The John Report: WWE Payback 2020 Review

The John Report: WWE Payback 2020 Review

Welcome to the WWE Payback review on TJRWrestling for the second straight Sunday with a WWE pay-per-view event on WWE Network. It’s not normal to have back to back Sundays with WWE Network shows, but here we are in 2020 in a year that has been anything but normal. Last week’s SummerSlam event was pretty good since I rated it a 7.75 out of 10 and it’s the second-best WWE PPV of 2020 after Royal Rumble. The Payback lineup going into the show isn’t as strong as SummerSlam was, but a lot of it will depend on the booking of finishes, the length of the matches and the match quality, of course.

There is some intrigue going into Payback because of how Smackdown ended on Friday with Roman Reigns signing the Universal Title match contract and the camera panned over to reveal the advocate Paul Heyman by his side. It certainly helped to create some buzz for this show. Reigns will join Braun Strowman in challenging “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt for the Universal Title in a No Holds Barred triple threat match in what will be Roman’s first match in over five months. Let’s see what WWE has in store for us with Payback.

The Kickoff Show panel at WWE Thunderdome was a five-person panel hosted by Charly Caruso with Booker T, John Bradshaw Layfield, Jerry “The King” Lawler and Peter Rosenberg as the analysts offering their opinions. They went over the matches while airing the video packages and getting us ready for the show.

Here’s the Kickoff Show match featuring two women’s tag teams from Raw. The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe were there to call the first match.

Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan) vs. The IIconics (Peyton Royce and Billie Kay)

Riott and Morgan were dressed similarly in yellow/black gear. The IIconics matched as usual. Riott was annoyed by Royce taunting her, then Royce ran on the floor and Kay decked Riott with a boot to the face. Royce and Kay hit a double team forearm to Riott’s back. Riott got a rollup on Royce, but then Royce hit a jumping clothesline for two. Kay grounded Riott by pulling back on the arms. Kay with a jumping forearm on Riott for a two count. Royce tagged back in with some hair pulling, taunting and a chinlock of her own. Kay prevented Morgan from tagging in with Kay trying to tell Morgan that Riott is the one that hit Morgan. A kick knocked down Riott. Double team front suplex by the IIconics on Riott while Morgan was on the floor outside the ring. Morgan was sad on the floor. Riott with a step up enziguri, Morgan then went to the apron and got the tag with clotheslines. Morgan with an enziguri kick on Royce. Morgan lost her footing jumping off the middle ropes and hit Royce with a forearm. Morgan with a double foot stomp on Royce’s back and Royce was grabbing at her left shoulder. That got a two count for Morgan. Royce avoided a double team, she threw Morgan out of the ring, Royce seemed to be fine with the shoulder and the IIconics hit the double team Déjà Vu slam for two because Morgan saved Riott. Morgan tagged in against Royce, Morgan hit the Oblivion slam on Royce and Kay was legal so she got a rollup on Morgan for two. Riott tagged in, Morgan with double knees and Ruby hit the Riott Kick for the pinfall win at 9:02.

Winners by pinfall: Riott Squad (Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan)

Analysis: **1/4 This was good enough with the heels controlling most of it, I thought Liv was great after the hot tag and the finish was as clean as can be with the faces working together to win. Ruby and Liv really work well together and we know the IIconics have a lot of chemistry, so they did a nice job of telling the right kind of story.

After the match, Ruby and Liv joined the Kickoff Show panel. Ruby said that this is the beginning for them. Liv said “we’re back” and they left.

Analysis: I wrote for weeks that I wanted them to be the team that beat Sasha Banks and Bayley for the Women’s Tag Team Titles. It would have been a good story.

The last ten minutes of the Kickoff Show had the usual banter from the panel as they ran down the full card.

===

WWE Payback
From WWE ThunderDome at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida
Sunday, August 30, 2020

The opening video package focused on the key matches on the show with a spotlight on the Universal Title match, Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton and then the rest of the card.

There was an impressive pyro display to start the show with the lights out, then the lights came on and the ThunderDome crowd was shown on the video screens as they applauded to welcome us to the show.

Bobby Lashley made his entrance with his Hurt Business buddies Montel Vontavious Porter and Shelton Benjamin by his side. They showed a pre-match promo from the trio backstage with MVP doing the talking. Apollo Crews made his entrance as the US Champion. The Raw announce team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton and Samoa Joe were there to call the action.

