Following a surprising victory on the Battleground Kickoff where Aiden English defeated Tye Dillinger, the fifth annual WWE Battleground gets underway with gold on the line as The Usos would defend the SmackDown Tag Team Titles against The New Day’s Kofi Kingston & Xavier Woods, with Big E in their corner. During the match, The Usos would take Kofi Kingston out with a double powerbomb on the outside and this would leave Xavier Woods in a fight for survival against the SmackDown Tag Team Champions, repeatedly kicking out of just about everything that The Usos. After several minutes of punishment, Xavier is finally able to make the tag to Kofi Kingston as Xavier & Kofi hit a double team double stomp on Jimmy Uso, but Jimmy is able to kick out. Jimmy then blasts Kofi with a super kick before tagging in his brother Jey, who connects with the Uso Splash, but Kofi kicks out! Refusing to be denied, Kofi would hit Jey with Trouble in Paradise before tagging in Xavier, who hits his springboard elbow drop nearly all the way across the ring as Xavier Woods pins Jey Uso to win the SmackDown Tag Team Titles for The New Day! With The Usos looking visibly disappointed on the outside, The New Day would celebrate their historic title victory, becoming the first team in WWE history to win both the RAW and SmackDown Tag Team Titles!
After getting ambushed at WWE Money-in-the-Bank and several brawls in recent weeks, WWE Battleground would see “The Artist Known As” Shinsuke Nakamura go one-on-one with “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” Baron Corbin. After failing to put Shinsuke Nakamura away with the Deep Six, Nakamura would take Baron Corbin down before sizing “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” up for the Kinshasa. However, Corbin would remain motionless and, when Nakamura goes for a suplex, Baron would deliver a blatant low blow to “The Artist”, giving the win to Nakamura by disqualification. “Mr. Money-in-the-Bank” was not through with Nakamura there though as Baron Corbin would come back to the ring, using the briefcase as a weapon before planting Nakamura in the center of the ring with the End of Days. Baron Corbin then leaves the ring with a smile on his face as Shinsuke Nakamura is laid out in the ring.
With SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi a guest on commentary, the champion would have a front row seat to find out who she will be defending the SmackDown Women’s Title against at SummerSlam next month as “The Irish Lass Kicker” Becky Lynch, the self-proclaimed “Queen of Black Hearts” Natalya, “The Ravishing Russian” Lana, second-generation Superstar Tamina, and “The Queen” Charlotte Flair would compete in a Five-Way Elimination Match, with elimination occurring by pinfall, submission, disqualification, or count-out, with the winner of the match earning a match against Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s Title at SummerSlam. During the wild match, Tamina would save Lana from the Dis-Arm-Her, catching Becky Lynch with a super kick and following it up with a Samoan Drop. Lana then tries to pin Becky but Becky counters into the Dis-Arm-Her before Tamina again saves Lana! Tamina would go for another Samoan Drop but Becky would counter into the Dis-Arm-Her, making Tamina tap out to score the first elimination.
With her protection eliminated, Lana would be at the mercy of “The Irish Lass Kicker” as Becky locks in the Dis-Arm-Her on Lana as well, making “The Ravishing Russian” tap out to score the second elimination. However, there would be no time for celebration as Natalya would come back into the ring, surprising Becky with a roll-up and hooking the tights for the illegal advantage to eliminate Becky from the match, leaving it down to Natalya and Charlotte Flair! After a back-and-forth battle between the two multi-generational Superstars, Natalya would send Charlotte Flair head-first into the bottom turnbuckle before pinning Charlotte to win the match and earn the right to face Naomi for the SmackDown Women’s Title at “The Biggest Event of the Summer” SummerSlam. After the match, SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi would enter the ring to shake the hand of the new #1 Contender, but Natalya would refuse before leaving the ring.
Following AJ Styles’ unexpected win over Kevin Owens at a WWE Live Event at Madison Square Garden to win the United States Title, the rematch would take place at Battleground as “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles would defend the United States Championship against “The New Face of America” Kevin Owens. Early on in the match, the action would spill to the outside of the ring where AJ Styles would bounce Kevin Owens face-first off of the Spanish announce table before the challenger battles back, picking AJ and crotching the champion on the steel ring post. Later on in the back-and-forth title match, AJ Styles would go for the Phenomenal Forearm but Kevin Owens would roll out of the ring before tripping AJ up, making Styles land hard on his left shoulder on the ring apron! The challenger then sends Styles shoulder-first into the steel ring post before AJ strikes back with the Pele Kick. AJ then tries to go for the Styles Clash, but the damage to the shoulder would keep the champion from doing so before Owens tosses Styles away as AJ inadvertently collides with the referee, taking the official down!
