MR. TITO: WWE Payback Review & Roman Reigns Submitted by Mr. Tito on 08/30/2020 at 11:54 PM
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So yeah, WWE Payback was this past evening... Feels odd that we're watching another WWE Pay Per View just 1 week after arguably the #2 WWE show of the year, SummerSlam. Combine that event with RAW and Smackdown happening this past week, it seemed like most of the wrestlers were tired and worn out for this event. None of the matches had a real "pop" to them and 2 out of the 3 title changes this evening felt like nothing special (Nia/Shayna winning tag titles, Apollo winning US Title).
But you didn't click this column for Payback results... Oh no...
And I won't waste your time, as I'll get right into it.
Roman Reigns is the NEW WWE Universal Champion... He did so by signing his contract as the Braun Strowman vs. the Fiend (Bray Wyatt) match was already in progress. I've never seen that before, as one would think that once the match was in progress, Roman's claim to joining the match was null & void. BUT we'll ignore that fine detail... Roman was one of the few who understood the "No Holds Barred" stipulation, as he brought a chair to the ring and beat the hell out of both Bray and Braun. Roman then wins by pinning the non-champion, Braun Strowman.
So Roman is champion and apparently, with Paul Heyman by his side, heel-ish... I say "heel-ish" because Brock Lesnar didn't always operate as a heel and won cleanly often.
BUT - The point of Roman Reigns acting differently is to give him a personal edge and turn to Paul Heyman to be perceived differently. CHANGE IS GOOD when it comes to Roman who is still stuck acting like a Shield member. He has to DITCH THE MUSIC and CHANGE HIS LOOK. It appears that Roman is in superior shape again, so ditch the stupid bulletproof vest to look more like an athlete. If he keeps the same old garbage Shield music and stupid looking vests, he's still the same old guy. CHANGE EVERYTHING.
Look... If Roman can change his Teeth, he can change his LOOK and MUSIC. OK?
As goofy as Payback's Main Event booking was, the end result is Roman Reigns walking out as WWE Champion. Honestly for me, neither Bray Wyatt/Fiend or Braun Strowman did it for me. Both were underwhelming to me on about everything. While I didn't like Roman's singles work from 2014-2018, he has been more confident in his abilities since his 2019 return and has been cutting better promos.
With Roman, it's like the old Jim Cornette phrase that Ole Anderson once told him... "I used to think that you were a dumbf*** but so many more dumbf***s have come after you that you've moved up the ladder without any effort". If you look at the WWE roster August 2020, Undertaker = retired, John Cena = Hollywood actor, Dean Ambrose = Jon Moxley in AEW, Edge = Triceps Injury, Seth Rollins = Monday Night Messiah, Triple H = Semi-retired, Brock Lesnar = No Longer Around, and many NXT Call-ups just haven't made much of an impact on the main WWE roster. THEREFORE, Roman appears like a big star.
Therefore, I have no problems giving him the WWE Title... And if he has a different twist to his personality, I'm cool with that as well. Just change the damn MUSIC and ditch the damn Bulletproof Vest for the LOOK... And we're good.
And here's the REAL PROBLEM with Roman Reigns that NOBODY but me wants to admit. While Roman has been gone since March 2020 getting his teeth replaced and working on his biceps... Did he work on his wrestling ability?
That has been the main problem with Roman Reigns. If you're going to get rushed to the Main Event, the Main Events have to be GOOD. His matches with major stars such as CM Punk, Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, Triple H, and John Cena have NOT been good and those guys have pulled good to great matches out of many subpart talents in the past.
If you watch his matches of the past, he seems to wait around for his opponent to call the match... He has zero psychology, struggles selling and acting in pain, has no transition moves to set up trademark Drive-by, Spear, Superman punches, and he actually lacks upper body strength. He really struggles to lift wrestlers his size or slightly larger. He seems to be extremely reliant on out-of-the-ring brawling for most of his matches, too... The announcer's table is guaranteed to get smashed during any of his Pay Per View matches.
