Reviewing the Review: Payback 2014

WWE’s hot streak continued last night as their big shows are awesome, even though their TV hasn’t been the best lately. I’m sure I can find something to talk about.

The pre-show match was another interesting comedy match. As I mentioned in the review, it helps a lot that Hornswoggle and Torito are capable of having a watchable match. There’s likely going to be a third match with an angry Hornswoggle on his own (or on his own soon after) wanting revenge and after their first two efforts have gone so well, I’m totally fine with that, much to my own shock.

The opening match was Sheamus defending the US Title against Cesaro. This was exactly what an opening match was supposed to be: a good way of getting the fans into a show. There are multiple ways to do that and having two guys beat the tar out of each other for about twelve minutes is one way to do that. It worked really well with both guys one upping each other until the very end. Cesaro looked great and didn’t lose much in the loss, as it’s Sheamus rather than like Kofi or someone beneath him.

Cody/Goldust lost to Ryback/Axel in a bonus match which was little more than a Raw match. The only point to this was to split up the Brothers and there’s nothing wrong with that.

Rusev went over Big E. in what was just a step above a squash. At least Big E. got to hit the big spear spot to salvage this. Nothing bad but it was exactly what was expected.

The Money in the Bank promo has talking money. It’s better than that same song again though.

Bo Dallas vs. Kofi Kingston never happened as Kane interfered. Yeah it’ll be called a no contest, but when someone interferes and attacks one and only one of the people in the match, that’s a DQ. It won’t be remembered as such, but that’s what it was.

Barrett beat Rob Van Dam in another match that had a pretty obvious ending. That being said, it was still a nice back and forth match with both guys getting in a lot of their big spots. This is exactly what Van Dam should be used for: giving people a good match and then jobbing clean as a sheet. It was a step above a good Raw match and was fine for a PPV title defense. Barrett’s push continues, though it makes the loss to Sheamus all the more pointless.

Next up was Bryan/Stephanie/Brie over Bryan’s World Title. This was a well done segment as Bryan was ready to give the belts up and did the long look at them, but Brie stood up to Stephanie and said she was tired of being controlled. Brie wound up quitting and slapping Stephanie in the face before leaving. Given that the Bellas are easy to tell apart now, there’s not as much of a need for both of them to be on the roster anymore. Nikki will be fine with her shouts of COME ON to crickets. All the good people looked solid here and Stephanie got embarrassed so points all around. Bryan is still champion in theory but I don’t know how long that’s going to last.

This brings us to the first of the two main event matches. Cena beat Bray Wyatt in a last man standing match and I’m still not sure how I feel about it. The match was a great brawl but the controversial point is the ending. At the end of the day, it felt more like Cena used his mind instead of brutality to beat Bray, even though the AA through the box was a big move. The problem is it goes against the point of the match. It’s nowhere near as anti-last man standing as the Batista duct tape nonsense but it didn’t work for me.

On top of that there’s the whole Usos/Wyatt Family interference, as the match basically stopped for the sake of a mini tag team match between the four of them. It was entertaining, but I lost track of where Cena and Wyatt were during the match. Either way, the brawling was good, the ending wasn’t great, and Wyatt continues to have awesome matches in the main event spots.

Paige beat Alicia Fox in a boring match. Fox’s push will likely continue but Paige shouldn’t lose the belt for awhile, especially not to Fox.

That brings us to the main event with Shield sweeping Evolution in an elimination match. This worked but could have cut out five minutes or so to make it much better. The big problem I had with this was the second section, as about ten to fifteen minutes were a waste of time. As mentioned last night, why in the world are they tagging when ANYTHING GOES? The worst part of this was when Orton is trying to stop a tag and gives HHH A FREAKING PEP TALK instead of breaking it up himself. The whole thing just didn’t make sense.

Now to be fair it got much better as the match went on and they got to the violence, but this really didn’t work for the first part. That kind of stuff drives me crazy, especially when you have smart wrestlers in there. It wasn’t like they didn’t know what they were doing and we had to hear about HHH being all Cerebral and smart, but then he doesn’t know that he can do whatever he wants?

The great stuff later on was solid though as Shield came off looking great. They flat out defeated Evolution last night and that’s all they were supposed to do. It was a really solid match with Reigns getting two of the pins, Ambrose getting the fall over Orton and Rollins getting the big spot of the match. Again, Shield looked like equals rather than people Evolution was reaching down to help. It wasn’t as good as it was supposed to be, but it worked well enough.

Overall Payback was awesome with the two main events more than delivering and the worst match being the totally watchable Divas Title match. What else can you ask for from a major PPV? WWE is in a weird place right now as they can nail the big shows but the TV is hit and miss to say the least. There’s a lot of hope for the future though and that’s more important than some lame Raws.

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  1. M.R. says:

    They’ve missed on a huge opportunity with this Cena/Wyatt feud.

    Jerichoholic94 Reply:

    I agree.. I think that was the wrong call to have Cena win there as where does Bray go now? Alot of people say it’s not the wins and losses that matter but how it happens. Usually yes. But not last night