So, Payback is on the books, and it's a good thing I waited until after it to start writing the Wroundup, because that means I can say nice things. Because in many ways, Payback was a better show than Wrestlemania.
First, obviously, we have to talk about Enzo Amore. Thank fuck it was just a concussion, because that hit looked NASTY. And it's moments like that where I question why I even follow this form of entertainment. But he's mostly OK. Bad timing for him and Cass to be on the shelf, but as long as Enzo can still talk shit during his ring downtime they should be fine. This does leave the Tag Tournament without a winner, but I bet the Vaudevillains were going to win anyway, so they can either be handed the match tonight or beat the Usos or something to justify Villains/New Day.
Even with the injury, the first three matches on the Payback card had great energy. The tag match was looking very sharp until it had to be ended. Then Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens came out to a very indy-friencly Chitown crowd and tore that shit up. I questioned the definitive ending with Owens beating Zayn clean when it happened, but subsequent events showed it was a good idea.
First, Owens goes apeshit on the mic after the match demanding the attention that is his due after his victory, then decides to stick around on commentary during the Cesaro-Miz match. The Cesaro-Miz match was also surprisingly effective. The Miz has never been a great wrestler, but he can, when he puts a little e bit of effort, have a very good match with a great wrestler. And Cesaro is a great wrestler.
And then Sami Zayn comes out to attack Owens in the middle of the IC match, to show that THIS SHIT AIN'T OVER, and their brawl costs Cesaro the belt. And that's about the only way I can abide a few more weeks of Miz as champion, if a bunch of interesting cross-beefs in a four-way feud with these guys is the backbone of it.
This is when things start going downhill. The show starts losing steam and never gets it back.
Ambrose-Jericho was fine, but was just these two guys wrestling each other, and it really needed more weirdness and stuff that tied in to the fact that their feud was kind of silly and both guys can be funny. Maybe they'll stay at it and can hit each other with talk show props at Extreme Rules or something, but Ambrose's definitive win is usually a signal that these guys are done with each other.
Natalya's match with Charlotte for the Women's Championship is fine, an OK outing in the history of all their matches, but it's a bit slowly pased because the story was about the Sharpshooter, and it was a very long match to be based almost exclusively on a leg submission. And then there was the presence of Ric Flair and Bret Hart at ringside, which distracted from the match. And then there was the awful, awful idea to do an homage to the Montreal Screwjob as the finish, wtih Charlotte putting Natalya in the Sharpshooter and then the ref ringing the bell without Natalya tapping. Ew. Nobody wanted to see that. Nobody wants to se the fallout from that.
Next, Vince comes out to decide once and for all who's in control of Raw, and after a verly long McMahon talking segment that the McMahons know everyone loves to see, no really, Vince decides that Shane and Stephanie are both in control, so that means months of McMahon bickering. Also, someone needs to tell Shane not to wear a black T-shirt with a leather jacket, because with his grey hair, he ends up looking like a taller Eric Bischoff, and nobody wants that.
And the show. closes with AJ-Reigns, which ends up being three matches after two restarts - one after Reigns gets counted out, one after Reigns "accidentally" low-blows Styles and gets disqualifies, and the third, where, despite the odds being against him, Reigns spears AJ for the win. The third match is the only match that counts and ends exactly how you'd expect. And being exactly what you'd expect continues to be the Roman Reigns Problem. The match also furthered the McMahon Family Drama, with both Shane and Steph restarting the match once, and them ending the show deciding on Reigns-Styles II at Extreme Rules. Which is fine, I guess, since that event is only three weeks away, but what are they gonna do in the ring that they didn't do last night?
The WWE is creeping twards the "new era" it already declared, but they've pulled the same deal a bunch of times over the past three years - flirting with pushing new talent, then getting scared when the ratings drop and going back to what the WWE thinks people want. The more they call this a "new era", the less I'm convinced they mean it.