Right now, I’m still rather underwhelmed with wrestling at the moment. I mean, ever since last month’s Extreme Rules, I’ve been kind of down on WWE programs. In fact, this month’s pay-per-view event, Payback, snuck up on me. I just caught it by accident on Monday night when the Fox channel in the Philippines replayed the entire thing.
I was extremely skeptical for this event since most of the people competing were some kind of variation of last month’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view. Since it was on, I decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the WWE Payback pay-per-view and watch it.
Match #1: Dolph Ziggler vs Sheamus
Or: Rematch #1 from Extreme Rules
This was one of the matches I wasn’t excited about since we already saw these two guys fought last month in their Kiss My Arse match. And even though Dolph won then, Sheamus got the last laugh as he knocked “The Show Off” out and smothered his white butt all over Ziggler face. Ziggler managed to get some measure of revenge…
Even though Ziggler managed to get some retribution against the Celtic Warrior, he still lost… in a pretty epic way. , Ziggler strikes Sheamus with a headbutt. This backfires as the headbutt busts Ziggler wide open. Sheamus capitalizes on the injury and finishes Ziggler with a Brogue Kick.
I have to say it was much more entertaining throughout than the duo’s effort in Extreme Rules. The finish was very unique and surprising. Yet, it was a very logical conclusion.
Rating: 8 of 10 stinkfaces in the corner
Match #2: Two-of-Three Falls Match: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro vs The New Day for the Tag Team Championship
Or: Rematch #2 from Extreme Rules!
What happens when life gives you lemons? Make lemonade! The New Day faction that consists of Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E. certainly have! I didn’t like them as good guys… but as bad guys, they are phenomenal! I’m also high on the Tyson Kidd and Cesaro team so I actually had high hopes for this match!
And I wasn’t disappointed! There were a lot of good spots throughout this 2-of-3 falls match! Okay, there was some botched attempts (that attempted suplex by Cesaro to Big E comes to mind) but it was a really energetic match overall. The finish was pretty brilliant, with Xavier Woods (who wasn’t in the match) sneaking in and rolling up Cesaro for the final pinfall. It worked not because Xavier looks like Kofi but because the positioning was beautiful! I can totally believe the referee not being able to catch the switch because of the official’s viewpoint!
However, I have a big issue with the match: its length! For a 2-of-3 falls match, this one felt really short both literally and figuratively. It only lasted 13 minutes! Really wish it was longer!
Rating: 7 of 10 “New Day Sucks/Rocks” chants
Match #3: Ryback vs Bray Wyatt
They hate each other? Oh, whatever!
Maybe I’m missing something but I didn’t care for this fight. Their feud just came out of nowhere and has just been really a lackluster journey to this.
This was generally a really physical match with both Ryback and Wyatt throwing really hard hits at each other. At one point, Ryback did something I never thought he would do: an attack of the top rope! The finish was really executed well. As Ryback tried to go for Shellshock (his finisher), Wyatt rips off the turnbuckle pad. The New Face of Fear then drove The Big Guy into the exposed turnbuckle, enabling him to hit Ryback with Sister Abigail.
Despite these facts, the match just didn’t interest me. Things only picked up by the end of the match but, honestly, a few minutes of solid action doesn’t make up for the slow pace of the match.
Rating: 6 of 10 exposed turnbuckles
Match #4: I Quit Match: John Cena vs. Rusev for the United States Championship
Or: Rematch #3 from Extreme Rules!
An I Quit match with John Cena? Really? The type of match just took a lot of the surprise out of who’s going to win! I was hoping for some twist in the match… and I did get it. But it was a terrible twist.
Okay, the first 10-15 minutes of the match was just a meandering mess. The pace really slowed down since, each time one of them hits a big move, they ask the referee to ask the other guy if he quits! After a while, it got really boring and repetitive. A couple of times, they even threatened the other guy with what they’re going to do before asking them if they quit! That’s just lame! The action did pick up when the fight went out of the ring. At one point, Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment on Rusev, launching fireworks into the air! In reality, it was all sizzle and no steak.
The “big finish” came when Rusev actually put Cena in the Accolade, causing Cena to pass out. Unfortunately, you can’t win an I Quit match this way, apparently? Okay, I have issues with this! I mean, the ref should be able to call this a finish since, if you put someone in a submission hold and they pass out, the official usually ends the match then and there!