Styles then checks on the referee but the distraction would give Kevin Owens the opportunity to catch AJ with a super kick before Owens would go for the Pop-Up Powerbomb, but AJ would counter before locking in the Calf Crusher. As the referee struggles to come to, Kevin Owens is able to counter the Calf Crusher into the Crossface before the champion counters into a Crossface of his own! The challenger then manages to counter the Crossface into a pinfall attempt and, with both men’s shoulders appearing to be down, the groggy referee would make the three count! Despite the questionable conclusion, Kevin Owens is declared the winner and the new United States Champion, securing his third reign as the United States Champion! Kevin Owens then celebrates as the new United States Champion as AJ Styles is left in disbelief in the ring.
In a battle for country pride, Battleground would feature the return of the Flag Match as sixteen-time former World Champion and proud American John Cena would go one-on-one with “The Bulgarian Brute” Rusev in a match where both men’s flags would be hung from a pole in opposing corners of the ring. To win the match, a competitor must climb up and successfully retrieve their country’s flag and carry the flag up the stage where they must firmly place their flag on the appropriate flag stand. During the match, John Cena would look for his leg drop off of the top rope, but Rusev would catch Cena with a powerbomb. Rusev then retrieves his Bulgarian flag from the pole, but Cena is able to stop Rusev from heading to the stage with his flag, catching Rusev with a dropkick. Cena then sends Rusev face-first into the pole before hitting “The Bulgarian Brute” with the Attitude Adjustment, leaving both men laid out. Cena is the first to his feet, coming close to retrieving the flag before Rusev pulls Cena off of the top rope before Cena is able to lock in the STF, making Rusev tap out. However, with submissions being rendered irrelevant in the Flag Match, Cena would keep the hold on until Rusev appears to pass out. Cena then retrieves the American flag but Rusev was lying in wait, blasting Rusev with a kick to the face.
A groggy Rusev then rolls out of the ring with his Bulgarian flag in hand before walking towards his flag stand. Having to make a choice to either stop Rusev or grab the American flag, Cena would choose to stop Rusev. Cena then heads back into the ring to pick up the American flag, bringing the flag to the outside before Rusev strikes, using the steel steps to take Cena down. Rusev then starts to carry his flag up the ramp, but Cena stops “The Bulgarian Brute”, bringing Rusev up to the stage and sending Rusev into the LED board! Cena then charges at Rusev, but Rusev catches Cena before tossing Cena with a Fallaway Slam on the stage! Rusev then chooses not to go for his flag at that moment as “The Bulgarian Brute” instead sets up two tables side-by-side on the stage! Rusev then brings Cena up to the top of the American podium, mocking Cena before lifting Cena up on his shoulders. However, Cena would fight out, tossing Rusev off of the podium. Cena then heads down to ringside and picks up the American flag before both men take each other out with a clothesline.
Cena then manages to grab his flag and literally crawl up the stage, but with Cena mere inches from winning the match, Rusev would grab the flag stand and use it as a weapon! Rusev then locks in the Accolade on Cena on the stage, wrenching at Cena until he’s convinced Cena is out of it. Rusev then grabs the Bulgarian flag, bringing it to the appropriate flag stand but before Rusev can put the flag in the stand, Cena is able to reach up and stop “The Bulgarian Brute”. Cena then looks for the Attitude Adjustment on Rusev, but Rusev manages to fight out before leveling Cena with a kick to the head. Rusev then tries to lock in the Accolade for a second time, but Cena powers out, carrying Rusev on his shoulders to the top of the podium before delivering the Attitude Adjustment to Rusev off of the podium with the Attitude Adjustment through the two tables on the stage! Cena then grabs Old Glory and places the flag firmly in its flag stand, securing the victory in a hard-fought battle between two proud patriots.
In the latest installment of The Fashion X-Files, Breezango would be confronted by The Ascension, who claim responsibility for trashing Breezango’s office. However, Breezango aren’t buying it, saying that they know that Konnor & Viktor were at the Eddie Money concert. The Ascension would deny going to the concert before Fandango shows the decapitated head of his beloved stuffed horse, Tully, which disgusts The Ascension before Breezango kicks The Ascension out of their office. This is when the lights go out and a scuffle is heard before both Tyler Breeze & Fandango are knocked out on the floor with an unknown person or persons slowly dragging Fandango away.
In a rematch from last week’s SmackDown LIVE, Battleground would see “The Underdog from the Underground” Sami Zayn go one-on-one with Mike Kanellis, with Maria Kanellis in his corner. During the match, Sami Zayn would look for the exploder suplex in the corner before Maria Kanellis gets in the ring to protect her husband. However, despite the interference, Sami would still hit the exploder suplex into the corner before connecting with the Helluva Kick, pinning Mike Kanellis to pick up the win.
