23rd Dec2013

‘WWE Battleground 2013′ Blu-ray Review

by Chris Cummings

BATTLEGROUND_2013_BD_3D

The inaugural WWE event, Battleground, certainly lives up to its name! With a Hardcore Rules match, a tag team encounter where an entire family’s livelihood is put on the line and a WWE Championship match that has been months in the making! This brand-new pay per view comes to us from Buffalo, New York and opens with the World Title on the line…

World Heavyweight Championship Hardcore Match

Alberto Del Rio defends his World title here against the challenger, Rob Van Dam under hardcore rules. Ricardo is in RVD’s corner for the match. The fans are into the match early on with a number of signature moves from Van Dam, including a DDT onto a chair, a moonsault from the ringside barrier and the introduction of a ladder which gets a loud reaction. Del   Rio hits a good looking back stabber and a high kick to the back of Van Dam’s head. The fans chant “this is awesome”. Del   Rio attacks RVD with a trash can before Van Dam turns the tables and dropkicks the can into the guts of the champion. They utilise the ladder with various moves that looks painful. Del Rio locks the cross arm breaker in but Ricardo runs in and nails Del   Rio with a bucket. Del Rio then goes after his former employee, Rodriguez, throwing him against the ring barrier and kicking him in the head. The fans chant “we want tables” and RVD obliges with… erm… a chair. Alberto moves out of the way of a “Van Terminator”. Del Rio puts a chair over Rob’s arm and locks in his arm breaker for the submission victory. A decent match considering the limitations that are placed on “hardcore” matches in this era of professional wrestling.

The winner, and STILL champion, is: Alberto Del Rio

We get a short backstage segment with Zeb Coulter, along with Swagger and Cesaro, talking about, yes, you guessed it, illegal immigrants. Swagger doesn’t move a muscle, that charismatic crazy cat that he is. We the people.

Tag Team Match

Okay, so filler match number one has arrived. The Great Khali, along with his friend Hornswoggle and Santino are out to face the talented combination of The Real Americans. Santino gets his usual decent pop. I feel a sense of sorrow when I see a terrific talent like Antonio Cesaro involved in this sort of match, but at least the guy’s on pay per view I suppose. Swagger and Cesaro do their best to get some serious wrestling into the mix, but it’s mostly a silly comedy match with Santino doing his usual shtick and Khali barely doing anything at all. This basically feels like a RAW or Smackdown match and has no reason to be here. Cesaro does the “swing” on Khali which gets a loud reaction from the NYC fans. Cesaro then pins a dazed and confused Punjabi Playboy for the victory.

The winners of the match are: The Real Americans

They show some WWE talents talking about the Susan G. Komen “Rise above Cancer” campaign.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match

Curtis Axel, wearing the belt his late father wore, makes his way to the ring with his agent, Paul Heyman, in tow. His opponent is R Truth, who does his dated rap thing to a fair reaction. The match doesn’t garner much of a response from the crowd who seem to focus their attention on Paul Heyman for the majority of the contest. It’s all very bland and tidy with nothing to get excited about. It’s, sadly, another match that feels like it would be more at home on television rather than on pay per view. Curtis Axel uses his unnamed face-plant finisher for the pin to retain his title.

The winner of the match, and STILL champion, is: Curtis Axel

We see a replay of the pre-show match between Ziggler and Sandow in which Sandow “injures” his knee.

WWE Divas Championship Match

Brie Bella, along with her twin sister Nikki, makes her way to the ring for her Divas Title match against the champion, AJ Lee. AJ is accompanied by Tamina Snuka and she seems to get the babyface reaction here. AJ plays the cowardly heel here, allowing Brie to look like a tough babyface. AJ throws Brie into the ring post, before throwing her back into the ring for a near fall. AJ locks in a nice armbar with a bridge and floors her with a falling arm-breaker. AJ is in control for most of the match and the fans seem to solidly be on her side throughout. Brie nails AJ with a dropkick and a flying clothesline before hitting a backbreaker for a two count. Tamina attacks Nikki at ringside which distracts Brie and allows AJ to roll up Brie for the victory.

