Last night at WWE Payback fans blew the roof of the All State Arena in Chicago, Illinois.
This was the first ever WWE Payback event taking place, having replaced Over The Limit, and after last night it looks as if Payback could be staying on the WWE calendar for quite some time as the majority of matches were great and enjoyable to watch, which was backed up by the crowd’s reaction to the entire night.
The night kicked off with the Intercontinental Championship match where England’s Wade Barrett was defending his Championship against The Miz and the man who replaced Fandango in the match; Curtis Axel.
The match was what you normally expect from a triple threat match; Miz and Barrett worked through the start whilst Axel stood outside the ring with Paul Heyman but did get some action in the mid-stages.
The crowd was definitely pumped for this match and they could not help but cheer as Axel landed a Perfect Plex, the finishing move of his late father, Mr. Perfect; Curt Hennig. The end was truly a touching moment, The Miz had Wade locked in the Figure Four, and instead of breaking up the submission manoeuvre, Axel chose to put Barrett on his back and pinned him for the title win. The crowd did give Axel a massive ovation for winning the match was he looked upwards, paying tribute to his father who made this Championship famous, a great match; a great result and a ‘perfect’ ending.
Winner = NEW Intercontinental Champion; Curtis Axel
The Divas Championship match was next where Kaitlyn wanted to take revenge on AJ Lee, who tricked her into thinking she had a ‘secret admirer’, only to be revealed that it was a big joke all along. The match itself, nothing special which is exactly what we expect and receive nowadays from a Divas match; both women went out there and did work hard, no doubt about that and they did exceed my own expectations, admittedly they were not that high in the first place.
It was AJ Lee who managed to pick up the victory as she locked in the second of her Black Widow submission holds, and Kaitlyn had no choice but to tap out and relinquish her Championship.
Winner = NEW Divas Champion; AJ Lee
Another match, another Championship on the line and this time it was Dean Ambrose if The SHIELD defending his United States Championship against The Big Red Monster; Kane. The match was a good match, Kane did look a lot more dominant which was a good move as it still made Kane look a lot more dangerous; however Dean Ambrose also got his moments in the match, toying around with Kane which suggested that he is not afraid; again, another great move.
The conclusion of the match was not that great, Dean Ambrose and Kane took the match to the outside of the ring, Ambrose hit a DDT and went back into the ring, whilst Kane was counted out, meaning Ambrose retained his United States Championship.
Winner = STILL United States Champion; Dean Ambrose
After the match we witness something epic, a video package hyping the return of... Rob Van Dam! This return will take place on the 14th of July at the annual Money in the Bank pay-per-view which takes place in Philadelphia. The Chicago crowd began to chant his name for the remainder of the night, one can only imagine what the reaction will be like in Philadelphia, the home of ECW where Rob Van Dam was a hero; it will be a fantastic night.
Dolph Ziggler made his return to in-ring competition as he was set to defend his World Heavyweight Championship against Alberto Del Rio, a match which the Chicago crowd was very well into. Alberto displayed a much more aggressive style, something you would expect a heel to do as he took advantage of Ziggler’s concussion and hit a lot of manoeuvres aimed at his head which did take its toll. During the match doctors asked Ziggler if he wanted to continue and he opted to do so, resulting in a more vicious beating from Del Rio who kicked Ziggler’s head time and time again.
The result came as a surprise, after Ziggler crawled back into the match for a moment after he hit the Zig-Zag, Del Rio got up and once more kicked Ziggler in the head; and picked up the victory.
Winner = NEW World Heavyweight Champion; Alberto Del Rio
After the match Dolph Ziggler is still near the ring, selling his concussion a little more while Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez came out again, he cut a promo in typical heel fashion whilst the crowd booed him and cheered for Ziggler, now it seems that once again we will see a heel Alberto Del Rio; a welcome move in my opinion.
The match everyone was waiting for, Chris Jericho made his entrance first and after a brief wait we finally heard the Cult of Personality blast the PA system and CM Punk returned to the WWE after two months away. Obviously, his hometown fans were behind him the entire match and he gave love back to his loyal fan-base; wearing the Chicago Blackhawks themed shorts as they are tied at 1-1 with the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup Final.
The match was brilliant, for me it is already a match of the year contender and you expect that from these two men, back and forth action, great technical wrestling and plenty of near falls. Punk did look a little off at times but he did look good due to Jericho, if it was anyone else then maybe this match would not have been as great. In the end Punk hit two consecutive GTS’ for the well deserved victory to keep the Chicago fans happy.
Winner = CM Punk
The remaining two members of The SHIELD; Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins took on the odd team of Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan; and the fans made sure they made their presence felt as they gave Bryan an almighty pop as he made his way out. These four guys can work with each other week in-week out, but they are always entertaining and it was no different here.
Bryan put on a great performance in his battle with Reigns and Rollins and match after match Reigns is getting so much better inside the ring. Orton and Bryan did have communication problems and got into each other’s way a number of times and it cost them the match. Orton stepped out of the way which allowed Reigns to hit a devastating Spear on Bryan. Rollins finished the match as he drove Bryan’s face into the match and Team RKNo were unable to dethrone the champions, a great match.
Winners = STILL Tag Team Champions; The SHIELD
The main event, the three stages of hell match for the WWE Championship however the three stipulations were far from interesting compared to the matches we witnessed in the past. Anyway, the first fall was contested under a lumberjack match, as thirty superstars surrounded the ring and beat down on both Cena and Ryback every time they made their way out of the ring. A big brawl ensued between everyone at ringside only for Cena to break it up, turning on the ‘Super-Cena’ mode however Ryback hit a successful Shell Shock to take it to 1-0.
Winner of first fall = Ryback
The second fall was a tables match and Cena recovered from the Shell Shock to put up a good performance this time round, again, back and forth action between two men and it was an obvious result, Cena put Ryback through the table to take it to the final match.
Winner of second fall = John Cena
The final stage was in an Ambulance Match stipulation, where the winner had to put his opponent in the back of an ambulance. Ryback dominated the earlier stages as the match notched up a level and was by far the most entertaining portion of the match. Ryback sent Cena through the announcers table followed by both men making their way towards the ambulance on stage, literally tearing the ambulance to shreds, where they broke off the doors and other parts. The finish was the most entertaining as Cena was standing on the roof; Ryback followed and Cena hit an Attitude Adjustment through the roof of the ambulance, handing Cena the win in a decent match.
Winner = STILL WWE Champion; John Cena
In the pre-show, Sheamus and Damien Sandow put on a great match for the fans to get them into the mood; Sandow looked very aggressive and looked great in certain areas and had Sheamus in trouble. But the end result was expected as Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick for the victory.
Winner = Sheamus
Match of the Night = CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
Superstar of the Night = Curtis Axel
Pay-Per-View rating = 4/5
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