WWE Battleground 2013 Results: 5 Best Booking Decisions from Latest PPV
WWE's Battleground pay-per-view has come and gone and a number of angles became a lot more interesting based on the booking decisions on the show.
The Big Show's involvement in the WWE Championship match added a new wrinkle to WWE's top storylines.
Speaking of WWE's top storyline, Cody Rhodes and Goldust ruined Triple H and Stephanie McMahon's plans by earning their jobs back with a huge victory over Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of the Shield.
Alberto Del Rio dispatched of Rob Van Dam, establishing his World Heavyweight Championship dominance.
CM Punk delivered a low blow to Ryback and picked up a pinfall victory, much to the dismay of Paul Heyman.
Elsewhere on the card, Curtis Axel retained his Intercontinental Championship over R-Truth, Bray Wyatt defeated Kofi Kingston, AJ Lee retained the Divas title over Brie Bella and the Real Americans defeated Great Khali and Santino Marella following an impressive giant swing from Cesaro to Khali.
The booking of the pay-per-view will greatly affect the direction several top Superstars take in the coming weeks and months.
Without further ado, here is a look at Battleground's five best booking decisions.
Alberto Del Rio Defeats Rob Van Dam
The most decisive booking decision WWE made at its Battleground pay-per-view was Alberto Del Rio's win over Rob Van Dam in a Hardcore Rules match to start the evening's broadcast.
Del Rio wrapped Van Dam's left arm in a steel chair before stomping on it, severely damaging the limb. He locked on the cross arm breaker, chair and all, and scored a submission win.
Making the win that much more impressive was the fact that Del Rio not only defeated Van Dam in a match that the challenger perfected during his days in Extreme Championship Wrestling, but he also fended off interference from former friend and personal ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez.
Del Rio looked like a world-beater at Battleground, going over strong and continuing his impressive title reign.
The intensity and aggression that he displayed will come in handy when he defends his World Heavyweight Championship against John Cena on October 27 at Hell in a Cell.
CM Punk Cheats to Beat Ryback
Entering Battleground, neither CM Punk nor Ryback could afford a loss.
Punk had spent the majority of the Heyman feud getting beat up and losing matches. He was in need of momentum if the angle was to continue into Raw, Hell in a Cell and, perhaps, longer.
Ryback was coming off of a summer during which he was largely irrelevant, spending more time in backstage vignettes than in the ring. The booking during the early days of his association with Paul Heyman was critical to the success of the character during his latest push.
A clean loss could have done irreparable damage to the character.
By pinning Ryback following a low blow, Punk finally gets one over on Heyman while Ryback is kept looking strong. He can argue that his opponent had to cheat to beat him, creating doubt that Punk would have won otherwise.
The finish also assures that the angle continues for the time being.
With the main event angle involving Daniel Bryan, Big Show, Triple H and Randy Orton heading down the home stretch, it keeps all involved busy doing something meaningful—even if the angle has lost some of its steam over the last week.
The Rhodes Family Triumphs
Cody Rhodes and Goldust versus Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns was the best built and hottest match entering Sunday's Battleground, with good reason.
They had an old-school wrestling angle supporting them. The fans had emotionally invested themselves in the story of Cody's termination and the way his family banded together to get him his job back.
That emotional investment resulted in a hot match that saw Cody and Goldust deal Rollins and Reigns their first pay-per-view loss, earning both Cody and Goldust a spot on the roster.
The booking of the match was outstanding. Goldust took the majority of the beating for his team before making the hot tag to Cody and setting in motion an outstanding finishing sequence that involved "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and United States champion Dean Ambrose.
Dusty delivered the Bionic Elbow to Ambrose while Goldust came from out of nowhere to take down Reigns on the arena floor.
Inside the ring, Rollins caught Cody with a rollup but the second-generation star rolled through, caught the tag team champion and delivered Cross Rhodes to one of the biggest pops from a WWE crowd this year.
Cody covered for the pinfall win before celebrating with his father and brother.
The entire sequence was outstanding in that, just as had been the case for the entire angle, the Rhodes family banded together as one and did what they set out to do in the first place: right the wrong that was Cody's contract termination.
AJ Lee Retains the Divas Championship
With the success of the Total Divas program on E! Network, most believed it was only a matter of time before one of its stars captured the Divas Championship and added a new element to the show.
At Night of Champions, AJ Lee successfully retained her title against Total Divas cast mates Naomi, Natalya and Brie Bella.
Prior to Battleground, Brie earned a second title shot thanks, in large part, to her win over AJ in a ten-Diva tag match.
Add to the success of the reality show the fact that Brie appeared to be ready to be interjected into the main angle involving real life fiancee Daniel Bryan, and it looked like Brie may be preparing for the biggest push of her career.
At Battleground, she and AJ delivered a competently-wrestled match that saw AJ retain her title after her bodyguard, Tamina, choked Nikki Bella at ringside. This distracted Brie, allowing the champion to score a rollup victory.
It was a smart booking decision in that, while Brie has more exposure to fans outside of WWE thanks to Total Divas, AJ is a more versatile performer that can hang in a storyline with a top male Superstar or carry the Divas division as its so-called face.
She is more valuable to the wrestling product at this point and, thus, was the right choice to leave Buffalo with the title in her possession.
Well...It's The Big Show!
The booking of the Randy Orton-Daniel Bryan WWE Championship match at Battleground would go a long way in determining if the angle could continue to build momentum and stay hot enough to justify a third match between the two at Hell in a Cell.
Bryan and Orton delivered another near-classic in a series of them and kept the fans inside the First Niagara Center entertained throughout.
The finish came when Bryan locked Orton in the Yes Lock and appeared poised to capture his third WWE title in three months.
Big Show's music would play and the big man would rush to ringside and pull referee John Cone out of the ring. He would follow by knocking Bryan out.
Crooked referee Scott Armstrong would make his way to the ring, prepared to count Bryan's shoulders to the mat and deliver the WWE title back to The Viper.
Big Show, his conscious getting the best of him, pulled Armstrong out of the ring and knocked him out. He climbed over the top rope and into the ring, coming face-to-face with an irate Orton.
Randy warned him about the repercussions coming his way on Monday, to which Show responded with a third knockout punch. Battleground went off the air with Big Show standing tall.
With Triple H and Stephanie not in attendance for the event, Big Show acting out made perfect sense. The Monday prior to the show, it was teased that the giant could not handle being manipulated and used the way he was by his bosses and that, sooner or later, he was going to shun authority and do what he wanted.
While the ending to the Battleground pay-per-view left many fans dismayed about the abuse of the paying customer by WWE, the interference by The Big Show made perfect sense. The ending advanced an angle that would payoff Monday night on Raw, when he knocked out Triple H to the delight and joy of the WWE Universe.
On free TV.
As opposed to the show that everyone paid for.