This is WWE Battleground from July 2015 featuring Seth Rollins vs. Brock in the main event for the WWE Title, plus John Cena vs. Kevin Owens and a whole lot more.
I wrote this live when it happened in 2015 and the review remains untouched.
Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri
July 19, 2015
The opening video package aired highlighting the key feuds on the show. I didn’t watch the Kickoff Show because I was out and usually nothing significant happens on it anyway.
Sheamus made his entrance. The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show. The Spanish announcers are there too. Good luck to the Spanish announce table surviving the show.
Sheamus vs. Randy Orton
Orton’s in his hometown. Sheamus went to the floor to upset the fans and fans chanted “you look stupid” at him as he took another breather. Outside the ring, Orton sent him back first into the barricade. Sheamus bailed to the floor again, so Orton nailed him with a clothesline. They exchanged forearm shots in the ring, but Sheamus stopped that with the Irish Curse Backbreaker. Fans were chanting “RKO” to the New Day clap tune as Sheamus hit a knee to the ribs followed by a flying knee drop off the middle rope. Sheamus with a chinlock to slow things down even more. Orton dodged a charge leading to Sheamus hitting the post, which led to Sheamus landing outside the ring. Back in the ring, they exchanged punches, kicks and forearm shots as well as some clotheslines by Orton and another clothesline that sent Sheamus to the floor. They fought outside the ring, which led to Orton giving Sheamus a back suplex on the announce table. It was a soft bump, so the table didn’t break. Back in the ring, powerslam by Orton for two. Sheamus draped Orton’s neck on the top rope and then hit the rolling senton. Powerslam by Sheamus gets a two count. Neither guy could hit a finisher as Sheamus thought of something else and hit White Noise. It’s been ten minutes so far.
Orton regained control by slamming Sheamus head first into the mat and then hit an overhead t-bone suplex for a two count. Sheamus stopped Orton’s attack and went up top for something, but Orton stopped him. In my head I said “here comes the superplex” and there it is for the two count. Orton hit the DDT off the middle ropes with the crowd going crazy for the hometown boy. Sheamus got a rollup for a two count. Then Sheamus nailed a Brogue Kick, but was unable to cover right away because he was selling. Orton grabbed the ropes to prevent Sheamus from pinning him. Sheamus applied the Cloverleaf submission in the middle of the ring. Orton did a good job of selling the pain, but was able to get to the ropes after about one minute. Back in the center of the ring, Sheamus tried to lift Orton up and then BAM…Orton drops him with the RKO. He did a slow cover, but he was able to get the pinfall win at 16:54.
Winner by pinfall: Randy Orton
Analysis: ***1/4 It was a good match with several believable nearfalls and the crowd was into it probably because Orton is from St. Louis. I liked the finish a lot because Orton didn’t kick out of the Brogue Kick. He just avoided losing to it because Sheamus was too hurt to cover. Orton hit the RKO once and it was good enough to win the match, so it puts over the move as a big deal. The clean win for Orton isn’t that much of a surprise because we’ve seen it many times before including at WrestleMania when Orton beat MITB holder Seth Rollins. WWE loves to book MITB holders as losers because they figure if the guy cashes in then people will forget about the losing anyway.
There was a video about the divas revolution from Monday’s Raw. They called Becky Lynch’s finisher The Disarm-her during the recap of what happened.
Stephanie McMahon did a promo saying that there would be a divas triple threat match later on in the show. It was hard to pay attention because she looked like a giant compared to tiny JJ. Stephanie said she felt like Big Show compared to her.
The New Day did a promo prior to their tag title match. They spoke about how they deserved to win. Then they started the “New Day rocks” chants, which led to the crowd chanting “New Day sucks” at them.
WWE Tag Team Championships: The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young vs. The New Day (Kofi Kingston & Big E) w/Xavier Woods
It’s the standard Kingston/E team with Woods yelling outside the ring. O’Neil smashed Kingston with some massive chops across the chest that drew a big reaction from the crowd. Big E tagged in, so Titus slammed him and hit a legdrop. Woods: “Worst legdrop ever!” Woods is great. Young tagged in, but the heels were able to outsmart him. Kingston nailed a huge kick to the chest outside the ring. Lots of quick tags by New Day working on Young in their corner. Dropkick by Kingston as Woods was ranting like usual. With Young draped over the side of the ring, Big E hit a big splash, which led to a two count. Back elbow by Young, which led to Woods calling it “tricep meat” – that’s a unique name for it! Young hit an enziguiri on E, which led to the hot tag to O’Neil while Kingston also tagged in. O’Neil was on fire as he destroyed both guys including a clothesline on Big E that sent him outside the ring. O’Neil hit backbreakers on Kingston. The ref was distracted by Big E, so Woods kicked O’Neil in the back leading to Kingston hitting a DDT for a two count. Kingston off the top countered by O’Neil with a punch to the chest. Young hot tag time with a suplex on Kingston, then he took down Big E and a back drop on Woods on the apron. Kingston nailed Young with a kick to the face to knock him down. Kingston missed the Trouble in Paradise and Young hit the Gutcheck on Kingston. Tag to O’Neil, who hit a seated spinebuster on Big E for the win at 8:50.
