The Punjabi Prison Match failed to deliver

Joshua Waddles
Staff Writer

Battleground failed to live up to the hype. At least for the main event and obligatory John Cena spotlight. The WWE’s booking was bad and the creative team should feel bad.

The PPV started on a high note, but anything involving The New Day is guaranteed to be great. Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin and AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens were both very good in my opinion, though many fans were let down by way these matches ended. John Cena sucked the energy out of the show and the Punjabi Prison Match was just a mess.

The New Day vs The Usos

The New Day is a top-level faction, on the same tyre as The Wyatt Family and The Shield. We have not gotten to see much of them on SMACKDOWN and the fans have missed them.

The Usos are a great team too, and even though they dropped the belts, they looked great in defeat.

This was the best match of the show.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Baron Corbin

Baron Corbin has his critics who say he’s just a generic big guy heel (bad guy), but his matches are physical and a little brutality is a good thing for these matches.

The WWE is betting hard on Shinsuke Nakamura. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen the WWE hype a wrestler so hard, and he’ll certainly be in the World Title Picture soon after Jinder Mahal’s reign runs its course (which might be a while).

Although the match was a great slug fest, a lot of fans felt like the WWE copped out by having Baron Corbin lose by DQ with a low blow. The WWE clearly doesn’t want Nakamura to lose, nor do they want Corbin to lose clean.

Although I had no problem with how this match ended, I can certainly see why other fans disagree. During a PPV, fans expect something better than these DQ cop outs that they get on SMACKDOWN or RAW and the WWE did not deliver.

AJ Styles vs Kevin Owens

In this case, fans are a little cross because AJ Styles dropped The United States Title after a very short title reign.

The entire situation with The United States Title has become strange at this point. AJ Styles won the title from Kevin Owens at a dark show. It wasn’t even televised. I’m not necessarily complaining, it’s just weird.

Although the short title reign was my biggest gripe over Bray Wyatt losing his belt, I can’t really be broken up over that in the case of Styles vs Owens. If anything, I’d be more mad about Owens losing it in an un-televised match (since I’m more of an Owens fan than a Styles fan). But my opinion is that the Styles vs Owens feud is probably still heating up.

If I’m wrong and they end the feud now, then I’ll admit that the whole thing was terrible.

John Cena vs Rusev

The appearance of John Cena marked the beginning of the end. The odds of Cena ever losing a match are very low to begin with, but add to that the stipulation of a Flag Match and a patriot angle. The winner would be the guy who waved his country’s flag.

If I had bet $100 against a nickel that Rusev would win that match, I don’t think anybody who knows a thing about wrestling would take that wager.

The match dragged on forever, both wrestlers acting tired and broken as they struggled to climb the ladders. The WWE, apparently, was expecting the crowd to shout “Be strong, Cena! All of America needs you to win!” Instead, the reaction was more like “Sweetie, it looks like this is gonna drag on a while. Want me to grab you some popcorn or a drink?”

Jinder Mahal vs Randy Orton

The Great Khali is back! I was glad to see this, because I kinda missed that guy.

But the match was a hot mess. First of all, it was very hard to see the wrestlers from the outside, especially once they got to the inner chamber. It was more tolerable for home viewers, because the WWE had cameras inside the outer chamber. But for the people who paid to see the match in person, they were craning their necks to try and see the screen at the end of the arena.

The match failed to deliver on the brutality I was expecting, but that’s probably for the best. I never want a wrestler to get hurt to begin with, but it would be doubly stupid if they risked injury on a match that people couldn’t even see.

Jinder Mahal is a good heel champion and whoever designed The Punjabi Prison really let him down. The fans don’t really dislike Mahal as much as they dislike certain other wrestlers, but they never really got drawn in with him. This match should have been the match that made Mahal a legend: both he and Randy Orton had all the tools to put out the match of a lifetime. Instead, it was pretty much just Ashley Simpson at the Super Bowl.


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