After an excellent summer became something of a let down at Night Of Champions, the WWE would have been looking to bounce back at Battleground. With a card packed with “rematches” though, would things get any better second (or third, or fourth…) time around?
Sadly, for the most part, it was more of the same.
The main event for the Vacant WWE Championship certainly wasn’t a bad match. Indeed Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan delivered in the ring with a good match but one that was hampered by the non-finish. The problem was not so much the Big Show/Brad Maddox/Scott Armstrong moments but the fact that it left us with another screwy finish after the Dusty Special that had ended NotC. Presumably we were meant to be on the edge of our seats, salivating for the defining match between the duo at Hell In A Cell. The match they had followed by some screwy win for Orton might have delivered this, but instead it was just a mess.
The World Heavyweight Title match opened the show and was another familiar affair as Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam clashed in a Hardcore Rules match. I enjoyed the match and there was certainly a great effort from both men but as you might expect there was little attempt at pacing as they went straight into the hardcore spots in the first minute and didn’t really have anything climactic to build to for the finish. Still, no-one should have felt short-changed by the action.
The other two big issues on the card where the CM Punk/Ryback and Shield/Rhodes matches. The former continued the interminable Punk/Heyman feud and whilst it was a decent effort (and as decent as you could reasonably expect with Ryback in there) it never really captured the attention like a big PPV match should. This was in stark contrast to the Shield’s bout with Goldust and Cody Rhodes. The storyline build up had been spot-on and this created an atmosphere in the crowd. The pre-match video package was excellent and the Rhodes’ boy interview (with the lovely Renee Young) effectively set the scene too. That the match lived up to, and probably surpassed, all expectations was the icing on the cake. The drama was there in spades and you really felt like the stipulation meant something. The WWE places so little importance at times on the quality of the wresting you are seeing in the ring that it’s frightening to think that effective storylines like these are rarely built around mid-card matches. It was simple enough, but very effective. Dusty Rhodes getting involved near the end nearly blew the roof off and the finish was joyous.
Nothing else on the undercard came close to this, largely because there was precious little build up to the rest. The IC match between Curtis Axel and R-Truth and the Diva’s Championship bout pitting AJ against Brie Bella were both poor and largely heatless which perhaps goes to show just how much the WWF have devalued their titles over the last decade. It shouldn’t be difficult to create interest in title matches in general but the WWE don’t seem to know how.
Bray Wyatt versus Kofi Kingston was more card-filler that held little interest and whilst the match that pitted The Real Americans against The Great Khali and Santino was yet more of the same, it was at least memorable if only for Antonio Cesaro hitting the Cesaro Swing on Khali.
There may have been a short turnaround from Night Of Champions, but there is no real excuse in this day and age for a PPV to be as inconsequential as this. Half the card had very little build up and most of the matches that were afforded storylines were simply rematches from on-going feuds that were already becoming a little tiresome. Credit has to go to Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for delivering another good match, and they cannot be blamed for the booking, but the only match that really stood out was the Shield/Rhodes tag match that at least proved that the WWE still know how to present effective storylines that interest the fans.
It wasn’t a “dreadful” show by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s difficult to recommend it when most of it came off as so unimportant or was otherwise a not so subtle stretching out of feuds for Hell In A Cell.
In terms of extra’s, the DVD includes the Kickoff match between Damian Sandow and Dolph Ziggler which is ok, if nothing spectacular. We also get an entertaining six-man from Raw pitting the Rhodes boys and Daniel Bryan against the Shield and some interviews from the likes of Rob Van Dam, Randy Orton and The Big Show.
The blu-ray adds some more Raw moments from the build up to Battleground and an Alberto Del Rio Vs Dolph Ziggler match from the “go home” Smackdown as well. Anyone might think that the, erm, extra extra’s than usual on a PPV release are there to make up for the disappointing main feature.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch.fm for providing our copy of WWE Battleground 2013. WWE Battleground 2013 is available on DVD and Blu-Ray from 6th January. You can pre-order your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.
– By Matthew Roberts