For all intents and purposes Payback should not have been a good pay-per-view (PPV), but it was. A card that didn't feature a WWE world heavyweight title match in the main event and featured an opening El Torito vs. Hornswoggle rematch should have sealed the shows fate, but it didn't. Instead, Payback was the second best PPV of the year.
It only failed to top WrestleMania 30.
Payback's card, on paper, appeared to be one of the more predictable PPV's of the year, but we saw a lot of surprises -- some good, and some not so good.
El Torito vs. Hornswoggle didn't need a spot on another PPV, but it made the cut. While watching this match I wasn't focused on what was happening in the ring. Instead, I was thinking about how crazy it is that Hornswoggle has been in the WWE close to 10 years now. Hornswoggle is also just 28-years-old, so I think there's a strong possibility he'll be WWE's longest-tenured wrestler sooner rather than later, which is nuts. The match and post-match shenanigans were bad, but keep getting them checks Little Bastard!
If you liked seeing big guys wrestling other big guys this was the card for you, and I'm one of those guys. Rusev really needed a good showing last night, and he delivered for the most part. Although, the flag waving to gain cheap heat was a little much for my liking. But, I guess waving the Russian flag for heat makes more sense than Alberto Del Rio's use of the Mexican flag. Still, Big E got everything he could out of the former Bulgarian until he eventually succumed to the Accolade. I don't think this feud is over, though. New New Nation, maybe?
The rise of Alicia Fox has been fascinating. I feel like she's been in the company forever, but the average fan wouldn't know who she was if they saw her walking down the street. I think that's what makes her newfound craziness work. She's tired of being the forgotten Diva who has had more babyface and heel turns than Big Show and Kane combined. She wants everyone's attention, and she finally had her moment last night. Though she did come up short, this was the step in right direction for the Divas division. I really hope this wasn't the last we see of this Alicia Fox character.
How can you not love to hate Bad News Barrett? Cesaro gets a lot of love, and for good reason, but I think Barrett is more of the complete package. As Barrett made his way down the ramp, Rob Van Dam looked like Brooks from Shawshank Redemption after he was released from prison; a guy who no longer belonged. Barrett is on a different level right now, and it's exciting to see him build more steam week after week.
Sheamus is an odd place right now in the WWE; they don't want to place him in the main event, but they also want to keep his babyface character strong if they change their minds -- insert Cesaro. Cesaro can pull off a good match with just about anyone on the WWE roster, but his match with Sheamus last night highlighted the undercard. Rusev and Big E was fun, but Cesaro and Sheamus are on another level and they had the time to put together a really fun match with Sheamus going over. Sheamus is a great worker, but he just really needs a change of character.
Daniel Bryan walked out of Payback with his WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but it cost his wife's job. This may be a blessing in disguise for the Bryan family as Brie can now fully devote her time to Total Divas, or something. I really don't have much to say regarding this segment because it went as one would expect. This story is far from over.
If you were to just read how Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena ended without watching the match you'd probably have a lot of concerns about where they're going with Wyatt's character. Typically, losing the way he did is never a good sign, just ask the Nexus. However, everything that happened before the finish told a very different story of two evenly matched foes who have developed incredible chemistry with one another and told a great story, even though the ending wasn't the best possible outcome. Wyatt has the mic work down, but his in-ring work is what will ultimately get him to that next level, and his match with Cena last night made it clear he can kick it up a gear when he really needs to. Still, I hope this was the end to this feud.
No Daniel Bryan in the main event, but instead we got to see Evolution pull out all the stops to defeat The Shield, and they failed. This match got the time it needed to be special, and the staredown between Roman Reigns and Triple H in the middle of the match stole the show, for me, anyway. This match made everybody look good, but especially The Shield. Seth Rollins put on a spot fest that kept the crowd into the match; Dean Ambrose showed his grit and toughness refusing to stay down; Reigns looked like a superhero taking on Evolution by himself at times. This match had everything, and the right team one.
After the match, though, it became evident that there really isn't anything else for this group to accomplish. Really, what else is there? This is the highest point this group can reach, which is a positive and a negative at the same time. I don't ever want to see this group breakup for my own selfish reasons, but I can't come up with another big-time feud for this group to be apart of in the near future.
Who else can The Shield take down?