Reviews by Dom & Gav
A new addition to the WWE calendar, this show looks… mixed on paper. CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho is the match on paper which has me most interested.
Wade Barrett (c) vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel – WWE Intercontinental Championship
Curtis Axel is over with the crowd for some reason. Must be because he’s a Paul Heyman guy, much like CM Punk is. The Miz is getting booed by many in the crowd as well, which is probably something to do with him being a dreadful babyface. Kudos to the three men for giving the match a constant pace. There was the usual issues with one of the guys being taken out for a while, but they still managed to keep the pace really nice and the crowd went absolutely MENTAL for the idea of Axel winning this match. There was some absolutely phenomenal near falls to follow the early stages. The ending is absolutely incredible as well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that before. Cracking opener. ****1/4
Kaitlyn (c) vs. AJ Lee – WWE Diva’s Championship
This match really doesn’t have any right to be any good. It turns out to be inoffensive stuff though. They seem to try and make an impression through pure effort alone and some of the time it works. AJ Lee has an intensity that works. Easy to forget how much fun she was as the psycho originally, and I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise that she translates it well to her wrestling. It even manages to drag the crowd into it a bit, which is a credit to them I guess. Once again I was buying into what they were doing. Solid stuff, and I’ll not be underestimating a match with these two ladies again, and another good innovative bit of stuff in there too with the ring apron hijinx. **1/2
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Kane – WWE United States Championship
Thought these two guys were capable of much more than they showed on RAW, which was just a run of the mill TV match. Unfortunately, it appears these two guys are just doomed to having boring matches with each other. I have a soft spot for Kane’s right hands. They look like they’re smashing the other guy. I don’t know what it is about Dean Ambrose, but there’s just something too weird about his style for me to get into, and I don’t think that helps this match either. The nod to The Undertaker from Dean Ambrose makes me wonder where that’s going. This story is clearly not over. If they put Dean Ambrose over The Undertaker at Wrestlemania next year, I might flip. And not in a good way.
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio – World Heavyweight Championship
This is a match with some serious potential right here. The pop for Ziggler is absolutely MASSIVE. It was brilliant to see the aggressive side of Del Rio come back. One of the best factors he had as a heel was his killer instinct style, which was toned down when he turned into a babyface. The story of the match is absolutely amazing. Dolph Ziggler is an absolute hero and Del Rio is an animal and Ziggler continues to eat shots to the head. It gets disturbing to watch which is a great indicator of just how well they did their job. I can’t ever remember being as involved in a match emotionally like that before. They sucked me right in and I was well and truly into Ziggler by the end. I’ll not forget this one for a while. ****1/2
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
You want a big match atmosphere? Here you are. What is it with these two guys? I wasn’t a big fan of any of the matches that these guys were doing before, and for the most part, I was completely uninterested in this one as well. The crowd heat made it enjoyable for the most part, which was a bit of a break. There isn’t much else to say about this one. I just didn’t get into it. At all. **
The Shield (c) vs. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan – WWE Unified Tag Team Championships
Daniel Bryan is seriously over with this smark audience. Although in saying that, he’s over with pretty much everyone these days. Such is the benefits of being the very best at what you do. It’s decent tag team stuff as always from these guys. The crowd was mental for everything Daniel Bryan did, which made most of his section of the match fun. The stuff with Orton throwing Bryan into the Spear didn’t seem to make much sense. He either wanted to win the tag titles or take Bryan out. The tag team fluidity of The Shield is always great to watch, the way one man leaves and the other just sort of turns up. Good work. ***1/2
John Cena (c) vs. Ryback, Three Stages of Hell Match – WWE Championship
I quite like the three stages of hell concept, but with gimmicks like you see in this match, I found it hard to get excited about it. I tend not to like lumberjack matches as a rule, and ambulance matches always have some sort of screwy stuff in it. I have to admit, the first fall between Ryback and Cena is one of the most fun lumberjack matches I’ve seen. They got some fun use out of the guys on the outside. The second fall turned out to be quite dull. They spent a LOT of time setting up for stuff which didn’t come off. There was a couple of nice moments, like the first table break with the steps, and Ryback avoiding going through one, but all in all, the ambulance part had a bit of work to do. Unfortunately it didn’t do that work, although there was a couple of good brutal spots. One fall out of three doesn’t a good match make. Poor main event and pretty much all of the good work with Ryback has now been undone. *1/2
I think that this PPV from the opener to the tag title match is well worth going out of your way to see. The main event just isn’t good enough though, but I think you can forgive that on the end of such a great show.
