WWE Payback 2016 took place on Sunday 1st May at the Allstate Arena on Chicago, Illinois. Billed as the first PPV of the New Era, it looks like it could be a good event. Unfortunately, due to a wedding weekend, I was unable to write a predictions article (sorry about that). So, let's take a look at the show.
The first match on the Kick Off Show is Baron Corbin taking on Dolph Ziggler. Corbin was dominant for most of the match, focusing on Ziggler's neck. However, it was not enough as Ziggler takes advantage of Corbin's arrogance to roll him up and get the win. I felt the end didn't feel right as it should be something a rookie would do, not a veteran like Dolph. Despite that, I thought the match was pretty decent.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Next was the United States Championship as Kalisto once again faces the challenge of Ryback. In quite a short match, Kalisto gets hit with a Gorilla press slam from the top rope but he avoids a splash and hits the salida del sol to get the win. This was a really enjoyable match and I look forward to seeing more matches with Kalisto.
The first match of the event was one I was really looking forward to: Enzo and Cass taking on The Vaudevillians to determine the Number 1 Contender for the WWE Tag Team Championships. The Champions The New Day were watching at ringside. Unfortunately, the match doesn't end well for Enzo Amore. Simon Gotch threw Amore out of the ring and his head bounced off the middle rope and onto the mat. The referee stepped in, ended the match and Amore got medical attention. Up until the accident, I was enjoying the match. I became a big fan of Enzo and Cass over the last year and I've always been a fan of Aiden English. Luckily, Enzo had a concussion and was discharged the following day. It's sometimes easy to forget that wrestling is a physically demanding and dangerous career and like sports, injuries do happen during a match. Hopefully Enzo will make a full recovery and be back wrestling soon. In terms of the tournament, The Vaudevillians claimed victory and will be facing The New Day at Extreme Rules and that is a match that I'm looking forward to seeing.
Winner: No Contest
Now another match I was looking forward to: Sami Zayn taking on Kevin Owens. Owens was dominant for a fair portion of the match before getting hit with 2 brutal clotheslines. After some tremendous back and forth, Zayn goes for the Helluva kick. However, Owens counters with a superkick then hit a pop up powerbomb to get the win. Afterwards, Owens throws Zayn out of the ring and demands a in ring interview. I was quite surprised that Owens won but it was a really good match and Zayn once again is involved in a Match of the Year contender.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Next was the Intercontinental Championship match with Cesaro challenging Hollywood Miz with Maryse. Owens decided to invite himself to do commentary, wearing JBL's hat. Miz, with a little help from Maryse, focusing on Cesaro's shoulder. Miz almost wins with the skull crushing finale and then the focus goes from the match to Sami Zayn who returned and attacked Owens at the announcer's table. The end comes when Cesaro makes Miz tap out to the crossface. However, the referee didn't see it because he had to deal with Owens and Zayn, who were fighting on the ring apron. Cesaro pushes them off and this gives Miz the chance to roll up Cesaro for the win. Afterwards, they all have a brief brawl which Owens holding up the Intercontinental Championship. This was a good match between the two, enhanced by Owens and Zayn. Hopefully this might lead to a fatal 4-way match at Extreme Rules.
Winner: The Miz
The next match is Chris Jericho taking on Dean Ambrose. Jericho gets the advantage after an elbow while he was hugging the ref (great heel tactic) and does manage to apply the Walls of Jericho but Ambrose gets to the ropes. In the end, Ambrose countered the lionsault and drag Jericho up to hit Dirty Deeds to get the win. This was a good match between the two and hopefully we get to see them again at Extreme Rules
Winner: Dean Ambrose
We now get the Woman's Championship match with Natalya (with Bret "Hitman" Hart) challenging Charlotte (with Ric Flair). Charlotte gets the advantage after a hair pull down followed by a slap. Charlotte then puts Natalya through a succession of submission moves. Natalya pushes Charlotte off the turnbuckle to the floor to give her time to recover and mount a comeback. The end comes when Charlotte puts Natalya in the sharpshooter and the referee Charles Robinson rings the bell then immediately bails. Natalya didn't tap. Bret and Natalya put Ric and Charlotte in the sharpshooter as revenge. Up until the end, it was a generally good match but I wasn't a fan of the ending as we get yet another rehash of the Montreal Screwjob. The thing that gets me is that Charles Robinson seems to have not been punished for it.
We now get a segment where it's announced by Vince McMahon who was going to run RAW. To cut a long story short, Vince decides that his children, Shane and Stephanie, shall run it together. Yeah, I don't really care. Vince giving Shane control of RAW after Shane lost a match at Wrestlemania is one of the biggest cases of WWE Logic I've ever seen. Despite my lack of caring, a bit of me is interested to see how it ends up.
The main event is AJ Styles challenging Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The match goes back and forth before it dengenerates into a clusterfuck. Styles hits a phenomenal forearm, sending Reigns through the announce tble. However, he can't get Reigns back into the ring in time so he wins by countout. Shane McMahon comes out and restarts the match with no countouts. A few mintues later, Styles tries a move from the turnbuckle but he gets accidentally low blowed by Reigns, ending the match by disqualification. Stephanie McMahon then comes out and restarts the match with no disqualifications. After a brawl involving Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson and the Usos, Styles comes close with a springboard 450 splash. However, Reigns wins after avoiding a phenomenal forearm to hit the spear. Afterwards, we cut backstage to the McMahons agreeing that Styles will face Reigns in an Extreme Rules match at the next Pay-Per-View.
I thought this was a good match. I enjoyed seeing Gallows, Anderson and The Usos get involved as well. However, it felt like it served the McMahon "Game of Thrones" style feud more and you shouldn't do that with your top Championship.
Winner: Roman Reigns
I thought that Payback was a decent event. They had some good matches however, I wasn't a fan of some of their endings and it doesn't feel like it's a new era just yet. Hopefully, this will be the first step towards that.