1 Good/5 Bad – WWE Battleground 2017

What the hell happened to Smackdown Live?! It was easily better than Raw until the turn of the year, but since then it has been on a downward spiral and […]

What the hell happened to Smackdown Live?!

It was easily better than Raw until the turn of the year, but since then it has been on a downward spiral and they put on arguably the worst show of the year, by either brand, with this past Sunday’s Battleground event.

But what was so bad about it?

Let’s take a look at the good and bad of Battleground 2017…

#1 Bad – Nullified Nakamura

I’ll preface this by saying that I am a huge fan of Nakamura, but since he arrived on Smackdown Live, he has done nothing of note besides his Money In The Bank performance.

WWE have one of the most unique and intriguing performers in the wrestling industry today, yet they have nullified his magic in just three months. This is largely due to the lacklustre feuds he has been in since his arrival. His match with Ziggler was average at best and he’s followed that up with a tedious program with Baron Corbin.

Every Corbin feud has been, step one – attack a babyface, step two – babyface retaliates, step three – boring PPV match against said babyface. It’s the most basic of storylines and rarely gets the audience invested.

That was no different in this match which plundered on to an unsatisfying DQ finish that didn’t really do either man any favours.

#2 Bad – Land of opportunity, but not for the biggest stars

It’s always great to see a mid-carder get a push into the main event scene and that’s what Smackdown Live is all about with it’s ‘land of opportunity’ moniker.

However, that’s what Smackdown is all about nowadays. The genuine main event calibre talents, such as AJ Styles, Nakamura, Kevin Owens, Charlotte e.t.c. have been reduced to supporting roles in recent months while the likes of Jinder bloody Mahal have been in the main event scene.

That looks set to continue with the surprising outcome of the Women’s fatal-5-way match, which saw Natalya earn a Title shot against Naomi at next month’s SummerSlam.

Naomi vs. Natalya is far from the most exciting match for SummerSlam and it leaves you wondering where this leaves Becky Lynch and Charlotte for WWE’s second biggest show of the year.

#3 Bad – A screwy finish yet again

A feud that seemingly has huge potential is the Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles rivalry, yet it hasn’t really clicked for one reason or another.

The matches themselves have failed to live up to expectations and they haven’t been helped by some shoddy booking in the finishes to their matches. The conclusion to their Battleground bout was just confusing.

Towards the end of the match, Owens inadvertently threw Styles into the referee, who was briefly knocked out. However, Owens never took advantage of this by cheating and simply tried to hit his pop-up powerbomb finish which has reversed by Styles. They both then traded submission moves into KO rolled AJ onto his back to get the pinfall victory.

So what was the point in the ref bump?

Who knows, all this did was baffle the fans in attendance and resulted in a flat finish to the match. WWE often overthink the booking in matches and this looks like yet another example of just that.

#4 Bad – Orton & Mahal go for just under half an hour!

Battleground saw Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton compete for the WWE Championship at the third consecutive pay-per-view. The previous two matches have failed to capture the fans imagination from an in-ring standpoint, so it was baffling as to why WWE decided to have their third bout go for almost 30 minutes.

The opening 10-15 minutes were unbearably dull as Orton and Mahal scuffled on the floor to try and prevent each other from escaping the first cage in the Punjabi Prison.

It didn’t get much better from there and the highlight of the match was one of the Singh brothers taking a nasty bump from the structure onto the announcer’s table.

But at least it didn’t get any worse. Oh, wait hold on…

#5 Bad – It gets worse…The Great Khali is back!

As if this Jinder Mahal championship run wasn’t already a big joke, he has now aligned himself with the returning Great Khali.

I hate to say it, but Smackdown Live has almost become a parody of professional wrestling in recent months.

If we go back to where this story began, I’d imagine conversations between most wrestling fans went something like this:

“Hey dude, Jinder Mahal is in a number one contender’s match for a shot at the WWE Championship”

“No way, can you imagine if he wins?”

“Dude, he won”

“Ha ha. Imagine if he becomes Champion”

“Um, dude. Jinder Mahal is WWE Champion”

“You’re kidding. What next, are they going to bring back the Punjabi Prison match? LOL”

“So, Jinder’s defending the Championship in a Punjabi Prison match at Battleground”

“Could this get any worse?”

“I guess they could bring back the Great Khali. LOL”

“No chance, he was as agile as a wardrobe in his prime. There’s no way”

“Dude, you’re not going to believe this…”

#1 Good – Excellent opening match

The only positive from Battleground was the opening contest between The Usos and The New Day.

The two tag teams put on an excellent match which had a number of false finishes that drew the audience in hook, line and sinker. It was genuinely unpredictable and kept the crowd on the edge of their seats throughout. In particular, Xavier Woods looked like a star in this match and put in arguably the performance of his WWE career.

It was ultimately Woods who get the win for The New Day and ensure that they are now, once again, the WWE Tag Team Champions and the first team to hold both the Raw and Smackdown Live Tag Titles.

As for the rest of the ‘Good’, I’m not going to waste my time or insult your intelligence by squeezing out five ‘good’ moments from Battleground, it was a poor show and less said about it, the better.