But no! They have to follow the rules to the letter: since Cena didn’t utter those words, he didn’t quit! Yet, when Lana steps in and says Rusev quits, the referee takes her word for it! How convenient! Really bad writing and really awful finish!
Rating: 3 of 10 Attitude Adjustments into the fireworks display
Match #5: Divas Tag Team: The Bella Twins vs. Naomi and Tamina
Or: Rematch #4 from Extreme Rules (with modifications to add more Divas)!
Honestly, I’m wracking my mind to think of things to say about this match. I’m actually writing this review up as they finish so my impressions would be fresh but… I can’t really remember anything about it! That’s a testament to how forgettable this was!
This wasn’t a good match. There was totally nothing special about it as nothing really exciting happened. The entire affair was totally predictable. The finish came with Nikki climbing the top rope and getting distracted by Tamina slamming Brie into the barricade. Naomi took advantage and slammed Nikki to the mat, getting her the pinfall victory.
Rating: 3 of 10… yawns due to boredom
Match #6: King Barrett vs. Neville
Or: Rematch #1 from the King of The Ring tournament finals!
I’m kind of sad that he’s “King” Barrett because it looks like he’s going to be shedding his “Bad News” gimmick. But that doesn’t mean he won’t pull off an exciting match. It’s going to be easy since he’s in the ring with Neville, one of the most energetic and flashy wrestlers from NXT! And it didn’t disappoint!
The match, unfortunately, was too short. Under threat of eating a Red Arrow (Neville’s corkscrew Shooting Star Press finish), Barrett decides to roll out of the ring and get himself counted out. As they announced Neville as the winner, Barrett blindsides Neville but Neville fights back with a wicked back suplex! Neville then drags Barrett to the corner and his a beautiful Red Arrow!
Like I said, way too short! If it was longer, I would’ve rated this match higher. But, as it stands…
Rating: 7 of 10 Red Arrows!
Match #7: Fatal Four Way: Dean Ambrose vs Randy Orton vs Roman Reigns vs Seth Rollins for the WWE Heavyweight Championship
I loved The Shield as they were impressive as a team. And while they’ve gone their separate ways (somewhat), each of them has shown they have the potential to be future WWE Hall of Famers. Randy Orton has proven he’s a solid performer and really knows how to engage the crowd. So this should be a great match, right?
This match was marred by outside interference right from the get go. J&J Security and Kane made their presence felt by interjecting themselves at random. Honestly, when done right, I don’t mind others interfering in a match. But when it’s as blatant as this, I feel it takes something away. It’s a good thing all four official participants still managed to keep things interesting.
There were a ton of great spots! One that sticks to mind was the temporary reunion of The Shield as Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns hit a triple powerbomb on Randy Orton on the announce table! The reaction of Seth Rollins (and the acting of both Ambrose and Reigns) afterwards was priceless!
The finish was brilliant as well! After hitting Rollins with his patented second rope DDT, Orton hits a couple of RKOs on both Mercury and Noble. Rollins attempts a comeback but is countered by Orton. Kane enters the ring and gets an RKO for his trouble. Seth then finally takes full advantage and hits, of all things, The Pedigree, Triple H’s finisher, on Orton! And apparently, Triple H approves of Rollins using his finisher and the head of the Authority raises The Architect’s hand in victory!
This was an incredible match! I just wish the finish was more clean; like I said, I always prefer matches without interference. But, in this match, it made sense so I’ll let it slide. I still think the match would’ve been better if the run ins weren’t so blatant.
Rating: 9 of 10 triple powerbombs onto the announce table
Overall Review for Payback (2015)
I have to say, this was a pretty good pay-per-view. Even though most of the matches were all rematches from Extreme Rules, it’s like the WWE learned from the mistakes and managed to make Payback an excellent experience. While a couple of the matches could’ve benefited from more time (King Barrett vs Neville) and a couple were just really, really lame (Cena vs Rusev) and forgettable (The Divas Tag Match), most of the matches were great.
If you average out the matches, I don’t think you’ll get the rating I have below. However, this is more of a case of the entire thing being greater than the sum of its parts.
Rating: 8 of 10 Seth Rollins’ Pedigrees
What did you think of this year’s WWE Payback pay-per-view? Let me know in the comments section below!