With WWE Battleground being this Sunday, it is safe to say that WWE has done a lackluster job of making people wanting to purchase the pay-per-view. The card looks solid for the most part, but the build to most of the matches has left a lot to be desired.
Before Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan battle over the vacant WWE Championship Sunday night, they had one final faceoff on Raw this past week. With Bryan getting the upper hand over Orton on SmackDown, who will emerge victorious when it matters most?
Although he defends his World Heavyweight Championship in a Hardcore match at the event, Alberto Del Rio hasn't seemed intimidated by his upcoming opponent, Rob Van Dam, in any way. With wins over Zack Ryder and Dolph Ziggler this week, could this mean that Del Rio will be standing tall on Sunday?
CM Punk continued his quest this week to get the better of Paul Heyman and his henchmen and found himself getting in the last word on Raw. Will Punk finally be able to exact retribution on Heyman Sunday, or will Ryback and Curtis Axel find a way to cost Punk the win yet again?
Here, I will break down the week in wrestling by analyzing the Monday Night Raw, Friday Night SmackDown and WWE Main Event broadcasts, including each show's highlights, low points and other noteworthy, monumental moments. Also, an award will be given to the show and Superstar that shined the brightest over the course of the week.
By this point, I have honestly lost track of how many matches Alberto Del Rio and Dolph Ziggler have had over the course of 2013, but they never cease to entertain me. They work so incredibly well together that it always makes for an excellent dynamic every time they cross paths.
The last time we saw these two in the same ring together was when they were feuding over the World Heavyweight Championship, and you could tell the bad blood between them still resonates all these months later. As they prepared for their respective matches at WWE Battleground, Ziggler and Del Rio found each other at opposite sides of the squared circle on this week's edition of SmackDown.
Of course, they had an extremely entertaining contest, where both competitors were constantly on the verge of victory. In the end, Del Rio forced Ziggler to tap out for the win.
Throw in some great commentary from Damien Sandow, and you have yourself the match of the week.
Regardless of whether you love him or loathe him, there is simply no denying that Alberto Del Rio has been extremely successful since reclaiming the World Heavyweight Championship at June's WWE Payback pay-per-view. He competed in a match on Monday's Raw against Zack Ryder, whom he soundly defeated after forcing him to tap out to his patented Cross Armbreaker.
Dolph Ziggler suffered a similar fate on Friday's SmackDown, losing an instant classic to the Mexican aristocrat and giving him the fight of his life. These valiant victories were essential in building Del Rio's momentum going into Battleground, where he will he defend his golden prize against Rob Van Dam.
Will his reign end at the hands of the ECW original on Sunday night?
After the epic failure that was Night of Champions, one would think that WWE would have put extra emphasis into Battleground in an attempt to make it feel special. Well, that hasn't been the case as of late, as most of the matches for the card were just confirmed this past week with very little to no build.
The main purpose of the go-home shows is to convince the viewer one final time to buy the upcoming pay-per-view, but I can safely say that I have zero desire to tune into WWE's newest event Sunday night. Nonetheless, I will give credit where credit is due in saying that WWE tried its best when it came to promoting the PPV on Raw this past week.
The company built toward some of the matches on the card and gave us some entertaining matches and moments in the process. SmackDown came close, but unlike Raw, nothing noteworthy occurred on the blue brand this week.
Thus, Raw was the program to watch this past week, and that is certainly not saying much.
Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton face off: These two seemingly stopped feuding with each other after Night of Champions, but it was good to see them pick up right where they left off with their confrontation on Raw. Both Orton and Bryan provided strong mic skills, and I look forward to their upcoming clash over the WWE Championship.
The Rhodeses vs. The McMahons: I must admit that the best thing going on WWE television right now is the family feud between the Rhodeses and the McMahons. Their latest clash on Raw this week was excellent, and the idea of Cody and Goldust teaming up at Battleground has been a long time coming.
Paul Heyman "proposes" to Ryback: Heyman has helped resurrect the career of Ryback to the point where I actually anticipate their segments on a weekly basis. They have great chemistry, and it has definitely brought the best out of Ryback. Heyman "proposing" to him on Raw was an absolute riot, and I hope this is only the beginning of a long-term relationship between the two.
The Shield vs. Dolph Ziggler and The Usos: The Shield are the masters of the six-man tag team match format, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that this match was extremely entertaining. The Shield needed this win going into its big match with the Rhodes family on Sunday.
Los Matadores: I still have mixed feelings on the tandem, but I think their initial appearance on WWE television went pretty well. Their "Ole" chants are getting over nicely with the live crowds, but I'm not sure how long it will last (see: Fandango). Nonetheless, it will make for a fun act in the meantime.
Big Show: I have grown so incredibly tired of Show's illogical angle that it was gotten to the point of being an annoyance. How is it that Triple H paid off Show's mortgage and now HHH is in debt to him? I couldn't care less if Show turns heel or not. By this point, he just needs to go away for an extended period of time, if not for good.
Fandango: Speaking of acts that I couldn't care less about, Fandango once again reverted to be irrelevant this week. From losing a random match to Kofi Kingston on Raw to getting himself disqualified against Rob Van Dam on SmackDown, what purpose does he serve at this point? His gimmick needs some serious tweaking if he wants to get anywhere in the company.
Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth: I appreciate the effort WWE put into building an Intercontinental title match for Battleground, but the bout isn't seen as significant in the eyes of the fans. Axel isn't over at the moment, and Truth has grown super stagnant, so their upcoming matchup won't amount to anything in the grand scheme of things.
Big E Langston: How does one go from facing CM Punk in the opening match of Raw to jobbing to Kofi Kingston on SmackDown in less than a minute? Langston has an immense amount of potential, so it is mind-boggling to me as to why WWE continues to misuse his talents for no apparent reason.
Santino Marella vs. Antonio Cesaro: I was fine with Santino defeating Cesaro the first time around, but this time was rather ridiculous. The Real Americans are one of the best teams in WWE today, so why have them lose to Santino so decisively?
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Graham Mirmina, a.k.a. Graham "GSM" Matthews, is a journalism major at Endicott College. Visit his website at Next Era Wrestling and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.