United States Championship: Apollo Crews vs. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP and Shelton Benjamin)

Lashley with a waistlock takedown, Crews ran the ropes and Lashley with a knockdown with a shoulder tackle. Crews came back with a dropkick, then Lashley with a knee and forearm to the back. Crews went for a dropkick that grazed Lashley, then a forearm knocked Lashley out of the ring and Crews hit a moonsault onto a standing Lashley on the floor. Back in the ring, Lashley sent Crews into the turnbuckle and then ribs first into the top rope. Lashley drove Apollo’s upper body into the ring post and that got a two count. The wide shot of the ThunderDome looks really cool. Lashley with a fallaway slam followed by a shoulder tackle to the ribs. Crews avoided a suplex, then he hit an enziguri kick and Lashley hit a knee to the ribs. Lashley hit a Dominator slam off the shoulders for a two count. Lashley did a slow, cocky pin there. Lashley charged, Crews sent him out of the ring, Lashley back in, Crews with another kick to the head and Crews with a cross body block off the middle ropes with Crews selling the rib injury some more. Crews sent Lashley into the turnbuckle, he punched him a few times, Lashley avoided a Powerbomb and Crews hit a spinebuster. Crews with a standing moonsault for a two count. Crews tried a press slam, Lashley slipped out, Apollo came back with two German Suplexes and Lashley was down. Crews went up top and hit a Frog Splash for a two count. That was a great nearfall. Lashley with a back elbow, Bobby ran the ropes, then Crews ran the ropes and Lashley hit a HUGE Chokeslam. That was impressive. Lashley slapped on the Full Lashley (Full Nelson) submission and took him down to the mat with the body scissors as well. Crews tapped out to give Lashley the win at 9:32.

Winner by submission AND NEW United States Champion: Bobby Lashley

Analysis: **3/4 It was a competitive back and forth match rather than a dominant win by Lashley. Crews came close to winning several times and I really liked that nearfall with that Frog Splash. That Chokeslam or lifting spinebuster by Lashley looked awesome because of how high he lifted up Crews. I figured we might see MVP or Benjamin cheat to help Lashley at some point, but it ended up being a clean win for Lashley. I expected the title change here. It just felt like the right time for Lashley to win singles gold.

Post match, the Hurt Business were posing with Lashley’s new US Title as WWE showed the photos on the screen instead of the video. Apollo Crews went back into the ring, he attacked them and got out of there before they can fight back. Crews said he was going to get the title back.

There were commercials for WWE Shop and Hulu, which is sponsoring the show.

The Smackdown announce team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves were there for the next match. A clip aired from the end of Smackdown with Roman Reigns sitting next to Paul Heyman.

There was a backstage shot of Kayla Braxton standing outside the dressing room of Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman walked there. Heyman said he didn’t have to recite his resume. Heyman asked her if she had a question. Heyman said that Roman will sign the contract and he has every reason to believe that he will. Heyman walked into Roman’s dressing, Kayla wanted to go ask Roman, but Heyman said she cannot go in.

Analysis: In my Smackdown review I wrote that Reigns signed the contract, but I guess not. The story is that Reigns didn’t sign it yet. Good to see Heyman on screen again.

Keith Lee was shown in the locker room stretching before his match. John Bradshaw Layfield walked up to Lee saying that he had some hedge funds to get involved in and JBL said it’s $1 million to get in. Lee said he doesn’t have the funds to get in that right now. JBL said if you win tonight, you’ll be on your way. JBL said don’t feel bad because Randy Orton is one of the greatest of all time. JBL wished him good luck.

Analysis: JBL was there because he was part of the Kickoff Show panel. It was just a way to have a veteran wrestler offer advice to a newcomer like Lee. Even though Keith is not new to the business at 35 years old (he’s been wrestling for 15 years), he’s still “new” on Raw.

They showed a clip from Talking Smack with The Miz talking to Big E. There was a great promo from Big E on the show saying that New Day as a group believed in themselves and they made something beautiful when they never should have made it. Big E said he trusts himself, his intuition and he feels something now as a singles wrestler.

Analysis: I saw the whole thing and it was an awesome fired up promo from Big E talking about how he was ready for this opportunity as a singles wrestler.

Sheamus entered for his match with the Irishman looking intense as usual. They showed a pre-tape promo from Sheamus saying that people have talked about Big E behind his back since New Day started. Sheamus said that now is Big E’s time to shine, but the truth is they haven’t held Big E back, they propped him up and now is Big E’s time to fall. Big E was up next as the opponent with the New Day style intro and you could hear the crowd getting a little louder for him.

