Monday, May 18, 2015

Payback Review

I'm pressed for time on this review, so I'm going to avoid the Kickoff Show mostly. The official show started with Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus. This was a really good opener that got better as time went on. In the end, a vicious headbutt by Dolph Ziggler busted him open bad. It was a situation where blood added to the match as once Sheamus hit the Brogue Kick, you could tell it was a need to end it and Dolph didn't come off looking bad at all. Dolph even got some revenge and made Sheamus kiss his ass during the match. My only gripe with the whole thing was that Sheamus forgot to sell some knee work throughout. Other than that, this was a really good opener. Sheamus wins in just over 12 minutes. ***1/4

The WWE Tag Team Titles were defended next in a Two out of Three Falls match. Within the first three minutes, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro, in new gear, won the first fall. It was an incredibly crisp fall and they looked fantastic. It continued the theme that they are better, but can't get past New Day's shenanigans. New Day tied it up with their finisher before the official finish comes. Xavier Woods sneaks in and gets the pin before quickly escaping. The referee thought he was Kofi Kingston, because all black guys look alike to him. I'm sure that joke has been played out after the show already. I thought this was really good. The tag team division has found new life and these two teams are the main reason why. They have now stolen the show at two straight Pay-Per-Views, which they may do again at Elimination Chamber. ***3/4

No part of me actually cared about the Bray Wyatt/Ryback program heading into this match. They gave it a video package, which they did an amazing job with considering there hasn't been much material to work with. Their battle had me not paying attention as much as I probably should have, but from what I saw, this was better than I expected. It featured some relatively big spots and we even saw Ryback take to the top rope. He reportedly injured his ribs on a senton during the bout. Bray Wyatt continued his trend of winning feuds against upper mid-carders. He seriously dominates those guys but loses to the important top tier guys. Bray wins in about 11 minutes. Better than I thought it would be, but nothing special. **3/4

John Cena has been doing great work with the US Title, but the Rusev feud has lacked. After a really good match at Fast Lane, they had a decent one at WrestleMania and a dull affair at Extreme Rules. There was no need for this one and I Quit matches honestly tend to be boring. This one tried to throw as many spots into it to keep it interesting, but it came off as shit. Having Mike Chioda ask "Do you wanna quit?" every two minutes was incredibly annoying. It also seems like Cena thought to use old spots here including a pyro spot taken from his Ironman match with Orton and the top rope spot from his rivalry with Umaga. It was laughable at times. The best thing about the match was Rusev's facial expressions and Lana in general. Cena uses the STF with the top rope as Rusev shouts in Bulgarian. Lana enters the ring, saying he quit and that's all in 28 minutes. Even though they spent the entire match promoting how the guy in the match had to say the words. It also would have been better had Lana thrown the towel in. This all could have been handled better, but at least the Cena Open Challenges will be less predictable if this is (hopefully and rightfully) the end of this program. *1/4

The Divas went on next, in a Divas angle that I'm not a real fan of. I mean, Naomi as the heel that hasn't been given a chance is fine, but it's kind of just there. It all feels placeholder until Paige returns or Charlotte gets called up. This was a pretty standard Divas tag. Each girl got a chance to hit some key spots. Brie's attire was pretty cool and Nikki busted out a rather impressive enziguri like kick. She even kicked out of the Rear End, which I didn't expect. It still didn't help though as Naomi pinned her after about six minutes and should now earn another Divas Championship match. It was absolutely basic and was kind of just there. I wish it was better because the Bellas has improved vastly and Naomi's ring work as a heel has been better. *1/2

Before we get to the main event, King Barrett and Neville have their rubber match. Their match at Extreme Rules last month was good and the King of the Ring Finals was also really solid. Unfortunately, something was missing here. Neville started fast and wowed the crowd with his athleticism. Barrett fought back and took control, which was fine, but again, nothing out of this world. He would get knocked outside and allow himself to get counted out. I didn't really get the finish. It's not like it's a title match where he would retain in cheap fashion. It was lazy. He attacks after the match, but it backfires as Neville kicks his ass and hits the Red Arrow. I get that the fans needed to see the move, but Barrett's attack should have worked so he could save some face. A disappointment for sure. **1/2

Time for the main event, which got off to a cool start as Roman Reigns busted out a badass dive. Things slowed as it got held down by so much interference from Kane and J&J Security. However, things picked up and never stopped after we got our Shield reunion of sorts. People speculated and we got it. They beat down on Randy Orton and Triple Powerbombed him through the announce table. It was fantastic and the pop was insane. Seth Rolling tried to get them to do the Shield fist bump, but the faces wanted no part and took him out. Then, Dean Ambrose and Reigns realized they had to fight and the crowd was RED HOT. The three of them gave me a slight Rock/Austin/HHH feel from around 2000. Seth is able to put down Orton with a Pedigree, to tons of heat, around the 21 minute mark. Fantastic match that could have been an all-time classic had it not been for all of the interference. Honestly, a really good capper to the night. ****

First off, I'd like to point out that I went 7-1 in predictions. Damn the Ascension for going over the Meta Powers on the Kickoff Show. The show itself was good. I thought it started very strong, but slowed in the middle for Cena/Rusev, the Divas and Neville/Barrett. However, the Tag Titles, opener and WWE Title match were all great and this was overall, a good way to spend three hours. 6/10.