WWE Payback Recap
Pre-Show & 1st Title Change
WWE Payback is a new concept for a PPV this year, and by new concept I mean it's a new name. Anyway, the Pre-show featured Sheamus vs Damien Sandow. It's strange that this match was reduced to the pre-show as it has been given so much television time to build. Either way, the match was decent enough. Typical Sheamus match with high impact. Sandow always takes a beating well, so he helped make Sheamus better than he actually is. Sheamus picked up the win to get us ready for the show.
Payback begins with the Intercontinental Title Triple Threat match featuring Champion Wade Barrett vs The Miz vs Curtis Axel. This match was highly predictable. Barrett never wins matches. It's almost the trademark of his title run. The Miz is finally getting back on the main card again. Curtis Axel is Paul Heyman's new golden boy. I wonder who will win? The match a fun triple threat however and a good show-opener. It had fun moves and back and forth. The finish came with Axel pinning Barrett while locked in Miz's figure four leg lock. A unique finish that allowed Axel to claim the title and Miz to be positioned as his first challenger.
Another Title Change & Shield's Dominance
The Divas Title match is slated to go on next. Champion Kaitlyn vs AJ Lee. Believe it or not but this feud has been the longest running and best developed story in the WWE. Thankfully this match was given time too. These are two of the only Diva's in the WWE that can actually wrestle. A good match will solid action and entertaining moments. The finish came with Kaitlyn tapping out to AJ's octopus submission. It's weird praising a WWE Divas match, but this happen when stories are given time to build and actually payoff.
This Night of Champions style PPV continues with the United States Title match featuring Champion Dean Ambrose vs Kane. The Shield is still dominating the mid-card picture in the WWE. Ambrose is so good at what he does. He makes every single action he takes look great. Kane cans till deliver the moments needed to tell a story. He feels like he been lost in the shuffle of this Shield feud currently, but it still was an ok match. It ended with a Count Out allowing Ambrose to retain his title. It's a good heel move and it still allows Kane to maintain a level of power credibility.
You Guessed It, Another Title Change
Payback rolls on with the World Heavyweight Title match. Champion Dolph Ziggler vs Alberto Del Rio. This was a good enough match. Part of me was hoping for a classic because we all know what these two can do in the ring. They are great workers and should be given a chance to shine. But this match was more about playing up an angel than having a great match. Del Rio focused on Ziggler's head because of his concussion. Interestingly, both guys seemed to switch roles. Ziggler became overly cheered and Del Rio hated for his actions. It was hard to tell if this was due to the Chicago crowd or because WWE planned it that way. However, Ziggler would not give up, but Del Rio ended up picking up the victory and reclaiming the World Heavyweight Title.
Following the match, they played up sympathy for Ziggler and even had Del Rio come back out to cut a promo that felt very heel-ish. It will be a good story to follow going forward. It does hurt to see Ziggler has already dropped the title with basically no chance to get any traction with it. Perhaps he is still too injured to work full time, but he was over with the crowd. Hopefully this will lead to him winning the title back at SummerSlam as a face.
Best in the World Returns
The only non-title match on the card is up next. It's time to find out who is the Best in the World....at what they do. CM Punk vs Chris Jericho. The match was hot from the start. The Chicago crowd was jacked up to see the return of hometown hero CM Punk. The match was enjoyable for he most part. The announcers played up Punk being tired or rusty, which if you take 2 months off and gorge on arena food a lot, I guess you would be. This is the 3rd time these have squared off and their matches have not been the 5-star classics we wished they were. These guys can have epic encounters with anyone, but their styles seem to clash when with each other. CM Punk ended up with the victory giving the crowd the moment they paid to see. A slid match, but one I'm ok I'm not seeing again.
Tag Title Gets to Shine
The WWE Tage Team Title match is going on second to last. A great spot for the non-existent tag team division. Champions The Shield; Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. These match features 4 guys that can straight up go in the ring. So a really high quality match was to be expected. Rollins and Bryan had a few good spots with each other. I am already hoping we get a one on one feud between these two sometime in the future. They have amazing chemistry together. Orton and Reigns both provided their usual high spots. Orton connected with an awesome RKO on Reigns near the finish. However, Rollins connected with a kick to Bryan's head allowing the Shield to pick up the win. A really great tag team match and with the Shield holding the gold, we can continue to expect that as long as WWE develops new teams to face them. Teams that are viable threats, that is. Hopefully from here Daniel Bryan can move on to a new opponent. He has been with the Shield for a while now and his matches have been expert. He deserves to be higher up the card and is the most over guy in the company.
The Main Event
So far Payback has been extremely predictable. Every match, you knew who was going win, little doubt in you mind. The same can be said for the main event. The WWE Title match: Champion John Cena vs Ryback. Ryback sucks, he doesn't rule, he sucks. Lets be real here. Cena isn't dropping the title to him and these two are just boring to watch. A big part of me was hoping that the real twist here was the match would only go 2 of the 3 Stages of Hell. But that wasn't meant to be. With the overboard amount of lumberjacks, Ryback wins the first fall. Next was the Tables Match because we all know how great those can be. Anyway, Ryback basically put himself through the table for Cena to pick up the win. Then came the 3rd stage, the Ambulance Match. These aren't matches that happen often, well, neither are 3 Stages of Hell matches. This third fall shows why. Cena and Ryback pretty much tore apart the ambulance. How could this thing actually drive to a hospital now? Anyway, Cena hit Ryback with the AA on top of the ambulance which sent Ryback through the roof to end the match. Hopefully this sends this feud to the hospital too, because I'm not sure anyone can handle another PPV headlined by Cena vs Ryback.
Did You Enjoy Payback?
At the end of the day, Payback was a decent show. The card featured some fun matches and told a few good stories. It was great to see the payoff for the AJ Lee/Kaitlyn story and it's always nice to see CM Punk return. That said, the show ended horribly. Cena/Ryback doesn't work and they just bump into each other.
The show deserved a better ending. It would have been better to close the show out with any of the other matches on the card over the WWE Title match. But the show got off to a hot start so the we were able to get our fill of great action early so if you wanted you, you could check out during the main event. But, chances are you aren't paying for this PPV or watching at all for Cena/Ryback, and if you are, you are a special kind of masochist.