WWE Battleground 2017 Fallout – Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE Battleground 2017 Fallout – Triple Threat POV

Posted by Robert DeFelice Thursday, July 27, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Robert DeFelice, Callum Wiggins and Wes Keefer will be giving their opinions on the fallout and repercussions of WWE Battleground 2017.

It is full speed ahead on the road to SummerSlam, and following a somewhat lackluster Battleground, the Smark Out Moment crew is here to talk what's next for the big blue.

Question 1: Heading into SummerSlam we have our first championship match, Natalya vs. Naomi for the SmackDown Live Women's Championship. Were you surprised to see Natalya win? Who do you think will pick up the win in Brooklyn?

DeFELICE: To say that I was surprised by the ending of the Fatal Five Way at WWE Battleground would be a great understatement. I was expecting a win by Becky Lynch leading to a babyface vs. babyface encounter that would maybe see the Lass Kicker turn heel. Instead, we got Natalya turning chaos into opportunity by picking up the upset victory. The only time that she had ever crossed my mind as a possible victor was during her entrance when Tom Phillips set on commentary that she has one pay-per-view appearance away from tying Trish's record. While the victory was a surprise, I am more than okay with this and this is a long time coming.

Natalya and Naomi are the perfect pair to light a fire in the SmackDown Live Women's Championship picture. These are two tremendously athletically gifted women who both have chips on their shoulder because they have felt like they're the best respectfully for quite some time even before a lot of people cared what the girls were doing with their television time. If they can tap into that bitterness and couple it with their athletic ability, then they can easily steal the show at SummerSlam.

WIGGINS: The decision for Natalya to win the Fatal Five Way is baffling, and one I can only assume that was done for shock value more than any long-term planning, although I'll be happy to be proved wrong on that. Natalya is a very good wrestler, and I don't feel that every major women's match in WWE today has to include one of the Four Horsewomen. But, she has no character at the moment, zero momentum since WrestleMania and hopeless promo skills. This match screams SummerSlam Kickoff Show to me, and that is a shame for one of the two women's title matches on the second biggest PPV of the year.

Will this match be good? More than likely - Naomi and Natalya are both very athletic and talented in the ring. But will anyone care? I'm not confident about that, but anything is possible. After such a shocking outcome I'm going to give it a chance, but after how Battleground as a whole went down, I feel like I'm going to eventually be left thinking "Charlotte was the right choice all along."

KEEFER: Natalya getting the victory was something that I did not expect, especially with all of the other competitors involved. I even expected Tamina to win before Natalya did. Natalya is not really on a path right now in WWE and seems to be soon bringing her career on its final leg. Now that we are "stuck" with her as the number one contender, what will happen next?

Natalya is a fantastic competitor in the ring and deserves an excellent send-off for the end of her career, but I just don't think she should be competing for a title over the likes of Charlotte or Lynch at this point. The SummerSlam title match will be worth watching, as both women are talented. We can only hope that this match does not show up on the Kickoff Show and lasts longer than eight minutes. I was shocked at Battleground, but I will be baffled and utterly up in arms if Natalya comes away with the title. She is just stale right now with minimum momentum in her favor.

Question 2: John Cena picked up a victory on Sunday in a very unconventional Flag Match. Shinsuke Nakamura picked up a DQ victory over Baron Corbin. Both men could arguably be called the biggest star of the blue brand currently. With that being said, who do you think is being used more effectively and why?

WIGGINS: Asking who out of John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura is being utilized more effectively at the moment is like asking which brand's tag division is most credible right now - the answer is neither. It was quite evident that Cena was checked out of his feud with Rusev, and just going through the motions before he can leave to film another movie. Ah, the American Dream. On the other hand, Nakamura has gone from an international sensation in NJPW and NXT and become your typical babyface in peril on SmackDown. He's wildly charismatic, has hard kicks and an amazing entrance, and those are the only things that separate him from a Sami Zayn or Chad Gable at this point as far as booking goes.

Should one of them be the biggest star on SmackDown Live? I think it's pretty cemented that John Cena is still the biggest star in WWE today, and that won't change until he leaves for good. As for Shinsuke Nakamura, I'm not convinced yet he will make it as the top draw of the blue brand - AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn are all just as talented in the ring going by the WWE style, and all have the advantage of strong promo skills that Nakamura arguably will never live up to. However, I'll say that going forward I expect Cena to be pushed closer to the summit of SmackDown Live, as he appears poised to end Jinder Mahal's reign of tedium.

KEEFER: The blue brand certainly has plenty of top talent as their disposal, from Randy Orton and AJ Styles to Kevin Owens and "Jinder Mahal" (The WWE Champion has to be at least in the talk of the top talent, otherwise you just stew over the fact that WWE put a jobber at the top of the ladder. John Cena is the face of the company, as always, and Shinsuke Nakamura is a fresh face for the company who is an international sensation.

John Cena is being used more effectively than Shinsuke, which is sad in a way since Cena seems lost himself. He is having a lackluster feud with Rusev as SmackDown is milking it with all the stereotypical characters and matches. Cena recently mentioned his days are numbered and deserves the same swan song Natalya is experiencing- chasing a title. It wouldn't even have to be the WWE Championship. When he held the US Title and conducted open challenges, that was some of his best work in recent memory. Shinsuke, on the other hand, may never be named in the list of the best on SmackDown. At 37, Shinsuke is nearly the end of his career as well. But he is being wasted with WWE. His debut feud with Dolph Ziggler teased a lot of promise from the international star and he was quite impressive in NXT. He is not being booked strongly, keeps coming up short in big matches, and keeps getting wins via DQ and interference.

