With Battleground fast approaching, there were lots of moving parts on this week's WWE programming to hype both the four-way main event and the Battle Royal to decide the new intercontinental champion.
The week leading into a pay-per-view typically focuses on angles rather than in-ring competition on WWE's flagship shows, but WWE's ancillary programming has certainly managed to fill that void in terms of satisfying individual matches.
The ever-evolving NXT feud between Sami Zayn and Tyson Kidd produced yet another great match on this week's show. Kidd has been something of a revelation during his tenure in NXT, and he really seems to be nailing his character—something he never quite managed to do on the main roster.
Main Event this week featured a very enjoyable tag team match pitting Rybaxel against Big E and Kofi Kingston.
Rybaxel have been a little unfortunate during their time as a tag team, often being used to build other teams rather than being showcased themselves, but they're a very capable duo who could certainly play an important role in a slightly larger tag team division.
Speaking of growing the tag team division, pairing Big E and Kofi Kingston would perhaps benefit both wrestlers. A seemingly random tag team partnership seems to come around for Kofi every few months, but he and Big E showed some early promise this week, which should be taken advantage of.
Match of the Week for July 19: Sheamus vs. The Miz on Main Event
This is a matchup that might not sound all that promising on paper, but it produced two very enjoyable bouts this week, one on Monday Night Raw and one on Main Event.
It's well-established at this point that Sheamus has a lot to offer in the ring but suffers a little from a poorly defined character. The Miz, on the other hand, has debuted a very compelling "Hollywood" persona since his recent return that could prove to be the key ingredient to his return to the top of the card.
Put together, each man's strengths covered for the other's weaknesses. The Miz certainly played a major role in engaging the audience and making the match something that audiences were eager to see, but it was Sheamus who contributed more in the ring itself.
Thoughtful use of talent like this can turn a throwaway TV match into something far more compelling, and that was certainly the case here.
However, it wasn't just the talent involved that made this bout stand out. Both matches that the pair had this week were very good, but the way that their second played off the events of the first made it the better of the two for me.
It's probably true that Sheamus' lack of character is restricting him, but his wrestling this week demonstrated that his ring work will see him through if he's paired with someone who is more developed as a character. I certainly wouldn't mind seeing an extended feud between these two, and that's something I would have never expected to say a couple of years ago.
Battleground is nearly upon us, and the card features several strong contenders for next week's Match of the Week. Which bout do you think will stand out from the crowd? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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