At this past week’s WWE draft show, a lot was made about Smackdown being the underdog show that would have to overcome great odds if it had a chance of beating RAW. So it’s fitting, then, that Smackdown’s Dean Ambrose, heading into tonight’s Battleground pay-per-view as WWE Champion, would have to beat the odds to walk away from the triple-threat title match against his former Shield partners, and RAW roster members, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. And that’s exactly what he did.
At first, it looked like Rollins was trying to get Reigns and Ambrose to take it easy on him with a fake overture to join fists with him in a show of Shield solidarity. But they wanted none of it, and the two of them combined to knock Rollins out of the ring. From there, the match took on a typical three-way battle pacing, with two men duking it out in the ring while the other waited outside, recuperating from a beating. That dynamic changed when the match spilled to the floor, and Rollins battered both of his opponents, whipping them hard against the ringside barrier, before getting thrown into the timekeeper’s area himself. As he and Reigns fought in that pit, Ambrose jumped onto both of them from the announce table. And followed that up with a series of high-impact moves onto Reigns, nearly getting the pin. Which was followed by some excellent camera direction, which hid Rollins from view, until he suddenly came into frame, landing on Ambrose with a big Frog Splash. The match picked up after that, with a neat sequence where all three men were felled courtesy of Superman Punches and clotheslines, and then a swarming of Reigns by a temporarily-reunited Ambrose and Rollins. They continued their alliance to clear off the announce table and double-powerbomb Reigns through it like back in the day. With Reigns down and out, Rollins tried to end things by clobbering Ambrose with a chair, but Ambrose was able to recover. The two of them forgot about Reigns to continue their battle, but that backfired, when he recovered from the table bomb, and came in to take both of them down with some power moves. Rollins nearly got the win after hitting Reigns with the Pedigree after Reigns had Superman Punched Ambrose into next week, but Reigns wouldn’t stay down. Instead, he Speared Rollins and was going for the pin, but Ambrose caught him by surprise, hit Reigns with Dirty Deeds, and got the pin to retain the belt.
After the match, Dean Ambrose celebrated in the ring with Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan and were joined by the Smackdown Live roster, while Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley sulked on the outside.
WWE Battleground – Full Results
Pre-Show Match: The Usos vs. Breezango
This one was a bit rushed, but was pretty decent overall. Breezango continued to improve as a tag team, showing some neat double-team moves. At one point, the Usos looked to be setting up a Doomsday Device move, but Breezango was able to thwart the attempt. The minute leading up to the ending was a bit muddled and sloppy, but finally saved with a torpedo dive from Jimmy through the ropes onto Fandango. Jey tried for a Superfly Splash, but Breeze got his knees up, leaving Jey hurt and prone for the pin.
Match Rating: 6/10
Match 1: Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks & Bayley
Before she was introduced, the Washington DC drowd was chanting for Bayley to come out as Sasha’s partner, and they erupted when her music hit. As she and Sasha played to the crowd, Charlotte and Dana attacked them from behind. This one was fast and furious to start, with some really quick offense, including a sweet flying head scissors by Sasha. But every time she or Bayley got the edge, Charlotte and Dana would use some kind of dirty tactic to stop their momentum and take over. Eventually, though, the fan favourites came back. Bayley dispatched of Dana, allowing Sasha to hit Charlotte with the Backstabber which she rolled over into the Banks Statement, leaving Charlotte no choice but to tap out. It was mentioned during the match that this was a one-night-only appearance for Bayley on the main roster, so her and Sasha’s post-match hug looks to be a goodbye hug for the time being.
Winners: Sasha Banks & Bayley
Match Rating: 7.5/10
Match 2: The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family
During their entrance, the New Day noted they are now the longest-reigning tag champions of all time (beating Demolition’s record). During their pre-match promo, Xavier Woods made comments suggesting he’s still uneasy with taking the fight to the Wyatts. That was confirmed when he froze in the ring whenever Bray was in there with him. Kofi was the one to take the beating for most of this one, landing hard on his shoulder after being turned topy-turvy by a huge clothesline by Bray. He finally got free, and tagged in Big E, leading to a pier-six brawl with all men getting involved. Bray had Kofi set up for Sister Abagail, but Woods made the save, only to fall spell to Bray’s hypnotic gaze. But the Power of Positivity kicked in and Woods found his will to fight, and he attacked Bray with fervour. Until Bray did his crab-walk, which spooked Woods enough to allow Bray to hit him with Sister Abagail and get the pin.
Winners: The Wyatt Family
Match Rating: 8/10
Match 3: Rusev (c) w/ Lana vs. Zack Ryder – United States Championship match
The opening minutes of this match looked like a squash match, with Rusev out-wrestling, out-muscling, and simply beating Ryder up with some simple ground-and-pound. Ryder mounted a comeback out of nowhere, but was hurt even more when the match spilled to the floor and Rusev dropped him onto the ringside barricade. But the big man missed a charging attack and crashed hard into the same barricade, allowing Ryder to hit a huge flying dropkick, stunning Rusev. Ryder threw Rusev in the ring, and went for a flying elbow, but Rusev put his knees up, which looked really painful for Ryder. Rusev then clamped on the Accolade, forcing Ryder to submit.
Winner, and still United States Champion: Rusev
Match rating: 7/10
After the match, Rusev continued to beat up Ryder and was going to lock on the Accolade again, but Ryder’s Hype Bro buddy Mojo Rawley made the save, getting in Rusev’s face and backing down the champ.
