World Wrestling Entertainment's Battleground was a dark spot on an otherwise solid year of pay-per-view presentations for the company.
Most believed the show had no reason to exist in the first place due to the presence of the annual Hell in a Cell show already occurring in the month of October. It was another attempt to milk a few extra buyrates and bring in some extra cash, and most fans recognized it.
The show that the company produced did little to curb the criticisms surrounding the show. If anything, it made those criticisms louder and more anger-filled than they had been previously.
Battleground was a run-of-the-mill event that, outside of its admittedly awesome DVD artwork, will be largely forgotten.
Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton was a near-classic, but their match at Night of Champions was equally as good. Cody Rhodes and Goldust's win over Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins was the best match of the night, and even that would be improved upon, as seen on the October 14 episode of Raw when Dusty Rhodes' boys captured the tag titles in an outstanding No Disqualification match.
The rest of the card was lackluster. The wrestling was solid, but nothing stood head and shoulders above anything that would be seen on Raw or SmackDown.
The midcard matches were thrown together at the last minute because of a short, three-week span between shows that limited the development of angles outside of the main event stories.
Finally, the finish to the night's main event, which saw Big Show interfere and leave everyone involved lying unconscious, set up Monday's free television show at the expense of the fans who paid hard-earned money to purchase the pay-per-view.
Battleground was a serious misstep for a company who had delivered good-to-great shows throughout the spring and summer. The company delivered a less-than stellar product that threatened the patronage of its fans, and they are in serious need of a strong Hell in a Cell broadcast to makeup for their blunder three weeks earlier.
And WWE has done everything, thus far, to convince us they will deliver a quality show on October 27. Shawn Michaels is returning to referee what should be the final Daniel Bryan-Randy Orton title match. CM Punk's match against Ryback and Paul Heyman will be inside Hell in a Cell.
John Cena will make another improbable early return from serious injury to help boost ratings and buyrates, not to mention lend credibility to a World title that has fallen from relevance, despite tremendous in-ring work from Alberto Del Rio.
Most importantly, for the first time since August, when the main angle in the company kicked off at SummerSlam, COO Triple H and his henchmen, The Shield, appear weak. They have been rattled by Bryan, Big Show and the Rhodes brothers, and now, fans believe their heroes can experience some success without having it ripped from them immediately afterward.
Hell in a Cell could be a very pivotal point for a WWE that has struggled to sustain television ratings and deliver consistently strong storytelling.
If the pay-per-view fails to deliver and fans are left unsatisfied for a second consecutive time, it could be a very long winter for sports-entertainment's top promotion.
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