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WWE Battleground 2017: A PPV That Missed the Mark and Then Some

It’s hard to get excited about a wrestling pay-per-view when you know the event will disappoint long before it starts.

WWE Battleground was everything I knew it wouldn’t be, and turned out to be everything fans expected – a mid-level show that was lukewarm despite two title changes and a main event that featured a gimmick hadn’t been used in a decade. It’s fair to say the Punjabi Prison Match died a slow and agonizing death in Philadelphia. Leave it to WWE to squash its own momentum with bad booking and a surprise ending that may have set the New Era back couple of years.

The Great Khali helped Jinder Mahal defeat Randy Orton and keep his WWE world title. Somehow, someone thought the return of the Punjabi Prince would be the swerve fans could get behind. Instead just like myself, many are probably wondering today what the heck was this company thinking. And now with the notion that a Khali-Orton match at SummerSlam on the horizon, should we all just throw in the towel, expecting anything less than mediocrity?

Not everything was a waste, but it was close.

The tag team match between The New Day and The Usos proved to be the highlight of the evening. The two best tag teams in the past decade proved this is a feud with plenty of traction. Because there are no other top-tier duos to step forward, this is a feud that could continue through the holidays. Too bad Chad Gable and Jason Jordan are no longer together. Being that it was the first match of the night, you could make the argument everything went downhill from there.

The Five-Way Elimination match for the Women’s Title was better than I expected. Putting Natalya over as the number one contender to Naomi’s belt is a bit surprising. I wonder if he has some sort of swerve coming leading up to their title match. And now that the dust has cleared, what happens to Lana and Tamina? Will Becky Lynch and Charlotte feud out of necessity?

Kevin Owens and AJ Styles once again walked into the ring with the United States Title on the line. Styles took the belt from Owens in a house show at Madison Square Garden a few weeks ago only to lose on Sunday night.

The match had its moments, as both performers are two of the best on the blue roster. But the ending was disjointed. Owens now has the title in hand and WWE must decide who steps up to face the Canadian superstar. Maybe this is where Tye Dillinger gets a push.

John Cena once again defended America in his Flag Match with Rusev. It was as robotic as could be expected. I have two questions that I can’t get out of my head after watching both competitors. First, will Cena openly challenge Mahal for the world title on Tuesday night? Second, why the hell isn’t Lana standing by her man anymore? I get the company wants to push her as a singles competitor, but the combination of beauty and brawn was perfect for both characters.

I won’t bore you with my thoughts on Mike Kanellis and Sami Zayn. Zayn deserves a better spot than this. I’m not sure what the company will do with the former Michael Bennett.

The Baron Corbin and Nakamura match was as stiff as expected. There is no chemistry between the two wrestlers and I’m wondering out loud whether the company should immediately move to a feud between Nakamura and Styles at SummerSlam to give the event at least one marquee match fans will pay to see.

I don’t like writing about bad wrestling. This is exactly what I’m doing. I’m disgusted with how poorly the showing was for this event. WWE cannot expect better ratings or more fan involvement after this show lacked everything the previous three pay-per-views offered. With SummerSlam less than a month away, the company will need to work overtime to promote and book the second most important event on the wrestling calendar must-see entertainment.

Judging by what happened Sunday night, I’m beginning to think WWE cannot put together 3–4 PPV events without developing amnesia. This used to be something the company could string together with no problem. Now I’m beginning to think it’s a struggle to find innovative ways to make fans want more.

I know I want more, and I certainly didn’t get it by watching Sunday night.

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