Winners by pinfall: The Prime Time Players
Analysis: **1/4 It was an average tag match where both teams worked hard and the champs were able to win because they stopped Woods from interfering too much. Young hit a big move on Kingston and then O’Neil finished off Big E. A good way to make both guys look strong and have a clean finish as well. I don’t mind the PTPers at all. I just think New Day winning would be better because I’m not sure who PTP can feud with after this. New Day are so entertaining as champs and I think it was a mistake to give them such a short reign.
Commercials for Total Divas and WWE Shop aired.
Paige was in the locker room talking to her friends Charlotte and Becky Lynch. Looks like new gear for Charlotte. Lynch said they should tear the house down and rebuild the whole division. She said they’re going to show the WWE Universe what they’re capable of. Charlotte said they’ll do it with flair. All three of them did a pinky swear handshake to end it.
The video package aired for Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt.
Bray Wyatt made his entrance first and then Roman Reigns. It’s near the top of the second hour.
Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns
Reigns was the aggressor early on, but Wyatt stopped him with a huge clothesline. Reigns came back with a massive clothesline of his own that sent Wyatt outside the ring. Reigns whipped Wyatt into the barricade. Back in the ring, Wyatt nailed a running cross body attack to take down Reigns. Comeback by Reigns with two more clotheslines and then a Samoan Drop that didn’t really look that good. Wyatt rolled out to the floor. Reigns ran at Wyatt, who easily moved and Reigns nailed the steps shoulder first. Wyatt nailed a running splash on Reigns in the corner. Wyatt did punches in the corner, Reigns almost hit a Powerbomb on him to counter, but Wyatt tossed Reigns outside the ring. They fought on the apron, which led to Wyatt hitting a DDT on the side of the apron. Back in the ring, Wyatt hit a suplex followed by a running senton for two. Chinlock time. Wyatt yelled “ask him” to the ref, which is a Chris Jericho thing. Hopefully Wyatt isn’t wearing a scarf like Jericho when he’s in his mid-40s. I say that as a diehard Jerichoholic.
Wyatt applied another chinlock and looked up saying “thank you for everything” while the announcers wondered who he was talking to. Fans were chanting for Wyatt. It’s been about three minutes of chinlock until Reigns hit a slam to take down Wyatt. Reigns did his comeback with more clotheslines because that’s what he does. Reigns hit a back suplex and then another one. Reigns went for his dropkick on the apron, but Wyatt countered it with a clothesline. Wyatt nailed a running senton on the floor leading to a two count in the ring. The replay of the counter of the dropkick showed that it was a great move. They brawled by the turnbuckle, which ended with Reigns nailed a sitout Powerbomb for two. Wyatt caught Reigns when Roman wanted the Superman Punch. Reigns tripped him up on the apron and then hit the Drive By dropkick. Back in the ring, one-armed slam by Wyatt for two. There are dueling chants from the crowd. Wyatt had him set up for Sister Abigail, Reigns got a rollup for two (you could see him talking to Wyatt) and then Reigns nailed a Superman Punch for two. Reigns took too long for the Spear, so Wyatt nailed him with a boot to the face followed by a hard clothesline for two. Wyatt did his crab walk. He went for Sister Abigail, but Reigns blocked it with headbutts. Reigns nailed a Samoan Drop. Outside the ring, Wyatt tossed Reigns into the barricade. Wyatt grabbed steel chairs outside the ring. Reigns gave him an uppercut punch to knock him down. Reigns tossed chairs into the ring. There was an attack from somebody in a hooded sweatshirt and pants. He had a beard. Wyatt slammed Reigns on the apron and then in the ring, Wyatt hit Sister Abigail for the win at 22:42.
Winner by pinfall: Bray Wyatt
Analysis: *** It was too slow early, but they really picked up the pace and had some really good nearfalls in the second half of the match. The fans really bought into it. I’m glad that Wyatt is with Harper again because they’re better together than they are apart. It was mentioned by Dave Meltzer earlier in the day and it happened, so good for him getting it right. Reigns was very protected in the match similar to how John Cena was for many years. No clean loss. It was cheap and will likely lead to a rematch whether it’s singles or maybe a tag with Sting joining Reigns. That’s just a rumor for now. I’m 0-3 on my predictions on this show so far although I got Barrett right in the pre-show. I’m only mentioning it because it seems pretty rare and I don’t mind admitting when I’m wrong.
