I went into this event with considerably low expectations as not many of the matches on the card really “wowed” me. However, the hope was still there that one of the sleeper matches would wind up stealing the show, and that there wouldn’t be a need for the main event. Was this a faint hope, or did the rest of the under-card bring it?
DANA BROOKE & CHARLOTTE vs. SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY: Still reeling from the deafening ovation that Bayley received, Banks and Bayley got blindsided by their opponents. Brooke tried to keep Bayley down outside the ring as Charlotte did her best to keep Banks contained. Every time Banks tried to mount a comeback (the head scissor takedown that nearly knocked Charlotte unconscious for example), Charlotte immediately put the boots to her. Bayley finally got the hot-tag and mounted the comeback. Dana Brook really looked out of place here as she clearly was not able to keep up with the other three of the “Four Horsewomen.” Banks went for the “Bank Statement,” but Brooke saved her teammate. Bayley took out Brooke, allowing Banks to lock in the “Banks Statement” and make the champ tap out. WINNERS: SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY
THE WYATT FAMILY vs. THE NEW DAY: Now that we’ve returned to an interesting feud since the failed attempt by WWE to capitalize off of TNA’s success with “The Final Deletion,” these matches have been an entertaining clash of styles. Woods, still paralyzed by his fear of Bray Wyatt, stood there for a few seconds before Kingston tagged in. He did his best to mount an offense, but Strowman and Rowan kept on him with powerful strikes and hits. Wyatt then tagged in and nailed Kingston with a clothesline from hell, nearly knocking Kofi unconscious. Big E got the hot-tag and devastated the Wyatts with a series of “Belly to Booty” suplexes. Wyatt caught him with a cheap shot and then Rowan hit Big with a “Sambo Suplex. “Kingston then dive bombed Strowman outside the ring. Woods finally tagged in and faced off with Bray Wyatt. After momentarily being frightened by Wyatt, Woods unleashed a furious offense. Wyatt’s henchmen provided the quick distraction that allowed Bray Wyatt to deliver “Sister Abigail.” WINNERS: THE WYATT FAMILY
ZACK RYDER vs. RUSEV (U.S. Championship): Rusev immediately used his power to keep the match on the mat. Ryder mounted a comeback, forcing Rusev to chase him round the ring. Rusev then cut him off and wailed on him with several strikes to the head and then a spinning heel kick. Ryder built momentum again and trying to suplex him, but Ryder countered into an amazing reverse neck-breaker. Rusev then sought to take the fight outside the ring. He tried to spear a near unconscious Ryder into the security barrier, but Ryder dodged and nailed him with a missile dropkick. Ryder then got Rusev back in the ring and hit the “Ruff Ryder.” He tried to follow up with a top rope elbow drop, but Rusev countered. Rusev delivered a super kick to the back of Ryder’s head and then locked in “the Accolade.” Ryder tried to fight his way out of the submission, showing more toughness than ever before, but Rusev leaned back with the submission, forcing Ryder to tap out. After winning, Rusev looked to deliver more damage to Ryder, and would have if not for Ryder’s former NXT tag team partner, Mojo Rawley, coming to Ryder’s aid. WINNER: RUSEV.
