WWE will hold its third annual Battleground pay-per-view this Sunday in St. Louis, Missouri. The event will be headlined by Brock Lesnar challenging Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
With less than two weeks remaining until the show, this is the perfect time to take a look back at the 2013 and 2014 editions of Battleground.
It was revealed in 2013 that WWE would be adding a new pay-per-view to the calendar: Battleground. Falling three weeks after Night of Champions in September, and three weeks before Hell in a Cell in October, Battleground felt rushed to many fans. After all was said and done, Battleground 2013 was seen as one of the worst pay-per-views of that year.
In 2014, WWE moved around some events around to squeeze in Battleground in July to serve as the final pay-per-view before SummerSlam. The tradition is being continued in 2015.
A grand total of seventeen matches have taken place at Battleground so far. (And that is counting three pre-show matches.) Thanks to the WWE Network, I was able to thoroughly watch both Battleground pay-per-views to narrow down the top ten best matches in the event’s history.
#10: CM Punk vs. Ryback (2013)
CM Punk’s rivalry with Paul Heyman and his “guys” continued into October after Heyman viciously struck Punk with a ladder at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view in July. At Battleground 2013, Punk was set to do battle with “The Big Guy” Ryback.
Ryback aligned with Paul Heyman and Curtis Axel during a No Disqualification Handicap Elimination Match at Night of Champions the month prior. It was in that handicap match that Ryback sent CM Punk through a table, which made a future singles match inevitable.
Thier clash at Battleground didn’t turn out to be as great as first imagined, but it was still an entertaining match. Looking back now at the matches CM Punk and Ryback had in 2012 and 2013, it’s safe to say these two always had “good” matches, but their work together was never “great.”
Punk was able to score the victory here using dirty heel tactics while the referee was distracted.
#9: Rusev vs. Jack Swagger (2014)
For the very first time in his career, Jack Swagger turned babyface in the summer of 2014. The fresh storyline and matches that followed really seemed to rejuvenate Swagger’s career.
At this point in time, Rusev was on a dominant roll. Never pinned and never submitted, Rusev was looking to take down The Real American while trying to push his case for Russia. The feud provided many entertaining moments including a battle of words between their managers Zeb Colter and Lana.
Swagger and Rusev surprisingly put on an entertaining match at Battleground. The bout didn’t end with a real clean winner as Rusev scored the victory by count-out.
#8: Paige vs. AJ Lee - Divas Championship Match (2014)
Battleground 2014 was seen as a stacked card for many reasons. One of the big matches fans were dying to see on pay-per-view was Paige vs. AJ Lee for the Divas Championship. They each had already scored a win over one another for the title after WrestleMania 30.
AJ had just won the title back in late June, and Paige was experimenting with a new heel persona at the time of their first pay-per-view encounter.
Their singles match was well-worked, though, many fans didn’t seem to believe it lived up to its potential. AJ would retain her title here before facing Paige once again at SummerSlam.
#7: Battleground Battle Royal for the vacant Intercontinental Championship (2014)
Wade Barrett went down with a shoulder injury in June 2014, so he was being forced to vacate his Intercontinental Championship. It was soon revealed that a new champion would be crowned in the form of a battle royal at Battleground.
The field was set with the likes of United States Champion Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Cesaro, Alberto Del Rio, Kofi Kingston, Bo Dallas, and many others.
Typically, battle royals aren’t viewed as great matches, however, the last half of this battle royal in particular was well-worked, in my opinion.
We saw Cesaro and Kingston pull off feats of strength, Heath Slater and Bo Dallas proved to be dark horses, and Sheamus and Ziggler put on a good match in the closing minutes. Ultimately, it was The Miz who snuck his way back in the ring to throw out Ziggler for the win.
#6: Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt (2014)
Chris Jericho returned in June 2014 to be quickly inserted into a program with Bray Wyatt. WWE fans were clamoring for the match to happen down the road after Jericho and Wyatt first faced each other in NXT in May 2013.
Jericho and Wyatt put on an lengthy back-and-forth match at Battleground, though the match did come with criticism from the fans. Y2J surprisingly won and it would later be revealed the two would clash in a rematch at SummerSlam the next month.
Despite the underwhelming feeling from the Jericho/Wyatt feud, WWE fans still like to reflect on the night Jericho returned to an attack from The Wyatt Family as an awesome moment from the summer of 2014.
That will do it for part one of The Top 10 Matches In WWE Battleground History. Check back on Saturday for part two, featuring five must-see championship matches!
You can follow me on Twitter @cj_blaze24.