The fifth annual WWE Battleground was a SmackDown LIVE exclusive pay-per-view and it came to you, live, from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. After having the WWE Championship shockingly taken from him by Jinder Mahal at Backlash and failing to regain the title at WWE Money-in-the-Bank in his hometown of St. Louis, thanks to The Singh Brothers using Randy’s Hall of Fame father “Cowboy” Bob Orton to bait “The Viper” out of the ring to ultimately allow Jinder Mahal to pick up the win, Orton would be focused on getting payback for his father. Randy Orton would demand he get another shot at Jinder Mahal and SmackDown LIVE Commissioner Shane McMahon would agree to Orton’s demands but would also give Jinder the option to choose what kind of match it would be. To everyone’s surprise, the WWE Champion would choose the dormant Punjabi Prison Match, which had not been seen in ten years!
The Punjabi Prison Match will see both Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton locked inside two steel-reinforced bamboo structures with the inner structure standing at sixteen feet and the outer structure standing at twenty feet. The only way to win the Punjabi Prison Match is by escaping both bamboo structures with both feet touching the floor. However, this would be much easier said than done as the inner structure will have four small doors installed with a referee standing guard at each and, at any point during the match, a Superstar can call for the door to be opened and the referee will leave the door open for only sixty seconds before the door is shut for good. Once a competitor escapes the inner structure, either through one of the doors or by climbing over the top, then the competitor must climb up and over the twenty-foot outer structure and successfully land on the floor! With the WWE Championship on the line in one of the most unique and dangerous matches in WWE history, can Randy Orton survive the Punjabi Prison Match and walk out with his fourteen World Title or will Jinder Mahal prove that he doesn’t need The Singh Brothers to survive as WWE Champion?
At Backlash a couple of months ago, AJ Styles would challenge Kevin Owens for the United States Championship and, in this match, Kevin Owens would take full advantage of AJ Styles getting caught up in the German announce table at ringside as Owens would retain the title by count-out. Fast-forward to two months later and the roles are reversed as, after a surprising win over Kevin Owens at a WWE Live Event at Madison Square Garden earlier this month, AJ Styles is the new United States Champion while Kevin Owens finds himself as the challenger for his former prize. Now it all comes down to Battleground where “The Phenomenal One” will put the United States Championship on the line against “The New Face of America”. Can AJ Styles walk out of Philadelphia as the United States Champion or will Kevin Owens prove that AJ’s win at Madison Square Garden was a fluke?
Perhaps there is no better city to see the return of the Flag Match than the place where the Constitution of the United States of America was signed, Philadelphia, as proud American patriot John Cena returns to pay-per-view to face a proud Bulgarian patriot Rusev. In a rivalry renewed out of patriotic pride, Rusev would make his return on the Fourth of July episode of SmackDown LIVE, interrupting John Cena’s return. On America’s birthday, “The Bulgarian Brute” would insult the United States of America and its inhabitants and, while Rusev refused the Flag Match on that night, Rusev would have to go one-on-one with John Cena in a Flag Match at Battleground. In the Flag Match, the respective flags of John Cena and Rusev will be displayed on poles in opposing corners with the first person to not only successfully retrieve their country’s flag but bring it up the stage and place it firmly in the flag stand will be declared the winner! In America’s most historic city, can John Cena do his country proud by winning the Flag Match or will Rusev “crush” the hopes of John Cena and the American people?
After The Usos took the easy way out at WWE Money-in-the-Bank when they took an intentional count-out loss to The New Day in order to keep their SmackDown Tag Team Titles, things between these two teams have gotten more and more personal, especially after the Rap Battle between them a few weeks ago. Now it all comes down to Battleground where The New Day will get their rematch as they will challenge The Usos for the SmackDown Tag Team Titles. The Usos have owned the SmackDown LIVE tag team division since winning the titles back in March but can The New Day be the team that dethrones The Usos or will The Usos take a major step in proving that they are untouchable as champions?
Ever since Baron Corbin tried to take Shinsuke Nakamura out of the Men’s Money-in-the-Bank Ladder Match at WWE Money-in-the-Bank, Shinsuke Nakamura has seemingly had Baron Corbin all figured out as “The Artist” has repeatedly fought off Baron Corbin’s attempts to attack him from behind, resulting in multiple brawls between the two Superstars. This will all come to a head at Battleground when “The Artist Known As” Shinsuke Nakamura goes one-on-one with “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Baron Corbin. Also at Battleground, after interference from Maria Kanellis allowed her husband, Mike Kanellis, to pick up the win in his SmackDown LIVE in-ring debut against Sami Zayn this past Tuesday night, the rematch would take place at Battleground as “The Underdog from the Underground” Sami Zayn would go one-on-one with Mike Kanellis.
Battleground would also see a new #1 Contender for the SmackDown Women’s Championship determined in a Five-Way Elimination Match as “The Irish Lass Kicker” Becky Lynch, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Black Hearts” Natalya, “The Ravishing Russian” Lana, the second-generation Superstar Tamina, and “The Queen” Charlotte Flair would compete in the free-for-all where elimination can occur by either pinfall, submission, disqualification, or count-out with the winner of the match earning a match with Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s Title at “The Biggest Event of the Summer” SummerSlam! Which Superstar can survive the Five-Way Elimination Match and earn their chance to claim the top prize in the SmackDown LIVE Women’s Division in the first ever SmackDown Women’s Title match at SummerSlam?
- Kickoff Match: Aiden English def. Tye Dillinger by pin following a modified full nelson slam.
- SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston (with Big E) def. The Usos (c) by Xavier Woods pinning Jey Uso (c) following the springboard elbow drop to win the SmackDown Tag Team Titles.
- Shinsuke Nakamura def. Baron Corbin by DQ after an intentional low blow.
- #1 Contender’s Five-Way Elimination Match: Natalya def. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, Lana, & Tamina to become the #1 Contender for the SmackDown Women’s Title at SummerSlam.
- Becky Lynch elim. Tamina by submission to the Dis-Arm-Her.
- Becky Lynch elim. Lana by submission to the Dis-Arm-Her.
- Natalya elim. Becky Lynch by roll-up with the tights.
- Natalya elim. Charlotte Flair by pin after sending Charlotte Flair head-first into the bottom turnbuckle.
- United States Championship: Kevin Owens def. AJ Styles (c) by countering the Crossface into a pinfall to win the United States Title.
- Flag Match: John Cena def. Rusev following the Attitude Adjustment off of the American flag podium through two tables.
- Sami Zayn def. Mike Kanellis (with Maria Kanellis) by pin following the Helluva Kick.
- WWE Championship: Punjabi Prison Match: Jinder Mahal (c) def. Randy Orton after interference from The Great Khali to retain.
See page 2 for detailed results.