The Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois played host to WWE Payback, where three championships were on the line and the fate of another was decided.
As expected the vocal Chicago crowd let their feelings be known multiple times throughout the night; the same night their Chicago Blackhawks team lost 5-4 to the LA Kings in overtime in game seven, just like Bo Dallas and Paul Heyman said they would.
The card already lucked a little lacklustre due to the fact that the WWE World Heavyweight Championship wasn’t on the line, here’s what occurred on the night.
El Torito def. Hornswoggle – Mask vs. Hair match
Sheamus def. Cesaro – Still United States Champion
Rybaxel def. Cody Rhodes and Goldust
Rusev def. Big E.
Bo Dallas vs. Kofi Kingston – no contest
Bad News Barrett def. Rob Van Dam – Still Intercontinental Champion
John Cena w/Jimmy and Jey Uso def. Bray Wyatt w/Luke Harper and Erick Rowan – Last Man Standing
Paige def. Alicia Fox – Still Diva’s Champion
The Shield def. Evolution – No Holds Barred Elimination Tag Team
The pre-show match between El Torito and Hornswoggle was always going to be a comedy match for the fans to enjoy before the main show but in reality they pulled out with another great effort just as they did at Extreme Rules. It was better than expected and the finish was good as well.
Sheamus taking on Cesaro was a perfect opening match and as expected one of the best in-ring matches of the night. Cesaro had the crowd firmly behind him after some loud CM Punk chants before the match started. Heyman played a key role at ringside and Cesaro came very close to winning on multiple occasions. Close calls always make it more interesting and this match had plenty, it was a good choice to start the night off with, a good match; can’t fault either man but it’s good that Cesaro didn’t lose clean but rather a roll-up pin. It sets it up nicely for the future matches.
An impromptu tag team match, and as good as it is getting more matches this was the trend of the night. It just seemed like the card was being thrown together as the night went on. Nevertheless a solid tag team match, both Cody Rhodes and Ryback did some brilliant work inside the ring and the result was predictable.
Rusev and Big E. put on a good match as well, I think I was one of the few who was genuinely looking forward to this match – and it didn’t help that the card itself wasn’t great – nevertheless it was a good match. Big E. looked dominant at times but in the end it was a great decision to have Rusev defeat him, hopefully this opens more doors for Rusev as he continues to impress.
Another match announced earlier in the night, Kofi Kingston and Bo Dallas was another match I genuinely wanted to watch but unfortunately due to Kane’s random interruption, we didn’t see a match. Again, it just seemed as if these decisions were being made last minute and no real explanation was given for them.
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship situation became clearer as Bryan and Brie told Stephanie some home truths, in the end Brie decided to quit so she couldn’t get fired and slapped Stephanie as she ran out. This did seem predictable, if the WWE wanted to take the gold off of Bryan, they would have done so already and not waste a valuable fifteen minutes on an already-bad event. Let’s wait and see what becomes of this decision.
Bad News Barrett and RVD put on a great match, RVD looked good in the ring and the crowd was firmly behind the two as well. Barrett was always going to win the match, can’t really fault it in any way.
John Cena and Bray Wyatt put on a great display with the help of Harper, Rowan and The Usos; they played a big role and match the match that little bit better. John Cena was always going to win this match so it was pretty much a waiting game for how Cena was going to keep Bray Wyatt down. He did in good fashion but credit to Bray Wyatt; h was the star of the match and the star of this feud and the loss has still done him no harm whatsoever, a loss would have hurt John Cena a lot more. Cena hasn’t really buried Bray Wyatt as people may think, he’s been involved in a top feud with the star of the company and that will help him in the long run.
The main event was obviously the match of the night. Everybody had their own theory on his this match would play out but surprisingly all of the eliminations came in the closing minutes. I believe this was the better decision as it kept all six men involved for the duration. I feel that the no holds barred stipulation was good but they could have took advantage of that a lot more, it was no different from a no disqualification or an extreme rules match, but again the match can’t be faulted. Seth Rollins was again the star of the match whilst I thought Orton and Batista took a massive back seat in this match. A good match, a good and deserved win also.
All in all, this was not a good card. It was already expected that it wasn’t going to be a good night but the WWE didn’t do anything to make fans change their minds. There was a lot of last minute decisions with no answers and the loudest reaction of the night came when Stephanie McMahon threw a cheap shot CM Punk’s way.
Apart from two matches, the night was a glorified episode of Raw. Nothing too memorable and it’s a good job there’s another event in June to make us forget what an average event this really was.
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