Recap: WWE Payback

michael dworkis reviews the latest WWE ppv …

HOLY CRAP. Is this a damn joke? The pre-show panel is hosted by Josh Matthews, with Big Show, R-Truth, and Cody Rhodes? Oh for Cybertron’s sake … seriously, what does WWE think? Hey, let’s do the same thing the NFL and NBA do, get former players as experts to talk about matches. The only upside is the Big Show actually being quite eloquent and very real commentary, while all Truth can say is “he got got.” Wow. Well spoken.

Sheamus defeated Damien Sandow on the pre-show
Just like I said in the preview column, a show-stealer. Sandow and Sheamus deserved to have their bout on the actual PPV card. A great singles match, with Sandow doing some pretty impressive stuff. A sliding dropkick, from the arena floor, through the ring to the other side. Sheamus unleashed his major signatures, and Sandow continued to fight back. A very well performed match. You’re Welcome.

Onto the show, we get a real nice promo for the return of CM Punk and more Ryback Rules garbage. Did the students at Full Sail University compile the opening video package? Something was really off-kilter with it. Not the usual high quality we are accustomed to. The big deal going into this one, as we are in Chicago, the hometown of CM Punk.

The Miz vs. Curtis Axel vs. Wade Barrett – Triple Threat Intercontinental Match
Aside from my disdain of the recent treatment of the current titleholder, you have to admit the Intercontinental Championship has gotten a bit more attention lately. Curtis Axel is the favorite to win. We get a lot of switching early on. By that, I mean Axel being thrown to the floor, taking a breather while Barrett and Miz go, then Mix heads to the floor and Axel takes a beatdown from Barrett. Ah, I see it now. Heyman keeping Axel outside the ring while Mix and Barrett wear each other down. Oh, how smart. Just hope nobody gets pinned, ha ha… Yawn. Barrett controls the early match, then gets dumped, and Miz eats a perfect looking dropkick by Axel. Guy damned near landed on his feet! All three men going at it, Miz gets floored and the crowd goes CRAZY as Axel hits the Hennigplex on Barrett, but Miz breaks up the three-count to boos. Axel gets thrown to the floor, and Miz locks the figure-four! Barrett refusing to tap… Axel jumps in the ring, and covers Barrett and the ref makes the three count! Barrett never tapped! Genius!
Winner by Pinfall and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Curtis Axel

The crowd erupted in cheers, and very nice touch, Axel pointed skyward in tribute, on Father’s Day, to the late-great Curt Hennig. Obviously, we knew Barrett was losing, and Axel was the obvious choice of winner.

Backstage: Triple H goes face-to-face with Axel, and Vince offers his congratulations. Vince again eggs HHH on to challenge Axel on RAW. Still not sure what the point is. First The Game wanted to wrestle, then Vince convinces him not to, only to change his own mind and want Triple H to compete.

AJ Lee defeated Kaitlyn to win the Diva Title
Well, short recap of how this whole angle got weird. It was a clever thing, to have AJ play a gag on Kaitlyn, but instead, it just made Kaitlyn look weak, crying and slapping people. Surpringly, this was a good match, but her quest for vengeance ultimately was the downfall. Kaitlyn speared AJ into next week, but stalled on the pin, allowing AJ to lock in the Black Widow and earn the tap-out victory. JBL harsh on commentary, saying Kaitlyn made a rookie mistake. Sadly, the crowd has no sympathy either, as the crowd starts chanting “you tapped out” over and over. Kaitlyn cracks and cries in the middle of the entranceway. Wow. Way to make one of the stronger looking women into one of the most pathetic.

Announcers harp on the fact Kaitlyn had the match won, but then stalled to taunt AJ Lee, and wound up costing her the title. Backstage, Layla, Alicia Fox, and Natalya all try to console her. Yawn.

Money in the Bank – July 14th!

United States Championship – Kane defeated Dean Ambrose
Back and forth match, with Kane dominating Ambrose. Ambrose with some major offense, but Kane simply overpowers the smaller man. Sadly, it was a short match as Kane clobbered Ambrose with a big boot off the apron, resulting in Kane winning the match by Count Out.

Three letters to hype up Money in the Bank

R… V… D…!

