Welcome, cats and kittens, to a comeback installment by your favorite wrestling reviewing recluse, Cewsh Reviews! This week we’re going to be taking a close look at a show that made me so angry that I had to come out of obscurity just to yell about it, WWE Battleground 2017. But which part so enraged the Cewsh? Was it Shinsuke Nakamura being wasted in a nothing match? Was it it towering shitferno of the Punjabi Prison? Or was it something even more haunting and egregious? Well hell, you guys, if I remember correctly how this goes, then that means there’s only one way to find out.
So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
Segment 1 – WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships – The Usos (c) vs. New Day
Thank fuck for this match. I don’t mean to lay a full catalogue of spoilers for my thoughts on the whole show right out front here, but seriously. Thank fuck for this match.
Tag team wrestling in WWE right now is an absolute highlight to any show that it appears on, whether it’s Raw and the tag matches are the only worthwhile undercard stuff we get, or Smackdown, where the talent is way thinner, but they seem to get infinite freedom to flesh out their characters and have a good time. We’re finally in that tag team renaissance that people begged for for so many years, though you’d be forgiven for not noticing, since the women’s renaissance is obviously overshadowing it.
These two teams are comprised of failures. I know that sounds harsh, but the Usos have spent more than half their time in WWE to this point just sort of being there. Their work got much better, their personalities blossomed, and nobody really seemed to care. The New Day is made up entirely of guys that WWE had all but given up on finding a use for, and was so close to being a failed gimmick that i’m still stunned they pulled it off. Now, 2 years after their collective low point, here they are, as proud and prestigious veterans in a tag division that means something, fighting for a belt that people actually want to have. A lot had to go right for it all to get to this point, and thank goodness it did because, just to reiterate my earlier point, THANK FUCK FOR THIS MATCH.
THANK FUCK FOR THIS SPOT
The Usos have become so smooth as heels, and the transformation really seems to have set them free as performers. Here, they just do everything right, from their phenomenal timing together, to making Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston look like badasses when the time was right. The New Day are obviously great, and have charisma like few acts in wrestling history, but I kept finding my attention pulled back to the Usos, who are just on another level right now.
Together they had a really good match, that is the one and only thing from this show that you should seek out and watch, (unless you want a hearty chuckle.)
83 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
The New Day Over The Usos Following The Mega Elbow.
Segment 2 – Natalya vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch vs. Lana vs. Tamina
I have nothing snarky or negative to say. This match ruled and you should watch it. And Naomi is the best champion in WWE right now. It’s going to be a hard sell to convince anyone that Natalya is actually a credible challenger to her or anyone else, but hey. Nattie has worked hard to get this shot and i’m happy to see her get it.
Happiness Is Not A Familiar Concept To Nattie When Cats Aren’t Involved
Women’s wrestling is rad.
81 out of 100
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval
Natlaya Over Everyone Else Following Goodness.
Segment 3 – Baron Corbin vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
WWE has not had someone with the superstar potential that Nakamura has since Brock Lesnar first walked through their doors. Cena made it bigger, but that involved more than a little luck and a whole lot of push before it caught on. Nakamura could genuinely be not only the next top guy for WWE, the man to finally take the heavy weight of drawing responsibility off of John Cena’s shoulders for a second, but he could also be the key to WWE finally solving the Japanese market puzzle. This is a pretty gigantic deal. It’s also extremely nerve wracking, as every step of the way my paranoia that they are going to fuck this up and ruin their chance with him grows larger and larger. It’s WWE. They fuck up pushes. The past 15 years are littered with the irrelevant, walking corpses of next big thing after next big thing. I have spent week after week, wincing at each perceived misstep, only for Nakamura to continue getting more and more over.
I Mean, They Spell His Name Right and Everything
Unfortunately, then he had to run into Baron Corbin. I like Baron Corbin. I see good things in Baron Corbin. Someone like Baron Corbin, who needs to look good and is on a mega push of his own, has no business interacting with Nakamura at this point. This match made them both look like ass, with Corbin selling all wrong for Nakamura, and Nakamura seeming like a lesser star to struggle so much against a guy that the audience does not take seriously yet. Neiother was helped by a finish that was such a cop out that it rendered the prior 10 minutes completely pointless.
Down the road when these two are solidified in the main event, this match will make some money. But here it was sloppy, slow paced and a waste of both guys and our time.
64 out of 100
Nakamura Over Corbin Following A Disqualification.
Segment 4 – WWE United States Championship – AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens
This match taught all of us an important lesson that we should all take to heart. Matches don’t take place on paper. Sometimes you’ll look at two names across from each other on a booking sheet and expect the world, and then when the match actually happens it fizzles, whether because of a lack of chemistry, a storyline that sucks the heat out of the match before it ever starts, or a booking plan that sabotages them from the outset. Unfortunately, this match had all three.
