It figures, WWE Payback began with a HUGE match. Sheamus retained the United States Championship against Cesaro in a SOLID match. Paul Heyman brought it on the mic, and boy was this a sure-fire way to get the crowd pumped for the PPV, except, it did not. I was surprised at how the crowd was not as into this match as I thought they would be. There were some huge spots where the crowd perked up, but it came after a huge Double Underhook Powerbomb, and Sheamus countering the Neutralizer into White Noise got the crowd rocked. The very surprising end came when Sheamus countered and wrapped up Cesaro with a small package to gain the victory. Great, solid match. Not the show-stealer I thought it would be, but damn I want these two to go at it again.
Of course I did not begin with the pre-show, does anyone actually care that Hornswoggle lost to El Torito and had his hair shaved. Waaaah. Oh, Boogeyman showed up. GREAT.
In the first of a few unannounced matches, Ryback and Curtis Axel defeated The Rhodes Brothers. Decent match, nothing major to note except for Cody botching his top rope moonsault and cracked skulls with Axel and Ryback. Rhodes goes for Disaster Kick, misses, caught and crushed by Ryback via Shell Shock for the win. The real purpose for this filler came post-match, when Cody Rhodes got on the mic, and told his brother he should find himself a better tag team partner. Cody, taking blame for recent losses, sulks out of the ring as Goldust is upset. Wah.
Up next, in a “I can wave my flag harder than you can wave yours” match, Alexander Rusev, accompanied by the gorgeous Lana makes short work of Big E. Langston. Awesome spot where Rusev is standing on the apron, and Langston spears him, taking himself and Rusev to the floor with a huge crash landing. Match does not go for much longer, as Rusev superkicks Big E. and locks on the Accolade for the submission victory. He wrenched it in good before the tap out. Is it just me, or does Lana’s skirt seem shorter and tighter every time she comes out? No complaints.
In the next of unannounced matches, Kofi Kingston appears to come out to job to Bo Dallas, who puts down the Blackhawks in a cheap heel move. However the familiar pyro of Kane strikes and he annihilates Kingston while Dallas hides out. Following the destruction, Dallas returns to give Kofi a pep talk while the live audience actually chants “WE BO-Lieve!”
BOOM! Bad News Barrett is successful in his title defense against Rob Van Dam. The entertainment starts before the match begins, as Barrett delivers his trademark “I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS” line to his challenger, and puts the exclamation mark saying thank you from B-N-B! Match itself was spot-on awesome. Started off a bit sluggish, RVD doing usual spots, but as the match progressed, Barrett beat the hell out of RVD who took the bumps and sold them like a champ. Van Dam bounced back with some major impact moves, even tossing Barrett into the crowd at one point. Nice exchange, with Barrett missing the Bull Hammer and cracking his arm against the ring-post. BNB seemed to be neutralized as RVD went for a split-leg moonsault, however the brawler got the knees up, turned around and clobbered Rob Van Dam with the Raging Bull Hammer and retaining the championship. Not only was the match great, but the dueling crowd chants of “Bad News Barrett!” vs. “RVD” and “BNB” vs. RVD” were pretty epic. It does my heart good to see Wade Barrett get the respect and adoration he deserves!
Up next, long video package featuring Stephanie McMahon issuing the ultimatum to Daniel Bryan to forfeit the WWE Championship. Interesting how it seems they are giving him a choice whether to give up the belt or not. However, should he not, Brie Bella is fired. I am not such a big fan of the angle involving Brie Bella, but I guess she is best used as a Macguffin in order to progress the storyline forward to stall time during his recovery. Stephanie looks like she might have hit the concession stand one too many times before coming out tonight. Lots of verbal jabs between them. At one point, the crowd started chanting for CM Punk, which resulted in Stephanie blasting Punk for being a quitter. OUCH. Brie then took the mic, told off Stephanie and instead of Bryan handing over the titles, Brie announced she is quitting WWE. Steph starts to laugh, but had it smacked right off her face as Brie delivered a five-fingered slap across the face. Crowd goes YES-crazy as Stephanie runs away from the ring crying. Great segment. Keeps the belt on Bryan, and we wonder what is next in store for Bryan as things will likely only get worse.
Up next is an amazing video package featuring the history between Bray Wyatt and John Cena. Damn, they make Bray even creepier with the videos. Coming to the ring, Bray riles up the crowd and the crowd goes absolutely bat-shit bonkers crazy for Bray. Theme music for Cena hits and the boos are deafening. You cannot even hear the music. Cena is surrounded by the Family, until Jimmy and Jey Uso come running down to even the odds. They were advertised as being in his corner, so really should not have been a shock. Crowd is hot for the Usos. Again, very deserving Tag Team Champions. It is very interesting to see a Last Man Standing match with tag teams surrounding the ring. I cannot recall the last time there were other wrestlers hovering around ringside for this type of match.
