By Long Shot contributor Tim Simko
On last week’s RAW, the final stop on the road to Payback was made. The Authority’s leader Triple H made his return after a brief absence, Daniel Bryan was forced to relinquish his Intercontinental Championship due to injury, and it was announced that if Seth Rollins loses his championship that Kane may lose his job. What will happen on tonight’s Pay-Per View event? Will we see a new Intercontinental Champion crowned? Will Kane lose his position as WWE’s Director of Operations? Will tonight be the night Lana embraces the adulation and praise of the fans?
It is time for Payback.
In the preshow event, R-Truth faced off against Stardust. The match saw plenty of back and forth as both superstars hit a series of slaps and arm drags. Stardust managed to take control of the match, but Truth fought back and managed to get the pin after a series of punches.
This was a nice bonus match, it was a way to give more to the fans in the preshow. These preshows have typically been nothing but repetitive video segments and lackluster reviews of the matches so any time I can see an additional match I am a happy customer.
The Ascension fought against “Macho Mandow” Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel in the next match on the pre-show. Axel managed to hit the signature moves of Hulk Hogan including the finger point and the big boot before hitting a leg drop for a two count. Both Ascension members managed to isolate Axel as Viktor of The Ascension had Axel in a headlock, but Axel managed to escape and Sandow tagged in and slammed Viktor for a top rope elbow drop. Konnor of The Ascension managed to knock Sandow down before he tagged into the match to hit the Fall of Man tag team finisher on Sandow for the win.
Again, this was another fun preshow match. The tribute by Sandow and Axel is pure gold, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this led to the two becoming legitimate tag team championship contenders in the future. Axel is a third generation wrestler, and Sandow has honed his craft for over a decade. These two could make this gimmick work and run with it.
The first official match of the Pay-Per-View was Dolph Ziggler against Sheamus. Both men made their way to the ring as footage of their “Kiss Me Arse” match last month was shown.
Ziggler was in control early in the match as Sheamus showed signs of a possible knee injury. Sheamus tried to regain control but Ziggler worked in some offense and took control of the match once again. At one point, Ziggler wiped Sheamus’ face all over his “arse” in retribution for what happened at last month’s Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View. Ziggler managed to hit a famouser for a two count before Sheamus started to gain control. Sheamus hit Ziggler hard and Ziggler began to bleed. The match was stopped temporarily as officials checked the cut. Once the match resumed, Sheamus hit a brogue kick for a three count.
This was interesting to see, as Ziggler has been given much opportunity to shine in the past few Pay-Per-View events. Just six months ago, he was a former Intercontinental Champion and was the sole survivor of one of the biggest Survivor Series tag team matches in the event’s history. Since then, not much has been done with Ziggler. With these strong showings, I am hopeful that they will start to promote Ziggler as a top guy. As for Sheamus, I find it confusing that he could dominate other talent for weeks at a time on RAW yet look weak on a Pay-Per-View. It is definitely questionable booking.
A backstage segment was shown where Kane and Rollins argued about tonight’s main event. They both bring up that if Rollins loses, Kane will no longer be Director of Operations. It wasn’t a memorable segment, but it was a necessary one that helped reiterate the stipulation for tonight’s main event.
The New Day came out one-by-one and they each addressed the fans in Baltimore. As the fans chanted “New Day sucks!,” they proceeded to trash talk the Baltimore Orioles.
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd came out, accompanied by Natalya, for the two-out-of-three falls WWE Tag Team championship match. Big E and Kofi Kingston represented The New Day in this match.
The New Day was in control, but Cesaro and Kidd began to make a comeback. Cesaro hit the Cesaro Swing as Kidd hit a dropkick for the first fall of the match.
The New Day managed to isolate Kidd with a series of double-teaming before they managed to score the second fall of the match. With both teams 1-1 in the match, the next fall would win the match.
There was a series of fast paced back and forth. After awhile, Xavier Woods, who wasn’t legally in the match, jumped in when the referee had his back turned and rolled Cesaro up for the final fall. The New Day are still the tag team champions.
The WWE’s tag team division is starting to reignite after being neglected by the WWE for many years. With teams such as The New Day, Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, The Lucha Dragons, and even teams such as The Ascension and Macho Mandow/Curtis Axel, there is so much potential for many new feuds in the future. Perhaps one day we could see a feud that is as memorable as the Hardy Boyz, Dudley Boyz, and Edge and Christian.
The next match was Ryback against Bray Wyatt. Ryback used his strength to overpower Wyatt early on in the match.
Wyatt regained control by tackling Ryback. He brought Ryback to the floor and continued to attack him. Wyatt dived off the apron and flipped onto Ryback on the floor, as Ryback screamed in pain.
Ryback managed to hit Wyatt with a big splash off the top rope for a two count.
Wyatt went for Sister Abigail, but Ryback reversed it into a Shellshock attempt.
Wyatt managed to escape before throwing Ryback into a turnbuckle with the padding exposed, before hitting his Sister Abigail finisher for the win.
This was a good show of brawn against brains as the powerhouse Ryback fought against the methodical Wyatt. Ryback is stronger than Wyatt, but Wyatt used his cunning and strategy to take control of the match. Ryback looked like he may have been legitimately injured, but I hope that he was just that good of an actor.
