WWE Payback 2015
Baltimore, Maryland 5/17/15
1.) R-Truth vs. Stardust: *3/4
Yes, we actually have TWO pre-show matches. Believe or not, from a match quality perspective, this was the better match of the two. Pretty much a nothing match that sees R-Truth get the win. You can easily skip this.
2.) The Ascension vs. The Mega Powers (Curtis Axel & Macho Mandow): DUD
So they really went down the rabbit hole when it came to Curtis Axel’s “AxelMania” Gimmick, to the point where Damien Sandow has turned into Macho Mandow, and the two have formed their incarnation of The Mega Powers. Here, they’re taking on The Ascension. We get comedy from The Mega Powers, but The Ascension makes quick work of them, getting the win in just under three minutes.
1.) Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler: ***1/4
These two met in a “Kiss Me Arse” Match back at Extreme Rules, and even though Ziggler won, Sheamus had the last laugh, so the feud had to continue. A fine opening match here. They’re not setting the world on fire, but this is the second show in a row where these two had a sold match on the undercard. I actually think Ziggler got busted open a little bit at one point. In the end, Sheamus would get the win.
2.) WWE Tag Team Titles – 2/3 Falls – The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston with Xavier Woods) vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (with Natalya): ***1/2
The New Day won the WWE Tag Team Titles from Cesaro & Tyson Kidd back at Extreme Rules. This is the rematch, but this time, it’s 2/3 Falls. Cesaro & Kidd would score the first fall, but then The New Day would win two straight falls to win the match and retain their WWE Tag Team Titles. The big thing with the third, and final, fall is that Xavier Woods swapped places with Kofi Kingston, and pinned Cesaro to win the match. Apparently Xavier Woods & Kofi Kingston look so similar that, when in the small package, the referee couldn’t tell the difference. Interesting finish, but as far as the match goes, this was pretty good match. I’d say it was about on par with their match from Extreme Rules. Cesaro & Kidd are just so awesome as a team, while The New Day are really starting to mature into their role as heels.
3.) Bray Wyatt vs. Ryback: **3/4
After losing to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 31, Wyatt decided to make “The Big Guy” his next target. I thought this was a fine match. You would think, given who was involved, that this would have turned out badly, but it ended up being a little better than people anticipated. Again, it wasn’t anything special, but it wasn’t that bad either. Wyatt would get the win here.
4.) WWE United States Title – I Quit Match – John Cena vs. Rusev (with Lana): ***
From a match quality perspective, this feud has been getting diminishing returns. Every match these two have had on PPV hasn’t been as good as the match that came before it. The good news is that this I Quit Match was better than the Russian Chain Match from Extreme Rules. At the same time, it really wasn’t that memorable. The I Quit Match is a John Cena specialty, and while both guys were good here, the match as a whole is pretty forgettable. The real story with this match is that they have been teasing a babyface turn for Lana, and that story played a big role in this match. Towards the end of the match, Cena had Rusev in the STF (with a rope from a turnbuckle that had been undone by Rusev earlier), and while Rusev didn’t say “I Quit” in English, he shouting something in Russian, and Lana took the mic and said that Rusev quits. An interesting finish, to say the least. It really sucks that they really wanted to break Rusev & Lana up, because they’re a great pairing. Cena retains the United States Title, firmly putting Rusev behind him.
5.) The Bella Twins vs. Naomi & Tamina: *3/4
So Nikki Bella successfully retain her WWE Diva’s Title against Naomi back at Extreme Rules, but for some reason, this feud is continuing. Also, just as a reminder, both sides are technically heels. To be completely honest, this match is one you can definitely skip. Naomi would score the win for their team, and their really isn’t much else to say.
6.) King Barrett vs. Neville: **1/4
This is actually a rematch from the Extreme Rules Kickoff Show. That match was good. This match? Not so much. It was going along decently well, until Barrett got himself intentionally counted out. Barrett then tried to attack Neville, but the former NXT Champion was able to fight back and take out Barrett with the Red Arrow. A pretty pointless finish, especially for a PPV.
7.) WWE World Heavyweight Title – Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton: ***3/4
So it’s The Shield….plus Randy Orton. The story behind this one is that Corporate Kane made this title match, and The Authority responded by saying that if Rollins lost the WWE World Heavyweight Title, Corporate Kane could be fired. Even though this match saw a ton of interference from J & J Security, as well as Corporate Kane himself, this was still a pretty good Main Event. The action, for the most part, was solid throughout the match, especially towards the end. There were some cool spots, including a brief reunion of The Shield when Orton took a Triple Powerbomb through one of the announcer’s tables. Through all of the chaos, Seth Rollins somehow emerged victorious, retaining his WWE World Heavyweight Title. Rollins celebrates with Triple H to close the show.
Like a lot of B-Level WWE PPV’s over the last few years, this was a mixed bag. There were some good matches on here, like the Main Event (despite all of the interference), the WWE Tag Team Title Match, and even Sheamus vs. Ziggler. The rest of the card, however, was not that good. This is one of those PPV’s that would have made for a good episode of RAW, but as a PPV, it really didn’t deliver.