The John Report: WWE Payback 2016 Review
May 1, 2016
The New Day trio welcomed us to the show with the Tag Team Titles, the trombone and some Booty O’s cereal along with them. Xavier Woods suggested Beyonce talk to him. Big E said it’s a new era in WWE because New Day rocks.
An opening video package aired showing the “new era” in WWE with clips of different performers that are relatively new to the main roster. It ended by saying this: “The first Pay-Per-View of a New Era.” A "new era" with McMahons all over the place? Okay then.
Enzo & Cass made their entrance as The New Day were seated at ringside to watch the match. Enzo & Cass did some trash talking before the match before delivering their customary “SAWFT” line.
The announce team of Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton welcomed us to the show. The German announce team is also at ringside. The Spanish announce team is also there. I assume they said: "Don't break our table, jerks!" Something like that.
The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady
Gotch applied an armbar on Enzo early on. Enzo came back with a dropkick. Cass tagged in against English. The New Day trio were eating pizza and popcorn at ringside. Teamwork by Enzo and Cass led to Cass tossing Enzo into English for a two count. Knees up by English took down Enzo. Gotch went to toss Enzo out of the ring, but when he did, Enzo’s head hit the ropes hard, then his head bounced off the mat and he was out of it on the floor. It was a scary situation and you could tell right away that this wasn't part of the match.
The referee checked on Enzo. Gotch tried to pick him up, but the referee told him to back up. The ref made the X sign with his hands to get some help. Cass looked on with concern. They replayed what happened. Looked nasty. The ref called for the bell. The match went about three minutes.
No Match Result Due To Injury
Analysis: I would assume that the wins means that The Vaudevillains win this tournament for a title shot, but it wasn’t announced that way.
The cameras focused on the announcers at ringside as they tried to talk about the injury and how nobody wants anything like this to happen. Another replay aired of what happened to Enzo. Fans chanted “Enzo” for him as doctors checked on him to put him on a stretcher.
Analysis: That was a very scary situation. The good news is that they updated Enzo’s status later in the show and they said it was a concussion. He was released from the hospital later on Sunday. There was nothing else wrong with him. It could have been a lot worse like a broken neck, but he should be okay. Obviously concussions are a concern too. They are different for everybody, so no way of knowing when he’ll be back. We’re all hoping he can come back soon.
A video package aired to set up the Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn match. It’s a great video that highlights their history well.
Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn
This is their first singles PPV match in WWE. Here’s hoping there are many more PPV matches between them over the years. They slugged it out early on, then Zayn sent him outside the ring and hit a perfecto somersault dive over the top to the floor to take out Owens. Zayn whipped Owens into the barricade. Back in the ring, Zayn nailed a jumping heel kick, then a headscissors takedown and then Owens tripped him up on the apron. Owens sent Zayn shoulder first into the steps. Owens sent Zayn into the steps again. Huge chop by Owens and then a forearm smash. Owens sent Zayn rib first on the top rope suplex style followed by a senton splash for two. Zayn came back with a huge clothesline. Another big clothesline from Zayn followed by about twenty corner punches. Zayn hit a Michinoku Driver for two even though Cole called it a modified Blue Thunder Bomb, which is wrong. Then Zayn hit the actual Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count. That BTB has become a great nearfall spot for Zayn. Owens with a cradle suplex into a backbreaker for two. Owens went to the top rope and hit a Frog Splash for a two count. That was very impressive. The replay looked even better with JBL saying it was like a Bullfrog Splash since Owens is a bigger guy. Owens with a clothesline followed by the cannonball in the corner and then he hit the cannonball again. Zayn with a dropkick. Zayn nailed a beautiful half nelson suplex and then Owens crushed him with a clothesline. Both guys were down as the crowd was going wild for this amazing action with “yes” chants.