World Heavyweight Championship: Alberto del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler
So wait, Lilian Garcia does the intro in Spanish, so Ricardo now does it in English? Del Rio tearing into Ziggler from the bell, and the champ sells the head injury. Del Rio going crazy! Never seen this before. Langston tries interfering, and he gets ejected from the ring. Del Rio bouncing Ziggler everywhere, and we now find the champ huddled on the arena floor. Ziggler fight back, sending the challenger back to the ring. Ziggler gives chase and gets cracked in the head for it. Great match, with Del Rio playing the aggressive challenger and Ziggler the resistant and resilient champion who won’t stay down. Del Rio goes for a Suplex, and Ziggler counters into a Main Event Sleeper. Wow. This is more brutality than I expect out of Del Rio. Another kick to the head! Ziggler bounces back, but there was some sort of botch, as he hit a sloppy Famouser, not sure who messed up, but everyone is down after that. Ref keeps asking Dolph if he wants to throw in the towel. Ziggler misses a corner dive, and Del Rio takes him off the top with a REVERSE SUPLEX! That’s the AH-Boingy Driver! My move! My move! Ziggler kicks out of another pinfall. Del Rio then kicks Ziggler in the face, and the champ is lifeless on the arena floor. Trainers come to check on Ziggler, who does not want to stop, and Del Rio just bashes him in the back of the head with a baseball slide! Wow, that was… a bit heelish. Del Rio connects with a running Shining Wizard, but Ziggler kicks out again! Crowd now booing Del Rio. Not surprised. Del Rio is pulling the beatdown card, while Ziggler plays the “never say die” role. Ziggler bounces back with the Zig Zag, but cannot get the pin. Both men up, and Del Rio cracks Ziggler with ANOTHER kick to the face! Ref counts, and hits the mat thrice.
Winner by Pinfall and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto del Rio

JBL says it right, Del Rio had to do what was necessary to win the title, but I will say this might turn Del Rio heel and Ziggler face. The crowd did not like the over-the-top brutal assault from Del Rio. Ziggler played the champion underdog, and for someone who millions of fans wanted to see cash in his Money in the Bank title match, it will not be a surprise if the role reversal come true. The crowd gives Ziggler a standing ovation, chanting his name the whole way.

CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho
The crowd, myself, and likely everyone else all cheering for the returning Second City Saint. I apologize, because I spent most of my time watching this incredible match. Jericho and Punk put on one hell of a show. Punk is back with no ring rust, and the chants of “This is Awesome” surely convinced even the nay-sayers. If you wanted a match where Punk could lock in the Anaconda vice as a counter to the Walls of Jericho, you got it. If you wanted a match where the wrestlers traded flying maneuvers, you got it. The action was too fast and so intense. Both men taking the fight to the mat, outside the ring, all over the place. What was nice to see, was minimal interference from Paul Heyman. Jericho went for the Walls, but Heyman got up on the apron, however, stayed there, and appeared to have distracted CM Punk, which nearly allowed Y2J to score the pinfall. Jericho connected with a Codebreaker and the Lionsault, while Punk hit his running knee, top-rope elbow, and a GTS. The end of the match, spectacular, with Punk hitting a GTS, sending Jericho into the corner, and then a quick scoop and hitting a second GTS to score the pinfall victory.

What was really nice, was no heel nor face antics. The crowd cheered for Punk, Jericho got some cheers for big moves too. This was a pure wrestling match which we wanted to see, and we got it. No cheap shots, just pure wrestling appreciation for two of the best stars in the business. Punk played to the crowd post-win, and he deserved it. He did not flip off the crowd nor do something to re-establish his heel character. Just two wrestlers, wrestling, for our entertainment.

I do wonder though… What is with Punk looking like Wolverine??

Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins retained the WWE Tag Team Championships against Randy Orton & Daniel Bryan
Well. That was interesting. Not a long match, less than ten minutes. Need at least 45 minute for the train wreck called three-stages of hell. Anyway, decent ring work by everyone, Orton nearly killed Rollins with an overhead exploder Suplex. Of course, things went south fast. With Orton, Rollins and Reigns all on the arena floor, Bryan went for a dive, but the Shield members ducked and Bryan collided with Orton. Then, in the ring, Reigns readied to spear Bryan, but Orton got in the way. Reigns pushed Orton to Bryan, but caught himself before colliding. Orton moved, and Bryan still got leveled with the spear. Rollins dumped Orton from the ring, leaving Bryan prone to a huge knee driver to end the match.

