WWE PPVs CALDWELL'S WWE BATTLEGROUND PPV REPORT 7/19: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of live PPV - Rollins vs. Lesnar, Cena vs. Owens III, Orton returns home, more
Jul 19, 2015 - 9:45:31 PM
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WWE Battleground PPV Report
July 19, 2015
St. Louis, Mo.
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
Live PPV on WWE Network
The PPV opened with a battleground-themed video package bringing ancient battles forward to 2015. Tonight, wrestlers fight for justice (Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt), for pride (John Cena vs. Kevin Owens), and for vengeance (Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar). Time to take a stand in this modern-day coliseum.
Arena: Full pyro and fireworks shot off to introduce the PPV from St. Louis. Sheamus's music played to bring out the first gladiator of the night. The Celtic Warrior brought his Money in the Bank briefcase with him as Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL introduced the show from ringside. After some opening words from the Spanish announce position, Randy Orton's music played to bring out Orton. Big hometown pop for Orton, who could hardly contain a smile as he walked to the ring. Orton posed in the ring as Sheamus stroked his MITB briefcase in the opposite corner.
1 -- RANDY ORTON vs. SHEAMUS
The bell sounded and Sheamus slowly placed his MITB briefcase down. "Randy, Randy" chant as the two grapplers locked up in the ring. Well, Sheamus decided to bail after the initial lock-up, drawing boos. "You look stupid" chant, prompting Sheamus to consult with the referee that the audience was bothering him. Sheamus took control, then a loud "Randy Orton" chant broke out. Randy nailed a back-elbow, so Sheamus rolled out of the ring looking to stall again. Orton met him on the outside for a fight to break out ringside. Orton whipped Sheamus back-first into the barricade, then posed to cheers.
Back in the ring, Sheamus slipped out of the ring again. Orton left the ring again, then clotheslined Sheamus on the floor. Sheamus's plan finally worked back in the ring, as he caught Orton with a back drop. Sheamus continued to work on Orton's back with a uranage. Suddenly, the crowd turned the "New ... Day Sucks" beat into "R ... K-O," firing up Orton. But, Sheamus cut him off with an attack to the mid-section. Sheamus nailed a knee drop from the second rope, then settled on a chinlock.
The chinlock turned into an exchange of right hands from their knees. Orton won with a clothesline, then he nailed another clothesline. Orton wanted the trademark powerslam, but Sheamus knew it was coming and avoided. But, Orton clotheslined Sheamus to the floor. On the outside, Orton and Sheamus continued to exchange blows until Orton back-dropped Sheamus across the English announce table.
Back in the ring, Orton nearly walked into the Brogue Kick, but Orton avoided and nailed his trademark powerslam for a two count. Orton tried to follow with a second-rope DDT, but Sheamus blocked. Sheamus hit a tilt-o-whirl powerslam, but could not get the pin. Sheamus stood up and stalked Orton for the Brogue Kick, but Orton avoided, tried an RKO, Sheamus pushed off, and nailed White Noise, but only got a two count.
Reset at 11:30. Orton nailed his new t-bone suplex for a two count. They were at a stalemate, so the crowd tried to rally Orton to get him to the finish line. Orton wanted Ten Punches in the corner, but Sheamus blocked. Sheamus wanted a top-rope move, but Orton punched him down. Orton wanted Papa Orton's superplex, and he connected as flashbulbs popped in the background. Orton covered, but Sheamus kicked out. Cole shouted out to "Cowboy" Bob in attendance tonight.
Reset at 14:00. Orton wanted the second-rope DDT, and he connected to a loud reaction. Orton then talked some trash and fired up the hometown crowd wanting the RKO. Orton went to That Place stalking Sheamus for the big finish, but Sheamus rolled him up and nearly got a three. Both men popped to their feet and Sheamus nailed Orton with a Brogue Kick. Fortunately for Orton, he rolled away from Sheamus to avoid a pinfall.
