WWE Battleground 2014 Matches: Best Finishes for Each Match on the Card
The finish of any match is of the utmost importance. It is the exclamation point put on the end of all of the action that came before it. It is also the last thing the fans remember about any given bout.
A poor finish can do irreparable damage, ruining what was an otherwise great match. An effective finish can elevate a match from great to legendary, helping it rank among the best of all time.
Sunday night at Battleground, the finishes take on even more importance than normal.
The show, regardless of what WWE will have its fans believe, is a placeholder. With SummerSlam on the horizon, it is a pay-per-view that will dictate what happens at the second-biggest show of the year.
The booking involved in the finishes will not only indicate which stars play a major role at that show, but it will also give fans an idea of what matches they can expect to see again. With so many new rivalries unfolding at Battleground, it is highly likely that they will continue into August, perhaps resulting in a rematch at WWE's next extravaganza.
Those rivalries will have to be booked in a way that allows the program to continue and makes fans want to pay to see the next chapters in them by the time SummerSlam rolls around.
With that said, gear up for Sunday night's WWE Network broadcast by taking a look at the best finishes for every match on the Battleground card.
WWE Kickoff Match: Naomi vs. Cameron
The split of The Funkadactyls has resulted in a match between former friends and partners that will kick off Sunday night's festivities. Naomi and Cameron meet one-on-one prior to Battleground.
At last month's Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Naomi proved to be a talented performer with an exciting move set and one of the best comebacks in all of pro wrestling. An athletic young woman, she has serious potential to become a breakout star in the Divas division if given the opportunity.
Cameron, on the other hand, is a natural heel. Anyone lucky (or unlucky) enough to see her on Tough Enough or Total Divas knows how incredibly unlikable she can be. Her attitude rubs many the wrong way, and while that may not be a trait most want away from the cameras, it is one that will benefit her tremendously as she embarks on her first singles run in WWE.
Naomi is more valuable in the long term thanks to her obvious skills. She, like her husband Jimmy Uso, is a dynamic performer who could bring a level of energy and excitement to her matches that pops the crowd and makes her one of the more popular female stars in the company.
With that said, the focus of WWE Creative has been on Cameron and establishing her new attitude. Applying lip gloss and doing her nails in the middle of a match were nice touches and are little things that will only help her get over with the audience in the weeks and months to come.
Considering the time and effort that management has put into Cameron, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where she would not win. A roll-up while holding the tights or the ropes would be ideal since no one really believes she can beat Naomi in a fair fight.
Using a foreign object like a bottle of nail polish would be effective as well, especially since it would be a callback to elements of the character that have been previously established.
Jack Swagger vs. Rusev
By standing up for the United States on the June 30 episode of Raw, Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter completed a babyface turn that has seen them become one of the most popular acts in WWE. The crowd, desperate to see the Real Americans shut up the Ravishing Russian and knock the Bulgarian Brute from the ranks of the undefeated, greets them both with a rabid ovation.
Swagger will need all the support he can get Sunday when he steps foot into the squared circle against an athlete unlike any he has faced before. A wrecking ball of a competitor, Rusev is the perfect combination of size, speed and agility. It is that recipe that makes him so incredibly difficult to defeat, evidenced by the men who have tried and failed since the night after WrestleMania XXX.
With a basic storyline taken right out of the pro wrestling handbook backing them up and a raucous pro-American crowd ready to see Swagger score a huge win in the name of the red, white and blue, expect this match to be one of the hottest on the entire WWE Network broadcast.
There is still way too much story to be told for this match to end definitively Sunday night.
Swagger and Rusev have shown great intensity in their brief physical encounters leading up to the event, making a scenario in which they fight to the outside and get counted out a plausible way to end the bout. That finish allows both to save face, Rusev to remain undefeated and Swagger to maintain the considerable momentum he has heading into the show.
A rematch between the two at SummerSlam would be a fitting conclusion to a feud that is far hotter than anyone could have expected.
Divas Championship Match: AJ Lee vs. Paige
Two of the best in-ring performers on the entire Divas roster will clash Sunday night when Divas champion AJ Lee defends her title against former champion Paige.
