WWE Battleground 2017 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJuly 24, 2017

WWE Battleground 2017 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    If WWE Battleground 2017 was a warm-up for SummerSlam, it was quite the tepid one at times.

    The jingoistic storylines from Sunday's pay-per-view most floundered. John Cena and Rusev clashed in a Flag match that felt like it went on for hours. Jinder Mahal outlasted Randy Orton in a battle inside the Punjabi Prison that couldn't overcome its convoluted gimmick.

    But where those big bouts missed the mark, The New Day's hunt for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship thrilled.

    And the event in Philadelphia had a good amount of action to savor. Poor endings often hurt those matches, though. A disqualification finish and a way-too-soon title change couldn't match the emotional climax of The New Day vs. The Usos in the opener.

    Which stories most clicked in the ring? Which stars flourished at Battleground?

    Read on for a full recap and breakdown of the PPV, from an upset on the pre-show to the last trek inside a bamboo structure we should see for a long time.

Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English (Pre-Show)

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    Aiden English crooned in the ring before the bout began.

    He controlled the action early against Tye Dillinger. The Perfect 10 struggled to get going as English stayed atop him.

    A fiery comeback saw Dillinger roll over English. That forced the heel to retreat and regroup.

    English survived a number of high-impact moves before scoring a surprise victory.

          

    Result

    English wins via pinfall.

              

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • English calls himself "the Shakespeare of song."
    • A knee to the back from English sends Dillinger's face into the turnbuckle.
    • Dillinger dropkicks English out of midair. 
    • English mocks Dillinger's "10" gesture.

         

    Grade

    C+

         

    Analysis

    A conversation-starting upset came after a solid bout with some good near-falls. This had absolutely no buzz beforehand and this feud has had no legs, though.

    English looked more formidable than he ever has as a solo act.

    It will be interesting to see if this was a fluke or WWE will get behind him. And will his momentum come at the cost of Dillinger's in the coming weeks? That would be a surprising move considering how popular Dillinger has been.

The Usos vs. The New Day (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)

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    Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods started strong, but some heel trickery gave The Usos the advantage. The champs slowed the pace down and battered Woods in their corner. 

    Eventually, Kingston charged in but soon found himself wobbly, as well.

    The Usos kept the pressure on. The New Day, though, showed heart to stave off victory. Woods hit a huge diving elbow drop to put away the titleholders after a missed splash.

    Result

    The New Day wins to become SmackDown tag champs.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • The New Day sports red, white and blue gear.
    • Woods flips Jey Uso over with a missile dropkick from the top rope.
    • The Usos catch Kingston diving outside the ring and powerbomb him onto the floor.
    • Woods hit Jey with a wheelbarrow face slam.
    • Jey superkicks Woods out of the air.
    • Fans chant "This is awesome!"

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    What a thriller of an opening match.

    High energy powered the action early and again in its final moments. Lots of big moves and dramatic near-falls revved up the crowd.

    The Usos looked tremendous in defeat. Woods and Kingston were the resilient challengers who refused to go down. 

    The tag team division will be mighty fun with The New Day on top, especially if Breezango gets to go after them at some point.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Baron Corbin

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    Shinsuke Nakamura taunted and evaded Baron Corbin early.

    The Lone Wolf caught his prey. He began to pound on Nakamura, smashing him in and outside the ring. He looked to squeeze the air out of the former NXT champ.

    Corbin managed to halt one of Nakamura's comebacks.

    When The King of Strong Style looked like he was closing on victory, though, Corbin hit him with a low blow. Corbin smiled as Nakamura writhed in pain.

    After the bell, Corbin laid out Nakamura with End of Days.

    Result

    Nakamura wins via disqualification.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Corbin blasts Nakamura's back into the security barricade.
    • Corbin upends Nakamura with a running clothesline.
    • "That counter there was brought to you by size and strength." — John "Bradshaw" Layfield
    • Nakamura hits a spinning, running kick.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    A quality, hard-hitting bout ended in underwhelming fashion.

    It's clear what WWE was trying to do here. It managed to give Nakamura a win while maintaining Corbin's momentum. It's a logical path to take, but a DQ is not the funnest way to cap off a slugfest like that.

    We started to see the old head-kicking Nakamura here and that was quite the welcome sight. SmackDown needs to let these two go at it in a Street Fight at some point.

Fatal 5-Way Elimination No. 1 Contender's Match

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    Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Lana vs. Natalya vs. Tamina

    Naomi sat in at commentary to see who would face her at SummerSlam for the SmackDown Women's Championship.

    Chaos marked the early part of the match. Lana clubbed her foes on the outside. The Ravishing Russian and Tamina then teamed up on Flair.

    Lynch ousted Tamina with a Dis-Arm-Her. Seconds later, she forced Lana to submit, too. 

    When only Natalya and Flair remained, The Hart Dungeon Diva countered a moonsault and pinned The Queen. Natalya and Naomi stared each other down before the heel stepped away.

    Result

    Natalya is the last Superstar standing to become No. 1 contender.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Tamina saves Lana from the Dis-Arm-Her with a superkick.
    • Flair spears Tamina through the ropes.
    • Flair muscles out of the Sharpshooter to nail a powerbomb.

    Grade

    B-

    Analysis

    Natalya getting the nod here is a bit of a surprise as Flair has teased a heel turn and is a star worthy of SummerSlam opposite Naomi. The vet will get a good match out of Naomi at the August event.

