So, it’s been almost eight, nine, ten years since I’ve been to a live wrestling event? That’s what my friend and I we discussing yesterday prior to attending the WWE Battleground pay per view event at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. Have to admit, I missed it! Of course, I enjoy watching it in the comfort of my home and friends’ houses for the big pay per views but it was fun to see the WWE at its best running a live production of their shows. We had lower level seats thanks to a special discount offer via e-mail. The arena was pretty much a full house and the Punjabi prison was hovering high above the ring not knowing how good or bad the main event will be. On with the show…..
Kickoff match: Aiden English defeats Tye Dillinger via pinfall: I’m somewhat familiar with these two guys so I wasn’t too interested in the match. I thought it was a given that Dillinger would win but the bookers like to throw a curve ball here and there. This was one of them and based on the crowd reaction I wasn’t the only one surprised.
Battleground Begins: Opener is the tag team title match as we hear the power of Big E’s voice as The New Day emerged from backstage.
The New Day Defeats The Usos to become new SmackDown tag team champions: I loved the build up to this match. I’m back on the Usos bandwagon since their move to SmackDown and their attitude change. Very entertaining match with “This is awesome!” chants. I thought the Usos would hold onto the title until Summerslam. We’ll see if the feud continues into that pay per view next month.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Baron Corbin via Disqualification: If SmackDown’s ever in your neck of the woods, make it a point to go to see Nakamura’s entrance live. Chilling stuff! I’m fine with the DQ. In fact there should be more disqualifications as well as count outs in future pay per views. It keeps the feuds going without having a mandatory pin. Reminds me of the days at the Spectrum when numerous matches ended in disqualifications and count outs. The DQ gives Nakamura the win while Corbin still carries the briefcase while continuing his push until the inevitable cashing in of his title shot.
Natalya wins the five-way elimination match: Another surprise in my book. I was thinking Charlotte or Becky Lynch but I guess this gives Naomi the heel opponent at Summerslam. I assume Charlotte will finally get the title shot that’s been long overdue after Summerslam. And don’t forget Carmella figures into the title shot scenario one day with her MITB briefcase.
Kevin Owens pins A.J. Styles to win the United States Title: Another surprise outcome. Getting the theme of my article? Styles loses the belt two weeks after pinning Owens in New York City. It caught everyone’s attention and lured us to this pay per view and we fell for it. This was the match of the night but not as memorable as I was hoping. Does that mean Styles returns to the SmackDown title picture or does he continue going after Owens?
John Cena wins the Flag on the Pole Match: Definitely not a surprise here! This was a no brainer! Weak match overall but did anyone really think Rusev would win this match? Could you imagine? A riot would have ensured if that happened. I would’ve made a quick exit out of the arena just like I did back in December 2006 when Guns N Roses cancelled their show at the last minute and a riot of sorts ensued. I remembered it because I was there.
Sami Zayn defeats Mike Kanellis: Again, a surprise outcome here. Man, the bookers are messing with us big time! I figured the new guy usually gets the win but I like Zayn and I’m glad he won. Zayn needs to move onto bigger and better feuds. Hear me WWE bookers? The upside of this match was seeing Maria Kanellis back in the WWE and live. Looking good!
Jinder Mahal defeats Randy Orton in the Punjabi Prison Match to retain the SmackDown Title: The surprise here was not who was going to win the match but how. Mahal won with the help of The Great Khali who came out to a surprising pop. Of course, The Singh Brothers interfered and got their respective bumps. The kendo stick hits was a nice added touch. Khali prevented Orton from climbing the cage by choking him out while Mahal could climb up and over the prison to retain the title. I give credit to the Singh Brother who crashed down onto the announcers’ table taking one for the team. Mahal continues to win with interference which I think makes him a weaker heel compared to other heels who win via assistance. Problem with this match was I couldn’t see inside the prison and I had to look up to the video screen. Oh well, I had good seats so I shouldn’t complain.
End of show. Overall it was a good pay per view from a solid card. I would like to have seen more action in a couple of matches but I understand they need to carry some of these storylines into this week’s SmackDown while heading into Summerslam. But all in all, it was a fun night and I was glad to be back at a live event. Speaking of which, the WWE returns to Philly in January as the host city for The 2018 Royal Rumble. Hmmm, do I make it two in a row for live events? Stay tuned…