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WWE PAYBACK KICKOFF REPORT
AUGUST 30, 2020
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
REPORT BY MIKE F. MEYERS, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Kickoff Panel: Charly Caruso, Booker T, Jerry Lawler, JBL, Peter Rosenberg.
During panel introductions, Booker said he wished that James Brown, who has been deceased for 14 years, was here, “so we could drop some funk on him.” The panel ran down tonight’s matches.
A video package was shown for Reigns / Strowman / Fiend. The panel speculated on the nature of Reigns’s relationship with Paul Heyman. JBL called Heyman a liar and a cheat, but perhaps the greatest manager in the business. Peter compared the Heyman reveal to when Andre the Giant surprised Hulk Hogan by aligning with Bobby Heenan. Lawler, as the sole panel member with firsthand experience, warned to not count the Fiend out tonight.
A video package was shown for the women’s tag team championship. Booker said Banks and Bayley were an inch away from exploding, then compared the Jax / Baszler pairing to his own odd couple team with Goldust.
The panel started to discuss Crews vs. Lashley, but was interrupted by R-Truth, who thought this was Raw Talk. Charly told Truth that he was a day early. When JBL told Truth that they were live, Truth signaled to “cut” the take. JBL asked Truth about his encounter with Lashley. Truth said, “He put me in Nelson from the Simpsons, and you never wanna feel that.”
A clip was shown of Talking Smack, where Big E spoke passionately about his levels of seriousness. On the panel, Booker said, “My next door neighbor is a nice guy too, but how many championships does he have?”
Announce Team: Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, Samoa Joe
(1) RIOTT SQUAD vs. IICONICS
The iIconics had mics on their way down the ramp. They implied to Morgan that Riott has sinister intentions.
Riott chased Royce out to the floor at ringside, which led to Kay leveling Riott with Shades of Kay. Kay choked Riott against the bottom rope in the ring, then tagged in Royce. They landed simultaneous forearm shots to Riott’s back. Riott surprised Royce with a rollup, good for a two-count. Royce did the same for a two-count of her own.
The iIconics double teamed Riott again, planting their heels against her throat in their corner. Kay tagged in and applied an arm bar. Royce screamed to Morgan across the ring, “She doesn’t care about you!” Kay leveled Riott with a shoulder block, then covered for two. Royce tagged in and kicked Riott in the midsection. Royce blocked Riott from crawling toward her partner, then dropped an elbow and covered for another two-count. Royce applied a chinlock.
Riott battled out and crawled again toward her corner. Royce ran over and knocked Morgan to the floor. Kay tried to convince Morgan that it was Riott who knocked her off the apron. The iIconics landed a double-team flapjack to Riott while Morgan looked on from the floor with an exaggerated sad expression. Morgan finally, reluctantly, ran back up the steps to accept a tag from Riott. Morgan executed a flurry of offense with the power of freshness.
Morgan hit a double stomp to Royce’s back in the corner, then covered for two. Royce cried out in agony. Riott tagged back in but Royce battled out of a double team. Kay came in and iIconics hit the Deja Vu. Kay, now legal, covered but Morgan dove in to break up the pin.
Morgan escaped a Deja Vu, then tagged in Riott. Morgan hit a double knee to Kay, then Riott followed up with the Riott Kick. Riott covered Kay for the three-count and victory.
WINNER: Riott Squad by pinfall in 9:05.
(Meyers’s Analysis: Most of the match was nondescript action with lots of tags. The manufactured drama of Morgan not knowing who to believe was largely ineffective and unnecessary. The last minute or so was a well-orchestrated finishing sequence, and worked well.)
Riott Squad joined the Kickoff panel immediately after their match. Morgan apologized to Riott, saying, “I thought you hit me for a second!” Riott said she wasn’t like that, and that the iIconics have been trying to tear them apart. Riott turned to the panel and said that this was the beginning, and the world needs to see this. They confirmed that Riott Squad is back.
Charly asked about Keith Lee’s motivation tonight against Orton. JBL said that Orton isn’t a normal superstar – he’s a 13-time champ. He said Keith Lee is “stepping in the deep end with a great white shark.” Booker said that Lee was extraordinary, and suggested that he not trust anybody.