At 15:00, Sheamus dragged Orton away from the ropes and applied the Texas Cloverleaf. Orton fought the hold as the crowd tried to rally, Orton touched the bottom rope, but Sheamus dragged him back to the middle of the ring, making it seem like all hope was gone. Orton fought and fought, then finally dragged himself to the bottom rope for a break, popping the crowd. Sheamus worked over the back, though, so he immediately tried to capitalize, but Orton sprung on him with an RKO. Shrieks from the crowd. Orton covered and it was good for the win, exciting the crowd.
WINNER: Orton at 16:54. Strong opening match. If this was in front of a different crowd, perhaps not as much energy for another round of Orton vs. Sheamus, but going on first and in front of the hometown crowd made this really good. Now where does WWE go from here with both men? Orton has been making lateral moves over the past year, so does this victory over the MITB holder advance him to the WWE Title picture? We shall see. (***1/2)
Last Monday: NXT women's wrestlers Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch made their Raw TV debuts, setting off a nine-Divas brawl under the supervision of Stephanie McMahon.
Backstage: Jo-Jo brought in Stephanie McMahon for an interview. Stephanie towered over Jo-Jo, who asked Steph about the "commotion" caused Monday on Raw. Steph, a heel, played babyface shouting out to St. Louis Wrestling. She said she has asked each Divas team to pick a representative to compete in a triple threat match.
In-ring: New Day's music played to bring out the Tag Title challengers. They offered an "inspirational speech" about learning so much from the past five weeks after losing the Tag Titles to the Prime Time Players. Big E. vowed to become new WWE tag champs. Xavier noted that today ... is a new day! Very strong words in the pre-match promo, setting up egg on the heel's faces or a "told you so" moment after the match. The tag champs were out next to defend the belts.
2 -- WWE tag champs PRIME TIME PLAYERS (TITUS O'NEIL & DARREN YOUNG) vs. NEW DAY (BIG E. & KOFI KINGSTON w/Xavier Woods) -- WWE Tag Title match
Titus destroyed Kofi's chest with Big Show-like chops to the chest in the early going, popping the crowd. A third one put Kofi on the outside to regroup. They requested a time-out, but the ref noted there are no time-outs in wrestling. Kofi tagged out to Big E., who locked up with Titus. Titus put Big E. on the mat and dropped the leg Hulk Hogan-style, which was a mid-match move to bring in D-Young.
Young lost control of the match and found himself on the floor to take a beating from New Day. Back in the ring, New Day followed up with in-and-out tags stomping a mudhole in Young. Meanwhile, Xavier had diarrhea of the mouth as he excitedly talked up his team. Big E. continued to work over Young, overpowering him with power offense. But, Young nailed a desperation enziguiri. And he made the tag to O'Neil.
O'Neil and Kofi were legal. O'Neil tossed Kofi across the ring, then nailed a corner splash. But, Xavier caught him with a kick to the head behind the ref's back. Kofi covered, but Titus kicked out of a pin. Titus tagged in D-Young, who battled two-on-one. Make it three-on-one with Xavier getting involved again. Young suplexed Woods across the ring apron, but Kofi caught Young coming back in the ring.
Big E. then tagged in and wanted the Big Ending, but D-Young avoided and nailed Kofi with his Gut Check fallaway gutbuster. Kofi rolled out of the ring, then Big E. walked right into Titus's big spinebuster finisher for the pin and the win.
WINNERS: Prime Time Players at 8:50 to retain the WWE Tag Titles. Good showcase for everyone involved. Titus is a singles star in the making and D-Young finally got to stand out as opposed to being isolated for the majority of the match before hot-tagging Titus. (**1/2)
Locker Room: Paige addressed Charlotte (Whoos!) and Becky Lynch. She said she's wanted to change the Divas Division for months. The discussion was about re-building the division, as opposed to an individual feud or title chase. Charlotte said they're going to rebuild "with flair."