There were members of the St. Louis Cardinals sitting ringside for the show.
There was an interview by Jojo of the Beautiful And Dangerous trio of Sasha Banks, Naomi & Tamina Snuka. Naomi said they’re on the same page. Banks just did a quick promo with confidence telling us to watch her. Glad that she’s going to be in action.
The trio of divas entered: Banks/Naomi/Tamina first, then Paige/Charlotte/Lynch and then Team Bella trio of Nikki/Brie/Alicia. Nikki teased she would wrestle, but then told Brie to go in.
Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Brie Bella
There was a really cool spot in the corner by Banks when she sent Charlotte into Brie and then followed it up with her double knee drive move that is awesome to watch. Lawler reacted like he had never seen it before probably because he doesn’t watch NXT. Some fans were chanting “like a boss” for Banks. Banks stomped on Charlotte in the corner and then kicked Brie leading to a cover by Banks on Charlotte for two. Good heel work by Banks mocking the Flair strut leading to Charlotte getting a two count. Banks slammed Charlotte head first into the mat for two. Banks hit two running knee attacks for a two count with Brie making the save. Charlotte hit a double clothesline to take out both women. Chops by Charlotte, then a neckbreaker and another neckbreaker. Charlotte hit a boot to the face for a two count. Brie hit flying clotheslines on Charlotte and then a dropkick. Brie hit a double bulldog spot on both girls that didn’t look that great. Charlotte charged, Sasha moved and Charlotte took out Brie with a Spear. Brie went to the floor, so the two great rivals from NXT faced off. Banks hooked the arms of Charlotte and slammed her neckbreaker style. Brie nailed a missile dropkick off the middle rope, then running knee attacks on both women, but Banks sent her out of the ring when Brie tried it again. The women outside the ring had a staredown. Dropkick by Banks sent Brie to the floor and then Banks took down Brie, Paige and Lynch down with a suicide dive. Charlotte used the ropes to go over the top to take out the other divas that were standing.
This match is past the 10-minute mark, which is so rare for a divas match on PPV. In the ring, Charlotte worked on Brie. Banks applied the Banks Statement submission move, but Brie broke it up. Brie slammed Banks into the ring post. Brie went for a facebuster, Charlotte powered out with a Powerbomb and Charlotte applied the Figure Eight submission hold for the win at 11:30.
Winner by submission: Charlotte
Post match, Charlotte celebrated with her pals Paige and Becky Lynch while the other two groups were upset about the loss.
Analysis: *** A very good match by the ladies. That was longer than most divas matches on PPV because they usually get 5-7 minutes. That’s a great sign that shows WWE is serious about treating their women’s division seriously. It also showed that not only do Charlotte and Sasha belong, but they are arguably the best divas on the main roster already. When they did their spots it looked so fluid and easy to watch. Some of Brie’s spots didn’t look that great. I don’t mind Brie usually. I just think it was obvious they booked her as the third wheel because she was out of the ring a lot. It was important that Charlotte beat Brie because it makes the “rookie” Charlotte look stronger by beating Brie, who has more tenure on the main roster. I’m a huge fan of Banks, who looked the best on offense of the three women and also plays to the crowd so well. I’m looking forward to what’s next for the divas.
The PPV panel of Renee Young, Byron Saxton, Booker T and Corey Graves talked about things so far while I took a bathroom break.
The video for Cena/Owens aired.
Owens was cheered for most of his entrance. Owens yelled “we know the act, we’ve seen it for ten years” before Cena appeared. Just another example of Owens being great. Loud mixed reaction for Cena with a lot of the crowd singing “John Cena suuuuuucks” for his song like usual.
United States Title: John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
There was a big right hand by Owens early on to stun Cena. Lawler was going on about how disheartening it is that people chant “Cena sucks” at Cena. I assume that line wasn’t fed by Vince, but maybe it was. Owens whipped Cena into the turnbuckle. Owens put Cena on his shoulders and then hit a spinning neckbreaker for two. Cena hit a dropkick to get a bit off offense going. Cena picked up Owens, then slammed him so he landed stomach first for a two count. Cena to the top and he hit the leg drop to the back of the head for a two count. JBL: “How many times do you see somebody kick out of that? Not very often.” Actually, it happens every time Cena does it, so I’m not sure what JBL is talking about. Owens came back with a DDT for a two count. Cena nailed his spinning suplex, so Owens just rolled outside the ring. Punch by Owens knocked Cena down. Owens went for the Swanton Bomb, but Cena blocked it with his knees to the back. Owens hit two Cena like shoulder tackles and then the Cena style spinning suplex. Owens hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Cena fought out of the AA, put Owens on his shoulder and slammed him face first. Cena applied the STF, but Owens fought out of it. Owens came back with a cradle into a backbreaker for two.
