Battleground (2016)[a] was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event and WWE Network event produced by WWE. It took place on July 24, 2016 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. It was the fourth event under the Battleground chronology, and the final event before the newly reinstated WWE brand extension went into full effect.
Promotional poster featuring John Cena
|Date||July 24, 2016|
|WWE Network event chronology|
Nine matches were contested at the event, with one match contested on the pre-show. In the main event, Dean Ambrose successfully retained the WWE Championship in a triple threat match against his former Shield teammates, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, thus keeping the championship on the SmackDown brand. The show is also notable for Randy Orton's first appearance after a nine-month injury and former NXT Women's Champion Bayley's main roster debut.
The card included nine matches that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches, with results predetermined by WWE's writers. Storylines were produced on WWE's weekly television shows, Raw and SmackDown.
At Money in the Bank, Dean Ambrose won the Money in the Bank ladder match and subsequently the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by cashing in his contract on Seth Rollins, who had just won the title from Roman Reigns. After a #1 contender's match between Reigns and Rollins ended in a double countout the next night on Raw, Ambrose requested to defended the title against both Reigns and Rollins. Accordingly, Shane McMahon scheduled a triple threat match between all three men for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Battleground. On June 21, two days after Money in the Bank, Reigns was suspended for 30 days for violating WWE's Wellness Program, which uses drug testing to detect substance abuse. Pro Wrestling Torch reported that WWE knew of the violation before Money in the Bank, leading to Reigns losing his world title at the event. With Reigns's suspension ending before Battleground, WWE continued to advertise Reigns as part of the Battleground main event. On the June 27 episode of Raw, both Rollins and Ambrose acknowledged Reigns's suspension on television. However, Stephanie McMahon opted not to remove Reigns from the Battleground match, and instead gave AJ Styles and John Cena the opportunity to qualify for the match by matches against Ambrose and Rollins. Styles and Cena lost, when they each interfered in each other's matches. On June 27, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was renamed as the WWE Championship. The WWE brand extension was then reinstated with Stephanie McMahon named Commissioner of Raw and Shane McMahon named Commissioner of SmackDown. On July 18, a match for the WWE Championship between Ambrose and Rollins ended in both men pinning each other simultaneously. While Raw commissioner Stephanie McMahon declared Rollins the new champion, the referee ruled the match a draw, with Ambrose retaining the title. The next day on SmackDown, Ambrose defeated Rollins in a rematch to retain the title. The same night, the 2016 WWE draft took place and Ambrose was drafted to SmackDown, while Reigns and Rollins were drafted to Raw.
In December 2014, at NXT Takeover: R Evolution, Sami Zayn won the NXT Championship from Neville. After the match, Zayn's friend Kevin Owens, first congratulated and then attacked Zayn. In February 2015, at NXT Takeover: Rival, Owens defeated Zayn to win the NXT Championship. Zayn moved to WWE's main roster at the Royal Rumble and eliminated Owens from the Royal Rumble match. At Payback, Owens defeated Zayn. At Money in the Bank, both men failed to win the Money in the Bank ladder match. Zayn defeated Owens on the June 20 episode of Raw, and challenged Owens to another match a week later during Chris Jericho's Highlight Reel, which Owens accepted.
At Money in the Bank, Natalya and Becky Lynch lost a tag team match. After the match, Natalya turned heel and attacked Becky. Natalya attacked Becky again the following night on Raw, and proclaimed to be solely looking out for herself. On the June 27 episode of Raw, Becky attacked Natalya, who was on commentary, before her match against Summer Rae. On the July 4 episode of Raw, a match between the two was scheduled for Battleground. Three nights later on SmackDown, the villainous Natalya attacked Becky and placed her in the Sharpshooter.
At Money in the Bank, AJ Styles defeated John Cena after The Club interfered, executing a Magic Killer on Cena. The following night on Raw, Styles and Luke Gallows attacked Cena during his match against Karl Anderson. On the June 27 episode of Raw, Cena and Styles cost each other a chance to be involved in the WWE Championship match at Battleground and then Gallows and Anderson delivered a Magic Killer to Cena on the ramp. On the July 4 episode of Raw, The Club again attacked Cena until Enzo Amore and Big Cass saved Cena. Later that night, a six-man tag team match was made between the two teams at Battleground.
On the July 7 episode of SmackDown, Zack Ryder won a match against Sheamus and then challenged Rusev to a WWE United States Championship match. On the July 11 episode of Raw, Rusev attacked Ryder after his match against Sheamus and accepted Ryder's challenge for Battleground.
On the June 20 episode of Raw, The Wyatt Family returned and were interrupted by WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day. The two teams addressed each other in their promos over the next few weeks. On the July 4 episode of Raw, The Wyatt Family invited The New Day to their family compound, which New Day accepted. The next week on Raw, The New Day showed up at the compound and both teams brawled until New Day ran away. On July 12, a six-man tag team between both teams was scheduled for Battleground.
After her return in early June, Sasha Banks reignited her feud with Charlotte, who had formed a tag team with Dana Brooke while Sasha was on hiatus. On the June 20 episode of Raw, Sasha rescued Paige from an attack from Brooke and Charlotte. On the June 27 episode of Raw, Sasha and Paige defeated Dana and Charlotte. Over the following weeks, Charlotte and Dana continued to provoke Sasha. Hoping to earn a title match with Charlotte, Sasha defeated Dana on the July 11 episode of Raw and again on the July 14 episode of Smackdown. Later that night, Charlotte and Dana were scheduled to wrestle Sasha and a mystery partner at Battleground.
|English commentators||Michael Cole (PPV)|
|John "Bradshaw" Layfield (PPV)|
|Byron Saxton (PPV + pre-show)|
|Mauro Ranallo (pre-show)|
|Spanish commentators||Carlos Cabrera|
|German commentators||Carsten Schaefer|
|Ring announcers||Greg Hamilton|
|Backstage interviewer||Tom Phillips|
|Pre-show panel||Renee Young|
During the pre-show, Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango) squared off against The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso). The match ended when Jimmy attempted a Samoan Splash on Breeze but Breeze countered and pinned Jimmy with a small package for the win.