Video Package: Inside the Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt issue centered on Wyatt's desire to be in Reigns's position of prominence.
In-ring: Bray Wyatt's theme interrupted the broadcast to bring out Wyatt, who walked to the ring led by his lantern and the crowd's cell phone lighting. Once the arena lights came back on, Wyatt paced the ring and shouted at the crowd that it's time to finish it. The Shield's music then played to bring out Roman Reigns through the arena concourse among the people. Before the bell sounded, Cole noted that Reigns has not won a televised match via pinfall or submission since Wyatt cost him the MITB match at the Money in the Bank PPV.
3 -- ROMAN REIGNS vs. BRAY WYATT
Physical lock-up, then Reigns shoved down Wyatt, who popped up and delivered forearms to the back. Reigns responded with an uppercut, sending Wyatt reeling to the floor. But, Wyatt popped Reigns in the mouth when Reigns tried to follow up. Back in the ring, Reigns recovered and nailed a lariat, sending Wyatt to the outside again. On the floor, Reigns chucked Wyatt into the barricade.
Back in the ring, Wyatt uppercut Reigns to cut him off and take control of the match. Wyatt tried a corner attack, but Reigns surprised him with a clothesline. Reigns then missed with a lariat, but followed with somewhat of a Samoan Drop. Of note, the crowd sounds mixed on Reigns. Some noise both for and against, but not main-event-level noise. The crowd isn't strongly opposed to Reigns like pre-WrestleMania, but they're not very supportive, either.
Wyatt went for Ten Punches in the corner, but Reigns blocked, only to have Wyatt toss Reigns out of the ring to the outside. Back in the ring, Wyatt applied a chinlock and shouted to the crowd that Reigns has failed them. Wyatt continued to work the headlock, then Reigns made it to his feet and wiggled out of the hold. Wyatt tried it again, but Reigns countered with a belly-to-back suplex.
Reset at 12:00 with both men slowly coming to their feet. Reigns nailed a boot the chin, then kicks and stomps. Reigns fired off a clothesline, then a corner clothesline, then a leaping lariat. Reigns fired up to mixed noise, then stalked Bray for a pumphandle-grip fallaway suplex. And a second. Reigns then rolled out of the ring to nail his running two-foot pump kick, but Bray saw it coming and exploded on Reigns with a clothesline.
Back in the ring, Wyatt covered Reigns for a two count. Wyatt went back to work on Reigns, then teased a superplex, but Reigns blocked and walked out of the corner to deliver a sit-out powerbomb. Nearfall for Reigns, then he finally nailed the two-foot pump kick on the outside. Back in the ring, Wyatt caught Reigns with a uranage for a nearfall of his own.
Wyatt suddenly caught Reigns for Sister Abigail, but Reigns spun out and nailed a Superman Punch. But, Wyatt kicked out of a pin. Reigns came to his feet looking for a spear, but Wyatt blocked with a boot and nailed a hard lariat for a two count. Wyatt tried to get Sister Abigail again, but Reigns blocked and nailed repeated corner clotheslines, getting the crowd behind him. Reigns then walked out of the corner with Wyatt on his back to kind of deliver a Samoan Drop.
Wyatt rolled out of the ring at 20:00, and Reigns followed him out. Wyatt whipped Reigns into the barricade, then tossed him back into the ring. While still on the outside, Bray picked up two chairs, but Reigns surprised him with a punch to the face. Reigns then tossed the chairs into the ring, losing focus on the match. Reigns tossed a third and fourth chair into the ring as the crowd murmured. Suddenly, a man in a hood attacked Reigns. It looked like Batista from the side. Wyatt then nailed a uranage on the ring apron and rolled Reigns into the ring to deliver Sister Abigail. Wyatt covered for the win.
Post-match, the hooded man returned to the ring. It was Luke Harper reuniting with Wyatt. Wyatt posed in victory as the announcers noted that Reigns's problems just got bigger.
