Live from Buffalo, NY, it’s WWE’s first of two pay per view events for October, Battleground. At the center of this night is deciding who will be the WWE Champion. The title is held up after controversy at Night of Champions. Scott Armstrong fast counted the pin in the Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan match, and Triple H put the title up as a result.
Tonight’s card shapes up as follows:
Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow
Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt
Curtis Axel ( c) w/Paul Heyman vs. R-Truth; WWE Intercontinental Championship
AJ ( c) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella); WWE Divas Championship
Goldust and Cody Rhodes (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield (w/Dean Ambrose); if Cody and Goldust win, they get their jobs, if they lose they are banned and Dusty loses his job at NXT
Alberto Del Rio (c ) vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez); World Heavyweight Championship fought under Battleground Hardcore Rules
CM Punk vs. Ryback (w/Paul Heyman)
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton; WWE Championship, title “in abeyance”
Josh Matthews welcomes us to the show and introduces the panel. Tonight it's The Miz, Titus O'Neil, and Tensai. They each pick their match of interest for the night.
Mathews sends it to Renee Young in the Social Media Lounge. She talks about the poll of the evening, which features the most dominant power couple in WWE history.
The panel turns its attention to the match between Ryback and CM Punk. They feed it to a recap of the segment where Heyman proposed to Ryback to be a Paul Heyman Guy. Mathews sends it to Heyman and Ryback backstage. Heyman talks about Punk being a bully and thinks he has 14,000 supporters behind him tonight in Buffalo. Heyman says that his "big beautiful man' Ryback will put an end to it tonight.
They swing to the announcers, JBL, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler. Cole tells us that the Battleground Hardcore Match between Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam will open the show up. The announcers talk about the stipulation of the match and the match in general.
Match #1 - Damien Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler
Sandow cuts a promo quoting Benjamin Franklin. He says that progress will be evident tonight because he will destroy a former Money in the Bank winner in Dolph Ziggler. He turns his attention to the World Heavyweight Championship and says that he will be watching the match between Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam closely. He says if that match goes the way he thinks it will, this may not be the last time we see him tonight.
Cole says this is the first time these two have met. Ziggler hits a leaping drop kick that sends Sandow to the corner. Ziggler hits his "heartstopper" elbows, then a show-off moment and hitting the tenth of the sequence. Sandow throws Ziggler over the rope and he recovers.
We get a "hype" break at this point.
Sandow hits a clothesline out of the break that production shows in slow motion. Sandow nearly took his head off with that one. Sandow follows with a side leg sweep, then the elbow. Sandow goes up top and the announcers say he's not familiar up there. Ziggler hits him with a drop kick as he jumps from the ropes.
Ziggler hits a Fameasser and gets a good near fall. Sandow battles back with knee lifts after he pulls down his knee pad. Sandow goes up and over Ziggler in the corner and sells that he tweaked his knee. Ziggler recovers and hits the ZigZag to get the win.
Winner - Dolph Ziggler
This was a good match, but not what it could have been either. The knee thing was a bit stupid though.
The panel recaps the Rhodes family story and feeds it into a video package for the same. Back live, the panel talks about who will win the match between Cody and Goldust vs. The Shield, and all pick the Rhodes' to win.
Mathews sends it back to the Social Media Lounge, and Renee Young is talking about the poll when in comes El Torito. He acts like a bull on crack, mooing at her and talking in Spanish. She has no idea what he's saying. This is terrible. He jumps on the couch, pretends to set up to gore her, and leaves. She then reveals the power couple poll results, with Edge and Lita winning.
We get a video package recapping the closing segment from Raw last week where Daniel Bryan got assaulted by Randy Orton. Back with the panel, they make their predictions on the title match and all three pick Bryan to win. Tensai dons a beard and does the "yes" chant which looked pretty ridiculous.
Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam are shown walking backstage, and they kick off the main show, next.
WWE Battleground, Live from the First Niagra Center in Buffalo, NY
The opening video package recaps several of the key storylines of the show. It says those were the conflicts and this is the Battleground. We get pyro and the show is officially underway. We're right into the first match.
Match #1 - Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Rob Van Dam (w/Ricardo Rodriguez); World Heavyweight Championship fought under Hardcore Rules Stipulation
RVD and Ricardo come out first, then Del Rio. Ricardo and Lilian Garcia share RVD's intro, but Del Rio makes her introduce him in Spanish.
