This year the WWE Payback pay-per-view emanated from the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore, Maryland with Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose attempting to dethrone WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins in the main event.
Payback is an event which usually impresses thanks to the impressive matches on display, and this year was no different as a number of superstars stepped up to put on an entertaining show.
In the pre-show we had two matches, the first was an unannounced match between R-Truth and Stardust, and it’s what you usually expect from a pre-show match. There was nothing on the line but a way to kick off the evening with R-Truth pumping up the Baltimore crowd on his way to a victory.
The second pre-show match is one fans wanted to see, The Ascension going up against The Mega Powers, Macho Mandow and Axelmania joining forces and they didn’t disappoint. We got the full entrance and attire from Macho Mandow and we were also treated to a Hulk Hogan-esque entrance from Curtis Axelmania, topped off with the red and yellow tights and the handlebar moustache.
It was a quick match, it seemed as if it was a late change to have the match shorter than it was. The Mega Powers were involved for the comedic value but The Ascension picked up the win, something they desperately needed.
SHEAMUS VS. DOLPH ZIGGLER
This was a fantastic match to open the night with, two good workers who set the tone for the remainder of the night and it actually felt like a personal battle between the two which is always a sign of a good match.
Dolph Ziggler sold every move perfectly and also got in a good amount of offence and almost put Sheamus over a number of times but he couldn’t get the job done. He was busted open with blood pouring down his face and at the end it felt like Ziggler had given everything he had, Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick to end Ziggler’s misery in a good opening match.
THE NEW DAY VS. TYSON KIDD AND CESARO
A solid tag team match, once more Xavier Woods provided great entertainment at ringside as they looked to hold on to their Tag Team Championships. They went down 1-0 in the two out of three falls match and at times it looked as if they were going to lose the title 2-0 as Tyson Kidd and Cesaro dominated, but they fought through to pick up a pin fall of their own.
We saw a lot of great manoeuvres especially from Kidd and Cesaro, nothing new there, and the end came in very odd yet entertaining fashion as the New Day continued to embrace the heat. Xavier Woods – who wasn’t involved in the match – rolled into the ring and rolled Cesaro up for the pin-fall and the referee didn’t realise, allowing the New Day to retain their gold, just.
BRAY WYATT VS. RYBACK
I didn’t enjoy this match, and I felt like this match brought down the remainder of the event as the rest of the matches were to such a high standard. This match felt rushed, and boring which is not something you expect from Bray Wyatt. I felt that Bray Wyatt and Ryback didn’t really have the chemistry there compared to what we’ve seen between Wyatt and John Cena for example.
There was nothing on the line in the match and, with a very short build to this match, the feud hasn’t been running for very long so it will be interesting to see what happens next between the two but it was Bray Wyatt who picked up the win by hitting Sister Abigail.
JOHN CENA VS. RUSEV
Now this was a match that impressed, both men just tore each other apart from start to finish and it was good to see that the fans were behind this match as it was feared that, this being their fourth clash, it could work against them.
In reality, the two managed to make this match more exciting than some of their previous encounters. Lana, as expected, played a big role in this as she was sent to sit near the announcer’s table by Rusev, hinting at a potential yet inevitable split as he took matters into his own hands.
As per usual, Cena refused to give up no matter what. It was great to see Rusev dominate the champion by locking in the Accolade for a while, and he thought he had won when Cena was incapacitated but he didn’t actually say the two words.
Rusev wasn’t done there, he revived Cena by pouring water on him and actually took off the top rope to choke him but Cena reversed it, locking in the STF and, after some loud shouting in Bulgarian, Lana did what we expected her to do and quit on behalf of Rusev. The bulgarian Brute didn’t takekindly to that in a backstage segment later. John Cena retained the United States Championship.
THE BELLA TWINS VS. NAOMI AND TAMINA
I don’t think anyone was really interested in this divas match. The divas championship should have been on the line but instead we got a tag team match which only further solidified Naomi as the number one contender after she and Tamina picked up the victory over the twin sisters. There was nothing special in this match, nothing of note and you could tell that because even the commentators were focusing on the fact that Brie Bella is upset over Daniel Bryan’s future with little coverage of the actual match itself.
KING BARRETT VS. NEVILLE
The King took on Neville – who he had called a peasant and vowed to bring back down to Earth -and as expected with any Neville match, it was full of excitement and high-flying moves which was matched brilliantly with Barrett’s hard hitting, rough style.
The two have competed in matches before and this matched up to those high standards, I would have liked the match to have been a little bit longer as it would have allowed both men to showcase their skills even more, especially Neville but the finish was interesting.
Neville picked up the victory for a second straight pay-per-view over Barrett, this time in a count-out win which shows that Neville is a threat to the top guys in the business.
SETH ROLLINS VS. ROMAN REIGNS VS. RANDY ORTON VS. DEAN AMBROSE
The main event impressed, it’s as simple as that. J&J Security played a big role right off the bat, taking out Reigns and Ambrose whilst all eyes were on Kane to see whether he would help Rollins and keep his job as Director of Operations, or go against Rollins and lose his job. In the end he helped Seth Rollins and took out Orton, Reigns and Ambrose at every opportunity he could, and they all came agonisingly close on separate occasions to capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Fans were ecstatic when we saw shades of The Shield; Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns teamed up for one moment when they hit Orton with the triple powerbomb through the table before Ambrose and Reigns turned their attentions to Rollins, hitting him with a powerbomb and then hitting a powerbomb on Kane on top of Rollins. The table didn’t break so they hit another for added measure and this time the Spanish announcer’s table did break.
Ambrose and Reigns finally went at it for a while in the ring, coming very close to becoming new champions as Orton fought his way back into the match, but Seth Rollins retained his title by hitting the Pedigree – the finishing manoeuvre of Triple H – as he retained his gold.
Triple H came out to celebrate the victory, closing out the show with images of the two celebrating and Triple H standing next to Rollins like a proud father to close off a solid pay-per-view, but now there’s only two weeks left until the next pay-per-view; the Elimination Chamber.