Battleground 2017

|Date: July 23, 2017
|Venue: Wells Fargo Center |City: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
|Attendance: 12,500
|Brand: Smackdown

|tweet me: @BastionBlogger

The show kicks off with a nice video package based around flags and colours. John Cena and Rusev get plenty of focus as do Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton.

Tom Phillips welcomes us to the site of the Punjabi Prison, Battleground!

The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (c) vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods) – Smackdown Tag Team Championship match

Background: At Money in the Bank, The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods) defeated SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso) by count-out, thus The Usos retained. On the following episode of SmackDown, The New Day taunted how The Usos backed out of the match and Big E defeated Jimmy. The following week, after The Usos defeated The Hype Bros (Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder), preventing them from becoming the number one contenders, The New Day confronted and challenged The Usos to another title match at Battleground, and The Usos accepted. On the July 4 episode, The New Day and The Usos had a rap battle hosted by Wale. The New Day won after The Usos took offence and attacked The New Day. Over the next two weeks, the teams traded wins in singles matches where Woods defeated Jey and Jimmy defeated Kingston

Previous PPV matches: This is the third PPV match between these two teams, New Day have won the previous 2 matches.

Battleground Record: The Usos are 1-0 at Battleground, Kofi is 0-4 and Xavier is 0-2.

Match: It’s the unusual pairing of Kofi and Xavier Woods in this match. Kofi, who is the only man to have wrestled on every Battleground PPV, starts the match against Jey Uso. New Day start quickly but The Usos soon take the advantage with a bit of double teaming. The Usos make quick tags, double teaming Xavier Woods as they do. Woods makes the hot tag to Kofi who picks up the pace again, hitting the boom drop and then motioning for trouble in paradise but Jimmy Uso gets out of the way. Kofi attempts a trust fall to the outside but The Usos catch him and powerbomb him to the floor. Woods avoids a splash from Jimmy and hits a sit-out inverted powerbomb type move for a near fall. The Usos hit a pop-up Samoan drop for a near fall. Jimmy locks on a single leg crab but Xavier gets to the bottom rope. Kofi makes the tag and New Day hit midnight hour for a near fall. Jimmy hits a superkick and Jey hits a splash on Kofi for another near fall as the false finishes continue. Kofi hits trouble in paradise on Jimmy and Woods follows it up with a flying elbow drop for the three!

Result: The New Day win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships by pinfall.

Review: This was a great way to kick off the show. Really good match between the top two teams in WWE at the moment. This has been a fantastic rivalry and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it continue.

Rating: 8/10

There’s an ad for the WWE Network.

AJ Styles is shown warming up backstage.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

Background: At Money in the Bank, as Shinsuke Nakamura was making his entrance for the Money in the Bank ladder match, he was attacked from behind by Baron Corbin, which took Nakamura out for a majority of the match; Corbin ultimately won and received a contract for a WWE Championship match. On the June 27 episode of SmackDown, after witnessing Corbin defeat Sami Zayn, interviewer Dasha Fuentes asked Nakamura if he would like a one-on-one match with Mr. Money in the Bank. Nakamura replied that although Corbin was dangerous, he was afraid of Nakamura. Backstage the following week, as Fuentes attempted to have another interview with Nakamura, Corbin attacked Nakamura with his Money in the Bank briefcase and said that he was not scared of Nakamura. The two were set to have a match on the July 11 episode, but the two fought before the match, and their match was rescheduled for Battleground. The following week, Nakamura teamed up with AJ Styles to face Corbin and Kevin Owens. As Nakamura made his entrance, he was again attacked from behind by Corbin, and Corbin and Owens defeated Nakamura and Styles.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time singles PPV match between these two men.

Battleground Record: This match marks a Battleground debut for both men.

Match: Nakamura gets the first few shots in but Corbin soon takes the advantage. Corbin soon takes control and keeps it for a while. Corbin applies a bear hug but Nakamura fights his way out of it. Nakamura is a great striker. I’m not sure what I’d class Corbin as, a brawler? He hits a big clothesline. Corbin hits deep six but Shinsuke hits a backstabber, kick and a legdrop. Nakamura motions for Kinshasa but Corbin doesn’t get up. Nakamura stand Corbin up but Corbin hits a low blow! He looked like he missed it to be honest but the referee calls for the bell! Nakamura wins by DQ!

