WWE Payback Review: Predictable, but entertaining

paybackWWE champ Seth Rollins, as expected, retained, and U.S. champ John Cena, as expected, won his I Quit match with Rusev, who as expected didn’t quit, but was quit for by his manager, Lana.

So WWE Payback was predictable. It was also still very entertaining.

For your money’s worth, you got a brief Shield reunion with a triple powerbomb of Randy Orton, you got Rusev AA’d into pyro, you got Neville flying around the ring en route to a countout win over Wade Barrett, the New Day retaining the tag titles after berating Baltimore Orioles star Adam Jones in a pre-match promo.

What else … Sheamus had to kiss Dolph Ziggler’s arse. A definite highlight there.

The Divas match was thankfully brief. Another highlight.

The pre-show had the Meta Powers losing in a squash to The Ascension, but as quick as that one was, it still had its moments. (The “ambidextrous” legdrop from Axelmania being the key one.)

Bray Wyatt-Ryback was a bit of a comedown, That one may have been the only dud of the night.

And the writing missed in one other important area, too: we don’t really have much to go on from here in terms of what’s coming up next.

Rollins finished the main event with a clean fall on Randy Orton with a Pedigree, a clear end to Orton’s recent main-event run. But we don’t have any direction from here as to who is next on the agenda for any of the four combatants in the Fatal Four-Way. We know that Orton is about to go back to mid-card for a while, and we can presume that Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose will remain at the top with Rollins, but there’s just no sense of direction as to how that is going to play out.

We can surmise that Rusev and Lana will finally split Monday night in Richmond at the live Raw, but what that means for each in terms of where they each go from there is at question.

At least we can be thankful that the nightmare that has been that five-month-long feud between Cena and Rusev has come to an end.

The New Day is over as a heel tag team, which is good to see. WWE has for way, way too long put tag teams on the backburner. The Payback match furthered New Day’s development as a three-man heel group, with Xavier Woods sneaking in to score the pinfall that everybody in the arena but the referee knew wasn’t legit.

Neville-Barrett has potential to have legs as a feud that could go into the summer. Their styles mesh well in the ring in the classic big man-aerial specialist dichotomy.

Sheamus and Ziggler need to move on to their next dance partners. A Sheamus-Cena feud would make logical sense, since it was Cena’s move to re-empower The Authority leading to Sheamus’ storyline firing that started the Celtic Warrior’s turn to the dark side. Ziggler could slide right in to another Intercontnental Title reign with Daniel Bryan back on the shelf. It would be interesting to see him paired off with Wyatt in a summertime feud over the I-C strap.

I will be in-house at the live Raw in Richmond, Va., Monday night, to see where WWE is going to be taking us next. The possibilities are endless.

– Review by Chris Graham

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