The previous encounters between them have been minute-long fluke victories in which each woman has stunned the other to capture the championship. Sunday, more will be expected from them as they put aside the so-called mutual respect they have displayed in recent weeks and go to war with only one goal in mind: leave Tampa with the top prize in women's wrestling.
The potential for a heel turn by Paige hangs over the match like a dark cloud. Her facial expressions and body language leading into the bout indicate that the respect and admiration she has shown for AJ are not necessarily genuine.
On the July 18 episode of SmackDown, she appeared ready to snap after the Divas champion tagged herself into their match and scored the win and all of the glory that came with it. Cooler heads prevailed, and they ended their night with a big hug, but that should not be the case Sunday night.
AJ should defeat Paige, preferably by pinfall, inciting a rage and fury within the second-generation Diva that necessitates a much-needed heel turn. After dropping her second consecutive match to the champion, Paige would brutally attack AJ, locking her in the PTO until referees force her to break the hold.
That would immediately give fans a reason to care about Paige, who has been woefully booked since arriving on the main roster, and it should ignite a rivalry that could return some legitimacy to the Divas division.
WWE Tag Team Championship Match: The Usos vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan
The Usos and The Wyatt Family have been responsible for so many outstanding matches in 2014 that it should have been a surprise to no one that they would work so well together.
Over the last three months, Jimmy, Jey, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan have delivered some outstanding tag team bouts on Raw, SmackDown and WWE pay-per-view, leading to one of the better tag team rivalries the company has produced in years.
Sunday night, that feud will culminate when the wildly popular champions defend their titles against the dangerous Harper and Rowan in a 2-out-of-3 Falls match. With time and strong performances by all involved, the match has the potential to steal the show right out from underneath the main event. With four motivated stars giving everything they have for the sake of entertaining the audience, do not be surprised to see that happen.
The Usos have revived a tag team division that became stagnant back in January when the New Age Outlaws won the titles from Cody Rhodes and Goldust for reasons that still do not quite make sense. The twin brothers have developed into one of WWE's best and most popular acts and have become legitimate contenders for MVPs of 2014.
Unfortunately, every great run must come to an end. Sunday night at Battleground will be Harper and Rowan's time to take the titles and run as the centerpieces of the tag division. With Goldust and Stardust waiting in the wings, there are fresher matches to be had with heel champions than if The Usos were to retain.
If the company really wanted to establish the heels as strong champions, they would have them win the first two falls. It would be completely unexpected and really put them over as a force to be contended with.
That is unlikely to happen. Thus, Harper and Rowan winning the first and third fall and capturing their first titles in WWE would be suitable.
Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
The unfortunate injury to Bad News Barrett has once again forced WWE to reboot the Intercontinental Championship, this time via a huge 20-man Battle Royal.
The star power involved in Sunday's bout is quite impressive.
There are former WWE and world heavyweight champions Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Alberto Del Rio, Rob Van Dam, The Miz and Great Khali. There are hot, young stars such as Bo Dallas and Cesaro and dark-horse candidates like Ryback. Of course, the job squad is in full force with Zack Ryder and Heath Slater present, but the quality of competitor involved is quite high overall.
Any time there are so many men involved in a single match, the potential exists for WWE Creative to craft storylines based on interactions that occur throughout the bout, so keep an eye out for any potential rivalries or feuds that may ignite.
WWE spent all week teasing a rivalry between United States champion Sheamus and The Miz. With one being the biggest star in the match and the other recently returning from a hiatus with a new character and a renewed push, it would make sense that they are among the final competitors.
Cesaro is a Superstar who has fallen off significantly in recent weeks, WWE Creative uninterested in maintaining the push they had given him coming out of WrestleMania. With questions surrounding his relationship with Paul Heyman, he is in desperate need of a shot of adrenaline if he is to achieve what so many believe he is capable of.
The best finish for Sunday's bout is one that sees Sheamus and The Miz battle it out for the right to leave as champion, only for Cesaro to dump both and capture the Intercontinental Championship. From there, he can become a fighting champion, restoring prestige to the title while management figures out exactly what it wants to do with him.
