usual cast of characters is present and accounted for.

Keep your eye on Bo Dallas.

Aside from his undefeated streak, other performances of note will include Kofi Kingston, who is tasked with finding a new and creative way to keep himself in the match. In addition, the new "angry" Cesaro will probably be the iron man of the bout.

I would also expect Big E. and Ryback to have a hoss-off.

Added bonuses include the new douchey Miz and the running tally -- or the potential drinking game -- on Heath Slater's bumps. Sheamus will no sell anyone and everyone and Zack Ryder is probably the first man out. Fun match, any way you slice it.

Bray Wyatt vs. Chris Jericho:

I don't want to get too maudlin here but fans should be lucky to see a match up like this. We have one of the all-time greats putting over one of the industry's most promising up-and-comers. Both guys can talk and more importantly, both guys can work, too.

If there is a knock on this program, it's that it feels a bit rushed.

But that's nitpicking because when you get Jericho, you have to make the most of his limited time inside the ring. This is just a layover while Daniel Bryan gets all patched up or until Fozzy gets its next tour date, whichever comes first and let's face it, Y2J is not getting any younger.

No matter.

I expect a clean, well-paced match with lots of psychology and a few crazy bumps. Near falls? Half a dozen or so toward the end, for certain. I'm not even sure the outcome matters, because win or lose, both performers should come out of this one looking good.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins:

I'm just glad it's taking place after that scare we had on Monday night. It's also a feather in the Battleground cap because we have three great matches at the top of the card AND this. You can also make the argument that Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have the strongest backstory.

The Shield break up was kind of a big deal, but Roman Reigns has moved on.

Ambrose, on the other hand, has not. And he's made it his life's mission to ruin Rollins' day. All day, every day. Now they finally get to wrestle after a couple of weeks of mind games and if this was mixed martial arts (MMA), this would likely earn a "fight of the night" bonus.

Great spots, solid build, plenty of heat ... there is nothing to dislike about this match.

AJ Lee (c) vs. Paige:

This singles match for the WWE Divas Championship features two of the best wrestlers in the Divas division, so it's not the automatic piss break fans might be accustomed to. But aside from their work rate, it has been really interesting to see how Creative booked this.


It's only a matter of time before Paige loses her shit and goes back to being the black sheep of the division and it would serve here -- and the division -- well. AJ Lee feels kind of face-ish at the moment and I'm not sure the NXT import was comfortable (or successful) in that role.

Either way, we're in for a rare, technically-sound match between dueling Divas.

The Usos (c) vs. The Wyatt Family (Erick Rowan and Luke Harper):

The only reason I'm not destroying this 2-out-of-3 falls match for the WWE Tag Team Championship is because all four guys can work. Why destroy it? Because I'm tired of seeing it. I understand that when you work an extended program, matches will be repeated with different stipulations.

But still...

It wasn't that long ago when WWE was pushing the tag team division and now it seems like these are the only two teams left in it. I guess the counter to that argument is "better the Wyatts than Rybaxel" and I don't know if I would dispute that. In any case, let's hope this match delivers.

And that it's the last time we see it for awhile.

Jack Swagger vs. Rusev:

When two tribes go to war, a point is all that you can score. They may not be fighting for the black gas, but United States and Russia are back in the center of the ring to slug it out in front of an angry mob, thanks to Jack Swagger and Rusev, who are only fighting because ... cheap heat.

And what would cheap heat be without a cheap pop?

It's not as risque as Mick Foley vs. Muhammad Hassan, but this nation vs. nation program isn't designed to further anyone's career or sell the Battleground event. It's nothing more than Boo! Bad Guy! coupled with Yay! Good guy! As Jim Duggan continues to prove, there's always a spot on a big card for these types of patriotic matches.

I just wish life was this easy.

Like, you fuck up real bad at work and everyone hates you, so you show up the next day with an American flag and beat the shit out of Anton from Accounting, because his mom was born in Yugoslavia or something. Then all your co-workers cheer and chant USA! USA!

Until then, we'll have to settle for Swagger vs. Rusev, which should be a good, old-fashioned hoss fight.

Assuming Swagger doesn't hurt anyone (again).

Naomi vs. Cameron:

This is the Divas version of Perry Saturn and Moppy. One pro wrestler and one inanimate object. I don't mean that as a slight, but Cameron can't wrestle. And being able to execute a couple of basic spots does not make you a wrestler, any more than me hitting a couple of notes on a Fender makes me a guitarist.

They will compete, and I will find a snack to munch on, or a bladder to empty.

Girls, bye.

There you have it.

The worst match on this card is the Divas battle between the former Funkadactyls, but that's how it's supposed to be. From top-to-bottom, this is a really strong, well-balanced line up featuring (almost) all the top talent. The name Battleground may not be enough to sway viewers, but the quality of matches should be.

I'm comfortable calling this a must-buy for any pro wrestling fan.

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