Dave Meltzer's subscription-based Wrestling Observer Newsletter has recently reviewed and awarded star ratings to all the matches from WWE's latest pay-per-view, the inaugural Battleground event held in Buffalo, New York.
On the whole Meltzer has been equally, if not more, critical of the event as pro wrestling fans worldwide, awarding just one match a rating of over three stars out of five. Even more shockingly, the 3.5-rating was not awarded to one of the main event matches, but to the upper midcard tag team clash between the Rhodes brothers and The Shield.
It would be hard to argue that the work of Dustin and Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns deserved anything less, as the match progressed with well-constructed spots and fluidity and the conclusion was undoubtedly the most emotional and engaging of the evening.
However, the bigger picture from Meltzer's Battleground ratings is that no other match on the card lived up to or exceeded expectations. The Observer awarded the main event between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan just 2.5 stars, a rating which is marred by the greatly displeasing climax.
Furthermore, the most recent pay-per-view bout in the Heyman/Punk storyline certainly fell below expectations. CM Punk and Ryback had poor chemistry and the match suffered, appearing to have no flow whatsoever. Even the inclusion of the always entertaining Paul Heyman at ringside could not lift this match above a 2-star rating in the eyes of the Wrestling Observer.
Ryback's matches with John Cena at Extreme Rules and Payback received a star rating of 3.5 and 3.25 respectively, so fans were led to expect at least the same quality in Ryback's encounter with "The Best in the World."
Even the opening Hardcore Rules contest between Alberto Del Rio and Rob Van Dam was awarded a low score by pay-per-view world title match standards. Despite original spots and good chemistry, Meltzer felt that 2.75 stars was a fitting rating for the World Heavyweight Championship bout.
To provide some context for these low Battleground reviews, the table below illustrates other pay-per-view main events so far this year, and their star ratings as reviewed by the Wrestling Observer.
WWE has suddenly found itself under slight pressure with Hell In A Cell on the horizon, so the company needs to ensure quality pay-per-view main events after the shortcomings of Battleground and to a lesser extent Night of Champions.