Here’s my final thoughts on WWE SmackDown Live’s Battleground 2017!
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English
Reactions: Now you see what happens when you give more time to the guys who really deserve it? We get solid matches like this one. Now I’m certainly guilty of thinking this would follow the same format as the other matches these men have presented. While it featured some similar moments to its predecessors, this rematch intensified the action a bit more with more meaningful offense from English. Dillinger still has the crowd behind him even in loss (there’s clear evidence of that based on the reaction he used to get while in NXT). So the L he took here won’t deter him much since it came after a decent contest against English, a talent who needs all the help he can get right now. English wins and suddenly I care about him a bit more thanks to his pre-match serenading and unique signature moves. I’m open to seeing this go down for the fifth (or is it sixth?) time.
Rating: 2 & a Half out of 5 Stars
Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis
Reactions: This is the type of match that would have better served on your typical SD Live airing. The action was average at best since Mike’s choice of moves are pretty generic in nature. Zayn added a bit more fire to the match, at least. The ending almost played out the very same way, but it led right into how it was meant to play out – Exploder into the corner, then a finishing Helluva Kick. So yeah…there’s that.
Rating: 1 & a Half out of 5 Stars
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens (WWE United States Championship)
Reactions: Huh? Everything was going so well then…that weird ass pinfall happened. That’s how they end a match that was entering into the 4-star range? Wow…that sucked. Everything that went down beforehand was pretty good, though. It was the story of a pissed off and much rougher than usual Owens facing off with an extra slippery AJ. Plenty of cool counters came to fruition here, plus both men pulled off their signature offense in more unique ways. What differentiated this match from their past meetings was the familiarity factor at play here – Owens and AJ knew each other’s biggest moves, which led to them finding several ways to counter them (Owens was especially on his A-game here). After AJ’s injured shoulder became a factor, it led right into a cool back and forth submission hold sequence. Then…that lame pinfall brought all that good action to a screeching halt. You could tell this match would have been that much sweeter if it weren’t for that abrupt ending. Dah well! Their eventual SummerSlam rematch better make up for this letdown…
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin
Reactions: While this wasn’t all the way terrible, it wasn’t particularly amazing either. Its overall quality places it in that “meh…it was cool” range. Both men were extremely physical with each other at least, which gave it some life during the finishing stretch. When Corbin was in control though, the action fell into a bit of a tiresome lull. Thankfully, Nakamura’s comeback offense brought some life to the somewhat dull proceedings. I should have seen the lame ending coming, though – it was clearly meant to protect both men and give Corbin a way out of eating a big pin so soon into his MITB reign. This served its purpose of getting both men onto the PPV, at least.
Rating: 2 out of 5 Stars