WINNER: Wyatt at 22:05. Started sluggish with the crowd mixed on Reigns, into Wyatt, and it still being somewhat odd to see a character like Wyatt have a standard wrestling match. They picked it up at the end, but the finish fell flat setting up another Wyatt Family reunion. Overall, Reigns seems stuck in lukewarm water and his offense is too repetitive. (**1/2)
Summerslam hype video: Summerslam is coming to New York in five weeks.
Ringside: Cole noted some of the St. Cardinals are in the house. They just wrapped up an 18-inning game across town at Busch Stadium (with Carlos Martinez taking the loss, hurting the ol' fantasy team), but they made it to Battleground to stand on the front row.
Backstage: Jo-Jo brought in Naomi, Tamina, and NXT champion Sasha Banks for a promo. Sasha got the vocal males fired up with an NXT call-back, then Tamina intimidated Jo-Jo.
In-ring: Team Naomi was introduced to the ring first, then Team Paige (Paige, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch). Team Bellas (Nikki Bella, Brie Bella, and Alicia Fox) were out last. Once everyone was in the ring, the teams jockeyed for position and the spotlight. The trios eventually picked a Diva to wrestle, with Nikki picking her sister to fight for her like a heel.
4 -- BRIE BELLA (w/Divas champion Nikki Bella and Alicia Fox) vs. CHARLOTTE (w/Paige and Becky Lynch) vs. NXT champion SASHA BANKS (w/Naomi and Tamina) -- three-way match
WWE added Brie to the Charlotte-Sasha stand-out match-up to give this match a main roster feel, but some of the crowd chanted "NXT" to indicate which match-up they really wanted to see. Charlotte and Sasha eventually cleared Brie out of the way to have a one-on-one battle, but Sasha picked on Brie after she could not put away Charlotte. Charlotte wowed the crowd with offense on Brie, but Brie responded with a running bulldog to both NXT stand-outs.
Charlotte came back with a spear to Brie, then Charlotte and Sasha went through their typical mid-ring exchange, wowing the crowd. Brie tried to take advantage of the NXT stars wearing each other out, but Sasha dropkicked Brie out of the ring onto a host of Divas arguing on the outside. Sasha then flew through the ropes on the sea of humanity and Charlotte followed with a plancha wiping everyone out.
Back in the ring, Sasha had the Bank Statement on Charlotte, but Brie broke it up. Brie left herself open to the Figure-Eight leglock, though. Sasha was out of the picture and unable to make the save, so Brie had to tap out. Big win for Charlotte, popping the crowd. JBL noted the Bellas have to take notice now because the NXT stars are coming after the Divas Title.
WINNER: Charlotte via submission at 11:30. Brie was definitely in there to take the loss and set up big in-ring debuts for Charlotte and Sasha, which was fine. The crowd was hot for the finish after a strong match. You could make the argument that too many Divas are involved in this introductory program, but Charlotte and Sasha took advantage by standing out from the crowd in a big-time way. WWE eventually has to find a singular feud to center the Division on, but this is a fine reset. The only thing better would be retiring the Divas Title and re-introducing the Women's Title. (***)
Studio: Renee Young reset the show with Byron Saxton, Booker T, and Corey Graves. Renee went to a video package on former NXT champion Kevin Owens facing John Cena in the rubber match of their series.
In-ring: Kevin Owens was introduced first as the U.S. Title challenger. Owens paced the ring and called for Cena to come out here now. After the Cena Pause, John Cena's music played to bring out the U.S. champion telling the crowd to let it all out with the "John Cena Suuuuuucks" sing-song. Cena hit the ring and held up the U.S. Title belt for everyone to get a good look at. Once both men were assembled in the ring, Eden Stiles handled formal ring introductions. The crowd was definitely hot for this match.
