After an incredible WrestleMania and a decent Extreme Rules PPV, we've come to Payback, whose card doesn't appear to be too strong. With the PPV taking place in the middle of the month, and after Daniel Bryan's unexpected injury, we have a lot of half cooked feuds and very few title battles. We have an interesting main event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, which will pit Seth Rollins against Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, but a boring co-main event in Rusev vs John Cena. We've already seen this fight three times and even though we'd love to see Rusev win clean, we're not holding our breath.
Realistically, what are the odds of John Cena saying I Quit? 0.00001 %?
What are the odds Ambrose wins? 4%. At least I'm more hopeful about Ambrose.
Here's the entire match card:
- Pre-Show: The Meta-Powers (Sandow and Axel) vs The Ascenscion
- Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
- The New Day (C) vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (Two out of Three Falls Match for the Tag Team Championships)
- Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
- John Cena (C) vs. Rusev (I Quit Match for the U.S. Championship)
- The Bella Twins vs. Naomi & Tamina Snuka
- King Barrett vs. Neville
- Seth Rollins (C) vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose (For the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)
Let's starting breaking this one down.
** The match results are included, so be aware of spoilers before you continue reading!
Well, if you were expecting a good match here, you only have yourself to blame. Damien Sandow worked miracles as a stunt double for The Miz, but I don't think even he can save this ridiculous gimmick. This was thrown together last second as a pre-show match for this PPV, as well as trying to establish two more teams for the upcoming Elimination Chamber PPV (there will be a tag team elimination chamber match).
This match was as bland as anticipated, so we won't waste too much time on it. In the end, Macho Mandow went for the elbow drop and was thrown off the top rope, before Konnor hit the Fall of Man for the win on Axel.
Winner: The Ascension
Match Rating: 3/10
This seemed like an intelligent way to start the card, with two superstars that know how to put on a good match and set the bar for the night. On top of that, on the back of their decent battle at Extreme Rules, this is one of the few feuds on the card that didn't feel half-baked coming into the PPV.
*Side note: Not to beat a dead horse, but Sheamus really looks ridiculous. He said it represents change, but it mostly represents hideousness.
Sheamus dominated the first half of the match, before we got the push from Ziggler. That's when Ziggler got his Payback. Get it? Like the PPV title? I hope that's the last time we have to do that. With Sheamus stuck in the corner, Dolph finally got Sheamus to kiss his butt, much to the delight of the crowd.
*Side Note: This match featured horrific commentary from JBL. His reasoning against Ziggler getting Sheamus to kiss his ass was ridiculous. Bush league stuff.
However, that wasn't the end of the bout, as Sheamus took control again before hitting The Brogue Kick on a bloodied Ziggler to win the match. Not as good as their last match, but a decent start for the PPV. Sadly, there were none of the memorable high spots you'd expect from a Ziggler match.
Before the match, we got a little promo between Kane and Seth Rollins that was boring and poorly scripted. Thumbs down. Let them cut real promos again!
If I'm being completely honest, I've been completely blindsided by the success of The New Day. I thought they'd last two months, but they've done well to turn heel and become the most annoying team on the roster. They're all solid wrestlers, so let's hope they continue to build them up and not waste this heat. Before the match, New Day came out and cut an awesome promo, where they even called out members of the Baltimore Orioles who were sitting in the crowd. Good job New Day. Never thought I'd say that.
Now, we have the two out of three falls match, which was a rematch from Extreme Rules. This was an incredible match that I'd suggest going back and re-watching for all the high spots you might have missed.
For the first fall, we got a few great spots from Cesaro, one of which came when Big E went for a crossbody splash, that Cesaro caught for a huge slam. Another was Tyson Kidd springboarding Kofi Kingston into Cesaro's arms, which led to the Cesaro Spin and the first fall going to Cesaro and Kidd. Really great start to the match.
For the second fall, we got more great sports, the first coming from Big E, who caught Tyson Kidd mid-air as he dove over the ropes and German suplexed him onto the floor. Then with Cesaro standing on the apron, Big E speared Cesaro through the ropes. It's the best two spots I've seen from Big E in a long time. The New Day won the second fall after dominating an injured Kidd, who was recovering from the German suplex.
For the third fall, we got the first disappointment, as Cesaro missed a powerbomb on Big E, but made up for it by catching Kofi Kingston with a huge uppercut that looked like it would end the match. The final fall came when Xavier Woods (who wasn't a part of the match) dragged Kofi Kingston out of the ring while the official was occupied and rolled up Cesaro for the win.
There were numerous high sports here, to the point that I couldn't possibly list them all. Despite the little hiccup from Cesaro, this was a great match from two emerging tag teams. This is the type of match that we're clamoring for, with innovative high spots and an interesting finish. Let's hope we see more great battles from these two teams in the future.
Winner: New Day (C)
This was a feud that felt a little bit rushed, but an inspired promo from Ryback, along with a solid vignette, had me a little more interested in the match.
It was impossible for this match to keep the pace that the tag match had, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. These are two power wrestlers and they did well to make every punch, slam and suplex look absolutely devastating. The end came when Wyatt hit Sister Abigail after exposing a turnbuckle and throwing Ryback into it. Ryback had injured his ribs during the match and Wyatt made sure to target his ribs with the exposed turnbuckle.
There were no memorable high sports and the ending wasn't as obvious as the commentators pretended it was (it looked a little sloppy), but it was still a solid match with a lot of great power moves. We can expect to see plenty more between these two after this one.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Now for the fourth, and God-willingly last, match between John Cena and Rusev. Though the matches have been decent,, there was really no need for a fourth, but I guess Rusev really wanted Payback. Sorry, I'll try to avoid writing more of those.