So far, three belts changed hands tonight. Barrett losing the Intercontinental Title to Curtis Axel, AJ Lee wins the Diva title, and Alberto del Rio beats Ziggler senseless to winning the World Heavyweight Championship. After a huge undercard of great matches, topped by CM Punk defeating Chris Jericho, we are now subjected to probably to worst main event in recent history.

The Three Stages of Hell: Match One – Lumberjack Match
Thirty WWE wrestlers get a bit more on their paycheck just for standing around the ring. Cena and Ryback hit some moves, Ryback hits a nice Stun-gun driver. Yawn. Crowd chanting “you both suck” and “you can’t wrestle” now. Oh boy. Cena gets thrown to the heel lumberjacks, who beat up on him until the faces make the save. This is terrible. Ryback gets thrown to the floor, but nobody wants a piece, and Ryback flexes his muscles to further the intimidation factor. Ryback goes for something, Cena counters and flings Ryback to the floor. Ryback, ticked throws a punch, resulting in all the lumberjacks to jump in. Cena, leaps off the top rope, and somehow knocks over Ryback, and all thirty lumberjacks. Wow. Uhm, that was pathetic. This is what they do to get him over as “Super-Cena” now? Really? You had people not even near the fight just falling over. That was supposed to be impressive? Cena is only 5’11, he simply is not that large of a man to hit everyone. HOW did ANYONE think this was believable? Guess he has Goku’s power to just radiate incredible and impossible levels of power. Ryback ends this train-wreck with a Shell-Shock. Advantage Ryback

Match Two – Tables Match
Ryback sets up a table to make this quick. The “Goldberg” chants begin after Ryback spears Cena. Ryback goes to plant Cena, but Cena counters, but Ryback flips the table and escapes. Huh, something smart. Ryback sets a table in the corner, throws Cena in the ring, and brings the ring stairs. Ryback THROWS the stairs, but Cena dodges and the stairs break through the table! See! Now that is cool! Shows how beastly strong Ryback can be! That is how you show intimidating power in a match like this! This time, Cena laying prone on a table, Ryback grabs the stairs again, but Cena rolls and another table is destroyed! Ryback beats down on Cena for a few minutes, looks to put him through the table with the Shell Shock, but Cena, out-of-nowhere, counters and hits the Attitude Adjustment, putting Ryback through the table instead. Oh, how climatic. Wow. I am so surprised… Advantage Cena

Match Three – Ambulance Match
Ryback now pissed, Powerbombs Cena through the announce table! Yay! They go fight by the ambulance, using medical equipment and the ambulance itself. Ryback thrown into the door which comes right off. Ryback ripped off a chunk of the front of the truck and beats Cena with it. Cole and JBL laughing does not help get this match over as serious. Cena throws Ryback into the windshield. Cena rips off the light bar and bashed Ryback in the face. Where did this truck come from, a junkyard? It basically becomes Cena throws everything at Ryback but he keeps coming. Ryback and Cena fight on top, Cena cracks a crutch over Ryback, then Cena throws him with the Attitude Adjustment… THROUGH THE TRUCK? What? Huh? What is the top of the truck made of? Cardboard? Oh come on.
Winner and Still WWE Champion by Cartoon Violence: John Cena

This whole match was supposed to look brutal, but did not come close. It looked like any ol’ street fight or brawl. Ryback going through the top of the ambulance? Really? This should have been sponsored by Looney Tunes. Seriously, I was expecting Wile E. Coyote to drop an ACME anvil at some point.

Well, aside from the predictably worthless main event, the rest of the show was very entertaining. Top matches easily go to Punk/Jericho and Del Rio/Ziggler. Coming out of the PPV, it seems Del Rio is going back to being a heel, Ziggler likely turning face. Chances are AJ will dump him since she is a champion and he is not. Punk will be Punk and that is why we love him, Bryan will be Bryan and that is why we love him too. Barrett will probably get demoted down to NXT soon, and Curtis Axel is now Heyman’s mid-card king. We can get a lot of matches with Axel defending the title, and now, he can look good doing it since he will not have to beat Cena or HHH by count out anymore. Speaking of whom, I really wonder where the Vince/Triple H angle is going, because it is downright confusing. Ryback came out of this looking weak, so unless something special is planned for Money in the Bank, my prediction of a big match at SummerSlam seems less likely to happen.

Hey! Rob Van Dam returns at Money in the Bank! Something good to look forward to!