By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Paul Heyman Interrupted WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins
It was somewhat refreshing to see Rollins come down to the ring by himself. Don't get me wrong, J&J Security are an awesome act, but having them take some time off from TV could do their characters some good. Rollins cut a strong promo regarding Brock Lesnar's actions from Raw and Heyman was unsurprisingly excellent here as well. I thoroughly enjoyed their back-and-forth on the stick that did an effective job of establishing that Rollins will have no one to fight his battle for him against Lesnar come Battleground.
Dean Ambrose def. Bo Dallas
This was a fun little match while it lasted, but it didn't make sense to have it go as long as it did when Ambrose put away Dallas with ease on Raw. While there was nothing wrong with the wrestling, it felt meaningless because both characters feel directionless at the moment. It's clear WWE has no idea how to properly utilize Dallas, but I'm stunned they don't have anything set in stone for Ambrose at Battleground. Even a match against Kane would suffice, but nothing has been made official as of now.
Rusev def. Fandango
There were rumors going around shortly after Rusev got hurt that he'd start wearing boots again when he returned to action, and it appears those rumors were right. I'm all about safety, but he doesn't have the same "mystique" he had before when he wrestled without him. This was a glorified squash match for Rusev and while it wasn't anything of note, I'll take a million of these matches over an another atrocious promo with Dolph Ziggler and Lana. As previously noted, here's hoping they blow off this terrible build with a match between them in the very near future.
Roman Reigns def. Big Show by Disqualification
Reigns vs. Show yet again, oh joy. Admittedly, it's been long enough since we last saw them do battle where I wasn't dreading this match, but they could go another ten years without facing each other and I'd still groan. It was basically what you'd expect from the two with Wyatt's interference only inevitable, but I liked how Wyatt's involvement in Reigns' matches is different each week. I'm glad he's been dominant in this feud, but it makes me more fearful that he won't be coming out on top.
WWE Tag Team Champion Titus O'Neil def. Big E
Is it just me or does this feud between The New Day and the Prime Time Players feel like it's lacking something? I enjoy both tandems quite a bit, but this rivalry doesn't have any juice to it. This match was fine for what it was and not terrible, but rather it was just kind of "there." The New Day has hardly picked up any momentum going into the title rematch, so that leads me to believe they'll be winning back the belts at Battleground per Booking 101.
The Ascension Interrupted Randy Orton
I wasn't even aware Orton was going to be appear on the show, so I'm surprised WWE didn't bother to hype up his SmackDown return ahead of time. He cut a basic promo talking about setting his sights on Sheamus, but The Ascension's interruption felt random. Then again, if there was anyone to take an RKO and pump the crowd up, it's them seeing as how they haven't meant anything since their arrival on the main roster. As I've said time and time again, I'm loving both Orton and Sheamus right now, but a feud between them doesn't do anything for me whatsoever.
Alicia Fox and Brie Bella def. Naomi and Tamina
This was a better bout than the match we got between Brie and Paige on Monday's Raw, but not by much. It was nice to see it get slightly more time and all four ladies put forth a decent effort, but once again the issue wasn't with the match as much as it was with the lack of interest from the crowd, and can you blame them? The Divas division is obviously in a holding pattern until the NXT women get called up, which will hopefully be happening sooner rather than later.
Intercontinental Champion Ryback def. WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins by Count-out (Non-title)
Ryback has had a strong enough reign as Intercontinental Champion so far that he felt like a legitimate threat against Rollins, but it's a shame champion vs. champion matches don't mean as much as they once did. Rollins and Ryback have had countless matches in the past, but they never cease to work well together and produce quality matches. This bout was no exception with the action being entertaining, but the non-finish didn't do anything to add credibility to Rollins' reign. It made storyline sense for Reigns to make the save for Ryback afterward given his previously established issues with Rollins, but shouldn't he be more concerned with Wyatt right now?
When I read the spoiler-free card for this week's SmackDown, I didn't get my hopes up for a good show because many of the matches didn't peak my interest. Even the main event between Rollins and Ryback, albeit enjoyable, felt like a re-run of what we've seen before from them. The episode opened strong with a great verbal exchange between Rollins and Heyman, but everything else that followed fell flat with this viewer.
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