ViRTUE's RAGE: WWE Payback Review
Submitted by Virtue on 05/02/2017 at 12:54 AM

May 2, 2017

Twitter: @EGW_FOW_Virtue

WWE Payback Review

It is now time to review a Raw-only PPV that happened to have a few SmackDown Live wrestlers on it. Weird WWE booking as usual! If WWE knew they were going to be doing a roster shakeup, they could have easily prevented this. Nonetheless, I am eager to get this review done and over with. I sense this is going to be another status quo show!

Pre-Show: Enzo & Big Cass Vs Gallows & Anderson was bumped to the first half hour because of an impromptu Miz TV with Finn Balor. Enzo got the rollup victory on Gallows. I was actually surprised by this. Moving on since I do not grade Pre-Show matches. The Miz continues to be incredible on the mic as of late. Balor talking still seems a bit awkward to me, just like Becky Lynch and Sheamus. Man, those Irish accents are strong! As usual, Miz gets beat up on his own show. It is funny how one of the most entertaining talents on the roster, the Miz, is delegated to the Pre-Show without a match. Dumb!

Payback (San Jose, CA)

United States Championship: Chris Jericho Vs Kevin Owens- My initial thought was that Owens would retain the title because Jericho is touring with Fozzy soon. However, then I thought why not have Jericho win the title? At least it would not be expected. He can simply drop it back to Owens on SD Live. I really liked this match, as I typically do with anything involving Y2J. The finger psychology might have been a bit over-the-top, but then again, nothing is really over-the-top with Jericho. Owens almost killed Jericho on the outside of the ring with his summersault into the barricade. Luckily, Owens hit just to the right of Jericho and nobody was injured. That is well executed pro wrasslin’, folks. In the end, Jericho locked on the Walls and as Owens tried to reach the ropes with his “injured” hand/finger, Jericho pulled him back into the middle of the ring and Owens tapped out. The winner of the match and new U.S. Champion (x2), Y2J. Match Grade = A-

Cruiserweight Championship: Austin Aries Vs Neville- This was not a horrible match, but I am still having trouble enjoying the WWE Cruiserweight Division. I think the main problem for me are the characters (or lack thereof) in the Cruiserweight Division. I am not buying into Aries as a face. In my opinion, he is just too cocky of a guy to make it believable. However, I do enjoy Neville as a heel. And guess what? In heel fashion, Neville gets himself DQ’d by grabbing the ref to retain the Cruiserweight title. Match Grade = B-

Raw Tag Team Championship: Sheamus & Cesaro vs The Hardy Boyz- Will we ever get the Broken Hardyz in WWE? I think so, eventually. I enjoyed this match and am always amazed at how both Jeff and Matt can still work, despite all their bodies have been through. I love how the crowd keeps the Broken gimmick relevant with minimal effort on Matt’s part. Who knows where the legal aspect with Anthem/Impact currently is. Let’s just wait and hope it does come to WWE. Stiff Sheamus punted Jeff’s face and knocked one of his teeth out. What a shocker. After a back and forth battle, Jeff landed a Swanton onto an unsuspecting Sheamus to score the pinfall victory and the Hardyz retained the titles. After the match and some handshakes, Sheamus and Cesaro seemingly turned heel and attacked the Hardys, leaving them laid out and potentially planting the seeds for you know what. Match Grade = B++

Raw Women’s Championship: Alexa Bliss Vs Bayley- Alexa Bliss has almost become a better heel than Charlotte was. She can work the crowd as the heel of the match pretty damn good. Heels need to do heel things during the progression of a match. The main problem I have with Bayley is I find it hard to buy into her “fan” gimmick. Ugh! I am not surprised the hometown girl (Bayley) was setup to lose because that always seems to be the WWE way. Bayley’s head hit the steel post, and then Alexa followed it up with a DDT to win by pinfall and become the new Raw Women’s Champ. Alexa is the first woman to have won both the SmackDown and Raw Women’s titles. Going forward, Bayley should be better off chasing the title as an underdog. Match Grade = B

House of Horrors Match: Randy Orton Vs Bray Wyatt- These guys deserve much better than what WWE Creative have given them with this feud. I think this feud peaked when Orton burned down Wyatt’s compound during an episode of SD Live. From a straight-to-DVD horror movie aspect, I thought the House of Horrors stuff was where it needed to be; however, from a wrestling match standpoint, it kind of stunk and was confusing. I was baffled by the logic of it being dark outside when they were at the house because San Jose, CA had daylight for most of the event. At least WWE did not show the limo pulling up to the arena outside when Wyatt arrived because it would have been daylight. Dear God! I did somewhat enjoy when this match hit the arena, but how in the hell did Orton make it back to the arena after a refrigerator was on top of him? Believe it or not, the Bollywood Boys and Jinder Mahal kind of saved the finish of this match to ultimately allow Bray Wyatt to land a Sister Abigail for the pinfall victory. Basically, the finish of the Wyatt/Orton feud was anticlimactic, but at least Mahal was able to generate some heat heading into his WWE Championship match against Orton at Backlash. Where was Matt Hardy’s creative input on this match? Match Grade = C+

Seth Rollins Vs Samoa Joe: The most annoying thing about this match was Michael Cole talking about and overselling Rollins’ injured knee. I also found it pretty inconsistent that Rollins was still able to attempt and execute high spots with that same knee throughout the match. Joe seemingly controlled most of this match, but then all of a sudden Rollins turned a fireman’s carry into a pinfall and won. WTF? This was a very anticlimactic ending. It also looked like one of Joe’s shoulders may have been up during the three-count. To be honest, I expected a much better build up for this match. It is funny to me how Triple H can build up his matches like he did with Rollins for WM33, but then the very next feud Rollins/Joe did not get that same effort. Match Grade = B-

Main Event: Roman Reigns Vs Braun Strowman- I will continue to state that Roman Reigns bumps and takes a beating like no other. In my opinion, he has surpassed Ambrose and Ziggler in that regard. Reigns came into this match bandaged up from the attack by Strowman on Raw weeks earlier. Strowman choke-slammed Reigns onto the announce table early in the match. Eventually, it took not one, but two running power slams by Strowman to finally get the pinfall victory on a hobbled Reigns. Despite Reigns losing, he made Strowman look very strong in this match. If you want to do the research for me: how many guys did John Cena put over in the first 3-4 years he was the top guy in the company? During Reigns first 3-4 years, he has put over Rollins, Sheamus, Wyatt, Balor, Owens, and now Strowman. At least those are the ones that come to mind. After the match, Strowman continued to beat up on Reigns and even slammed the steel steps into the midsection of Reigns, who ended up coughing up (fake) blood. Reigns attempted to walk to the back on his own power. Match Grade = B+

Overall Show Grade = B (which may actually be generous because I like the work of the wrestlers)

Twitter: @EGW_FOW_Virtue

PPV Grades for 2017

NXT TakeOver: San Antonio = B++
WWE Royal Rumble = B
WWE Elimination Chamber = B
WWE FastLane = C++
NXT TakeOver: Orlando = B++
WWE WrestleMania 33 = B+
WWE Payback = B

Check out NoDQ’s official WWE Payback Review with Aaron Rift, Greg Cherry, and yours truly!

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