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CALDWELL'S WWE BATTLEGROUND PPV REPORT 7/20: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live PPV - Cena defends WWE Title, IC Title battle royal, Usos vs. Wyatts Tag Title match, more

Jul 20, 2014 - 9:52:57 PM
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WWE Battleground PPV Report
July 20, 2014
Tampa, Fla.
Aired on WWE Network
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


Live PPV - Hour 1

Video Package: John Cena's WWE Title victory last month at Money in the Bank, The Authority making life miserable for Cena, and Cena forced to defend the WWE Title in a four-way match tonight at Battleground. The package stopped on an action shot of Seth Rollins with Triple H's words: "There's always a Plan B."

In-ring: WWE tag champs The Usos were introduced to the ring to kick off the PPV. After the Wyatt Family interruption played, Erick Rowan and Luke Harper emerged in the arena to challenge the Usos for the titles.

1 -- WWE tag champs THE USOS (JIMMY & JEY USO) vs. THE WYATTS (ERICK ROWAN & LUKE HARPER) -- 2/3 Falls for the WWE Tag Titles

After back-and-forth to begin with, Jimmy took a tag into the ring, but flew right into Harper's big boot. Harper pinned Uso for the pin and the first fall. The crowd sat stunned as the Usos recovered from decisively losing the first fall. JBL said it will take a miracle for the Usos to win this match.

*** FALL 1: Wyatts at 4:44 ***

The next session started with Rowan and Harper exchanging tags working on Jimmy. Jey finally got a hot tag, then rolled up Harper from behind for a quick three count. The Wyatts angrily tried to attack Uso, but the ref pulled them away to their corner before the next session started.

*** FALL 2: Usos at 8:10 ***

The Wyatts resumed their attack, now on Jey Uso. Jey broke free and tagged in Jimmy, who flew over the top rope to splash Harper. Back in the ring, Uso dumped Rowan over the top rope and flew onto him with another big splash. Uso then hopped onto the guardrail and ran across it to splash Harper.

Back in the ring, Uso hit a top-rope cross-body splash for a close two count. Uso superkicked Harper in the gut, slapped him, ducked a clothesline, and kicked Harper in the head. Uso wanted a Rikishi butt splash, and he connected. But, Harper exploded onto Uso with a corner splash in response. Harper couldn't follow up, allowing Uso to come off the top turnbuckle with a big splash to Harper for another two count.

At 13:00, Harper big-booted Uso over the top rope to the floor. Harper then contemplated flying over the top rope himself, but opted to deliver a flying suicide dive through the middle ropes. Harper tossed Uso back into the ring, then saw a vulnerable JImmy on the outside, only to take a superkick to the head. Uso and Harper proceeded to exchange very close nearfalls, buzzing the crowd.

At 15:00, Rowan tagged in, then climbed to the top turnbuckle for a flying splash, but Uso moved and Rowan ate the canvas. Uso crotched Harper, then dove to Jimmy to tag him. Jimmy came off the top with a Superfly Splash to Rowan, but he kicked out just before three. Oooohs from the crowd. Uso sold shock over Rowan kicking out of the Splash, so he climbed to the top for a second attempt, but Harper distracted him. Rowan tried to get Jimmy, but Jey tagged in. So, Rowan adjusted and superplexed both men off the top turnbuckle down below. But, Uso kicked out of a pin attempt.

At 17:30, Rowan tagged in Harper. They tried a double-team on Jimmy, but Jey broke it up from behind. Chaos, then Harper kicked Uso right in the mouth. Harper said this is done, then he went for a discus clothesline, but Uso superkicked him, only to have Harper no-sell and discus clothesline Uso. Harper had the pin, but Jey broke it up. Tag to Jey, who double-teamed Harper with superkicks. Jimmy re-tagged into the match, then the Usos balanced themselves on the top turnbuckle and delivered a double Superfly Splash to Harper. That was good for the pin and the win.

WINNERS: Usos at 18:57 to retain the Tag Titles. Big pro/con list on this match - amazing third fall, but unrealistic first two falls, and did they burn out the crowd with a ridiculous number of nearfalls? An overall "pro" was a big spotlight for all four wrestlers, including Harper, who continues to be on the path to being a super-heel as a singles wrestler down the road. (***1/4)

Commentary: Jerry Lawler said he's worn out and they're just getting started. Cole and Co. then transitioned to Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins, which is early for a match this heated, but points to an angle for later in the show.

