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KELLER’S WWE PAYBACK PPV REPORT
AUGUST 30, 2020
ORLANDO, FLA. AT AMWAY ARENA’S “THUNDERDOME”
AIRED LIVE ON WWE NETWORK
Commentators: Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton
-A video package aired hyping the matches. Then pyro blasted in the Thunderdome and crowd noise was piped in and Phillips introduced the event.
(1) APOLLO CREWS vs. BOBBY LASHLEY (w/MVP, Shelton Benjamin) – United States Title match
Shelton is giving Batista run for his money as the most dapper dresser in WWE in the last 25 years. A soundbite aired with MVP hyping the match and talked about Lashley hurting him before and tonight making him a permanent stay-at-home dad. Crews came out second, as champions should. Crews knocked Lashley to the floor and then landed an Asai Moonsault at ringside. Lashley lifted and dropped Crews over the top rope to take control a minute. They battled back and forth and the pace picked up with Crews landing a standing moonsault and a top rope frog splash for a very near fall. Lashley came back with a high one-armed slam. He stood behind Crews and applied a Full Lashley and Crews tapped out.
As Lashley was celebrating with Shelton and MVP, Crews jumped him from behind. Saxton said he didn’t appreciate the victory celebration. After getting in a few shots, he bailed out to ringside and yelled, “I’m getting that title back. You can believe that.” (I bet he gets scolded for using Roman Reigns’s signature line there.)
WINNER: Lashley in 10:00 via tapout to capture the U.S. Title. (**1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: Crews didn’t act particularly honorably there. Good opening match. Crews wrestled like Lashley’s equal until the finish.)
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves
-Cole said the wrestling world is talking about the last 20 seconds of Smackdown on Friday. They cut to a clip of the reveal that Reigns was sitting next to Paul Heyman after he signed the new contract.
-Kayla Braxton was standing outside of Reigns’s locker room. Heyman walked up to her. She said everyone was shocked to see him and is Reigns his new client. He said Charly Caruso must not be available to ask him questions. He said go ahead. She asked if he signed the contract. Heyman said he would, so he probably has, so ask Reigns. Kayla asked if she could ask Roman. Heyman, while entering the Reigns locker room, told her no.
-Keith Lee was warming up backstage when JBL walked in. Lee was happy to see him. He told him to be prepared for his success. He offered him a couple hedge funds which only takes a million dollars to get in. Lee said he doesn’t have those resources. JBL said if he wins this match tonight, he’ll be on his way. He said if he loses, don’t feel bad about it because Randy Orton is one of the greatest ever. He wished him luck.
(Keller’s Analysis: That was just odd and random.)
-A clip aired of Big E telling Miz on “Talking Smack” that he doesn’t have to be stoic for the sake of being stoic, but when he feels something, he can be serious.
(Keller’s Analysis: No one is saying Big E has to lose all personality. It’s not a binary choice. It’s just not acting like a goof to the point that he seems like he’s not taking his job seriously and is just a clown looking for shock value and to be laughed at for being ridiculous. I’m glad, though, they are working this into a storyline.)
-A soundbite aired before the match with Sheamus saying Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods were propping him up, and now it’s time for him to fall.
(2) SHEAMUS vs. BIG E
Sheamus made his ring entrance first. Big E came out and did a hip swivel and stuck his tongue out, but it was dialed down. Cole said Big E likes to entertain and have fun, but he’s all business tonight with a title opportunity perhaps being on the line tonight. Sheamus worked over Big E’s knee with stomps and a single-leg crab. Big E made a comeback at 6:00. Big E began to swivel his hips. Graves said that cost him, as Sheamus got up and gave Big E an Alabama Slam for a two count. Big E speared Sheamus off the ring apron to ringside two minutes later. He clapped. They pipped in a “New… Day Rocks!” chant. Sheamus surprised Big E with a kneelock. Big E punched Sheamus to break free. Sheamus kneed Big E and went for the Brogue Kick, but Big E blocked it and landed the Big Ending for the three count. Cole said they learned a lot about Big E tonight. Graves agreed to fought through adversity tonight. Big E yelled at Graves that he’s ready.
