Review: WWE Payback 2014

Written by: Phillipa Hopwood

WWE presented probably the most underwhelming pay-per-view this year last night, with Evolution v The Shield the definite stand-out performance.

Evolution vs The Shield at WWE Payback
The hair v mask match between Hornswoggle and El Torito was a pretty short match (excuse the pun) and El Torito deservedly got the win thanks to a springboard cross-body to see Hornswoggle shaved bald.

This was before the real action of the show began; Cesaro v Sheamus was the treat we all expected it to be with both participants giving it their all but the ending was a little rushed. Cesaro should have been given more, considering he was on top for a lot of the match he didn’t deserve to lose as cheaply as he did.

The Rhodes Brothers weren’t scheduled to appear last night so when they did you knew something was going to happen. They faced off against RybAxel and unsurprisingly lost again, but this time Cody took the mic and many fans hoped for that long-awaited heel turn… but instead he told his brother that he needed a better partner than him and left the ring.

Bo Dallas v Kofi Kingston was also a late addition to the card but the match never actually got started as Kane interrupted, apparently annoyed with something Kofi said on the kick-off show, so he choke-slammed and tombstoned the him while Bo watched on from ringside.

By now it was getting late and the last thing I wanted was Rusev to come out and for his match to turn into a marathon. Thankfully his bout with Big E was just as quick as all his other matches, and he forced Big E to tap, just like he has everyone else he has faced.

Lana and Rusev at WWE Payback

Lana and Rusev at WWE Payback

Wade Barrett v RVD was one of the shining lights of the pay-per-view, the two complemented each other in the ring and there were times when I thought RVD could have won the title, and the nostalgic part of me would have allowed it. Ultimately, Barrett stood strong and lapped up the love of the crowd as he hit the Bull Hammer to retain his title.

The CM Punk chants started early which was no surprise given that the event was in Chicago. In a moment between Stephanie and Daniel Bryan, the fans fired up the chant again which – shockingly – Stephanie actually responded to; telling Daniel that the fans want him to quit, just like CM Punk did.

Bryan decided he wouldn’t follow suit after Brie stepped forward and told Steph she couldn’t fire her because she quits, before slapping the taste right out of her mouth. Steph then ran to the back like a scolded dog which begs the question: this is a former women’s champion, she is Stephanie McMahon and she has just ran from Brie Bella… what has happened to her?

Daniel Bryan at Stephanie McMahon at 2014 WWE Payback

Early Twitter rumours suggest that Brie is in fact leaving WWE because she is with child. As I said, these are just early rumours, but it would make sense as to her lack of ring action lately.

John Cena v Bray Wyatt was always going to be brutal but WWE has flogged this dead horse of a rivalry with everything it has, and I didn’t care too much about the outcome. We all knew that it isn’t over, there is obviously going to be more six man tag matches and Cena will meet Bray again at Money in the Bank. Does it matter that Cena went 2-1 up? The ending to the match was pretty distinctive, AAing someone through a box before dropping another man on top of them, stopping them from getting out is rather unkind, but it allowed Cena to get the 10 count he wanted and now we build towards whatever match is next.

Alicia Fox has stepped up to the plate in AJ Lee’s absence and has literally been given AJ’s crazy persona, so we all knew this feud was rushed, but Alicia gave a great account for herself  against Paige, and if anyone was going to beat the ‘anti-Diva’, it would be the only women she has lost to in her short WWE career.

That being said, Paige performed well and really seems to be coming into her own. She forced Alicia to tap with the Scorpion Cross Lock or what she now calls the PTO (Paige Tap Out). It remains to be seen if the feud between these two is over, but given how Alicia continued her crazy gimmick after the match, it seems there may be more to come.

The match we had all been waiting for was finally upon us, the war to end all wars and the final time Evolution would meet The Shield; and what a treat it was. At times I found it hard to watch – Roman being held down on the steel steps and whipped with a kendo stick was not pretty viewing but it was effective. Evolution picked The Shield apart just as they promised they would, and Seth again delivered an extreme moment as he jumped off the light display at the top of the ramp and took out Evolution.

Seth Rollins jumps on Evolution at WWE Payback 2014

This was the deciding factor as it helped The Shield gain some momentum again and allowed them to climb back out of the ring and eliminate Batista after a spear. Randy Orton then took Dirty Deeds off a steel chair before he was eliminated, leaving the three-on-one match we were promised. However, Randy gave Triple H his sledge hammer and The Game went to work, taking down Ambrose. But Roman was waiting, and after a flying knee to the face, Roman hit the spear and eliminated Triple H to see all three members of The Shield survive. The fact that they couldn’t even stand up after the match tells a story of its own as to how hard they fought for that win.

The Shield stole the show for the third time this year.

And you thought they were going to break up? Why would WWE break up the greatest bargaining chip they have? The Shield together draw more attention and put on a better show than The Shield divided.

Author: Phillipa Hopwood

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