Result: Shinsuke Nakamura wins by disqualification.

Review: This match was ok. It wasn’t terrible but not one I’d watch again in a hurry. Nakamura picks up the win by Corbin isn’t made to look weak as he continues on as the Money In The Bank holder.

Rating: 4/10

After the match Baron Corbin attacks Nakamura with the briefcase and then hits end of days.

There’s an ad for Summerslam.

Kevin Owens is shown getting in the zone backstage.

There’s a video package next showing Naomi and her contenders for the Smackdown Women;s Championship.

Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Tamina vs. Lana vs. Natalya – Five way elimination match to determine a number one contender to the Smackdown Women’s Championship

Background: On the July 11 episode, Naomi confronted Commissioner Shane McMahon about who her next opponent would be. Charlotte Flair interrupted and said that she should be the next challenger, followed by Becky Lynch, Tamina, Natalya, and Lana. Shane decided that at Battleground, the five would face each other in a fatal five-way elimination match to determine the number one contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam. Flair and Lynch then teamed up in a losing effort against Natalya and Tamina due to a distraction from Lana. The following week, Shane gave all five women a pep talk and wanted two of them to face each other that night. Flair stepped up and wanted to face Lana, but ultimately ended up facing Lynch out of suggestion from Natalya. Lynch subsequently defeated Flair, but after the match, they were attacked by Tamina, Lana, and Natalya. Natalya then attacked Tamina, who was then attacked by Lana, and Lana and Tamina had a stare down. Also that episode, Naomi said that besides Lana, whoever wins at Battleground could be her toughest challenge at SummerSlam.

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time five way match between these five girls.

Battleground Record: Charlotte is 1-1 at Battleground, Natalya is 1-0 and Becky Lynch is 0-1. Natalya beat Becky at last years event.

Match: Naomi is out first to get a close up on this match. Tom Phillips says that this is Natalya’s 38th career PPV match, I make it her 34th. He must count pre-show matches. All five girls get right into it and look for early falls but it soon goes to the outside. Tamina and Lana double team Charlotte. Becky comes to the rescue of Charlotte before those two get into it. Becky clears the ring of Charlotte and then hits suplexes on Natalya and Lana. Natalya then locks a sharpshooter on Charlotte but Lana breaks it up and pins Charlotte for a near fall. Becky locks the disarm-her on Lana but Tamina breaks it up and hits a Samoan drop. Becky locks the disarm-her on Tamina who taps out! Tamina has been eliminated. Becky locks the disarm-her on Lana straight away and Lana taps out! Lana has been eliminated. Natalya then rolls up Becky, pulling the tights and gets the 3! Becky Lynch has been eliminated. We’re down to just Charlotte and Natalya. Natalya manages to sunset flip Charlotte into the bottom turnbuckle and then covers her for the three!

Result: Natalya wins by pinfall, last eliminating Charlotte.

Review: This was a fun match. I thought it was well put together and surprising that Natalya won. I know her match with Naomi was originally scheduled for Wrestlemania but was cancelled. A good win for Natalya though who is very close to being the female with the most PPV matches.

Rating: 5.75/10

There’s an ad for Susan J Komen.

There’s a VT next for AJ Styles and Kevin Owens.

AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens – United States Championship match

Background: On the June 20 episode of SmackDown, then-United States Champion Kevin Owens issued a U.S. Championship Open Challenge to any local competitor. AJ Styles came out to accept the challenge, but Owens denied him since Styles was not from Dayton, Ohio. American Alpha’s Chad Gable then answered the challenge, claiming he had moved to Dayton “that morning”, but Owens retained in the ensuing match. The following week, Styles confronted General Manager Daniel Bryan and said that Owens did not know what an Open Challenge was. Owens interrupted and said that Styles was complaining. Bryan then said that when John Cena hosted the U.S. Championship Open Challenge, it was open to anyone. Bryan decided that for the July 4 episode of SmackDown, there would be an Independence Day Battle Royal, where the winner would face Owens for the United States Championship at Battleground. That episode, Styles defeated Gable to qualify for the battle royal and subsequently won the battle royal. After Styles’ victory, Owens, who was seated at ringside, attacked Styles, but Styles fought him off and posed with the title belt. Three days later, despite becoming the number one contender for the title at Battleground, Styles faced Owens at a WWE Live event in Madison Square Garden and defeated him to win the United States Championship. On the following episode of SmackDown, the new champion issued his own U.S. Championship Open Challenge, which was accepted by Cena. Before the match could occur, Owens and Rusev confronted and attacked both Cena and Styles. Styles and Cena defeated Owens and Rusev in a tag team match, and Owens invoked his championship rematch for Battleground.

Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV match between these two men, Kevin Owens beat AJ Styles by count out at Backlash a few months ago.

Battleground Record: AJ Styles is 0-1 and Kevin Owens is 0-2 at Battleground.

Match: AJ Styles takes the advantage in the early going and fights off anything that Kevin Owens attempts. The fight goes to the outside but it isn’t long before KO takes control. Owens taking control means plenty of chinlocks. AJ looks for a springboard 450 splash but Owens gets his knees up. KO counters a phenomenal forearm and then works on the left should of the United States Champion. Owens counters a Styles Clash and then throws AJ into the referee. AJ counters a pop-up powerbomb and then locks on the calf crusher but Owens counters and locks on a crossface. AJ counters with a crossface of his own but Owens manages to roll AJ on his back and pins him for the three!

Result: Kevin Owens wins by pinfall.

Review: This was a pretty good match. I didn’t expect Owens to win but I quite like that he has. I don’t think this feud will be over just yet. Maybe one more match at Summerslam.

Rating: 6.75/10

Jinder Mahal is backstage with the Singh Brothers getting ready the Punjabi Prison.

There’s a video package next for John Cena and Rusev.

John Cena vs. Rusev – Flag match

Background: On the July 4 episode of SmackDown, Cena made his return and announced that he would appear for both the Raw and SmackDown brands. He was then interrupted by Rusev, making his first appearance for the SmackDown brand. Rusev complained that he did not receive any commercials for his eventual return, unlike Cena, who did. He said that the “American Dream” and the United States were a joke, after which, Cena challenged Rusev to a flag match. Rusev accepted and General Manager Daniel Bryan scheduled the match for Battleground. The following week, Rusev attacked Cena after Cena had accepted AJ Styles’ U.S. Championship Open Challenge. On the final SmackDown before Battleground, Cena gave a patriotic speech about the United States and what the U.S. flag meant to the country. He said that at Battleground, the U.S. flag would fly high, after which, Cena retrieved the flag and waved it, but was attacked from behind by Rusev, who applied the Accolade on Cena.

Previous PPV matches: These two men have had 4 PPV singles matches before and John Cena has won 3 of them.

Battleground Record: Both men are 2-0 at Battleground.

Match: The flag has to be retried and put on the respective pedestal to win this match. Rusev makes the first few attempts to get the flag down but Cena stops him. Cena looks for a legdrop off the top rope early but Rusev counters with a powerbomb. Rusev then pulls his flag down but can’t capitalise as Cena dropkicks him down. Cena hits an attitude adjustment and both men fall in a heap. Cena looks to get his flag but Rusev pulls him down just for Cena to then lock on the STF. Cena releases the hold and finally pulls his flag down but Rusev superkicks him. Both men now have their flags. Cena throws Rusev into the ring steps and slowly walks up the entranceway but Rusev attacks him from behind. The two men fight up the entranceway where Cena throws Rusev into the LED board. Rusev hits a fallaway slam on the stage. Rusev sets up some tables next to one of the podiums and then sets up for an attitude adjustment but Cena counters and pushes Rusev off the podium. Rusev attacks Cena with a flag stand and then locks on the accolade. Rusev then grabs his flag but he’s so slow going up the podium. Cena stops him but Rusev kicks him in the head. Cena counters an accolade attempt and scoops Rusev up before hitting an attitude adjustment through the tables and then planting his flag for the victory.

