WWE went rolling right on through the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri last night (Sun., July 19, 2015) with Battleground, a pay-per-view (PPV) that was awful the first two times the promotion ran it but delivered the goods here. That is if you like major returns from major stars.
Let's not waste time with pleasantries and get right to reactions to the show (click here for the live blog with full match coverage).
That is not dead which can eternal lie
Brock Lesnar is god. That's the only explanation I can come up with at this point. When you die and get to heaven, he'll be there to ask if you brought Jimmy John's and if you didn't he's going to suplex you straight to hell. So be ready for that.
He probably likes the roast beef sandwich.
Seth Rollins is not god. He's the least deserving champion in the history of champions, even less than that time Kane won the title from Steve Austin in a First Blood match when he was wearing a full body suit and mask. He's an awesome heel champion for as much, yes, but that meant they had to get creative to figure out how to get him into and out of this match as champion without killing Brock's status as god.
And by "Enter Undertaker" I mean the lights went out, the GONG hit, and Rollins just ran the hell out of there. While that's unsatisfactory for the match itself -- it didn't get a finish, after all -- it's Rollins staying true to his character and running the hell out of there just as soon as an opportunity presented itself to do just that. I can't wait for him to brag on Raw tonight that he beat The Beast and he's the greatest champion ever.
Meanwhile, I quite enjoyed "The Phenom" coming back to settle up with Lesnar. It never made sense to have him lose at WrestleMania and then go on ahead with his career without even acknowledging that Brock even exists in the same (WWE) universe. He came back with FIRE. I don't care about babyface/heel alignment; like Jim Ross was stressing on Twitter, this is personal.
If there was ever a reason for Undertaker to come back, it's not because Bray Wyatt summoned him. It's because he realized he was healthy enough to head back into the belly of the beast and do battle with the only one who could down him.
And, hey, if it's because of Lesnar taking out Kane, that's family business and it's still personal and, well, I'll live with that.
The fantasy booking in my head has him losing to Lesnar again and cutting a promo on Raw the next night where he says he doesn't have it anymore and it's time to retire. Then Sting shows up to stop him, challenge him to a WrestleMania 32 match, and they both go out on that. I know we won't get it, but I'll be happy, at least, that they're going back to tie up a loose end with the Undertaker-Lesnar story.
Plus, the lights dying and the GONG hitting is always great, 50-year-old man or not.
And with strange aeons even death may die
I absolutely love the work John Cena has done in 2015. He's my pick for "Wrestler of the Year" and, really, it's not even close. He's given us so many outstanding matches I've lost track and that's with opponents that include the likes of Stardust, Zack Ryder, and Neville.
He's been great, he really has.
But his winning last night was complete bullshit. There is no defense for it, really. Yes, Cena is a dynasty but at what point do we stop feeding rising heels to him to stunt their momentum? At what point does someone other than Brock Lesnar -- coming off beating Undertaker's streak at WrestleMania -- actually go over him in a feud?
No, this is not a burial. Yes, Kevin Owens can survive this. But an NFL team can start a season 0-6 before ripping off 10 wins in a row to sneak into the playoffs and go on to win the Super Bowl too. The point is they're making it that much harder on themselves by digging that early hole, even if they lost each of those games by 1 point apiece.
A loss is a loss, folks. As much as they supposedly don't matter, they color your perception whether you realize it or not. Bray Wyatt was hot until he ran into the Cena brick wall. Rusev was hot until he ran into the Cena brick wall. And now Owens was hot and he ran into that same brick wall. His saving grace is support beyond what the other two ever had and the fact that he delivered so many incredible matches along the way.
So, yes, he'll be fine. But it absolutely sucks that we're talking about how "he'll be fine" instead of pondering how high the ceiling is. He's been on the main roster for only a couple months and he's already crashed hard into it.
All the best to all the rest
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus: Can we get Orton's family to show up front row at every event he works a match with Sheamus at? I'm not sure I've seen him any more motivated to put on a good match. When he's on, his detail work is tremendous. The draping DDT is always fun but counting to four for the referee and then dropping Sheamus down was arguably the moment of the night. That said, for as much as I love the RKO OUTTA NOWHERE gimmick on Vine, I'm not such a fan of working so hard to incorporate it into every finish like he's still managing to surprise people by hitting the same finish he hits to win every match he's worked for a decade now. Also, like, you're in a pro wrestling match. You aren't Heath Slater in catering just trying to a drumstick.
The New Day vs. The Prime Time Players: There are two things you can count on in New Day matches that are going to entertain you every time. 1) Xavier Woods screaming about Big E's "tricep meat" while yelling at Titus O'Neil that he has the worst leg drop ever and 2) Big E working the clap cadence on his opponent's midsection during an abdominal stretch. I'm still enjoying Titus O'Neil throwing guys around and they put together a fun finish here. If I had the pencil I couldn't imagine booking a tag team over New Day right now but they're making it work in the matches themselves.
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt: POWER MOVES ON CHUNKY DUDES! This may have been the match of the night, had they not booked the finish with Luke Harper rejoining Wyatt because reasons (rumored to be a tag match at SummerSlam). Reigns works best as an angry assassin and Bray is great as the brainy workhorse who will wear you down both mentally and physically but will also cheat if he needs to. They went full hoss here exchanging great offense like Bray countering the apron dropkick with a hard clothesline and Roman getting out of the corner with a sitout powerbomb. I didn't think I would like this but they came through with what they were trying to do.
Brie Bella vs. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks: Make no mistake, this wasn't the five-star classic so many are eager to crown it as simply because it was a million times better than a regular Divas match on a WWE pay-per-view. But that's still a huge success, and it should be celebrated. They were given proper time and they told a proper story with a super satisfying finish. Brie Bella, arguably the most hated Diva on the roster, was submitted clean in the middle by Charlotte with her awesome submission finish. What could be better? They're making progress and we know this because Charlotte lost some of her hair -- again -- and no one called attention to it and it didn't take away from the match. That's the fan base treating the women like wrestlers who are wrestling and something unfortunate happened during the course of it but that's it. If that were Eva, it would have been mocked mercilessly. So, again, there was progress here, and the match was fun.
PPV promo time: The Miz is awesome because he actually had me wanting Triple H to work that old gimmick he used to use walking out and hitting a Pedigree on some random idiot before walking off without a word. They did that, too, they just used Big Show in dress pants. So, yeah, that sucks.
I actually really enjoyed this show.
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. How did you like it, if you liked it at all?
Photos via WWE.com