WWE is having to cram a novella onto the back of a box of cereal in its limited buildup to the Battleground pay-per-view.
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt and AJ Lee vs. Paige are stories better served being told over a longer length of time. Bouts that have great potential to be the climaxes of escalating rivalries are coming early. The schedule demands it.
The time between Money in the Bank and Battleground offers the least amount of space between pay-per-views in 2014.
Last year, there were just three weeks between Night of Champions and Battleground. Not surprisingly, the latter show didn't thrive.
James Caldwell of PWTorch called the event's Intercontinental Championship match, "Basic, house show-level action." PWInsider's Mike Johnson wrote that after the pay-per-view, "WWE really owes their audience an apology."
While WWE must certainly hope to top the inaugural Battleground, a few bouts won't being doing so by way of their buildup.
While WrestleMania usually has close to two months to let animosity rise slowly, this packed portion of the calendar forces WWE to rush its storytelling. That's been clear with how quickly the collision between Wyatt and Jericho has come.
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
Jericho returned to WWE on June 30. Wyatt stepped from the darkness and attacked him.
Without knowing Wyatt's motivation, fans were left to wonder how the monstrous man would explain his actions.
He hasn't, really. There have been some allusions to Jericho's old "save us, Y2J" catchphrase, but Wyatt's reasoning is far from clear. With a man so fond of speeches filled with riddles, it's no surprise that answers haven't come right away.
This was a good way to begin the story.
Ideally, Wyatt would slowly reveal his thought process, offering a trail of breadcrumbs inside the center of his dark heart. Jericho could grow increasingly frustrated with not knowing why this man was after him, attacking him again and again.
There's a pay-per-view event coming on July 20, though. If WWE wants to draw in subscribers, it has to get the emerging star versus the future Hall of Famer together before there can be much of that pre-match narrative.
Wyatt and his "brothers" attacked Jericho on the July 14 Raw. Jericho had promised to get crazy in his fight with Wyatt and looked up to see a trio of predators lunging at him.
That scene would have been a great middle to the story. Jericho could get angrier from that point and delve deeper into his own darkness by growing more and more incensed with Wyatt.
Eventually, he could demand answers and after hearing them would challenge the man who had made his life hellish all this time.
Instead, Wyatt and Jericho are skipping ahead to a later chapter. The collision is coming before fans have had a chance to anticipate it.
We don't know what Wyatt is after here, so the stakes aren't clear.
If WWE had until SummerSlam to put this on, it could craft something far more powerful. The current match has great show-stealing potential thanks to the talent of the men involved, but it could have had far more layers.
AJ Lee vs. Paige
Even though the story is in its infancy, the Paige-AJ feud is hitting a turning point already.
What could be the biggest Divas match in years is being tossed together with little hype. AJ returned from her hiatus on the same night that Jericho did and won back her Divas title from Paige.
Just three weeks later, the two are set for a rematch.
The biggest issue with this is that there is no tension between them whatsoever. They have been acting like friends, in the ring and on social media alike.
That could be the beginning of a great story of respect fading into acrimony or jealousy emerging over time. For that to work, though, WWE would have to save this bout for SummerSlam.
Battleground needed another match, however, and without many viable options, the company chose this route, even if the timing isn't right. It'd be better to see Paige in AJ's corner against some other foe for now.
On July 14, AJ sat cross-legged in front of Paige and traded compliments with the rookie Diva. Less than seven days after that, they are supposed to go to battle.
Once the bell rings, the niceness is sure to fade, but not having their relationship deteriorate over time beforehand leaves the match suffering from a lack of buildup. It has the feeling of a friendly exhibition rather than a grudge match.
Their tension is hidden way under the surface. Rather than let it emerge slowly, it's likely going to explode all at once at Battleground.
It's not WWE Creative's fault as much as it is the calender it has to work with that's at fault. WWE once had the luxury of months in between pay-per-views to let fans anticipate a showdown.
The days of just four major events in a year are long gone, though.
Now, one story has to wrap up and another has to start with little time for either to breathe. Promising stories are hurried along. It's no coincidence that WrestleMania's feuds are the most developed and most satisfying; there is simply more space for WWE to do its storytelling.
Battleground doesn't have that luxury. That's evident in the Jericho vs. Wyatt and AJ vs. Paige feuds feeling like they are missing something.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!