Kester's WWE Battleground Rundown: A transitionary PPV featuring Big Show interrupting the Main Event, CM Punk cheating to win, and The Rhodes Family overcoming the odds
By Ryan Kester
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton
Out of all of the matches, I expected this one to end in a fluky manner, so when Big Show made his entrance and flattened two referees and the match's two participants, it didn't come off as a disappointment. Sure it wasn't the most satisfying manner to end a PPV, but the live crowd ate up the spot with Big Show turning on a returning Scott Armstrong and the subsequent Knockout Punch he gave to Randy Orton. If WWE is going to extend this feud to Hell in a Cell, which they definitely should, then this was one of the least obnoxious ways for WWE to do so.
Speaking of Hell in a Cell, that PPV hung over this match like a dark cloud. I kept waiting wait whatever story reason for this match to end in a fluky manner to happen, and it took away considerably from the near falls and the effort put forth by both men. One can only hope that WWE builds Hell in a Cell for a big moment and actual deliver to make up for the past two disappointing PPV efforts.
CM Punk vs. Ryback
Much like the rest of the card, this match served as a transition to Hell in a Cell and sought to give away little of what these two men can do in the ring. That's entirely understandable, but I wish they would have found a more creative out than Punk resorting to a low blow to overcome Ryback. With how strong of a babyface reaction Punk has been getting, I would have much rather Heyman have been caught with a completed kendo stick shot to drag this out another few weeks than Punk having to resort to a heel move to get over.
Beyond the silliness of a babyface cheating to win, this finish served to undermine the obvious pairing for Hell in a Cell with Punk. Unless WWE is planning to bring Brock Lesnar out of nowhere, then Punk will be entering Hell in a Cell against a man he has recently pinned. Low blow or not, WWE has given fans the image of Punk covering Ryback at this PPV, and that will satiate many of them enough not to feel the need to see it again just a few weeks later, which is exactly what they should be expecting from what should be the payoff match.
The Rhodes Brothers vs. The Shield
For my money, this match was the highlight of the show. WWE did a great job of building to this confrontation with simple storytelling and made the Rhodes family out to be an underdog that refused to back down and give up. It made for one hell of a hot payoff when Cody finally put The Shield away with CrossRhodes, and it made him and Goldust bigger than they ever would have been without this story. This is a prime example of how, when done right, the strong heel authority figures can be used to bolster a babyface act.
It will be interesting to see where WWE takes Cody and Goldust from here. They could certainly ride a tag run for the next few months, but after the type of reaction Cody received last night, WWE would be wise to give him a singles push and see what he can make of this opportunity.
Battleground was a minor improvement over Night of Champions, but it was very much a transitional PPV that failed to live up to the standards set with its shows earlier in the year. WWE has set up many of its major stories to have their payoff at Hell in a Cell, so this show was positive in that regard, but it still failed to feel like a major event in its own right.
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