Battleground 2016 was truly a night of surprises. From debuts to match results to a valet smackdown, this was definitely one of the stronger PPVs for the Women’s Division. We had women plastered all over this show, so let’s get to the action!
In the show opener, we had tag team action with Charlotte and Dana Brooke against Sasha Banks and her mystery partner….Bayley! The Verizon Center went insane for the Huggable One and her entrance was complete with her wacky, inflatable, arm-waving tube men! The celebration would be cut short, when their opponents attacked them, kicking off the match. After several minutes of cutting off the ring and working on Bayley over and over again, Bayley gets the hot tag and Sasha makes the comeback and makes Charlotte tap out. The Legit Boss has made the Women’s Champion submit!
Up next, we have the fight of former friends Becky Lynch and Natalya. We get a look at the rivalry’s genesis with Nattie’s beatdown at Money in the Bank. The two exchange stiff strikes throughout the match, but Nattie’s aggressive, relentless assault on Becky’s leg would prove to be too much and the LassKicker would submit to the Sharpshooter.
Even more women were featured throughout the show. We had Lana introducing her man Rusev in his US Championship match. Maryse in the corner of her husband The Miz in his Intercontinental Championship match, even getting physical and slapping the taste out of WWE Hall of Famer Bob Backlund. RAW Commissioner Stephanie McMahon was featured throughout the broadcast consulting with the RAW GM, Mick Foley and the two also were ringside for the WWE Championship main event.
Thoughts: This was one of the better shows for the women this year. We had two matches with story and with decent ring time.
First off, the tag team match was so surreal. It was obvious that Sasha’s tag partner was going to be Bayley but with that said, her pop was huge. That was one of the biggest reactions to a female Superstar in so very long. As a Bayley fan, it was so great to see her FINALLY on the main roster stage. Not to mention how sweet was it how genuinely excited Sasha was to see her friend at this level. Charlotte’s cold reaction was amazing, she has really come a long way with her new persona.
The decision of the heels to attack Bayley and Sasha was PERFECT. It gave the crowd a chance to switch gears into booing and started the frame of the match. Dana looked so good here particularly because she was in the ring with Bayley the majority of the match. With their history from NXT, Dana looked a lot more crisp and less frantic working with someone she is maybe more comfortable with.
The match was not anything spectacular, but it was fun to watch. Having the crowd being so into the match helped a lot. The finish of having Charlotte tapping out to Sasha shocked me a lot. This clearly is the concrete foreshadowing of the inevitable Sasha vs Charlotte Summerslam championship match. The hug post match was cute and this was a great way to introduce Bayley to the WWE audience, and I got a feeling they were more than already acquainted with the former NXT Women’s Champion. Love or love her (anyone who hates Bayley is clearly deranged), Bayley will become one of the most epic female stars in the history of the WWE. The match was a nice example of an effective filler match to bridge the gap from PPV to PPV. This worked in the best way.
Our other match was a victim of following a phenomenal match. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn tore the house down and it was difficult to be the match to go on next. However, the match was okay. I liked the story of Becky having to overcome Nattie working relentlessly on her leg. One minor note, the Sharpshooter in reality works the lower back, not the leg. I guess what held this match back was not having a major spot or two to getting the crowd back from calming down from the previous match. It just never got out of second gear and was kind of a letdown, to be honest. I was genuinely shocked to see Nattie get the win. With Becky getting the number one female SmackDown draft pick, I thought she would gain a big victory. But with Nattie also joining on SmackDown roster, I have a feeling this feud is far from over, so her win makes more sense in the long run.
Overall, I would not say these were “Match of the Year” candidates but they were solid and told good stories. The valets stepped up tonight as well with Maryse literally getting physically involved and Lana dropping an easter egg about maybe a wedding on RAW. I see the Road to SummerSlam heating up with some exciting stories not only for the title hunt, but the valets and with these NXT call-ups. It was a great night for the women.
What did you think of Bayley’s debut on the main roster? Should Becky have lost the match? What matches do you predict for SummerSlam? Sound off in the comments and as always, thanks for reading!