WWE Battleground 2016 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJuly 24, 2016

WWE Battleground 2016 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

0 of 10

    Credit: WWE.com

    Moments often overshadowed matches on WWE Battleground 2016.

    It was Bayley's arrival from NXT that will be the talk of the tag team match she was a part of. Fans will struggle to remember anything about the Intercontinental Championship match between The Miz and Darren Young other than a shirtless, red-faced Bob Backlund. Mojo Rawley playing the part of cavalry was more memorable than Rusev's throttling of Zack Ryder.

    Early on, Battleground looked to be too much like a trumped-up edition of Raw. There weren't true climaxes; nothing stood out as special.

    And then Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens happened. The two archenemies ripped at each other's flesh and painted the canvas with their blood and sweat. Theirs was a stunning and emotional showcase of storyline hatred.

    The main event where Dean Ambrose remained WWE champ thrilled, too, and optimists will choose to focus on that match and Zayn's triumph over Owens.

    Along the way, though, Battleground provided a long list of decisions to critique. The PPV was to be the gateway to the New Era, to the return of the brand split. In some ways, WWE marched confidently toward that destination, but there were noticeable stumbles, as well.

    The following is look at all the night's highs and lows, the baffling and the beautiful elements of the PPV.

The Usos vs. Breezango (Kickoff)

1 of 10

    The Usos manhandled Fandango and Tyler Breeze in the early going. They withstood a brief flurry from Breezango before taking back control and turning up the pace of the bout.

    The teams traded kicks and double-team offense. A frenetic clash ended when Breeze countered a diving splash, turning it into a roll-up.

    The Usos knelt in the ring in disbelief afterward.

    Result

    Breeze and Fandango win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Breeze stumbles and hits his head into Fandango's crotch.

    Jimmy Uso hits a diving crossbody on both Fandango and Breeze.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    A fun and well-paced match provided the in-ring action for Battleground's pre-show. For something with no buildup or story, this was surprisingly entertaining. 

    It was a warm-up match, not a classic, but it's great to see Breezango gain some significant momentum in the last few weeks. A team that could easily have remained in court-jester territory is suddenly looking like a potential player in the SmackDown tag team division.

Charlotte and Dana Brooke vs. Sasha Banks and Mystery Partner

2 of 10

    Sasha Banks revealed her former NXT rival Bayley as her tag team partner. Charlotte and Dana Brooke ruined the babyface's moment by attacking her before the bell rang.

    Charlotte and her protege Brooke grounded The Boss and then did the same to Bayley.

    Banks battled back and had the women's champ beat with the Bank Statement. Brooke saved Charlotte once, but the second attempt led to a submission.

    Result

    Banks and Bayley win via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    The Verizon Center crowd gives Bayley a loud welcome.

    "I know the rules!"—Brooke to the referee.

    Brooke whips Bayley off the top rope, causing her to land on the back of her head.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    Bayley's arrival was the highlight here. She was the best option WWE had for this scenario. John "Bradshaw" Layfield mentioned that this matchup was a one-off for Bayley, so the excitement coming out of Battleground is lessened. 

    The action was solid, but not much more than a bridge to the expected title clash between Banks and Charlotte at SummerSlam.

    The Boss and her quest for the women's title needs a ton of focus moving forward. Banks has the tools to make it a mighty compelling story, and given time, she and Charlotte will deliver one of SummerSlam's biggest hits.

The New Day vs. The Wyatt Family

3 of 10

    Xavier Woods' fear froze him as the battle with The Wyatt Family began. He then watched from the ring apron as Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan pounded on Kofi Kingston.

    Big E helped his team gain momentum. Kingston soared. Woods fearfully stared down The Eater of Worlds. 

    Woods was able to recover enough to go on the attack, but he eventually fell. Wyatt landed Sister Abigail to score the win.

    Result

    The Wyatt Family win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "The WWE draft done split up The Wyatt Family like a Taylor Swift relationship."—Kingston.

    Wyatt floors Kingston with a clothesline that flipped him over.

    Big E spears Rowan off the ring apron.

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    A wild energy and Woods unraveling had this match teeming with potential that it never fully tapped into. The clash didn't feel like a climax in the least. And with the two teams heading to different shows starting next week, WWE isn't likely to build on this.

    The feud ends unfinished. The Woods angle was only partially explored.

    Michael Cole played up that the current incarnation of The Wyatt Family will end thanks to the brand split, but it won't necessarily spell an end to the group altogether. That's excellent news. Wyatt is at his best as a preacher and pied piper. 