The winner, and STILL champion, is: AJ Lee

Tag Team Match (to determine the employment of Cody Rhodes and Goldust)

Before the match we see a promo video showing all the sequences that have lead to this grudge match happening. Dusty, Cody and Goldie talk backstage about how they will expose The Shield as “puppets”. Cody puts his father and brother over and says that they will be fighting for the family.

The Shield come out first with their team mate Dean Ambrose beside them. The Rhodes Family follow, coming to the ring to the sound of Dusty Rhodes’ music. Dusty accompanies Cody and Goldie to the ring. The Rhodes boys get a good reaction. Goldust, I must say, is in excellent condition. The fans are into the match from the outset and the exchanges between the two teams are heated and pleasing. Rollins and Reigns cut Cody off from his brother and isolate him with chin locks and mat holds. The fans chant “we want Goldust” and eventually they get what they want, as Cody makes the hot tag to his older brother. Goldust gets the pop of the night here so far and hits Reigns with some of his signature offence. Eighteen years on from the debut of the Goldust character and Dustin Rhodes is still making it work, the fans tonight prove that. Rollins gets control and The Shield beat on Goldie. Ambrose and Dusty bicker at ringside, adding a nice extra dynamic. Goldust hits a powerslam on Rollins and makes the tag to Cody who springboards into the ring and takes out Rollins. He hits the Alabama Slam on Seth for a two count. Cody hits Rollins with the muscle buster for another close call. Goldust and Dusty brawl on the outside of the ring and Cody nails Rollins with the Cross Rhodes in the ring for the three count, winning the match for The Rhodes Family. The fans cheer loudly for the outcome. A great match, the best of the night so far, with a well booked ending. Cody and Goldust now have jobs in WWE again!

The winners of the match are: The Rhodes Family

We go to the “expert panel” of The Miz, Tensai and Titus who are talking with Josh Matthews about the outcome to the previous match. The Miz is annoying. Titus fails to get his facts right.

Brad Maddox and Vickie Guerrero are backstage and Brad asks for Vickie’s help. Vickie laughs and walks away.

One-on-one Match

Kofi Kingston is out next for his match with the leader of “The Wyatt Family”, Bray Wyatt. This is another filler match in my view and yet another one that seems like it should be on RAW or Smackdown. Wyatt gets a pop here. Wyatt is in control for much of the match, using rest holds on Kofi who escapes a couple of times and hits some offence before falling to more Wyatt holds. Fans boo Kofi tonight and chant “Let’s go Wyatt”. Kofi goes for his finisher but gets taken out by a cross body by Wyatt and does a creepy crab crawl in the ring. Kofi fights back with a dive over the ropes to the outside. Kofi goes for the S.O.S but it’s reversed by Bray, who then finishes the match with the Sister Abigail drop for the win. Rowan and Harper attack Kofi after the bell as Bray cuts a promo.

The winner of the match is: Bray Wyatt

Grudge Match

Ryback comes out next, along with his friend Paul Heyman, followed by his opponent CM Punk, for this grudge match to settle a score. Heyman and Punk have been feuding for a couple of months now and I don’t sense that it will be over for a while yet. This match begins with a lot of “Goldberg” chants and some power displays by the former Skip Sheffield. The two of them exchange spots, with each allowing the other to look good. Ryback uses his strength with lots of power moves while Punk uses his technical prowess here. The fans are into it and Ryback has improved as a heel somewhat, specifically since joining up with Paul “E”. Punk doesn’t seem as energised by this feud as he has with others in the past, but it doesn’t stop him from pulling a decent match out of Ryback here. Heyman grabs the mic and talks about pinning CM Punk, distracting Punk and allowing Ryback to lay out the “saviour of straight-edge”. Heyman shouts for Ryback to powerbomb Punk who reverses it and kicks Ryback sloppily in the face. Punk hits the Randy Savage elbow drop which brings the fans to their feet. Ryback fights back and hits Punk with a flurry of forearms to the face. Punk hits Ryback with a low blow when the referee isn’t looking and pins Ryback. It was a strange way to end the match and makes Ryback look pretty damn weak, but the match was fine and the outcome was the right one at this point.

