WWE presented Stomping Grounds, a brand new pay-per-view last night. The widely criticized Backlash PPV made way for Stomping Grounds in 2019, which was aptly named after the finisher of WWE’s Universal Champion Seth Rollins.
The PPV had low expectations since the card was filled with several rematches and uninteresting rivalries. However, it ended up exceeding expectations and, similar to Great Balls of Fire in 2017, delivered from start to bottom. WWE is usually called out for booking the B-level PPVs in a wrong way, but this PPV did exactly what it had to do.
We look at a match-by-match recap of the Stomping Grounds pay-per-view, which had a total of nine matches, far lesser than the usual over-booked PPVs of WWE.
Tony Nese(c) vs Drew Gulak vs Akira Tozawa: WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
The cruiserweights started off the PPV card with a pre-show matchup for the WWE Crusierweight Championship. Tony Nese, the defending champion, squaring off against former champ Tozawa and Drew Gulak. The usual cruiserweight shenanigans followed, with the three superstars giving their best in the ring.
Drew Gulak won the match after a flurry of near falls, after he dropped the champ Tony Nese with a torture rack neckbreaker. New Champ!
Drew Gulak becomes the new Cruiserweight Champion
The cruiserweights once again proved their worth and showed why they deserve more screen time and recognition instead of being the D show of WWE. Drew Gulak won the championship after three years of solid work in company. One of the rare heel wins in the show, Drew Gulak joined a small club of heel champions in WWE currently.
Becky Lynch(c) vs Lacey Evans: RAW Women’s Championship Match
In a rematch from Money in the Bank for the RAW Women’s Championship, Becky Lynch defended her title against the Sassy Southern Belle, Lacey Evans.
Lacey Evans was thoroughly beaten down by the Irish Lasskicker, before Evans started to target the ribs of Becky Lynch. The match slowed down as Lacey Evans brought the typical heel game to the ring, stopping and posing after every move to get the crowd riled up.
Eventually Becky Lynch found her feet and applied the DisArmHer to retain her championship.
Becky Lynch defeated Lacey Evans to retain the Raw Women’s Championship
Lacey Evans has solid character work but her in-ring skills left a lot to desire. Becky Lynch is a fantastic wrestler but their match could never get going. A lack of chemistry between the two superstars resulted in a lackluster match-up, arguably the worst match of the night.
Big E and Xavier Woods vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Representing the New Day, Big E and Xavier Woods fought against Owens and Zayn in tag-team action. The match immediately got off to a thrilling start, as Kevin Owens dished out a flurry of superkicks followed by Sami Zayn delivering a Blue Thunder Bomb.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn dominated for the majority of matchup, before the five-time tag team champions rallied to a comeback attempt. Big E and Woods tried to fend off the “best friends” but eventually succumbed to a big Stunner from Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn defeated The New Day
If the previous match earned the tag of worst match of the night, this match surely changed the momentum and was arguably the best match in the PPV. The PPV was filled with several face superstars emerging victorious, but Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens winning was the right move. Four extremely talented superstars giving their one hundred percent produced a fine encounter with the right team winning.
Samoa Joe(c) vs Ricochet: WWE United States Championship
Ricochet contesting in his first singles championship match on the main roster, had a mammoth named Samoa Joe in his way. The Samoan Submission Machine was caught by a flurry of aerial offense by the former NXT North American Champion. The United States Champion brought out his destructive arsenal but his much faster opponent was too much to handle.
Ricochet rallied with the crowd fully behind him, to deliver a 630 and win the title. The post match scenes of various superstars greeting the newly crowned champion backstage was a great sight and a nice addition.
Ricochet becomes the new United Stated Champion
Another great matchup between two extremely talented individuals. Although Samoa Joe should have arguably held the title for a little while longer, Ricochet is the right superstar to dethrone him.
Ricochet wins his first championship on the main roster, while Samoa Joe hopefully moves on to bigger and better things.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan(c) vs Heavy Machinery: WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
Daniel Bryan had a strong crowd support from his home state behind him, as the crowd continuously cheered on the “bad guys” and booed the “good guys”. Daniel Bryan brought his usual A-game to the fore, with lots of kicks and submission holds throughout the match.
