This week’s Battleground pay-per-view will undoubtedly leave a lasting impression on the whole of the WWE.
The Undertaker rose again to strike fear into Brock Lesnar; John Cena took the ‘rubber’ match with Kevin Owens and Bray Wyatt called on an old friend to inspire victory over Roman Reigns.
All were memorable and each will play a huge part in forging key storylines and establishing some exciting rivalries going forward.
The real legacy left, however, came in the form of a Divas triple threat match that finally put the women on the map.
The Stephanie McMahon coined ‘revolution’ match, should spark exactly that.
Long have we campaigned in this column for the WWE to give its NXT wrestlers a run on the main stage and ever since Sasha Banks and her counterparts took to RAW last week, they have seized their opportunities with both hands.
In that go-home show, Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte were brought in by McMahon to give the Bellas a thing or two to think about.
They were ably supported by Paige, Alicia Fox & co and they quickly turned from supporting cast to lead roles.
In the end, Battleground became their proving ground.
NXT champion Banks was joined by Charlotte in the triple threat match that played out in the middle of the card, taking on the less successful Brie of the Bella clan in a fight that was only trumped in terms of excitement and innovation by the three match-ups mentioned above.
– WWE TLC: Intercontinental title crying out to be restored to former glory
– WWE TLC: Wrestling’s greatest mic man Paul Heyman
– RELIVE WWE Battleground: Seth Rollins vs Brock Lesnar
It has left the Divas division in its rudest health with Banks and Charlotte, in particular, proving to be the most entertaining female wrestlers in the WWE since Trish Stratus and Lita.
McMahon must take credit for giving these women the opportunity they have rightly earned.
Just months ago, the longest reigning Divas champion and star of the division, AJ Lee, left in acrimonious circumstances, claiming that she and her fellow females were not being given the opportunity or respect they both craved and deserved.
As Lee exited the locker room, so it seemed did the hopes of the Divas division in earning a spot in the limelight. For anyone with a keen eye trained on NXT, however, they knew the future was bright.
— Stephanie McMahon (@StephMcMahon) February 23, 2015
@StephMcMahon Your female wrestlers have record selling merchandise & have starred in the highest rated segment of the show several times,
— A.J. (@WWEAJLee) February 25, 2015
With Nikki Bella just 59 days shy of Lee’s record for the longest reigning champion, we have some time for the division to build momentum on the back of this past week’s sterling work.
There are 33 days until SummerSlam so don’t expect a title change there but do anticipate yet more development in the storyline.
It is in 61 days’ time, when Bella would be the longest reigning champion and celebrating her 300th day with the title that we could see someone take on the mantle.
It will be Night of Champions and the prospect of the WWE NXT champion taking on the Divas champion to unite the belts should be enough to tempt the WWE into making the match.
For the time being, sit back and enjoy the mastery of these fine wrestlers.
Keep up with all the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) action in the latest pay-per-view event as Seth Rollins' judgement day is upon us at WWE Battleground.
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The WWE is enjoying somewhat of a golden period right now, with 2015 representing one of the best years in the company’s recent history.
With the pay-per-view Battleground on the horizon, match-ups including a third, decisive John Cena vs Kevin Owens match for the US title and Brock Lesnar vs Seth Rollins for the latter’s World Heavyweight title are truly tantalizing affairs.
The tag-team division is in rude health also, and the Divas are blessed with the excellent storytelling of the Bella Sisters and a locker room that boasts some fine female athletes in the shape of Paige and the NXT competitors who finally graced the RAW ring on Monday.
And while these facets of the company all continue to shine, it is the title that showed the most promise early on in the year that is now being left behind.
When Daniel Bryan claimed the Intercontinental belt by beating champion Bad News Barrett, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper, R-Truth and Stardust at WrestleMania in March, it looked like one of the most iconic belts in the WWE’s long history was finally being restored to its rightful reputation.
What followed, however, was a nasty injury to Bryan which saw him once again vacate a top title.
— WrestlingNewsSource (@WNSource) July 14, 2015
Instead of reinvigorating the battle for Intercontinental glory by utilising the deep pool of talent waiting in the wings, the WWE went to some old hands in a move that now seems rather flat.
Compare that WrestleMania field to the Elimination Chamber combatants for the vacant title and it explains a lot.
Ryback has held the belt since that May PPV, where he overcame Mark Henry, Sheamus, King Barrett, Truth and Ziggler (the latter three the only survivors from WrestleMania).
Only Ziggler has had a storyline of note this year in his previous scamper towards the top of WWE, the others all having been sidelined to just that: sideline stories.
It would be unfair to include Sheamus in that mix as he was returning from injury around that time but the others garnered far less excitement in what should have been a superb follow-up to WrestleMania.
You need look no further than the excellent work done by Cena in his pursuit of and subsequent reign as US champion to see what the WWE have missed out on.
With regular open challenges and two superb rivalries with Rusev and Owens, the WWE have made it the most intriguing championship chase in the company.
And it is not like they didn’t have the opportunity to do so with the Intercontinental title.
Randy Savage holding his WWF Title belt and Ultimate Warrior’s Intercontinental Title – March 1989 pic.twitter.com/qxmseVLh8v
— Wrestlings Past (@WrestlingsPast) July 12, 2015
Seen as the stepping stone to go on to greater things (Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Triple H and many, many more have all worn the belt with distinction), people want to be Intercontinental champion.
And with the likes of Ambrose, Ziggler, Adrian Neville and Harper they have some worthy champions who can sell a story and who the WWE Universe can get behind.
In Big Show, Ryback and The Miz – who battle it out next Monday morning (UAE time) for the championship – you feel there is less interest.
That is not meant with any disrespect to three fine wrestlers in their own right.
The problem is, they’ve been there and done it before and in a company refreshed by its openness to evolution in other divisions, it is a shame not to see the IC title follow suit.