As things get moving the announcers talk about Sandow possibly cashing in but they don't know the status of his knee. Del Rio rolls out to escape RVD, so RVD dives on him then hits a moonsault from the safety railing to the floor. RVD puts Del Rio and a chair in the ring and hits a jumping DDT for a two count.
Del Rio no-sells that move and comes right back with a backsstabber. Del Rio hits a couple chair shots and a stiff kick to the face. He puts the chair in the corner, but takes a spinning heel kick from RVD, followed up with a leg drop on the apron. RVD puts a ladder in the ring next then hits a top rope thrust kick. He whips Del Rio toward the ladder, and he hits the top of it. He goes ass over tin cup out to the floor over the ropes. He connected with the apron on the way down, so that's gonna leave a mark.
Back inside, Del Rio sends RVD into the ladder. RVD jumps on it though, but Del Rio hits an eziguri and RVD falls with the ladder landing on him. Del Rio jumps on the ladder then mocks the RVD thumb pointing, substituting his own initials. Del Rio finds a trash can and hits RVD with that. He goes up top but takes a drop kick from RVD on the way down that includes the trash can. Both men sell it as we get a replay - and Del Rio took the can hard in that shot.
RVD slams Del Rio on the ladder and follows with the split leg moonsault for two. RVD goes for Rolling Thunder on the ladder, but Del Rio moves. Del Rio locks on the Cross Arm Breaker, but Ricardo saves the day with that Mexican Bucket.
Del Rio throws RVD out and yells at Ricardo. Ricardo relents and starts to hand the bucket over, but instead kicks him and hits him with the bucket. Del Rio goes out to the floor and Ricardo gives chase, only to eat the barricade.
Del Rio tries to drag the ladder from the ring, but RVD hits a baseball slide on him that drives the ladder into Del Rio. Del Rio lands with the ladder on him, and RVD follows with a frog splash onto the ladder in a painful looking spot. Both men sell, then RVD rolls Del Rio in the ring for a two count. The crowd wants tables, but RVD grabs the chair from the corner and tries for the Van Terminator. Del Rio moves and RVD sells the failed move.
Del Rio sets the chair up and hits a drop toe hold onto it. RVD lands with his arm through the chair. Del Rio kicks and stomps the arm and the chair, then follows with the Cross Arm Breaker again to get the submission win.
Winner - Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Championship
This was a good match and certainly started the show hot. I would say the story here is over for now and Del Rio will get that new opponent at Hell in a Cell. It's awkward, but the match certainly does not have to be in the Cell.
Zeb Colter trashes Buffalo for their illegal Spanish population and all the maple syrup chugging Canadians that sneak across the border. Colter says the city's only claim to fame is a fried chicken wing. He says that two non-Americans, Santino and Khali, need to be fried in Crisco. He does the "we the people" gimmick to close it out.
Match #2 - Santino Marella and Great Khali (w/Hornswoggle) vs. The Real Americans (w/Zeb Colter)
Santino pulls out the Cobra quickly on Swagger. Swagger rolls out and Hornswoggle greets him with a Cobra sock too. Swagger takes it from him and rips the sock in the process. THe announcers aren't trying hard here and they gave up at that point.
In the end, Cesaro clips Khali, then hits that airplane swing spin on Khali to get the win.
Winner - The Real Americans
I don't care who you are, that swing was absolutely incredible. The match was total garbage but that one move saved it from completely being shit on by the live crowd.
We're right into the next match...
Match #3 - Curtis Axel (c, w/Paul Heyman) vs. R-Truth; WWE Intercontinental Championship
Fast starts for both men in this one. No one really gets a long run of controlled offense though. Truth hits the ax kick to get a good near fall. He sets up for his finish, but Axel hangs on to the ropes as a counter.
The fans start chanting "Walrus" at Heyman. It's about that time when Axel hits his finisher to get the win.
Winner - Curtis Axel to retain the Intercontinental Championship
So-so match out of these guys; they did work hard but it didn't get much heat going. It's hard to care when their characters just don't connect with the fans to any real degree.
We get a recap of the pre-show match, with Ziggler winning and Sandow tweaking his knee.