On top of all of that, there's a conditioning issue... He is often out of breath because he's often running around the ring or between the ropes for his moves because again, he doesn't perform any chain wrestling or moves involving psychology. Just all flash. He's needs to slow down to now blow himself up early during each match.
You can change his personality, give him Paul Heyman, and even change his Music/Look as I've suggested... But if he can't perform well inside the ring, the WWE is cooked and eventually, fans will tire on him.
I'm VERY HAPPY with the personality change, whether it's a full blown heel turn or acting heel-ish (or a "tweener")... CHANGE IS GOOD for Roman Reigns, who has been stale since the Shield break-up of 2014. Heavily scripted as a character and on promos, too... BUT if he can't work a Main Event match, this is just polishing a turd or placing lipstick on a pig.
Let's talk about the rest of WWE Payback...
It bored me... End of column!
OK, some quick bits... For YEARS, I've tried beating the drum on Bobby Lashley and Apollo Crews as talents. Maybe because both guys are jacked up and look like walking superheroes, but this match bored me and neither guy has had any stand-out matches. Apollo has amazing athletic ability but is void of charisma, personality, or psychology. Bobby Lashley is an older version of Apollo. Both guys need a character overhaul or something. I really wasn't that impressed with a US Title change here.
Big E versus Sheamus was OK... But Big E has to STOP doing high risk dives and slams on the side of the ring. He should be focused on his charisma learned from the New Day times and power moves inside the rings. I kind of feel bad for Sheamus... You can just see the older age out there and obviously being careful with the spinal stenosis. Not the same guy. To think that the WWE creatively did this guy wrong by overpushing early and at the wrong times repeatedly.
Eh to Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin. I don't care about ANY match where the loser of the match "gets his heat back" by attacking the victor after the match. That is crap and completely discredits the "big win" by Riddle over King Corbin. I just can't get into Corbin matches. Guy has great size, ability, and one of the best finishers... But everything is dull from the start to the finisher. Some veteran has to agent Corbin's matches and give him the right advice to improve.
I really didn't care for Shayna Baszler/Nia Jax, who have barely been a tag team, defeating veterans Bayley/Sasha Banks for the Tag Titles. Match was a struggle, too... And the WWE continues to reward Nia Jax despite her ability to hurt her fellow wrestlers.
Keith Lee needs to start in the midcard instead of instantly defeating Randy Orton. I don't care that he was just NXT champion... Less than half of the WWE audience watches NXT weekly. Therefore, more than half of the WWE audience is wondering "who is Keith Lee". The WWE made Keith Lee put on a shirt, too, to hide that massive belly and physique that made Keith Lee's look appear unique. WWE has changed his music, made him shave, and made him wear a shirt to the ring... Sorry Keith, but your win over Orton won't mean much.
So Rey Mysterio is blind in one eye but you wouldn't notice in his tag match with Dominik against Seth Rollins/Murphy. If we were going by It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia logic with the McPoyle brothers, losing an eye would cause Rey Mysterio to have Depth Perception issues... Click Here for the McPoyle brother trying to cut up a rental card....
I already gave you my Braun Strowman vs. Bray Wyatt/Fiend vs. Roman Reigns... Honestly, this match was just a struggle and we were just waiting for Roman to arrive.
I just wonder if this is really a HEEL TURN... So he has come back pissed off... So what? So he hired Paul Heyman? Results with Lesnar speak for themselves.
Usually with a heel turn, the turn is blatant. Hulk Hogan turning his back on WCW... The Rock joining the Nation of Domination. Triple H turning heel at Wrestlemania 15 and later during 2002 on Shawn Michaels. Ric Flair fooling Sting many times. Lex Luger attacking Ricky Steamboat. Savage flipping over Hulk Hogan helping Elizabeth on the Main Event show.
Just seems like the WWE is giving Roman an edge instead of being a full blown heel...
After all, if Roman = heel, who are the babyfaces going to challenge him? Pretty thin on choices for a #1 babyface and nothing is coming up from NXT either. WWE already made Keith Lee appear lame.
We'll just have to wait and see on what happens... CHANGE is good for Roman Reigns's character but can he improve his in-ring ability?
So just chill... Until the next episode!
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