The winner of the match is: CM Punk

The “expert panel” talk about who will win the WWE Title match, each giving their thoughts on who will win.

WWE Championship Match

We get a big promo video showing what had lead to this title match happening. The WWE Championship is set up at ringside on a table and the announcers talk about the importance of the match and who they think will win tonight’s match.

Randy Orton makes his way out first to good heat from the New Yorkers in attendance. Daniel Bryan comes out to a good reaction and a plethora of “yes” chants from the Buffalo crowd. The fans haven’t exactly been “on fire” tonight but they seem to come alive for the “yes” chanting. As this match begins I feel the need to say that I hope this is the last time we see these two men wrestle one-on-one on pay per view for a few months, but saying that, I’m excited about this match because they work well together and the storyline has been well executed so far. This is the fourth pay per view in a row where Bryan has been in the main event and I hope he continues to be. It’s nice to end shows with such a talented and exciting performer again. The match begins slowly with Orton showing some heelish tactics, stomping and digging his boots into the face of the vegan warrior. Bryan gains control and locks Orton in some submission holds and unloading on Randy with a fury of forearm shots. The match goes back and forth with some nice spots and holds from both performers. Bryan nails Orton with a suicide dive and the two brawl outside the ring for a while. Bryan gets caught coming off the top rope and Orton powerbombs him for a two count before twisting Daniel into a Boston crab. Orton throws Bryan around ringside, bouncing him off the tables and barriers. There is a cool sequence of uppercuts as both men nail each other to “yes” and “no” reactions from the crowd. Orton suplexes Bryan over the rope to the floor and they brawl outside again. Bryan throws Orton into the steel steps and goes to the top rope, diving on top of Orton who is on the floor. “Yes” chants fill the arena as Bryan nails Orton with the diving head butt in the ring for a very-near fall. Bryan hits four dropkicks on Orton and the fans explode with more chants of “yes”. It’s an awesome sight. Orton reverses a kick and throws Daniel with a leg and arm suplex. Orton hits the stalling DDT on Bryan and signals for the RKO as fans chant “no”. Orton misses the RKO and Bryan grasps Orton into the Yes-lock. The Big Show’s music hits and he runs to the ring and pulls out the referee. The fans boo the big giant who looks upset at ringside. Show then knocks out Daniel Bryan before looking conflicted. “You sold out” chants towards Big Show as Scott Armstrong makes his way to the ring, Orton makes the cover, but before he can count to three, Big Show pulls him out and knocks him out too. The fans chant “yes” as Orton looks angry in the ring. Show gets in the ring and knocks Orton out with the K.O punch to a huge pop from the fans. Big Show’s music hits again and he stands above Bryan and Orton’s unconscious bodies. The pay per view goes off the air with no definitive ending to the main event match.

The winner of the match is: No-one

So that was Battleground, a pay per view with a main event that never actually ended. There were some poor matches and some good ones, but overall I left Battleground feeling underwhelmed and disappointed with the outcome. It could have been a lot better.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

DVD & Blu-ray extras: Battleground Kickoff Show Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Damien Sandow; Rob Van Dam Contemplates His Future in WWE; Randy Orton Reacts to Battleground; Josh Mathews Interviews Daniel Bryan; Six Man Tag Team Match: Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan & Goldust vs. The Shield (Monday Night RAW 7th October 2013); and Renee Young Interviews Big Show (Monday Night RAW 7th October 2013).

Blu-ray exclusives includeTriple H Holds the WWE Championship in Abeyance (Monday Night RAW 16th September 2013); CM Punk Returns to Chicago (Monday Night RAW 23rd September 2013); Rhodes Family Summit (Monday Night RAW 30th September 2013); Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton: Face-to-Face (Monday Night RAW 30th September 2013); and the WWE Title-Free Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler (SmackDown 4th October 2013).

WWE Battleground 2013 is released on DVD and Blu-ray on January 6th.

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