WWE Payback – Review & Analysis (May 1)

Credit: WWE.com

The only reason I didn’t type predictions for this PPV is because I didn’t expect much from it. Payback 2017 has arguably been one of the worst built PPV’s in recent memory. 

With that being said, it actually exceeded expectations. 

Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens

In terms of jokes from the announce team, nothing topped Corey Graves comparing Owens to famous American presidents. In fact, I applaud the whole team for selling this dead feud as best as they could. 

The in ring action was strong as expected. These two proved that they have chesmitry, and in that respect, the match was entertaining. However, from a story perspective, it was incredibly difficult to care about the story they were trying to tell. 

Once the finish came around, I was in complete shock. For 98% of the match, I was convinced we’d see a predictable finish, but that wasn’t the case. At this point, one has to wonder if this was done for the sake of shocking the fans. If so, it may not have been the best decision. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see if this effects the story in a negative or positive way. 


Neville vs Austin Aries

If I were booking this show, I’m not sure I’d put this directly after Jericho vs Owens. There were four titles being defended on this show, how could they not have been better spread out? It made this feel less important. 

As per the in ring portion, they moved quite slow in the first half, but it was done in the right way. The two are known for their quick pace, so it didn’t make sense for them to waste any big spots. 

Towards the finish, it appeared we were about to see another title switch. Instead, they worked a DQ spot, which may have been for the best. This keeps their feud going, but it didn’t make anybody look bad. 


The Hardys vs Cesaro & Sheamus

See my first comment from the previous match. Also, a break in the show would’ve been nice at this point. Sometimes an hour of straight wrestling can get boring. 

Regardless of my complaining, this was still a match that I was excited to see. The “respect” feud has truly worked for these two teams, and it was exciting to see how exactly that would play out. 

I liked how the teams kept things simple, and not too formulaic. While Cesaro & Sheamus did work the isolation spot, it wasn’t done for long. That made this contest feel even. The last few minutes were especially solid, because it was tough to figure out how things would end. 

The heel turn from Cesaro & Sheamus was a thing of beauty. After the two looked to be humble in defeat, they swerved the crowd by ambushing the Hardys. 


Alexa Bliss vs Bayley

I actually can’t believe they had four straight titles matches. I thought for sure we’d see some filler to even out the show. 

While the home viewer may have zoned out at this point, at least the crowd was cheering loud for Bayley. A match always feels a bit more special when the crowd can chant for their home town hero. 

Alexa’s had a vast amount of opponents since being brought up to the main roster, but it appears she worked best with Bayley. That’s easily a combination of her gaining experience, and Bayley knowing how to get the best out of her opponents. The two looked so fluid. 

Going into this, I was convinced Alexa would win, but through cheating. To my surprise, she won flat out clean. Sure, Bayley hit her head into the post, but there wasn’t anything illegal about that. This was actually a great way of making Bliss into a legitimate threat in the Raw women’s division. She had big shoes to fill by taking Charlotte’s spot, and she’s proving that it’s coming easy to her. 


Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – House of Horrors

Quite honestly, I was most excited for this match simply because I wanted to see what it was. After seeing how it was recorded, I was disappointed in them for not doing more during Raw and Smackdown to build it. 

As much as I started to hate the feud, this match had me hooked from the very beginning. Bray Wyatt’s ambush on to Randy made this feel like a legitimate fight. Along with that, it had a campy 80s horror/suspense movie feel to it. 

Let’s not kid ourselves, this wasn’t meant to be a five star technical wrestling match, it was meant to be weird. Since Wyatt’s debut, fans have been clamouring for a sadistic version of him, and we finally got it. Also, this brawl was a glimpse of how Bray lives in kayfabe. By the time this was over, I thought Wyatt gained a bit of his aura back. 


Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins

This was one of those matches that looks great on paper, and worked well, but just fails to click. What exactly are these two fighting over? Triple H and Stephanie’s honour? All I know is that I didn’t care for who won. 

Along with the empty feud, the whole knee angle for Seth is getting old. It was a pivotal part of his feud with Hunter, but here it came across as a cheap plot device.  


Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – Part Two

The House of Horros was solid, but it didn’t need to be brought back to the arena. Seeing the two wrestle in front of a live crowd took away from it. 

The match wasn’t for the title, and it was no hold barred, so why couldn’t Bray win without help? Overall, this second part was a mess, and I’m glad this feud is finally over. 


Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns

The great thing about these two is that they know how to get great matches out of each other. Their matches also aren’t like regular ones, because they’re mainly chaos. 

From the very start, these two hit the peddle and never slowed down. The two men simply know how work off one another. Each big spot was amazing in terms of building each competitors strength. 

While the two worked many big spots outside of the ring, there’s no doubt that the spot of the match was Roman’s first spear. Not only did he get a great amount of air, Strowman sold it like a champ. 

Heading into this match, the big question was “who could afford to lose?”. I honestly couldn’t answer that, but I’m glad they picked Braun. This doesn’t necessarily make Roman look bad, but instead it brings Braun to his level. 



There’s no hiding that the wrestling on this show was good, and that alone made this fun to watch. Not every match had a great story or purpose, but the ones that did made up for it. Also, this PPV gave the fans a few reasons to tune in for Raw. 

The low points consisted of Orton vs Wyatt part two and Rollins vs Seth, while the high points included Orton vs Wyatt part one and the main event. Overall, this show deserves a solid 6/10. 

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