WWE Payback 2014 Thoughts and Opinions (Spoiler Free)

Kickoff show from Chicago had Booker T, Alex Riley, Kofi Kingston and the Josh Mathews holding it down. As everyone knows this PPV (I mean WWE Network exclusive) was just Extreme Rules part 2. So guys can get their wins back. The kickoff show is always inconsequential. They had an interview with one of the Bellas saying she has no idea what Daniel Bryan will do. Well thanks for that useless interview. The pre-show also had a confrontation between the Rhodes brothers and Rybaxel, well I guess there’s been an extra match added. Booker T announces Kofi has a match with Bo Dallas too. Extra matches added to pay-per-views are never a good thing.

Michael Cole announced the PPV attendance at 13,000. Allstate Arena holds 18,000. That’s worrisome. I attended this event, a lot of it was blacked off and you could see that.

MASK vs HAIR: EL TORITO w/ LOS MATADORES vs HORNSWAGGLE w/ 3MB
Uh boy. The Chicago Bull vs the New Jersey Troll. In one way it is sad that two teams in the tag division are a backdrop to a comedy match. Normally the mascots add something to the real match, not the other way around. Three Man Band is an island of rejects, while Los Matadores are a well formed unit. The crowd chants for tables pretty early. In a way this makes real wrestlers look so much better by seeing how terrible this match is. This match was awful, but at least it had the stipulation on it. Its great, the bull stole Hornswaggle’s schtick, making it pointless for Hornswaggle to be in the company. If Hornswaggle were full sized, the WWE would never let someone so out of shape be in their ring, but since WWE is equal opportunity, Hornswaggle (and JTG) have jobs.

UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP: Champion, SHEAMUS vs CEASARO
The fans want CM Punk, which is cool. Paul Heyman says that Punk is over watching the Blackhaws get their streak broken… and they did. The Kings beat them. I think that’s a big story, the Kings go to the NHL playoffs. Two men that both now only have one name fighting over a championship that represents a country neither man hail from. Good call WWE, the United States Championship is the ‘ironic title.’ Michael Cole spudders off previous United States championships and Jerry Lawler keeps clearing his throat, waiting for Cole to say a specific name. Good brawl of a match. Sheamus was the heel, just like every big man that the WWE says is a face. I think the real story with this match is how strong Ceasaro is. Ceasaro can hang with the big guys as he has proven time and time again. He will one day be the top guy in the company before Dolph Ziggler. Sheamus was even showing some good agility, I have a feeling Sheamus holds back in the ring and just pretends to be a power guy. I’d say this is a star making match for both guys.

WWE COMMERCIAL #1
WWE commercial for WWE Countdown. The problem with the network, the countdown doesn’t really matter when there are countless countdowns, but I guess its just extra content. I just don’t need to see it on a WWE Network event.

RHODES BROTHERS vs RYBAXEL
Two teams with mash up songs. I would hate to count the titles these four men have held. Rybaxel must no longer be Paul Heyman guys, because he wasn’t out there with them. I can’t blame Heyman for not being with them. Why waste Heyman on two guys that aren’t going anywhere when you can pair them with a fresh manager with less experience and fame such as Brad Maddox. I would predict the winner of this match to get a title shot and after watching NXT, this match just feels like unneeded filler. The crowd knew it too.

REAL COMMERCIAL #2
WTF? I thought the Network was free of ads? I can understand if its the network’s own ads. Anyway, it was a quick ad.

BIG E vs ALEXANDER RUSEV
Rusev is now from Russia or residing in Russia. Reminds me of the days of WWE saying Canadians were residing in America. My problem Rusev is the bored expressionless common face he has, even if he’s a thick muscle man. WWE keeps up with its Rusev vs black man theme, even if in the past month he fought some white jobbers. Big E had a nice USA singlet, its one ugly yet beautiful match, like watching rhinos fight, muscle on muscle on muscle with little technique, style or flair. The fans want Ziggler, because fuck this match I guess.

WWE COMMERCIAL #3: MONEY IN THE BANK FOUR WEEKS FROM TONIGHT
Yep Money in the Bank. Four weeks from tonight.

KOFI KINGSTON vs BO DALLAS
Jerry Lawler questions why Bo Dallas has a pay-per-view match so soon. No, here’s the thing… pay-per-views are now at the level of NXT live network events. JBL points out that Bo is on a two match winning streak. Bo Dallas looks and delivers like his fat hairy brother. What more can be said about a match thrown together? Bo Dallas is just a gimmick, a different way of delivering Bad News.

INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Champion, WADE BARRETT vs ROB VAN DAMN
I just don’t want to see this match. Wade has a pointy, evil beard. Like all heels, he’s over as a face. He says someone needs to put Old Yeller down. Barrett is a 4 time Intercontinetal champion and RVD is a former 6 time champion. Wow. That’s a reason why these two should never hold that title again. This was another good physical match. RVD can always work with bigger guys, but I’d have to say the only difference between this match and every other RVD match is that Wade Barrett had a counter or dodge for the big RVD offense. The crowd was split on this one, and it wouldn’t be the last time of the night.

