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WWE Payback 2014 results, live retro blog: Before the darkest timeline

On May 12, 2014, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan announced that he had to get neck surgery. This was heartbreaking, as just five weeks prior, he won the title after two thrilling Wrestlemania performances.

Little did anyone realize that set the stage for what many consider to be WWE’s “Darkest Timeline”.

For those unfamiliar, the “Darkest Timeline” comes up in a third season episode of Community where six different timelines are presented based on a roll of a die to determine who has to pick up pizza for the group. Troy’s number comes up and he takes off to get the pizza, but he shuts the door so hard, Abed’s diorama rolls on the floor, setting off an unfortunate chain of events, including this iconic scene of the room being on fire.

At the end of the show, Abed refer to this scenario as “The Darkest Timeline”, and would actually play a role through the end of the show’s fourth season.

Three weeks later, The Shield, the most cohesive three-man unit this side of the New World Order (and in essence the second most over act in the WWE) was violently split up, leading to Seth Rollins’ eventual ascent to the WWE Championship (and record-low ratings), Dean Ambroses descent to mediocrity (before having a brief period as WWE Champion), and the uber-push/shove of Roman Reigns as the John Cena of a new generation... even though the old one was still very much around. Oh, and Batista, less than six months into his comeback to World Wrestling Entertainment, left again--for good.

Journey back to just before that “darkest timeline”, Payback 2014, this week on the cSs Live Retro Blog.

In the featured bout, The Shield will look to beat Evolution for a second straight PPV in a no holds barred elimination tag team match. Three other titles will be on the line too, as Sheamus defends his United States title against Cesaro, Bad News Barrett defends the Intercontinental title against Rob Van Dam, and Paige defends the Divas title against Alicia Fox. Plus John Cena and Bray Wyatt look to settle things once and for all in a last man standing match.

And I almost forgot because it’s too painful to type: Daniel Bryan must forfeit the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, otherwise, his new wife Brie Bella will be fired.

Live Retro Blog begins at 7pm ET Saturday. That’s 6pm Central, 4pm Pacific, 2pm Hawaiian, and 11pm in Britannia. Everywhere else, consult your local WorldTimeBuddy.

As always, we’ll be watching the WWE Network version of the show, so an active subscription is required for the best experience. If you don’t have one, you can get one here. I mean, it’s free for a month if you’re a new subscriber. Or you can fetch a Network subscription card at any Gamestop, 7-Eleven, or Wal-Mart if you’re not up for giving your credit card number online.

Hi! I’m Eddie. Let’s watch some retro wrestling, yeah?

Before we begin, some preshow business. El Torito defeated Hornswoggle in a mask versus hair match in 7:14. WEELC, this was not.


Opening video package focuses on the two main event bouts, a last man standing match between Bray Wyatt and John Cena and the elimination match between The Shield and Evolution. Ticking timebombs and whatnot. Even oh so cleverly sneaks in the old WWF logo right before the title. I see you, WWE. I see you.

NO PYRO AND BALLYHOO. Payback. June 1, 2011 from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. 13,311 members of the WWE Universe in attendance with just 67,000 homes watching on PPV.

FUTURE EDDIE ALERT: I'd tell you that latter figure is a disaster, but this is June 2014, by which point the WWE Network was already born. It was still very much in its growing pains. It's not nearly a disaster you think it is. But this figure was: 667,000 subscribers, well short of their expectations. It would get quite a few people fired two weeks later.

Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, JBL, and Diet Mountain Dews on commentary in English. Carlos Cabrera and Rodriguezes Ricardo and Marcelo on commentary in Spanish.

Match 1: Sheamus defeated Cesaro to retain the WWE United States Championship in 11:38. Hard-hitting opener. More of this, please. Also, Cesaro swung himself into a small package. Yeah, I'd be as mad as Cesaro too. All that physicality and I get beat by that? Seriously? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?

Rewind to the Kickoff Show where Cody Rhodes and Goldust talk about the Brotherhood's future.