    If only WWE can figure out how to truly dig into Wyatt-centric narratives.

Rusev vs. Zack Ryder (United States Championship)

4 of 10

    Rusev smothered Zack Ryder. The challenger's speed briefly had him off his game, but The Bulgarian Brute stunned Ryder with measured strikes.

    A fiery Ryder fought back, managing to keep extending the match. He hit the Rough Ryder, but was unable to capitalize.

    Rusev clamped on the Accolade. Ryder was unable to escape. The champ then smashed his foe after the bell.

    Recently drafted Mojo Rawley rushed out to help his tag team partner.

    Result

    Rusev wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ryder wears loud, patriotic ring gear.

    Ryder hits a missile dropkick off the security barricade.

    "Night over!"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    Rusev makes dominating, one-sided performances better than they should be. He excelled again as the beast devouring his prey. 

    Still, this didn't feel like something worthy of a pay-per-view. It was several big moments away from being more than slightly above average.

    It's clear that this part of The Bulgarian Brute's journey won't be nearly as thrilling as when he meets a more formidable challenger.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

5 of 10

    Seconds into the match, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn brawled outside the ring. The longtime rivals traded shots at ringside and later in between the ropes.

    Owens took control, overpowering Zayn and focusing on his torso. He locked in a reverse chinlock and looked to squeeze the air out of The Underdog from the Underground.

    After Zayn fell on his right arm, he struggled to execute his offense. 

    Even so, the babyface managed to hold his own in a frenzied fight. Each man hit the other with high-impact moves but could only score near-falls. 

    Zayn took Owens' best shots, refused to succumb to his enemy and used two Helluva Kicks to finally put away Owens.

    Result

    Zayn wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Owens mocks the crowd for chanting for Zayn.

    Zayn attempts a springboard moonsault but slips off the rope and slams his shoulder into the ring apron.

    Owens hits a scintillating superkick.

    Zayn hits Owens with a brainbuster on the ring apron.

    Fans chant "This is awesome!"

    "Why won't you stay down? Don't make me do this."—Owens to Zayn.

    Zayn holds an unconscious Owens in his arms before hitting him with his finishing move.

    Grade

    A+

    Analysis

    Full of heart and guts, electricity and carnage, this match instantly vaulted itself into the Match of the Year conversation. Owens and Zayn's hatred burned through the screen. They took insane risks, and it made the action feel special.

    Zayn will now shoot forward with armfuls of momentum. Having now vanquished his archenemy, he can move upward with a championship in his sights.

    WWE has to keep these two separate for a long while. Owens and Zayn's Battleground showdown was a powerful, fitting climax for this section of their saga.

Becky Lynch vs. Natalya

6 of 10

    Natalya had Becky Lynch suffering early. She attacked her outside the ring, and zeroed in on her left leg with a relentless attack.

    A limping Lynch battled back after a long time on the defensive.

    Natalya locked in the Sharpshooter a number of times. Lynch escaped once, but eventually the heel forced her to tap.

    Result

    Natalya wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "She's putting on a one-woman show."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Natalya counters the Dis-Arm-Her into the Sharpshooter; Lynch reverses the hold.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    Lynch and Natalya told a better version of the story Rusev and Zack Ryder delivered earlier in the night. The Irish Lass Kicker enthralled more in the feisty, gutsy babyface role than her male counterpart. 

    These two women could produce something spectacular if allowed to battle for longer. As a midcard fare likely leading to another go-round between the two, though, this was solid.

    Hopefully, WWE takes full advantage of what's next between Lynch and Natalya. This feud that needs to grow more personal and savage as it goes along.

The Miz vs. Darren Young (Intercontinental Championship)

7 of 10

    With Maryse and Bob Backlund watching on from ringside, Darren Young and The Miz kicked off the title match.

    An aggressive Young outwrestled The Miz. The champ used a distraction from his wife Maryse to gain control. 

    Backlund and Maryse fought outside the ring. When Young saw The Miz then clock his life coach, he lost it. He attacked the heel with a crossface chicken wing until the referee counted both competitors out.

    Result

    Match ends in double count-out. The Miz retains the Intercontinental Championship.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    The Miz enters wearing a masquerade-style mask.

    Maryse slapped Backlund to the ground; the former WWE champ ripped off his shirt in rage.

    Grade

    D

    Analysis

    An odd ending followed a so-so matchup.