Payback was live from Chicago, Illinois on the 16th of June 2013.
The first match was a triple threat for the IC Title, the competitors were Wade Barrett, The Miz and Curtis Axel. This match was a really solid opener, there was some fantastic back and forth action with an odd but decent finish. The finish was The Miz having Barrett locked into the figure four leg lock, whilst this was happening Axel covered Barrett for the 3-count. 7/10.
Result: Curtis Axel is the NEW Intercontinental Champion.
The next match on the card was the Diva’s match between AJ Lee and Kaitlyn, this match was for the Diva’s title. Overall, this match was pretty good, especially for the very limited Diva’s roster the WWE has today. We got some good back and forth action and were even tease a spanking spot which was always nice. The viewer got to see a Diva kick out of a finisher which was different. It ended with Kaitlyn tapping out to the black widow. 6/10
Result: AJ Lee is the NEW Diva’s Champion.
The third match on the card was Dean Ambrose of the Shield facing up against Kane for the US Title. I was glad to see that Ambrose posed a real threat to Kane and didn’t just get squashed into the mat. We got to see Ambrose make Kane look very good in the ring and this made Ambrose look very strong. The finish to the match was Ambrose planting Kane with his DDT on the outside. Kane didn’t beat the 10 count and the match finished as a count out. 7/10
Result: Dean Ambrose is STILL the US Champion.
Next up we got to see Alberto Del Rio face up against Dolph Ziggler for the World Heavyweight Championship. Going into this match Del Rio was the face and Ziggler the heel, but WWE expertly switched the roles and executed a perfect double turn. The crowd got to see Del Rio repeatedly target Ziggler’s head following his concussion, which is heel tactic. Del Rio repeatedly went for the pinfall win with Ziggler kicking out each time showing the no surrender attitude that most faces have. To finish, Del Rio nailed Ziggler with one final kick to the head for the 3 count. I liked this match, it was great to see Ziggler sell kicks like no-one else can. 6.5/10
Result: Alberto Del Rio is the NEW World Heavyweight Champion
Now, it was time for the most eagerly anticipated match of the night. CM Punk vs Chris Jericho. The pop that Punk got from the Crowd was MASSIVE. It was amazing to behold, it can be compared to Jericho’s return at the Royal Rumble in January. This match set a face turn for CM Punk in stone, which is great to see as the WWE is very heel heavy at the moment. Paul Heyman attempted to get involved in the match to help Punk win, but he nearly cost CM Punk the match. Jericho attempted to lock in the walls of Jericho a few times, but Punk countered with the GTS for the 3 count. 8/10.
Result: CM Punk is STILL the best in the world.
The second to last match on the PPV was Randy and Orton and Daniel Bryan vs The Shield for the tag team titles. This match again was a solid match, which helped to hint at a heel turn for Randy Orton WHICH IS WHAT HE DESPERATELY NEEDS. We got some great spots when Bryan and Rollins were working together in the ring. No-one failed to perform in this match. To finish, Orton dived out the way of the spear leaving Bryan to get nailed by it, Orton the RKO’d Reigns, leaving Rollins to scissor kick Bryan for 1-2-3 count. Best match so far, 8.5/10.
Result: The Shield are STILL the Tag Team Champions.
The final match of the night was Cena vs Ryback in a three stages of hell match. The first stage was a lumberjack match. As you’d expect from the Lumberjack match the heel’s attacked the face whenever he came out, and the face’s don’t touch the heel. The match was decent back and forth action, but it all broke down when Cesaro helped Ryback to his feet, leading Ryback to attacking him and all to break down at ringside. Cena does a leg drop from the top turnbuckle into the lumberjacks which was a great spot. The first fall finishes with Ryback shellshocking Cena for the 1-2-3 count.
The second fall in this match was a tables match, this fall wasn’t as good as the first or the last. It was essentially just Cena and Ryback countering each others finishers and setting up a table twice or thrice. To win this fall, Cena counters Ryback’s shell shocked into an AA, through the table for the win.
The final fall was easily the best, we were treated to an ambulance match. We first get to see Ryback smash Cena through the announce table, then carry him up to the ambulance, only for Cena to smash Ryback into the ambulance doors, he then whips Ryback into the doors again. They then head round to the front of the Ambulance with Ryback smashing Cena against the winshield, Cena then climbs up to the roof of the ambulance, hits Ryback with the siren. Ryback then comes back up, gets hit by a crutch and AA’d through the Ambulance roof. This match deserved an 8.4/10.
Overall, this PPV was surprisingly good. The way they laid the foundations for the long term storyline. I’m going to give this an 8/10 overall.