Many fans were wondering if the WWE would acknowledge Chyna’s death. I’m glad they did, as she played a big role for the company at one time. There’s no doubt that she deserves the recognition.
Since we haven’t seen Stephanie since Wrestlemania, her presence was quite refreshing. The comedic aspect to her promo had me laughing quite hard. I’m glad that Shane’s situation was finally addressed. His reign over Raw has been entertaining, to say the least, but it’s tough to ignore the massive plot hole. Based on the announcement that was made, the back and forth between Shane and Stephanie went on too long. It could have easily been shortened by a few minutes.
AJ Styles vs Sheamus
It appears that Sheamus is flying solo once again. Earlier in the day there were rumors regarding the split up of the League of Nations, and it looks like they might be true. I don’t think that was the best decision at the moment. With a huge surge of NXT talent being called up, and the returns of Cena and Rollins looming, the former LON members will just get lost in the shuffle.
Regardless of Sheamus’ booking, this turned out to be a solid match. The Celtic Warrior is a stiff worker, and Styles is a great seller, so the two were a perfect fit. The spot of the match was the second Irish Curse backbreaker from Sheamus. It was sold well, along with being executed fluidly. I thought this ended up being the right match for both men. Sheamus came in like a monster, so he still looks strong whether he wins or loses. By simply defeating a monster heel, Styles leaves looking strong for his match on Sunday.
The New Day/Vaudevillians/Enzo & Cass Promo
From start to finish, this was the most exciting promo I’ve seen for a tag team program n quite some time. We haven’t seen the New Day interact with any other tag teams, so it was refreshing to see them in the ring with the newest tag teams. It was kept fairly simple, but it was effective for promoting the number one contenders match at Payback.
The Usos vs Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows
Anderson & Gallows have kept their Bullet Club look, for the most part. This turned out to be a great debut match. It wasn’t a full blown squash match, and it allowed for the crowd to see what the former Bullet Club members are capable of. The Usos didn’t come across as a meaningless tag team. I saw them as a veteran team that was resilient, but overpowered by better competitors. They showed a lot of heart in their defeat, and that alone isn’t an easy task.
Having Roman save the Usos was the best way to end the post match beat down. After the backstage segments he had with his cousins, it would have made no sense if he didn’t save them. Also, it keeps the story alive between Roman and Andeson & Gallows.
Sami Zayn vs Rusev
I loved every bit of the video package. It showed us way their hate towards each other is so strong. That was also the first time we’ve seen them use clips from NXT to further their feud. I’m shocked they didn’t use them before, because it explains so much more to fans that don’t watch NXT.
The match between Zayn and Rusev was pretty fluid. However, the crowd was dead for most of it, and that silence rubbed off on me. I found myself looking at my phone for most of the match. These two are strong enough performers to know how to reverse that type of reaction though. Towards the end, they managed to grab my attention.
Apollo Crews vs Stardust
Apollo told Stardust that Dusty Rhodes created his name. Why? We’re supposed to believe that Apollo Crews is his real name? At this point, I’d like to see Apollo in some kind of program, because I didn’t care for this match one bit.
Dean Ambrose/Chris Jericho Promo
Ambrose’s promo was good, but Jericho truly stole this segment. From the second he touched the mic, his presence had me hooked. Everything he said had substance to it. He gives the fans a reason to cheer against him. I like how Y2J came out on top after their post match brawl. Ambrose will most likely win at Payback, but Jericho still needs to look like a threat.
Natalya vs Emma
This match didn’t last very long, however it still allowed for Emma to look like a legitimate competitor. Charlotte was dynamite on the announce team, as she showcased her character quite well. The spot of the match was Natalya starring down Charlotte while having Emma in the Sharpshooter. Overall, this was a solid way to promote the title match at Payback.
Damien Sandow vs Baron Corbin
Even though Sandow was going to be squashed, I was excited at the idea of him receiving a match on Raw. Well, I shouldn’t have gotten to excited, as he didn’t receive a match and was probably shown on camera for five seconds. This Corbin-Ziggler feud isn’t the most important, but the build has been brilliant. Keeping it simple always works.
The Miz and Maryse are such an easy couple to hate. The two know that, and they play to it so well. Lately the Miz has been on a tear in terms of his promos, and this was no different. He truly knows how to hit us internet fans where it hurts. So far, him and Cesaro have done a good job at making these feud interesting, and I’m confident that they’ll deliver come Sunday.
Roman Reigns vs Alberto Del Rio
In the past few months, we’ve seen these two compete, and they have awesome chemistry. I liked how this was the last match on the show, because I always feel like the champion’s match should be the main event. The commercial break in the middle of the contest took me out of it. I guess after three hours, my attention is rather sensitive. Del Rio’s ability to wrestle a stiff style must have influenced Roman to do the exact same, as it was hard hitting all through out. The spot of the match was definitely the Drive By, as it sent Del Rio flying into the ring post.
The post match antics were amazing. Again, very simple, yet effective. There’s always been tension between Styles and Reigns, but this just created even more. While we know Styles isn’t asking Anderson & Gallows to help him, it’ll be interesting to see how they get involved on Sunday. Overall, a solid way to end the show.
Who would have ever thought that the go home show for Payback would be better than Mania’s? Every story was presented in the proper way. Each feud was left for the fans wanting more. It’s worth noting that everything was kept simple. That’s good formula to go by. The low point of the show was Stardust vs Crews, while the high point was the debut match of Anderson & Gallows. Overall, I give this episode a 7.9/10.