5 -- U.S. champion JOHN CENA vs. KEVIN OWENS -- United States Title match
The crowd was hot in the early going. Lock-up, Owens grabbed a headlock, and Owens punched him right in the mouth. Cole sold Cena in trouble after getting rocked in the face. Owens followed with a dropkick, then he took his time following up in the corner. Owens whipped Cena across the ring, then taunted the pro-Cena fans. Owens followed up by grabbing Cena for a Torture Rack into a neckbreaker for a nearfall.
The crowd was hot again as Owens stalked Cena to follow up. Cena blocked, then started his comeback routine, but Owens blocked and butt-splashed Cena for a two count. Owens was slow to follow up, allowing Cena to nail a dropkick to get separation. Cena followed with a top-rope guillotine leg drop for a two count. He wanted the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Owens rolled to the ring apron to taunt Cena. Owens tried to hit a top-rope dive, but Cena got his knees up to block, hurting Owens's back.
Reset at 7:20. Owens nailed the Cena shoulder tackles into a sit-out slam, mocking Cena. Owens did a You Can't See Me, brushed the dirt off, and hit the fist drop. Owens then wanted the AA, but Cena slipped out, put Owens on his shoulders, and face-planted Owens. Cena flowed right into an STF, but released the hold looking to try again, only to have Owens catch him with a backbreaker across his knee.
Cena and Owens traded control, then Owens caught Cena coming off the ropes with a release German suplex. Owens followed with a cannonball splash in the corner for a two count. He then shouted down at Michael Cole, wondering if he's calling the match correctly. Cole told him to worry about Cena instead. Owens returned to face Cena, who caught him with his new wheelbarrow powerbomb for a two count. Cena had the look of needing a new gameplan.
Cena set up for and executed an AA, but Owens kicked out again. After catching his breath, Cena dragged Owens to the corner and looked for a superplex, but Owens blocked and nailed a top-rope cradle DVD for a close two count. Cena sold a shoulder injury after kicking out, then both men caught their breath. Kevin again shouted at Cole to watch this.
Owens wanted the pop-up powerbomb, but Cena countered. Owens regrouped and nailed Cena's AA finisher. Instead of covering, he applied the STF mid-ring. Owens wrenched back on the hold, shouting, "Tap!" over and over. Cena crawled toward the bottom rope, though, and finally grabbed the rope for a break.
Both men sold exhaustion as they came to their feet. Cena surprised Owens with a Tornado DDT out of the corner, but Owens kicked out again. They came to their feet and Cena went for a springboard Stunner, but Owens somewhat blocked and nailed a clothesline. Owens then picked up Cena for a cradle suplex across his knee, but Cena kicked out again. Owens shouted at the ref as Cena recovered, then went for the pop-up powerbomb, but Cena flew over Owens's head and nailed the AA for another nearfall. Cena sat stunned on the mat.
Reset at 18:30. Cena charged Owens for a lariat, which the announcers said looked to be out of malice. Cena tried another angry lariat, but Owens ducked and caught Cena off the ropes with a pop-up pwerbomb, wowing the vocal males. Owens covered, but Cena kicked out. Owens then dragged Cena to the corner and wanted a top-rope dive, but Cena crotched him. On commentary, Lawler linked this to the Cardinals and New York Mets going 18 innings earlier in the day. In the corner, Cena gripped Owens and nailed a super AA off the top rope. Cena covered, but Owens kicked out. The crowd exploded, Cena sat stunned in one spot unable to move, and Owens recovered. Cole said he has not seen that look since Cena lost to The Rock at WrestleMania 28.
Cena stood up and waved his arms like, 'What else can I do?' He tried to lift Owens, but Owens sold being dead weight. Cena talked down to Owens, then picked him up, but Owens surprised him with an inside cradle for a two count. Cena quickly jumped on Owens with an STF after the former NXT champ showed signs of life. Cena put the hold on tight in the middle of the ring as Owens fought the hold, but ultimately tapped Cena's hand.
