WWE Stomping Grounds Final Results And Review: Seth Rollins Tries To Overcome The Odds
With expectations low, the latest WWE PPV, Stomping Grounds, happened last night. The June 23 event had nine matches over the course of the evening, seven of which were title matches. And while we weren't expecting much, because the build towards it was mediocre at best, Stomping Grounds proved time and time again to be incredibly entertaining.
The crowd in attendance at the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington was there to party, and they were a lot of fun. Please, do yourself a favor and watch the Smackdown Tag Team Championship match for all the great chants like "We recycle" or "We drive Prius." Yeah, it was fun.
Before the PPV kicked off, there were some standout fights on the card, even if the show as a whole felt a tad lackluster. Kofi Kingston would defend his WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler, and Kingston told GameSpot recently that he compares this rivalry, in a sense, to Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels. Additionally, we spoke to the champ about his work on the video gaming channel UpUpDownDown. This bout would take place in a steel cage. Additionally, Baron Corbin challenged Seth Rollins for the Universal Championship, and luckily, Brock Lesnar didn't cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase.
For the women's division, there were two high-profile championship matches. First, Becky Lynch took on Lacey Evans again, and Lynch would have to defend her Raw Women's Championship in the bout. Per usual, we predicted Lynch to retain her title. On Smackdown, champion Bayley faced Alexa Bliss, who would have Nikki Cross in her corner. How would Cross come into play and would she realize she's on the wrong side of this war?
The Kickoff Show begins at 6 PM ET / 3 PM PT on the WWE Network and on WWE's YouTube. At this time, it has not been announced which match will take place on the show.
We'll keep the updates coming throughout the evening, letting you know the winners and losers as it happens. Additionally, one half of GameSpot's Wrestle Buddies, Mat Elfring, will be reviewing each match, which will be posted a few minutes after each bout.
- It was announced on social media that Lacey Evans vs. Becky Lynch will kick off the main card.
- The Cruiserweight Championship was announced as part of the Kickoff Show.
Tony Nese (c) vs. Akira Tozawa vs. Drew Gulak
Winner: Drew Gulak by pin at 11:18
There is no Chris E. Hayner this week, so don't expect our typical shenanigans during the show. It's solo shenanigans only this week.
Tony Nese coming out and saying that 205 Live is going to steal the show is the most real thing I've seen on a WWE PPV in months. If only I watched 205 Live. I feel like I should because the talent is great, but WWE just puts out way too much wrestling on a weekly basis. The 205 Live gang always knows how to open up a show. Sure, I don't know anything about these stories, but for the most part, they all tell phenomenal stories within the ring. This is how triple threat matches should be done. Yes, there are those weird moments where a dude is just laying outside of the ring, but there were a ton of moments where all three were involved, and the moments where someone was stunned on the outside made sense. Like, when Tony Nese flung himself at his competitors and everyone got out of the way, leaving Nese outside of the ring. I really liked the finish here, and the match as a whole. It's not one of the best cruiserweight PPV matches, but it was a lot of fun.
Thought of the match: If everyone in 205 Live are athletes, and they all weigh 205lbs, then why did Tozawa oversell picking up Gulak as a feat of strength?
Becky Lynch (c) vs. Lacey Evans
(Raw Women's Championship)
Winner: Lynch wins by submission at 11:25.
Opening up with Becky "The Man" Lynch vs. Lacey "I own weird hats no one else in the world would ever wear, unless they're at a horse-y race" Evans is a great way to kick off the main card. Evans is an enigma to me. What is she? Is she a powerhouse? A cowardly heel? A glass-jawed fancy gal? A combination of all of these elements? While she has moments where she seems a bit rough in the ring--please ignore the "You can't wrestle chants," you can--what works for her is this unrelenting brutality that comes out as the match goes on. This match contained a whole lot of Evans working on Lynch's body, which I loved seeing, as it's not something we get a lot of anymore. Evans did this mid-rope flip-over stunner that I despised. It's a simpler version of Ember Moon's Eclipse. Anyway, I had a lot of fun with this one. Lynch has really improved her striking game and hopefully, she can move past Evans and onto someone a bit more high caliber.
Big E & Xavier Woods vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Winner: Owens pinned Woods at 11:05
Overly-cocky Sami Zayn is the best. I love everything about it. I love the sarcastic skanking he does on the way to the ring. Thank you. This is a weird match between some of the best developed characters in the company. I understand why it exists, but it's just a bizarre story. We're dealt something a bit different this time around. It was a whole lot of Xavier Woods getting destroyed. I like the brutality here. I like Kevin Owens taunting the New Day. There is a lot to love here. The first 6 minutes were classic heel tactics. When Big E finally got tagged in, it was off to the races, and a lot of fun. To me, this is what WWE in 2019 should be. These are great characters, with their own distinct styles, harnessing classic big-match stories. What made me really happy was that a stunner was the finish. So many people--Ember Moon aside--have used that move as filler, like Cena's spingboard version, and it's always a two count. I am so happy that was the nail in the coffin for the bout. I may be rating this too high because I love everyone involved, but this match, which has ZERO stipulations, was better than most PPV matches this year. Thanks for making a match on the mid-card a ton of fun.