Match #4 - AJ (c., w/Tamina) vs. Brie Bella (w/Nikki Bella); WWE Divas Championship
AJ mouths off a bit and takes a slap from Brie to start. AJ goes out to the floor and Tamina plays bodyguard to block Brie from getting to her. AJ runs back in the ring, but Brie gets the better of her in there. AJ hits a chop block then slams Brie to the ring post when she rolls to the apron. AJ starts to focus on the left arm for her submission hold.
AJ screams that she's better than Brie. She calls a choke spot that you can hear over the camera mics. Oops. AJ starts to celebrate, which opens the door for Brie to get some offense in.
Brie hits a drop kick and plays to the crowd to almost zero response. Tamina chokes out Nikki on the floor, so Brie goes to check on her. The distraction allows AJ to roll Brie up for the win.
Winner - AJ to retain the Divas Championship
The match was fine and they certainly set up a future story with Tamina being involved here. You could tell the live crowd was restless during this one. They were into AJ, but Brie hasn't connected at all.
We get a recap video of the story behind the Rhodes' boys match with the Shield.
Renee Young introduces the Rhodes men. Dusty talks about family being at stake tonight. He says people looking for money and jobs know what it's like to be down but to still have family. He says that no matter what happens tonight they will leave with their heads held high. Goldust says that after tonight they will remember Dusty, they would forever be reminded of Cody, and they won't forget Goldust.
Cody says he would be lucky to have half of his dad's charisma or half the in-ring skill of his brother. He says instead he has his spark-plug of a mother's determination. He says they weren't the perfect family but they would leave tonight still a family.
Match #5 - Cody Rhodes and Goldust (w/Dusty Rhodes) vs. Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns (The Shield, w/Dean Ambrose)
The Shield comes through the crowd first, then the Rhodes' make their entrance. The audio mix is off here because it seems a lot of folks were cheering and clapping but it wasn't coming through on my audio.
Cody starts with Seth. Both members of the Shield jump to the floor fast to close in on Dusty. The boys go out to defend their dad and he pulls his belt off and wraps it around his hand as well. Things transition back to the ring and the heels control Cody. Rollins ties Cody up in a tree of woe spot, but Cody lands a right hand and hits a moonsault off the ropes.
Goldust takes the hot tag and runs through his offense. He goes up top on Reigns and hits a nice reverse cross body that draws a "you still got it" chant. Goldust goes for another crossbody in the ring, but Reigns bails and Goldust crashes and burns. The heels go to work and Goldust ends up losing most of the gold paint from his face. Goldust hits a power slam and gets the hot tag to Cody.
Cody's on fire and hits a spinning Alabama Slam for a near fall that the live crowd popped hard for. He hits Rollins with a muscle buster and Reigns makes the save. Things break down at that point, with Reigns taking out Goldust. Cody hits Reigns with the Disaster Kick and clothelines him to the floor. Ambrose distracts Cody, which allows Rollins to hit from behind. Ambrose goes after Dusty, who throws his hat at him. Ambrose pauses for a moment while Dusty gets his belt back off, but he does and hits Ambrose with it then hits the Bionic Elbow. The place goes nuts.
Reigns tries to sneak in from behind but Goldust attacks with a tackle. Rollins rolls Cody up in the ring for two. Cody gets up, locks Rollins in for CrossRhodes, yells and hits it to get the clean pinfall win. The place goes nuts for it. Afterward, as the Rhodes' make their way up the ramp, wrestlers come out to congratulate them.
Winner - Cody Rhodes and Goldust; Dusty keeps his job and the Rhodes' boys get their jobs back in WWE
That was well done. The live crowd really popped hard for Cody when he hit CrossRhodes to get the win and his yell sold it so well. This was simple and clean storytelling with compelling characters. It worked on all levels and I enjoyed it.
We get an ad for Hell in a Cell for October 27, with R-Truth doing some sort of preacher man routine.
The announcers chat for a few moments, then feed it up to the panel. They talk about what has gone on so far and such.
Vickie Guerrero walks in to Brad Maddox's office and he is on the phone. He stammers and says the Rhodes' had won their match. He promised the rest would go smooth. He hangs up and says that it was Stephanie and Hunter on the phone. They had to leave, and he was left in charge. He says he needs Vickie's help, or things will get worse and they will all be in trouble. Vickie repeats that they left Maddox in charge, then laughs and walks away.