Post-match, WWE captured the thrill of victory for Cena Fans and the look of shock for Owens Fans before going to a wide shot of the arena. Cole said you cannot take anything away from Owens tonight. But, Cena posed in the corner still champion to a mix of boos and cheers. Owens was helped out of the ring by the ref, but threw him aside to leave on his own two feet. WWE replayed the highlights as JBL hyped a classic U.S. Title match. Cena eventually hit the stage and stood tall for an appreciative crowd.
WINNER: Cena via submission at 22:11 to retain the U.S. Title. Another epic match in the series. It had a big-fight feel that decisive matches should have, and captured the feud in a nice package. Of course, plenty of folks are going to be mad about Cena winning, but no matter who the opponent is, the WWE formula is the top star comes out on top. Perhaps there's another match in the series, but this felt like the end, especially with Owens being dragged out of the ring. WWE raised expectations for Owens winning the feud when he won the first match in the series, but the fact that Owens got called up from NXT, got three big matches with Cena, and kicked out of his finish(ers) several times over the course of three matches is a big deal for his career. Of course, follow-up is key. (****1/4)
Announcers: Cole noted that Ryback had a health scare last week, so he is unable to defend the Intercontinental Title against The Miz and Big Show tonight.
In-ring: The Miz was introduced to the ring for a promo segment in lieu of a title match. Miz complained about not getting his IC Title shot when he had all of this media and publicity lined up for when he won the title. Miz then heeled on Ryback, saying he doesn't think Ryback is injured, rather scared of the toughest man in WWE. In fact, the toughest man in the building right now. He said is the only man with the heart to be here tonight. "Who knows where Big Show is?" Miz said. "And in my opinion Big Show has been missing since the Attitude Era." Miz said Show should do what the audience wants him to do - retire. But, since he is the only one here, he thinks The Authority should crown him the new IC champion. The crowd booed. And if not, then he'll take the title, like the City of Los Angeles is going to take the St. Louis Rams in the NFL. The crowd oohed.
Suddenly, Big Show's music interrupted. Show marched down to the ring in a polo shirt and slacks. Miz kept talking, saying they should get back together as ShowMiz. But, Show reared back and KO Punched Miz in the mouth. Show walked right out of the ring as Miz remained sprawled out in the ring.
Summerslam plug: Summerslam is five weeks away in August.
Video Package: Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Title in the main event.
In-ring: Seth Rollins's music played to bring out the WWE World Hvt. champion all by himself after J&J Security were injured by Brock Lesnar and Rollins took out Kane on Raw. Rollins took a deep breath on the stage, then marched down to the ring selling confidence. After the champion was introduced first, Brock Lesnar's music played to bring out the challenger to a loud reaction. Lesnar, wrestling on traditional PPV for the first time since WrestleMania, bounced out on-stage with Paul Heyman. Meanwhile, Lawler wondered what Rollins is thinking arriving at this point facing The Beast all by himself. Presumably.
Once everyone was in the ring, Lilian Garcia handled formal ring introductions. Lesnar bounced up and down in the ring to cheers, then Seth was introduced to boos. Seth then looked down at the title belt, looked over at Brock, kissed the belt, and handed it over to referee Mike Chioda. "Suplex City" chants and the bell sounded.
6 -- WWE World Hvt. champion SETH ROLLINS vs. BROCK LESNAR (w/Paul Heyman) -- WWE World Hvt. Title match
As soon as the bell sounded, Lesnar charged Seth and drove him into the corner for thrusts to the mid-section. Lesnar gripped Seth for a potential suplex, but Rollins blocked and scampered out of the ring. Seth waited for Lesnar to waste energy chasing him down, then led him back into the ring. Lesnar tried to grab Seth for a suplex, but Seth held onto the ropes to block. Seth kicked Lesnar in the gut, then kicked him in the thigh. But, Seth made a mistake, nearly got caught again, and tried a top-rope move, but Brock grabbed him around the waist and tossed Seth across the ring with a German suplex. And another. The crowd counted out two. And a third German.
