Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns, a House of Horrors match, Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens – check out all the Payback match results!
Though branded a RAW PPV, Payback‘s got a few SmackDowners on the bill thanks to the recent “Superstar Shakeup.” So along with Braun Strowman battling Roman Reigns and Alexa Bliss challenging Bayley, we’ve got Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho and Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt – in a house of Horrors match. WHATEVER THAT IS! I’M SO EXCITED! BECAUSE IT COULD BE SO SO SO TERRIBLE!
Join me here for all the Payback results, along with my reactions, as well as over on Twitter at @TheMattFowler. Houses will be horror’d, backs will be paid!
Enzo & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (Kickoff Match) Enzo & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (Kickoff Match)
“…and Enzo and Cass steal one!” I guess that’s one way to put it. That must be the official terminology for when you win a tag match with a roll up and not an official finisher. To me it looked like they just outsmarted and out-teamworked Gallows and Anderson right at the end so that Enzo could turn the Magic Killer in to a small package, which is, basically, just how you win a tag match. Still, Enzo and Cass, despite Cass’ size, are the supremely over “underdog” team, because of Enzo’s size, so them winning is usually looked at as a bigger deal than it is. Decent, short(ish) opener.
Winners: Enzo & Big Cass
United States Champion Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho
First thought, that was a cool finger but that was NOT the WrestleMania finger. You know, the finger Owens lightly tapped the bottom rope with at ‘Mania to break the Walls of Jericho – that got one of THE biggest pops of the night.
Anyhow, that finger, that special finger, got turned into part of the story tonight as Owens used it to save himself once, but then, after Jericho injured it, it became his ultimate undoing as he was unable to lift Jericho for the Pop-Up Powerbomb.
The bigger bit of business here is that the Superstar Shakeup actually still has ramifications as Jericho, the new U.S. Champ, after making Owens tap, is now SmackDown bound. And already set to face AJ Styles. It’s nice to get a predictability break now and again. This was a fun match. Nothing super spectacular, or all that vicious (Jericho and Owens, both quasi-comedy guys, will never have a blood feud), but a solid opener for a hungry crowd.
Winner, and new United States Champion: Chris Jericho
WWE Cruiserweight Champion Neville vs. Austin Aries
These guys put on one of the best matches back at WrestleMania 33, despite the fact that it was on the Kickoff Show, and this bout was another great showing. Just crisp and smooth and stiff and all that good stuff. Unfortunately, the ending felt a bit wonky because referees in WWE are inconstant tools. Not tools as in idiots, but tools as in storytelling devices.
I love the idea of keeping the title on Neville, and I understand not wanting to pin Aries two PPVs in a row, but somehow the finish, which saw Neville grab and hurl the ref to escape the Last Chancery, felt off. It’s still forgivable overall though because the preceding match had a strong, definitive championship finish.
Winner, as a result of a disqualification: Austin Aries
RAW Tag Team Champions The Hardy Boyz vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
Good tag match was good!
There were a few questions heading into this one. The first was “Will the Hardys’ nostalgia wave carry them through a successful title defense?” Basically, would they get a decent reign as champs or was their win at ‘Mania a fun fluke? The second question was “Would this feud turn Cesaro and Sheamus heel?” They showed some slight signs of a turn in the weeks leading up to it, but it never came. Well, it came here after the bout. After they lost clean to the Boyz, Shesaro snapped and went to work on Matt and Jeff.
I like Shesaro. More to the point, I like Shesaro when they’re on the same page, be they good or bad. So now they’re bad and I dig it. I also like this spot for Cesaro. I know we all had grander hopes for him as a singles star, but I like his pairing with Sheamus and I’m glad they stuck with it for the long haul, even through this team was sort of thrown together because they didn’t know what to do with either dude.
Matt keeps making “Broken” faces and speaking bits of stealth “Broken” rhetoric in backstage promos, so will this betrayal “break” him? Doubtful, as the last word on the deal was that TNA/Impact Wrestling still owned the gimmick or something. Still, we can dream Broken dreams.
