If there was ever a pay-per-view that was defined by one match, it would be Payback.
The fatal-four-way match consisted of all three former members of The Shield, a year after their final match as a trio and the combustible elements were enough to raise the expectations of the entire event.
The night kicked of with a “bonus” match between R-Truth and Stardust, presumably this was a fallout match that stemmed from some issues in the Intercontinental Championship match at WrestleMania and it was a quick affair between the two that saw R-Truth pick up the win.
The advertised match between The Mega Powers and The Ascension was the biggest shock of the night for me. While the entire gimmick infringement issues in this match were cringeworthy, most would have thought The Mega Powers would get off to a winning start over The Ascension who are arguably on a descent on the main roster. But after throwing Axel out of the ring, The Ascension hit Fall of Man for the win, but Konnor tagged in Viktor and then made an illegal pin himself. Whether this was intentional or not remains to be seen.
The main show kicked off with Sheamus taking on Dolph Ziggler in a rematch from Extreme Rules.
This time Ziggler got Sheamus in the corner and forced the Irish Superstar to “kiss his ass” for a little bit of payback, sadly this was the best part of the match really as Sheamus then went on a mission and Ziggler headbutted the former US Champion, cutting his head in the process which produced a lot of blood. Sheamus hit a variation of the Brogue Kick to get the win while medical staff treated Dolph who later received stitches backstage.
A two out of three falls match for the Tag Team Championships was next and Tyson Kidd and Cesaro have become an absolute pleasure to watch in the ring lately. The way their moves flow is exceptional and the former champions secured the first fall after the Cesaro Swing into the drop kick on Kofi Kingston of The New Day. The champions pulled one back after The Midnight Hour on Kidd but in a shocking turn of events, the referee lost control of the match and when he turned around Xavier Woods, who wasn’t in the match, had the pin on Cesaro and the referee allowed it to see The New Day retain. So, two illegal pins already, it’s going well.
Bray Wyatt vs Ryback was perhaps the one match I wasn’t looking forward to. There wasn’t enough build up or motive between these two and that was reflected in the match. It was pretty much over after a few minutes when Bray hit his senton off the apron and the bump didn’t go as planned, apparently causing Ryback to suffer a broken rib. The Big Guy did shock the WWE Universe when he landed a frog splash, but he never fully recovered from the senton and Sister Abigail sealed the first pay-per-view win for Bray this year.
The I Quit match that everyone would prefer to look past, was actually a fantastic back and forth affair. Rusev proved a lot to me in this match, we have seen how much he can give out but he took a lot of offense last night and still refused to give in. Predictably John Cena got the win after Lana quit for Rusev and this caused some animosity backstage later in the night when it seemed Rusev fired her. But for a match that was billed as the fourth meeting between the pair where we would see nothing new, it flowed nicely and the two complimented each other well.
What can I say about the divas match? It was alright? It wasn’t the best but we all knew it wouldn’t be the minute it was announced, another quick affair as WWE continue to #GiveDivasAChance but the heels got the win so at least there is a form of progression as Tamina and Naomi look set to open up an on-going rivalry with The Bella Twins.
Being British, this next match made me so proud. The best of British being showcased again at a WWE pay-per-view and once again King Barrett and Neville did us proud. The match was high octane with Neville once again showing why he was the New Sensation, but Barrett got fed up and decided he would allow the referee to count him out. As Neville celebrated Barrett attacked, but Neville recovered to hit a German Suplex and a sensational Red Arrow to leave Baltimore with his head held high.
The main event finally came around and it looked like it would be a three on one attack until J&J and Kane involved themselves and evened the odds. After they were taken out, Seth Rollins gave his former partners that look as he turned to Randy Orton and motioned to the announce desk. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns much like in the good old days played along and hit Orton with The Shield’s patented Triple Power-Bomb before Rollins got carried away celebrating and Reigns and Ambrose beat him down.
Reigns and Ambrose worked together to take Rollins out as they twice power-bombed Kane through the announce table on top of Rollins before turning to each other, smiling and stating “loser buys the beers.” The two then went after each other in the ring with Reigns gaining the advantage with a spear but Seth broke it up. Reigns was chokeslammed on the steel steps, Randy then RKO’s J&J and Kane before the distraction allowed Rollins to hit Triple H’s pedigree and retain his World Championship. Triple H then joined Rollins at the top of the ramp as he celebrated.
For an event that once again was free on the Network, I feel like it delivered. A Shield Reunion would have been terrible booking given that all three men are moving towards the same object, but WWE allowed fans to indulge for five minutes. Cena came out on top in hopefully the last encounter between the two competitors and all titles were retained. We are now less than two weeks shy of Elimination Chamber and four weeks shy of Money in the Bank.
Strap in, it’s about to be a busy month.