Pruett's Pause: WWE Raw - Why would anyone purchase Battleground, Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella get some focus, the Rhodes family and the McMahons confront each other, and more!
By Will Pruett
I can do a lot of things with $50. The wifey and I can go out for waffle sandwiches and beer at The Iron Press in Costa Mesa. I could grab a fancy bottle of scotch. I could go buy Grand Theft Auto V (for an extra $10). I could fill my car's gas tank. I could start a garden on my patio. When it comes to paying for a pay-per-view, I'm not sure if WWE Battleground is worth the $50.
I've watched pretty much every WWE pay-per-view since 1998. This has become a habit in my life. It's ingrained in my psyche. On pay-per-view nights, I invite some buddies over, make some nachos, and we watch the show. I have no desire to do this on Sunday.
This problem starts with the name of the show. Battleground? Could WWE produce something more generic? My guess is we will see a tank on the set and some vague military theming. Seriously, Battleground. The show is a huge pile of nothing. WWE likes to come up with these generic names instead of just using their stars. You can't tell me Battleground is going to sell better than Bryan vs. Orton II. Look at how boxing and UFC (both of which WWE tries to emulate) promotes pay-per-view. They don't do it through generic names.
The card for Battleground also doesn't seem strong. It's highlighted by the "abeyance" match for the WWE Championship featuring Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. We saw them in a confrontation on Raw featuring Brie Bella. This wasn't a bad segment, but it didn't suddenly make me want to see these guys fight again. Their match at Night of Champions fell below expectations and the abeyance story hasn't been strong. They're fighting again, but it feels skippable.
Even if Daniel Bryan does overcome the odds and win his third WWE Championship, we've seen him win it twice before. At the same time, we also would know Triple H and company would just take the title from him. WWE has done nothing to show us this isn't true. Bryan isn't even mad about the title being stolen from him.
The other main event is Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam in a No Disqualification match. While the YouTube video RVD showed on Raw had some cool flips and things, this actual match doesn't feel important. Since Money in the Bank, RVD has had good matches, but his unmotivated character has made him less than a compelling hero. Del Rio is doing great heel work, but lacking a signature opponent to feud with.
Cody Rhodes and Goldust vs. The Shield is the only other match on this show people will pay attention to. I fully expect the Rhodes boys to win it and expect the moment when they do to be great. This is the match I would most regret not watching.
WWE should really show more respect for people they expect to throw down $50 to watch pay-per-views. Battleground is a joke. The in-ring action may be good, but the show itself lacks excitement. For $50, I want to be chomping at the bit to watch the show, not dreading it.
And now for some random thoughts...
- C.M. Punk's Raw opening segment seemed really random. It almost felt like WWE didn't know what to do, so they sent Punk out to talk a little, then get interrupted into a match. It was definitely a crash TV-esque segment.
- Big E Langston may just need a little bit of time off of television, and a big return with an actual story. The turn of Dolph Ziggler obviously threw off his original program, so why not give him time to regroup?
- WWE decided to give everyone an anti-breast cancer shirt this year. I'm guessing John Cena's pink shirt did exceptionally well last year. I don't mind this move, even if it is a little weird to see heels supporting the cause as well.
- Both Kofi Kingston and Fandango seem to be winning and losing matches arbitrarily. There is no story or direction for their characters. The "Wildcat" and the dancing man are just there to fill a spot in the three hour show. It makes a match between them seem quite unexciting.
- Why did The Wyatt Family enter during Kingston's celebration, only to not attack him? This segment seemed really odd.
- It really says something about a pay-per-view when the match I'm most excited to see is Brie Bella vs. A.J. Lee.
- Paul Heyman is still doing great work on the mic. His program with Punk is so simple and easy and his creativity is keeping it alive. Heyman's work is both so simple and so complicated.
- I mostly ignored the Los Matadores match, but their entrance was amazing. El Torito (the former Mascarita Dorata) is actually an amazing wrestling talent. The bull act is pretty humorous. It may get tired in a few weeks, but right now I love it.
- Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, especially when not in every segment on the show, are really good in their heel act. The disingenuous heels are so fun to watch and it will be even more fun to see them get what's coming to them.
- The Rhodes Family was presented well, without Dusty being able to ramble like he did a couple weeks ago, he came off much better. Cody and Goldust (who was hilariously clad in a suit and facepaint) will be great challengers for The Shield. This match seems very interesting. The Rhodes Boys have a chance to really take off as babyfaces.
- I fast forward through all R-Truth matches. This is non-negotiable.
- Brie Bella's tune up match before the pay-per-view on Sunday worked for me. Her interactions with Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton should get her over well as a babyface. I'm expecting her to win on Sunday, only to have Bryan lose his match, which makes their possibly fairy tale ending a nightmare.
- Big Show's enraged promo about not being able to take anymore abuse just frustrated me. Show is irredeemable at this point. He has punched legends, babyface stars, and allowed beatings to happen right in front of him. The reason this happened was his lack of responsibility with money. Even if he does punch Triple H, why should I cheer him? He's a broken character. The personal drama is not compelling.
- Humorously, Big Show was angry enough to look for Triple H in one room, then apparently got tired and had to strip out of his suit and hope Triple H found him. Poor Big Show.
- Alberto Del Rio vs. Zack Ryder was a basic squash. Del Rio is good at what he does, but, like I mentioned above, he needs a signature opponent at this point.
- The Heyman and Ryback proposal was a fun segment to draw heat from the crowd. Ryback is at his best when standing there and letting someone talk for him. Heyman is actually doing a really good job speaking for him. Ryback is more worth seeing than he has been since WrestleMania right now.
- C.M. Punk almost had me convinced he was legitimately hurt when he went down after the jump over the barricade. The end of this segment was hot and exactly what it should have been.
- Did The Uso's ever get their tag title shot?
- Dolph Ziggler needs a program right now. WWE does a poor job of telling stories on the undercard and it is hurting their undercard talent. Ziggler would do really well in an actual feud. With over six hours of television time per week, one would think a story could be told on the undercard.
- Why exactly did Brie Bella run down to ringside? Shouldn't she have tried to save Daniel Bryan in some way? It wasn't a bad gimmick, but it could have been much better.
This was a weird show. It didn't excite me about the pay-per-view and it didn't really even focus on it. What about the WWE Championship? Why weren't Bryan and Orton talking more about it? What about the threats made towards Brie Bella? Shouldn't Bryan have addressed them? I'm just not convinced this program is working.
So, what did you think of the show? Agree? Disagree? Either way, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to follow me and interact on twitter at twitter.com/itswilltime.
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