UNADVERTISED Match 2: Rybaxel defeated Cody Rhodes and Goldust in 7:38. This match happened. The brothers tease breaking up post-match, with Cody walking on Goldust. I know as a smark I'm supposed to be pro-Rybaxel, but... I never got into them. Never did.

Match 3: Rusev Machkas Big E into submission in 3:40. Nearly four fun minutes of hoss fighting, including Big E spearing Rusev through the ropes and Rusev grabbing Big E by the nose. I would like more of this.

Backstage, Daniel Bryan with the WWE and WCW world titles and Brie Bella. Daniel Bryan must forfeit the titles tonight or Brie is fired.

Match 4: Kofi Kingston versus Bo Dallas went to a no contestu in just 32 seconds. EVIL DEMON KANE comes out and Kane DE-STROYS Kofi. And Bo Dallas just tries to not be seen until the threat passes. Bo tries to inspire. Probably better times than in a moment like this, but at least his heart's in the right place. Cole speculates that it was Kofi's Twitter got him in trouble with the Authority.

Recap of the preshow, where Hornswoggle gets a haircut at the hands of El Torito.

Recap of the Beat the Clock Challenge, where Rob Van Dam wins the challenge to earn his title match tonight, bringing us to the following contest.

Match 5: Bad News Barrett defeated Rob Van Dam to retain the Intercontinental Championship at 9:32. Good match, bad commentary. OMG, the commentary was SO BAD, you guys.

A recap of recent events where Daniel Bryan refused to forfeit the WWE World Heavyweight Championship brings us to DECISION 2014.

Decision is made by Brie Bella for him. She slaps Stephanie in the face and says she quits. Also CM Punk chants for some reason. Also Brie Bella calls Stephanie a bitch, which gets a huge pop. All hail Brie Bella.

Match 6: John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt in a last man standing match at 24:24. A six-man last man standing match for all intents and purposes. Cena had the Usos as backup. It was a barnburner. Cena wins with an F-U to one of those heavy crate... things. But where does Bray go from here? He lost at Wrestlemania. He lost the assumed feud-ender. I guess the answer to that is “stay tuned”. Also Bray got steps thrown in his face. That was mental.

Replay of the previous match, plus Alicia Fox beating Paige in her home country of England brings us to the following contest. Also, Alicia is crazy. Please get this woman a decaffeinated coffee. Or at least take away her Red Bulls.

Match 7: Paige defeated Alicia Fox via submission to retain the Divas Championship in 6:37. This match happened. In the cooldown spot, no less. Also Alicia Fox freaked out.

Payback Fallout after the show. To the panel: Josh Matthews, Booker T, Alex Riley, and Diet Mountain Dews. They talk about the show so far.

A video package of recent events involving The Shield and Evolution brings us to this MAIN EVENT.

Match 8: The Shield defeated Evolution 3-0 in a no holds barred elimination tag team match in 30:56. BLUETISTA. Can we talk about Batista's ring gear? This was a wild match. Arguably the best match on PPV in 2014 to this point, or at worst top five. Ooh... little Easter egg: every member of Evolution was beaten by a different member of The Shield (Rollins d. Batista, Ambrose d. Orton, Reigns d. Triple H)--and it took 27 and a half minutes for an elimination to occur. The end came swiftly and severely after that.

Shield 3. Evolution 0. Evolution kinda has to go away now. You can’t come back from going out 3-0.


Well, it was a two match show, and those two matches by God delivered. The two HOSS FIGHTS were also pretty good, but for different reasons. Also Brie Bella smacking the bejesus out of Stephanie McMahon will never get old. Ever. Watch the main events definitely. Your mileage may vary on the rest. 8.5 out of 10.

No Live Retro Blog next week. Payback 2017. My birthday weekend is in two weeks, so I'm gonna treat myself or something. This feature returns on May 13.

BONUS! Here’s the morning-after recap from Geno (he gives it an A). And the live blog from the original broadcast.

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