By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Roman Reigns Interrupted WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena
Cena and Reigns did a nice job of hyping their Fatal 4-Way WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Battleground as well as the tag team main event. Reigns continues to improve on the mic and his promo here was short and sweet. Ambrose, interestingly enough, came across as the biggest star in the segment with his brief verbiage and looked like a badass when attempting to fight back against the trio of Randy Orton, Kane and Seth Rollins. The attack also built intrigue going into the main event as to whether it would be changed to a Handicap match.
The Miz def. United States Champion Sheamus (Non-title)
Although Miz and Sheamus have had countless matches against each other in the past, it's been such a long time since they last clashed that I didn't mind it. They worked a good match with a nice pace and enjoyable action. Miz emerging victorious was a pleasant surprise as it was a win he desperately needed coming off his recent loss to Chris Jericho. Sheamus doesn't lose much in defeat and it poses Miz as a serious threat to win the Intercontinental Championship on Sunday.
Dolph Ziggler def. Fandango
My disdain for the love triangle involving Fandango, Summer Rae and Layla has been well-documented, so I don't need to explain how much I didn't care for this. It was nice to see Ziggler pick up a victory, but how much does it mean really? I'm still not sure as to whether Layla and Summer are babyfaces, but whatever. Please end this miserable storyline as soon as possible.
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan Attacked WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos
The Wyatt Family and The Usos have squared off in every kind of match possible in recent months, so anything else they could have done to sell viewers on this match wouldn't have worked. I'm not saying this attack did wonders, but at least it was something different. It put good heat on The Wyatt Family and their 2-out-3 Falls match with The Usos has the potential to be a classic.
Zeb Colter and Lana Had a Debate
The back-and-forth verbal exchange between Colter and Lana wasn't anything special, but the crowd was heavily into it. That's all that matters in the end, right? Jack Swagger and Rusev are great in their roles of just standing in the background and looking intimidating. The crowd was hot for their brawl and Swagger's reversal of Rusev's kick into an ankle lock was very cool. Swagger as a face is getting over nicely and I hope it stays strong once his feud with Rusev runs its course.
Alberto Del Rio def. Rob Van Dam
We've seen this match so many times before that this wasn't anything out of the ordinary, but it was fine for what it was. I realize it was done to build toward the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal at Battleground since RVD and Del Rio are participants in it, but both of them have lost so frequently as of late that a win for either of them doesn't matter much. It was a shame to see RVD lose yet again despite being extremely over with the audiences.
Alicia Fox and Cameron def. Nikki Bella in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
Nikki has still done nothing to gain sympathy from fans despite being beaten up by Fox every week. The Handicap match formula has grown tiresome and this match was more of the same. It didn't help that Cameron was involved, who is atrocious in the ring. Why was her feud with Naomi not furthered here since they'll be facing each other on the Battleground Kickoff show? Thankfully, next week begins the build to SummerSlam, so hopefully then Brie will be brought back to rekindle her rivalry with Stephanie McMahon. On a side note, who can be considered a worse boyfriend than John Cena right now?
Big E def. Cesaro
The match was decent enough and I'm glad it actually had a story behind it stemming from last week's Raw, but most of it was overshadowed by the Paul Heyman story. I highly doubt he was legitimately fired or quit, but it is definitely interesting. Does he return alongside Brock Lesnar next week? Only time will tell. Cesaro's losing streak should lead him to winning the Intercontinental title on Sunday. If not, I'm not sure what purpose this was supposed to serve.
Bray Wyatt Attacked Chris Jericho
Jericho's trip down memory lane was fun, but I felt like I've heard everything else he talked about in his promo before. Even still, he did an effective job of hyping up his match with Bray Wyatt and making it feel important. Wyatt's attack on Jericho atop the stage was also well done. I was surprised to see the camera get a close-up on Wyatt's face given that he suffered a pretty nasty bruise over the weekend at a live event.
Divas Champion AJ Lee def. Eva Marie (Non-title)
This was slightly better than the match they had on SmackDown two weeks ago, but not by much. Thankfully, it was kept relatively short and AJ carried Eva to a barely passable bout. Paige performed well on commentary and I like how they're playing up the mutual respect between her and AJ. It'll mean more when Paige eventually turns on her, but it'd be nice if they offered an explanation for why AJ is now babyface. Hey, better late than never.
Bo Dallas def. The Great Khali by Count-out
I was fearful that they would end Dallas' winning streak here, but I'm glad they didn't. Even better, Khali shouldn't be involved in any match for more than a minute given how limited he is and it was good to see this match end quickly. The count-out victory was perfect for Dallas and the "bad giant!" line was hysterical. Is Dallas the next Intercontinental Champion? I'd certainly say he's in the running.
Ric Flair Returned
Flair has been rumored to return for a while now and at one point it was supposed to be as The Miz's manager. I'm ecstatic that didn't come to fruition since they have zero chemistry together, but with that said, what role will he have if he's a regular on WWE TV from this point forward? They heavily hyped Flair's appearance throughout the night and all he did was predict Cena to win this Sunday's main event. It was disappointing to say the least and I hope this doesn't become the norm with Flair after his last Raw appearance fell flat as well. However, Cena retiring the world title to Flair was a cool moment, though one that probably should have gotten a bit more fanfare. We shouldn't have had two titles for this long to begin with, but at least it was done away with the right way.
WWE World Heavyweight Champion John Cena and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton, Kane and Seth Rollins Ended in a No Contest
A majority of the match happened during the commercial break, but at least they skipped the slow parts and went almost immediately into the finishing sequence by the time they returned. The final few minutes were jam-packed with entertaining action and they succeeded in establishing that it's every man for himself in Sunday's main event, especially when Reigns speared Cena. The crowd waiting for Dean Ambrose to show up only for him not to come back might have taken some juice out of it. That would've been predictable route, but it also would have been the most logical.
This wasn't on par with the great episodes of Raw we've been getting as of late, but this was by no means a bad show. There were some good matches and a few newsworthy moments with Ric Flair returning and Sting being announced for WWE 2K15 (great commercial), but as a whole it wasn't all that enjoyable. That said, the Battleground card was built up nicely and on paper, it looks like it could very well be a great show if booked correctly. Here's hoping it lives up to expectatio
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