Styles and Owens are both stupidly awesome, you don’t need me to tell you that. But they’ve yet to have a match together that really ads up to the sum of it’s parts, so to speak. This one especially, had very little going for it in the way of story, with the highlight of their feud taking place at a house show in a cool, but fleeting, moment. And then there’s the finish. Holy shit, that finish. At the end of the match after some tusseling around, Owns catches Styles in a roll up and…just sort of pins him in a way that seems super awkward and unintentional. The hot debate around this show seems to revolve entirely around whether this was supposed to be the finish to the match or not, and while of course we have no idea, it certainly seems like that was the planned finish and either it didn’t go as planned or was just a shitty idea to begin with. Either way, it fell flatter than AJ thinks the Earth is.
THIS IS A METAPHOR
Hopefully, at some point, Styles and Owens will have a match that lives up to the hype that inevitably follows people with talent like they have. But for now it’s time to move on and find something else for them to do. This is not working.
69 out of 100
Kevin Owens over AJ Styles Following A Roll Up.
Segment 5 – Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis w/ Maria Kanellis
I hope you can forgive me, but it really has been awhile since I did this, and there are so many takes I’ve been holding in over the months and months that the wrestling world has continued turning without me commenting on it, that they’re all bubbling up at once and are making it extremely hard to make a coherent review out of. So instead of writing a convention review for this match, instead i’m just going to shout miscellaneous thoughts that I have yelled at the screen recently, finishing off with what I yelled at the screen at the conclusion of this match. Here we go.
BRAUN STROWMAN IS COOL AND HE THROWS PEOPLE LIKE RRRRAAAAUGH
ROMAN REIGNS IS QUICKLY BECOMING ONE OF THE BEST WRESTLERS IN WWE
DEAN AMRBOSE MATCHES ARE POOP
PEOPLE BOOING ROMAN REIGNS IS GOOD AND WWE IS LOVING IT
I WANTED A DAMN R-TRUTH/GOLDUST BLOWOFF YOU FUCKBUOYS
THE MIZ SHOULD BE WWE CHAMPION FOR LIFE AND THEN DIE AND COME BACK AND GET THE BELT BACK AGAIN
THE WOMEN ARE MORE INTERESTING THAN THE MEN IN 2017
INTERGENDER MATCHES ARE AWESOME STOP WHINING YOU HAND WRINGING LAME-O FUCKS
WHY HASN’T WWE STOLEN BOBBY LASHLEY WHY ARE THEY KEEPING HIM FROM ME
THIS MATCH WAS OKAY
68 out of 100
Sami Zayn Over Mike Kanellis Following Wait, Sami Actually Won A Match? Huh.
Whew. That felt good. I think we can move on. Oh. Wait. One more. Here it comes….
Segment 6 – Flag Match – John Cena vs. Rusev
THIS MATCH IS AN ASSUALT ON EVERYTHING. SENSES, TASTE, THE VERY CONCEPT OF RIGHT AND WRONG. IT IS A DRUNKEN FRAT BOY GROPING MINDLESSLY AT OUR BETTER JUDGEMENT AS WE WAIT ON THE FRONT LAWN FOR OUR RIDE TO SHOW UP. IT IS LIKE BEING KICKED IN THE NUTS EVERY TIME YOU SAY A COHERENT SENTENCE UNTIL YOU FINALLY SURRENDER AND START SPOUTING GIBBERISH TO STOP THE PAIN. IT IS A SLANDEROUS INSULT CONVEYED THROUGH PERFORMANCE ART AND A VERY REAL EXPRESSION OF HOW LITTLE THIS COMPANY THINKS OF YOU AND ITSELF.
TNA WOULDN’T EVEN DO THIS.
Whew. Okay, so look. This match isn’t just BAD. Lots of matches are bad. Honestly, if you take all the matches happening everywhere every day, it would be fair to say that almost all matches are bad. Even taken with that incredibly gigantic grain of salt this match was bad. But more importantly, it was simply wrong.
In 2017, John Cena returned from his time off doing appearances and being the celebrity frontman that WWE needs him to be, being billed as a free agent. This caused a great deal of buzz about what could be in store for a John Cena that could go on both shows, and maybe a storyline that could come from it. But instead of addressing this, Cena was quickly confronted by Rusev. Rusev, who had also been gone for several months and came back looking great, immediately restarted a 2 year old feud with Cena for absolutely no reason. It being July 4th, they both immediately made this a patriotic American vs. evil foreigner angle, and decided to have a flag match at Battleground.
