WWE Battleground 2015
July 19, 2015
Scottrade Center
St. Louis, Missouri
Watch: VoicesofWrestling.com/WWENetwork

WWE’s annual Battleground pay-per-view had the distinction of being the only PPV series to win back-to-back “Worst Major Wrestling Show” of the year in the Wrestling Observer awards. Both Battleground 2013 & 2014 were horrendous shows highlighted by non-nonsensical booking, mediocre matches and nothing of redeeming value.

Thankfully, the 2015 edition was far better both in-ring and story wise. The booking of Cena/Owens leaves a lot to be desired for but a major return, numerous solid to above average matches and momentum heading into SummerSlam makes WWE Battleground 2015 an all-around thumbs up.

Barrett’s King of the Ring Crown
King Barrett def. R-Truth

Rob McCarron (@ShakeThemRopes): Surprised a bit, I am, that King Barrett actually won the match to retain the right to dress like a goofball and reign over a pretend kingdom. Getting almost ten minutes, Barrett and Truth really did all they could to get the crowd to care. They almost succeeded. **1/4

Warren Taylor (@TeddyNoir): Michael Cole pointed out on commentary that the last time two grown men fought for the right to be the king of a professional wrestling company was the 1980’s. What Cole failed to point out was that the gimmick should have stayed there. Both men deserve better. The match was your average back and forth WWE TV bout that Barrett thankfully won. **1/4

Randy Orton def. Sheamus

Rob McCarron: Why doesn’t WWE upload the five minutes Orton spends picking out which color tights he wants to wear each night to YouTube? I’d sub. I know some were worried that they were opening the show with a potential crowd killer, dud, etc… well, not in Randy’s hometown. While the finish was abrupt, that is kind of Orton’s thing. Also Orton’s thing? Delivering on Pay Per View. ****

Rich Kraetsch (@VoicesWrestling): You knew what you were going to get with this match and honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting… it was actually okay! I wasn’t in love with the match and thought the pacing was a little suspect for your opener but the closing stretch had the crowd hot and they were way into hometown boy Orton. The RKO Out of Nowhere was fun and hey, this was a good way to start Battleground. ***

Warren Taylor: Orton and Sheamus have both progressed as workers since their awful feud from a few years back. This was a perfectly acceptable opening match worked at a pace that was comfortable for both men. Since they were in Orton’s hometown the crowd was hotter than normal so that really helped the vibe of the contest. Orton getting the win is puzzling but WWE booking so logic need not apply to the situation. ***1/4

WWE Tag Team Championship
The Prime Time Players © def. The New Day

Rob McCarron: Loved Xavier Woods being annoying cheerleader. Loved Kofi Kingston wondering why Titus had to hit so hard. Loved Big E reaping his rewards. Loved Titus O’Neil showing his power against Big E. Loved Darren Young keeping the ring clear so Titus could win. Loved this. These two teams, who would have known!? ***3/4

Rich Kraetsch: Woah, that may have been my favorite WWE tag match in quite some time. It had elements of everything I love about tag team wrestling: heels being heel-y, exciting hot tags and a slightly out of nowhere finish. This was a southern style tag match with the inclusion of multiple PWG-style apron bumps — does it get any better? Titus and Big E are just so good right now. Xavier has also officially found his calling as the modern Jimmy Hart. Loved it. ****

Bray Wyatt def. Roman Reigns 

Rob McCarron: Get ready for the next great American rivalry: Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose vs Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper? Missing some pieces, but that is awfully familiar… if that is indeed where this is headed. Luke Harper interfered on Bray’s behalf to give Bray the win in a pretty solid match. St Louis isn’t known to be a weird crowd, so I was quite stunned at how positively they treated Bray throughout. ***

Rich Kraetsch: What’s with all the apron spots tonight? That’s at least six by my count and the first match had none. Think about that.

Anyway, not a bad match at all but it just went on and on and on. They had a good match structured and it was well worked, it just had a super cold, middle spot. Definitely a match that would’ve benefitted being shorter but what can you do? The ending was solid and of course I enjoy the reunion of Luke Harper/Bray Wyatt. Good, not great but solid enough for these two who usually have horrendous chemistry together. ***

Warren Taylor: Cut the match time in half and this would have been fantastic. Bray Wyatt does not have the cardio for long matches at this point in his career and the necessary rest holds suck the juice out of the joint. Roman Reigns is at his best when he is booked in a war and that is exactly what happened here. He and Bray just beat the absolute shit out of each other. Humanizing Reigns has been the right call for his career The ending came as a nice surprise but may end up being the shot in the arm Bray Wyatt’s gimmick needed. ***1/4