Backstage: Tom Phillips introduced "Mr. MITB" Seth Rollins, who was all-smiles. Rollins said tonight is a great night because he's finally going to put an end to Ambrose, a little cockroach who won't go away. Rollins vowed to squash Ambrose tonight. But, before that, he would like to address Ambrose's arrogant question from Raw of whether that's all he's got. "No, no that's not all I got," Rollins said. And when he's finished with that lunatic, his eyes will be glued to the four-way WWE Title match because Tom might be looking at the next WWE World ---

Suddenly, Dean Ambrose attacked Rollins at the interview set. Agents hit the scene to try to control Ambrose, but he destroyed a light prop in the process. Triple H suddenly showed up and told agents to haul Ambrose away. Hunter said he doesn't want to see this screwed up. Hunter checked on Rollins, who caught his breath.

Announcers: Cole asked what just happened, then asked what happens now that Ambrose has been kicked out of the building. JBL said he's to blame for not getting this match with Rollins tonight. Lawler said Hunter over-reacted, then Cole said they're transitioning to another match...

x -- SETH ROLLINS vs. DEAN AMBROSE -- Shield Grudge match

2 -- Divas champion A.J. LEE vs. PAIGE -- Divas Title match

Paige was out first, followed by A.J. Lee to defend the title in the presumed long-form match they haven't had yet. Paige dominated the match throughout, but could not score a pinfall. Paige became frustrated with her inability to take down A.J., then A.J. slapped on the Black Widow. But, Paige escaped, then scored another close nearfall. Paige lost her focus, then A.J. hit a Shining WIzard to the face for a pin and the win. A.J. skipped around the ring in victory afterward.

WINNER: A.J. at 7:13 to retain the Divas Title. Pretty good PPV match between the top two Divas on the roster. More TV time building to a re-match could result in an even stronger match. (**)

Video Preview: Summerslam returns to Los Angeles next month.

Backstage: Randy Orton was looking for Kane in his holding area deep inside the building. No sign of Kane, who then showed up to robotically tell Orton he made an un-wise decision coming down here. Orton said he would like to apologize for what happened on Raw. "I'm sorry," he said. Kane was untrusting, then Orton told him to say he's sorry for punching him in the face. Kane said he never says sorry. Orton said he understands, and he's sure it was an accident anyways. Orton noted their enemies are John Cena and Roman Reigns, then Kane assured Orton that the winner of the title match is standing right here. Orton didn't like the sound of that, then Kane walked off.

Panel: Renee Young introduced Booker T, Christian, and Alex Riley, whose mic was off for his one-line introduction. Christian noted there are some Peeps in Tampa, then ribbed Riley that there are 50+ titles between them, and none involve Riley.

Video Package: WWE aired a very carefully-edited video package on the long-form Rusev vs. Jack Swagger segment centered on U.S.A. vs. Russia last Monday on Raw. The focus was more on the individual feud between Rusev/Lana and Swagger/Zeb Colter than political issues.

In-ring: Rusev was introduced to the ring waving a Russian flag, flanked by Lana. In the ring, Lana said Americans should be blamed for "recent current events," as Americans warred in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lana said Americans always jam their Western civilization down everyones's throats. She called America's leader a "wuss," then flashed Vladimir Putin's photo on the screen. She hyped Putin as a great leader, with WWE continuing to push forward with the angle in light of 295 people dying in the Malaysian Airlines plane attack in the region earlier in the week.

Jack Swagger's music interrupted. Zeb Colter hit the ring and said they've heard enough from "Natasha" and "Boris," then Lana slapped Zeb across the face. Swagger and Rusev started fighting, then Rusev fell out of the ring to recover before the bell sounded.

Live PPV - Hour 2

3 -- RUSEV (w/Lana) vs. JACK SWAGGER (w/Zeb Colter)

Swagger went for an early Patriot Lock, but Rusev escaped and recovered on the outside. Rusev and Lana had a heated "strategy session," then Rusev gained control of the match back in the ring. Swagger recovered on the floor, Zeb tried to give him a pep talk, Rusev continued to knock him off the apron back to the floor, and Zeb slapped Swagger across the chest to fire him up. Swagger finally re-entered the ring and made a heated comeback, but Rusev cut him off with a strike to the face.