The dueling chants were “let’s go Cena/Fight Owens Fight” and just as that happened, Owens avoided the springboard stunner and hit a German Suplex. Owens hit a cannonball splash in the corner for a two count. Owens yelled at Cole wondering if he was calling the match like he should. Cena hit the sunset flip into a Powerbomb for a two count. That was the best version of the move. Cena with a move off the top, Owens caught him and hit a Powerbomb to counter for two. Cena came back with the Attitude Adjustment, which Owens kicked out of at two. That move gets kicked out of so much lately. They battled on the top rope, Owens cradled him and hit a spinning suplex. Owens yelled at Cole to “watch this” as Owens sent Cena into the ropes. Owens with the Popup Powerbomb, but Cena countered it with a hurricanrana. Owens came back with a superkick, then the Attitude Adjustment followed by the STF submission in the middle of the ring. He applies the move better than Cena does because it looks a lot tighter. After about 30 seconds, Cena got to the ropes. After both guys rested a bit, Cena nailed a Tornado DDT for a two count. Cena avoided an Owens attack, then nailed the Springboard Stunner and Owens came back with a hard clothesline. Both guys were down. Owens with a cradle into a neck/backbreaker for two. JBL: “What the hell was that?” A creative move, that’s what. It looked like it hit Cena on his head. Cena came back with the Attitude Adjustment for two. That’s the second time Owens kicked out of the AA. Owens came back with the Popup Powerbomb and Cena kicked out of it at two. The match is at 20 minutes.
Cena was on the middle rope with Owens on his shoulders and he hit the AA off the middle ropes. Owens kicked out at two. The fans cheered while Cena had this shocked look on his face. Cena was frustrated for about one minute. Owens played possum and applied an inside cradle for two. Cena applied the STF, Owens almost got to the ropes, so Cena pulled him back to the middle and applied the STF again. Owens tapped the hands of Cena signaling a tapout, so Cena wins by submission at 22:11.
Winner by submission: John Cena
There were replays of the finish and the key spots. Owens looked frustrated by the loss. The announcers were talking like this was a classic match, which it was.
Analysis: ****1/4 Wow that was another fantastic match by Cena and Owens. I’m running out of things to say about them because they always deliver great matches. It was great like their other matches and they did a lot of things in the match that were similar to those matches. In that respect, it felt like a repeat of a lot of the same spots they did at Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank. One of the gripes that you can make from these matches is that they kick out of thee moves and don’t sell them too much, but it doesn’t bother me that much. They are selling by being frustrated that they can’t get the win. The other thing is that Cena beating Owens is going to upset some people, which I totally understand. My feeling is WWE doesn’t want the US Title on Owens since he’s challenging for the NXT Title on the night before SummerSlam. I think Cesaro might be the guy that beats Cena for the title, but that’s a guess more than anything. Anyway, this was still an amazing match. I think the Money in the Bank match was the best of the three although really they are all excellent matches that are among the best of the year.
The Miz entered for a promo wearing some ridiculous jacket on top of his shirt. He ranted about how he was going to be IC Champ, but Ryback is hurt. Miz mocked Ryback for getting injured and said he thinks Ryback is scared of him. Miz called himself the toughest man in the WWE and in this building right now. Miz suggested that Big Show should retire like the WWE Universe wants, which actually led to some cheers. Miz mentioned my beloved St. Louis Rams moving to Los Angeles and that upset the crowd. Big Show walked out, Miz suggested they team up again and Big Show just gave him a KO Punch. Miz was out in the ring while Show just left.
Analysis: It was just a time-wasting segment to kill time and give the crowd a break between the two big matches on the show. Nothing too exciting about it.
There were commercials for Tough Enough and SummerSlam on August 23.
The video package aired for Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins. It’s still weird seeing them edit out the Curb Stomp from Rollins’ WWE Title win at WrestleMania. I know why they do it, but I don’t like it.