*Side note: As much as I love the "John Cena Sucks" sing-a-long, he really deserves more credit than he gets. Please don't stop reading because of that sentiment.
Rusev dominated the early part of the match, intermittently chastising Lana and waving the Russian flag around. The high spot of the match came when Rusev caught Cena and gave him a spinning slam onto the steel steps, in an impressive showing of power from Rusev.
Another interesting spot came when Cena laid Rusev onto the wall outside the ring and told him if he didn't quit, he'd put him through the wall. When Rusev screamed no, Cena delivered a crushing tackle through the wall. The crowd really ate up that one.
Side note:Not to fixate on JBL, but when Cena hit Rusev with a computer and he said "I'd put that in my spam folder," I died a little inside.
I thought the end came when Cena AA'ed Rusev onto the pyrotechnics, which caused a bunch of explosions and sent Rusev writhing in pain, but Rusev continued to refuse to quit. Cena then introduced a 1970s steel barricade, which Rusev proceeded to suplex him through. After they got back in the ring, Rusev got Cena into The Accolade and Cena passed out (again) which made Rusev think he won the match., but he never said "I Quit." Rusev decided to throw some water on Cena to wake him up and break off the top rope to use it as a weapon. Naturally, Cena countered and put Rusev into the STFU. Unable to watch Rusev suffer, Lana decided to scream "I Quit" for Rusev. Interesting finish and at least it wasn't a clean win for Cena, but let's hope that doesn't mean we need a rematch.
Winner: John Cena (C)
Queue the uncomfortable comments from Jerry Lawler, we have a Divas tag team match! Since Paige had to go film a Christmas movie with The Miz, they needed to find someone to fight with Nikki Bella, so here we are. This is a feud that felt incredibly weak due to their lack of adequate screen time, so let's hope this tag match can springboard them to a lengthy and interesting feud that will have actual matches which last more than three minutes.
In terms of the match itself, it was a decent. The end came when Nikki was distracted by Brie getting driven through the barricade by Tamina. This allowed Naomi to take advantage and pin Nikki. It was a good idea for them to have Naomi and Tamina win this match, so that they can become credible Divas and have a relevant feud with the Bellas. Good booking with this one. That being said, it still wasn't a great match. As always with Divas matches, it felt rushed and there weren't many memorable high spots. Please actually give Divas a chance WWE!
Before this highly anticipated match, we saw more of Rusev screaming at Lana, fueling the speculation that she'll turn face and become a prominent Diva.
Now, we got out first taste of Neville at a PPV and, sadly, we were let down by this one.
*Side note: Neville's entrance didn't get the crowd reaction I expected. Come on, Baltimore!
Within a minute of the match beginning, Neville had already flipped over the ropes though Barrett countered the maneuver. Barrett then dominated the start of the match, having us salivating for the eventual Neville turn around and the high spots that comes with it. It came, with Neville performing an impressive spinning flip over the top ropes to take Barrett down as he stood outside the ring. Surprisingly, after hitting this move, Barrett decided to let the ten count happen and take the loss. Then, as Neville waited to have his arm raised, he blind-sided him and beat the stuffing out of him. Neville then fought back and hit the Red Arrow.
It was an incredibly disappointing end to a match that I was incredibly excited for. With these two talented superstars, we should've had a long and interesting fight, not a short fight that ended stupidly. I get that not every fight can end traditionally, but this seemed incredibly boring and seemed like an ending more fitting for a match on Raw. A finish like this on a PPV made Neville look cheap and not worthy. Highly disappointing.
With all the talent in this match, and with all the different styles they possess, this match should have been an absolutely classic. Sadly, it wasn't.
*Side note: Instead of the extended promo before this match, considering we've already seen plenty of these guys on Raw, could we have had a longer and more interesting Divas match? No? Sorry, I brought it up.
The match started out well, with both Reigns and Ambrose performing high flying manuevers to take out a group of wrestlers.
*Side note: How many times can Michael Cole explain the concept for a fatal four-way?
As we expected to start this match, Orton, Reigns and Ambrose combined to take down Rollins, but then Kane decided to help Rollins, along with J&J security. We had a lot of good solo moments in this match, especially during the segments where Rollins and Ambrose were alone in the ring, as they combined for a ton of innovative and interesting maneuvers. Let's hope Rollins' next feud is with Ambrose (don't hold your breath).
We then got our first high spot of the match, as we had a mini-reuniting of The Shield, when they triple powerbombed Randy Orton through the table. It turned sour quickly for Seth Rollins as he tried to celebrate with his former brothers, but they weren't feeling the love. They beat him and laid him out on the other table, before double power boming Kane through that table. One small problem, the table didn't break. With the crowd chanting "one more time!," Reigns and Ambrose double powerbombed Kane again, this time smashing the table and getting a huge reaction from the crowd. A great spot.
We then had Reigns and Ambrose in the ring alone for a while, as the crowd got behind Ambrose and tried to will him to victory. Reigns nearly got the win, before Rollins recovered and broke up the pin. Ambrose then had his chance as he hit The Dirty Deeds on Rollins, but Kane broke up that pin.
Then we had our ending, as Orton re-emerged after Kane took out Reigns and Ambrose. He was fighting in the ring with Rollins before Kane interrupted. Rollins then hit an unsuspecting Orton with a poorly done pedigree that ended the match. A weak ending to an otherwise interesting match.
Winner: Seth Rollins (C)
Match Rating; 6,5/10
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