|Date: April 30, 2017
|Venue: SAP Center |City: San Jose, California
|tweet me: @BastionBlogger
A video package kicks us off, it’s a different video to usual with commentators talking over match graphics. There’s plenty of focus on all of the matches which is nice to see.
Michael Cole welcomes us to the SAP Center in San Jose for Payback!
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho – WWE United States Championship match
Background: Kevin Owens beat his former best friend Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania last month. Jericho has his rematch for the United States Championship tonight. Kevin Owens has actually been drafted to Smackdown whilst Chris Jericho is still on Raw however if Jericho wins tonight then he too will be drafted to Smackdown.
Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV match between these two men, Kevin Owens beat Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania last month.
Payback Record: Kevin Owens is 1-0 at Payback, Chris Jericho is 0-2.
Match: The bell rings and Owens makes a dash for it but Jericho follows and gets him back into the ring. There’s a nice counter with Jericho going for his springboard dropkick but Owens drops him on the ringpost. Owens follows that up with a cannonball on the outside. Owens has rebranded as “the new face of America” and has a lot of red, white and blue on his gear. Kevin Owens definitely has the most entertaining chinlock in the company. KO hits a big superkick at one point for an near fall. The United States Champion counters a codebreaker and a lionsault and then hits a cannonball for a near fall. Jericho counters a pop-up powerbomb with a hurricanrana and then locks on the Walls Of Jericho! Owens manages to get one finger on the bottom rope, much like he did at Wrestlemania. Jericho then smashes that finger up with the ring steps! Owens uses the referee to poke Jericho in the eye for a near fall and then looks for the pop-up powerbomb but Owens sells his bad finger! Jericho locks the Walls Of Jericho on again and this time Owens taps out!
Result: Chris Jericho wins the United States Championship by submission.
Review: This was a decent match to kick off the show. I am surprised to see Jericho win though, that’s a shocker! That means Chris Jericho goes over to Smackdown. The psychology was good in this match, especially with Jericho injuring Owens hand. This feud is bound to continue. I was getting into the new face of America gimmick from Owens!
There’s an advert for the WWE Network next.
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries – WWE Cruiserweight Championship match
Background: Neville beat Austin Aries at Wrestlemania last month to retain the Cruiserweight Championship. The next week on 205 Live Austin Aries would win a fatal five way match to earn another shot at Neville. Aries has since got under Neville’s skin but Neville has taken TJ Perkins under his wing as of late and he has helped Neville get the better of Aries.
Previous PPV matches: Neville did beat Aries on the Wrestlemania 33 kick-ff show but this is the first proper PPV match between the two.
Payback Record: Neville is 1-0 at Payback, Austin Aries wrestles on PPV for the first time.
Match: It’s a fast paced start to the match with Austin frustrating Neville. Aries hits some nice arm drags and these two men look like they have a lot of chemistry. Neville hits a hard Irish whip to get back into the match. Neville takes a lot of time to scream at the fans which allows Austin Aries to dropkick him out of the ring. I like Aries pendulum elbow drop. He also has a brutal suicide dive. Aries locks on the Last Chancery but Neville grabs on to the referee and hurls him across the ring! The referee calls for the bell! Austin Aries wins by disqualification but Neville will take home the title!
Result: Austin Aries wins by disqualification.
Review: This was a fun match from these two cruiserweights. They have a lot of chemistry and I’d love to see another match. The finish makes a lot of sense and keeps the feud hot.
There’s an ad for the next PPV, Backlash, which will be a Smackdown exclusive.
There’s a clip from the Payback kick-off show with Charly Caruso interviewing Sheamus and Cesaro. They call The Hardy Boys a nice nostalgia act.
The Hardy Boys (Matt & Jeff) (c) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro – Raw Tag Team Championship match
Background: The Hardy Boys returned at Wrestlemania and won the Raw Tag Team Championships. Sheamus and Cesaro won a number one contenders match to earn their shot at the titles. The Hardy Boys have since beaten Sheamus and Cesaro in singles matches and the two teams have shown respect for each other.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV tag team match between these two teams.
Payback Record: Sheamus is 2-0 at Payback, Cesaro is 0-3. Sheamus actually beat Cesaro back in 2014 at this event. The Hardy Boys wrestle at Payback for the first ever time.
