McNEILL’s Real-time Live Blog of WWE Payback 2016!

By Pat McNeill, PWTorch columnist


StaffMcNeill07_120We are LIVE at the McNeill North American Command Center for this on-demand blog of Payback 2016 on the WWE Network.

Jerry Lawler tells us that Vince McMahon is immortal.  Oh, boy.

Booker T tells us Roman Reigns is ready to be the guy.  Well, I hope so.  He’s been the guy for fifteen months now.

We send it down to Mauro and Byron.  I guess adding Lawler to the mix would only confuse people.  Ziggler vs. Corbin is on the Kickoff show!  Hey, how about that?

Corbin is a Lone Wolf.  I know this because nobody else would have advised him to wear those trousers.

I like Mauro Ranallo’s announcing, but I don’t know if I could take two hours of it every Thursday night.

Ziggler rolls up Corbin for the three count.  I’d like to officially welcome Baron to Tyler Breezeville.  Population: You.

I’m looking forward to Season 2 of “Swerved” in the same way that Belgium looked forward to the reunification of Germany.

Greg Hamilton is hosting in the Social Media Lounge.  Tom Phillips has switched off the GPS locator on his cell phone and gone into hiding.

In the highlight package, Zayn complains that Owens took his Raw debut.  You mean, the one where you separated your shoulder against Cena, Sami?

“Will you ever trust Kevin Owens again?”  “That depends on who’s booking in six months, Greg.”

Back to ringside, where Ryback is set to challenge WWE United States Champion Lou Chaw.

The US Title match is underway.  It’s confusing because the Chicago crowd is chanting for UFC announcer Mike Goldberg.

Ryback counters the wheelbarrow bulldog in the same way that any wrestler with an IQ above 50 should be able to counter that move.  But that DDT on the ring apron looked sweet.  Geez, Kalisto is crisp.  Kalisto hits all his big moves.  No sale.

Mauro hypes the great United States Title matches on the Network, and mentions Michael Hayes as one of the great wrestlers who held the U.S. strap.  Yes, congratulations to Hayes, who won that belt by virtue of not demanding as much money as Barry Windham.

Kalisto wins with his finisher, thank goodness.

You know, the problem with creating your pay-per-view advertising so far ahead of the show is the minor is that wrestlers occasionally get injured.  Just saying.

The show opens with your WWE World Tag Team Champions.  Yeah, I need to interview Ole Anderson again so I can ask him about the New Day.

New Day pretends the whole “New Era of WWE” hype is about them.  Hey, I’m willing to play along.

Your opening match is Enzo & Cass against The Vaudevillains.  Enzo sees the extra-wide entranceway and doesn’t know what to do with himself.

On the bright side, Enzo’s not the shortest person in the ring.  Thanks, Jojo!

Tonight’s opening match is sponsored by Booty O’s.

JBL references George Hackenschmidt winning the NWA Title here in Chicago.  He does NOT, however, claim the match is available on WWE Network.

Enzo Amore suffers some sort of neck injury early in the match.  God, I hope this is an angle.

It’s not an angle.  They’re bringing out the EMT’s, they put a hold on the replay footage, and they did the awkward transition to the next video package.  Dammit.

Alright, on to Zayn vs. Owens.  We’ll keep you posted about Enzo as best we can.  The crowd is into the match.

Hey, is that a new T-shirt design for Owens?  Good for him.  It’s been so long since he had new merch.

If Mauro Ranallo has a few minutes to spare after the show, maybe he can teach Cole the difference between a slam and a Blue Thunder Bomb.

We get a “This Is Awesome” chant.  Really, we were only at 80% awesome before Kevin countered that tornado DDT.

Owens gets backdropped onto the ring apron.  Then Zayn does the running DDT.  Okay, NOW we can do the chant.  KO wins with the pop-up powerbomb.

Owens beats up Zayn, then invites Byron Saxton into the ring.  If Kevin powerbombs Saxton, he’ll be even more popular than he was when he beat up Cena.

Owens is staying at ringside for The Miz’s title defense against Cesaro.  That’s next, by the way.

What do you get when you cross Mick Foley with a supermodel?  Apparently, you get Noelle Foley.

The Miz makes his entrance with Maryse.  So, when does management decide that Maryse is too hot to be with Miz, and break them up?  In storyline, of course.

I’m going to need a screencap of KO wearing JBL’s hat.  Please tell me that we’re setting up Cesaro versus Owens.  Because I could use several weeks of that.

Cesaro performs several impressive feats of strength.  Meanwhile, Owens is killing it on commentary.  WWE should reward KO by buying the rights to “Tear Away” for his entrance music.  Nothing against CFO$, but this is Drowning Pool we’re talking about.  The McMahons love Drowning Pool.

And here comes Sami Zayn with a Sneak Attack From Outta Nowhere!  I love it.  Miz wins with a handful of tights off of the distraction.

