WWE Payback (2016)
Baron Corbin v. Dolph Ziggler
–Corbin does the small things well. I enjoy his interaction with the live crowd.
–Ziggler is the right opponent for Corbin. He is bouncing around like a ping-pong ball.
-Ziggler with a flash roll-up and pin. Whaaaat?? Is the Fed unsure of what to do with Corbin? Why do they give new talent choppy launches?
United States Championship Match
Kalisto (c) v. Ryback
–Mauro Ranallo is working hard to give context to the U.S. Championship match.
–Kalisto always shines.
–Ryback clearly showed up to do business tonight.
-The press slam off the second rope was sick.
The Vaudevillains v. Enzo Amore/Big Cass
-Enzo’s accident was horrifying. The way his neck snapped, I was certain that he had suffered a severe injury. I was so happy to hear that he had been released from the hospital later in the evening. He is so fun, and one of my favorite performers.
-I wonder how the #1 Contendership will be settled on Raw?
Kevin Owens v. Sami Zayn
-The crowd was rattled by Amore’s accident, but Owens and Zayn are seasoned veterans who knew how to regain control of the show.
-Owens dominates Zayn. No one plays the underdog in peril quite like he does.
-Owens wins. This was a great match. It was emotional, exciting, and ended cleanly.
-He insists on staying at the announced table for the Intercontinental Championship match, which is next.
Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (c) v. Cesaro
-Owens is killing it on commentary. He clearly has a future behind the mic once his days in the ring are over.
–Cesaro is doing a fantastic job selling the shoulder. There isn’t anything that he doesn’t do well.
-Zayn and Owens brawling during the finish of this match leads me to think that there will be a four-way match for the IC strap at Extreme Rules.
Dean Ambrose v. Chris Jericho
-This one is getting off to a slow start.
–Ambrose needs to lose the blue jeans and start wearing regular gear.
-Ambrose is a master of details. Things like smacking himself in the face while frustrated serves to add an extra dimension to his performance.
Women’s Championship Match
–Nattie is a helluva worker. “No. No. I’m not tapping!!” Such a great touch.
-This was a great match…but the bullshit “Montreal Screwjob” finish was a poor choice. It is time to let 1997 go. Seriously.
-Will there be a future storyline involving Charles Robinson since he played the part of the shady ref?
Segment: Vince McMahon
-I hate to say this, but I’m getting sick of the live audience at WWE events. The chants for CM Punk at this stage in the game are not only ridiculous but played out. CM Punk is gone.
-Stephanie made a strong case for why she should be in charge of Raw.
-Shane…not so much.
-I did like that Vince attempted to explain why Shane ran Raw for a month after losing to Undertaker at WrestleMania. I also like that the mysterious blackmail material that Shane had been holding over Vince’s head was referenced.
-Vince’s decision, however, is a copout. Giving them both power was incredibly anti-climatic. Additionally, it will probably be a mess from a weekly storytelling aspect…but I will give them the benefit of the doubt before judging.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Roman Reigns (c) v. AJ Styles
-Despite the overbooking, this was a killer match. It reminded me of Shawn Michaels v. Big Van Vader from SummerSlam 1996. Styles did his thing and Reigns kept up with him step-for-step.
-I like the edgier Roman Reigns miles more than the “Mr. Nice Guy” persona he has been affecting. Reigns is the kind of guy who should have a shitty sneer on his face. It looks and feels natural.
This was a great show. The main event delivered in a big way. Zayn/Owens slayed it. I can’t believe that I’m gonna say this, but even Ryback had a damn good showing.
However, the theme of the show was that it was the first pay-per-view of the new era. Hmm…in some aspects it did feel new. Styles in the main event scene. Owens taking a bigger role and expanding behind the mic.
But then there was the tired callback to Montreal.
And Vince’s wishy-washy, half-assed decision to put both Steph and Shane in charge of Raw. I’m fairly certain that this angle will end in a brand split, but in the meantime, it feels weak. Weak is not the way to launch a new era.
Looking at it as purely a wrestling show, I loved it. Analyzing it as the relaunch of the company, it could have been bolder.
That being said, McMahon has at least has had his eyes opened. The time for change is long overdue.
-Zep the Bear