Overall, WWE's latest pay-per-view (PPV), this past Sunday's Payback, got pretty high marks from wrestling fans.
Even some of the lowlights weren't all bad. Take the Women's championship match between Charlotte and Natalya. Thanks to the chemistry between the performers, their title match on May 2 in Chicago was doing well despite the build focusing on the champ's father, Ric Flair, and the challenger's uncle, Bret Hart.
Then they ran a callback to Bret's loss to Shawn Michaels in Montreal from more than 18 years ago, and things fell apart.
Actually, the ""Chicago Screwjob" - as WWE is pushing it - may get us to a resolution of the Nature Boy's kayfabe involvement in his daughter's career. At least for Extreme Rules, he won't be in Charlotte's corner when she battles Natty in submission match.
But if you rolled your eyes at Vince McMahon shoe-horning a callback to one of the most famous scenes in wrestling history into a program which had shown no signs of going that way, you weren't alone. Given Bret Hart's litany of criticisms about the current WWE product, it's not a surprise that he didn't like it.
He explained as much on his Sharpshooter Show for WrestleZone:
I mostly just dealt with Vince on it. That was Vince's concept, I guess. I thought it was pretty flat, to be honest. I told him that. Initially the idea was that, at the end, I was just going to stand with my hands on my hips or something in the middle of the aisle way and block Ric Flair from leaving the ring. I remember going, "That's pretty lame."
Then, in a twist we can only label as "Bret gonna Bret", the Hitman says he was the person who pushed for the crowd-pleasing double Sharpshooter spot which ended the in-ring action after Charles Robinson gave Charlotte the victory:
I just said, "I think we can do better than that."
It was my suggestion that I could give Ric a couple shots, knock him down and put him in the Sharpshooter. Maybe Nattie could do a Sharpshooter at the same time and we could end on that note. So, I'll take full credit for the better pop of the match.
But the whole thing?
As far as the ending, I'll say now that I thought it was pretty flat and unoriginal. Kind of, been done a lot.
Not even a 4 out of 10.