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.
Some Raws are a little harder to write 500+ words on than others. Something tells me I won’t have that issue this week, as I sprinted for my computer after Sami Zayn faced John Cena live in his hometown on Raw.
What a Raw. We saw Tyson Kidd & Cesaro about as over as a WWE Tag Team has been in recent years. We saw the rise of King Barrett. We saw Ryback defy his detractors and cut a pretty good classic babyface promo. We saw Dean Ambrose finally get some well-deserved shine and push into the main event of Payback in two weeks. And we saw the debut of Sami Zayn on Raw in which he kicked out of an AA.
Ole! Ole, Ole, Ole! Sami Zayn on Raw!
Other than having him go over the multi-time World Champion, I don’t think you could ask for a better singles debut on Raw for Sami. A run-in by fellow Montreal native Kevin Owens might have also kicked it up to 100% perfect from its current 99% perfect. Yes, Zayn wrestled a match on Raw in the past but tonight Sami Zayn arrived in WWE proper with an outstanding performance.
From the pre-match introduction by a WWE Hall of Famer, to the crowd reception to presumably worked shoulder injury Cena and Zayn put on a command performance. The shoulder injury was especially great, giving Zayn a legitimate out for losing the match while also serving to make him come off as a tough SOB for pushing a WWE legend to his limits with a bum arm. In addition to showcasing his move set of the Blue Thunder Bomb, his somersault dives, the Koji Clutch, and “dive through the corner” DDT, Zayn withstood the onslaught of John Cena. The fact it took two AA’s to put down Zayn spoke volumes to how well-regarded Sami Zayn is in WWE.
Whether this ultimately Zayn’s ascension to the main roster like Neville, time will tell, but for tonight we may have seen the debut of WWE’s next big star.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins defeated Randy Orton in a Steel Cage Match.
Match came down to the impact of gatekeeper Kane’s interference. Kane stopped Orton from escaping the cage but Rollins accidentally drop kicking the door into Kane’s face, angering Kane who entered the cage to ultimately choke slam both men and set Rollins up for the pin. When Orton kicked out Kane went back for more, leading to a Orton RKO on Kane followed by a Rollins RKO on Orton, which gave the champion enough time to escape the cage.
The announce team heavily pushed the idea that the RKO was banned for both men, not just Orton, so we may be looking at a rematch coming on Raw or perhaps Payback.
Roman Reigns defeated The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match.
Fun match and a high point for the use of “extreme” elements on the show. Reigns continues to impress yours truly with several spots in this match including Reigns being choke slammed to the outside through two tables, Reigns spearing Show through the Barricade, and Reigns spearing Show through the Spanish announce table. That final spear combined with burying Show under the English announce table was enough for Reigns to get the win.
Last night’s Raw was a conundrum for me. It’s not that it wasn’t entertaining (it was for me)…I guess uneventful is the word? Especially for an Extreme Rules go-home show. The strange part was the majority of the plot development tonight seemed to be about the Seth Rollins-Kane beef, a matchup that must be headlining Payback with all the attention it’s gotten the last few weeks.
(As a side note, what is up with Kane being an early opponent for all newly minted World Champions? It happened with Daniel Bryan, it happened with he who shall not be named, it appears to be happening with Seth Rollins.)
Alongside the Rollins-Kane tensions was the plot thread of Randy Orton RKOing his way through the roster to get it out of his system before Sunday, where the RKO is banned. Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods, Heath Slater, The Miz all suffered the move leading up to tonight’s climax.
After defeating Dolph Ziggler, the arrogant Rollins started to sing his own praises even interrupting the COO and invoke the name of Kane. This caused J&J and the Game to head the Big Red Corporate Machine off at the pass while the cage slowly lowered around the Champ. With Rollins preoccupied, the Viper slid in unnoticed leaving Orton with Rollins. Trapped in the Steel Cage.
Another highlight reel worthy RKO later, Orton headed into Extreme Rules with momentum and Rollins headed into the PPV with problems with his opponent AND his stablemate/cage door gatekeeper.
No disrespect to Orton or Kane, but I would love it if these spring and summer month PPVs, while we await the return of Lesnar, were headlined by Rollins defending the championship against some fresh blood to the title scene. Reigns, Ziggler, or his longtime nemesis Ambrose to name a few. If the title defenses are going to be “filler” for lack of a better word make them spectacular filler.
After Monday’s largely pre-taped broadcast, not much is known about what will be on tonight’s edition of SmackDown outside of its main event. As announced during Raw’s studio show, Daniel Bryan will meet Kane in a Casket Match. Considering Daniel Bryan is main eventing his third straight SmackDown perhaps it’s time to give the show the nickname of the Showcase of the Dazzler?
Also expected for tonight’s show is the fallout from the interviews conducted from Titan Towers regarding Sunday’s Royal Rumble card. Words were exchanged by many parties. Rollins-Lesnar, Bryan-Reigns, Reigns-Lesnar, how will things play out when the majority of these men are in the same building together? Perhaps we’ll find out tonight on SmackDown.