DeFELICE: The blue brand definitely has its fair share of stars. Randy Orton, Baron Corbin, Charlotte, and AJ Styles just to name a few. However, perhaps the biggest names on the roster belong to John Cena and Shinsuke Nakamura. Both men are coming out of somewhat awkward situations following the Battleground pay-per-view, John won a very competitive, albeit hokey Flag Match against Rusev. Meanwhile, Shinsuke picked up a DQ victory after Corbin kicked Nakamura in his sackamura. I don't think it's arguable that both men could be doing much more important things on the brand right now. But, if I had to choose one that they should stay the course with, it would be Nakamura.

John has made it clear that this isn't his full-time gig anymore. Therefore, I think his time should be used to benefit the top of the card. Nakamura, on the other hand, is doing the best he can in the main roster environment. The thing that would make his time better is if he was more scarcely shown but that would make him a part-time guy. The things that would make Nakamura better would require a whole new format for the main roster television shows and time to re-educate the audience to the new format. That being said, I think he just needs a major match, like AJ, at SummerSlam. John needs that WWE title but more on that below.

Question 3: Jinder Mahal picked up the victory in the Punjabi Prison Match due to the return of The Great Khali. What's next for the Modern Day Maharajah and the Punjabi Goliath?

DeFELICE: As soon as I heard Jinder's theme hit as Randy was climbing, I groaned. I knew exactly what was coming and 20 seconds later, he lumbered back onto our screens. "We couldn't get through one of these without this fucking guy?!" Is the message I sent out to most of my friends. I really hope we're not supposed to be getting excited for Randy vs Khali at SummerSlam. I really hope that all it is one RKO on SmackDown and that's it. I'll take Randy in a Handicap Match against the Singh Brothers in Brooklyn, hell he can even grab a partner in AJ Styles or Sami Zayn. Just please do not tell me to get excited for The Great Khali on any card in 2017.

Jinder Mahal is a totally different story. He has more than proven his worth and continues to bust his ass every time I see him. He should go one on one with John Cena at SummerSlam. It would really solidify him as a top guy and it would allow John to work a more traditional main event style like he used to. I would ultimately like to see John be champion now and hold it for a very long time but Jinder Mahal has impressed us all. That was a pretty sweet rhyme but it's also the truth. He's the man right now and working with John will only elevate him in the long run. Hell, even if it all ends right after Brooklyn, he's had one memorable run and I'm sure that's all he was looking for.

WIGGNS: I like Mr. DeFelice and credit his excellent writing style, but I completely disagree with his assessment of Jinder Mahal. The raspy-voiced, dull-as-dishwater Canadian motherfucker has been an absolutely atrocious WWE Champion. If he was back to being the jobber that he deserves to be or even in the midcard scene, Mahal would be more tolerable because the creative team wouldn't have to place so much focus on him. But because he's carrying what used to be considered the most valuable championship in WWE, he gets 20-30 minute segments and matches that badly expose his numerous flaws. And now we have to look forward to seeing the Great Khali, three years older and even less mobile than his last appearance, feuding with Randy Orton, in what I can only presume is a punishment from some all-powerful entity.

I have plenty of ideas about what I'd like to happen next with Jinder Mahal and The Great Khali, but I'm worried typing them out here could be viewed as evidence somewhere down the road. So, instead, I'll just say that I hope whoever Mahal defends the title against at SummerSlam, be it John Cena, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura or the Gobbledy Fucking Gooker, he drops it and tumbles down the card faster than it takes a Singh brother to plummet through an announce table.

KEEFER: Both of my colleagues have excellent points and have taken a stand at each end of the spectrum when it comes to Jinder Mahal. I also hate to fall for the gimmick of "middle man", but it is where I stand. First, I must say that while the return of Khali was a surprise and a nice twist to the match, it does put a dent in Mahal's future. He already had the Singh Brothers, fair enough. Bringing in Khali hurts Mahal with the fact that it shows Mahal to be weak and that he needs more muscle to defend his title. When, not if, Mahal drops the belt this year, all of this will end up backfiring and slingshotting Mahal back to jobber status. I dislike his gimmick very much, as WWE is just using him to enter the scene in India. God forbid TNA and GFW take over India (they can barely get in competition in the States, so WWE could throw them a bone and least give them one area where they can get some popularity). While none of Mahal's gimmicks have struck right with me, not all hope is lost.

Here comes my middle-man status. Yes, Mahal is slowly sinking back down the ladder. It doesn't have to be that way. I agree with Mr. DeFelice in that Mahal has actually been showing improvement as a wrestler overall. He has given better promos and he does work his ass off every week in the ring to prove he can be a champion. Can he be a top guy? Most likely not, but he can be a solid wrestler a few tiers down from the likes Cena, Orton, and Styles. However, he needs a fresh gimmick and needs to end the run as the stereotypical Indian. He has proven he can least make a run for a midcard title, but him losing the title to Cena could be a good thing for him. He can lose the title one on one in a hard fought match with the future Hall of Famer and can be repackaged and at least be successful in the midcard and not as a jobber.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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Robert DeFelice is a journalist and marketing student. You can follow him on Twitter, Instagram as well as his apparel website Time Killer Apparel and his pro wrestling blog PandemoniuMania.


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