With WWE Battleground 2017 concluded, it’s time for another 3-Count review and Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast!
As always, click the video at the bottom of this post to check out the podcast breakdown of everything on the show, but before we get into that, I want to focus on three things that standout from my mind in regards to Battleground 2017.
For this edition, let’s do another round of Green Light, Yellow Light, Red Light—effectively, what was a big positive, something mediocre in the middle of the road, and a big negative of the show.
Green Light = The New Day Win SmackDown Tag Titles
The SmackDown Tag Team Championship contest was not only one of the best matches of the night, it also had the only outcome that I was 100% happy about, with The New Day dethroning The Usos to win the titles.
This makes them the first tag team with these current sets of belts to win the tag titles on both shows—another accolade to add to their list.
Also, it freshens things up. The Usos had been champions for a while and not accomplishing all that much, nor setting up anywhere in the future for them to go. They’ve feuded with The Fashion Police and it seems like The Hype Bros will split up soon, American Alpha is gone (and that had been done anyway) and the rest of the teams are heels. It was time for new champions and The New Day are the best suited for the job.
Where do we go from here? I have no idea, but I have the utmost faith that Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods and Big E will figure out a way to turn even the most pedestrian feuds much more interesting, as that is their track record.
Yellow Light = Kevin Owens Wins United States Championship
Kevin Owens is one of my absolute favorite people in WWE and he’s been consistently in the top tier since his debut in NXT. Immediately, on that first night, I became a fan and I think he’s one of the few people who I trust both on the mic and in the ring nearly every time he goes out there.
That being said, I don’t know how to feel about him regaining the United States Championship.
This isn’t out of any favoritism to AJ Styles, either, despite how I’m a fan of him as well. This is more about why this happened and how it happened rather than what happened, as Battleground just made me confused about the whole thing.
Why was that pin so awkward? Why was that chosen as the means to have Styles lose the belt? Is this because they want to continue this story even further? I sure as hell hope not, because one of the problems WWE has had since the brand split is dragging things out FAR too long and while I’m a big supporter of both guys, I’m no longer interested to see them fight and another match at SummerSlam would just make SummerSlam feel less important to me.
Why did Styles win the title at that house show just to drop it again here? That just makes me feel like the title was never meant to leave Owens and that WWE decided it was more important to do something shocking at a live event and then to revert back to the status quo shortly after than to worry about how that’s exactly what they did with Owens the last time! Quite literally, Owens won the US title from Jericho at WrestleMania, lost it at Payback a few weeks later and then won it two nights after that.
The match between Owens and Styles was good (albeit with a flawed finish) so I did enjoy that, and I’m not opposed to Owens as champion so long as WWE has a plan, but I can’t help but look at this situation as either being a hot potato with the belt for the sake of a random live event surprise and then going back to normal, or perhaps even worse, they had a plan for Styles to hold the title and then decided not to go in that direction and had to course correct, which makes me nervous that SummerSlam is in a no-win situation.
However, since there’s still potential for this to turn out to be a good thing, it gets that middle spot instead of being wholly bad.
Red Light = The Great Khali Returns
Speaking of wholly bad….The Great Khali is one of the absolute worst performers WWE has ever invested in.
When building a perfect WWE Superstar, you’d be looking for someone who has the charisma of The Rock, the body of maybe a Randy Orton, the storytelling art of Shawn Michaels and so forth. In absolutely none of those categories will you find Khali’s name popping up.
His in-ring skills are almost non-existent and his mic work is just as awful, so despite the initial shock of “WTF?” my reaction to Khali’s return was a dramatic sigh. If it’s a one time thing, then that’s much better, as he proved in the last few years of his career that he was never going to improve and be a worthwhile performer, so I doubt he’s gotten any better.
I’m already worried that we’re going to see Khali against Orton in a grudge match at SummerSlam, which could potentially be the worst match of the year. At best, it’s something I have no interest in seeing at all, and it would only hurt the card by taking time away from something that could actually be fun.
Also, Khali’s involvement here allowed Mahal to retain the title, which was something else I wasn’t all that interested in seeing. I had been setting myself up for a cash-in from Baron Corbin, which in my mind would have been much more exciting and it would lead to a potentially better match at SummerSlam (Orton vs. Corbin) than some of the alternatives we can be getting.
There’s a chance Cena vs. Mahal ends up happening and being great, but I doubt it, and in any scenario, Khali back on the roster is not something I was looking forward to at all. Here’s hoping this was a random Battleground-only comeback and not a regular thing, as SmackDown will receive zero benefits from Khali matches being added into the mix.
For more opinions on the show as a whole, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Battleground with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.