Did WWE Payback Really Mean I Want My Money Back?
Hot off the heels of it's flagship Pay Per View Wrestlemania the WWE followed up with Payback a month later. Two stars from one of the main events would be missing (Goldberg and Brock Lesnar) and so to one of the major titles the Universal Championship would not be defended. The WWE Championship would also not be defended in the House of Horrors match between Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. This is a strange decision which may mean WWE want Bray to win but also want Randy to keep the title?. We will soon find out later in this article.
There are also rumours that Chris Jericho is headed on a world tour with his band Fozzy so Kevin Owens going over to retain the US Championship seems a likely outcome. So Payback happened on the 30th of April 2017 live from San Jose California on the WWE Network. The opening package reminds me of how little happened at mania apart from the return of the Hardyz. I am also reminded Braun Strowman almost "killed" Roman Reigns on RAW a week ago.
Kevin Owens v Chris Jericho (US Championship)
Jericho opens the show to a huge pop. He debuts his sparkly scarf (a man of many strange fashions). Owens actually gets boo'ed as he enters. Michael Cole points out that if Jericho wins he moves to Smackdown Live. Chris goes to the top ropes early with a flying elbow. Owens goes hardcore smashing jericho's head on the ring post and a cannon ball to the barricade. After some slow grappling in the middle of the ring Owens rips his beard up and down on Chris' forehead.
The match actually slows to a plodding pace mid way through. A series of chops to the chest of Kevin followed by a reversal of the Walls of Jericho signalled Chris was gaining the ascendancy but Kevin quickly put a superkick to his chin. He couldn't reverse the second Walls of Jericho but managed to duplicate Wrestlemania by getting a single finger to the rope.
Kevin plays possum to get his wind back but can't avoid a third dose of Walls of Jericho with no choice but to tap out. Chris Jericho gains an unexpected win to become US Champion but surely will be leaving soon. A great moment afterwards when Chris autographs a fans List of Jericho which already had KO's name on it. Great start but with more time these two could have classic matches.
Austin Aries v Neville (Cruiserweight Championship)
Not much crowd reaction for both men. Neville's heel character is one of the greatest things on WWE TV at the moment. 'Austin Aries' chants from the fans in attendance early on. Aries athletically dominates early. A counter while Austin is on the top rope for a 420 splash slows the match down while he sells a few injuries. Neville taunts the crowd like a true bad guy. An elbow from the top rope got a near fall for Double A. High risk from "AA" diving through the bottom rope.
Sunset flip into a powerbomb from the top rope from Aries nearly had Neville tapping out. Neville takes a cheap disqualification loss by physically interfering with the referee and therefore retaining his title. Yet another match that was to short for the combatants to have a classic.
RAW Tag Team Championship
Cesaro and Sheamus' entertaining storyline has gone on for months now. Reluctant tag partners thrown together by recently fired RAW GM Mick Foley. Now on the same page they are proving to be an excellent tag team. The Hardy Boyz enter to an enormous pop. "Delete" chants fill the arena. Quick tags from both teams keeps the action at a fast pace. Cesaro hits Matt with a big elbow in the corner of the ring. Jeff Hardy has lost none of his in ring abilities over the years and is looking fast and fresh. Sheamus hits Jeff with some stiff offence resulting in Jeff losing a tooth.
The commentators keep commenting on Jeff's lost tooth pretty much confirming it was a real injury. Matt gives us a few 'Broken' laughs entertaining the fans in the front row. Cesaro hits a floating forearm followed by the Cesaro Swing. Matt also appears to be bleeding from the mouth. This is a fantastic action packed match. Swanton bomb from Jeff to Sheamus for the 1...2...3. The Hardyz retain. The teams shake hands for the third time in recent history but it's a swerve and Cesaro and Sheamus attack the Hardyz. This rivalry will continue which is good news after this great match.
Braun Strowman is shown backstage talking about "hurting" Roman Reigns.
Alexa Bliss v Bayley (RAW Womans Championship)
Great receptions for both ladies but the crowd quickly favours Bayley. Alexa looks quite smooth early on so Bayley counters using high impact moves to try and turn the tide. Alexa hits back with some high impact of her own. "Lets go Bayley" chants can be heard. Alexa is looking very confident which may mean trouble for the Womans Champion.
The momentum swings back to Bayley when she snaps a modified stunner on Bliss as she re-enters the ring. A big suplex from the champ. Sunset flip from Bliss can't keep Bayley down. Nice little double knee combo is countered and Bayley drops a Macho Man flying elbow. Alexa kicks out from a sunset flip flicking Bayley's head into the ring post which dazes her. Bliss hits the DDT for the win and becomes the new RAW Womans Champion. Alexa becomes the first ever lady to hold the RAW and Smackdown Live Womans Championship's since the brand split. Very smooth match from these two top women wrestlers.