Zayn with a cradle for a two count. Zayn went for a DDT off the ropes, but Owens countered it with a backbreaker. That was really impressive. You don’t see counters like that very often. They slugged it out on the apron. Zayn gave Owens a back body drop on the side of the ring apron as JBL noted that is the hardest part of the ring. Zayn ran outside the ring, jumped between the middle/bottom ropes and nailed the Tornado DDT on the floor. Love that move so much. The first time he did it I marked out huge for it. Every time he does it the move looks perfect. The crowd was chanting “Ole” as they went back into the ring. Zayn charged in, but Owens stopped him with a superkick. Owens nailed a Popup Powerbomb for the pinfall win after 15 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Kevin Owens
Post match, Owens celebrated the win. JBL said call the cops because they just stole the show. I agree with that.
Analysis: ****1/4 Wow that was an outstanding match. Going into it I had high expectations for it and I think it’s fair to say they met those expectations. This was incredible to watch because they had a really competitive where both guys had several moments where they could have won. They also had the crowd eating out of their hands. In terms of midcard matches, you don’t see a crowd into a match as much as they were into this one. That’s an appreciation for the two guys in the ring. I loved so many things about the match like the intense brawl early on, then Zayn hitting a dive right away, Owens using his power throughout, Zayn with the high spots such as the DDT on the floor and Owens showing the resilience to come back for the win. I picked Owens to win because I figure there will be more matches where Zayn can get wins, so it’s important to keep the heel strong. It was one of the best matches of the year although not at the level of the Nakamura/Zayn match at NXT Takeover Dallas show that is my MOTY at this point. More Owens vs. Zayn matches please. They're so great together and I'm so excited about their future in WWE.
Owens tossed Zayn over the top to the floor. Then Owens pointed at Saxton, told him to get a microphone and go into the ring. Owens told him to ask question. Owens: “I beat Sami Zayn! You all saw it!” He said he finally put the rest the question as he proved he is the better man. Owens talked about how he can re-focus so he can get back his Intercontinental Title. Saxton informed him that match is next. Owens considered it an invite and said he’ll do commentary for the next match.
Analysis: I like the post match interview. It doesn’t happen very often in WWE, but it does in UFC where a guy will make a challenge to another fighter. That’s kind of what Owens did here.
A commercial aired for upcoming WWE Network shows. The Edge & Christian show is outstanding. I laugh a lot during it. It got better as the season went on. If you’re not checking it out, do yourself a favor and give it a watch.
WWE Intercontinental Title: The Miz (w/Maryse) vs. Cesaro
Owens was on commentary sitting beside JBL while wearing JBL’s hat briefly. Owens said he wants that title back while telling Saxton to shut up. Plenty of “Cesaro Section” signs in the crowd. Gutwrench suplex by Cesaro. Backbreaker by Cesaro gets two. When Cesaro tried a suplex, Maryse grabbed Miz’ leg to prevent it and then Miz yanked on the arm followed by some kicks to get control. Suplex by Miz gets two. Miz nailed the backbreaker/neckbreaker for two. Miz applied a sleeper to wear down Cesaro. Cesaro was able to get back to a vertical base and suplexed his way out of it, which was impressive. Owens told Saxton to shut up when he tried to talk. Cesaro nailed several uppercuts, then did the uppercut train spot with five in a row followed by an impressive dropkick for two. Cesaro’s offense is so fun to watch. Cesaro nailed his great suplex off the apron for a suplex for a two count. Springboard uppercut by Cesaro. Cesaro with another uppercut dropped Miz for a two count. Miz sent Cesaro into the ring post on the injured shoulder. Miz hit the Skull Crushing Finale, but Cesaro kicked out at two. Sami Zayn showed up at ringside to attack Owens. A clothesline by Zayn sent both guys over the barricade at ringside. Cesaro with a spinebuster followed by the Cesaro Swing spot. It was over a dozen spins. Owens and Zayn were brawling on the ring apron. Cesaro with a crossface, Miz tapped out and the ref was checking on Owens/Zayn on the apron. Cesaro nailed a forearm to knock Owens/Zayn down. Miz capitalized with the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! with a handful of tights, which was enough for the win after 12 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: The Miz
Analysis: ***1/4 A very competitive match with a lot of cool moments. The crowd was really into this match too. Miz was on offense for the first half of the match, then Cesaro ceased control and was able to get several believable nearfalls. It seemed like he might win. I liked the brawl by Zayn and Owens just because it shows that their rivalry isn’t over yet. The win by Miz was cheap, which fits his character since he’s a cheap heel anyway. He should have to resort to cheating in order to win matches. It seems like this was done to set up a four way feud for the IC Title, which is fine by me. I’m sick of the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish. I think you can probably tell that if you read my stuff regularly. Doing it at least once on nearly every show is too much and they did it twice on this show counting the Kickoff show.