Alright, I have no idea how the hell I can recap this thing. There were over a dozen INCREDIBLE spots. Cena Suplex-thrown through a table. Wyatt bashing Cena with a chair. Usos brawl with Harper and Rowan all over the arena. Cena blasts Wyatt with the stairs, then, as he retreats to the outside, Cena javelin throws the damn ring stairs over the ropes, clobbering Bray in the face. Later on, one Uso puts Erick Rowan through a table doing the Rikishi Rump Rush, then Luke Harper, takes the other Uso to the top rope, and superplexes him off the top through tables on the floor. Cena and Bray brawl and hit their finishers multiple times, and when that fails, more tables and chairs come out. Bray splatters Cena through the barrier, I mean, holy mother of Primus this match was awesome. Just awesome! However, the match then went to the technical section of the arena, and Cena then plants Bray through a box of some sort, and then throws a large trunk on top, “locking” Bray in. Ref makes the ten count and it is over. Great match, sucky finish. I will say, Cena put on one hell of a show, except after the match he looked like he went through a five-minute run with Curt Hawkins. Forget to sell much Cena?
So, this might be a killer on the Wyatt Family gimmick.
Up next is the Divas Title match, Paige defending against Alicia “Crazy” Fox. Bland match, mostly with Fox being silly during the match. Eventually, Paige fights back, locks Fox in the PTO submission (GOOD GRIEF is that PAINFUL) and Alicia has to tap. Post-match, Fox tries to keep her calm, but she then runs to the back like a crying child.
Anyone notice when the camera gets a shot of the announce team, the only shmuck to have taken a drink from their Mountain Dew is Jerry “The King” Lawler? JBL has his open, but untouched, while Michael Cole has not even taken off the dam cap. Guess Lawler is hoping for a bonus. Lawler calls out Cole for not opening his, however he claims it is his “second” drink.
Oh joy, the “expert panel” consists of Booker T, Josh Matthews, and Alex Riley. You know what, Riley has come into his own behind the mic, something he has always been good at. Wish he would be behind the announce table one day, but maybe that day is in the future.
Main event time. Shield against Evolution. Match began as expected, a brawl. Everyone fighting everywhere, and boy when Batista got into the ring, the crowd let him have it. Boo-tista and “Blue-tista” due to his rather blue attire he chose to sport tonight. Lost luggage maybe? So remember folks, this is elimination-style. Triple H and Roman Reigns go head-to-head, and the announce team put over Reigns as the “leader” of his team and only one who could out-power The Game. Well, we know WWE loves Reigns. Seth Rollins gets a tag and does the Three Amigos Suplex trio which earns an “Eddie” chant from the Chicago crowd. Very interesting to have seen Triple H be the one to take the offensive beating. Something was off on Randy Orton, kept missing, overshooting or just tripping himself up. Tide turns and Dean Ambrose takes the beating, but pulls off a great counterattack to make a hot tag. Reigns tags Bluetista with the Superman Punch, and all hell breaks loose before any eliminations could occur. Rollins and Ambrose are taken out during the arena brawl, and soon Reigns is overpowered by Evolution and triple-powerbombed through an announce table. As soon as Evolution thought they were in the clear, both Ambrose and Reigns FLY FROM OUT OF NOWHERE and take out everyone. Geezuz! Reigns taking pretty much all the beating from here-on-out. Ambrose and Rollins are KO’d while Evolution take turns whacking the Shield strongman with Kendo Sticks. Things get crazy as the fight goes towards the stage and Seth Rollins LEAPS off the Titan Tron! Batista is then eliminated after eating a spear from Reigns and being pinned by Rollins. Orton hits an RKO on Rollins, and attempts the pin but Reigns breaks it up. Ambrose whacks Orton with a chair and hits is front-face DDT for the pinfall elimination. Orton sucks by turning so he would not have to take the full impact. Suddenly Triple H is all alone, until Batista saves him with a spear and before Orton leaves, hands Triple H his trusty Mr. Sledgehammer. Does NOTHING as Rollins sideswipes Triple H with the flying knee, and Reigns speared him for the pinfall win. Shield SWEEPS Evolution. Did not see that coming.
Well, the undercard went as expected. The two mid-card title matches were solid, while the filler matches were all fluff and worthless. The main events were damn awesome. Cena followed through and gave it his all, and Bray Wyatt deserves the MVP for taking as many hits as he did. The Shield versus Evolution main event was beyond expectations. Incredible match, all three Shield members got to show off, but you could tell there was quite a bit of focus on Roman Reigns.
So what is next? The obvious, is tomorrow night we find out how Evolution fades into the sunset, how Daniel Bryan will continue his feud with Stephanie McMahon, what in the hell Kane is up to, if Kofi Kingston will form a new job squad with Dolph Ziggler and Damien “New Gimmick Here” Sandow, and whether the Wyatt Family can rebound after Bray suffered a major loss to John Cena.
I am surprised as to how Cena won. Granted, in a Last Man Standing match, there is no “clean” way to win, but it couldn’t have been off a big move, or an epic attack? He had to stack crates on top of him? Worst of all, when the match was over, Cena stood there like he just ran on a treadmill for five minutes. Come on, you go through hell, you sell the damn match. Orton too, he just sucked everything during the main event, but we all know he is a whiny sore-ass loser. Triple H and Batista couldn’t care whether they win or lose, they put on a show. Or in Batista’s case, he acts like it. Orton needs to go.
So Payback was as I expected, and the main events exceeded my expectations. Good job WWE.