SAMI ZAYN vs. KEVIN OWENS: This was not going to be a match so much as a brawl. Zayn went for the “Helluva Kick” right from the opening bell, but Owens slunk out of the ring. Both men proceeded to beat the hell of out of each other outside the ring. The match later went back into the ring. These men’s hatred of each other and intimate knowledge of each other’s offensive tactics meant moves were repeatedly countered. Owens struck Zayn in the head with repeated elbows. Both men went back and forth trying to suplex each other, with Owens finally gaining the upper hand and hanging Zayn over the top rope. Owens locked in a chin-lock and tried his best to wear down his rival. Zayn mounted a comeback with a stunning clothesline, followed up by a “Michinoku Driver.” Zayn went for a springboard moon-sault, but landed on his surgically repaired shoulder, which Owens went after like a shark seeing blood in the water. Zayn hit with his “Blue Thunder Bomb,” but it lacked the velocity or impact needed to put Owens away. Owens almost kicked Zayn’s face off, but couldn’t get the pin-fall victory. Owens wisely went after the arm again with a cross-face submission. Zayn worked his way out of it and managed to nail Owens with his “Exploder” suplex in the corner. Owens dodged the second attempt at the “Helluva Kick.” However, Zayn drilled Owens with a brain-buster on to the edge of the ring apron, nearly knocking his opponent unconscious. Zayn looked to hit his middle rope “Tornado DDT,” but Owens had it scouted and super kicked him, then followed it up with a Cannonball and then a top rope Frog Splash. Zayn somehow had enough left in him to kick out. The “Fight Forever” chant from the crowds let the WWE know they have pure magic with this feud. Zayn hit a half “Dragon Suplex,” but Owens got right up, but Zayn hit yet another, nearly knocking Owens unconscious. Zayn tried to follow up, but Owens cut him off with a Pop Up Power Bomb. Owens shouted to a weakened Zayn, “why won’t you stay down?” Zayn hit a “Dragon Suplex” and then hit two rapid fire “Helluva Kicks” to finally defeat his former friend in this blow off match. WINNER: SAMI ZAYN
NATALYA vs. BECKY LYNCH: Lynch looked to lay some fisticuffs on Natalya from the opening second of this match. Natalya at first tried to go fist for fist, but Lynch had too much momentum on her side. Natalya had to switch gears, using the ring apron to trap Lynch’s leg as she attacked it. Natalya then worked the leg for several minutes, making it look like pure art, much like a certain “Hitman” in her family. Lynch was able to deliver an “Enziguri” to cut off Natalya’s offense. Becky mounted the comeback with several forearm strikes followed up by the “Becksploder Suplex.” Lynch tried several times to lock in “The Disarmer,” with Natalya wrestling her way out each time. The third time, Natalya countered it into a “Sharpshooter,” but Lynch made it to the bottom rope to force the break. While the referee was trying to force Lynch to break the closed-fisted strikes in the corner, Natalya kicked her through the ref’s legs right in the knee. This let Natalya set up another “Sharpshooter.” Pulling Lynch to the center of the ring was the nail in the coffin as Natalya made her opponent tap out. WINNER: NATALYA
DARREN YOUNG vs. THE MIZ (Intercontinental Championship): Darren Young put the pressure on Miz from the opening of this bout, showing off some amateur wrestling moves. A discus forearm and neck-breaker later, Young almost got the pinfall. Young went to the top rope, but a distraction from Miz’s wife, Maryse, allowed Miz to derail Young’s attempted top rope maneuver. Miz took the fight to the outside for a bit and then pulled Young in for the pinfall, but Young kicked out. Miz tried to slow down Young’s momentum with a side headlock. They then countered back and forth for a while. Young won a test of strength and followed with a pin, but Miz kicked out a two and then delivered a big boot to Young’s face. Miz looked to seize the upper hand, but Young exploded out of the corner with a thunderous clothesline. He then hit Miz with his vintage Belly to Back Suplex on the ring apron and attempted the pinfall, but Miz kicked out. Miz countered Young’s attempt to lock in the “Crossface Chicken Wing.” Distractions by both Miz’s wife and by Young’s life coach, Bob Backlund, caused both competitors to take the fight outside the ring. Miz attacked Backlund, which incensed Young, who locked in a “Crossface Chicken Wing” to the Miz. Both men were strangely counted out (Young exiting the ring should have reset the count), but Young still wouldn’t release the hold. It took several referees to force the break of the hold. WINNER: NO CONTEST. STILL CHAMPION, THE MIZ