WINNER: Big E in 12:00. (**1/4)
-Alyse Ashton, the newest WWE interviewer (essentially replacing Renee Young), interviewed Matt Riddle. He said King Corbin is afraid he’s going to take his crown, and that’s what he’s going to do. Ashton said Corbin said on Twitter that he will prove Riddle is a failure in a WWE ring just like he has already proven he’s a failure at home. Riddle’s demeanor changed from happy-go-lucky and chill to downhearted. He paused for five second, then walked off. It looked like things just got personal.
(Keller’s Anlysis: I’m not sure that recent chapter in Riddle’s life is something WWE ought to be trying to incorporate into TV storylines to cash in on. It wasn’t just an accusation that he cheated on his wife.)
-Backstage Jax told Baszler to follow her lead. Baszler said they’ll beat Sasha and Bayley if she stays out of her way. Jax shoved her. Baszler shoved back and suggested they quit the “pre-match chit chat.” Jax agreed.
-A “World of Tanks” add aired starring The Street Profits.
-A commercial aired for a WWE Network library of independent matches such as Progress, Evolve, WXW, and ICW.
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(3) KING CORBIN vs. MATT RIDDLE
Graves said Corbin said that about Riddle’s personal life to throw him off his game. Riddle came out second. Corbin nailed him with a clothesline as soon as he entered the ring and was about to kick off his flip-flops. The ref backed him off and checked with Riddle, then called for the bell. Riddle made a comeback and fired up and went rapid-fire at Corbin. He then went for a standing kimura, but Corbin bodyslammed him off of him.
Riddle applied a sleeper a second later mid-ring. Corbin powered out and took over for a couple minutes. Riddle caught a charging Corbin by surprise with a high round kick to the side of his head. Corbin rolled to the floor. Riddle went after him at ringside and threw him back into the ring where he turned up the pace of the attack with a barrage of strikes for a near fall. Corbin fought back and dropped Riddle with a punch. Corbin hit a Deep Six a minute later for a two count. Riddle, on his back, caught Corbin with an arm triangle. The he stood and landed a Go To Sleep followed by a top rope Floating Bro for the win. The announcers noted how Riddle reacted so emotionally to the win.
WINNER: Riddle in 12:00.
-A commercial aired for WWE Network content.
-Riddle backstage was caught saying outloud he’s ready to move on to bigger and better things. Ashton asked him for a comment. Corbin attacked him from behind. Pat Buck and a couple referees ran up and pulled Corbin away.
-Cole called Corbin a sore loser. Graves said the war is far from over.
(4) SASHA BANKS & BAYLEY vs. NIA JAX & SHAYNA BASZLER – Women’s Tag Team Title match
Graves said it might not be possible for Jax and Baszler to peacefully coexist. He said they only know how to look out for themselves. Jax insisted on starting. Baszler stood on the ring apron, but then slapped Jax’s back to tag herself in as the match actually began. Graves noted that Baszler is a long-time protege of Ronda Rousey. Sasha walked over and grabbed Jax’s leg. Bayley then shoved Baszler into Jax, knocking her to the floor. Jax grabbed at her knee. Bayley drove Shayna over to their corner and then Sasha tagged in. When Bayley covered Baszler, Jax threw Sasha into her to break up the pin. Then she picked up Sasha and rammed her back and forth by her legs into the barricade at ringside. Jax tagged in and she plowed into Bayley.
After the ref disallowed a Jax tag out, Sasha flipped Jax’s knee from behind. Sasha and Bayley took over on Jax for a couple minutes. Jax caught Bayley charging at her and dropped her, then set up a Samaon Drop. Sasha entered, so Jax picked her up and swung her legs into Bayley to knock her down. She gave Sasha a Samoan Drop. When she went for a legdrop, Bayley grabbed her ankle and went for a leglock. Jax powered out and walked over to tag Baszler, dragging Sasha with her. Baszler attacked Bayley including a running kneelift followed by a gut-wrench slam for a two count. Baszler looked at Jax and said, “We can win.” She tagged in Jax. Cole said they’re believing in one another. Sasha countered Jax into a face plant. Jax sold a nose injury. Bayley tagged in and climbed to the top rope. She landed a top rope flying elbow. Banks landed a frog splash for a near fall. Sasha looked shocked.