Post match, Cesaro nailed a forearm on Miz outside the ring. Back in the ring, Cesaro hit the Neutralizer on Miz. Owens nailed Cesaro with a kick. Owens with a Popup Powerbomb on Zayn. Owens picked up Miz, tossed him in the ropes and Maryse was able to save Miz. Owens held up the IC Title.
Analysis: Good interaction there as it likely sets up the IC Title feud with all four guys. I thought they should have had Zayn get the upper hand here because he lost the match to Owens earlier. I guess it’s not a big deal because Zayn can get the revenge on television.
Stephanie McMahon was shown backstage talking to Apollo Crews.
A video package aired to set up the Ambrose vs. Jericho match.
As Jericho made his entrance, they showed other announce teams seated in the arena. They were announcers from Brazil, Russia and Japan including Funaki. Cole noted that Enzo was able to communicate with doctors and had use of his extremities, which was a good sign.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
Ambrose was aggressive early on with a running cross body block followed by punches. Jericho with a back body drop over the top then a dropkick that sent Ambrose to the floor. Ambrose bounced off the ropes with a clothesline on the floor. Ambrose did the Jericho “cocky pin” spot. Jericho hugged the ref: “He’s killing me” and then he hit back elbow. That was funny. Jericho with a suplex onto the top rope and then a vintage Jericho dropkick that knocked Ambrose to the floor. Jericho with a suplex. Dueling chants from the crowd as Jericho did a chinlock. Dropkick by Jericho gets two. Jericho with a slingshot into the bottom rope. Ambrose countered a bulldog by shoving Jericho into the turnbuckle. Ambrose began his comeback with a clothesline followed by a Tornado DDT out of the corner. It didn’t look that pretty, so it didn’t get a big reaction. I also think a guy that has a double arm DDT as a finish shouldn’t use a DDT variation during the match too. Jericho hit a double axehandle. Ambrose with a neckbreaker gets two. Ambrose with a forearm smash followed by a bulldog gets two. Jericho came back as he applied the Walls of Jericho in the middle of the ring. Ambrose got to the ropes. Ambrose sent Jericho out of the ring and then Ambrose nailed the suicide dive by the announce table.
Ambrose took the cover off the German announce table. He went back in the ring to break up the ref’s count. Ambrose went for the Dirty Deeds on the announce table, but Jericho countered looking for the Walls of Jericho. Then Jericho did a slingshot that sent Ambrose over the barricade. The ref just started his count at this point. Ambrose got back in the ring before the ten count. Jericho was bleeding by the nose. Ambrose fought off the Codebreaker and then bounced off the ropes with the Lunatic Lariat (that’s what they should call it) for a two count. Ambrose countered a Jericho attack by sending Jericho throat first into the top rope. Ambrose came off the top with a flying elbow attack on a standing Jericho for two. Ambrose teased Dirty Deeds, but Jericho fought out of it and Jericho applied the Walls of Jericho again. Ambrose countered with a small package. Jericho nailed an enziguri kick for two. Jericho yelled at Ambrose to stay down. Backbreaker by Jericho gets two. Jericho went for the Lionsault, but Ambrose got his knees up to block it. Ambrose nailed the Dirty Deeds DDT for the pinfall win after 19 minutes. Ambrose wasn’t able to lock his hands together, but it worked.
Winner by pinfall: Dean Ambrose
Post match, Jericho was angry about the loss as he kicked the steps. Ambrose was happy in the ring.
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a really good match that was given a lot of time and lived up to high expectations that many of us had for it. They were able to put on a very entertaining match although at times it dragged a bit. I just think they were pacing themselves a bit since they were given a lot of time. Sometimes when wrestlers get 20 minutes there might be some boring spots, but in this case they were able to build up to an exciting finish. Ambrose getting the win was the right booking decision because he’s lost quite a bit in the last few months. Jericho doesn’t really need wins, so Ambrose winning clean was the right finish. If they do the match again, Ambrose should win that too. I’ve enjoyed heel Jericho so much since he turned. He’s doing a great job even at 45 years old. Not easy to do.
