WWE Payback (2017)

payback

(Brand: RAW – Venue: SAP Center – San Jose, Calif. – Date: April 30, 2017 – Attendance: 13,694)

Kickoff Show

Hosts: Renee Young, Sam Roberts, Jerry “The King” Lawler

The trio does a nice job generating intrigue for the “House of Horrors” match.

Sasha Banks is out on the panel. She is deliciously ingenuine about her support of Bayley.

RAW announce team: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T

Enzo Amore & Big Cass defeat Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows.

Amore pins Gallows with a rollup.

Anderson is in killer shape.

Spot of the match: Anderson and Amore each miss diving hot tags.

R-Truth and Goldust confront the Hardys backstage. If the “Broken” gimmick surfaces in the Fed, I hope the Hardys aren’t saddled with stupid interactions like this…but I suspect they will.

Cesaro & Sheamus are guests on the “Social Media Lounge.” Their babyface improv is pretty terrible.

And “Sheasaro?” Please, please, please stop with the cutesy team names.

The panel builds more intrigue around “House of Horrors.”

Miz TV feat. Finn Balor

“James Dean cool. John Wayne tough.”

Miz to live audience: “You’re cheering a five-minute entrance??”

Miz to Balor: “Do you feel like a failure?”

Balor steps forward to confront The Miz, who promptly steps behind his wife. He looks Miz in the eye and tells him that he isn’t worth it. Miz then attempts to jump him. Balor lays him out with a “Slingblade” and a double-leg drop kick.

Balor made it clear that he is after Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship.

I can’t wait to see those two go at it. Despite the difference in size, this will undoubtedly be an incredible match.

Main Show

United States Championship

Chris Jericho defeats Kevin Owens (c) by submission.

Jericho crushes Owens’ finger in between the ring and steps. This later prevents the champion from reaching the ropes when he is locked in the “Walls of Jericho.”

This result shocks me. I was certain that Jericho was doing the job so he could head off on the road with his band Fozzy. Maybe he drops it at television this week?

Cruiserweight Championship

Austin Aries defeats Neville (c) disqualification.

Aries hits a “Sunset Flip Powerbomb” into the “Last Chancery.” Panicked, Neville grabs the referee and causing a disqualification.

Good match. Awful finish.

I figured something wonky was up because A-Double got in most of the offense.

RAW Tag Team Title

The Hardy Boyz (c) defeat Sheamus & Cesaro.

Jeff Hardy blind tags himself into the match. He stuns Cesaro with a “Swanton” and pinfall to retain the championships.

Great match. Very competitive. Jeff Hardy even lost a tooth.

The two teams shake hands after the match. However, Cesaro and Sheamus attack them from behind. It is time for them to lose the corny edge. (And perhaps this is the catalyst for “Broken Matt” and “Brother Nero” to finally appear in the WWE.”)

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RAW Women’s Championship

Alexa Bliss defeats Bayley (c).

With the show being in Bayley’s hometown of San Jose, the pop she received on her way to the ring was extraordinary.

Bliss kicks out of a “Macho Man” elbow.

Bayley eats a metal post and is pinned after a DDT.

Bliss is the first woman to win the RAW and SmackDown titles.

Of course, the company has to have Bayley lose in front of her hometown and family. Classy, guys.

House of Horrors (Part One)

Randy Orton v. Bray Wyatt

Orton pulls up to a house located in the middle of nowhere. Much like a horror movie scenario, the house is dark inside but bathed in blue light.

Orton peers through a window and sees Wyatt inside. I’m getting a heavy Resident Evil: Biohazard vibe here.

He kicks in the front door and enters the house. He is jumped by Wyatt.

Wyatt: “You can never leave, Randy!”

Wyatt: “Welcome to HELL, Randy!!”

The sound of creepy music and disturbing sound effects fill the air as the two brawl.

Babydolls suspended from the ceiling make for an eerie visual.

Eventually, Wyatt topples a refrigerator onto Orton, trapping him. He staggers out to Orton’s limo and heads to the arena. (Rules of the H.O.H. match stipulate that the bout can only end in the ring at the SAP Center.) He sings to himself as the car pulls away.

“He’s got the whole world in his hands…”

I’m sure a lot of critics and viewers will crap on this, but I like it. If there is any lesson to learned from Lucha Underground, it is to take chances with the presentation of the product. I was at SummerSlam 1996 in Cleveland for the first “Boiler Room Brawl” pitting The Undertaker v. Mankind. It used the same formula that the House of Horror match does. Things start in a creepy, non-wrestling location (pre-taped) and ultimately end up in the ring for the finish. This isn’t something that you can do every month but with the right participants, it is a fun change of pace that should be used sparingly.

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Seth Rollins defeats Samoa Joe.

Joe: “I told you, you brought this on yourself.”

This was a good, stiff, intense match. Rollins’ knee continues to be the story of his PPV matches since his return. I think it is important to sell major injuries for the long-term.

Ultimately, Rollins pins Joe while trapped in the “Kokina Clutch.”

House of Horrors (Conclusion)

Bray Wyatt defeats Randy Orton.

Wyatt arrives at the arena. He makes his way to ringside. As he blows out his lantern, Orton appears in the ring behind him.

Corey Graves: “Randy Orton somehow survived a major appliance crushing him!!”

Orton gives his opponent an implant DDT from the announce table. Back in the ring, he is jumped by the Singh Brothers. He avoids a “Sister Abigail” and hits the “RKO,” however he is jumped by Jinder Mahal, who assaults him with the WWE Championship belt.

Wyatt scores with the “Sister Abigail” and pins Randy Orton.

I’m into Mahall and the Singhs. It’s nice to see fresh faces get a shot. The trio is hungry and I’m certain are going to make the best of this opportunity.

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Braun Strowman defeats Roman Reigns

This one starts hot with Strowman savaging Reigns. He quickly locks him in a seated bear hug.

Audience: “Let’s go, Roman! Roman sucks!”

Strowman almost knocks himself out when he charges Reigns, who moves. Strowman runs into the ring post at full steam.

Back in the ring, Strowman locks Reigns in a triangle headlock, then powerslams him for a two-count. He connects with a second powerslam for the pinfall.

After the bell, Strowman gives Reigns a “Snake Eyes” on the narrow edge of the ring steps.

Officials Fit Finlay and Adam Pearce are attempting to stop Strowman’s attack, but he refuses to listen to them.

Audience: “Thank you, Strowman!”

As a stand-alone piece of business, I like this match. It was short, intense, and effective. As a larger piece of the puzzle, I dunno. Two months ago, Reigns handed Strowman his first loss. Last month at WrestleMania, he slew The Undertaker in (perhaps) his final match. I mean, is Reigns the guy or not? If he isn’t, why allow him to beat Strowman and Taker? If he is, why is he getting piecemealed on PPV by a guy who fans seem to actually like?

Overall

I’m curious to see if the Jinder Mahal experiment has legs beyond the inevitable PPV showdown with Orton. Will Vince McMahon finally concede that the fans aren’t going to accept Reigns until he has a heel run and they can then love him on their own terms? What is next for Kevin Owens?

-Ted Zep

More WWE

WrestleMania XXXIII (2017)

NXT TakeOver: Orlando (2017)

WWE Hall of Fame (2017)

NXT Cleveland (3/3/17)

Royal Rumble (2017)

NXT TakeOver: San Antonio (2017)

 

 

 

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