Tucker and Otis displayed their wrestling abilities and made a good case for themselves for the future. The strength of the two big men was clearly in the focus, as they tried to slam the opponents out of the match.
Eventually, they succummed to a rollup as the Bearded Duos survived the championship matchup.
Daniel Bryan and Rowan defeated Heavy Machinery to retain the tag team titles
Good classic tag-team wrestling overall, while Tucker and Otis gave a great showing in their first PPV matchup. Otis has a bucket load of charisma and he made sure the audience took a note of it.
Daniel Bryan continued his tremendous calendar year, and he looks set to hold the title for a long time.
Bayley(c) vs Alexa Bliss: WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Bayley v Alexa Bliss was a reminder of the Wild Card Rule, as RAW superstar Alexa Bliss contested for the blue brand championship.
Alexa Bliss and Bayley wrestled a decent match, with a lot of back and forth between the two superstars. Bayley hit a sunset flip powerbomb as the fans chanted the names of both the performers.
Nikki Cross provided the usual distractions for Alexa Bliss to gain upper hand on Bayley, but it eventually proved the wrong move.
Alexa Bliss went for a Twisted Bliss but Bayley blocked it with the help of a distraction from Cross and delivered Bayley to Belly to win the match and retain her championship.
Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss to retain the SmackDown Women’s championship
A decent match between the two superstars, who were part of the worst rivalry of 2017, as voted by Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Bayley continued her more aggressive style, and retained her championship.
We still have to wait for a proper payoff between the “friends” storyline between Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross.
Roman Reigns vs Drew McIntyre
Shane McMahon’s lackey faced off against Roman Reigns in yet another matchup brought to us by the Wild Card Rule. Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns traded shots, with Shane McMahon continuously trying to distract the referee and get cheap shots.
While the referee was out “injured”, ‘Best in the World’ Shane McMahon went for a Coast-to-Coast on Roman Reigns. Drew and Shane tried to fend off the Big Dog, but eventually Roman Reigns speared his way to victory.
Roman Reigns defeated Drew McIntyre
Although Shane McMahon’s involvements in the storyline are getting extremely redundant by this point, Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns are two supremely talented wrestlers who can produce a great match any day of the week. Shane McMahon does not look finished with Roman Reigns as the storyline could potentially go on until Summerslam.
Kofi Kingston(c) vs Dolph Ziggler: Steel Cage Match for WWE Championship
Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler contested inside a steel enclosure for the coveted WWE Championship. Both the superstars tried to one-up on each other but were blocked. Towards the end, we get some nearfalls before reaching the climax.
Kofi Kingston leapfrogged over a tired Dolph Ziggler to exit the cage and retain his WWE Championship.
Kofi Kingston defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE Championship
A decent steel cage encounter with a lot of hard hitting, Kofi Kingston eventually retained the title and continued his unbeaten streak since becoming the WWE Champion.
Kofi Kingston is yet to lose a single match, singles or multi-man, which is a phenomenal achievement. Kingston has been booked strongly during his reign, and will surely go down as an amazing fighting champion.
Seth Rollins(c) vs Baron Corbin w/ Special Guest Referee Lacey Evans: WWE Universal Championship Match
Fans waited in anticipation for the Special Guest Referee for the matchup, who was eventually revealed to be Lacey Evans. Seth Rollins had beaten down virtually every heel superstar on the main roster last week, which led to Corbin bringing the Sassy Southern Belle as the special guest ref.
The matchup did not set the fire as far as great wrestling goes, but it had its moments. Lacey Evans and Baron Corbin did the usual heel trope and bored the fans, even forcing the fans to chant “AEW”.
A frustrated Seth Rollins was attacked by the guest referee by a low blow, following which the RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch made the save by rushing in to the ring and taking out Lacey Evans.
Seth Rollins finally stomped his way to victory at Stomping Grounds and the show closed with Seth and Becky holding hands together.
Seth Rollins defeated Baron Corbin to retain the Universal Championship
The whole Corbin-Seth saga has been a bit underwhelming and that could be said about the match as well. However, the formation of Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch as the new power couple in WWE (Goodbye Cena and Nikki!), was a major takeaway from this encounter.