*Author’s note: Oh yeah, I used to write a monthly column. Whoops. Ahem, uhh….welcome back?*
WWE Payback 2015 HITS:
The New Day vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro – Although this match suffered from the same things all 2/3 Falls matches suffer from (the first fall happening too quickly, and the second fall going to the heels after an injured babyface valiantly fights against the odds), this was a masterfully worked match. If for nothing else, go out of your way to see Cesaro’s incredible strength on display through-out, especially the stalling suplex, as well as his and Tyson Kidd’s innovative offense. This was a really fun match to watch, start to finish. The New Day has found their groove, and they’re hitting homeruns with every single opportunity they are given. Originally, I felt as though they’d suffer from Kizarny syndrome (vignettes clearly pointing toward a heel debut, last minute change to a babyface run, crowd rightfully rejects, and they die an unfortunate death). That hasn’t been the case at all. After initial rejection, WWE wisely embraced the hate, and The New Day has quickly become a hot act. Everything about this match was a hit.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler – Red equals green. Sheamus’ new aggressive edge combined with Ziggler’s speed, agility, and bumping had already created an excellent opening contest that had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands. However, the Ziggler headbutt that lead to him sustaining a gash that later required 10 stitches to close provided an incredible amount of drama in the final moments of the match. I understand WWE’s stance against blood, however it’s undeniable that in some cases, the story is better painted with a crimson brush. A secondary honourable mention hit goes to the referee, who did not stop the match to close Ziggler back up. I’ll start a Kickstarter to pay your fine.
Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins – An excellent main event, given the outcome wasn’t really in doubt. There were a number of great spots, and the momentary Shield reunion got the same reaction from my PPV viewing party as it did from the live crowd; electric. Moments later, Ambrose/Reigns got retribution from and overly cocky Rollins, and the story was woven completely. Dean Ambrose proved that he belongs in the main event picture, Regins carried his weight and continued to rebuild his image which will eventually lead into a nice WWE Championship run, Orton was the elder statesmen containing chaos by wreaking havoc, and Rollins wriggled his way out with the World Heavyweight Championship. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes at Elimination Chamber in two weeks, as I can only assume that there is enough unfinished business here for a rematch.
WWE Payback 2015 MISSES
Paybotch – The next episode of Maffew’s Botchamania will be a 4-part miniseries followed by a half-an-hour “making-of” documentary. Good lord, there were a lot of botches/called spots/unbroken tables/etc. in this match. It seemed like everybody missed something, and some matches were much worse than others. Have fun with this one, Maffew.
John Cena vs. Rusev – I hate I Quit matches. And I especially hate I Quit matches where the referee asks after every move/spot/break/rest/breath/blink/fart “DO YOU WAANNNNA QUIT?!” The only other match I hate more is a Last Man Standing match, and I hate them both for the exact same reason. It’s really difficult to build drama in a match when you’re reminded every 10 seconds what the finish is going to be. And then we have the long drawn out pauses where a big spot happens, and then we get the eventually “NOOOOO!” and we wash/rinse/repeat again. They just don’t work for me. The match itself was fine, especially down the stretch, but their stipulation handicapped them, and took away from what should have been a great final match in the series.
Neville vs. King Barrett – King Barrett sucks worse than Bad News Barrett. And, unfortunately, Neville’s WWE Pay Per View debut will be moreso be remembered for him slipping on the ropes than him having a jaw dropping match. Also, who’s idea was it for this match to end in a count-out? The aftermath of Barrett attacking Neville was sufficient enough for him to “get his heat back”, so why not have Neville debut hot? Instead, it was just so-so.
Naomi and Tamina Snuka vs. Nikki and Brie Bella – Naomi just isn’t ready to carry the load in a match of this caliper. She’s good, and she’s getting better every day, but this was an eye-opening exposure to how far she still has yet to go. Can someone tell me why Tamina and Naomi are suddenly friends? Has this been explained over the past 2 to 3 weeks of television since her return? Or is this something we’re just expected to accept? I’m confused.