IHAO on ... WWE Battleground 2014

Well hello everyone!  And welcome to IHActionO week!  This whole week will be ALL ACTION as we lead up into The Rock's new film, Hercules, which looks utterly amazing.

I mean come on, LOOK AT THAT!

Almost all my standard styles of reviews, from straight to Nanarsday to a Reader Request will all be ACTIONTASTIC!  Actionriffic?  Action-action-auction-free?  I dunno, something.  And luckily enough, we had a WWE PPV yesterday evening to start the week of action off right.  As always, all my wrestling gifs come from the amazing Wrasslor Monkey.  Definitely go check out his blog.

All these banner images are owned by WWE, by the way.

The WWE Network has made it easy for me to catch every PPV now, and I love it!  It let's me talk to you guys, keep continuity straight as I watch every week, and all sorts of other good things.  Of course, I don't watch the Network every day, I got movies and stuff to watch.  But I sure do watch it when I can.  But this PPV was going to be different from the last few.  You see, my roommates and I, as well as my wife, all enjoy having our wrestling days as a house.  We all just take a day to just have company with us, plus significant others sometimes, to enjoy the wrestling world, usually watching NXT or PPVs.  Sometimes I watch things twice because of work schedules or whatever, but I never have to be alone.  Except for last night.  Everyone was gonna be out and I was gonna be reacting all by myself, explaining wrestling history to no one, and just sitting there with my doggies.  I was a little sad.  So I invited friends and we made a big ole party of it!  Why am I sharing this?  How is it important to the review?  It isn't, but I needed a buffer paragraph between the opening image and the next heading to make things more appealing.  Also, one of my friends has turned out to be the most fantastic person to watching wrestling with AT ALL.  She just marks out for everything, cannot get enough of it all, and loves almost everything.  That's pretty solid.  Ok, so let's get this thing going ... for real this time.

Kickoff Match 1: Adam Rose beat Fandango

At Money in the Bank last month, Summer Rae and Layla both fought to be Fandango's girlfriend/valet/dancing partner.  Well, since that day, the two girls have become besties and turned on Fandango, leaving him alone.  And they tweeted a picture of being with Adam Rose, so Fandango decided to fight him.  Well, that's the subtext.  Fandango didn't act like that mattered to him.  And ultimately, it doesn't matter.  The match was quick, a warm-up for the audience filmed because they are filming those pre-show stuffs anyway and put on the Kickoff show because why not.  I couldn't really care much less about this match up, but it wasn't terrible, and it was super short, and we did get this:

I <3 font="" layla="" swoon="">

So yeah, could have been worse.

Verdict - Hmm, what? I'm sorry, I was distracted.

Kickoff Match 2 - Cameron beat Naomi

I hate Cameron with every fiber of my being.  She is the anti-christ.  She is the worst thing to happen to the world since disease was invented.  I would gladly pay an assassin to remove her from the world, if that assassin took IOUs that were never going to be repaid.  She is awful.  She ... her history within this company and this industry is atrocious.  She is everything wrong with Divas.  Everything.  She also wins this match.  The person that made Stone Cold react like THIS when he asked her what her favorite match was:

Her answer was Alicia Fox v. Melina.  It is a terrible answer, and proof she doesn't deserve to be here.

Ugh.  I can give Cameron this: she is a natural heel.  Because I want to grab a brick and smash it into her face over and over again until I "accidentally" made jelly.  Anyway.

This match is the most basic of matches.  Good guy team is together.  One turns heel.  They have match.  Heel now has different music and look, acts like a complete dickbutt, cheats to win to establish themselves as new heel.  Good guy is shocked.  And they are the only one.

Verdict - Worthless.  Worse than that, because Cameron got paid. Negative worth.

Tag Team Championship: Usos retain in a 2-out-of-3 Fall Match versus the Wyatts

And the PPV opens legit with a tag match.  Man do I love seeing the tag division growing and being awesome.  Putting on great matches, being entertaining, and building up a huge roster of teams.  As you can see in my little heading there, the Usos won, which was shocking.  I really thought it was the Wyatt's time.  But nope, the Usos absolutely did it great.  Especially after coming back from some awesome offensive sequences, like a one-man double superplex that Erick Rowan does to them, or Harper just being absolutely nuts in his goal to destroy these samoan champs.

Did you kick me?  I didn't feel it.

It took 4 Superkicks and a double splash for the Usos to put Luke Harper down, putting the Wyatts over something huge.  And that was just in the single final sequence.  There were so many amazing nearfalls, from superkicks to powerbombs.

