WWE Battleground is coming up on July 24, 2016 at the Verizon Centre in Washington DC. On paper, the card looks pretty solid as the participants of the individual matches look like they can yield some exciting spots. Let’s take a look at how I would book the matches on Battleground. I’m working on what matches have been put on the card so far, which by my last count totals to four.
Much of this analysis will be based on two main ideas: that wrestlers should show off some new moves and genuinely put on matches as though it was a live event, where their is material from the wrestlers that generally does not make it onto television or Network programming.
Because I am most interested in the main event for the WWE Championship, I will have more to say on the Triple Threat match between Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya
Natalya hit Becky from behind during a tag team match against WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke a few weeks ago, unveiling a new attitude and side of the former Divas Champion. Another few attacks in the backstage segments and they set this match up. I would book a match with Natalya dominating a lot with submission holds as a homage to her links with the Hart Dungeon. What I would like to see is Becky pull off some of the spots she did in NXT, and possibly debut a new finisher to replace the Dis-armer. No offense, but it just doesn’t look that painful when she Becky bends an arm back. I think Becky should adopt a new finisher, perhaps the Rings of Saturn?
John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Club
While this little exchange during WWE’s Japan show last week was all fun and games, no wonder why it didn’t go on the Network, as it would have diluted the current storyline between Cena and The Club (AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Carl Anderson). And after the storyline with Roman Reigns and the Usos verses The Club, good for WWE of finding another team to put Cena with against them. For this match, I wouldn’t necessarily have AJ be involved in the decision. It would actually be more beneficial for this match to end with either Amore and Cass pinning Gallows or Anderson, or having some kind of double pin finish with Cena doing an AA on Gallows, and Amore/Cass doing the Rocket Launcher on Anderson for the pinfall. At least booking the finish in this fashion would allow a set up for a Cena vs. AJ match at Summerslam.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Not much to say here…except in terms of booking storylines I doubt this really is their ‘final encounter’. Whatever these two did in NXT should at least be attempted to be replicated at their Battleground match. Let the Creative juices flow and allow them to work beyond Zayn and Owens’ familiar move set, do some more high risk spots with moves not many fans have seen before. But as for the finish, I think Sami should take this one, clean, Helluva Kick and all. Frankly in all honesty, Sami’s kinda been Kevin Owens’ bitch for the last few encounters; Zayn costing Owens the Royal Rumble and the Intercontinental Title indirectly in a ladder match aren’t exactly clean wins.
Shield Triple Threat for WWE Championship
As this match has basically been two years in the making, it should be a very special memory for the fans. I think one way to do that is for Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins to execute some new finishing moves, or even bring back old ones. For a reference to the last time these three fought in a triple threat match, see here. Dean actually does a rather decent Regal Stretch, and having a submission move in at least one of the former Shield members’ arsenal would put an interesting dynamic during the match, as currently none of the three men use a submission hold in their repertoire. You can see if you watch this triple threat from FCW to its conclusion that Roman (or Leakee as he was then known), did a double Samoan Drop on both Ambrose and Rollins, which is a spot I think they should incorporate into their Battleground Triple Threat.
As for finishing moves, Dean Ambrose had a number of devastating manoeuvres back in his independent circuit and FCW days, but I think WWE wouldn’t allow them because of safety reasons. He should bring back the original Dirty Deeds (the headlock driver), as I suspect he changed it by 2014 because Adam Rose was doing a similar finisher, called the Party Foul (Mr. Rose has since been released from WWE because of his domestic issues, so perhaps it is clear for Dean to revert back to the original Dirty Deeds?). If they’re looking to eventually move Ambrose to become a heel character, as I mentioned before he does a pretty good Regal Stretch; so perhaps he can use it as a submission finish.
When Roman was in FCW as Leakee, he used a spinning bulldog called the Checkmate as his finisher. To me, this looks to be something more appropriately part of a move set, and Roman needs some better moves. His superman punch, while entertaining to look at when executed, hardly looks legitimately painful (and occasionally if you look carefully you can see he doesn’t even hit the target at all), and the Spear is so passe. When he defended the WWE title against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, Roman did a move from the corner of the ring whereby it looked like a setup for the Razors Edge, but then Roman slams Rollins down into to a sit-down powerbomb. Now, that would be a much better finishing move for Roman than a Spear, in my opinion.
As for Seth, he should just either bring back the Curb Stomp, which for some reason was discontinued after Wrestlemania 31 (not sure why, there were no reports of serious injuries as a result of that match, although with Rollins’ knee issues they may be wise to have him do moves that use his knee that much). If they don’t bring that move back, I would much rather see Seth use the Frog or Phoenix Splash as a new finisher.
Now as for the match itself, aside from being a good opportunity to use new finishers or incorporate new moves in their sets, it should start off as Seth was predicting to Ambrose on the July 11 edition of RAW during their segment: Roman and Dean ganging up on him a bit, tossing Seth outside the ring while they focus on each other. At some point, all three of them are in the ring at the same time, hitting their signature moves on each other. Seth and Dean did a double powerbomb on Kevin Owens during the WWE show in Japan, so I would have them do that to Roman at some point. Actually, it would be interesting to see any combination of the two of them do the powerbomb on the third guy, since the Triple Powerbomb was a signature Shield move.
But at some point it’s Roman who will get put through the Spanish announce table or taken out of the equation leaving Seth and Dean to go one, and I think at this point in the match we should see a change in Roman Reigns in terms of his approach to the match. I’m reminded of when he basically lost it after TLC 2015 when he destroyed Triple H after losing to Sheamus and not regaining the WWE title. Roman at some point will come back in the ring and start demolishing Rollins and Ambrose, unleashing the absolute wrecking machine that he was in the Shield and demonstrated from time to time, which is what fans actually want from him anyway. This would be a good moment during the match for Reigns to basically do a heel turn, wail on Rollins and Ambrose, much like the transition Steve Austin did during Wrestlemania 17 against the Rock.
To end this match, I would book Rollins to win, albeit reluctantly since I actually like Dean Ambrose as WWE Champion. Rollins has been on a roll lately, and I feel even the head office and Vince, who was really invested in Roman Reigns until the suspension, is leaning towards Rollins as the face of the company these days. But it should be a faulty finish so it can set up a rematch between Roman and Rollins at Summerslam, like a roll up with Rollins’ feet on the ropes.