Match: Matt Hardy and Cesaro start the match and the crowd chant for Brother Nero. Matt starts well but an uppercut from Cesaro puts an end to that. Sheamus dominates until Jeff Hardy tags in and picks up the pace. Jeff looks as good as he has ever been. Sheamus hits a brutal kick to the face of Jeff Hardy. Jeff now looks like he’s missing a tooth. Cesaro hits a massive legdrop. Jeff tags in Matt who fires up on Cesaro. Matt shows glimpses of the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick from TNA. All hell break loose and all four men get into it. Matt misses with a moonsault and Cesaro hits a springboard uppercut. Cesaro then hits his giant swing and locks on a sharpshooter! Sheamus hits white noise off the second rope for a near fall. Matt avoids a brogue kick and looks for the twist of fate but Sheamus fights him off. Sheamus hits a powerslam and pins Matt but Jeff has tagged in and he hits a swanton bomb on Sheamus for the victory!
Result: The Hardy Boys win by pinfall.
Review: A good match between two good tag teams. I look forward to seeing who The Hardy Boys battle on PPV as they’re a great addition to the tag team division.
After the match Sheamus and Cesaro raise the arms of The Hardy Boys and leave them to celebrate. Cesaro and Sheamus then come back to the ring and attack the champions from behind! They push them off the top rope and smash Matt and Jeff into the ringposts, leaving them laying. It’s a heel turn from Sheamus and Cesaro!
Braun Strowman is backstage and tells Roman Reigns that Reigns will be wanting Strowman to put him out of his misery tonight.
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss – Raw Women’s Championship match
Background: Alexa Bliss won a fatal four way match to become number one contender to the Raw Women’s Championship after getting drafted to Raw. Since then Alexa has mocked Bayley and her good will, telling the champion that she will be beating her in her hometown tonight.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two girls.
Payback Record: Both girls make their Payback debut tonight.
Match: Bayley gets a huge pop in her hometown. She’s got her tan on tonight. Bayley takes the advantage in the early going. This is the fourth title match in a row tonight and we know there are still two title matches to come. Alexa soon takes the advantage and is vicious in her attack. She’s been a real star since joining the main roster last year. Bayley fires up with clotheslines and a suplex. She hits a side suplex for a near fall. Bayley looks for her finisher but Alexa rams her into the top turnbuckle and heads up top for Twisted Bliss but Bayley goes up with her for a Bayley to belly off the middle rope but Alexa counters with a sunset flip. Bayley hits a top rope elbow drop for a near fall. Alexa manages to drop Bayley on the ringpost and then follows it up with a DDT for the win!
Result: Alexa Bliss wins the Raw Women’s Championship by pinfall.
Review: This was a good match between two decent members of the women’s roster. Alexa Bliss comes over to Raw in the draft and has now taken the Raw Women’s Championship from Bayley. She becomes the first woman to have held both the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championship. I’m not sure this rivalry will be over as you have a strong heel and a strong babyface and I think there’s legs in this story yet. A good match from these two.
There’s a video package next for Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt – House of Horrors match
Background: Bray Wyatt officially gets his rematch for the WWE Championship after he lost the title at Wrestlemania. Wyatt has since been drafted to Raw whilst Orton stays on Smackdown.
Previous PPV matches: This is the second PPV match between these two men. Orton won the first at Wrestlemania.
Payback Record: Randy Orton is 0-2 at Payback, Bray Wyatt is 1-1.
Match: We’re told that this match will begin in Bray Wyatt’s House Of Horrors and will finish in the ring. This match is a cinematic match, it certainly is to begin with anyway. Orton is shown arriving at a mysterious blue house. He enters the match and is attacked from behind by Wyatt. There’s no commentary on this match so plenty of talk from the two men involved. The fight goes through the house where there are dolls hanging from one room. They fight into the kitchen where Wyatt pushes a fridge on top of Orton! Wyatt crawls out of the house and into a car, asking to be taken to the arena. We’ll re-visit this match later!
There’s a video package next for Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe.
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
Background: Samoa Joe debuted on the main roster by attacked Seth Rollins on behalf of Triple H. Joe would put Rollins on the shelf after injuring his leg. After Rollins defeated Triple H at Wrestlemania he now looks for revenge against Samoa Joe.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Payback Record: Seth Rollins is 3-0 at Payback events, Joe wrestles at Payback for the first time.
Match: This is Joe’s second PPV match, he beat Sami Zayn earlier this year. Rollins takes the early advantage, he takes Joe to the outside and hits him with two suicide dives. Joe takes the advantage, hitting a suicide dive of his own. These are two very good workers. It’s pretty back and forth with Joe dominating for longer periods and Rollins starting a comeback but getting cut off. Rollins hits a slingblade and a blockbuster for a near fall. Rollins is selling his left knee. Seth heads up top but Joe goes up with him only for Rollins to slip down and look for a powerbomb but Seths knee gives way. Seth hits a falcon arrow and then a frog splash for a near fall. Joe locks on a sleeper but Rollins counters with a firemans carry and manages to pin Joe’s shoulders down for the three!
