WWE Talk: Kurt Angle, Shane McMahon and Battleground PPV preview

Nathan Burke column on the road to WWE SummerSlam
WWE, Kurt Angle, Shane McMahon, Battleground, PPV

Kevin Owens.

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Last Monday on WWE RAW, Kurt Angle’s secret was revealed. While all the clues from the past two months would insinuate that this mystery could ruin Kurt’s career, the unkown person in question turned out to be none other that American Alpha’s own, Jason Jordan. Apparently, before Angle became The Olympic Hero, he had a fling with a young lady in college who would later give birth to Kurt’s child, unbeknownst to him. So, the two embraced in the ring, father and son, meeting for the very first time. It was a beautiful moment.
The best part about it is, some people believed it. Sure, some portion of the internet will believe almost anything you throw at it, but this? What worked well for this storyline is that it comes at a time when most story arcs in WWE are reality based, to some degree. After CM Punk’s “Reality Era,” we have shifted toward feuds based more on backstage politics and real life rivalries, or at least the illusion of them. So, to see this kind of Attitude Era/Jerry Springer style storyline in 2017 is a bit of a square peg. It doesn’t fit with the tone of the current product, which made it somewhat believable. I’m excited that Jason Jordan is getting this kind of a push, and it looks like that’s where this story might be heading. It feels like the beginnings of a heel turn, as Jordan becomes the spoiled son of the General Manager. Like a little league coach’s kid getting to play shortstop every game, Kurt is going to give Jason Jordan every opportunity he can while denying that he’s helping him along the way. Hopefully something sticks for Jordan with the audience, who may be able to capitalize on this real life opportunity.
But now we’re on to Battleground. Yet another minor Pay-per-View for the Smackdown brand. But much like the episode of Raw or Smackdown before a PPV, this is the minor PPV before a major PPV. Summerslam is right around the corner, so Battleground might be simply setting up feuds to carry over to the bigger show. While there are some good matches, don’t expect any significant story development at this one. Though, it will be interesting to see if they decide to incorporate Shane McMahon’s real life helicopter crash into a story. Normally WWE wouldn’t take a near death experience so lightly, but this is a McMahon we’re talking about.
Another minor story development we are going to see is the final reveal of yet another WWE mystery. Who attacked the Fashion Police? The assailants left a note that simply said “Battleground,” so they will make themselves known on Sunday. While I could watch four more years of Fashion Files, I am curious to find out if this is a new tag team entering from NXT or maybe an old one returning. Either way, mystery is always alluring and has been utilized excessively as of late, and the “Fashion Files” have been some of the best segments in years. Hopefully it will be worth the wait, and not another tag team breakup. My heart wouldn’t be able to handle a Breezango split.
There are a few matches on this card that are a bit hastily thrown together. The flag match between John Cena and Rusev is a cheap pop of a stipulation, but these two have worked together well in the past. The match itself with likely be pretty good, but the outcome is relatively meaningless. Similarly, I don’t expect Shinsuke Nakamura to be feuding with Baron Corbin after Battleground, since he’s made it clear that he has his sights set on the U.S. Championship. This is where it gets exciting. A.J. Styles and Kevin Owens will have an incredible match on Sunday. How can they not? But even more important is that it may lead us into a Summerslam U.S. Championship match between Shinsuke and Styles. While they have battled in Japan, this is a first for WWE, and it will be something very special. This was teased at Money in the Bank as well, so the likelihood of this classic matchup is very high. 
Unfortunately, we probably won’t see a Women’s Championship defense by Naomi until Summerslam. But there will be a 5-way elimination match to determine the number one contender. It’s a shame that they still feel the need to herd every woman together into one match at these events, but maybe it will result in Naomi vs. Charlotte at Summerslam. I, for one, would love to see arguably the two best female athletes in the WWE go at it for the title. We also have another Uso vs. New Day Tag Team Championship match to look forward to. I’m not sure if this one will travel to Summerslam or not, but they have been having some stellar matches together. And that rap battle wasn’t too bad either. Since they are the two most decorated tag team in the last decade, it’s a fitting feud that might not be getting as much attention as it deserves.
The main event is the return of the Punjabi Prison match. A match long forgotten, mostly because of its inability to deliver. Then again, we were working with the athleticism and the tinman joints of The Great Khali. So, maybe Orton and Jinder can pull this off. It’s fair to say that any Indian wrestler from here on out will be forced to have a Punjabi Prison match at least once in their career. But fine, they had this structure hanging around in a stock room somewhere and figured they might as well use it. It’s a bamboo cage inside a bamboo cage. It’s a bamboo cage inception match. As much as they are touting this as an unforgiving and barbaric structure, we’ll see if they can make this feel different from any other cage match. It definitely has a unique look to it and is impressive on paper, but turning it into an interesting bout is going to be taxing. This Punjabi Prison is going to require some innovation if they want to make things interesting.
Battleground will be fun to watch, for what it’s worth. There are a few good matches on the card and some good insight into what Summerslam will look like. Then again, there are always opportunities for WWE to surprise us when we least expect it. I’ll be tuning in to see a mystery Fashion Police attacker, a weird bamboo cage thing, and Styles and Owens tearing the house down.

Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke
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