Hello Geektified followers. With this PPV review, I thought a “shake-up” of format would be a nice change from the monthly review. I’ll be examining the five biggest moments from the Payback show. WWE Payback was a RAW brand show and the first WWE PPV coming out of WrestleMania 33. The show was held out of San Jose, California and is the 5th installment of the Payback series (last year’s main event was Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Championship). This was also the 2nd Payback PPV to not have a world title defended on the show as the 2014 edition saw then champion Daniel Bryan out with an injury and this year’s RAW world champion, Brock Lesnar is currently in training as his regimen includes going into the wilderness to pick fights with bears and returning home every night where his wife Sable prepares his favorite dish of nails, screws, and Chuck Norris tears. So with all that being said, let's get into the highlights:
#5: Y2J is Mr.USA, BayBay!
For the opening contest, Kevin Owens took on his former best friend Chris Jericho in a WrestleMania rematch for the United States Title. Jericho has been looking for retribution ever since Owens attacked him and put him out of action at the Festival of Friendship. Even though the rematch was set for the RAW after WrestleMania, Kevin Owens would get traded to Smackdown (with the US Title intact) and Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan announced that if Jericho were to defeat Owens, he would also join the Smackdown roster since the US Title is now property of the blue brand. The match itself was similar to their WrestleMania battle as both combatants showed familiarity with counters and reversals to each other’s patented offense. Near the end of the match, Jericho put Owens in the Walls of Jericho only for Owens to get out of the hold with just one finger on the rope. WrestleMania Continuity! Frustrated, Jericho attacked Owens’ finger by stomping it and trapping it in between the steps and ring post. Owens would continue the match, but his damaged finger would get the best of him and Jericho applied another Walls of Jericho only for Owens submit and lose his championship. Chris Jericho wins his second United States Championship and gets revenge on his former friend. After the match, a young fan has his own List of Jericho and Jericho signs it. What a class act.
#4: Cesaro and Sheamus are FED UP!
This match was a result of Cesaro and Sheamus winning a #1 contender's match against Enzo and Big Cass the RAW after WrestleMania. The previous night The Hardy Boyz made their triumphant return to WWE and won the RAW Tag Team Titles in a Ladder Match. The story here was that not only did Matt and Jeff Hardy defeat Cesaro and Sheamus in separate singles competition, but they also defeated them in this contest. In both singles matches, The Very Europeans would offer a handshake in a show of respect to the daredevil siblings, but when this match was over (which ended in Jeff nailing a Swanton Bomb onto an unsuspecting Sheamus), Sheamus and Cesaro would once again show respect to the winners, but as the Hardys celebrated in the ring, The Europeans came back and assaulted the brothers out of frustration. Jeff Hardy lost a tooth during the beat down as well. Cesaro and Sheamus have been known to be an odd couple team who don’t always see eye to eye. However, they agreed that The Hardy Boyz had to be made an example out of in order to demonstrate the Euros were no longer playing nice.
#3: Alexa Bliss: Horsewoman Killer
Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley to win her 1st RAW Women’s Title. As a 2-time Smackdown Women’s Champion, this makes her the first woman to win both the RAW and Smackdown Women’s Titles since the brand split. She would defeat Becky Lynch for both of her Smackdown Title reigns, so with the addition of defeating Bayley, she has a knack for overcoming some of the Four Horsewomen in WWE. Throughout this match, the deciding factor was Bayley (the hometown girl) suffering multiple head collisions into the ring post and turnbuckle. Bliss capitalized on Bayley’s injury with a wicked DDT for the win. In just one year’s time, Bliss is already carving out herself a dynasty in the women’s division. She may be on track to having the best rookie year in the history of women’s division in WWE. Charlotte might want to watch out, because Ms. Five Feet of Fury herself might be on her way to becoming the queen of WWE.
#2: House of Horrors
In a continuation of their near yearlong rivalry, Bray Wyatt and WWE Champion Randy Orton looked to settle the score in the first ever House of Horrors match. Before the show, not much was known about the match, the rules, or the future implications of the participants since the superstar shake-up moved Bray Wyatt to RAW. The match would start as Randy Orton was driven in a limousine to an abandoned house. He would make his way into the house (with creepy horror music playing in the background) screaming for Wyatt to appear. Bray sneak attacked Orton and the two brawled throughout the home. Nothing spectacular about the action as it was mostly strikes being thrown. Wyatt took advantage of Orton to the point of slamming a refrigerator onto Orton and leaving him helpless. Wyatt left in the same limousine that brought Orton and made his way to the arena where Orton would meet him and finish their brawl. Just as it looked like Orton was about to score the victory, Jinder Mahal (#1 contender to Orton’s title) and The Bollywood Boys showed up and interfered in the match. The distraction would be enough for Wyatt to hit Sister Abigail for the pin and win. This was an uneventful contest which is disappointing because the feud was well executed, but the match quality between these two has been subpar at best.
#1: Strowman overthrows The Roman Empire
Over the past few weeks, Braun Strowman has been wreaking havoc against anyone who gets in his way. He rolled Kalisto off the stage while he was in a dumpster, Superplexed Big Show which caused the ring to implode, and brutally attacking Roman Reigns by rolling him off a loading deck (to which he was strapped to a gurney) and tipping over an ambulance that Reigns was in. Reigns would be out for weeks, but he made his return at this show battered, bruised, bandaged up, and looking for a fight. Reigns showed fire and promise early on, but his injuries would catch up to him as Strowman gained the advantage by dropping Reigns with a Running Powerslam for the pin and win. After the match, Strowman slammed the steel steps into Reigns’ abdomen. Reigns coughed up blood as Strowman celebrated on top of the stage as the show ended. Braun Strowman continues to be a thorn in Reigns’ side since the beginning of the year. He has run roughshod over the entire RAW roster with no signs of slowing down. The big question is who can stop Braun Strowman’s path of destruction? Maybe a certain Universal Champion? We shall see in the coming weeks.
-So what did you guys think of the show? Hit or miss? Let me know in the comments section. Thanks for reading!