(On another Jericho note, he tweeted this: "Thanks @WWE....its been real. See you next time." That could mean he's going on a break again. If he is that would suck because he's done well, but I don't blame him if he wants to.)
A commercial aired with clips of WWE superstars that was promoting Tapout gear.
AJ Styles was interviewed by Mauro Ranallo. Styles said he’d have the match of his life and become the WWE Champion all by himself. He said that Gallows & Anderson are his friends, but he’s going to do this alone.
Shane McMahon was shown backstage talking to Sasha Banks. It seems like she has barely been on TV since he has been in “control” yet there they are chatting it up.
The Women’s Champion Charlotte made her entrance with her father Ric Flair. A clip aired from three weeks ago when Natalya beat Charlotte by disqualification leading to this title match. Natalya entered the arena wearing a “Fight Bret Fight” shirt since Bret had prostate cancer surgery recently. She walked Bret down to the ringside area. He received a huge ovation when his name was announced.
Analysis: It’s so great seeing Bret out there even though he’s gone through a lot physically. Yes, it looked like he struggled a bit walking, but he is out there and deserves a lot of respect for that. He’s one of my favorites ever. I’m so glad he’s doing better.
WWE Women’s Title: Charlotte (w/Ric Flair) vs. Natalya (w/Bret Hart)
There was a great leg trip takedown by Natalya early on. Natalya with a shoulder tackle. Natalya went for a Sharpshooter, but Charlotte rolled out of the ring. Back in the ring, Charlotte with a neckbreaker. Hair whip by Charlotte. Slap to the face by Charlotte, then a couple of chops and Natalya nailed a chop of her own. Release German Suplex by Natalya gets two. Step on the back into a dropkick by Natalya. Charlotte with a leaping knee drive to the back of the knee. Charlotte continued to work on the knee, but Natalya got an inside cradle for two. Single leg crab submission by Charlotte. Natalya turned it into an armbar. Charlotte was in control and she was taunting Natalya again. Charlotte went to the top for a moonsault, but Natalya countered by shoving her to the floor. They did a spot on the floor where Natalya countered a Powerbomb into a headscissors takedown on the floor. Natalya took a bit of time getting in the ring due to the leg pain, so Charlotte nailed a boot to the face for a two count. Natalya with a slap got out of the Figure Eight attempt. Discus clothesline by Natalya gets two. Charlotte went after the knee again and then applied the Natural Selection for a two count. Charlotte went up top and connected with a perfect looking Moonsault for a two count. She really does look great hitting that move. Charlotte with the Figure Four Leglock submission. Natalya yelled that she won't quit. Natalya reversed it, so Charlotte grabbed the rope. Charlotte applied the Sharpshooter and referee Charles Robinson rang the bell even though Natalya didn’t tap out. It went 13 minutes.
Winner by submission: Charlotte
Charlotte was handed the Women’s Title.
Analysis: **1/2 They were on their way to a pretty good match, but re-doing the Montreal Screwjob is groan inducing. It’s been nearly 20 years. Why go back to it? Weak. I liked the story of the match with Charlotte working over the leg for much of it and Natalya did well in terms of selling the hold. When Natalya got the momentum back at the end, the crowd really got behind her and I thought that they might do a title change. I actually predicted a title change, but got that wrong. They’ll probably do the match again at Extreme Rules.
Post match, Hart nailed Flair with a punch. Then Natalya tripped up Charlotte. Natalya put Charlotte in the Sharpshooter and then Bret put Flair in the Sharpshooter. Double Sharpshooter. Crowd loved it. Bret and Natalya celebrated.
Analysis: It was a way to get the faces some heat back after the loss.