This is from Raw, but man is it impressive.

I was on the edge of my seat for the last 5 minutes.  This match delivered in spades, and absolutely opened up this PPV, which had an amazing card, over the top.  I loved this match, and I cannot wait to see what happens next for the Usos and the tag division.  If I had to guess, there was a promo segment later in the PPV that had Stardust and Goldust talking about reaching for the Cosmic somethingorother and the stars aligning and so on and so on.  So the Dusts are probably gonna go for the tag titles.

Verdict - Phenomenal.  Must watch.

Divas Championship: AJ Lee retains against Paige

Ok, so interest developments here.  AJ returned the night after Payback.  Then history repeated itself as she and Paige has a match which Paige didn't want and AJ took back her Diva's title.  From that point on, Paige knew she was getting a rematch at Battleground, so the two ended up becoming "frenemies."

Look at Paige's smile.  Glorious.

So finally we get a match, which has this odd vibe to it.  And it is ... perfectly fine.  Compared to Divas matches of the past 5 years, probably one of the best.  But in reality ... it was off.  You see, we had no heel.  The concept itself lead to a lot of conversation within my viewing party as we discussed why we even need the concepts of "face" and "heel" in wrestling.  UFC, football, the Olympics, those types of athletic contests don't have those roles.  My short answer was that professional wrestling is more than just sports, it is about storytelling.  Modern myths.  Soap operas for boys.  And not only that, we as human beings add "face" and "heel" conceits to sports.  We root for a team.  There is a narrative to sports that is inherent, because humans add narrative to everything.  It's why we root for the underdog.  It is why naming a pencil Steve and then breaking it will make a lot of people wince just a little.  Narrative DRIVES the sports and athleticism of professional wrestling.

Community is hilarious, isn't it?  Man I'm using a lot of gifs this time around.

So when a match is two faces, with no real bad guy, you have two options: turn someone heel, or focus on the competition aspect.  And this match did ... kind of both.  They don't want to pull the trigger on a heel turn for Paige just yet, probably saving it for TV so they can build to AJ v. Paige II at Summerslam, this time with Paige as big bad Anti-Diva heel.  I'm excited for it.  But for this moment, the match was pretty good.  There were some miscommunication, the nerves were high, but nothing too major:

Spear ... ish.

Verdict - Pretty all right.  Though I expected more.

Rusev beat Jack Swagger by countout

More Rusev, though this time against a newly face, always American American Jack Swagger.  In this match, Shawn Michaels tried to superkick Kurt Angle, only for him to catch the superkick and try to put the Anklelock on him.  Nope, nope, those are the wrong names, and would have produced a better match.  Rusev matches are building to his first big loss, with every match he has now getting closer to that moment.  On TV he won by DQ.  Here he wins by countout.  He still RUSEV-CRUSHED Swagger, but that was after the count-out.  The match itself was nothing interesting.  If a match is requiring Jack Swagger to be the senior worker who is calling the shots, you aren't in great hands.  The crowd was into the US v. Russia stuff, though, even if I'm totally not any longer, as I consider country-heritage-gimmicks to be an enormous misfire in our current global age.  But whatever.  The crowd liked it more than me, and in the end, this is just another stop to Rusev's actual defining match.  This one will be forgotten, and isn't worth getting upset or feeling good about.

Verdict - Rusev matchka, Rusev whatever

Seth Rollins wins by forfeit because Ambrose be straight crazy and got thrown out of the building

This was not a match.  It was a brutal and passionate attack.  Ambrose is sick of Rollins and he is going to haunt him for his entire career.  Ambrose attacked Rollins earlier during an interview, getting thrown out of the building.  He came back for more.  He got thrown out again.  Then, as Seth was leaving ...

I found Dean!  Seth 'bout to get hurt.

So yeah, after brawling some more in the parking lot, Seth drove off.  This is what I figured was going to happen, as this feud is too hot to already have a match happen.  We'll get a real match, probably a street fight, or maybe because of this a parking lot brawl or an ambulance match, at Summerslam.  It'll be a big deal.  The fans wanna see Dean succeed in giving Seth the Sellout Rollins the beating he absolutely deserves.  I do too.

Verdict - A series of fun segments that didn't detract from anything, building to a bigger match

Chris Jericho shockingly beats Bray Wyatt in a grudge match

Yeah, it was stunning.  And a really good match.  They worked hard, especially Wyatt who was injured from a swollen and black eye.  Jericho returned, and immediately he and Wyatt are feuding.  You see, Jericho kind of does that.  He leaves for about 7 or 8 months, then comes up with a spot to return and someone to work with, then he returns to work with them.  He put Fandango over.  He put Ziggler over.  He put CM Punk over.  That's what he does, he returns and puts someone over.

