SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
PPV Evaluation – WWE Payback 2016
BEST MATCH – KEVIN OWENS VS. SAMI ZAYN
Excellent, excellent stuff. As anyone familiar with their legendary ROH feud can attest, they have remarkable chemistry in ring and this was on display at Payback. Being in the tough position to bring the crowd back after a very real and scary moment with Enzo Amore to open the show, it wasn’t long before they had the fans roaring. Owens is superb as the gloating cocky heel, and Zayn is as close to a pure babyface as the WWE has had in a long time, and everything clicked in this one. My match of the night, and I’d watch this one right away if by chance you didn’t catch it.
WORST MATCH – ENZO/CASS VS. THE VAUDEVILLIANS
There was nothing bad on this show in my opinion, so this is simply getting the nod for basically not happening. The Enzo injury was very scary, and the announcers did a very professional job throughout the night of keeping the fans update. It was great to hear that the injury was not as severe as it looked.
BIGGEST SURPRISE – MAIN EVENT
Granted, it did get into some TNA level wacky booking with the rule changes as the match went on, but I really liked that not only was A.J. Styles not out-matched by Roman Reigns, but that WWE booked a re-match before the show went off of the air. It showed that even the McMahons thought A.J. was at the top level of their talent, and that they thought he might have won. Well done.
BIGGEST LETDOWN – NOTHING
This was as good of a show as WWE has put on in some time, in my opinion.
BEST QUOTE – KEVIN OWENS
“I’m a better announcer than Michael Cole. I’m a better announcer than Byron Saxton…. and I’m equally as good an announcer as JBL.” Ha!
BEST MOVE – A.J. STYLES
The “phenomenal forearm” that drove both Styles and Reigns through a table was amazing.
BEST MATCH FINISH – KEVIN OWENS VS. SAMI ZAYN
Kevin Owens is as good a heel as the company has, and having him win clean so as that he could join commentary and gloat throughout the IC Title match, only to then have it become an angle setting up a four way, was just great wrestling booking,
– Hats off to Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose for an excellent outing. This match was perfectly paced, and neither man lost anything. Owens and Zayn just edged it out for me for match of the night, but it’s a toss-up.
– Charlotte and Nattie had another very good match, marred a bit by the odd “Montreal screwjob” finish. The company is aware that that happened 19 years ago, right?
– Ah, Ric Flair. I will never tire of seeing that man in a wrestling ring.
– The Miz and Cesaro had a good match. I’m really enjoying The Miz’s character at the moment, and Cesaro has always been great.
– Dolph Ziggler and Baron Corbin had an okay match. I need a l little more exploration into the Corbin character before I can invest much in him at this point.
WHAT IT’LL BE REMEMBERED FOR
It’s a little too early to be buying into all of this “new era” talk, but this was certainly a great show and it left me excited for the next few months. A.J. Styles and Anderson/Gallows being pushed at the top, along with a lot of fresh feuds and talent on the undercard made this a very memorable WWE event. At least three of the matches were homers, and nothing was bad. Definitely a show worth checking out.
UPDATED 2016 PPV EVALUATION RANKINGS
1 – WWE PAYBACK (2016-05-01)
2 – ROH 14TH ANNIVERSARY (2016-02-26)
3 – WWE ROYAL RUMBLE (2016-01-24)
4 – WWE WRESTLEMANIA 32 (2016-04-02)
5 – WWE FASTLANE (2016-02-21)0
6 – WWE ROADBLOCK (2016-03-12
7 – TNA ONE NIGHT ONLY LIVE! (2016-01-08)
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