They showed the replays of the finish. The announcers didn’t even mention the history between Robinson and Flair that goes back to their WCW days. He was nicknamed “Little Naitch” in honor of Flair and even wrestled with Flair back in the last days of WCW - I remember Robinson even getting a PPV match in 1999. All they really did was mention the Screwjob without really talking about Robinson’s history with Flair. I guess that will happen at Raw.
Commercials aired for Extreme Rules on May 22 and Camp WWE on WWE Network.
McMahon Family Promo Time
Vince McMahon entered. The crowd sang along with “No Chance in Hell” for Vince’s song. Fans chanted “CM Punk” at him. Vince said that Raw has had 1,196 episodes and counting. He said that Raw has been able to re-invent itself over and over again. Really? I don't know about that. They chanted for “CM Punk” again. He told them “come on you got more than that!” He said they were a crazy crowd to let them cheer themselves. He said that one of his favorite eras of Raw was the Attitude Era. Vince spoke about how they needed a new era of Raw while talking about credentials with the crowd chanting “what” at him. He wondered if it should be his daughter Stephanie or son Shane in charge of Raw.
Stephanie McMahon made her entrance. Vince: “Isn’t she beautiful?” After she thanked the people for their support, the crowd booed her loudly and Vince told the crowd to shut up. Stephanie said that she didn’t want the compassion or sympathy because she’d rather be feared or respected than felt sorry for. Stephanie talked about how during her being in charge they saw the debut of The Shield, Kevin Owens, The New Day, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Charlotte and even AJ Styles. She even took credit for WWE Network while saying there were 1.8 million subscribers, which is not the active number, but it’s what they want to say publicly. She said talked about how even though she’s not popular, she’s the right person. Stephanie pointed out that Shane left the company for seven years in the past, so who knows what he might do again. Stephanie also mentioned that Shane’s stupid jump off the cell at WrestleMania. Fans were chanting “boring” as she sucked up to Vince by pointing out how Shane tried to blackmail him. More “boring” chants.
Shane McMahon entered to a big ovation from the crowd. He got in the ring with his father and sister. Shane said he didn’t really like to talk about himself, but that’s what they are doing here to prove themselves to Vince. He showed headlines of people praising him with stuff from the internet including Fox Sports, Sporting News, Sportskeeda, Bleacher Report, Daily DDT and Rolling Stone. Way to omit TJRWrestling, jerks.
Shane pointed out how there was a jump in network subscribers around WrestleMania 32 while mentioning that one particular match drew a lot of interest and one of those people is standing in the ring. Fans chanted “you still got it” at Shane. Stephanie took credit saying “thank you, yes I do.” Shane mentioned that part of the reason he left seven years ago is because his voice wasn’t being heard. He spoke about how that left an enormous void in the company, but that Triple H and Stephanie’s “venomous spew” spread everywhere. Shane wanted to make things better for the future for his kids, Stephanie’s daughters and everybody’s family while sucking up to the crowd again. Shane wanted Vince to listen to him because they (the fans) all speak for me. The crowd cheered. He asked the crowd who they would rather have running Raw leading to more cheers for him and boos for Stephanie.
Vince mentioned that Shane shouldn’t be here because he lost to The Undertaker at WrestleMania. Then he gave Shane credit for showing class and stepping up after Raw was over. He claimed that Shane did a good job after Vince let him run the show for the last four weeks. Vince said it’s really about what he wants. The crowd wanted chanting for “CM Punk” again. Vince said he wanted to see them both disembowel eachother or he wants to see them do a collaborative effort that would be best for Raw.
Vince ended it like this: “You are both running Monday Night Raw. Go figure it out.” Vince left while Stephanie and Shane stared at eachother. Then Shane extended his hand. Stephanie shook it. The Raw theme song played. Can we get a new theme song? They both left the ring.
Analysis: Here’s what I wrote in the preview: “My prediction is simply that there will be no resolution to this issue at Payback. They may do something where Vince tells Shane and Stephanie that they have to co-exist so we’ll have the bickering McMahons dominating WWE TV over the next few months.” Nailed it. This felt like a big waste of time that went too long. I don’t mind any of them, but it’s not like this accomplished anything. I think it’s hilarious that they try to push this “new era” thing yet here we are with McMahon-ania running wild just like it has been for nearly 20 years. Also, they’re only competing for Raw yet they never mention Smackdown, which again makes that show irrelevant. It shouldn’t be that way. Anyway, all of this could lead to a brand extension at some point although I have my doubts about that. This story is going to last a few months at least.
