Last night’s WWE Payback pay-per-view had a number of questions to answer. Would the lackluster hype lead to an equally lackluster show? How would WWE handle the championship situation? Could WWE Payback be better than NXT Takeover? Read on to find out what we thought…
Last night’s show was a wrestling-heavy show. Fortunately, that meant very little filler… except for a bizarre segment that saw Kane randomly attack Kofi Kingston. I guess creative had to remind fans that Kane was still relevant. This just seemed like a strange way to do it. Still, Bo Dallas saved the segment with yet another entertaining promo. The Chicago crowd didn’t give him much of a reaction, which is unfortunate, because this character is money.
No Adam Rose!!
Paul Heyman masterfully took CM Punk’s name power away from the Chicago crowd. He did the same thing at Raw a few months ago, because it makes sense that the man who has actually earned the jeers (and oddly enough, the respect) from smart crowds deliver the bad news.
Props to Daniel Bryan, Brie, and Stephanie McMahon for delivering a logical and complete segment. The “slap heard round the world” should prove endlessly entertaining in replays. I also think this set up a logical Daniel Bryan/Triple H batlle – a battle they’ll hopefully save for SummerSlam.
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Sheamus and Cesaro set the bar high. Not quite the best match of the night, but still an incredibly competitive bout, where both men looked strong no matter the outcome. I still think wins and losses matter in WWE, but the fact that Cesaro dominated the last few minutes while losing on a surprise small-package, kept his credibility intact. My question is: how much longer can Cesaro stay a heel?
There’s no doubt John Cena and Bray Wyatt earned their keep. Internet fans who love to rag on Cena should note that he gave one hell of an effort last night. Yes, Bray Wyatt lost… but that’s okay. He looked like a much bigger star taking Cena to the limit last night than he did a month ago winning inside the steel cage. This match was brutal, and reminded me every bit of an attitude-era hardcore match. PG who?
The Shield and Evolution gave us a solid, yet unspectacular, outing. This match would’ve been fine for Raw or Smackdown. But for a pay-per-view, the pacing was weird, and all the men (especially Triple H) made too many illogical decisions. A traditional tag match? Why? And can you explain why nobody thought to pin Roman Reigns after he’d been laid out through an announce table? Plus, who is going to honor an elimination system when it’s no-holds-barred? Nobody, that’s who. I was surprised to see The Shield win cleanly, but think it bodes well for all three men.
Cody Rhodes is in a weird spot. We saw him lose, and then step away graciously. Like I said in the WWE Payback post-show, if Rhodes is going solo, he should do so as a heel. Also, it makes little sense to spotlight Rhodes as the weak link when he’s the guy who has a future in WWE (no offense, goldy). Maybe creative has other plans. Hopefully there’s still a Cody vs Goldust feud in the works, at SummerSlam, with Dusty Rhodes at ringside.
It’s fine to have unannounced matches on a show, but at times last night, it felt like RAW. Just throwing stuff out there and seeing what sticks.
The connection bug hit me again. Unfortunately, it was during the best match of the night. It’s not my connection – I can stream Netflix in full HD 5.1 without a hit. I never get any lag while gaming. But nothing is more frustrating than missing great wrestling because of forces outside your control. Annoying.
Overall Show: 3 is more than enough for Big E (out of 5)
Solid entertainment. Nothing excited me like Wrestlemania 30 (or even the recent NXT Takeover), and I got a little tired during the main event. But the show delivered above expectations. Crisis averted!