|Date: May 1, 2016
|Venue: Allstate Arena |City: Rosemont, Illinois
|tweet me: @BastionBlogger
Payback kicks off with The New Day coming out to the ring. They’re excited about the number one contenders match to their tag team championships. And Xavier Woods offers Beyonce some help with her relationship.
The Payback 2016 video package hits mostly focused around the new faces in WWE such as AJ Styles, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Charlotte, Enzo & Big Cass.
Enzo Amore & Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillians (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) – Number one contenders match for the WWE Tag Team Championships
Background: This is the finals of a tournament to determine new number one contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championships. Enzo and Cass beat The Ascension and Dudley Boys to get here whilst The Vaudevillians beat Goldust & Fandango and The Usos. Two brand new tag teams just promoted from NXT in with a big shot tonight.
Previous PPV matches: This is a WWE PPV debut for Aiden English and Simon Gotch.
Payback Record: Both teams make their Payback debut tonight.
Match: Simon Gotch and Enzo Amore kick off the match where Gotch takes the advantage with some greco Roman wrestling. Big Cass tags himself in before long and gets his team on the front foot. The New Day are watching on from the outside with pizza. Big Cass launches his own partner in English and Gotch. Gotch throws Enzo out of the ring and Enzo hits the bottom rope head first and it looks like it’s knocked him right out. Simon Gotch tries to get him up but Enzo is out. A replay shows that he hit the middle rope and he’s out. Doctors come out and see to him and the referee calls for the bell. This match has been thrown out by the look of it.
Result: No contest.
Review: Well this match had barely got started. I can’t really review it because there was limited action and no finish. I’m guessing there will be a rematch down the line but Enzo Amore was knocked out cold in this match and it’s a genuine injury.
There’s a video package next for Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
Background: These two used to be best friends. Kevin Owens ruined their relationship when he attacked Sami Zayn after he’d won the NXT Championship. Owens would go on to beat Zayn for the NXT title before being called up to the main roster. Sami has since been called up himself and has immediately targeted his former best friend, including eliminating him from the 2016 Royal Rumble match and costing him the Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania.
Previous PPV matches: This is their first one on one singles match on a WWE main roster PPV.
Payback Record: Both men make their Payback debut.
Match: The match starts with the two men slugging it out like we have become accustom to with these two men. Sami Zayn fires up the crowd as he dives to the outside into his former best friend. Sami Zayn has the advantage in the early going but Kevin Owens soon takes control. Plenty of action on the outside in this one as Zayn whips Owens into the barricade and Owens throws Zayn into the ring steps. Owens likes to shout at Michael Cole during his matches. Zayn hits two blue thunder bombs but it’s not enough to keep Owens down. Owens hits a from splash a couple of bowling balls but Zayn counters two pop-up powerbombs to stay in the match. Sami counters a powerbomb on the apron with a back body drop. Zayn then hits dives through the ropes with a tornado DDT on the outside. KO counters a helluva kick and then hits the pop-up powerbomb for the three! Kevin Owens wins cleanly tonight!
Result: Kevin Owens wins by pinfall.
Review: This was a great match between these two men. There were no frills, it was just a match between two men who despise each other. There were false finishes and some excellent spots. Kevin Owens picks up the win cleanly which makes me think that they might move on to other things after this. Or do they have a gimmick match next month? Great match none-the-less.
After the match Kevin Owens demands an interview from Byron Saxton. He doesn’t really let Byron get a word in, instead he says that he is now going to focus on winning the Intercontinental Championship. Byron says that the IC match is next and Owens says that he’s going to do commentary for it.
There’s an ad next for the WWE Network.
The Miz (c) vs. Cesaro – WWE Intercontinental Championship match
Background: Cesaro won a number one contenders match against Kevin Owens that earned him a shot at the Intercontinental Championship. The Miz won the title by beating Zack Ryder the night after Wrestlemania.
Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV match between these two men, Cesaro beat The Miz by disqualification at Elimination Chamber 2013.
Payback Record: Cesaro is 0-2 at Payback, The Miz is 0-1.
Match: The Miz is joined by his wife Maryse for this match. Cesaro out-wrestles Miz in the early going, tying him up in knots. The tide turns when Maryse gets involved by stopping Cesaro from suplexing Miz. Miz works the injured shoulder of Cesaro. Cesaro seems to be the one leading the match and dictating the pace. He’s very under-rated. Cesaro hits uppercuts in the corner, in the middle of the ring and even springboarding off the middle rope. Miz blocks the swing but then gets hit with an elevated uppercut. The crowd seem really into Cesaro. He kicks out of the skull-crushing finale which you don’t see very often. Sami Zayn then re-appears and lays into Kevin Owens on the outside! Cesaro swings Miz round and round before locking on a crossface. Miz taps out but the referee doesn’t see it because he’s seeing to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn! Cesaro knocks them both off the apron but Miz rolls Cesaro up, pulls the tights and gets the three! Miz retains his title!