Not for nothin’ too, speaking of broken, it looked like Jeff Hardy lost a tooth there after getting kicked in the face by Sheamus. Welcome back to WWE and the unforgiving foot of the Human Bruise.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz
Raw Women’s Champion Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss
Would Alexa be able to ride her SmackDown wave of success to a first shot win in the RAW women’s division? Hell yup! Making history as the first woman to hold both brand’s women’s belts, Alexa toppled Bayley – after Bayley dished out some of the most punishment she’s ever dealt. Seriously, I loved Bayley’s fire tonight. And I love the all-in push for Alexa, who got the win here after Bayley cracked her head on the ring post and then fell to a DDT.
I’ll never get enough of that Macho Elbow either. Love it. Seriously, good showing by both ladies.
Winner, and new RAW Women’s Champion: Alexa Bliss
WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt — House of Horrors Match
Okay, so the match isn’t done yet. Because they still have to go to the ring. Even though Bray somehow thinks he’s already won the damn thing. I guess that’s what the “forfeit” line was all about. Bray thinks he’ll get to the ring and if Randy doesn’t make it in by a 10 count or something, he’ll win. Anyhow, this is House of Horrors PT 1.
IT WAS AWESOMELY ABSURD. I loved it. So dumb. Sorry, booing fans in the arena who paid to see things live, them’s the breaks. They’ll be in the ring soon. I was bummed though that Drifter wasn’t drifting around that house somewhere, in the midst of the eerie music, hanging dolls, some sort of Outsider Shrine, a grimy kitchen, a rotten rec room, and all sorts of deliriously devilish dilapidation.
Welcome to Bray Wyatt’s new HGTV show. Where the ghosts do lawn care and light home maintenance. And there’s, like, s*** smeared all over the fridge and it’s somehow pitch black outside even though the PPV is in California. And it’s 6:30. This was WWE trying, once again, to do the Final Deletion thing, but for serious. Like they did when New Day brawled with the Wyatts in the woods. There’s nothing tongue-in-cheek here. It’s meant to be scary. It’s not, and the over-earnest sense of dread is a bit laughable, but a valiant effort. I guess Bray won this first round since he got to take Randy’s limo back to the arena (where it’s sunny). Randy’ll have to Uber.
Okay (sheesh, I haven’t even written about Seth vs. Joe yet!), so they’re back in the ring. Bray got to have his full entrance and everything. That was freaking weird too. The only truly bad thing about this match is that it’s just formless. There are no rules per se and there’s no grounded format so it’s just a mess on that front. But Bray Wyatt won so it counts! Basically, he and Randy just had to teleport to San Jose (not sure how Randy made it out of the house after the windows turned red) and get in the ring so they could have a traditional confrontation. Oh, and so Jinder Mahal and his boys could interfere and get Bray the dubya.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
How do you keep Joe strong while not having Rollins lose to Joe after defeating Triple H? With a desperation win. Joe worked over that injured knee – a hell of a lot more than Triple H did anyhow. Or, at least, he went to work on it sooner, targeting it as someone like Joe should.
These two work really well together. Rollins, probably, will never be the babyface that WWE wants him to be, but his working “injury” is helping him build sympathy during his matches. The crowd, here, seemed invested too since they’d just sat through House of Horrors Pt 1 on the TitanTron and were itching for in-ring action. Rollins caught the win here after, basically, making Joe pin himself in a Coquina Clutch.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Oh, thank goodness! I was so worried that Roman would, once again, beat Braun at a PPV. But this time his victory would be even more unbelievable because he was heading in not at 100%. Would they have Roman win even though he was all bandaged and taped up? Of course they would. BUT THEY DIDN’T THOUGH.
The “Thank You, Strowman” chants were loud at the end as Braun landed several post-mach spla-dooshes to Roman using the ring steps. But before all that, it was kind of an all-Bruan affair. Braun was the hero and Roman was the heel, if you were following crowd reaction. Roman would fight back every now and again, or move out of the way of a move or push Braun into the post and stuff like that, but Braun overcame.
Roman’s always capable of beating anyone, even if he’s “hurt,” because it’s within his limited power to just nail Superman Punch after Superman Punch and Spear after Spear. He could just keep doing them until someone fell. But they had Braun squash him here with multiple running powerslams.
Basically, Roman was in a similar position to Seth here. They both beat legends at WrestleMania. Roman, however, RETIRED Taker, and then took over the moniker “Big Dog.” What does this mean for him now? No one wanted to call him Big Dog before this, much less now after losing so hard and then coughing up blood backstage. Gah. He looked rough. Like he’d just eaten something from Bray’s fridge.
Winner: Braun Strowman