“There are about ten things wrong with this scene!”  Number 9 is that Cole is announcing the scene instead of, you know…  Number 8 is that this will end up being a four-way at Extreme Rules.

One cell phone company wants you to know they’re not as big a ripoff as another cell phone company.

Ambrose vs. Jericho is next.  Cole takes us around to all the international announcers.  We have the Portuguese team, the Russian team, the Pig Latin team…

So, do you remember when Roddy Piper and Adrian Adonis feuded over who would host the talk show segment on WWF Television?  This really isn’t like that.

“Jericho wants to make sure Ambrose feels the same embarrassment that he did”.  I get that, but how’s Y2J going to get Dean to host an unpopular game show?

I’m convinced this whole “multiple live announcing crews” is just a cover to reduce the wear and tear on the Spanish announce table.

Ambrose finally wins with Dirty Deeds.  You know, these good wrestling matches are making it difficult for me to do my job.  Are there any tasteless suicide angles on the format sheet?

Charlotte makes her entrance w/ Slick Ric.  Trying to imagine Ric’s reactions to meeting Charlotte’s teenage boyfriends. Then I realized, no way Naitch was home for that.

Bret Hart is out with his niece, Natalya.  If I didn’t know Flair and Hart were wrestlers, I think we were about to have the worst “Battle of the Bands” ever.

Charlotte vs. Natalya for the Women’s Title.  We go right to the action.  I love the matches these two have.  Now we get the champ working the leg.  Nothing wrong with that.  Charlotte’s really been working in her heel mannerisms, and it helps.

Nattie kicks out of the moonsault, frustrating Charlotte.  Dammit, there we go again with the serious wrestling.  Charlotte locks in the Sharpshooter.  Charles Robinson calls for the bell before Nattie taps.  That’s right.  Nineteen years later.

Bret and Nattie apply double sharpshooters after the match, but it’s too late.  Was that crap really necessary?

Another pay-per-view in three weeks, yay.

For the important intros, they bring out Eden Stiles.  Vince McMahon comes to the ring and announces he’s firing whoever decided to book the damn Montreal finish again. Kidding.

Vince McMahon says Raw is successful because it reinvents itself all the time.  Okay, this is rich.

Mr. McMahon asks the crowd who should run Raw.  It’s pretty clear who the crowd wants.  C.M. Punk.

Stephanie thinks she should be in charge because she hasn’t caused the ratings to drop 35% in a month.  Okay, that’s just mean.

Stephanie plays the woman card.  Then Shane comes out and announces that Steph is “low energy”.

Shane points out all the positive press for the past few episodes of Raw.  No, really.  We’re in Bizarro World.  The crowd is chanting “You’ve Still Got It” at Shane.  He still has what?  Grey hair?

Let’s be fair.  Shane remembered all of his lines tonight.

Vince McMahon announces that he doesn’t listen to his kids, or the fans, or the media.  So, business as usual then.  He puts them both in charge.  So, the McMahons are fighting over control of Raw.  Again.  Some more.

We get the big video package.  Is Styles turning heel or not?  If AJ turns heel on Reigns and everyone cheers him, does that REALLY count as a heel turn?

The main event is under way.  I’m not sure, but I think the crowd is pulling for AJ Styles.

We get the big video package.  Is Styles turning heel or not?  If AJ turns heel on Reigns and everyone cheers him, does that REALLY count as a heel turn?

The main event is under way.  I’m not sure, but I think the crowd is pulling for AJ Styles.  AJ keeps the match moving.  Things don’t really start to pick up until AJ puts Reigns through the announce table with the Phenomenal Forearm.

AJ can’t bring Reigns back into the ring, so he wins by countout.  Oh, this is funny.

Shane comes out and restarts the bout as a no countout match.   Reigns walks out of the arena and hails a taxi.  (Just kidding).  Styles goes for  a 450 and Reigns gets his knees up.  Reigns gives Styles a low blow and AJ wins by disqualification.  (You see this next part coming, don’t you?)

Sure enough, here comes Stephanie to make this a no disqualification match.

Reigns and Styles fight into the crowd.  Styles gets the advantage.  We actually have some people cheering for Roman.  AJ kicks out of the Superman punch.  His reward is another Superman punch.

At this point, Gallows and Anderson come in to make the save and attack Roman.  Styles misses the whole thing, what with him being unconscious and all.  AJ hits his finish, but Roman gets his foot on the ropes.  The Usos come out to save Reigns.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Finally, Reigns hits the spear to score the pin and keep the title.

Backstage, the McMahons commiserate.  They’re giving Styles a rematch at Extreme Rules.

The announcers celebrate the big victory by The Guy.  One thing has become clear.  The WWE Champion really needs a new nickname.

That’s it for the Payback.  Join James and Greg in thirty minutes on  VIP members, your roundtable is being taped…now.  Good night.

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