Rusev tried a sidekick, but Swagger caught his ankle for the Patriot Lock. Rusev sold intense pain, then Swagger pulled him back to the center of the ring. Rusev teased tapping out as Lana implored him to fight, then Rusev lunged toward the bottom rope for a break. On the floor, Swagger put Rusev in the Patriot Lock again. But, Rusev swung Swagger face-first into the ringpost, knocking out Swagger. Rusev re-entered the ring at a count of nine, then Swagger was counted out at ten.

Post-match: Doctors checked on Swagger, who sold being KO'ed. Meanwhile, Rusev celebrated with a giant Russian flag hanging overhead. Rusev and Lana taunted Swagger, then Rusev left the ring to retrieve a KO'ed Swagger. Rusev put Swagger in The Accolade back in the ring, then Lana decided that was enough Rusev Crush for one night.

WINNER: Rusev via count-out at 9:54. Uncomfortable match and feud all-around, especially as more news from the plane attack story continues to come out.

Backstage: Cody Rhodes, as Stardust, talked in riddles about fate and destiny. He said it's so close, yet so far away. Goldust then entered the shot and they had an E.T. moment touching fingers. Goldust and Cody talked in code about seeing "it" with their own eyes. Cody said that tonight they watched the stars, but very soon, they are going to hear the names of Goldust and Stardust.

Back live, Seth Rollins was introduced to the ring holding his MITB briefcase. WWE replayed Dean Ambrose attacking Rollins backstage before their scheduled match, then Triple H kicking Ambrose out of the building. In the ring, Rollins was introduced for a match. JBL said he doesn't get this, then Rollins spoke from the ring.

Rollins said that since his opponent, Ambrose, has been ejected from the building, he has come to the ring to accept his victory via forfeit. Rollins said he wants to be announced as the winner and he wants his hand raised.

4 -- SETH ROLLINS vs. DEAN AMBROSE

Justin Roberts announced Rollins as the winner via forfeit, then Rollins's music played and he celebrated in the ring.

Suddenly, Dean Ambrose showed up and attacked Rollins as Rollins left the ring. Ambrose chucked Rollins over the guardrail, then beat him up int he arena as Lawler noted some security members are going to be fired over this. The fight continued with no one emerging to grab Ambrose, then Ambrose chucked Rollins over the guardrail onto the Spanish announce table. Ambrose continued to assault Rollins until security finally hit ringside to pull Ambrose off Rollins. Security hauled Ambrose away from ringside, but Ambrose broke free and went after Rollins again, splashing him. Refs tried to help Rollins away, but Ambrose attacked him again.

Triple H eventually showed up and pulled Ambrose away. Hunter forcefully pushed Ambrose away, then agents showed up to shove Ambrose down to the ground. Agents tried to haul Ambrose away, and Rollins decided it was a good time to attack Ambrose while he was vulnerable. Agents eventually got a piece of Ambrose's body and hauled him off, but Rollins attacked Ambrose on the way out. More chaos and bodies and shaking camera action before Rollins and Ambrose were subdued on the floor. Hunter then picked up Rollins and helped him away from Ambrose before raising Rollins's hand in victory. Boos. Ambrose was eventually hauled off before Hunter and Rollins disappeared to the back.

WINNER: Rollins via forfeit at 0:00. A good fight to make up for not having a match between Rollins and Ambrose. If Rollins cashes in MITB to become WWE champ tonight, they have a hot title match ready for Summerslam next month. Understandable, though, if people were upset by a match not happening tonight since it's arguably the top feud in WWE right now.

Video Screen: Bray Wyatt told Tampa that they're here. Back in the arena, Bray came out to the ring flanked by the Tag Title match losers back to their henchmen roles. Bray sat down in his rocking chair, then stood up and paced ringside displaying his messed-up left eye. Chris Jericho was introduced next sporting his light-up jacket. Jericho flipped over Bray's rocking chair before entering the ring to fire up the crowd.

5 -- CHRIS JERICHO vs. BRAY WYATT (w/Harper and Rowan)

Bray was the aggressor early on, then Jericho tried to respond with chops, but Bray just smiled and encouraged it. Jericho tried a slap to the face, but Bray responded with a knee to the gut. Bray continued the attack, then Jericho teased a comeback, causing Harper and Rowan to instinctively try to get involved. The ref saw it and booted the henchmen from ringside, making this one-on-one.

Jericho and Bray then went back and forth trading nearfalls and offense with neither man able to sustain control. Jericho suddenly popped Bray with the Codebreaker out of nowhere. He covered and it was good for the pin and the win with no kick-out from Wyatt, surprising the crowd.

