WWE Payback 2016 Results and Thoughts
The card that looked good heading into the event had it’s ups and downs with some mind boggling booking that makes me think this “new era” Vince, Shane, and the WWE writers are touting is complete BS. Let’s take a look at the event!
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
The match was a regular Raw-style contest. Some good back and forth action happened, although Corbin looked like he was the more dominant of the two. Ziggler got the win with a surprise roll up after Corbin was arguing with the ref. Why WWE just didn’t let Corbin get the win is stupid as it does nothing for Ziggler and continues the trend of WWE calling up NXT wrestlers just to have them lose. Maybe the loss won’t affect Corbin too much seeing how this was on the pre-show. Winner: Ziggler and this match was a MISS in my books.
Kalisto (Champ) vs. Ryback for the US Championship
This was the match these two should have had at Wrestlemania. Kalisto had one of the best showings I’ve ever seen him have and the performance from Ryback was actually really good, too. I’m surprised that Ryback lost here, but I could actually watch another match from these two if it has this level and energy. Winner: Kalisto and a HIT in my book!
I have to say that Ryback was smart trolling the loud Chicago crowd when he came out by doing CM Punks’ old entrance actions. It was a great way to instantly get heat and Ryback should start doing stuff like this more often to get the crowd to give him more heat.
Enzo and Cass vs. The Vaudevillians
The match was off to a good start and Enzo and Cass had the crowd in their hands…up until Enzo got hurt bad. Enzo was being whipped to the outside and was probably supposed to slide under the bottom rope. Unfortunately, Enzo hit the second rope with his head as his arm got caught on the same rope. That caused his head to ricochet off the ring mat, probably knocking the shit out of him, to where he hit the mat on the outside of the ring with his head just as hard. This injury all happened in less than three seconds. The match was called off once the medical team assessed Enzo. Winner: no contest.
By the end of the night (and with various websites reporting the news this morning), Enzo had been diagnosed with a concussion and will be out of action for a while. Thank goodness that’s all that came from this because it could have been a hell of a lot worse.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
The crowd (and hopefully the audience at home) were in full anticipation of this match and it delivered. These two men put on the best match of the night and should be the poster boys for the “new era” slogan that’s being thrown around. WWE let the men wrestle and tell a story without stupid, outlandish booking like DQs, count-outs, or interference. I can’t wait to see more from these two. Winner: Kevin Owens and a HUGE HIT! Here’s to more matches!
After the match, Owens kept the heat going by showing how focused he was on winning back the Intercontinental Championship – which is exactly what people should be aiming for if they’re in WWE: WINNING CHAMPIONSHIPS! Owens then proceeded to be on commentary for the IC match that followed and gave excellent one-liners putting Saxon and Cole in their places.
The Miz (Champion) vs. Cesaro for the Intercontinental Championship
LOTS of “Cesaro Section” signs showed how much the crowd loved (loves) Cesaro. I was hoping WWE would have noticed and would finally pull the trigger on giving the fans a feel good moment with Cesaro winning the IC belt, and in turn, really signify this “new era.” What happened? Sami Zayn came out to attack Owens, who was still on commentary and the two brawled outside of the ring. For some reason, they decided to brawl up on the ring apron and that distracted everyone except The Miz. The Miz got the pin via a rollup, holding Cesaro’s tights. What a garbage ending. I will say that these two put on a great match and you could see how much The Miz has improved especially when he has an opponent who is just as good (or better). Winner: The Miz and the match was a HIT, although I hated the ending.
Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose
Everyone was looking for Ambrose to finally win a match and they got to see it happen here. They had a hard time getting the crowd into their match, but by the end, with some good spots and some close calls (and Jericho berating Ambrose and the crowd), they pulled off a solid match. I really liked how Jericho was trying to fight off Ambrose locking in his “Dirty Deeds” finisher and didn’t kick out when he got nailed with it. There wasn’t anything bad about the match, but it wasn’t a memorable one either. I’ll say this one was a minor HIT.
Charlotte (Champion) vs. Natalya for the WWE Women’s Championship
There was so much wrong with this match that creative should be ashamed. It wasn’t up to par with their past match from the Roadblock PPV or their NXT title match. Bret Hart could barely walk to the ring and couldn’t look remotely interested in being there (and said he didn’t want to be there in an interview a few days before). Flair’s tactics are getting old and Charlotte needs to drop her dad and be a heel without him. The horrible ending that mirrored the infamous Montreal Screwjob was just ridiculous. Just drop it, WWE writers. This match and ending fucking sucked so much it’s worse than a MISS. Winner: Charlotte by a shitty, uninspired, slap in the face to women’s wrestling booking. This doesn’t bode well on a “new era.”
Vince McMahon and (boring) Family Segment
Maybe Vince, Stephanie, and Shane were trying to fill the time left by the quick ending to the tag match at the beginning of the show, but this segment went on way too long. Stephanie’s diatribe was the same useless dribble we’ve heard a million times before and the crowd turned hard on it. I nearly pissed myself when I heard Vince say that Raw is always evolving and then went on to say that he only listens to himself when it comes to decisions affecting Raw – so we got a lie followed up with the truth.
At the end of nearly 20 minutes of wasted time the big announcement we got was both Shane and Stephanie McMahon would run Raw together. That’s it? So…the more the things change, the more they stay the same it seems. This segment could have been done ON Raw and in less time. Shit like this, especially when the reveal is so lackluster, really takes the wind out of the audience/viewers and kills the special aura around PPV shows.
AJ Styles vs. Roman Reigns (Champion)
I’m surprised with how good the match was overall. Perhaps I’ll clarify that when I state “match,” I mean the wrestling. The overbooking of it leading to the ending was unnecessary. It was great to see AJ Styles got a great reaction from the crowd, while Chicago unsurprisingly booed the hell out of Reigns.
They were slow to start, but I enjoyed everything that led up to the first restart after Styles got the victory due to count-out when he couldn’t lift Reigns back into the ring (although he did it later on). They went back and forth until Reigns got DQ for a supposed “low blow.” Stephanie came out and then made it no DQ. From there, you knew Anderson and Gallows would make an appearance.
After the second restart, the match really went full force. We then got the interference from Gallows and Anderson that, for some reason, didn’t take Reigns out. The Usos came down to help Reigns and even the odds against Gallows and Anderson, but it became a big mess outside of the ring.
In the final stretch, AJ got in so many great moves, but WWE booking ruined it all with numerous kick-outs of devastating blows and finishers. This awful booking of Reigns kicking out anything like Super Cena or Hulk Hogan really pissed me off.
I’m giving the match a WIN because of the action in the ring and how AJ Styles really brought out the best in Reigns, but the wrong person won. Winner: Roman Reigns.
Having a while to reflect on this event, the “beginning of a new era” PPV only succeeded by having new faces on a PPV and some quality wrestling. Unfortunately there was a lot they got wrong that showed that we’re not in a “new era.” We didn’t get title changes. We didn’t get creative finishes. We had the McMahons on the mic for way too long only then to get involved in the main event. We got another link to the Montreal Screwjob. We had Hulk hulking up….I mean, we had Super Cena…wait, we had another babyface no one wants with the belt getting the win after, um, Super Cenaing/Hulking up? That shit worked in the 80s and people don’t want to see that garbage anymore. Why doesn’t WWE understand this? Oh yeah. Vince listens to no one but Vince.