The actual pay per-view opened with WWE Women's Champion Charlotte and Dana Brooke facing Sasha Banks and her mystery partner, who was revealed as Bayley. In the end, Sasha forced Charlotte to submit to the Bank Statement to win the match.
Next, The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Erick Rowan, and Braun Strowman) faced WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) in a six-man tag team match. In the climax of the match, Big E executed a Spear on Strowman, who was standing on the apron. Woods was shocked into retreating by Wyatt's signature spiderwalk. Wyatt then executed Sister Abigail on Woods for the win.
After that, Rusev defended the United States Championship against Zack Ryder. The match ended when Ryder executed a Rough Ryder on Rusev and attempted an Elbro Drop but Rusev countered the move and executed a Jumping Sidekick to the back of Ryder's head. Rusev forced Ryder to submit to The Accolade to retain the title. After the match, Rusev attacked Ryder until Ryder's NXT tag team partner, Mojo Rawley, came out. Rusev avoided a confrontation and left the ring.
In the fourth match, Kevin Owens faced Sami Zayn. Zayn executed a Blue Thunder Bomb on Owens for a near-fall. Zayn executed a Brainbuster on the ring apron on Owens. Owens executed a Bullfrog Splash on Zayn for a near-fall. Zayn executed two Half and Half Suplexes for a near-fall. Owens countered a Helluva Kick into a Pop-Up Powerbomb but Zayn placed his foot on the rope to void the pinfall. In the end, Owens implored Zayn to stay down but Zayn executed an Exploder Suplex into the turnbuckles and a Half and Half Suplex, followed by two Helluva Kicks to secure the victory.
After that, The Miz defended the Intercontinental Championship against Darren Young. The match ended when Maryse pretended to fall as if Bob Backlund had attacked her, causing Miz to shove Backlund. Young then applied the Crossface Chickenwing on Miz outside the ring. The referees separated the two contestants and ruled the match a double disqualification.
In the next match, John Cena teamed with Enzo Amore and Big Cass to face The Club (Karl Anderson, Luke Gallows, and AJ Styles) in a six-man tag team match. In the end, Cena executed a Super Attitude Adjustment on Styles for the victory.
Chris Jericho then hosted the Highlight Reel with Randy Orton, who made his first appearance following a nine-month injury. Jericho constantly berated Orton's behaviour ahead of his upcoming at SummerSlam against Brock Lesnar (including a video of Lesnar showing his feats of strength) to provoke Orton into attacking him, eventually resulting in Orton attacking him with an RKO.
In the main event, Dean Ambrose defended the WWE Championship against Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. During the match, Ambrose and Rollins teamed up to attack Reigns, performing a Double Powerbomb on Reigns through a broadcast table to temporarily take him out of the match. In the climax of the match, Rollins executed a Pedigree on Reigns for a near-fall. Rollins executed a Turnbuckle Powerbomb on Reigns, who delivered a Superman Punch and a Spear to Rollins. Ambrose pinned Reigns after Dirty Deeds to retain the championship. The entire SmackDown roster came out to celebrate with Ambrose as the event ended.
Dean Ambrose retaining the WWE Championship at the event left Raw without a world title. On the following night's episode of Raw, commissioner Stephanie McMahon and General manager Mick Foley announced a new world title for Raw, the WWE Universal Championship; the WWE Championship was then renamed to WWE World Championship. As Raw's number one draft pick, Seth Rollins was named a contender to the title and would face Finn Bálor, who became the second contender by defeating Roman Reigns, for the title at SummerSlam.
After Sasha Banks and Bayley defeated Charlotte and Dana Brooke at the event, Banks faced Charlotte for the WWE Women's Championship on the following night's episode of Raw and defeated Charlotte to win her first Women's Championship. On the July 26 episode of SmackDown, Dolph Ziggler defeated AJ Styles, John Cena, Bray Wyatt, Apollo Crews, and Baron Corbin in a Six-Pack Challenge to earn a WWE World Championship match against Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam.
|1P||Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) defeated The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso)||Tag team match||5:26|
|2||Bayley and Sasha Banks defeated Charlotte and Dana Brooke by submission||Tag team match||7:25|
|3||The Wyatt Family (Braun Strowman, Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan) defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods)||Six-man tag team match||8:47|
|4||Rusev (c) (with Lana) defeated Zack Ryder by submission||Singles match for the WWE United States Championship||7:01|
|5||Sami Zayn defeated Kevin Owens||Singles match||18:22|
|6||Natalya defeated Becky Lynch by submission||Singles match||9:04|
|7||The Miz (c) (with Maryse) vs. Darren Young (with Bob Backlund) ended in a double disqualification||Singles match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship||8:41|
|8||Big Cass and Enzo Amore and John Cena defeated The Club (AJ Styles, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows)||Six-man tag team match||14:30|
|9||Dean Ambrose (c) defeated Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins||Triple threat match for the WWE Championship||18:03|
- (also known as Battlefield in Germany)
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