Stomping Grounds was probably the least hyped show in WWE’s recent past. The lackluster booking and half baked storylines had taken away all the interest from the fans and it was clearly visible in the tickets sales. But, that turned into the advantage for the show as the people were not coming into the event with any kind of expectations. The wrestlers delivered a decent show which was liked by many. The show didn’t have any kind of big surprises or breath-taking 5-star matches, but it was satisfactory enough to watch on a Sunday evening.
So, here is my ‘best and worst’ assessment from the show, but before reading further, just remember that it is just an opinion, which can vary from person to person.
The Harsh Reality: WWE Stomping Grounds
Best: Lacey Evans as the Guest Referee
Going by the crowd’s reaction, Baron Corbin selecting Lacey Evans as the special guest referee was probably not something they would have approved. But, it feels more like a Game of Thrones effect. Due to crazy fan theories, people were expecting much more than what was possible and that’s why they were expecting someone like Brock Lesnar or Vince McMahon to come out as referee, but if you will think about the story with a cool head, it adds up perfectly. Seth Rollins was already going after everyone who was showing even the slightest interest in taking the referee’s duty for the match, but when Lacey came out, he couldn’t do anything. Lacey being the heel was supporting Corbin especially because she was also in a feud with Rollins’ girlfriend, Becky Lynch for the Raw Women’s championship. Even Corbin came across like an intelligent heel as he was doing everything in his power to snatch the Universal Championship off Seth Rollins.
There were still some problems with the bookings like Becky waited till the end to come out, but still, it was at least logical. By the way, if you didn’t know that Seth and Becky are dating, you would surely know by the end of the PPV.
Worst: Continuation of Reign-McMahon Saga
The only thing that was good about the Roman vs Drew and Shane feud was that it was finally coming to an end after Stomping Grounds. Finally, we could have moved away from Shane McMahon and Roman Reigns cutting promos on each other for 20 minutes every week on Raw and we could see Roman being put on a feud in which he would be actually pushed as the face of the company. Roman vs Drew’s match at Stomping Grounds was actually good. It was more of a brawl with too much of hard-hitting involved and both men held their end to perfection. Even though the ending would hurt Drew a bit because he now feels like 2017’s version of Bray Wyatt, who would make big promises but couldn’t back those words in the ring, he could now break away from Shane and start going on a singles run.
But, then WWE announced a handicapped match for Raw between Roman vs Shane and Drew, which will probably end in a disqualification so that they could stretch this rivalry further for another month. Nobody ever asked for this feud to continue.
Best: Ricochet Winning the United States Championship
Ricochet is the only NXT graduate from recent past, who is actually liked by fans and the management alike and his victory at Stomping Grounds is a proof of that. His agility and hi-flying stunts have been wooing the crowd around the globe for months now and it was just a matter of weeks before we will see him as one of the top guys of WWE. After a gruesome encounter between Samoa Joe and him, he finally managed to counter Joe’s strength and hit him with a 630 to win his first title in the main roster.
His United States Championship win provided a feel-good moment at the show but it was just a teaser of all the success he is going to achieve in his long career with WWE.
Worst: Samoa Joe losing the United States Championship
After doing an article about it, I would be a hypocrite if I wouldn’t mention how disappointed I was with Samoa Joe’s loss at the PPV. His US championship reign was woefully short and was filled with controversies. He never came across like a monster champion who would terrorize the whole roster. But, that has been the story of his run in the main roster so far.
He never feels like the same fearless heel he was in the NXT. Guess Vince Mcmahon do not see him in the same light that Triple H did. Let’s just hope that he would finally be pushed in the main events scene and we might see him challenge Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship in a couple of months.
Best: Cruiserweight Championship Match
Cruiserweight championship match at Stomping Grounds had everything that you would want from your opening match. All three men gave everything they had to put on the best match of the night and it would have surely inspired a group of fans to tune in to 205 Live this week. There are few better workers than Drew Gulak in the company and it feels satisfying to see that he will finally get the opportunity to carry the brand on his shoulders. Tony Nese and Tozawa were equally incredible on the night and had equal shares in making that match a huge success.
Sadly it is on the kickoff show, so it might not have received the spotlight it deserves but then again it is available in the Youtube for free, so we can watch it whenever we want.
Worst: Another Roll-up Finish
WWE and roll-up finishes go hand in hand. It has now become a sort of a rule to have at least one roll-up finish in each show. Such finishes again highlight how bad the company’s creative team is at the moment. Whenever they don’t want either of the opponents to lose a match they either book a roll-up finish or disqualify a wrestler using an absurd logic. At Stomping Grounds, WWE did the same thing again. Since they didn’t want Heavy Machinery to lose clean to extend their rivalry for next pay-per-view, Daniel Bryan rolled-up Tucker to retain their SmackDown tag team championship.
Fans have gone so tired with this finish that at this point literally anything other than a rolled-up finish would have worked. The champions could have retained the belt clean and then the Heavy Machinery had to win some kind of match to challenge for the belt again or Bryan could have cheated to win. Literally anything other than a roll-up finish, please.
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