Result: Seth Rollins wins by pinfall.
Review: This was a good match but these two are capable of much better. You give these two men a main event and they’ll give you a five star match. This was decent though. Rollins’ win does look a little like a fluke but maybe it was the best way to do it. It doesn’t hurt Joe’s momentum and Rollins looks good coming out of it. I’d like to see another match between the two.
There’s an ad for the WWE Network.
Bray Wyatt is shown arriving at the arena.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt – House of Horrors match
Match: Bray Wyatt makes his way to the ring where Randy Orton is already waiting! Randy goes right to work on Wyatt, throwing him over the announce desk. Suddenly Orton is jumped by the Singh brothers! They’ve been associated with Jinder Mahal who is the number one contender to the WWE Championship. Bray uses the distraction to go for Sister Abigail but Orton counters and hits an RKO! Before Orton can capitalise Jinder Mahal shows up and attacks Randy from behind with the WWE Championship. Wyatt then hits Sister Abigail and hooks the leg for the three!
Result: Bray Wyatt wins by pinfall.
Review: This was an interesting match. I’m not sure how I feel about the cinematic part and then the end in the ring was just ok. I mean, it wasn’t terrible. I don’t like matches being split up, I’m more of a traditionalist. Bray Wyatt wins though and he heads back to Raw with a big win under his belt. It’s a bigger loss though for Randy who shouldn’t be losing as WWE Champion really.
There’s an ad for Backlash which will be the in-ring debut for Shinsuke Nakamura.
There’s a video package next for Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Background: Braun Strowman cost Roman Reigns the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble earlier this year and this rivalry hasn’t stopped since. Reigns actually beat Braun at Fastlane but Strowman has since decimated Reigns multiple times in backstage attacks.
Previous PPV matches: Roman Reigns previously beat Strowman at Fastlane.
Payback Record: Roman Reigns is 3-1 at Payback, Strowman wrestles at Payback for the first time tonight.
Match: Roman Reigns lands Strowman with right hand before the bell even rings. He takes the fight to the outside where he drops Strowman with a clothesline. Strowman soon gets back into it, chokeslamming Reigns on the announce desk before tossing him back into the ring. Reigns hits a Samoan drop which was impressive. Strowman runs into the ringpost at one point and it looked pretty funny. Roman hits a spear for a near fall. Reigns hits two superman punches but then runs into a triangle hold and then a running powerslam for a very near fall. Strowman hits a second running powerslam and this time gets the 3!
Result: Braun Strowman wins by pinfall.
Review: Well I’m shocked by this result. Reigns had the shoulder injury but I did not think Braun Strowman would win this match. That instantly gets Braun over as a main event guy. This match was ok. Nothing spectacular, just a big heavyweight clash.
After the match Strowman throws the ring steps into the ring and drops Reigns on them. Braun then drops the stairs on Reigns in a shot that looked pretty brutal! Reigns is bleeding from the match as the show comes to a close.
And that was Payback 2017. It didn’t feel like an amazing show but it felt adequate. It’s not a show I’d ever rush back to watch. Owens and Jericho put on a decent match to kick off the show but I was mostly surprised to see Jericho pick up the win and regain the United States Championship that he lost at Wrestlemania. Decent match but this feud continues. Austin Aries beat Neville by disqualification in the best match of the night, proving that they should have been on the main card at Wrestlemania. With a DQ victory it suggests that this rivalry will continue. The Hardy Boys retained their tag team titles but Alexa Bliss beat Bayley to become the new Raw Women’s Champion. Alexa Bliss has been great since her debut on Smackdown, a surprise package but she becomes the first woman to have won both the Raw and Smackdown Women’s Championship. Seth Rollins beat Samoa Joe, Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt in the house of horrors match and in the main event Braun Strowman defeated Roman Reigns. The only slight disappointment is the lack of Universal Championship match but with Brock Lesnar as champion again, he’ll be part time.
Overall Rating: 61.42/100 (ranked joint 117th out of 343)
Match Of The Night: Neville vs. Austin Aries
Worst Match Of The Night: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Surprise Of The Night: Chris Jericho retains the United States Championship
Worst Booking Of The Night: Randy Orton beats Bray Wyatt
Superstar Of The Night: Braun Strowman
Payback 2017 Will Be Remembered For: The House Of Horrors match