WINNER: Jericho at 15:03. That was a big upset based on the betting lines, as Wyatt strengthened from a slight -300 favorite to a strong -1,350 favorite. Removing the betting lines from the equation, that was a surprising result for Bray to take another loss, but apparently they felt the need to re-establish Jericho in his first match since returning. Overall, they had decent chemistry, but it felt like they held back to save something for a presumed re-match. (**1/4)

Backstage: Seth Rollins was shown leaving the building still in his wrestling gear. Rollins thanked the security guards for escorting him out of the building to the parking area, then told them to leave. Rollins stopped in his tracks, sensing something was off about the situation. Ambrose then popped out of the trunk of Rollins's rental car and another fight broke out. Rollins eventually got in his car and sped away as JBL asked where security is to keep Ambrose out of the building.

Video Package: Saturday Night's Main Event on the Network.

Announcers: Cole name-dropped "Macho Man" Randy Savage defending the IC Title on SNME to set up the IC Title battle royal up next.

In-ring: Big E. was out first, followed by Alberto Del Rio, then Cesaro, R-Truth, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Zack Ryder, Titus O'Neil, last-minute addition Damien Sandow dressed as a Florida beach bum from the weekend house shows, Heath Slater, Diego from Los Matadores, Sin Cara, Xavier Woods covered in water, Great Khali, Kofi Kingston, Bo Dallas, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, and U.S. champion Sheamus. No Rob Van Dam or Fandango.

Wade Barrett was then introduced dressed in a suit and matching cast. The former IC champion said whoever wins this battle royal receives the huge honor of becoming new champion. However, he has some bad news. Because becoming the new champion will be like an old couple retiring here in Florida - it's simply delaying the inevitable of dying. And it will come in the form of a Bullhammer.

Live PPV - Hour 3

6 -- BATTLE ROYAL FOR THE VACANT INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE

Great Khali quickly started eliminating folks, including Zack Ryder and Xavier Woods. A bunch of guys then ganged up on Khali to eliminate him. Meanwhile, the announcers tried to dissect Sandow's beach bum attire. Also, Miz was just hanging out on the floor out of the way of the action with no referees imploring him to return to the ring.

Sheamus then Brogue-Kicked Ryback right over the top rope to the floor. Miz suddenly returned to the ring and tried to eliminate Sheamus, but Sheamus blocked. Ziggler then snapped on Miz with a Zig-Zag and Miz rolled back to the floor. Bo Dallas suddenly eliminated Titus, then took a victory lap right into a Cesaro Clothesline. Kofi and Cesaro then battled and Kofi tried one of his elimination-avoidance routines, but it was a bit of a struggle, so they eventually both just returned to the ring.

The crowd rallied behind Ziggler, who eliminated Del Rio, then the WWE Network feed suddenly flashed backwards to the end of Rusev vs. Swagger from an hour ago. Fast-forwarding back to real-time, Kofi was in the middle of another elimination-avoidance, this time involving Big E. with Cesaro. Cesaro then suplexed Kofi over the top rope, eliminating Kofi after putting up a good fight.

At 10:00, Slater snuck up behind Cesaro and eliminated him. Slater did too much celebrating, so Sheamus tried to eliminate him, and then he eventually ended him with a Brogue Kick. Sheamus chucked Bo Dallas over the top rope, but Bo landed on the ring apron. So, Sheamus hit Ten Forearms to the Chest. Ziggler then dropkicked Bo off the ring apron, bringing the match down to Sheamus and Ziggler. Is Miz still involved?

Sheamus and Ziggler focused on the IC Title sitting ringside, then the battle was on. Ziggler awkwardly fell on Sheamus's head going for a Fameasser, then they reset with a botched sunset flip that ended with Sheamus crashing onto Dolph's face. Another reset, then Sheamus flipped Ziggler over the top rope, but Ziggler held onto the top rope to keep himself in the match. Ziggler responded with a clothesline, but only one of Sheamus's feet hit the floor. Ziggler then superkicked Sheamus over the top rope and appeared to win the match. But, there was Miz, who snuck back into the ring to eliminate Ziggler for the win.

Post-match: Miz celebrated his victory as the Network feed jumped backwards to Goldust & Stardust. Back to real-time, the announcers were hyping the Network for PPV customers.

WINNER: Miz at 14:05 to capture the IC Title. WWE was going for the big heat transfer of Ziggler winning, then Miz pulling the rug out from under him, but it's such a cliched, eye-rolling finish. It doesn't even make logical sense when there were five referees around ringside and not one of them forced Miz to re-enter the ring at some point in the final five minutes? Very illogical. Overall, it was apparent they had Miz win to give him a big spotlight heading into Summerslam next month in Los Angeles to play up his newly-introduced Hollywood Actor persona.

