Top Matches: Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton; CM Punk vs. RybackGreat matches: Rhodes Family vs. The Shield (Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) Good matches: Alberto Del Rio vs. Rob Van Dam, Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton Okay matches: Damian Sandow vs. Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk vs. Ryback, Curtis Axel vs. R-Truth Lame matches: Real Americans vs. Great Khali & Santino, AJ vs. Brie Bella, Bray Wyatt vs. Kofi Kingston The most recent entry for "lousy domestic PPV buys" was just four months ago. While rumors and potential launch dates for the WWE Network swirled for years, Battleground was held well before WWE confirmed the launch of the WWE Network. Make no mistake, recent history always looms large in the heads of the decision-makers. When a $45 PPV pulled terribly domestic numbers in Q4 2013, it no doubt solidified the path to moving all of PPVs into a commoditized product as part of the larger WWE Network. But why did this PPV do so poorly? To start, it was held only three weeks after the Night of Champions PPV (Daniel Bryan/Randy Orton, CM Punk vs Paul Heyman/Curtis Axel). (There's a very casual relationship between shorter builds and weaker PPV performance.) More importantly, NOC 2013 only did a dismal 92k domestic buys (175k worldwide buys) - just barely above the cutoff to be included on this list! Traditionally, WWE suffers viewership loss and interest decline during the regular season for American Football. (For instance, from 2009-2013, September PPVs average about 16% lower domestic buys than for a May PPV.) Still, what were the largest factors driving NOC & Battleground's poor performances? Most would point to two superstars: John Cena (who was not wrestling on either show) and Daniel Bryan (who kept being cheated out of the championship). The two men had actually met at the SummerSlam 2013 PPV (185k domestic buys, 296k worldwide) on August 18. Daniel Bryan defeated John Cena but his reign was quite short-lived as immediately Randy Orton cashed in his money-in-the-bank briefcase to win the WWE Championship. The next night John Cena announced his triceps injury and took time off to recover. Meanwhile, Bryan faced Orton at Night of Champions on September 15 where he defeated Randy Orton. However, the next night, Triple H stripped Daniel Bryan of the championship citing issues with Scott Armstrong's refereeing. So, the stage was set for Battleground. It's likely that many Daniel Bryan fans who felt screwed by the previous two PPV finishes, weren't anxious for another bait-and-switch on Daniel Bryan winning the championship. However, that's essentially what they got with Night of Champions. During the Randy Orton/Daniel Bryan rematch, Big Show stormed the ring and knocked out both competitors. It was the third PPV in a row with a screwy finish for Daniel Bryan, and his fans weren't pleased. Battleground winning the award for "Worst Major Wrestling Show" in the 2013 Wrestling Observer awards. It's a dubious distinction and clearly one that viewers could not have known before ordering the PPV. However, as we will see, there is a strange coincidence where several of the events on this list were also winners of "Worst PPV" awards. Are WWE fans somehow psychic and know to avoid these stinkers ahead of time? Or is the build for the show so clearly terrible that it's obvious to all that the PPV will be a messy affair? We'll never know. BATTLEGROUND 2013 Verdict: SKIP. You should watch Rhodes Family vs the Shield, but rest of the show you can stay away from.
I'm a professional wrestling analyst, an improviser and an avid NES gamer. I live in Saint Paul, Minnesota and I'm working on my first book (#wrestlenomics). You can contact me at email@example.com or on twitter (@mookieghana)