Payback Results and Reactions

ENZO and BIG CASS VS. LUKE GALLOWS and KARL ANDERSON

Result and match rating:  Enzo won with a small package on Gallows **

Reaction and payoff rating: This was a rather meaningless match that is just a repeat of what has been seen on Raw off and on for months.  It wouldn’t be unexpected for Gallows and Anderson to get their win back tomorrow night. *

MIZTV with FINN BALOR

Reaction and payoff rating: This was a solid segment.  The Miz was appropriately annoying throughout, and Balor reacted like a wrestler should by putting him down.  More interesting though is Balor expressing his interest in gaining the Universal Title back and not being scared that Brock is holding it.  That could actually be interesting. ****

KEVIN OWENS (c) VS. CHRIS JERICHO for the United States Championship

Result and match rating: Jericho forced Owens to tap out to the Walls of Jericho to win the title and move to Smackdown *** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: The match was solid, but the last five minutes really sold this match.  Jericho hurting Owens’s hand to keep him from using his finger to touch the rope was a good callback to ‘Mania and funny as well.  This creates an interesting scenario now with AJ Styles owed a title shot at the United States Title.  Maybe Owens wins the title back quickly or the match turns into a three-way.  Either way, it adds intrigue due to this swerve. ****

NEVILLE (c) VS. AUSTIN ARIES for the Cruiserweight Championship

Result and match rating: This was a great match until the ending when Neville grabbed the referee while in The Last Chancery and was disqualified for it. *** 1/2

Reaction and payoff rating: WWE rarely uses this type of ending on a PPV anymore so it wasn’t a bad thing necessarily.  The match quality of this and Wrestlemania was high enough to warrant a third match.  At this point of the build, Aries looks like he might win the title in their next match. ****

THE HARDY BOYZ (c) VS. SHEAMUS and CESARO for the WWE World Tag Team Championship

Result and match rating: Jeff pinned Sheamus after a Swanton Bomb. ****

Reaction and payoff rating: Another great match on this show.  Both teams looked good, and the Hardys are still getting a good reaction off the nostalgia run.  After the match, Cesaro and Sheamus attacked the Hardys, turning heel.  Matt Hardy bleeding from the head after a Brogue Kick is surely a sign that Matt will return tomorrow or next week in his “broken” state.  The heel turn was unexpected but needed for this tag division, and the prospect of “Broken” Matt is exciting. **** 1/2

BAYLEY (c) VS. ALEXA BLISS for the WWE Women’s Championship

Result and match rating: Alexa pinned Bayley after a DDT to win the title. ****

Reaction and payoff rating: Given the quality of matches on television recently for the women’s division, this was a solid match with good character work from both women, a good pace, and no botches.  This should be interesting now.  Alexa having the title is the best move as she’s the best mic worker among the females on the show, and she has a real opportunity to blow up even more.  Bayley gets to chase the title, and something might start with her and Sasha soon. ****

SETH ROLLINS VS. SAMOA JOE

Result and match rating: Rollins pinned Joe with a roll-up. ***

Reaction and payoff rating: This match was solid enough although the crowd didn’t seem into it that much, which is probably a combination of being after the first half of the House of Horrors match and due to the build.  This match shouldn’t have happened because no ending was going to help either wrestler.  Both men needed the win for momentum.  Having Rollins with with a roll-up makes it look like he got lucky, so he doesn’t look very strong out of it, so basically it was a wash. **

RANDY ORTON VS. BRAY WYATT in a “House of Horrors Match”

Result and match rating: Bray won with the Sister Abigail after Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boys attacked Orton. DUD

Reaction and payoff rating: This match was just absurd.  From the poor horror movie conventions inside the house to the fact that it was obviously pre-taped within the past few days (it was supposedly dark at 7 p.m. in San Jose), it was simply cheesy.  Sure, it was funny at times, but it’s the type of segment that makes one feel a little embarrassed to be a wrestling fan.  For this to basically be a way to build Orton/Mahal even more is a poor choice. Bray can only get a win when he’s helped by Jinder Mahal of all people.  Bray looks worse and worse.  But, the good news is that this feud is finally over, and for that, it earns the highest rating possible. *****

ROMAN REIGNS VS. BRAUN STROWMAN

Result and match rating: Braun pinned Roman after a powerslam. **

Reaction and payoff rating: This match was not nearly as good as their match at Fastlane.  It was satisfying to see Roman get pummeled during and after the match, but the match was still a way to put Roman over.  Roman has established he’s better than Strowman by beating him clean at Fastlane.  Braun can only win when Roman has cracked ribs and a dislocated shoulder, so this is still a way to keep Roman strong and a viable top guy.  This will probably lead Braun to a match with Lesnar, which will be interesting, but it establishes that Roman will always in the background. ***

The Final Analysis: This was an unexpectedly great card until the last three matches, which all involved the current main event talent…and that’s not a good sign.  Rollins is back to having no heat, Joe doesn’t have an established main roster character, Roman is still getting heel heat, and Bray/Orton is still the biggest joke in wrestling.  On the bright side, the RAW tag division and women’s division had some exciting developments, Smackdown gets a boost with Jericho coming over, and the cruiserweight match was another standout.

 

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