Backstage, Seth Rollins walked into a meeting between Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley, his new bosses on RAW. They told Seth he had the chance to prove himself tonight in his match against Roman Reigns and WWE Champion Dean Ambrose. He said he had nothing to prove, and that he would win the title tonight simply because he’s the best.
Match 4: Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
This one went to the floor right away, where Zayn battered his former best friend from pillar to post. In the ring, Sami continued his assault, until Owens crotched him on the top rope, turning things completely around. Owens pummelled Zayn for a while, but the scrappy Zayn finally got loose. A really scary moment saw Sami go for a springboard seated moonsault onto Owens on the floor, but Sami didn’t bounce correctly, and he nearly landed on the apron on the top of his head – his arm took the brunt of the blow, and it looked legitimately injured – but that could have been a disaster. The two fought tooth and nail, with Owens nearly getting the win after a superkick. Owens locked on a crossface, but Sami was able to get to the ropes. Owens then tried for a charge, but Sami caught him and T-bone suplexed him right into the corner. He then hit Owens with a Brainbuster on the ring apron which looked really ugly. The crowd really got into this one, with “This is awesome!” and dueling name chants. Zayn went for his flying spinning DDT through the ropes, but Owens countered with a superkick, which he followed up with a Cannonball and a Superfly – but Sami kicked out! The action got too quick to call here, with Sami avoiding a Pop-up Powerbomb and hitting two big suplexes, but again only for two. Then Sami got his foot on the ropes to break up a pinfall after Owens did hit the Pop-up Powerbomb, a thrilling moment that prompted the crowd to give them a mid-match standing ovation. After another exchange, Sami finally hit the Helluva Kick, which he immediately followed with another for good measure, to get the pinfall victory. Go out of your way to watch this one, folks.
Winner: Sami Zayn
Match rating: 10/10
Match 5: Natalya vs. Becky Lynch
This one saw Natalya trying to avoid Becky, who was raring to get revenge on her former friend. Natalya picked her spot, and capitalized on Becky’s zeal to get her hands on her, running her into the steel steps, injuring Becky’s leg. Back in the ring, Natalya worked over the leg to punish Becky some more. Becky fought back, but Natalya used the ref as a screen, allowing her to kick Becky straight in the knee, which was hurt enough that Becky had no choice but to submit once Natalya locked on the Sharpshooter.
Match rating: 6/10
Backstage, WWE Champ Dean Ambrose committed to his Smackdown Live bosses Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan that their show would keep the title as he was planning on beating Reigns and Rollins later tonight.
Match 6: The Miz (c) w/ Maryse vs. Darren Young w/ Mr. Bob Backlund – Intercontinental Championship match
Young was a step ahead of Miz early on, but a distraction by Maryse allowed Miz to catch Young up top and knock him to the floor. Miz locked Young into a lengthy headlock, and then the two exchanged backslide attempts – which was about as exciting as most Randy Orton matches or promos, which is to say, not at all. After Young mounted a comeback, Miz tried to walk out of the match, but Backlund blocked his path, forcing Miz back into the ring. Then, Maryse slapped Backlund and after that, she fell to the floor, claiming that Backlund shoved her. An angry Miz ran out to the floor and hit Backlund, which led to Darren Young running out and putting the Crossface Chicken Wing on Miz on the floor where the match ended by countout, or possibly DQ when Darren Young refused to release the hold. After the match, Darren Young stared at his hands with a crazed look in his eyes, while Backlund – who did that very thing after attacking Bret Hart so many years ago – continued to motivate him.
Winner (?) and still the Intercontinental Champion: The Miz
Match rating: 3/10
Match 7: John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. AJ Styles, Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
Enzo and Cass did an opening promo that went longer than the Intercontinental Championship match – and was much more entertaining. It was far from being Joel-Gertner-introducing-the-Dudleys-in-the-original-ECW good, but still pretty good. It even got the crowd to stop booing John Cena for a few minutes. The good guys started off hot, hitting their move where Cass heaves Enzo over the top rope onto Anderson & Gallows. Then followed that up by heaving AJ Styles onto his partners in the same way. But The Club used their teaming experience to ground Amore, and isolated him in their corner for a triple-team assault. He eventually escaped and got the tag to Cena. A lot of sloppiness then ensued as everyone hit finshers, and people hit their own opponents by accident. Somewhere in there, Cena ended up on the announce table, and Enzo hit Anderson with a flying spinning DDT on the floor. After that, though, it became a plodding affair for a while, until Cena and AJ were left. Cena hit Styles with an Attitude Adjustment off the middle rope, and got the pin.
Winners: John Cena, Enzo Amore & Big Cass
Match rating: 7.5/10
Chris Jericho came out to host the Highlight Reel with his special guest, making his return to WWE after a 9-month absence, Randy Orton. Jericho was great here, but even he couldn’t make a Randy Orton segment interesting – though, credit where it’s due, Orton did get in a couple of good lines in, bordering on veiled shoots. The segment ended with an RKO outta nowhere, but not soon enough.
Backstage, the rosters of both RAW and Smackdown Live were shown in separate areas all seated around monitors so they could watch and find out which show would end up with the WWE championship. The commissioners of both shows and their GMs were introduced and they came down to ringside to get a closer look at the action.
Match 8: Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Roman Reigns – World Championship match
Winner, and still WWE Champion: Dean Ambrose
Match rating: 8/10
Overall show rating: 7/10
- Live report: Hot DC crowd adds more heat to a red hot Battleground
- Countdown to WWE BattlegroundBob Kapur is neither a certified G nor a bona-fide thug. But he is an accountant and a writer for SLAM! Wrestling – and you can teach both of those things. E-mail him at [email protected].