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
The return of Chris Jericho on June 30 was one that few saw coming but was greeted with open arms by a WWE Universe that is always thrilled and appreciative whenever Y2J graces them with his presence.
Taking into account his considerable talent, both on the mic and in the ring, Jericho is an asset to the company each time he opts to come back. That he is unselfish and willing to work with (and put over) young talent in ways others with his resume are not only enhances his that love and appreciation.
His feud with Bray Wyatt has been somewhat lackluster to this point. WWE Creative has yet to come up with a logical or satisfactory reason for the two to be feuding, something commentators Michael Cole and JBL have called out several times over the last three weeks. Luckily, the ring work should be strong enough to hide any booking deficiencies.
The Wyatt Family has gotten the best of Jericho nearly every time they have crossed paths to this point. Y2J has been repeatedly beaten down and left lying in a heap. Sunday night is his chance for a measure of revenge, even if it means dealing Bray another unneeded pay-per-view loss.
A finish in which Jericho counters out of Sister Abigail and surprises Wyatt with the Codebreaker would not only help Y2J achieve revenge but would also spark something inside of Wyatt that would lead to a more aggressive, more dangerous and more violent heel in the coming weeks.
With the majority of the other big names already slated for high-profile bouts at SummerSlam, a rematch at that show would allow Wyatt to get his heat back.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
The effectiveness of the Dean Ambrose babyface run has taken the wrestling world by surprise.
A scrappy underdog with a never-say-die attitude, Ambrose is the complete opposite of the overwhelming, Superman-like babyfaces WWE traditionally books at or near the top of the card. Not the prettiest wrestler in the world, Ambrose uses a brawling style that looks like something any fan in the audience would resort to in a real fight.
The unpredictability of the Lunatic Fringe character has also endeared him to fans and made him one of the fresher personas in all of WWE.
Sunday night, he takes on former Shield partner Seth Rollins in a match that has been building for two months. With fellow Authority members Kane and Randy Orton busy preparing for the night's main event, Rollins will not have them to lean on.
The Money in the Bank winner will have to prove that he can go it alone while dodging what is sure to be a ruthlessly aggressive attack by Ambrose.
There is no way this rivalry ends Sunday night.
The brawling the two have engaged in leading into the match suggests that they will not be able to control the hatred they have for one another long enough to conform to the rules of a regular wrestling match. Thus, a finish in which Rollins is disqualified for taking the cowardly way out and using the briefcase would give the feud a reason to continue into August.
Of course, Ambrose could still get heat back by fighting Rollins off, sending The Authority's golden boy scurrying to the back.
Fatal 4-Way Match: John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Kane
WWE World Heavyweight champion John Cena is a marked man after refusing to do things the easy way when presented with the opportunity by The Authority. Now, he must defend his title against three of the most dangerous competitors in all of sports-entertainment if he hopes to enter SummerSlam in Los Angeles with the gold still around his waist.
Roman Reigns is clearly his toughest challenge. The next breakout star in WWE, he has been the centerpiece of the main event booking and given the most television exposure over the last two months. There is no doubt he has had the rocket strapped to his back for a monumental push, and Sunday night will be the latest opportunity for him to prove why.
Randy Orton and Kane may be members of The Authority, but they have had problems of their own leading into the show.
Neither man particularly cares for the other, something the Big Red Monster was quick to tell Orton on a recent episode of Raw. The Viper responded with an RKO to Kane, ensuring that the Demon will be looking for revenge come the Battleground main event.
Cena is going to win Sunday night, and there is nothing his critics and detractors can say or do about it.
Reigns, the most important piece of the puzzle, still has the opportunity to shine brightest. Having him hit all of his signature stuff and appear on his way to capturing the title, only for Triple H to appear and prevent him from doing so, would not only help him save face in defeat but also set up a match between the two for SummerSlam.
From there, Kane can get his revenge on Orton with a huge chokeslam only to turn around and fall victim to the Attitude Adjustment from Cena for the win.