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WWE Payback Recap

Well, I was wrong on nearly all counts tonight, and I am OK with that. Sometimes I am happy when I’m wrong on predictions, shows WWE isn’t as predictable as I think.

Interesting item of note, they rolled out the matches one after another tonight, very little breaks and nearly no backstage segments, save for one from Braun Strowman.

The pre-show kicks off with Enzo and Cass defeating The Club. One of my tag predictions was right, but wondering if this will amount to anything considering results from later in the show.

Finn Balor is on MizTV which breaks down into a brawl. FIGHT!!

The show kicks off with Chris Jericho defeating Kevin Owens for the United States Championship. Great match, and the way it went was genius. The build for the finish was tense and lots of “almost” moments where you doubted if it was going to come to an end. Well, it seems Jericho is off to SmackDown as United States Champion.

Kudos to Jericho, post match, signing a “List” from a young fan at ringside. 

Running right along, Austin Aries defeated Neville, but by disqualification. Aries hit an amazing top rope sunset flip powerbomb, rolling into the Last Chancery. Neville, appearing close to tapping, grabs the ref, causing the DQ finish. Genius move. Aries gets the win, but no belt.

The Hardy Boyz defeats Cesaro and Sheamus in a great back and forth, unsure of the conclusion until some miscommunication seemed to show the Hardyz going over in the final moments. But the real big kick, pun intended, when Sheamus kicked Jeff Hardy’s teeth out. NO JOKE. What a punt. Matt Hardy winds up bloody later on. Match ends with a blind tag, Sheamus covering Matt but with Jeff tagged and hitting the Swanton Bomb for the finish. Post-match respect handshake is a feint, as the defeated duo rush the champs, making a heel turn. Brutal beat down to close this one.

Finally, I get one right, Alexa Bliss defeats Bayley for the RAW Women’s Championship. Despite being in her hometown, Bayley not booked to win tonight, due to a kickout late in the match, one causing Bayley to go face-first into the bottom of the ringpost. Great match through and through. As noted by Michael Cole, Bliss is the “first woman” to hold both the RAW and SmackDown Women’s Championships. Not bad.

What did turn out bad, the House of Horrors match. The concept seemed cool, but it was a bona-fide brawl. Orton almost used a frying pan. Creepy stuff like decapitated dolls and horror-style broken furniture added to the match, but overall, this pre-taped segment just didn’t come off right on television. Orton arriving in a limo? Then, I thought the match was over when Bray Wyatt left in the limo, turning the house red when he departed. But apparently, despite flipping a refrigerator on top of Orton, he has to win by pinfall or submission or “forfeiture” in the ring. Tell me Michael Cole, how the hell does that work? My guess, is later in the show, Orton turns out to be the limo driver or some other “outta nowhere” bit.

Seth Rollins defeats Samoa Joe. As expected, great match. Joe put on the hurt, and Rollins kept fighting back. I don’t get why they call the sleeper hold the Kukina Clutch. It’s not. We’re not dumb. Rollins with some of his signature moves. Was disappointed no Muscle Buster attempt. Rollins reversing a few of Joe’s signatures, and wound up pinning Joe after reversing the sleeper hold. Joe looked pissed after the match was over.

Back in the ring, Bray Wyatt is about to claim victory, when, “out of nowhere” Randy Orton shows up. They brawl, it seems Orton is about to win, until The Singh Brothers (formerly Bollywood Boys) attack, but they have the same effect Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble would have, until Jinder Mahal finally shows up, to everyone’s delight, allowing Bray Wyatt to spike Randy Orton with the Sister Abigail for the win.


Braun Strowman defeats Roman Reigns. Michael Cole immediately tarnishes the victory with the stark reminder that Reigns was fighting injured and wasn’t really in any condition to compete. Who cares Cole? Strowman beat the hell out of Reigns, blood, tables, carnage. There was the obligatory “uh oh” when Reigns hit a spear and started hulking up, until Strowman hit two running powerslams to win. The post-match destruction was great, and kudos to Reigns, yes, I said that, kudos for taking the steel stairs to the gut, unprotected. The fake blood was a bit much, but still cool.

Decent show. Not bad, but not great either. Just a good show, which as expected is going to start or continue feuds to the next event.

Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis
Michael Dworkis has been a writer for The Pop Break since 2010. For over a decade he has contributed columns featuring Anime, Comics, Transformers, Television, Movies, and most notably, Professional Wrestling. Additionally, one of the key players in the original Angry Nerds column and a guest on one of Bill's various podcasts. When he is not grinding away at his next feature, or shouting expletives at the television while playing video games or watching wrestling, Michael actually has a full-time job,as a Mental Health Professional, working at a medical practice in New Jersey, and runs his own telehealth private practice. A family man through-and-through, requiring his three children to memorize all the Autobots and Decepticons on the collection shelves while also educating them in all things Marvel and Star Wars. You know, the stuff Disney owns.

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