The Payback panel were shown on the set to talk about things that have happened so far. It features Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Lawler and Corey Graves. They showed highlights of the two Kickoff matches with Dolph Ziggler beating Baron Corbin with the ROLLUP OF DEATH~! and then Kalisto beat Ryback.
Analysis: I got both of those predictions wrong because I picked the bigger heels to win. As it turns out, it was the smaller faces that found a way to get the win.
There was a plug for WWE Camp on WWE Network. They mentioned it was for a mature audience, but that there are parental controls on the network and that other content will remain PG. I haven’t seen it yet. I’ll give it a look soon.
The video package aired to set up Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles for the WWE Title.
A replay aired of Enzo Amore’s injury earlier in the show. Cole said he had a concussion. However, all other tests have come back negative.
Analysis: After the show ended, he was released from the hospital. That’s a great sign.
AJ Styles made his entrance for the main event. It’s very cool that he’s main eventing just his fourth PPV event. Before I get people complaining, being a part of the Royal Rumble match doesn’t count as a main event. Roman Reigns received plenty of boos during his entrance.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles
There were “Roman Sucks” chants that the announcers ignored to start the match. Then there were “AJ Styles” chants and “you can’t wrestle” chants at Reigns, which is stupid. I’m not saying he’s great, but that’s a dumb chant. Styles nailed a kick to the leg and then he sent Reigns out of the ring. There were “Ro-man Sucks” chants to the tune of “New Day Sucks” chants. They were working at a slow pace early. Styles nailed forearms leading to Reigns coming back with a shoulder block. Reigns crushed Styles with a clothesline that led to a spin bump. Reigns with a one armed slam. Reigns hit a sitout powerbomb for two. Reigns charged in, but Styles countered with a jumping kick to the back of the head. Snapmare by Styles into a running forearm smash for two. Styles with a fireman’s carry into a backbreaker for two. With Reigns going for elbow smashes, Styles tripped him up and applied the calf crusher submission. Reigns got to the ropes and was on the floor. With Reigns by the announce table, Styles jumped to the top rope and attacked with the Phenomenal Forearm smash that sent Reigns through the announce table while Styles also went through the table. Great spot there. Styles tried to get Reigns into the ring, but he couldn’t get him in. Styles got in the ring at nine. Reigns was counted out.
False Finish #1: AJ Styles wins by countout.
Shane McMahon showed up to announce that in the new era that’s not how a championship match will be decided. Shane said the match will be restarted with no countouts.
Styles rolled Reigns back into the ring. Reigns with a jawbreaker. Styles came back with a Pele Kick. Styles went for the 450 Splash, but Reigns got his knees up to block it and that was good for a two count for Reigns. Styles jumped off the top and Reigns punched him in the stomach. Styles was yelling in pain selling as if he was hit the groin. I watched it again and it wasn't really close to the groin. The ref thought that Reigns punched him in the groin, so the ref called for the bell.
False Finish #2: AJ Styles wins by disqualification.
Stephanie McMahon showed up to say that the match will be restarted until there is a clear definitive winner and there will be no disqualification. The crowd cheered.
Reigns set up Styles on the top rope and nailed him with a punch to send Styles to the floor. Reigns dumped Styles over the barricade because there are no countouts. Styles hit a clothesline that sent Reigns over the barricade back to the ringside. Knee to the neck by Styles outside the ring. Back in the ring, Styles went for the forearm, but Reigns nailed a perfect Superman Punch for a two count. Great nearfall there. Another Superman Punch by Reigns.