And yet, here, Jericho got the win.  It was a weird finish, too.  Like it took too long and it was surprising that Wyatt would go down so hard from a Codebreaker.  But he did.  It was a physical brawl, with some good spots and was overall enjoyable.  Nothing to really write home about, and probably not the last of this feud, but good for what it is.

Verdict - Yup, pretty good.  Exactly as you could hope for, though no better than that.

The Miz wins the 20-Man Battle Royal for the vacant Intercontinental Title

This was a great match.  Lots of good little spots and interesting bits.  But I'm just going to bullet point some quick thoughts.

  • Xavier Woods is OF COURSE the first eliminated
  • Zack Ryder goes number 2.  Earned his paycheck, and I fear it may be his last.
  • Ryback looked strong
  • So did Heath Slater
  • Kofi does his Kofi spots before going out
  • Bo Dallas continues to be hilarious with his gimmick
  • Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus worked really hard to create a really strong finale, even if they didn't quite get on the same page for some of their moves
Great counter Sheamus. :/  That intended Canadian Destroyer would have been super cool.

  • The Miz?  Really?  REALLY?!  ARGH.  
The fans were so big on Sheamus and Ryback facing each other, and Sheamus and Ziggler going at it.  They wanted Ziggler to have his win so badly.  And Ziggler continues to work harder than anyone in the company in his matches.  Sheamus messed up two spots, most likely because he got his bell rung at some point and was just a little loopy trying to set up a fameasser and the Canadian Destroyer above.  But this is building to something with Sheamus and Miz, and hopefully something big for Ziggler.  Fingers crossed he gets to do something amazing soon, because he deserves it and is great at what he does.

Verdict - AWWWWWWESOME ... ok, not as good as the tag match, but I liked the pun.

Fatal 4-Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship - Cena won because spoilers

So this image went around the internets not too long after Payback:

More like Spoilerslam, amirite?

Yeah.  That basically ruins this match, huh?  Well, they still tried to really work on telling the story setting it up, and you know what, it worked.  Two good guys and two bad guys, but the good guys cannot get on the same page and the bad guys don't trust each other.  Ultimately, it really was every man for themselves.  Unfortunately, the match just didn't deliver.  

I'm going to say something some people may not like.  You ready?  Here we go: Roman Reigns is not ready for the position he is currently in.  He is doing fine on TV.  He can work a match.  But he is not ready for the main event.  And this match proved it.  He held back a lot, he wasn't comfortable on the mic, he needed guidance in the ring, and just couldn't go that extra step.  And when you add in Randy Borton, Getting-ready-to-retire Kane, and Cena (who is so awful there is no point in even giving him a silly nickname to show how terrible he is), you have a not very good combination.  Every story moment they had potential to show, like the face-off between our faces or Kane turning on Orton completely, the guys rushed.  They just didn't do a good job.  It was fine because it was moves and they had some exciting, if entirely arbitrary and planned out spots - and no, that is not "duh" because really great spots feel spontaneous, it is a basic rule in any kind of rehearsed medium: if it looks rehearsed, it falls flat; if it looks completely natural, it raises the quality of what you are watching.  Anyway.  Cena wins. 

And Wrasslor Monkey's sarcastic gif completely describes the feeling of this whole PPV.  It was just ... ok, and even though the card was stacked with what should have been great, it just could not deliver that, mostly because it needed to hold a bunch of things over for Summerslam, which is supposedly the WWE's second biggest show of the year (it isn't, the Rumble is).  And not only that, because of how the WWE Network is working, they want to stack the PPV after THAT so that people whose subscriptions are about to run out will re-subscribe.  Oh, and this match above didn't matter because of that spoiler poster at all.  Cena wasn't losing after holding the title for a single month.  No one believed it or as Bo Dallas says, BO-lieved it.

BO-lieve in trampling midget oxen.

Verdict - Ho hum, at best.

Well, I had a great time watching this with my friends, but that was mostly because of the friends.  The best match of the show was the tag match, with the Battle Royal with all its botches at a number 2.  I didn't think the show sucked, like a lot of reviews and others I've seen have said, but there was nothing here that is even worth me suggesting you watching the PPV other than the tag match.  *sigh*  Here's hoping Summerslam will do it better.

Oh yeah.  Welp, maybe Night of Champions.  *sigh*

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