Review – WWE Payback 2015

Agents of Shield?

First off, let’s get this out of the way:

Much better than that Imagine Dragons horseshit they kept playing last night. ANYWAY…

Seth Rollins is not a good heel. A great wrestler, of course, ever since his days in the indie scene as Tyler Black. But the cowardly, weasel-y type suck up whiner he portrays every week just rubs me the wrong way. It’s that situation a lot of people complain about where if the heels in WWE had their way there wouldn’t even be any actual wrestling matches on this supposed wrestling show. It’d be just Kane and Rollins backstage measuring their dicks until the next time HHH decided to grace live TV with his presence and yell at them.

Which brings us to last night’s main event, a fatal four way match for Rollins’ world title featuring his former Shield-mates Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns and uh, Randy Orton, for some reason, because he was there, probably. Yes Orton was in the match before Reigns or Ambrose but the Shield-o-rama was what fans obviously wanted and that’s pretty much what they got. The weird booking couldn’t stop these guys from having an excellent match though, with many crowd pleasing spots throughout. Including the mini Shield reunion that occurred with Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose landing the classic triple power bomb on Orton. Then still-kayfabe-buddies Reigns and Ambrose took it to Rollins, double power bombing him onto a table, then dropping Kane on top of him, twice. The good times couldn’t last for long though, after a short, friendly exchange between Dean and Roman everyone was back in the ring for a finish that saw Orton pinned by Rollins, adopting HHH’s pedigree for the win, a suitable replacement for his banned curb stomp.

Review - WWE Payback 2015

Smell it! Smell it!

The night’s other highlight was the “I Quit” match between John Cena and Rusev for the US Belt. This was a solid “wander around the arena hitting each other with shit” type deal, similar to the many Attitude Era wars between Mick Foley and The Rock. The finish should prove contentious in the aftermath, with Lana translating Rusev’s supposed Bulgarian screams as Cena performed his STF using the top rope. I’m sure Rusev will claim he wasn’t really quitting, further dividing the hated heel and his increasing popular valet.

In other news, Goldberg stand-in Ryback was defeated by Bray “Husky Harris” Wyatt in their continuing meaningless tiff. The best two out of three falls match for the tag titles between New Day and Cesaro/Kidd was serviceable if not spectacular, with New Day upping their heel cred by illegally subbing in Xavier Woods for Kofi Kingston behind the ref’s back to get the final three count. Seamus busted Dolph Ziggler open, a rare sight in the “PG Era”, and defeated him in their match, and King Barrett deliberately got himself counted out against rising star Neville, coming back to the ring afterwards and getting an always amazing red arrow for his trouble.

Review - WWE Payback 2015

Neville’s weird, caped superhero-y entrance reminds me of terrible aughts jobber Sugar Shane “Hurricane” Helms, But I don’t hold that against him.

Going forward, I’d like to see Ambrose get the push towards the world title that he deserves. He really seems to be the fan favorite out of the three former Shield-ites. Rollins is a good worker and deserves the belt but not in the way they’re portraying his character. Reigns is always improving as well, but I think it’s Dean’s time to shine. Next up at the end of the month is Elimination Chamber, the match itself rumored to be for Daniel Bryan’s vacated IC strap. Look for the same crop of mid card guys that made up the recent King of the Ring tournament in this one, with Neville the favorite to win, most likely continuing his feud with Barrett in the process.

And one more thing: watching this show was my first experience with the WWE Network, and I have to say I wasn’t impressed. Starting a little late to give myself the option to fast forward all the between match bullshit, as I usually do with Raw and Smackdown, I still had trouble jumping into the show and finding what I wanted to see without the whole thing freezing up and needing to be repeatedly restarted. I wound up watching a bootleg copy of the main event this morning on YouTube anyway. I’ll probably stick around for Elimination Chamber at the end of the month and then scream “I quit” myself (and not in Bulgarian) before they charge me anything. Which is to say before they charge me again, because even though May is supposed to be free for new subscribers, when I signed up they hit me with the usual $9.99 monthly fee. Yeah… not a fan.


Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.
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