Payback Reader Reax #1 – Owens vs. Zayn & the follow-up carries the night, more

By James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


WWE Payback PPV Reax

– Mike Omansky, PWTorch correspondent (6.5): Best Match: Owens-Zayn. Worst Match: Divas. Entertaining show overall. Owens-Zayn really delivered a solid match. Nice touch to have Owens want to stay at ringside, stating that he wants the IC Title back. Later, Ambrose-Jericho was two pros also delivering.

The Divas ending fell flat, and the McMahon segment moved a story ahead, but a little long, especially with the Stephanie piece. … The “crazy” Chicago crowd was fun. At least the announcers are starting to acknowledge that “a lot of people” boo Reigns. The actual Reigns-Styles match migrated from decent to far more interesting with the match “restarts” (which hopefully won’t become a bad precedent) and Gallows/Anderson interference.

– Dominic C. (9.0): In my opinion it was a solid PPV besides the outcome of the main event. Maybe I was just expecting too much but it just missed a twist to the ending. Best Match: I’d give it to Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. The match itself was just an awesome back and forth between guys who always put on a show and have clearly worked with each other for a while. The surprise follow-up is what topped it off for me, though. Something as silly as them going after each other again during the next match and “unintentionally” costing Cesaro the IC Title was what the main event segment missed.

Overall, my favorite PPV of the year. I don’t 100 percent understand why A.J. and Reigns are going to give it another go at Extreme Rules, but I’ll let it slide because this would have been a terrible ending to that story with all the possibilities they can run with this. So many ways this could go; I can’t wait for Raw.

– PWTorch VIP member Derrick in Utah (7.5): If you take away the unfortunate and untimely injury to Enzo Amore and the extensively long McMahon promo segment, this show bordered on great. Even in the event where the finish let down the action (Charlotte-Natalya), the in-ring work was good-to-great from top to bottom. While the Women’s Title match finish was groan-inducing, the IC and WWE title match finishes were both creative and effective in adding a period to the end of the paragraph while starting the next chapter in an intriguing manner.

Ryback and Kalisto exceeded expectations. It is a pre-show match that was worth watching. Probably Kalisto’s most impressive title defense to date and Ryback’s best outing in recent memory… The layout of the Jericho-Ambrose match was smart enough to overcome the deficiencies and present a strong contest that felt like a legitimate struggle.

Owens-Zayn was as good as expected and that is pretty damn great. Owens’s sarcasm and Zayn’s selling carried the body of the match. They took their time between the closing high spots sequences to allow the action to breathe. This displays the progression between their work in WWE and their work in ROH. More emphasis on the story and less emphasis on the moves and bumps. The follow-up IC Title match contained a creative finish that accomplished a lot in a novel fashion to further and intertwine two feuds with the title in the middle.

A.J. Styles vs. Roman Reigns was a physical match with a deliberate pace and many bursts of explosiveness. The restarts took some momentum away from the in ring action, but both guys earned the momentum back. The match continued to build, the story continued to unfold, and consequently the drama reached a top tier level. The finish was a fitting end to the match, but purposely did not conclude the main event storyline. Knowing that we get to watch another match between these two, I am more than okay with that. Great stuff.

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1 Comment on Payback Reader Reax #1 – Owens vs. Zayn & the follow-up carries the night, more

  1. After (what I consider) a disappointing Wrestlemania, this PPV exceeded all expectations. I am a sucker for “hot crowds” and this Chicago audience was the hit of the night. They were on fire for almost every match. Their greetings and enthusiasm for New day was surprising, but I found their short segment hysterical, so I understand the reaction. I have learned not to expect much from Ryback, but he and Kalisto had an excellent match, with both performing well to the end. There was no League of Nations (thankfully), no Wyatts, no run-in’s, so the PPV flowed well……until the MacMahons came out. Time to use the bathroom (smile). The women’s match was pretty good (I forgot that Natalya is an accomplished wrestler), but that finish stunk. I expected a DQ with Pops Flair and Ailing Bret jumping in, but they went to the old-fashioned, overused Screw Job. Why? Only the writers know what purpose this will serve. The final match was good, if not predictable. As far as I can remember, Kane and Zac Ryder are the only belt-holders (in recent years) to lose their belts on the first defense. So, I did not expect Styles to win. But, because Styles is incapable of putting on a bad performance, he and Roman Reigns put on a pretty good match. I would like to see Reigns move on (Ambrose next?), but it looks like they will keep this going a while longer. Still, this was a very good PPV, notwithstanding that gruesome injury in the first match. I hope Enzo Amore has a speedy and total recovery. He and Big Cass (along with The Vaudevillians) are a much needed breath of fresh air to the tag team division. I humbly give this PPV and 8 for the action, decent commentary and a 10 star Owens versus Zahn match. Just outstanding!

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