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson showed up at ringside. They yanked Styles out of the ring to protect him. G&A went after Reigns. They stomped him down. Gallows picked up Reigns on his shoulders and Anderson hit the Boot of Doom kick to put Reigns down. Styles came back with a Phenomenal Forearm for the one…two…no…Reigns got his foot on the bottom rope. I know people probably think that there’s no rope break due to the rules, but it’s not a Falls Count Anywhere match. Rope breaks still apply in this match. The Usos showed up to brawl with G&A. Why did it take them a few minutes to come out? I guess it was done in a retaliation kind of way. Styles went up top, so Reigns shoved him off and Styles landed on the four guys outside the ring. Reigns was flexing his left knee. Then Reigns ran the ropes and nailed a HUGE dive over the top rope to take out all the guys on the floor, but Styles wasn’t there. That dive looks awesome. Styles nailed a Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade. Styles rolled Reigns back into the ring and hit a Springboard 450 Splash for the one…two…no because Reigns kicked out. Awesome nearfall there! Reigns with a back body drop sent Styles on the apron. Styles went for a springboard attack, Reigns moved, they both ran the ropes and Reigns hit a Spear for the pinfall win after 24 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Roman Reigns
They showed replays of the key spots in the match.
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a very entertaining championship match even with two false finishes leading to restarts. It was a long match at around 25 minutes and it’s not that easy to go that long, but they were able to tell a good story. The champ retains as expected although it took a while to get to that point. The two restarts were done as a way to ensure a rematch in the future, which is fine by me because putting Styles in main event matches is a smart move. There were no clear answers in terms of who Anderson and Gallows may be working with, but that’s okay. They don’t have to rush through things. What I really liked about the match was all the nearfalls with Styles coming so close to winning several times. Reigns isn’t nearly as bad as his haters think. He’s not particularly great, but he’s capable of having really good main event matches like he did at Fastlane two months ago and also right here. This was better than his WrestleMania match, that’s for sure. These Reigns matches have such an interesting dynamic since he's booed so much yet not acting like a heel. It makes for a fun atmosphere because the crowd is into everything he does even when they want to boo him.
The McMahon family trio of Vince, Shane and Stephanie were talking backstage. Vince credited them both for keeping the match going. Vince wondered if AJ should have a rematch with both Shane and Stephanie saying yes. Stephanie mentioned Extreme Rules in three weeks, so Shane said AJ should have an Extreme Rules match against Reigns at ERules. Stephanie said she fully supports his decision.
The show ended with Reigns in the ring holding onto his WWE Title. The show ended with just three minutes to go until it hit the three-hour mark, so they made the most of the allotted time.
Analysis: I have no problem with Reigns vs. Styles again. I enjoyed this match a lot. I doubt Styles is going to win the title there, but if he does that would be fine with me. It just feels like Reigns is going to have a title reign that last more than four months at least. I could be wrong there.
Five Stars of the Show
1. Kevin Owens
2. Sami Zayn
3. AJ Styles
4. Dean Ambrose
5. Chris Jericho
It gets a 7.5 out of 10 from me. That’s tied for my highest of the year with Royal Rumble.
Good in-ring action all night long with four matches hitting over three stars, which means the matches were above average for much of the night. Owens vs. Zayn was awesome as the best match on the show. I liked Ambrose/Jericho a lot although maybe it went about five minutes too long. Styles/Reigns was also very good. I liked Cesaro/Miz as well despite the dreaded ROLLUP OF DEATH~! finish. Women’s match was good with an underwhelming finish.
There were no title changes on this show. I was a bit surprised by that. I’m still not sure what they are doing with Kalisto as US Champion, but he’s still holding that title.
With Extreme Rules looming in just three weeks there will probably be some rematches at that show. We already know they’re doing Reigns vs. Styles again. Others are likely going to be announced as soon as Monday’s Raw.
I’m glad that Enzo Amore is going to be okay although a concussion shouldn’t be considered a minor injury. However, it could have been a lot worse with his neck getting hurt really bad, so at least it’s a positive in that sense. Also good that he didn’t have to spend the night at the hospital because he was released late last night.
I enjoyed Payback. We watch PPVs for good matches that are given time to tell stories in the ring. That’s what we got on this show. Some of the finishes were weird, but I don’t think there was anything that was that bad during the entire broadcast.
WWE PPV Rankings In 2016 So Far
Payback - 7.5
Royal Rumble - 7.5
WrestleMania 32 - 6
Fastlane - 6
Thanks for reading. Go Raptors.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org