Friday, 16 September 2016

Battleground 2016

Image Source: Fetch Publicity
Written By: Mark Armstrong

Running Time: 192 Minutes
Certificate: 15
Number Of Discs: 1
Studio: Fremantle Home Entertainment
Released: September 19 2016

(To read a full event review of WWE Battleground 2016, click here.)

(Thanks to Fetch Publicity for arranging this review.)

There was a danger that Battleground would have been a forgettable PPV, coming as it did just days after the Draft and right before the Raw and SmackDown rosters were officially re-introduced, meaning that much of the PPV card involved matches and storylines which could go no further beyond the show, with so many wrestlers assigned to opposite brands. However, the show succeeded due to a number of memorable matches and moments, and you can now relive the card on DVD.

For those who haven't seen Battleground, I won't spoil the identity of Sasha Bank's mystery partner in her battle against Charlotte and Dana Brooke, but it is a nice feel-good moment and the bout itself is a good one. It feels like forever now since The New Day took on The Wyatt Family, although Xavier Woods gets a rare chance to shine as part of his fear of Bray Wyatt, and Rusev vs. Zack Ryder is okay, albeit nothing special. Next up, we have an outstanding bout between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn which draws a line under their feud (for now). It wasn't quite the Match Of The Year, in my opinion, due to some slow periods early on and noticeable non-selling towards the end, but it is still a strong encounter and unquestionably the best on this particular PPV, as well as a fitting way to close a rivalry that we are told will probably never truly end.

Natalya vs. Becky Lynch is competent but suffers from a lack of audience interest; The Miz vs. Darren Young, on the other hand, is no different from a typical television match and has a bog-standard finish. The crowd is brought back into the show with John Cena, Enzo Amore and Big Cass battling The Club in a pretty good six-man tag team match, with Enzo delivering a typically hyperactive and insult-heavy promo beforehand. Randy Orton's comeback appearance on Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel has its moments, with Jericho in particular proving why he is a master on the microphone and a general entertainment factory. Finally, the all-Shield main event for the WWE Title - Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns - is a worthy headline attraction with a surprising outcome; it isn't the classic that fans who had waited years for this match will have hoped for, but it is very good, and I am confident that one day, these three will find a way to battle in a triangle match again, perhaps on a larger stage.

Since Battleground was another PPV to surpass the 3-hour mark (although it wasn't as long as the previous event, Money In The Bank), there are no DVD extras here, and certain segments between matches are either cut short or omitted entirely in order to squeeze this show onto one disc. If it is the plan for all future PPVs to go beyond three hours, then WWE needs to start releasing these cards on two discs so that fans are not missing out; otherwise, they could just go and watch the PPV events in retrospect on the WWE Network, where the entire cards and their respective Kick-Off Shows are included in full. Hopefully WWE will work out a more effective strategy that gives fans a reason to choose DVD releases of supershows over Network transmissions, but with rumours stating that only Raw cards will get a home video release in the new Brand Extension era, that could be easier said than done.

Despite this, though, if you're a collector, then you should buy Battleground 2016 on DVD. It boasts an excellent match, a strong main event, several decent bouts elsewhere on the card and some memorable appearances/returns, without spoiling the identity of those who make a cameo. It's also a chance to enjoy the last night of WWE action before the New Era truly began with the implementation of Brand Extension #2.

Overall Rating: 7.5/10 - Good

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