July 23rd, 2017 is the SmackDown exclusive “PPV” is battleground. Now first off you me ask me why I put PPV in quotes. I do think maybe 1% of the people who watch these, buy the PPV’s anymore and 99% of people are watching on the WWE Network. For this blog, I’ll call it a PPV because that is what WWE calls it. In this blog, I’ll be giving my take on each match as they are happening. I am going to do like the barstool pizza reviews and rate each match on a 1-10 scale at the end. Also, odds of a 10 are slim because if I give a 10, you can’t get any better, and there is always better. I’m excited for this PPV for multiple reasons. One reason is because of the location, being in Philly, who is known for being the rowdiest crowds. The fans in the building will let everybody know if this is a good event or not. Another reason, two of the best in the business are competing vs each other. Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles will have a 1 on 1 match for the US Title. Also, after 10 years, we will have a Punjabi Prison match! Being the final WWE PPV before Summer Slam, I expect it to be a good night. Well, I hope so.
Pre-Show Match – Aiden English vs Tye Dillinger
Let me ask this, does anybody acutely like Aiden English? Ever since The Vaudevillians break up, well firing of Simon Gotch, Aiden English is just annoying. As for Tye Dillinger, the perfect 10 superstar, has been a fan favorite since coming to the main roster from NXT. Neither guy really being pushed by WWE, the match was eh, nothing special, with English picking up a pin-fall victory.
I rate this match a 5.4.
Opening Match – The New Day vs The Usos (champions) – Tag Title Match
The Usos have been a part of the WWE since 2010 and have never split, minus for injuries. Recently they have turned heel and that has truly helped them out. They needed a change, everybody just seemed sick of the face paint and colorful characters. The USO are 3 time WWE tag team champions and currently the SmackDown tag champs. The New Day was formed in 2014 as 3 guys needed a new direction. At first, the trio wasn’t really favored by the WWE Universe. They do hold the record for longest tag champions in WWE History from April 2015- October 2016. This was a typical New Day match. With the New Day picking Xavier Woods and Kofi Kingston for the match, the USO’s isolated Woods for most of this match. After basically dominating the match, the New Day would end up pulling it off. That match was really entering by 4 talented superstars. A great start to the event.
I rate that match a 7.8 due to the pure edge of the seat excitement.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin
One of the matches I was really looking forward to. Nakamura and all his experience and style unlike anybody else vs Corbin and his big body and power style. Corbin attached Nakamura before the Money in the Bank match back in June. Part of that assault, including taking a camera to Nakamura’s back. Corbin didn’t forget that. Going straight for the back early and often. Unfortunately, this match ended with Corbin losing the advantage and getting disqualified by kicking Nakamura right where no man should be kicked. My guess, this is set up for round 2 at Summer Slam.
I rate this match a 6.7 that should have been better, but bad ending
Becky Lynch vs Charlotte Flair vs Natalya vs Tamina vs Lana – 5-way elimination for number 1 contender match for Woman’s title at Summer Slam
Going into this match the favorite is easily Charlotte or Becky Lynch, seeing how they are part of the 4-horse woman of the WWE. Also, to note not in this match is Carmella, who is the woman’s Money in the bank holder and has a title shot anytime she wants. In an elimination match, teaming up is important early, but it just seemed that Tamina and Lana had too much of a friendship. Of course, the first two ended up being eliminated were both Tamina and Lana. Third eliminated was surprisingly Becky Lynch. The last two left were the two with the most history in the match. Well, Tamina’s dad, is the late great Jimmy Snuka, but I don’t think his history is as big as the Harts and the Flair history. Nothing against Jimmy Snuka or Tamina of course. Surprisingly, Natalya ends up pinning Charlotte to punch her ticket to Summer Slam vs Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s Championship.
I rate this match a 5.4. Just wasn’t that exciting.
Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles(Champion) – US title
Two guys who I do believe run WWE. Not just SmackDown but I think that they are the best in all the WWE. Not just in the ring, but on all around. As much as I was looking forward to the match, it was good. I am a tad disappointed, but that could because I had such high expectations. After a lot of back and forth action turned into both superstars trading submission moves. After going back and forth, Owens flipped Styles over and got his shoulders down. I expect a rematch at Summer Slam.
I rate this match a 7.6. I hope summer slam is a lot better if they have the rematch at summer slam.
John Cena vs Rusev – Flag Match
Basically, a capture the flag match in a wrestling ring. Flags of each guy’s respective country is hanging over opposite turnbuckles. In this case, the American Flag for Cena and the Bulgarian flag for Rusev. This match is a basically a no rules match. Beat your opponent and get your flag and bring it back to the stage and you win. Rusev returning from injury and Cena returning from taping of shows he does, it just made sense to put them up against each other for a little bit. I’m not going to lie, both guys looked rusty and just out of steam as the match progressed. After a slow start, what an ending! Despite basically already knowing the winner, it was easily my favorite match of the night!
I rate that match 7.6 cause of knowing the winner before the start, but in general a good match.
Sami Zayn vs Mike Kanellis
Well, let’s face it, on a top PPV this match would have been a pre-show match. Sami Zayn is one of the more favorable superstars in the WWE but keeps constantly being placed in matches like this. The only real positive of this match isn’t the match, it’s Maria Kanellis on the outside of the ring. Really like when Rusev first came into the WWE and had Lana outside the ring. Welp, Zayn gets the win.
I rate this match a 5.2 because it was an okay match
Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal (Champion) – Punjabi Prison Match for WWE Championship
It’s been 10 years since the last Punjabi prison match and it was a match people have been looking forward to for a couple of weeks now. Of course, you know a Match that should be just two guys, the Singh Brothers come and help Jinder. So basically, in two prisons and it’s 3 on 1. Eventually it turned into 2 on 1 as one of the Singh brothers fell from the top of the prison through an announce table. Despite the Singh Brothers, this match was nothing short of great. Just all around great, especially the end of the match, when the great Kahli returned! Oh, my god, what a match. Randy Orton won that match until the Great Kahli returned and choked him out. During that, Jinder could climb out of the prison to pick up the victory.
I rate this match 8.2. It was incredible. The WWE needs to have more Punjabi Prison matches.
In all fairness, this was set up as a really good PPV. I ended up feeling it was an okay PPV. The first and last match were the best matches no double about it and the Cena/Rusev match also was good. Nothing really special overall, but again, this PPV is the last before the biggest of the summer, Summer Slam.
Let me know how you feel about the PPV in the comments below!