The next match was John Cena against Rusev for the WWE United States Championship in an “I Quit” match.
Rusev offered Cena the option to quit now and Cena answered by attacking Rusev.
Soon Rusev was in control. The fans chanted “We Want Lana” and it bothered Rusev so much that he forced Lana to sit in a folding chair on the opposite side of the ring.
The referee asked Cena twice if he wanted to quit. Cena knocked the microphone away the first time and the second time he said no. The third time Cena ignored it again.
Both men refused to quit, as Cena hit Rusev with an Attitude Adjustment into the stage and Cena was suplexed into a steel barricade.
Rusev choked Cena with The Accolade until Cena passed out. Rusev began to celebrate but he didn’t win the match since Cena didn’t say “I Quit.”
Rusev went to further attack Cena, but Cena reversed it into an STF. Rusev began to scream in Russian, and Lana grabbed the microphone and told the referee that Rusev quit. John Cena is still the United States Champion.
Some people continue to hate John Cena, but I enjoy seeing him in this role. I can’t remember the last time that the United States Championship was given this kind of attention, and with matches like this in addition to the weekly open challenges the United States Championship will become more and more prestigious as time goes on.
Byron Saxton told The New Day backstage that they will defend their tag team championship in the first ever Elimination Tag Team Title Match at the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View. This is an interesting concept, even more captivating if it is actually held in the chamber itself. I am intrigued by this, and I wonder if this will take place between two or three tag teams.
The Bella Twins faced off against Naomi and Tamina Snuka.
Naomi managed to take control of the match against Nikki Bella, before Nikki managed to fight back and tag in her sister Brie.
Tamina and Naomi managed to isolate Brie and take control of the match before Brie tagged in Nikki. Nikki took control of Naomi but Naomi managed to drop Nikki off of the top rope for the win.
While the Divas division is beginning to take footsteps in the right direction, they are far from bringing it to the level where it should be. Hopefully, Paige can make her return soon and NXT can call up some divas to the main roster. I am also curious to see if Eva Marie’s training with Brian Kendrick will make her a credible wrestler when she returns. Only time will tell.
Backstage Rusev screamed at Lana in Russian and told her to get out. A simple segment, but it was a great way to tease their inevitable break up.
King Barrett against Neville was the next match. As the match started, Barrett began to dominate the match.
Neville began to gain some offense, as he hit a big dive onto Barrett on the floor. Neville rolled back into the ring but Barrett let the referee count him out. He pretended to walk away but came back and attacked Neville.
Neville won the match, but the conclusion was disappointing. I hope they continue this feud as the ending was inconclusive and these two have potential for a blockbuster match. I can’t quite explain why, but I am hopeful that these two will end up competing against each other for the now-vacant Intercontinental Championship. Both men have shown much potential in recent weeks and a title match will only bring more attention to their feud.
The main event was the final match of the Pay-Per-View, as WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins defended his championship against Roman Reigns, Randy Orton, and Dean Ambrose. WWE announcer Eden did formal introductions before the match.
All four guys immediately went outside of the ring at the start of the match and took out J&J Security. They then continued to fight outside of the ring.
Ambrose and Reigns teamed up against Rollins, but Kane got himself involved in the match to even the odds.
Ambrose went for his Dirty Deeds finisher but Kane got involved again and chokeslammed Ambrose in the middle of the ring. Rollins tried to take advantage and pin Ambrose but Ambrose kicked out at two.
Kane tried to interfere again but Orton and Reigns stopped him. Orton took out Reigns and went after Rollins and Ambrose in the ring. He knocked Ambrose out of the ring and started fighting Rollins.
On the floor, former Shield members Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns reunited for their signature Triple Powerbomb on Orton through the table. Rollins tried to do their old fist pose but Reigns and Ambrose stared him down before beating him up.
Reigns and Ambrose stood in the ring before shaking hands, hugging and saying that the loser buys beers. Went one on one in the ring before everyone got involved again. Orton RKO-ed everyone as the crowd went crazy. Orton went to RKO Rollins but Rollins pushed him into Kane, Orton RKO-ed Kane and turned around to try to RKO Rollins. Rollins reversed the RKO and hits Orton withTriple H’s Pedigree for the win.
This was a great main event with a few memorable moments. The Triple Powerbomb was great to watch, as The Shield was one of the greatest groups in WWE history. I was happy to see it one more time, but I was sad knowing that that era is now over. While I am happy that each man has found success as a singles competitor, I will always miss seeing The Shield as a group.
- With the tag team division becoming a priority, I hope to see teams such as The Ascension and Damien Sandow/Curtis Axel enter the mix.
- In addition, where are the Lucha Dragons? They captivated the audience as a tag team in their matches on RAW and then disappeared just as quickly.
- I hope that Ryback’s injuries was simply an act, I would hate to hear that he is legitimately injured from his match.
- The Triple Powerbomb was my favorite part of the entire night. I’m sure I will end up replaying that a dozen times on the WWE Network.
- With Seth Rollins’ curb stomp finisher unofficially banned, it appears that WWE is struggling to find a new finishing maneuver for Rollins. He uses a DDT on RAW, used the RKO at Extreme Rules, and used Triple H’s Pedigree tonight. Only time will tell if they find something permanent for him. I only wish WWE would bring back the Curb Stomp.