What’s the story?
The results of the 2017 Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards are out, and unfortunately, they do not paint a pretty picture for WWE. Case in point: WWE Battleground was voted the Worst Major Wrestling Show of 2017.
In case you didn’t know…
Each year, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter conducts fan votes to determine the best and worst of professional wrestling for a given calendar year. While most people focus on the positive awards, the negative ones can be just as critical in influencing pro wrestling in the years that follow.
This particular award goes to the shows that either put on the lowest-quality matches, have the biggest problems in terms of production, or otherwise leave fans with bad tastes in their mouths after said show has concluded.
The heart of the matter
WWE Battleground, which took place on July 23rd, 2017, was the third WWE PPV under the ‘Battleground’ name to win this dubious award. The show managed to actually resonate far worse with fans than a myriad of other shows that also came close to winning this award.
The runners-up for this award include NJPW Destruction in Fukushima, TNA Bound For Glory, and a whopping six other WWE PPVs: Roadblock: End of the line, Backlash, Payback, Clash of Champions, Survivor Series and even WrestleMania 33 itself.
WWE released their 2018 PPV schedule, and this year there isn’t an entry for Battleground. Instead, the July PPV will be Extreme Rules.
As for the immediate future, WrestleMania 34 is fast approaching, and pressure is on for WWE to put on a good show, especially in the face of mounting competition at the hands of NJPW and the growing fan interest in special shows like Strong Style Evolved and ‘All In’.
Battleground 2017 winning this award doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. The only good match on the card ended up being the opening bout between The New Day and the Usos. Everything that took place thereafter was a complete mess.
Baron Corbin and Shinsuke Nakamura somehow managed to have arguably the worst match of Nakamura’s career in a disjointed mess that made little sense from a storytelling perspective and featured an awful finish that made Nakamura look like a complete fool (Corbin appeared to be knocked out, and Nakamura doesn’t try and use common sense and pin him, but must instead do a move?!).
Both the women’s match and the Zayn/Kanellis match were forgettable and lacked anything memorable. It’s sad really, that WWE saddled with Mike Kanellis with a terrible gimmick from the get-go and then gives him a match with a great worker in Zayn without giving the fans a reason to care.
Cena and Rusev had an awful flag match that made it impossible to suspend disbelief, especially as Cena had to pretend that he couldn’t walk whenever he carried his flag. This match also apparently caused some anger among veterans attending/watching, because Cena let the U.S. flag drop to the ground, which is a major no-no in the United States.
Finally, the show ended with a dreadful Punjabi Prison match that, on top of it being almost impossible to see what was going on watching on TV (I can only imagine how bad it must’ve been for people there live in attendance), was overbooked and far more convoluted than any wrestling match need be.
Having the doors close (forever!) after sixty seconds and have interference from both the Singh brothers and the Great Khali only made the match more groan-inducing, and it felt like Orton was robbed of his victory, and the fans were robbed of their money.
Let’s just hope that WWE never brings that stipulation back ever again. Forgetting about fan reaction for a moment; the logistics of such a structure must be a nightmare, and it’s stupid to add such a thing when fans can’t even see what’s happening in the first place.
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