Result: John Cena wins.

Review: This match was decent enough. I thought it was really predictable which took the fun out of it a bit but it’s a big win for Cena none the less. I’m not sure how much Cena is about at the moment or where he’ll be heading next. Back to the drawing board for Rusev.

Rating: 5.75/10

There’s another promo for Summerslam.

Over to Breezango who are looking to find out who destroyed their hobby horse. The Ascension show up and admit to it. Breezango catch them out as liars and they leave. The lights go out and Breeze has been attacked again. Fandango is then attacked in the dark too before being dragged away.

We’re shown some footage from Smackdown with Mike Kanellis defeating Sami Zayn with help from his wife Maria.

Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis

Background:

At Money in the Bank, Maria Kanellis made her return to WWE, with her last appearance being in 2010, along with her husband Mike Kanellis, who made his debut appearance for WWE. The couple cut a promo about the “power of love” before departing. On the June 27 episode of SmackDown, they again came out to talk about the “power of love”. Mid-promo, they were interrupted by Sami Zayn, who made his entrance for his match against Baron Corbin, much to the dismay of Maria. Backstage on the July 11 episode, Maria was in search for Zayn as she wanted an apology from him. Later, Zayn found Maria and Mike and said that he had already apologized twice. He then called out Mike as Mike had yet to have a match since coming to WWE. In response, Maria slapped Zayn and Mike smashed a glass vase on his head. The following week, Zayn lost to Mike in Mike’s WWE in-ring debut match, and a rematch was scheduled for Battleground

Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.

At Money in the Bank, Maria Kanellis made her return to WWE, with her last appearance being in 2010, along with her husband Mike Kanellis, who made his debut appearance for WWE. The couple cut a promo about the “power of love” before departing. On the June 27 episode of SmackDown, they again came out to talk about the “power of love”. Mid-promo, they were interrupted by Sami Zayn, who made his entrance for his match against Baron Corbin, much to the dismay of Maria. Backstage on the July 11 episode, Maria was in search for Zayn as she wanted an apology from him. Later, Zayn found Maria and Mike and said that he had already apologised twice. He then called out Mike as Mike had yet to have a match since coming to WWE. In response, Maria slapped Zayn and Mike smashed a glass vase on his head.The following week, Zayn lost to Mike in Mike’s WWE in-ring debut match, and a rematch was scheduled for Battleground.

Battleground Record: Sami Zayn is 1-0 at Battleground, Mike Kanellis makes his PPV debut tonight.

Match: Sami Zayn starts well as Maria screams from the outside in support for her husband. Mike soon takes the advantage with help from his wife. Mike controls the match for a while until Sami sends him out of the ring and hits him with a big plancha. Maria gets in the ring, distracting Sami, Mike tries to take advantage but Sami counters and hits an exploder suplex and then the helluva kick for the three.

Result: Sami Zayn wins by pinfall.

Review: This wasn’t great but I guess it wasn’t terrible. Sami wins and that’s the end of that. They can’t rate Mike Kanellis too highly if he’s losing clean in his first PPV match.

Rating: 3.75/10

There’s a video package next for Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal.