Result: The Miz beats Cesaro by pinfall.
Review: This match was better than I thought it would be. The crowd were really into it. It’s a win for Miz but you get the impression this feud isn’t over and I can see it being a fatal four way soon with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn involved. Really solid match for the Intercontinental Championship tonight.
After the match Cesaro lays Miz out with the neutraliser but Kevin Owens kicks him out of the ring before hitting Sami Zayn with a pop-up powerbomb and holding up the Intercontinental Championship.
Stephanie McMahon is backstage talking to Apollo Crews.
There’s a video package next for Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
Background: This rivalry started with Dean Ambrose taking over the Highlight Reel and turning it into the Ambrose Asylum. The two would continue in a war of words and Jericho would attack Dean Ambrose during a match.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time pay per view match between these two men.
Payback Record: Dean Ambrose is 2-1 at Payback, Chris Jericho is 0-1.
Match: Dean Ambrose is the man to start the match well. Jericho tries to retreat but Ambrose chases him back into the ring. Jericho takes the advantage with a back body drop to the outside. At one point Jericho crawls on his knees and huge the referee to keep Ambrose away from him. It’s a fairly back and forth match. Jericho dominates for longer than Ambrose does but they both get their offence in. Jericho counters dirty deeds and locks on the Walls Of Jericho. Ambrose manages to counter that but Jericho re-takes the advantage. Jericho has blood running down his nose, I didn’t see how he got that. Ambrose manages to counter a lionsault and hit dirty deeds after a few knees to the head and that’s enough for the three. Dean Ambrose with the big win tonight.
Result: Dean Ambrose wins by pinfall.
Review: This was a decent match from these two but you get the impression this rivalry isn’t over. Dean Ambrose won cleanly but I don’t think Jericho will take that lying down. A good match but not a memorable one.
There’s an ad for Under Armour.
Mauro Ranallo is backstage with AJ Styles, asking him if Gallows and Anderson will interfere tonight. AJ says that it’s going to be one on one.
Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya – WWE Women’s Championship match
Background: Charlotte and Natalya battled for the Women’s Championship a few weeks ago on Raw in a match that saw Natalya cause Charlotte to tap out. However Ric Flair had already caused a disqualification so although Natalya won, Charlotte retained the title. A rematch was then setup for Payback and Natalya promised to have her uncle Bret at ringside.
Previous PPV matches: This is a second pay per view match between these two girls. Charlotte beat Natalya at Roadblock.
Payback Record: This is a Payback debut for both girls.
Match: Natalya attempts to lock the sharpshooter on very early but Charlotte fights her off. A big “we want Sasha” chant breaks out. Nobody is buying that Natalya will win this match. Charlotte is a great heel. She also hits a lot of knee drops, much like her father did. Charlotte talks some smack to Bret too. Charlotte goes to the top for a moonsault but Natalya pushes her off the top all the way down to the outside. Charlotte looks for a powerbomb on the outside but Natalya counters with a hurricanrana. Natalya sells a leg injury but manages to fight Charlotte off. Charlotte hits natural selection which Natalya kicks out of. Charlotte locks on the figure four, Natalya counters by rolling over but Charlotte manages to get o the bottom rope to break the hold. Charlotte then locks on the sharpshooter! Referee Charles Robinson calls for the bell and runs off! Have we just seen another screwjob? After the match Natalya locks a sharpshooter on Charlotte and Bret Hart locks the same move on Ric Flair!
Result: Charlotte wins by screwjob.
Review: That was a good match. The two girls are very technically sound and put on a good wrestling match. I’m not sure about the finish but if this leads to Charles Robinson going back to his old “Little Naitch” gimmick then I’m all for it. Charlotte was always winning but doing it this way makes me think that this feud will continue. Good match!
There’s an ad for Camp WWE.
Eden Stiles introduces Vince McMahon. A big “CM Punk” chant breaks out. Vince talks about going into the next era of Raw and who should be the General Manager. There’s a choice between Shane or Stephanie and the crowd are definitely behind Shane. Vince then introduces Stephanie. Stephanie talks about her rule as part of The Authority and how successful it was. The crowd boo her the whole time. She’s interrupted by Shane. Shane McMahon sells himself and how much things have improved since he came back. Vince says that he wants to see them slit each others throats which is nice of him. After all that Vince says that both of them are running Raw.