Then it was time for the main event as, for the first time in ten years, the intimidating Punjabi Prison would be present on pay-per-view as the structure would be lowered around the ring for just the third Punjabi Prison Match in WWE history as “The Modern Day Maharaja” Jinder Mahal would defend the WWE Championship against “The Viper” Randy Orton inside the evil structure. The Punjabi Prison is made of steel-reinforced bamboo with the inner structure standing at sixteen feet with four small doors each guarded by a referee. At any time during the match, a competitor can call for a referee to open one of the doors with the door remaining open for just sixty seconds before being closed for the remainder of the match. The outer structure stands at twenty feet with no doors at all with the only way to win the match is by escaping both structures and landing on the floor. Whoever is able to escape the Punjabi Prison first will walk out as the WWE Champion. Almost as soon as the match begins, Jinder Mahal would call for one of the doors to be opened and the door would remain open for sixty seconds with both men scrambling to try and escape, but the time would expire and the door would be chained shut for the rest of the match.
Jinder Mahal would then work on the left arm of Randy Orton, trying to weaken “The Viper”, before the champion calls for another door to be opened. The referee opens the door and the sixty seconds begins to tick away with Orton managing to keep Jinder from escaping through the door as the time expires and the second door is chained shut. Jinder then tries to scale the inner structure but Orton is quick to pull the champion down, racking Jinder up on the top rope. Orton then uses a unique suplex to slam Jinder into the side of the inner structure before doing it a second time. The challenger then calls for a door to be opened but neither man is able to get through the open door in time as the third door is chained shut. Orton then takes advantage in the match before “The Viper” calls for the final door to be opened. With the clock ticking down, Orton would size the champion up for the RKO before both men go for counters as Jinder would look for the Khallas, but Orton counters with the RKO! However, this is when The Singh Brothers would emerge from underneath the ring, pulling Jinder Mahal out of the open door with Randy just barely unable to get through the door before the time expires as the fourth and final door is chained shut! As The Singh Brothers help Jinder Mahal come to in order to begin climbing the outer structure, Randy Orton has no choice but to scale the inner structure. “The Viper” manages to climb up and over the inner structure before stepping over to the outer structure, putting Jinder and Orton at equal height!
Champion and challenger then battle to knock the other off of their perch with Randy Orton managing to knock Jinder Mahal to the floor but the advantage is rendered useless by The Singh Brothers, who pull Orton down to the floor. Jinder then levels the challenger with a forearm before starting to climb the outer structure. The champion then starts to climb the outer structure as Orton takes out one of The Singh Brothers with a suplex on the floor. “The Viper” then manages to pull Jinder to the floor before Orton suplexes one of The Singh Brothers on the floor while tossing the other into the structure. Jinder then uses a kendo stick to try and wear down the challenger but Randy would battle back before getting a kendo stick of his own, using the stick to punish the champion as well as take out one of The Singh Brothers. With the damage visible on the back of “The Viper”, Orton would use his one good arm to slowly climb the outer structure, but Samir Singh is able to slip through one of the holes in the Punjabi Prison! Samir then scales the structure on the outside, trying to stop Randy from continuing his climb. With both men near the top of the twenty-foot outer structure, Orton would pummel Samir with methodical right hands, making Samir lose his grip as Samir plummets nearly twenty feet, crashing through the announce table!
Jinder Mahal then tries to pull Randy Orton down from the structure before the champion climbs up with Jinder and Randy again trying to knock the other down. Both champion and challenger then fall back down to the floor before Jinder gets caught up in the outer structure, allowing Orton to plant Mahal with his signature DDT on the floor! “The Viper” then pulls a steel chair out from under the ring, using the chair to take out Sunil Singh before methodically wearing the champion out with multiple chair shots to the back and mid-section. With his left arm still giving him trouble, Orton would try to climb the outer structure again with Sunil Singh doing his best to pull the challenger down. However, Orton would manage to kick Sunil to the floor before “The Viper” attempts to continue the climb. This is when the crowd in attendance, as well as Randy Orton, would be shocked by the return of the inventor of the Punjabi Prison Match, The Great Khali!
The towering seven-foot former World Heavyweight Champion would approach the outer structure while Randy would quickly try to climb out but “The Viper” was not quick enough as Khali would grab the wall of the outer structure, shaking the structure violently until Randy nearly plummets to the floor, but Orton manages to avoid the devastating fall. With Orton now halfway up the structure, The Great Khali would actually climb up to meet Randy as the seven-footer grabs Orton by the throat, choking the challenger out as Jinder Mahal taunts “The Viper” before Mahal climbs up and over the outer structure, landing on the floor as, with a gigantic assist from The Great Khali, Jinder Mahal survives the Punjabi Prison Match, retaining the WWE Championship in stunning fashion! After the match, Khali tosses a lifeless Randy Orton to the floor before celebrating with Jinder Mahal, holding up the WWE Title before putting it on the shoulder of “The Modern Day Maharaja” as Jinder enlists an old friend to provide a giant assist to help him retain the WWE Title.
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