JOHN CENA, ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS vs. THE CLUB: Amore started off against Karl Anderson. Before any offense could start, Anderson tagged in AJ Styles, who nailed a deep arm drag followed up by a dropkick that sent Amore reeling. Amore tagged in Big Cass, and Anderson tagged in and unleashed stiff right hands to Cass, but after coming off the ropes, Cass hit him with a shoulder block that nearly took Anderson out of his boots. Cass tossed his partner over the top rope, nailing Anderson and Luke Gallows outside the ring. Cass then sent Styles over as well. It was rough dealing with the commentary of this match and their constantly reminding us of how amazing Big Cass is and how he has all the tools to have a great singles run (way to look past any tag team greatness). Anderson came in and drilled Amore with repeated kicks in the corner and then followed it up with a high knee. Luke Gallows tagged in and tried to hit a splash, but missed. Cena and Styles both got the hot-tag and Cena landed his trademark offense. He went for the Attitude Adjustment, but Styles countered it with a “Pele Kick.” Styles went for the “Styles Clash,” but Amore hit a beautiful “Tornado DDT.” Anderson then nailed Amore with a spine buster, but Big Cass hit him with a body slam. Styles accidentally nailed Gallows with the “Phenomenal Forearm.” The fight became total chaos for a bit. Cena made it back into the ring before nearly being counted out. Styles nailed Cena with the “Styles Clash,” but Big Cass made the save. Gallows attacked him, then Gallows and Anderson nailed Cass with the “Magic Killer.” Amore dodged a shoulder block by Anderson, and then faced off with Gallows and caught a super kick by Luke. Cena hit Styles with a top-rope “Attitude Adjustment,” sealing the victory for his team. WINNERS: JOHN CENA, ENZO AMORE & BIG CASS
SETH ROLLINS vs. ROMAN REIGNS vs. DEAN AMBROSE (WWE Championship): Rollins started the match out on the receiving end of an offensive flurry from both Reigns and Ambrose. They knocked Rollins out of the ring several times to make it a one-on-one encounter. The crowd let the WWE know they are still not sold on Roman Reigns as the new corporate chosen one. Ambrose tried to get a quick pin on his friend Reigns. They smiled at each other, but the fight got brutal pretty quickly. Rollins picked his spots wisely, waiting for his two opponents to get into an exchange and then he’d strike. Rollins launched Ambrose into the corner, then smacked Ambrose around a bit. Ambrose chased him down, but Rollins hit him with his second rope “Flatliner.” He then launched Reigns right into the security barricade outside of the ring before Rollins could follow up. Reigns launched him over the barrier into the timekeeper’s area. As they were fighting, Ambrose ran across all of the announcer tables and hit a flying knee to both opponents. Ambrose got Reigns back in the ring and hit several moves, but before he could capitalize, Rollins connected with a Frog Splash onto Ambrose.
As the match continued on, Rollins then went for a “Pedigree,” but Reigns powered out. He then hit Rollins with rapid fire clotheslines in the corner. Reigns hit both opponents with “Superman Punches.” Both men avoided a spear. Reigns hit Rollins with a Superman Punch,” then got hit by a clothesline from Ambrose. Both Rollins and Ambrose then stomped a mudhole in Reigns. Ambrose did a suicide dive to Reigns, then Rollins followed it up with a “Plancha” to Reigns. Both men got on the same page and hit Reigns with a double power bomb through an announcer’s table. Not 10 seconds later, Rollins hit Ambrose with a steel chair, then he delivered a chair shot to Reigns. Rollins went for a “Pedigree” and was countered. He then went for his running power bomb into the turnbuckle, but Ambrose countered with a “Hurricanrana.” Rollins drilled Ambrose with a top rope superplex into a “Falcon Arrow.” There were so many false finishes that it made my head spin. Reigns finally recovered and took out both men with big power bombs. Reigns hit Ambrose with a “Superman Punch,” but then caught a “Pedigree” by Rollins. Reigns would not stay down for the three count. A reign nailed Rollins with a “Spear,” but was then hit with “Dirty Deeds” by Ambrose, who retained his WWE Championship. WINNER: DEAN AMBROSE
It may have been because of my low expectations that I enjoyed this event so much. It could also be that these performers took some poorly built feuds/storylines and turned s**t into soufflé. In any case, Battleground 2016 was not in my top three events of the year, but it damn sure had more than a few memorable matches.
Was Battleground 2016worth the viewing to you?