Over to the Payback kick-off panel anchored by Renee Young and featuring Corey Graves, Booker T and Jerry “The King” Lawler. They have their say on the events so far tonight before we’re shown footage of the match between Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin and then Ryback and Kalisto.
There’s a video package for Roman Reigns and AJ Styles.
Michael Cole gives us an update on Enzo Amore. He’s still at the hospital but has a concussion.
Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles – WWE World Heavyweight Championship match
Background: AJ Styles won a fatal four way match involving Cesaro, Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens to become number one contender for Roman Reigns’ title. Since then Styles old buddies Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson have shown up and attacked Reigns on multiple occasions. AJ has denied having anything to do with the attacks and has told him brothers to leave Roman alone. Reigns thinks AJ Styles is in on it, will we see them tonight?
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time singles match between these two men.
Payback Record: Roman Reigns is 2-1 at Payback, AJ Styles makes his Payback debut tonight.
Match: The crowd are definitely behind AJ Styles in this match. Styles takes the advantage in the early going and actually arm drags Reigns to the outside. Reigns start to get hot and AJ retreats out of the ring.Back in the ring and AJ hits a chop which always seems pointless against Roman who is wearing a chest protector. Reigns hits a big clothesline at one point which sends AJ inside out. Reigns is actually a three time WWE Champion at this point but this is the first time he’s had a fair defence of his title on PPV. He’s never actually succeeded in a title defence before. This is a third successive Payback main event for Roman Reigns. AJ locks on the calf crusher but Reigns gets to the bottom rope. AJ then hits a phenomenal forearm to the outside and through the announce desk. Styles struggles to get Roman Reigns back into the ring and Reigns gets counted out! AJ Styles wins by count out!
Shane McMahon then comes out and says that is not how the main event is going to end, the match restarts with no count outs. AJ continues the advantage and then comes off the top but Reigns gets his foot up and it’s deemed a low blow! The referee calls for the bell again! AJ wins by DQ this time. Stephanie McMahon comes out and says that the match continues as a no disqualification match and the crowd love it. The fight goes into the crowd and then comes back to the ring. AJ attempts a phenomenal forearm which Reigns counters with a superman punch for a near fall. Roman hits a second superman punch as the crowd boo. Gallows and Anderson then show up, pull AJ out of the ring and then go after Reigns! They hit the boot of doom and leave the champion laying for Styles. AJ hits the phenomenal forearm and pins Roman who gets his foot on the bottom rope! The Usos then run out from the back and attack Gallows and Anderson! Reigns throws AJ into all four men on the outside. Reigns then dives out at everyone but AJ had got out of the way and he hits a phenomenal forearm, rolls Reigns into the ring and hits a springboard 450 splash for a near fall. Reigns avoids a phenomenal forearm and hits a spear for the win!
Result: Roman Reigns wins by pinfall.
Review: This was a great main event. I’m never a fan of the match being restarted, I don’t even like the term “restarted” when they could just say “continued”. Roman Reigns wins though and had to in his first PPV defence. But there were times when I thought AJ Styles was going to win and that’s the sign of a good match. AJ Styles did not look out of place in the main event and I’m sure the storyline of his allegiance with Gallows and Anderson will continue.
Vince, Shane and Stephanie are backstage raving about the main event. Vince asks if AJ should get a rematch. Stephanie says Extreme Rules is in 3 weeks and Shane says it should be an Extreme Rules match.
And that was Payback 2016. It started in bizarre fashion with the tag team title match being called off due to an injury to Enzo Amore. I guess that’s a match that will be replayed down the line. I’ve never seen anything like that before. After that it was a good show though. There were only five matches but they were all given plenty of time and were better matches than they probably would have been under normal time constraints. There wasn’t a bad (or even average) match on the card. It follows Wrestlemania 32 which was a great show for match quality and I think the company is really concentrating on putting on good matches at the moment. Especially by bringing up good talent from NXT like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Charlotte. AJ Styles is a great addition to the roster and his match with Roman Reigns was possibly the best of Reigns’ career up to now. Overall a great show, I would definitely recommend that you go check it out as it is one of the greatest pay per views WWE have ever put on in terms of match quality.
Overall Rating: 73.5/100 (ranked 3rd out of 327)
Match Of The Night: Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles
Worst Match Of The Night: Charlotte vs. Natalya / Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
Surprise Of The Night: Charles Robinson costs Natalya the Women’s Championship
Worst Booking Of The Night: N/A
Superstar Of The Night: Roman Reigns
Payback 2016 Will Be Remembered For: Enzo Amore getting knocked out