What was your favourite match?
Bray Wyatt v Randy Orton (House of Horrors match)
Pre-match package reminds us of the undertaker like fued these two have been having. Randy arrives via a limo to the location of the match which seems to be an old deserted house . A strange tractor appears to drive without anyone behind the wheel. Our first look at Bray see's him standing in the lounge room of the house, the lighting and camera angles make him look like a horror movie villian. A hardcore match begins with the wrestlers bashing and smashing each other with whatever isn't nailed down.
They move from room to room with a quietly disturbing soundtrack playing in the background. The kitchen has an eerie Texas Chainsaw Massacre feel to it as the superstars continue to bash each other. Bray tips a fridge on Randy which gives Wyatt time to escape the house. The Eater of Worlds climbs into Randy's limo and demands the driver take him to the arena. We must therefore assume the house is close to the arena?. This was quite a unique and enjoyable part of a WWE Pay Per View. I assume we haven't seen the last of Wyatt and Orton tonight.
Seth Rollins v Samoa Joe
This match has some added spice considering Seth nearly missed Wrestlemania for the second year in a row because of a knee injury caused by Joe a couple of months out from mania. Seth gets a big cheer but knowhere near a top babyface reception like the attitude era's Stone Cold Steve Austin. Seth hit two suicide dives early on. Joe then hit's a suicide dive of his own involving alot more weight and impact than Seth's. Samoa Joe then appears to do some "damage" to Rollins' knee and continues to target it. Rollins struggles to get Joe down to the mat but finally succeeds with a neck breaker but is then quickly countered by Joe's Knee Capper.
The pace slows as Joe continues to target Seth's injuries. A Texas Clover Leaf is not enough to make The Architect tap. Joe is in control which gives me the feeling there will be a comeback very soon. There has been alot of stiff chops from both men in this match. A kick to the chin of Joe signals the comeback has started. Frog Splash from the top rope is not enough to finish Triple H's new bodyguard. Joe locks in the sleeper hold that damaged Rollins' knee months ago but Seth counters into a pinning predicament for the win. Very good match with a very weak ending. I would have liked to see Rollins' new finisher.
A limo pulls up which usually means the arrival of a McMahon but tonight it is Bray. Wyatt slowly makes his way to the ring after going through horror earlier but before he can speak, Orton appears behind him holding a steel chair. He whacks him a few times and our House of Horrors match continues. Before we have a conclusion Jinder Mahal appears with the Singh Brothers and they proceed to attack Orton. This gives Wyatt the chance to hit Sister Abigail and become the winner of the match.
Roman Reigns v Braun Strowman
We yet again get to see Braun attacking Roman on RAW on the pre-match video package sending him into the back of an ambulance. While Roman is in the ambulance recovering Braun 'tips' it over single handedly (it was later revealed that it was hooked onto a crane). In this highlights package we see Kurt Angle briefly, I really wish they could have involved Kurt more tonight. Roman goes into this match with a win over Strowman at the Fastlane Pay Per View in March. Braun gets cheered and Roman gets boo'ed. Michael Cole reminds us that Reigns defeated the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. This will be a permanent part of Roman's gimmick in the near future no doubt. Reigns is heavily strapped to exaggerate the "injuries" suffered in the RAW attack. The Big Dog strikes first with some big punches. Strowman chokeslams his opponent on the announce table. Roman gets hurt again early and the announcer's are questioning whether he should have taken the match. Braun works him over for a few minutes but Roman comes back with a Superman Punch.
The big men fall out of the ring onto the floor. Roman is coughing and selling injury quite well. Strowman's head bounces off the ring post which now means both competitors are groggy. Back in the ring Reign's hits his Spear finisher but can't beat the giant. Two more Super Man Punches to no avail. Braun hits a massive Running Powerslam for the win. He continues to attack Reigns after the match. Will Roman be on RAW tomorrow night? Braun really done a number on the big guy.
WWE Payback was average at best but I am not going to ask for my money back. WWE are lucky the $9.99 a month you pay for a WWE Network subscription is much cheaper than $30- $40 you had to fork out for a stand alone PPV a few years ago. The new model allows the customer to watch whatever they want from WWE's past. The Author highly recommends you go back and enjoy the hours of entertainment from the Attitude Era when wrestling was exciting and unpredictable.