Match #6 - Kofi Kingston vs. Bray Wyatt (w/Rowan and Harper)
Fans are chanting for Wyatt as Kofi hits some kicks. He goes up top only to get knocked down as Wyatt takes control. He works methodical offense and hits a power slam when Kofi tries a jump. Kofi comes back with a crucifix to start his offense. He hits the Boom Drop (oddly enough to a smattering of boos) then tries Trouble in Paradise. Bray ducks and hits a side crash kind of move. He then hangs down in the corner, and crab walks backward in a weird spot. Just...wow.
Kofi goes outside, but sees the family so he gets back in the ring. Bray charges and Kofi pulls the rope down. He dives on all three men outside, then throws Bray in the ring. He hits his high cross body then tries the SOS, but Bray counters. He hits Sister Abigail to get the win.
Winner - Bray Wyatt
After the match, Rowan hits Kofi with a backbreaker and throws him into a clothesline from Harper. Wyatt says there is no good or evil, just mannequins trying to force-feed you what their idea of purity is. He does his "one by one they all will fall" line and closes with "Follow the buzzards."
A bit slow and mundane getting started, but this one closed with a good finish over the last couple minutes. I was a bit surprised to hear some boos for Kofi tonight. The way he's been booked hasn't been all that great or interesting so maybe it's not as surprising as it seems.
We get a recap video of the impressive swinging of Khali by Antonio Cesaro earlier on.
They give us a video package to recap the Punk/Ryback feud. Their match is next.
Match #7 - CM Punk vs. Ryback (w/Paul Heyman)
Buffalo gets on the "Goldberg" chants almost immediately. Ryback shoves Punk down and says if he wants to fight, they'll fight. Punk kicks his leg several times and Ryback rolls out to the floor. He goes to Heyman and asks what to do. Heyman calls Punk a bully and tells him to stand up to the bully. Ryback gets back in the ring and gets nailed with several knees, so he goes back out. Punk hits him with a dive.
Back in the ring, Punk tries a cross body. He gets caught and Ryback slams him. He throws Punk to the post then stretches him across it as a "you can't wrestle" chant gets going. It eventually becomes a "Goldberg" chant that is short lived. Ryback works clotheslines, throws and rest holds.
Punk mounts some offense and calls for the GTS. Heyman grabs a mic and begins to cut a promo. He says he is the best in the world for beating Punk. Ryback attacks Punk from behind and Heyman tosses the mic away. Ryback hits a powerbomb for three straight two counts. Heyman yells for Ryback to do it again, but Punk slips away and hits a roundhouse kick.
Punk hits his running knee in the corner and slowly climbs to the top rope. He hits his top rope "Macho Elbow" for two. He calls for and lifts Ryback for the GTS, but Ryback slips out and hits a powerslam for his own two count. Heyman grabs a kendo stick. He tries to go after Punk with it, but the official sees him. As the official admonishes Heyman, Punk hits Ryback with a low blow back-kick to get the win.
Winner - CM Punk.
Meh, that was just kind of there and I know they can do better than this. The low blow by Punk seemed like a cheap finish too. The announcers tried to say that Punk outsmarted Heyman, and I guess in a way he did, but it feels cheap. Also a little surprised Punk didn't try to go after Heyman after the match, especially with his promo during the match.
They feed it to the panel, who sets up the WWE Championship match. They send it into a video package featuring how the title ended up being held up. Things go black on my feed. I went scouring and it seems that PWTorch.com is reporting that the power went out in the building and Maddox even addressed it with the live crowd, saying they'd be back online in three minutes.
Justin Roberts is in the ring after the delay. They cut to the announcers but there's no audio at first. They finally get Cole going and he says there was an outage in the building. Lawler blamed Heyman, JBL blamed the government shutdown. Cole goes back to hyping the WWE Championship match and the belt is sitting on a podium in front of the broadcast team.
Cole is sure to point out that fans will see this match in its entirety tonight despite the outage.