Samoa Joe (c) vs. Ricochet
(United States Championship)
Winner: Ricochet wins by pin at 12:19
This match simply feels like Joe vs. Rey Mysterio, sans Dominick Mysterio awkwardly hanging around backstage. Listen, I love Ricochet--as well as Joe--but this is retreaded ground. Michael Cole's commentary is really bugging me for this PPV. It's very annoying this time around. Ricochet and Samoa Joe are two amazing performers. If you love backflips, you were probably super-into everything Ricochet did in this match. Hey, I like backflips! The finish to this match was really surprising. I didn't think Ricochet would take the title. I thought this feud would just continue with Joe dominating. This was a very good match, but it wasn't either man's best work.
Daniel Bryan & Rowan (c) vs. Heavy Machinery
(Smackdown Tag Team Championships)
Winner: Bryan pins Tucker at 14:16
I don't think I like Heavy Machinery. I remember being at a 2K event at the Performance Center and laughing really hard at their antics during the afternoon, but the humor hasn't translated to the ring on the main roster. Plus, every time they're on screen, one of the commentators mentions they love the Bushwackers. Cool. Anyway, back to the match. I LOVE how hype the audience was for this match--mainly Daniel Bryan. Who would have thought that Heavy Machinery would be the heels in this match? The crowd started chanting "We recycle." Bless you, Tacoma Dome. Otis' weird no-sell Hulk-up thing is something I hate quite a bit. Anyway, the closing act of the match, leading to the pinfall was a blast. There were a few head-turning moments, but all-in-all, Bryan and Rowan, carried the match and that was apparent. Heavy Machinery just doesn't have the hype train behind them to be in the title picture just yet. This match delivered exactly what I thought it would, and it was fine.
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
(Smackdown Women's Championship)
Winner: Bayley pins Bliss at 10:36
What is Nikki Cross' purpose in this match? I'm trying to understand just where her character is going here. She looks overly-concerned with how Alexa is doing in the ring, so is the "crazy" part of her character completely gone? There was a lot of great work in this match, but the problem was Cross' involvement at the end. The match itself was good. I want to see the Bayley/Bliss feud continue. I like this matchup and these two are great at putting on solid, enjoyable matches.
Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre
Winner: Reigns pins McIntyre at 17:18
My expectations for this match were so incredibly low. I think Reigns and McIntyre could be in an incredible rivalry, but I hate Shane McMahon being involved in like 15 different stories on WWE programming. McMahon's involvement is the weakest part of all of this. And of course, Shane has to come out with McIntyre prior to the match starting. Can we cut back to the R-Truth 24/7 Championship madness? That was more fun, right Chris? Oh, yeah… That's right. Chris isn't here tonight. Anyway, Shane shouldn't have to be involved in this match. McIntyre isn't a cowardly-heel who needs outside interference to win. The dude is a beast. This should be a relatively fair fight, right? Once McMahon was taken out of the picture, I actually found myself really liking this. It became the type of match I wanted: two giant men pummeling each other for my enjoyment. Then, more Shane silliness, including a Coast To Coast. From there, it was a typical Reigns match. If Shane wasn't around, I would have enjoyed this a whole lot more. It will probably be the weakest match of the evening, but this wasn't a bad match at all. It was more of a middle-of-the-road situation. This was just a tad too long with too many shenanigans.
What made this match work was the crowd at the Tacoma Dome. They were a ton of fun. They've been a blast all night.
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
(Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship)
Winner: Kofi escaped the cage at 19:55
My biggest problem with this match is that pinfalls and submissions are allowed. Why? What's the point? The way to win a cage match should only be "escaping the cage." That's it. Chris disagreed with me on Twitter, but he's not here, so that means I'm right. I'll be honest here, this is where my fatigue is setting it, but it may be in part to my frustrations with the Reigns/McIntyre match that just happened. The first half of this match was a bit slow, but it took a minute (well, like 11 of them) to realize that this wasn't supposed to be an action-packed spotfest. This was a chess match between two intelligent wrestlers. Who is going to make it out of the cage first, and what will they do to achieve this?
What really won me over in this "battle for the cage door" match was the finish. It really looked like Ziggler had the win, and somehow, Kingston had the strength to jump over Ziggler, through the second rope, out of the door, landing first on the floor. What a great finish, even if it feels like it ends the Ziggler/Kingston feud, which just got started. While this match didn't kick off with a bang, it managed to be a memorable, fantastic battle.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Baron Corbin
Special Guest Referee: Lacey Evans
Winner: Rollins pins Corbin at 18:19
I was very excited for the trolly-antics of Baron Corbin. And it all kicked off with Corbin announcing Lacey Evans was the special guest referee. Oh man, I had a very good chuckle at that one. However, now that means everything is going to end with Becky Lynch coming down to the ring. Look, if you're mad about this moment, you should be. Corbin is a heel, and he gets the crowd pissed off. That's what he's supposed to do, and what better way to get a reaction from the audience than getting his rival's girlfriend's challenger from early in the night to be the ref? It's perfect for fueling the fire. I love this match. I love the Evans shenanigans. I love the constant rule changes she made. I love how the primary focus was on heels being heels. I love Evans not being able to count to three because she strained her shoulder. This was the most fun I had during the evening. Corbin was going to have a heel ref, so Evans was the perfect fit, as we all waited for that moment when Becky Lynch came to the ring to beat her up. And when Lynch ran down, it was a great moment.
So while this was the most fun match of the evening, it wasn't the best. It was slow and at times, it dragged heavily. We got the ending we all wanted, and it was incredibly satisfying, but the match itself was alright. More than anything else, I was just really happy that Bork Laznar didn't show up. Solid way to close the PPV though.