DANIEL BRYAN TITLE ANGLE
They build to this one saying that Daniel Bryan’s wife would be fired if he didn’t give up the WWE championship. Good. The Bellas shouldn’t wrestle. WWE knew this for years when they had the Bellas accompany celebrities, but alas, the WWE doesn’t have celebrities anymore. Headed into Payback, that was an interesting angle, but a strong champion is his own man. Daniel Bryan is not a strong champion right now and he needs to learn to say no to stupid angles.

It’s great, because they’ve built a WWE Network live event around an angle, just like WCW used to. I remember the days when Gorilla Monsoon pointed out that if a champion can’t defend a title within 30 days, he’ll lose it. HBK made a career out of it.

Stephanie McMahon came out in a teal dress, which is hilarious, because there was just a comedian that said, ‘you can tell when a woman gets old, she starts wearing teal.’ Not just wearing teal, but pearls usually say old woman.

The fans want CM Punk and Stephanie spun it into ‘the fans want you to quit, just like CM Punk.’ Brie Bella got some punch lines and came off looking stronger than Bryan, just like Natalya speaking for Tyson Kidd. Brie was sadly the star here, and the WWE was competing against itself with the season 2 finale of Total Divas… not to mention Chicago Black Hawks having a game in the city. Since this is spoiler free, I can’t tell you what happens, but there’s your tease. This angle had sting and it was just insult after insult.

WWE COMMERCIAL #4: LEGENDS HOUSE

FALLS COUNT ANYWHERE: JOHN CENA vs BRAY WYATT
There was no way they could build to this match other than pick on a commentator. That’s one step above insulting the town they’re in. At least Bray was finally a heel again. Cena doesn’t really have any ties to anyone except Zack Ryder, and Cena didn’t save Ryder from Alexander Rusev so…. to the rescue of Jerry Lawler.

Its sad that a giant Superman needs to sell for three bums, because his kryptonite is kids that aren’t even in danger. Logic. I guess Superman was always weak to magic. Why does Bray Wyatt blow out his lantern, then come out with it lit?

It is always a good visual when Bray comes to the ring and this match almost reminded me of Camacho vs Adam Rose from NXT Takeover. Its a serious guy, a serious gangsta by himself against a joke character with a faction that the fans love. Then whenever John Cena does stupid comedy, fans wonder why it isn’t funny. Maybe if Cena had his own goons his awful comedy would suddenly get over. I think wrestling fans really just want to belong.

Bray is awful in the ring, he tires easily, his offense isn’t just unconventional and unconvincing, its botchy. At least he can play this over the top character, because he just kills any sort of pace. This was a slow plodding match full of Cena selling so Bray can just be a character and do shit to giggle at the camera and stall for time while he catches his breath. It is the perfect match stipulation for him. Once the gimmick gets stale he’ll be cut.

If you love destructible environments… this is the match for you!

COMMERCIALS #5 & #6: MONEY IN THE BANK and SPECIAL OLYMPICS
They replayed the same commercial for Money in the Bank. I’m happy WWE is associated with the Special Olympics. Its another feel good charity.

DIVA’S CHAMPIONSHIP: Champion, PAIGE vs ALICIA FOX
One of the only divas with a last name, Alicia Fox, going for the title after getting her new crazy R-Truth gimmick. Doing something with her is better than nothing I guess. She wants to be Queen Alicia… gotta have a Queen of the Ring for that. I still say the only reason for this match is to showcase just how pale Paige is by contrasting her against a black athlete. Well that and since Paige is new, she’s working her way up the Diva’s division. Even as a champ she’s starting off at the bottom. Kind of like how in Blackjack, an Ace is worth 11 or 1.

Paige uses Matt Morgan’s back elbows and they’re awful. Perhaps the worst maneuver on the show. I have to admit…. Alicia Fox is very technically sound and has diverse and complex submissions. So did Melina Perez, but no one ever gave her credit. They actually told a back story in this match. Shocking, I know, Normally flat women don’t have back problems.

6 MAN ELIMINATION TAG TEAM MATCH: THE SHIELD vs EVOLUTION
Evolution have grown beards and buzzed their heads. Its an interesting uniform look. The default avatars of evil. Beards mean push in the WWE. Wade gets a beard, he gets a push. Husky Harris grows a beard, push as Bray Wyatt. Daniel Bryan gets a beard and gets a push. Batista looks so much slimmer now and his new blue ring wear might have looked better without his long Mat Hardy elbow pads. He was indeed Bluetista.

This match was great, but it was less captivating than the Bray vs Cena match. Six great workers main eventing. Its everything I wanted to see at Extreme Rules 2014. No one seemed to actively be going for pins, it degraded into a big arena wide brawl.

In all a 3 match pay-per-view, which is all you need, but with 3 hours, there were a few things that could have been cut.

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