If only for a few minutes…Sierra. Hotel. India. Echo. Lima. Delta. SHIELD.
The crew from the Chad Dukes Wrestling Show had the privilege of being live and in person for last night’s WWE Payback in Baltimore, Maryland. Having not watched the pay-per-view broadcast yet, I can only speak to the live experience, but this was an excellent show. Save for a lull following the Divas match and the re-airing of the Daniel Bryan promo from Raw (which took a bit of steam out of the crowd for Neville-Barrett), the crowd was lively all evening leading to a fast-paced exciting main event match which saw Seth Rollins retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Let’s hit the results and live notes:
Fatal Four Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins retained over Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, & Roman Reigns by pinning Orton after a Pedigree.
It wasn’t the prettiest Pedigree, but I’m falling in love with this finish the more I think about it this morning. First, it plants the seeds of a Triple H-Rollins conflict down the line. Rollins has been playing the ungrateful child card for months, how soon until he slips up and claims he is the master of the Pedigree? Second, Seth needs a finisher, why not the Pedigree for the golden boy of the Authority?
On to the match. Loved the pace, I’m having trouble recalling a slow moment in this match, highlighted by the brief Shield reunion. If you were unlucky enough to miss it, midway through the match Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, and Dean Ambrose triple power bombed Randy Orton throughout the English announce table. The joy would be short-lived as Rollins would soon find himself on the receiving end of TWO power bombs of Kane onto himself and the Spanish announce table.
Kane and J&J interfered throughout making for a chaotic atmosphere. Kane took out Reigns and Ambrose leading into the finish sequence of J&J RKOs and a draping DDT for Rollins. But before Orton could hit the RKO on Rollins, Kane struck again sacrificing himself to the RKO so Rollins could hit the Pedigree for the win.
Live side note, Baltimore is in love with Dean Ambrose. He got the loudest pop of the opening video package in the arena and people were losing their minds for Ambrose’s near falls. I hope WWE realizes what they have in the Lunatic Fringe.
Neville defeated King Barrett via count out.
Way shorter than I anticipated and a mild disappointment considering what we’ve already seen from these two superstars in the past. The count out finish came when things were really starting to pick up following a sweet Neville flip to the outside. Post-match Barrett attacked Neville but ultimately ate a Red Arrow to excite the crowd. I’d have to imagine these two will be top choices to close out the Elimination Chamber match with their continued rivalry.
Naomi & Tamina Snuka defeated The Bella Twins.
I don’t want to be labeled as not giving the divas a chance, but this was standard divas fare and if the fatal four way wasn’t so fun it could have completely killed the crowd when combined with the re-airing of Daniel Bryan’s speech. It wasn’t bad, but I have a hard time getting into the Bellas after watching the NXT women’s division. At this point, the main roster desperately needs the NXT Divas to make fans really care about the division. Can you imagine Charlotte and Sasha Banks in this spot reigniting the crowd and keeping them hot?
I Quit Match for the WWE United States Championship: John Cena defeated Rusev when Lana quit on behalf of Rusev, locked in the STF with the ring rope across his face.
Going into the show this was the match I had the least amount of excitement for but I have to admit this was a fun stunt spectacle with a flawed ending. I get that “throwing in the towel” is pretty standard for I Quit/Submission matches, but I didn’t like the fact that Lana could submit for Rusev, but Rusev couldn’t win because an unconscious John Cena couldn’t respond to the referee’s request. Other than that quibble I enjoyed the body of the match and the fact that Rusev never gave up himself. I hope separating him from Lana doesn’t torpedo his career.
Live note: when they brawled into the crowd, Cena and Rusev were brawling near the production crew they were one section over from where the Dukes Wrestling team were seated, so that was pretty cool to be in one of the spots in the arena where you could follow the action without the video screens.
Bray Wyatt defeated Ryback with Sister Abigail.
Bray Wyatt gets a pay-per-view win! Bray Wyatt gets a pay-per-view win! Very audible “Let’s Go Wyatt” chant in the arena, but with how similar it sounds to “Let’s Go Ryback,” I’m not sure if it translated to the broadcast. Good physical, big man match with both men breaking out some cool spots from Wyatt’s senton to the floor and Ryback channeling his airbrushed singlet brethren, RVD, with a 5-star frog splash. I’ve seen Bray Wyatt’s entrance live a handful of times now and it’s still my favorite thing in wrestling today.
2 out of 3 Falls for the WWE Tag Team Championship: New Day defeated Tyson Kidd & Cesaro 2 falls to 1 when Xavier Woods snuck in for Kofi Kingston to roll up Cesaro.
Great work all around, Tyson and Cesaro are so crisp, so smooth and the New Day are KILLING it as heels. In fact, all night long, in the line to get in, in the concourse, in the arena, the clapping “New Day Sucks” chants could be heard. So while I’m disappointed with the outcome being a Kidd/Cesaro mark, I totally get running with them as cheating champions.
Fall 1 ended after the Giant Swing/Dropkick by Cesaro & Kidd, then, hinting at the finish, Xavier Woods tried to enter the match loudly citing “Freebird Rules.” Fall 2 went to Big E & Kofi with their double-team finisher after Big E took out Cesaro with a spear to the outside. Fall 3 begun with an uppercut party and an aborted suplex on Big E, Cesaro’s final uppercut in the corner looked like it could have been the finish. Finally, New Day took the final fall when the referee was distracted with Big E and Xavier Woods switched out with Kofi Kingston to schoolboy Cesaro.
While I joked on Twitter, the referee was mildly racist, in actuality the positioning of Woods in the cover was pretty brilliant because of the referee’s position behind Cesaro obscured who was making the pin.
Sheamus defeated Dolph Ziggler with a Brogue Kick.
I really enjoyed this opener, with Dolph going rapid fire at Sheamus with his flashy offense and Sheamus countering with brutality. Perfect display of both men’s characters. Dolph got busted open right before the finish before getting murdered with Brogue kick. With how WWE handles blood, I’m not sure how the live broadcast handled Ziggler’s cut but it looked gruesome post match with at least half of his face covered in blood as he was being attended to by officials.
With Dolph winning last month and missing out on the Kiss My Arse stipulation and Sheamus winning this month but Ziggler getting revenge for the Arse kiss, I feel like we’re due for a rubber match if these two aren’t in the IC Title Chamber match.
Kickoff Match #1: R-Truth defeated Stardust with the Lie Detector.
Both of these Kickoff matches were fine, I just disagree with the victors. I’m not sure why Stardust continues to be on the losing end of things, he’s supremely entertaining. I have nothing against R-Truth, I just have no interest when he’s in the ring. I prefer my R-Truth on the mic being insane, not shouting “Whoomp There It Is.”
Kickoff Match #2: The Ascension defeated Macho Mandow & Axel Mania with the Fall of Man.
In the second match, Mandow’s Macho Man leaping over the top rope hot shot was a thing of beauty, best part of his Macho act so far. Mandow and Axel were way over with the crowd with their Mega Powers tribute act, so why make it strictly comedy and not run with it for a while by giving them the win?