It's Still Real To Me: WWE Battleground

It’s Still Real To Me: WWE Battleground

For a bunch of people who seemingly pride themselves on having long memories, WWE fans sure do have short memories.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock – or don’t like wrestling, which is basically the same thing to me – you’ll know that everyone is currently screaming from the rooftops/their mum’s laptop about how Royal Rumble ’14 was the worst ever wrestling pay-per-view ever ever ever seriously. ‘

If you haven’t seen it I’ll recap it for you. Daniel Bryan didn’t win a match that he was never at any point booked to be in, Batista did (which, to be fair, is pretty stupid given the prize was a place in the main event of Wrestlemania and this was his first match in nearly four years) and John Cena and Randy Orton had a title match that was only worth watching for a sterling performance from the crowd who loudly chanted their sheer boredom all the way through. While these are all obviously a bit disappointing, the Rumble match was nearly an hour of brilliance before Batista did his daft, lumbering waddle up to the ring. All three members of The Shield put in phenomenal performances, plus Bryan and Bray Wyatt opened the show with a match of the year contender. It wasn’t a very good PPV but worst ever? Some people don’t even know they are born…

Either that or they were spared the ‘experience’ of watching the first ever WWE Battleground PPV back in autumn. For you see WWE Battleground is a much more worthy contender for the much touted ‘worst PPV ever’. It is a masterclass in sheer ineptitude, banality and appalling writing. If it were a person I would gladly be imprisoned for crimes of vengeance against it. I think my DVD player needs counselling after being forced to play it a number of times whilst writing this review. Hell, I think I do too…

I will, however, start with a positive. The Shield vs Cody Rhodes and Goldust is the one enjoyable match on the card. Everyone involved is at the top of their game, Goldust has seemingly not lost a single ounce of his in-ring ability in his years off TV and The Shield show, yet again, that they are the most consistently entertaining, varied and talented team the WWE has seen in at least a decade.


But that’s it. Seriously. The rest of the card is like a particularly crap episode of Raw. Or Impact…

First up is Alberto Del Rio defending his World Heavyweight Title against Rob Van Dam in a ‘Battleground Rules’ match. The idea of a ‘Battleground Rules’ match is, I assume, for both guys to absolutely phone in their performance and to show about as much interest in this feud as I have. Del Rio’s former manager/valet/little mate Ricardo Rodriguez is in RVD’s corner wearing an RVD t-shirt that fits him like he found it in a lost property box backstage. Inexplicably at one point some of the crowd actually start a “This is awesome” chant, rendering the word ‘awesome’ meaningless forever more.

Next up is The Real Americans, Antonio Cesaro and Jack Swagger taking on The Great Khali and Santino in a tag team match. Fucking hell. If I had to watch Khali and/or Santino on Raw I’d be pissed off enough but on a PPV? That’s like spending out on a ticket to Barcelona vs Real Madrid only to discover that both sides have decided to replace their world class midfielders with the cast of The Dinner Ladies. At one point commentator Michael Cole says “Great strategy here by The Real Americans – do not allow The Great Khali anywhere near this match up”. This is a strategy I wish WWE booking would adopt too. Khali is a man so appalling at his job that when Cesaro pins him for the victory – and the camera is maybe two metres away – he counts along. OUT LOUD. That sort of shatters the idea that this might be a match between two COMPETITORS. Of course everyone knows that wrestling isn’t ‘real’ in the Olympic sense but at least when you’re being pinned make it seem like losing the match might be a bad thing. Urgh…

CM Punk is known as “the best in the world”. He is the longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era, with his recent title run clocking in at 434 days. He seemingly prides himself on putting on the best matches on the card night in and night out. He vowed to change things in WWE for the better. At Battleground, he beats Ryback by kicking him in the balls. Seriously. I have nothing else to say about this match. Let’s pretend it didn’t happen. Please?

And so onto the headline match, for the vacant WWE title, between Randy Orton and the most over man in wrestling – and maybe the planet – at the moment, Daniel Bryan. And it features an ending so offensively bad it’s like every stinker of a match along the way was merely preparing you for it.

Usually I wouldn’t include spoilers in my reviews but in this case – as with the Cesaro/Khali incident mentioned earlier – there is simply no way of warning you of the levels of awfulness contained in this PPV without them. So consider this more of a sports entertainment version of Watchdog…

Bryan and Orton are having a reasonable match – nothing special but certainly a step up from most of the card – when all of a sudden here comes Big Show. He is tall and round and pissed off. He knocks out the referee – oh no! Then he knocks out Daniel Bryan – double oh no! But it’s OK because he then realises that he’d been bang out of order and so he knocks out Randy Orton too! Then his music hits and everyone in the arena comes to the realisation the main event of the PPV that they’ve gone to see has ended in a ‘no contest’. Meaning no one has won the title and the final image of the show is that of a man who is no one’s favourite wrestler stood cheering himself in the ring whilst those who were actually IN the headline bout lay knocked out around him.

What a rip off. PPV’s are there to settle scores – your weekly Raw and Smackdown shows should provide all the ‘what will happen next’ story building. But people go out of their way to attend PPV’s – and to watch them on TV – because there is an expectation of something more. We needed either Bryan or Orton to walk out of there as WWE champion. It almost didn’t matter who. We just needed a resolution to a feud that was already starting to go stale. Instead we got left with someone who, while they may be a well respected veteran in the industry, has no business being anywhere near the title scene anymore. It just smacks of the WWE Creative team not knowing what the hell to do with the feud and throwing this in there to buy themselves a little more time. Well sorry folks but we’re not all idiots. Don’t insult our intelligence with such drivel.

You might think at this point that I’d encourage you to not buy this DVD. But you’d be wrong. I actually think it could be something worth having in your life. So buy it and put it on your mantlepiece. Then next time you have your heart broken or your dog gets hit by a car you can look at it, wipe the tears from your eyes and remind yourself “It could be worse, I could be watching Battleground”.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.