The WWE Champion Seth Rollins walked out alone. Brock Lesnar got a huge ovation with Paul Heyman at his side. No “Suplex City” shirt for Lesnar because he’s ready to fight.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar (w/Paul Heyman)
Lesnar tried to toss Rollins, but Seth fought it off until Lesnar got a hold of him. There’s German Suplex #1 followed by #2. Then he hit German Suplex #3 and #4. There’s German Suplex #5 by Lesnar, which caused Rollins to roll out to the floor. Rollins tired to leave. Lesnar ran outside the ring, hurdled the barricade and brought Rollins back into the ring. That was pretty awesome. Lesnar’s such an amazing athlete for a man of his size. Lesnar hit suplex #6. When Lesnar went for another one, Rollins landed on his feet. Rollins chopped him down with a superkick, then a clipped his knee, then four standing side kicks in a row. Rollins went for Pedigree, Lesnar powered out and Rollins was able to knee him in the back. With Lesnar outside the ring, Rollins hit two suicide dives. Lesnar followed him back in the ring, hit a belly to belly suplex so that’s suplex #7. Lesnar with a rolling German Suplex, then another one and a third one for 10 suplexes total. When Rollins got up, Lesnar hit two more so that’s 12. Rollins slapped Lesnar in the face. Lesnar laughed it off and then hit suplex #13. Lesnar hit the F5. He went for a cover and The Undertaker showed up in the ring. The crowd is going crazy! Wow! What a sight. We knew it was coming, but man that was great. It happened at around 9:01.
Match Result: No Contest – Match Ended Due To Undertaker Appearing
Analysis: ** It’s hard to rate it as a match because it just ended abruptly after ten minutes. They were on to something good, but it was over so suddenly without much explanation. I guess when The Undertaker shows up, logic gets thrown out the window. The match was Lesnar with a bit of Rollins offense. I was hoping for a lot more from them.
Undertaker went for a Chokeslam, Lesnar fought out, went for an F5 and Undertaker kicked him in the groin. There’s no sign of Rollins or the referee, so I guess the match is just forgotten about. There’s a Chokeslam by Undertaker on Lesnar. He followed it up with a Tombstone. The crowd kept on cheering. They did an “Un-der-taker” chant. It looked like Undertaker would leave. Then he went back in the ring and hit another Tombstone.
The fans were cheering for him to do another Tombstone, but instead, he just did his classic pose on one knee and then stuck his tongue out. His music played and he left. Undertaker posed by the entrance and the show ended there.
Analysis: The attack was great and the crowd was really hot for it. They were cheering for Undertaker big time and it was as if they forgot that Lesnar is a babyface too. It’s obvious they are going for the Undertaker/Lesnar match at SummerSlam as the big rematch from WrestleMania 30. I guess Rollins could be in the mix if they want to put the WWE Title on the line, but most likely it will be just Undertaker/Lesnar to settle their rivalry. I just wonder if this means Lesnar goes back to being heel or if WWE will just assume the crowd will cheer for Undertaker. Anyway, it’s hard to rip on something like this when you hear a crowd react like that. They marked out huge for Undertaker and that’s the kind of reaction that people will remember for a long time. The match was disappointing because it was cut short, but at least that ending was very memorable.
The news of Undertaker appearing was known online a few days ago. He looks to be in great shape and WWE likely figured they could get this Undertaker/Lesnar match done at SummerSlam, so I don’t blame them for going in that direction. If he’s physically able to do it then you might as well. It’s a huge rematch of their WM30 match when Lesnar ended Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania.
I’ve had people ask me about the low blow by Undertaker. I don’t think it makes him heel at all. It was just a crafty veteran move to give him the advantage. I thought it was clever.
This event had a runtime of 2:41:40 on WWE Network.
Five Stars of the Show
1. John Cena
2. Kevin Owens
3. The Undertaker
5. Sasha Banks
It gets a 7 out of 10 from me.
I thought it was a pretty good event. When you let the performers actually wrestle, they usually deliver. This was a show where the matches got plenty of time although the main event was disappointing in that regard. They were still able to give us a very cool moment with The Undertaker showing up to attack Lesnar, so that’s a positive from it.
What the ending also did is build anticipation for not only Raw this week, but for SummerSlam as well. Battleground will be remembered for that Undertaker attack.
Another classic from Cena and Owens. I’m not sure how to rank this match compared to their first two big matches, but I loved them all. Kudos to them for stealing the show once again.
The St. Louis crowd was very good all night long. That’s why WWE likes having PPVs there every year because they know they’re going to be pretty loud all night long. They helped to make the show better.
My predictions sucked, but I’m not mad about it at all. If a show is really predictable that can be seen as a bad thing. They did some finishes I didn’t expect, but they all made sense to me. It’s just WWE doing things differently than I would.
Who knew a 50-year-old dude that moves slowly could create so much excitement? Welcome back, Undertaker.