Lesnar smirked as he stalked Seth, who recovered to his feet before taking a fourth German suplex. Brock Bounce as Heyman smiled and said, "I told you." Seth slowly recovered, then Brock gripped him for a fifth German Suplex. Seth rolled out of the ring as Cole said this could be a short title match. Seth thought about making it short for a different reason by taking the belt and leaving, but Brock jumped over the barricade, grabbed Seth, and chucked him back across the barricade to ringside.
Brock retrieved a stunned Seth and tossed him back into the ring. Brock stalked Seth and delivered a sixth German suplex. Heyman smiled and pointed his finger toward Rollins. Brock laser-focused on Seth for his next move, savoring each blow. He tried another German, but Seth landed on his feet and kicked Brock. He finally got him off his feet by chopblocking Lesnar. Seth landed kicks to stun Brock, then went for the Pedigree, but Brock tossed Seth into the air. Seth blocked an F5, though, and kicked the thighs and knees before knocking Brock out of the ring.
Seth followed up on the outside, tossed Brock back into the ring, and tried to follow up, but Brock caught him with suplex #7. Brock then picked up Seth for suplex #8, #9, and #10 with a release on the third consecutive German. Lesnar then picked up Seth for suplex #11. He decided to slap Seth across the face before picking him up for suplex #12. Seth was out cold, but had enough rebellion in him to slap Brock across the gut. Brock took exception and nailed suplex #13.
At 8:00, Brock picked up Seth and nailed the F5, then covered, but the lights suddenly went out and the bell tolled. The lights came back on and The Undertaker was in the ring staring down Lesnar. Taker and Lesnar had a stare down, then Taker grabbed Lesnar and tried to chokeslam him, but Brock blocked. Taker then kicked Lesnar in the groin, stunning the crowd. Taker stared down Brock, waited for him to get up, and nailed a super chokeslam. There was no referee during this.
Taker continued to stare down Brock, then he picked him up for a Tombstone. And Taker connected in the middle of the ring. Taker knelt down over Brock, then stood up to a mix of mainly cheers with some boos. Applause, then "Undertaker" chants. The Taker chants grew louder, then Taker started to leave, but Brock stirred. So, Taker did the throat slash, grabbed Brock again, and delivered a second Tombstone. Taker stared down at Brock as the crowd buzzed with lots of noise. This time a "One More Time" chant.
Instead, Taker knelt down and blue fog filled the arena. Taker's music played and he left the ring, limping up the ramp to the back as Lesnar recovered in the ring. Taker made it to the top of the stage, then looked back into the ring before throwing up his right fist. Lightning flashed and the PPV signed off 15 minutes before the top of the hour.
WINNER: No Decision in 9:00 when Taker interrupted; Seth retained the WWE World Title. This reinforced the idea of Seth as a placeholder champion, which has contributed to the ratings decline since WrestleMania. WWE will now try to make up for it by having Taker-Lesnar as one of the central feuds heading into Summerslam following up on Lesnar breaking The Streak. As for this show, WWE tried to create enough of a "big moment" with Taker returning to WWE TV to make up for no finish, but that's a tough sell on a PPV main event. The live crowd was into it, but what about viewers at home? Interesting decision-making. This is going to create a lot of opinions heading into Summerslam, and WWE hopes it translates to a ratings and business bump. Otherwise, they're rushing through a big match in their toolbox trying to save the summer. Meanwhile, they have to sort out the booking with Lesnar recently positioned as a fan favorite, Heyman in-between poking The Undertaker bear while also advocating a fan favorite, and now Taker returning to TV to prevent Lesnar from winning the WWE Title. Plus, where does it leave Seth as WWE champion heading into Summerslam? A lot of questions - some intriguing, some concerning. (n/a)
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