Here, Cena and Rusev Express Their Feelings On This Feud
If you’ve never seen a flag match, the idea is that the flag of each man’s home country will be hanging in their corner. To win, you must get your flag down before the other guy gets theirs. It’s entirely possible that you just learned about that for the first time right now because it is 2017, and there hasn’t been a relevant flag match since your grandpappy was trying to get to second base at the drive in, (unless he still does that, in which case give him a high five from me.) To say that the WWE audience now is the least interested they’ve ever been in angles of this sort is an understatement. It is flat out idiotic to look at the current American climate of conflict and anger, and decide to put a match like this in front of a PHILLY CROWD and expect them to cheer for it. Not only does that storyline taking place at all represent a stark and total disconnect between WWE and their fanbase, but this company’s relentless insistence that WWE is some kind of patriotic institution is outright nauseating when this segment takes place right next to one where they introduce all of the announcers who carry the words and actions of this company into homes all around the world.
I’ll make this very simple. You cannot be both a global wrestling empire who includes every person from every land in an attempt to spread WWE to the far reaches of the globe and ALSO be a company who treats everyone who is not from the United States as a corrupt, cowardly, America hating psychopath. You cannot show me the faces of the Russian announce team right before John Cena takes a red, white and blue shit all over the entire concept of not being American. There is no place for this, any of this, in the wrestling world of 2017. We are all connected to each other now from my desk in Toledo, Ohio to your laptop in Bangladesh, and this is one last incredibly embarrassing wall that stands between us for no better reason than, “we used to run angles like this in the 80s and they loved it.” It sucks, it’s pointless, and it utterly wastes two incredible talents in Cena and Rusev, who did absolutely everything in their power to drag this out of the muck to a background of boos and indifference.
Maybe this will change when Vince McMahon dies. Maybe all the old timers will have to go first. I just hope I see an end to this shit before I reach the end of the road.
3 out of 100
John Cena over Rusev Following Some Flag Planting Fun.
Segment 7 – WWE Heavyweight Championship – Punjabi Prison Match – Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal w/ The Singh Brothers
Punjabi Prison. Now there are two words to get your mind racing.
Up to this point there had been 2 Punjabi Prison matches in WWE history. The first, which was originally intended to be contested between the Undertaker and the Great Khali before Big Show was swapped in after Khali got hurt, is one of the shittiest matches in WWE history. Every plodding, interminable moment of it is suffocated by a gimmick that they don’t know how to use and can barely fit in, while the bamboo cage did it’s best to obscure the terrifyingly dull things going on in the ring.
The second Punjabi Prison match is a revelation, and possibly Dave Batista’s single greatest in ring performance. In that match Batista found a new level of per formative selling and, hell, even acrobatic skill that we had never seen from him before, and he managed to drag a genuinely entertaining match out of the expressionless lump that is the Great Khali.
That brings us here. And significantly that brings us to Jinder Mahal, who is without a doubt the feel good story of 2017. The guy got released for being irrelevant, went absolutely nuts working out, got his life together, came back and now he’s holding the belt that Hulk Hogan wrestled Andre the Giant for. The best part is that he deserves it, he really does. WWE has always been eager, even desperate, to get itself into the India and China markets, and they have tried again and again with limited results to do both. But here, in Mahal, they have a guy who looks the part, and can get it done in the ring, and man it has been great to see.
And then there’s Randy Orton, whose 2017 will mostly be notable for this.
I was very excited coming into this match, because I was so curious as to whether or not you could get a good match out of the Punjabi Prison concept, or if Batista just worked a modern day miracle that could not be followed. After watching this match unfold, and watching these guys pull out every single trick you could possibly pull out in the match concept, I think it’s time to put it to rest. There’s just so much gimmicky shit going on. The live crowd can’t see through the cage, so they aren’t reacting to anything.
Visibility Is Overrated
The thing where you have to ask to open one of the 4 doors and it can only stay open for a minute and then it will be closed FOREVER is poorly explained and thought out. Hell, the entire structure itself looks like someone spraypainted an erector set yellow and brown and threw it all into a big pile in the corner.
Jinder and Randy do their best here, and the Singh Brothers are becoming some of the wildest bump takers the wrestling world has ever seen to try to make this whole thing work.
But in the end, this was a slog to get through, and it didn’t do much for anyone.
Except for the part where the Great Khali came back to save his kayfabe brother-in-law. That shit was cool.
67 out of 100
Jinder Mahal Over Randy Orton After Escaping the Cage.
In conclusion, this show sucked but there were a lot of great performers on it who could, and will, do a much better job if the booking would get out of their damn way. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to channel all of this yelling into getting rid of the neighbor kids who won’t stop THROWING THEIR BALL IN MY GODDAMN YARD YOU FLOPPY FUCK SACKS. I’M GOING TO SEND YOUR PARENTS 365 CONDOMS SO THAT I HAVE AT LEAST A YEAR OF RESPITE FROM SEEING ANOTHER VERSION OF YOU BE BORN YO…
Ahhh. Feels nice to be angry again. See you again soon, Cewshketeers!