Sasha and Bayley attempted to double-back suplex Jax, but she blocked it and then tagged Baszler. Sasha and Bayley double back body dropped Jax, but Baszler entered and took it to Bayley and Sasha. She put Bayley in her Kirafuda Clutch as she had Sasha in a leglock. Baszler used Sasha’s own arm to choke out Bayley. Bayley tapped out. Graves: “We’re looking at no-belts Banks! You’ve got to feel for Sasha.”
WINNERS: Jax & Baszler in 11:00 to win the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles. (**1/2)
(Keller’s Analysis: That match told a good story throughout, with both Jax and Baszler having a chance to shine.)
-In the ring, Caruso asked about being champions despite not getting along. Jax didn’t care and celebrated and danced. Baszler was more reserved in expressing her happiness with the victory.
-A commercial aired for WWE Network’s wide array of content including highlights of their specials and noting you also get every PPV.
(5) RANDY ORTON vs. KEITH LEE
Lee made his entrance first. He had a sleeveless ring jacket with shoulder pads and a hook. He pulled the hood down before entering the ring. He tossed off his grass skirt type thing. He had regular green wrestling trunks and a tight black body shirt with his “Limitless” logo. Orton went right to a side headlock. Orton told Lee he is the Legend Killer and he demand his respect. He chopped Lee three times. Lee whipped Orton into the corner and punched him in the corner. Lee charged at Orton, but Orton moved, so Lee went shoulder-first into the ringpost. Orton then back suplexed Lee onto the announce desk.
Lee beat the countout, but Orton methodically went after him with offense including a kneedrop for a two count. Orton applied his Obligatory Mid-Match Chinlock mid-ring. Lee came back with a Pounce to send Orton flying to the floor. Lee dropped Orton on the announce table. Orton kicked Lee in the face as he re-entered the ring. He then gave him the draping DDT. When he went for an RKO, Lee blocked it and gave him a Spirit Bomb for the clean three count. Joe called it an incredible victory for Lee. Phillips said it’s the biggest win of his career. The camera zoomed in and Lee’s eyes looked to be welling up with emotion. “Randy Orton has been shocked!” said Phillips. “Keith Lee is here to stay in WWE.”
WINNER: Lee in 7:00. (**1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: The match was nothing special, but it worked. That’s a finish that sends a message to the fanbase that they’re invested in Lee, so it encourages fans to feel safe investing in Lee. Big win for Lee, needless to say.)
-Braxton shocked Heyman backstage and asked if Reigns has signed the contract. Heyman said in 50 words “yes he has.”
-The announcers reacted to Lee’s win. Then they threw to a video package on the next tag team match.
(6) REY MYSTERIO & DOMINIK vs. SETH ROLLINS & MURPHY
Dominik charged and knocked Seth off the ring apron, then delivered a mat-based 619 style kick to Murphy. Saxton said Dominik continues to wow him. Seth started officially against Dominik and got the early advantage. Dominik armdragged Seth, who rolled to ringside and threw a fit. Seth took some deep breaths and returned to the ring, but tagged in Murphy. Dominik armdragged him twice and then hit a nice dropkick. Dominik took Murphy down with a side Russian leg sweep as Rey hit a basement dropkick. Joe said this has to be such a special match for Rey, fighting side-by-side with his son. Rey tagged in Seth. Seth reluctantly tagged in. “Be careful what you wish for,” he said. A brief distraction by Murphy gave Seth an opening to punch Rey, then slide him out of the ring onto Murphy’s raised knees on the floor.
A few minutes later, Rey tagged in Dominik but when he leaped into the ring, Seth and Murphy caught him. Seth landed the falcon arrow for a near fall. Seth threw Dominik to the floor a minute later. Murphy went after him at ringside as Seth distracted the ref, but Dominik reversed him into the barricade. Seth went after Dominik, but Dominik smashed Seth into the barricade too. Dominik crawled into the ring to try to tag Rey. Seth grabbed his legs, but Dominik succeeded. Rey took Seth down with a head scissors and rammed Seth’s head into the turnbuckle. Next he landed a moonsault off the top rope for a two count. Seth ducked a 619. Rey rolled through a roll-up and roundkicked Seth. Murphy broke up the cover. Dominik went after Murphy with a tornado DDT. Seth hit him with a slingblade. Rey hit a seated senton, but Seth countered with a backbreaker. Both were down and slow to get up.