Match #8 - Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan; WWE Championship (currently held up)
Orton is first to come out. Cole draws attention to the fact that John Cone is the official tonight after the controversy with Scott Armstrong last month. After a pause, Daniel Bryan's muisc hits to a big "Yes!" chant from the fans. Bryan comes out to the stage and does his entrance bit. Justin Roberts handles the formal ring introductions for this one.
The two feel each other out early on while Cole talks about Bryan's journey to WWE. Bryan throws a series of kicks to Orton's leg before taking him down with a Dragon screw leg whip. Bryan goes for a submission hold to end it quickly then smashes Orton with some forearm shots. He throws some kick strikes then they go up top. Orton cuts him off and hits a flying clothesline that sends Bryan to the mat.
Orton hits ten punches in the corner then hits a running clothesline. Orton hits his snap powerslam and locks on a reverse chinlock. Bryan breaks it and leg scissors Orton over the ropes and to the floor. Orton stands up, but takes a dive from Bryan. He hits him with a series of kicks and sends Orton to the barricade.
Back in the ring, Bryan tries a missile drop kick but Orton turns it into a powerbomb. Orton locks on a Boston crab, but Bryan turns it into a quick pin by crawling back between Orton's legs. Orton rolls out for a breather.
Bryan follows out. Out there, Orton throws Bryan into the steps and smashes him into the Spanish announce table. He throws him into the post then backdrops him on the security railing. He could have left Bryan there for a count-out win, but instead drags Bryan back into the ring to get a near fall.
Orton keeps up the pressure and goes up top with Bryan. He tries for a superplex and gets it, but also feels some of it. Bryan is able to escape the pin attempt. They trade blows mid-ring and Bryan hits a kick to Orton's face for two.
Orton blocks a suplex and suplexes Bryan out to the floor. Orton clears off the Spanish announce table and tries to set up a powerbomb but Bryan counters and throws Orton to the steps. The official counts to eight and Bryan breaks the count. The announcers sell it that Bryan can't win the title via count-out.
Bryan goes on a run of offense and the fans rally behind him. Orton absorbs most of it and keeps avoiding pin attempts. He hits his elevated DDT off the second rope and the announcers sell that the match might be over at this point. Orton mocks the "Yes!" chant and sets up for the RKO. Bryan counters it and flows right into the Yes! Lock. Orton teases tapping, but Big Show's music hits.
Show comes to the ring and grabs the official, then knocks out Bryan. Show sells conflict over this one. Brad Maddox walks out and sends "fired" official Scott Armstrong to make the count. He starts, but Show grabs him and punches him out too.
Orton's pissed. He seethes as Show gets in the ring and curses him out. Show has had enough and drops him with the WMD punch as well. Show fires himself up and stands in the ring. Maddox looks worried on the stage.
Show walks away as the announcers talk about everything but the fact that the title match had no finish to it. JBL says that Big Show will have his day of reckoning coming as they go off the air.
Match ends in a no contest, no new WWE Champion
Well, wow, where do we start here. I think a lot of people expected this match to end in a way that sends the feud on to Hell in a Cell for the potential blowoff. If this was how they were going to get there, I guess I can take this as a finish, but it seemed a bit lame for my liking.
I was curious once Show arrived on the scene as to how the live crowd would react - and they reacted well to him striking Orton down. It wasn't the big pop that one might have expected or heard earlier with the Rhodes' family win, but it was a decent one. The thing is here that now they have to keep Show in this "defiance" mode. If they go back to blubbering Big Show tomorrow, they'll lose my interest.
The match itself was good. It felt methodical and sound, but they feel like they're still holding back a little bit. If they let Orton and Bryan go at Hell in a Cell it should be better. It makes sense that HIAC will be the blowoff to the feud, at least to me, so we'll see how things unfold between then and now.
Speaking of, Hell in a Cell is three weeks out. WWE needs to be careful to not have another flimsy build like this one was. They need to dive right in and get things underway to put together a solid undercard. This wasn't as bad of a PPV as I thought it would be, but WWE has done much better this year. Contrary to what James Caldwell of the Torch said - I don't suspect people will be as adamant about getting refunded as they were after Night of Champions.
Drew Koscelek will be by with your live Raw Recap tomorrow night as Raw comes to Pittsburgh, PA for the fallout of tonight's pay per view. Be sure to join him at 8PM EST right here on Ring-Rap.com, and join the conversation on Twitter as well!