    WWE hasn't shown fans enough of Young's rise for them to be invested at this point. The crowd struggled to get into the bout. Things didn't get better when the managers got involved.

    The strange scenario that resulted in Young atop The Miz in a rage felt forced. It is likely to lead to Young undergoing character development, perhaps becoming a darker, more aggressive character. Still, this segment as a whole failed to satisfy.

The Club vs. John Cena, Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady

8 of 10

    Enzo Amore fired off pre-match trash talk as usual. He gave AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson advice, including not to get in the ring with him, Colin Cassady and John Cena.

    Cass floored the heels, using Amore as a projectile weapon.

    The Club responded by focusing on Amore in its corner. The wild-haired fan favorite showed heart to stave off defeat and eventually tag in Cena.

    The action turned chaotic as tag team partners collided with each other. 

    With all the Superstars battling in and out of the ring, the referee struggled to maintain order. When it was just him and Styles in the ring, Cena finished off his rival with an Attitude Adjustment.

    Result

    Cena, Amore and Cassady win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You are now looking at the Mount Rushmore of certified G's."—Amore.

    "Never make eye contact with anyone when you're eating a banana."—Amore.

    Fans chant "soccer mom!" to Styles.

    Cassady throws Amore out of the ring into Gallows and Anderson.

    Anderson hits a flying knee to prevent Amore from making the tag.

    Anderson hits Cena with a spinebuster on the announcer's table.

    Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment from the top rope.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    WWE accomplished two goals with this six-man tag team bout. It spotlighted Amore in a major way, both as a talker and a fighter. And the Cena-Styles rivalry took a logical step.

    Amore fired up the crowd, making full use of the ample mic time he had. It was easy to pull for him throughout his battle, and his presence made the action fun.

    Cena pinning Styles set up a rubber match between the two. And Styles losing in a tag match doesn't hurt his momentum nearly as much as falling in a singles bout would have. 

Chris Jericho Hosts Randy Orton on the 'Highlight Reel'

9 of 10

    Chris Jericho introduced a beaming Randy Orton. The Viper told fans how glad he was to be back after his shoulder injury.

    After some banter between the two, a promo video of Lesnar aired. 

    Orton said he chose to face Lesnar to make a statement upon his return. He took shots at The Beast Incarnate before flooring Jericho with an RKO.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I've waited nine months for this."—Orton.

    Orton compares Jericho's hair to Ellen DeGeneres'. 

    "I think maybe you are scared of Brock Lesnar."—Jericho to Orton.

    "It only takes one RKO to get to Viperville. No enhancement needed."—Orton.

    Grade

    D+

    Analysis

    Yes, Orton issued some nice zingers, but this really should have been on TV instead. The fans seemed to be hungry for it to wrap up just as it started.

    The segment was too long for this format. Pay-per-views are meant to be tauter than Raw and SmackDown. There should be no dragging promos on the card.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns (WWE Championship)

10 of 10

    Credit: WWE.com

    Representing Raw, Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley watched the title clash from ringside. Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan, the heads of SmackDown, followed their lead.

    Seth Rollins tried to get his teammates to do The Shield's signature pose, but Roman Reigns responded with brute force.

    Each man traded the advantage. Rollins emerged in control of Dean Ambrose, picking apart the champion. The battle moved to the outside where the former allies brawled near the announcers' tables. 

    Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose traded shots until all their legs were wobbly. The Architect and The Lunatic Fringe formed a temporary alliance against Reigns that Rollins quickly dismantled. 

    Ambrose pounced on Reigns just as he speared Rollins, the champ hitting Dirty Deeds to ensure the victory. The SmackDown roster came out to celebrate.

    Result

    Ambrose wins via pinfall to retain the WWE Championship.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "The ire of the crowd aimed at Roman Reigns early."—Michael Cole.

    Ambrose leaps off the announcers' desk to crash into Rollins and Reigns.

    Reigns hits a mid-air Superman Punch on Rollins.

    "A battle of attrition at Battleground!"—Byron Saxton.

    Rollins and Ambrose powerbomb Reigns into the Spanish announcers' table.

    Reigns kicks out of the Pedigree.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    While not quite the classic many were hoping for between these three rivals, this was an electric main event.

    Excellent chemistry powered the action. The desperation of each competitor was palpable. WWE did well to play on The Shield's past.

    There was a bit too much talk of Raw and SmackDown pride, but Ambrose's win was clearly designed to boost the blue brand. After years of being inferior, the show is now set to be the exclusive home of the WWE champ. That's a major added reason to tune in.