7/23/15 – Scott Strandberg – @wrestlerosters
Wrestler of the Week – The Undertaker
In a week that didn’t have any especially standout wrestling matches, Wrestler of the Week goes to the man who made the biggest impact on the industry over the last seven days. While Taker didn’t wrestle a match, his return at Battleground was one of the most thrilling moments in recent WWE history. Taker systematically dismantled Brock Lesnar with a low blow, a chokeslam and two Tombstone piledrivers, making Lesnar look mortal for the first time since defeating Taker at Wrestlemania XXX.
Undertaker was the focus of Monday Night Raw, as he opened the show with a very effective promo. Taker indicated that he’s done using smoke and mirrors, and that he is simply a man out for revenge. This was a smart direction for the character after Lesnar was completely unimpressed with Taker’s dark magic leading up to WM30. The brawl between the two later in the show required two full segments, emptied out the locker room, and felt like all the best parts of the Attitude Era had been captured in one memorable sequence.
Match of the Week – Randy Orton vs. Sheamus (WWE Battleground)
While Lesnar’s showdown with Seth Rollins was a far more memorable exchange as a pure spectacle, the best actual wrestling match of the week was one that nobody really wanted to see. Orton and Sheamus have wrestled each other countless times on TV and PPV, and there wasn’t much of a build at all to their match at Battleground. Still, the match was a great reminder of how peerlessly smooth Orton is, and how much fun he can be when he’s allowed to cut loose a bit.
To be fair, Orton vs Sheamus sort of wins this week by default. John Cena vs Kevin Owens should have won, but the match’s excessive false finishes — and horribly booked actual finish — left a bad enough taste in my mouth to give the award to Orton and Sheamus. Furthermore, there were no particularly noteworthy matches in TNA, NXT, Ring of Honor or Lucha Underground this week.
So, Orton vs Sheamus is your match of the week, but that doesn’t mean it was anything all that special.
Quote of the Week – “I will kill you!” “You’re going to have to!” (Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, WWE Raw)
With this one simple exchange, Lesnar and Taker kicked their feud into high gear. Lesnar and Taker engaged in one of the most epic brawls in recent history, starting in the ring and making their way through the backstage area. The pure intensity shown by both men — including this rare, but very effective, verbal exchange — was all WWE needed to sell fans on their Summerslam match. Even if both Lesnar and Taker remain off television until Summerslam, the groundwork for a thrilling confrontation has been laid.
Honorable mention: “He got him with that tricep meat! TRICEP MEAT!” Xavier Woods, WWE Battleground
- Dario Cueto prepares Lucha Underground for Ultima Lucha – Dario Cueto might be the most compelling character in wrestling right now, and this week’s episode of Lucha Underground was a great example. Cueto loomed over the entire show, dishing out “unique opportunities” and major announcements as only he can. His declaration of Ultima Lucha as a two-week event, and the big reveal of The Gift of the Gods, felt all the more important due to Cueto’s natural charisma — and the mystique of the character itself.
- Charlotte takes Divas Division by storm – Despite being called up alongside two other very talented women (Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch), Charlotte has needed all of one week to become a standout star on the main roster. Charlotte picked up back-to-back submission victories over Brie Bella at Battleground and on Raw, and the fan response has been overwhelmingly positive.
- Tap Owens Tap – While the match’s booking left much to be desired, Cena and Owens certainly did everything they could with what they were given. The two men showed once again why they’re considered to be among the best wrestlers in the world today, with a creative match full of counters and clever spots. Owens’ inverted shoulderbreaker to Cena was especially great, sparking JBL on commentary to immediately shout “What in the hell was THAT?!”