October 6th, 2013
Release length: 2:47:00
This first ever Battleground is definitely destined to go down as one of the most infamous money grabs in WWE history, a sign proven when fan-favorite Rob Van Dam’s match with Alberto Del Rio was one of the earliest fights of the night. Sadly, this Hardcore Rules match was incredibly disappointing, moving at an incredibly slow pace with both parties doing very little to keep the crowd’s interest most of the time. Chairs are used minimally, and Rob Van Dams missed jump atop Alberto Del Rio saw him landing directly on the ladder laid down in the ring. This was one of the few highlights of the match, next to Ricardo Rodriguez lashing out at his former employer, only getting the beat down that was entirely expected.
This match set the general tone for the rest of event, especially the R-Truth verses Curtis Axel which was equally as bland with far less stand out moments. Most of the show wound up a mixture of mildly engaging moves or gimmicks intertwined with slow paced combat. The Diva’s Championship Match between AJ Lee and Brie Bella was actually a little more engaging thanks to the quicker pace and tighter moves the two belted out. While no major upsets during the match, it ended with typical interference that greatly altered the winner of the match. While a good sign of sisterly love, Brie racing out to help her sister out of the choke hold Tamina had her in seemed a bit out of character normally, though since Total Divas started airing, they have been less obnoxious as characters for the sake of ratings.
The match between Ryback and CM Punk is worth mentioning simply for the fact that Ryback is slowly being turned into a new Festus. Granted he’s been slowly slipping into the mentality of the O’Doyle boys from the movie Billy Madison, but since pearing up with Paul Heyman, his i.q. has dropped dramatically to the point of being nothing but a protective guard dog that attacks the “bullies” his master deems fit. Santino and The Great Khali against The The Real Americans was also incredibly disappointing, though ended on a high note. While not as slow paced as Ryback versus Punk, it again put a little emphasis on comedic relief with Hornswaggle having his own mini cobra, which is quickly torn apart shortly before Antonio Cesaro knocks Khali down, and manages to pick him up, spinning him around in a few circles before no longer being able to hold up the four hundred pound giant and dropping him mid spin. While a bit embarrassing at the end, this was easily one of the most astounding showing of strength moments in WWE history.
The other two matches on the tab wound up being a major let down, one more than the other. Bray Wyatt verses Kofi Kingston pit the leader of The Wyatt Family against this explosive high flyer, and given the energy usual on display with Kofi, you would imagine this would be a sight from start to finish. But, Bray Wyatt isn’t a high flyer, and it seemed like the fight itself was slowed down to accommodate his comparably slower mobility, leading to him manhandling Kofi Kingston for most of the match. What stood out the most here was when Bray channelled his inner Linda Blair after leaning back with the ropes, getting on his hands, and slowly walking forward to Kofi, a creepy visual indeed that led to a Sister Abigail, followed by the win shortly after. Sadly, this seemed like a missed opportunity to bring Kane back and do more with the new story of Bray’s mentality of having to take everyone down “one by one.”
The most disappointing of all, however, was the main ticket seller of Randy Orton against Daniel Bryan. With the WWE championship in abeyance, this was an important match that would cement the fate of the Battleground pay-per-view. Sadly, this was another slow paced match, and much of the time was spent using grappling moves. While not a bad thing, it felt a bit like a High School Wrestling team exhibition than a WWE billed event. A failed RKO and the “flying goat” were on display, and it seemed many times over Daniel had the win locked. But, after the foreshadowing scenes between Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero discussing Triple H leaving the building, it became clear something was to happen, and it did with The Big Show approaching the ring. After laying out the officials, including the return of Scott Armstrong, as well as Randy Orton, he stood in the ring shouting, throwing his fist in the air, and the credits rolled.
With the headlining match an absolute rip off, leading the pay-per-view to end before the match was officially finished (these two referees were not the only officials in the building), the crowd reportedly started chanting “bullshit” and demanding a refund, much like I intended to do over the phone to Comcast if they were still in. Had this match been second to last, and The Rhodes Family verses The Shield been the finale instead of the half-way point, the sting of such douchebaggery wouldn’t be so bad. Cody Rhodes and Goldust, who came out to the ring looking like he was the end product of Darth Maul raping a hornet, were working in perfect unison. Even Dusty Rhodes got involved in his full farmer gear kept The Shield at bay with his belt, unleashing a Bionic Elbow that shows the ring rust and age with its execution, but still was enough to whip the crowd into a frenzy and keep Dean Ambrose crawling away in shock. One Cross Rhodes later and the Rhodes family not only won, but are rehired per the stipulation of the match. The three go back to the stage of the entry ramp, and the locker room comes out to applaud and congratulate them, creating a truly heart warming scene that would have made a far better conclusion that the unfinished match this special ended on.
Battlefield was more like an overpriced glorified practice for Monday night’s episode of Raw, and one that wound up shorter than a free episode on your local cable network. When simple odd things like Darth Goldust, a member of the Spanish announcer team jumping the barricade away from the table, Bray Wyatt’s creepiest moment yet, even a sign in the crowd that states Randy Orton peaked in 2004, there is definitely a problem. And lets not forget the odd power outage before the Orton versus Bryan match that, if it had not happened, this even would not have ended literally a few minutes from the three hour mark, and on par with the typical length of a modern Raw episode. Without it, this was far more boring, and even shorter than that. If not for the Rhodes Family verses The Shield match, this entire special would have been the most pointless pay-per-view in WWE history.
With Hell in a Cell only three weeks away, something that wasn’t hyped until a few matches in with a bump featuring R-Truth looking like a carbon copy of the televangelist Manasseh Jordan with lip piercings, there is no denying this pay-per-view event didn’t need to exist, let alone live up to expectations. The only reason its here was to exploit the fans and make a quick cash grab. While WWE is infamous for things like the Montreal Screw Job, they rarely do something this blatantly offensive to literally steal money from their loyal fans. Imagine paying a good amount of money to see Sepultura live, only to be told part way through the show they aren’t performing due to low attendance. Or how about suffering through a slew of Slash’s Snakepit quality openers to get part way through a Guns ‘n Roses performance and have the band walk off the stage half way through their set and your all-time-favorite song of theirs with middle fingers held high while laughing at you. That was the conclusion of this incredibly boring Buffalo Fan Screw Job.
Now, where do I go to get my refund?
|Initial Pressing Score: 2.5/10