Lots of back and forth action with all four. Rey avoided a Stomp. Rey went for a roll-up, Seth slammed Rey face-first to the mat. Dominik broke up the subsequent cover. Seth kicked Dominik to the floor where he and Murphy rammed him hard into the barricade. Next, Seth threw Rey hard into the barricade. Seth held Rey and told Murphy, “Kick him in the head.” Rey sent Seth into Murphy’s head. Muprhy entered, but Rey gave him a head scissors to set up a 619. Dominik tagged in, threw Rey at Seth at ringside then delived a 619. Dominik then landed a top rope frog splash for the three count. As Rey and Dominik celebrated in the ring, Seth gave Murphy a nasty look at ringside.
WINNER: Dominik & Rey in 16:00. (***1/4)
(Keller’s Analysis: Really good tag match start to finish. Dominik, again, just seems to have a real ring sense already that a lot of people don’t have years into the business. He’s not entirely polished, but you don’t watch and think he’s just green and doesn’t belong in the ring.
-An ad aired for Clash of Champions on Sept. 20.
-MVP, Shelton, and Lashley were all smiles as they left the arena with Lashley’s newly won U.S. Title.
-Cole wondered who will be the Universal Champion once they get to Clash of Champions in four weeks.
-A video package aired on the main event.
(7) THE FIEND vs. BRAUN STROWMAN vs. ROMAN REIGNS – No Hold Barred match for the Universal Title
As Fiend entered, Braun attacked him even before his entrance routine finished. Cole said he’s still update after what happened last week. No Reigns yet. He scored a near fall on him after a side slam. Seems a bit unfair for Reigns to start the match before he gets there. Fiend came back with a colision and then a Sister Abigail for a near fall. Fiend gave Strowman a Uranage through the table at ringside a mninute later. They showed Alexa Bliss watching on a monitor elsewhere, twisting her pony tail with her hands. Fiend pulledout his giant mallet. Strowman threw a desk chair at Fiend before he could use it. Graves said to this point there is no Reigns. Cole wondered where Reigns is. Fiend bashed Strowman in the chest a minute later at ringside. Fiend then rammed Braun into the ringside steps.
They brawled up the ramp and to the stage. Braun speared Fiend off the stage through a table below onto equipment. Braun brought Fiend to the ring and climbed to the top rope. Fiend stood and knocked Braun off balance with a punch. Fiend superplex him and the ring collapsed. They panned the audience on the LED screens gasping and making Macaulay Culkin “Home Alone” faces. Reigns walked onto the stage with Heyman and signed the contract. (I suppose that means he wasn’t counted out because he wasn’t in the match officially until that moment.) Reigns entered and rolled Fiedn over and was going to make the cover. He called forthe referee to “get your ass out here” to make the cover. Fiend kicked out at two. Reigns went for another cover. Fiend kicked out again. Reigns covered Braun instead. Braun kicked out.
Reigns grabbed a chair and bashed Braun with it over and over, then made the cover and scored a near fall. When Fiend went for a Mandible Claw, Reigns gave him a l0w-blow. Cole pointed out it’s legal in this match. Braun stood finally. Reigns speared him and scored the three count. Heyman laughed on the stage. Cole said Reigns won the title back that he never lost. As Heyman raised Reigns’s arms, Graves said, “It’s a tangible feeling in the air, it’s a new era in WWE. The Big Dog is back. It’s the Roman Reigns era.”
WINNER: Reigns to capture the Universal Title in 14:00.
(Keller’s Analysis: That seemed like a heel Reigns to me. This injected a lot of life into the Universal Title scene and WWE in general. A long time coming. Seeing Reigns get to use his talent and charisma in a way that seems like it could contribute more naturally and effectively to today’s WWE product is exciting. The announcers weren’t judgmental of the way Reigns won.)
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