Triple Threat: Charlotte def. Brie Bella & Sasha Banks

Rob McCarron: They were right, Charlotte isn’t ready. But that was about the only negative of this match. Sasha Banks was a star rising above, trying to make it known that she is ready to be here for good. Brie was on point, despite some weird spots that just looked like a lack of communication between all involved. On the whole, this was a pretty good followup to the Raw debut of the NXT women, but triple threat matches in general won’t help much from this point forward. ***

Rich Kraetsch: The revolution has begun and this was about as good of a follow up as you could’ve asked for. Brie was obviously the outlier here and was really, really bad throughout. With that said, they kept her inclusions minimal. This match was just and yet may be one of the best Divas matches in WWE PPV history — wrap your head around that one. This wasn’t spectacular but the future is brighter now than it’s ever been. I’m excited to go on the ride. ***

Warren Taylor: I feel sorry for Brie Bella because she was flat out exposed in this match. The difference in talent between the main roster and NXT Divas is an absolute chasm. Charlotte worked hard during the match and looked good in a victorious effort but she will be an afterthought when all is said and done. The shining star of the match was one Sasha Banks. She is the most complete female performer the WWE has had in quite some time. Treat her with care main roster because she is going to be so damn special. **3/4

WWE United States Championship
John Cena © def. Kevin Owens

Rob McCarron: I had fun watching Owens vs Cena 3. Unlike the 2nd match, this one didn’t really change from the previous. It was much of the same. Yes, people will complain about kickout after kickout, but sometimes that style can work. It didn’t work 100% here, and you could tell that with the crowd response, for sure. There was a brief moment of brilliance, that I surely was hoping they’d expound upon, but it didn’t happen. John Cena being broken by the tough challenge and tenacity of Owens, going full on “fuck this shit”, was an exciting few seconds. Unfortunately, the story didn’t continue in that direction. You can turn Cena into badass, don’t care Cena, without turning him heel. I look forward to that day, if it ever comes. ***3/4

Rich Kraetsch: Eh, this was fine but we’ve seen it before. I feel bad for not liking it as much as I would in a vacuum but this didn’t deviate much from the previous two matches and given the proximity to said matches, it lost a lot of its potential aura. This was definitely the worst of their three matches (that’s on a scale, of course). The much damning part of this is the rapid WWE-izing of Owens. He’s quickly becoming “just a guy” and that’s just so wrong. A loss here now has me questioning the next steps for Owens and where he goes from here — he can’t possibly get another US Title match, can he? ***½

Warren Taylor: Cena and Owens produced two instant classics in two consecutive months. While they did not quite pull the off the trifecta this was a good professional wrestling match albeit a rehash of the greatest hits from previous fights. What would have put this match over the top is if Owens pulled out the win after kicking out of the Avalanche AA. The look of pure shock on Cena’s face would have made Kevin Owens. Instead, we are going to have to wait a little longer for that moment because Owens taped to a sloppy looking STF.

I have no idea what the WWE is going to do with Owens in the months to come but I don’t think he is doomed like many on Twitter were saying as soon as the match concluded. The WWE is changing but is doing so very slowly. Be patient fans Owens will have his moment in the sun.****

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Seth Rollins © vs. Brock Lesnar – No Decision

Rob McCarron: Undertaker is back, with his sights set on Brock. That was the main event. Rollins vs Brock was effectively the hype video for the Taker return. Somehow. I don’t know. What do you want from me? I’m just a guy.

Like Kevin Owens. **

Rich Kraetsch: Welp, that wasn’t much of a match other than tons of suplexes. Not complaining, that’s what you want out of a Brock Lesnar match. I enjoyed the story of Seth doing everything he could to run away because that’s exactly what you should do when Brock is on the other side of the ring.

The match was a nothing though, the big story here is The Undertaker’s return and where he fits into the story. Let’s look at this: he came out, interfered to help Seth Rollins retain his title, kicked Lesnar in the nuts and continued to beat on him even though he had already shown his dominance. That’s heel 101, right? I’d say yes but it’s The Undertaker, in 2015. Can you have him go heel? Can you turn Brock heel again and if so, why and for what purpose? He beat the guy a year ago fair and square, the guy came back and screwed him and now Brock is the bad guy? That doesn’t make sense.

My guess is they go shades of grey and let the crowd take it where they will. Or they get extra ballsy and go heel with Undertaker… can they really do that? Who knows. **1/2

Warren Taylor: Rollins vs. Lesnar had the makings of a good main event. Seth was at his slimy best, trying to run away multiple times and finally targeting Brock’s knee. The big man did what he does best, take fools to Suplex City. I was genuinely excited to see how the match would end…then the lights went out and the gong sounded…and logic in the WWE main event scene died, again.

Why does the Undertaker need to face Brock Lesnar again? Because the ratings dipped again? Because the company refuses to let their old stars fade into the sunset? At the end of the day I don’t really even care. WWE has caused me enough headaches for a lifetime. ***1/2