    The five-way clash had its moments but didn't have as much energy as one would like to see here.

    Lynch going on a mini-tear was fun. As was Flair fighting off the Tamina-Lana pairing. More standout stuff like that would have elevated the bout.

    It didn't help that there was a lapse in logic with Lana preventing Natalya from eliminating Flair.

AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens (United States Championship)

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    AJ Styles and Kevin Owens stuck to mat wrestling in the opening moments. A dropkick sent KO to the outside where the rivals turned things into a slugfest.

    That's where Owens thrived, grinding the champion into the canvas.

    The Phenomenal One battled back with high-impact signature moves. KO, though, remained in control for much of the contest.

    Owens threw Styles into the referee, leaving the official dazed. The ref recovered just in time to see Owens pinning Styles for the count of three.

    Result

    Owens wins via pinfall to regain the U.S. title.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Owens smashes Styles' groin into the ring post.
    • "That's why I'm the real champ!" — Owens
    • Styles pulls Owens off the top rope to put him in a Torture Rack.
    • Owens counters a Calf Crusher with a crossface.

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    Owens and Styles expertly executed a slow-burn story in the ring.

    A vicious Owens pounced on Styles after a slip-up. He was the proverbial shark smelling blood in the water.

    Action-wise, this was better than their title bout at Backlash, but the ending is baffling.

    Styles only just won the U.S. title. Switching champs again is deflating. Title changes don't have nearly the impact when they close out short reigns as opposed to after a champ can gain some real momentum with the belt. 

John Cena vs. Rusev (Flag Match)

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    Rusev wasted no time in going for the flag. He nailed Cena with one shot to the gut and looked to win this thing early.

    The match then took a grinding pace as the two rivals slugged it out.

    The Bulgarian Brute managed to wear down Cena. He retrieved the Bulgarian flag, but Cena knocked it out of his hands.

    A shot to the ring steps didn't bring Rusev down long enough for Cena to win. The two warriors battled on the entrance ramp. 

    Cena prevented Rusev from planting his flag and hit an Attitude Adjustment off the Old Glory-adorned podium to assure himself a win.

    Result

    Cena wins by planting the U.S. flag.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Cena nails Rusev with a bulldog off the top rope.
    • Rusev hits a sloppy powerbomb to counter Cena's diving leg drop.
    • Cena sends Rusev into the LED board.
    • Rusev clubs Cena with a flag stand.
    • "The flag flies high in Philadelphia in Battleground." — Tom Phillips

    Grade

    D

    Analysis

    A nationalist narrative provided no spark for a match where the stipulation got in the way. Too much of the bout featured slow climbing that lacked the suspense WWE was surely trying to create.

    The predictable contest was unable to accomplish much of anything.

    A few hard-hitting spots near the end upped the grade some. Cena vs. Rusev, though, dragged. And it sucked the life out of Battleground.

Sami Zayn vs. Mike Kanellis

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Sami Zayn had Mike Kanellis on the defensive to open the bout, smacking him around.

    A distraction from Maria Kanellis, though, allowed the heel to take over. Kanellis kicked and clotheslined Zayn until his legs wobbled.

    Maria stepped in to interrupt Zayn's comeback, but the underdog battled on anyway. A Helluva Kick earned Zayn the win.

    Result

    Zayn wins by pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Maria pulled Mike out of harm's way when Zayn set up for a tope.
    • "Power of love, meet the power of the Helluva Kick." — Byron Saxton

    Grade

    C-

    Analysis

    A TV match masqueraded as a PPV bout here. Neither Mike nor Zayn looked special in a so-so contest.

    Mike and Maria played up the love gimmick lots.

    Their act has only been moderately successful so far. We're not seeing enough of Mike's dangerous side yet. Losing his first PPV match certainly doesn't sell the audience on Mike as a threat, either.

Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton (Punjabi Prison; WWE Championship)

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    The Singh Brothers announced they wouldn't be at ringside; Mahal had to go it alone against Orton.

    The Viper began aggressively. He and Mahal soon hurried to escape the open door, but couldn't get past each other before the referees locked it.

    Mahal focused on Orton's arm as the two men traded blows.

    The Singh Brothers emerged and pulled out Mahal just as one of the doors locked. That left Orton inside the inner structure.

    A race to escape ensued, one where The Maharaja had the advantage as The Singh Brothers beat down the challenger.

    Orton went on a rampage. He had Mahal beat, but The Great Khali came out to prevent Orton from escaping.

    Result

    Mahal wins via escape to retain the WWE Championship.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Mahal wrenches Orton's arm around a bamboo bar in the cage.
    • Mahal hits a flying knee to prevent Orton from escaping.
    • Orton leaps from the inner structure to outer structure.
    • Orton whacked Mahal with a kendo stick.
    • Orton punches Samir Singh off the cage and onto a table.
    • Great Khali holds Orton by the throat as Mahal wins.

    Grade

    C-

    Analysis

    The plodding Punjabi Prison match was hard to see. Its convoluted rules hurt it. There was too much focus on doors opening and closing.

    Orton vs. Mahal was a slog for the most part. There was some brutality during the bout, but not enough to keep this from being a disappointing main event.

    A few big moments, many of which involved The Singh Brothers, saved this from being a disaster.

    WWE did Mahal no favors in making his title reign memorable in a positive way here. The Punjabi Prison concept needs to be shelved.