Monday, July 20, 2015

WWE Battleground Thoughts, or What Did I Just Watch??

WWE Battleground has come and gone, and I'm trying to assemble some pattern of logic for how it ended.  Still can't do it.  I found the booking of that main event baffling for so many reasons.  I've presented those reasons below, but first a few words about the rest of the PPV:

John Cena and Kevin Owens once again stole the show with a fantastic semi-main event.  I think Owens should've gone over here, because unless WWE Creative figures out things like proper follow-through (spoiler alert: they haven't), Owens could get lost in the shuffle like Rusev and Wyatt did after feuding with Cena.  Randy Orton vs. Sheamus was the second-best match of the night but their opener was lacking a bit of urgency.  Still, well-worked.  Reigns vs. Wyatt was a very good 16-minute match but unfortunately it was stretched over 22 minutes.  Reigns now seems so far away from being the next top guy it's just become sad.  The Divas 3-way was solid and considerably better than most main roster Divas matches, but nowhere near what the NXT women are capable of.  The Tag Title match was too short to amount to much and I'm still not sure why The New Day didn't get to keep the belts long-term.  Imagine a Honky Tonk Man-type reign with those guys.  It'd be gold.

Okay, now for that main event.  Lesnar and Rollins were on their way to a very good match, but at the nine-minute mark, Mark showed up.  Fuckin' Mark.....  As I said, there are several reasons I don't like this booking.  I've presented six of them.

Wait, what happened to the match I was just watching?

1. The WWE Champion should never come out of a title defense (particularly one where he retains) as an afterthought.  But that's literally what happened here.  The lights went out, Undertaker appeared, and both Rollins and the referee vanished.  Ummm, I get that Taker's supposed to have mystical powers and all, but is the teleportation of others one of them?  Rollins has already been presented as an overly weak Champion who was in way over his head against Lesnar, but booking him to literally dematerialize at the end of his match so the audience isn't even thinking about him or the company's top Title is pretty inexcusable.  If yet another retread of a Pre-iTunes Era match is more important than the WWE Championship, what are all these guys even here for?

2. Why did Taker wait until now to confront Lesnar?  If this had been his first appearance since WrestleMania XXX it would make more sense, but Taker wrestled at this year's 'Mania and won.  Seems like he got over last year's loss, no?  So why'd he wait until now?

3. The babyface Undertaker cost the now-babyface Lesnar the WWE Title.  Isn't Taker supposed to be heroic and honorable?  How does this make us want to root for him?  Furthermore, Lesnar beat Taker at 'Mania 30 squeaky clean.  So where's Taker's gripe that he lost?  If Lesnar cheated to end The Streak that would be one thing.  Then we could understand Taker being pissed off and looking for revenge.  But Taker got beaten fair and square.  Shit happens.  How does that justify Taker interrupting a PPV main event and beating the crap out of Lesnar?

4. Since Taker's obviously challenging Lesnar to a rematch, wouldn't it sweeten the deal if said rematch were a WWE Title match?  So why would Taker prevent Lesnar from winning the belt?  Why not just wait till after the match was over to attack?

5. Once again WWE diffused all the tension between two guys by having the avenging "hero" attack his opponent and lay him out with his finisher, not once but twice.  And now we're all supposed to be drooling at the prospect of seeing Taker get his hands on Lesnar?  Yeah I'm all set, I just saw it.

6. For the love of fuck.  It's 2015.  How many goddamn times do we need to see rematches from 2002-2003??  It's not like Lesnar vs. Taker was ever considered an all-time classic feud.  Yes their Hell in a Cell match from '02 was great, but they're 1 for 4 as far as I'm concerned.  Nor was that rivalry a box office or ratings smash-hit.  Hell, 2002 saw a major ratings decline from the end of the Attitude Era.  Why are we living off the nostalgia for that period?  While we're at it let's book Diesel vs. Sid again, eh?  Wasn't that good and didn't make us much money, but everyone knows who they are, so let's go for it!  This feud has been neither creatively groundbreaking nor financially all that successful, so what's the point of revisiting it AGAIN?  Taker has limited ring time left in his career and should be facing as many new opponents as possible.  There are also a handful of first-time opponents Lesnar could be facing at SummerSlam.  I simply have no interest in seeing yet another Lesnar-Taker match.  It's been done to death (no pun intended).

Christ, between this and Sting apparently returning, SummerSlam 2015's shaping up to be just as much of a drag as 'Mania 31 was.  I get that ratings are in the crapper right now, but how 'bout instead of just slapping Band-Aids all over the product you take the time to implement permanent solutions?  Present the current roster in a way that they'll be perceived as on the same level as their older counterparts.  If you can't fill three hours of RAW every week, cut the show back down to two and use the third hour as a kickoff or a recap.  Book Seth Rollins like Ric Flair, where he's just vulnerable enough that each Title defense could be his last, but not so vulnerable he comes off as undeserving.  Either present The Authority as clear heels, or clear babyfaces, or get 'em off TV altogether. 

I'm already at the point where WWE programming just reminds me that I could be watching New Japan instead.  A second tentpole PPV built around old guys isn't helping.  Get it the fuck together, WWE.

Best Match: John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
Worst Match: Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar
What I'd Change: Make Rollins not look like a total afterthought and give the main event an actual finish?
Most Disappointing Match: Rollins vs. Lesnar
Most Pleasant Surprise: Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Overall Rating: 6.5/10

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