Video Preview: Summerslam is next month.

Video Package: WWE Title situation centered on John Cena and The Authority trying to get the belt(s?) off him.

In-ring: Randy Orton was introduced first, then Kane, Roman Reigns through the crowd, and John Cena back to having both title belts. Apparently Ric Flair didn't want to keep the WWE World Title. Justin Roberts handled formal ring introductions before the opening bell sounded.

7 -- WWE World Hvt. champion JOHN CENA vs. ROMAN REIGNS vs. KANE vs. RANDY ORTON -- fatal-four way WWE World Hvt. Title match

Kane played a good helper for Orton early on, but Cena and Reigns kicked out of pin attempts. Cena then took out Kane and dropped the Five Knuckle Shuffle to Orton, but Orton escaped an AA attempt and fell to the floor. Next it was Reigns and Cena, who rubbed his hands in excitement. But, Orton and Kane ambushed the top babyfaces. Kane found himself in a pinning situation on Reigns, who kicked out, then Orton entered the ring to confront Kane. Meanwhile, the crowd picked up a "Daniel Bryan" chant before doing "Yes!" shouts to show they still remember the former WWE champion.

Orton and Kane came to blows, ending their Authority Alliance, then Reigns and Cena sprung on them for a double-team suplex. Cena and Reigns squared off again, but Kane sat up, so the faces beat up Kane. But, Orton knocked down Cena and Reigns, then nailed them with a double DDT from the second rope. Orton covered Reigns, but Kane broke it up, officially ending their alliance.

Reset at 9:30 with Cena and Reigns each trying to submit Orton, but Kane broke it up. Cena then dropped Kane with an AA, but Kane rolled under the ring to the floor. So, Cena re-adjusted and put Orton in the STF. Orton teased tapping, but eventually crawled to the bottom rope, where Reigns yanked Orton out of the hold that showed a ridiculous amount of light. Reigns smashed Kane into the announce table, then returned to the ring.

Face-off #3 between Reigns and Cena yielded some physicality. Yay / Boo on the punches exchanged, then Reigns roadblocked Cena into the corner. Reigns stalked Cena for a Superman Punch, but Cena ducked and hit a sit-out slam to set up for the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Reigns sprung on him with a Superman Punch. The announcers said Reigns is closing in on his first title, which meant he wasn't. Reigns speared Cena hard to the mat, but Kane broke up the pinfall.

Reset at 14:00 with Reigns and Kane battling. Reigns dropped Kane with a Superman Punch, then he double-foot dropkicked Cena in the head. And one for Orton. And a third for Kane. Reigns then charged Orton and speared him through the gimmicked barricade in front of the timekeeper's table. Back in the ring, Reigns and Cena traded nearfalls on Kane, which were broken up by the other top face. Cena then dropped Reigns with an AA, but Kane broke it up.

Reset at 17:00 with Cena, Reigns, and Kane in the ring. Kane chokeslammed Cena after getting him high in the air, then he chokeslammed Reigns for a two count. Kane sold frustration, then he stalked Reigns for a Tombstone Piledriver, but Reigns blocked and speared Kane for a two count broken up by Orton. Orton RKO'ed Reigns, but Cena sprung on Orton for an AA onto Kane. Cena then covered Kane for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Cena at 18:16 to retain the WWE World Title. A bit of a mixed-bag title match. Some good sequences, not as big of a reaction for Cena vs. Reigns as WWE probably would have liked, and a predictable split between Orton and Kane. (**3/4)

Post-match: Cena celebrated, then held both title belts in the air. They focused on Reigns selling the effects of the match ringside before going back to a live shot of Cena standing tall with the belts. Cena looked to the back, then continued celebrating as Reigns woke up a bit and sold frustration over not winning. Cena looked down at Reigns to display the title belts, then Cena slid out of the ring. Cena disappeared to the back as the trademarks flashed, there was no MITB cash-in attempt, and the PPV ended eight minutes before the top of the hour.

The Network feed resumed with a live shot of Roman Reigns dejectedly walking away from ringside before Cole, Lawler, and JBL recapped the main event.

***

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After the PPV, we're looking for your Reax, 0-10 score, and Best/Worst Match sent to pwtorch@gmail.com.


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