Jinder Mahal (c) vs. Randy Orton – Punjabi Prison match for the WWE Championship

Background: At Money in the Bank, Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship. On the following episode of SmackDown, Orton explained in a sit-down interview that he lost focus after The Singh Brothers (Samir and Sunil Singh) attempted to attack his father, “Cowboy” Bob Orton, who was seated at ringside for the match. He said that he understood having allies, referencing his time in Evolution, The Legacy, and The Authority, but he would not tolerate people disrespecting his family. He said that he was no longer concerned with becoming a fourteen-time world champion; he only wanted to hurt Mahal. The following week, Orton said that he wanted a rematch for the title and that if he did not receive it, he would continue to attack Mahal anywhere he saw him. Commissioner Shane McMahon, who sympathised with Orton over Mahal and The Singh Brothers disrespecting his family, gave Orton a title rematch at Battleground, but allowed Mahal to choose the stipulation. Mahal chose a Punjabi Prison match, made famous by The Great Khali, marking the third Punjabi Prison match in WWE history and the first since 2007. On the July 4 episode, Orton said that he would punish Mahal in the Punjabi Prison. Mahal responded and said that he would be bringing the Punjabi Prison to SmackDown the following week. That episode, while inside of the Punjabi Prison, The Singh Brothers explained the rules of the match while Mahal said that there would be no escape for Orton. Orton then came out and said that since the two of them would be locked in the prison, Mahal would not be able to have help from The Singh Brothers, who were the reason why Mahal won the title and subsequently retained it beforehand.

Previous PPV matches: This is a third PPV match between these two men, Jinder won the first two.

Battleground Record: Randy Orton is 1-1-1 at Battleground, Jinder makes his Battleground debut tonight.

Match: So there are two cages, an inner and outer cage. The inner cage has four days and wrestlers can asked for one of the doors to be opened and then they have a minute to get out or that door is closed for the remainder of the match. Jinder asks for a door to be opened early but he doesn’t get out so the door is locked shut. The two men go at it until Jinder asks for a second door to be opened. Again they’re too slow and the second door is padlocked shut. Orton goes back to work on Jinder but the WWE Champion counters the hangmans DDT. A third door is opened but both men stop each other from getting out and the door is shut again. Randy calls for the fourth door to be opened and then looks for an RKO but Mahal counters and drops Randy with a knee. Jinder then looks for the Khallas but Orton counters with an RKO! The Singh Brothers then show up and pull Jinder out of the first cage! The time runs out and Orton is stuck inside the inner cage.

Randy starts to climb the inner cage as Jinder climbs the outer cage. Orton gets over the top and then jumps over to the outer structure! The two men go at it on top of the outer cage until Orton drops Jinder. The Singh Brothers then pull down Orton and hit him with right hands on the mat. Jinder brings a kendo stick into the battle but Orton fights him off and uses the kendo stick himself. Orton climbs the outer cage but Samir Singh stops him from getting out. Samir actually climbed through the gaps in the prison, I think Orton or Mahal could do the same. Orton hammers Samir off the cage and down through the announce table below, nice bump. Orton lays into Sunil Singh and Jinder with a chair before climbing the cage Suddenly from out the back walks The Great Khali! Khali stops Orton from climbing the cage which allows Jinder to climb up the cage and win!

Result: Jinder Mahal wins the match with help from The Great Khali.

Review: This wasn’t too bad. I had a feeling it could be really bad but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Jinder gets another big win though and surely that’s the end of the rivalry with Orton. I don’t think there was any need for Jinders kayfabe brother in law The Great Khali. Maybe he’s joining the Indian stable. Who will be next for Jinder? It needs to be another big name. John Cena maybe?

Rating: 6.5/10

Well this felt like a sub-par pay per view. It started well, with The New Day defeating The Usos. This was the highlight of the night for me, a match between two teams with a lot of chemistry. The next couple of matches were pretty average with Shinsuke Nakamura beating Baron Corbin and Natalya becoming number one contender to the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Kevin Owens then beat AJ Styles for the United States Championship which did surprise me a little but John Cena beating Rusev did not. Sami Zayn then beat Mike Kanellis and in the main event Jinder Mahal retained the WWE Championship against Randy Orton with help from a returning Great Khali. It wasn’t the best PPV, it feels like there could be better matches on Smackdown. Also worth mentioning that Aiden English beat Tye Dillinger on the kick-off show.

Overall Rating: 57.85/100 (ranked joint 188th out of 348)

Match Of The Night: The Usos vs. The New Day
Worst Match Of The Night: Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis
Surprise Of The Night: Kevin Owens wins the United States Championship
Worst Booking Of The Night: Jinder Mahal wins / The Great Khali
Superstar Of The Night: Jinder Mahal
Battleground 2017 Will Be Remembered For: Jinder Mahal beating Randy Orton in the Punjabi Prison match

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