Big E vs. Sheamus

Sheamus was going for a waist lock takedown, but Big E was able to power out of it. They ran the ropes with Big E hitting a running elbow to the chest. Big E to the apron with Sheamus hitting a knee to the ribs and the forearms to the chest. Sheamus to the apron with Big E tripping him up, but when Big E went for a splash, Sheamus moved and Big E hit the edge of the ring apron. Sheamus stomped away on the right knee and left knee of Big E. Sheamus drove Big E’s left leg into the top of Sheamus leg/thigh. Sheamus pulled back on the left leg of Big E as he grounded the big man and we could hear the ThunderDome crowd clapping in support of Big E. Sheamus continued to stretch the left leg/knee of Big E with Big E kicking the back of Sheamus to get out of it. Sheamus came back with the backbreaker for two. Sheamus with a half crab, Big E kicked out of that and Sheamus hit another kick. Sheamus up top, he jumped off and Big E caught him. Big E hit the two belly to belly suplexes, Sheamus with a headbutt and Big E hit a uranage slam for a two count. Sheamus to the apron, Big E charged, Sheamus got a knee up and hit a shoulder tackle. Big E hit the side belly to belly slam. Big E did some hip swiveling, so Sheamus picked him up and hit an Alabama Slam for a two count. They exchanged punches again, Sheamus went for a submission where he hooked the legs of Big E and Big E managed to get to the bottom ropes. Sheamus charged, Big E gave him a back body drop over the top to the floor and with Sheamus on the apron, Big E hit a running Spear to tackle Sheamus on the floor. We have seen Big E do that in the past and it always looks impressive. Big E went for the Big Ending, Sheamus slid out of it and slapped on a kneebar submission as he pulled back on the foot. Big E punched his way out of it. Sheamus came back with a jumping knee to the face for a two count. That sounded loud probably due to a leg slap, but it looked impressive too. Sheamus charged for a Brogue Kick attempt, but Big E caught him and hit a Powerbomb. Big E hit the Big Ending slam for the pinfall win at 11:23.

Winner by pinfall: Big E

Analysis: ***1/4 This was very good with Sheamus working on the left knee for the majority of the match and Big E did a nice job of selling the left knee during the match. I liked the submissions that Sheamus did and some of the power spots were smart because they are both strong guys that can pull it off. Big E hitting the big moves like the Spear off the apron, the Powerbomb to counter the Brogue Kick attempt and the Big Ending made Big E look strong in picking up the win. Big E’s winning ways continue as they should.

Post match, Big E went over to the announcers and said that he is ready. Great intensity shown by Big E. Big E left to the back while Sheamus was down by the ring apron.

There was an interview with Matt Riddle by new interviewer Alyse Ashton in some backstage ring setup. Riddle said that he’s always motivated and he’s done with King Corbin having people attack. Riddle said that the stallion is going to run all over King Corbin. Alyse asked Riddle for comments on a tweet that Corbin did about how Riddle’s a failure that has proven to be a failure at home. Riddle left without saying a word.

Analysis: The personal shot from Corbin led to a more serious look from Riddle, which is a good thing for Matt sometimes since he’s such a laid back guy. Earlier in the summer where some bad things were exposed about certain wrestlers, a woman that Riddle had an affair with was very open about talking about it and Riddle admitted to cheating on his wife. Riddle is married with three kids, so they used that information that some fans are aware of to add some heat to this story.

Shayna Baszler was shown warming up with Nia Jax going up to her to tell Shayna to follow her lead. Shayna and Jax argued as usual. They agreed to not have a pre-match chit chat.

A commercial aired for WWE superstars available in the World of Tanks game. They also had a commercial for WWE Network showing independent wrestling shows.

King Corbin was up first for his match. He was sitting on his throne and was carried down to the ring by some indy wrestlers. Matt Riddle was up next. Just like on Smackdown, he got the pyro for when he kicked his flip flops into the crowd. Right after that, Corbin decked him with a clothesline.

King Corbin vs. Matt Riddle

Corbin was very aggressive to start the match as he worked over Riddle with punches by the announce table. Back in the ring, Corbin grabbed a chinlock, they exchanged strikes, Corbin shoved him away and Riddle slapped on a kimura submission on the left arm. Corbin powered out of that with a body slam. Riddle jumped on Corbin’s back with a sleeper, but Corbin managed to fall back into a slam. Riddle grabbed a tighter sleeper/choke on the mat, but Corbin managed to get out of it and slammed Riddle to the mat. Corbin slid out of the ring, then back in and hit a clothesline for two. Corbin grabbed a chinlock type move, then Riddle got out of it and Corbin hit a slam. Corbin talked trash saying Riddle will bow down, Riddle came back with kicks and Corbin hit a running elbow. Riddle went for a kick, Corbin blocked it, tried for a half crab submission, Riddle got out of that and when Corbin did his slide out/slide back in spot there was Riddle waiting for him with a kick to the face to knock Corbin out of the ring. Riddle went out to the floor, Corbin sent him to the apron and when he was back in the ring, Riddle hit a rising kick to the head. Riddle hit two running forearms, then a broton splash and a running knee for two. They exchanged strikes, Riddle with a kick to the ribs that stunned Corbin and then Corbin punched him in the face. Riddle jumped off the middle ropes, Corbin moved and Corbin hit the Deep Six slam for a two count, which is normal for that move. Corbin has won with that a few times, but it’s usually a nearfall spot. Riddle with elbows to the head, then a triangle choke, Corbin got out of that, Riddle with a kick to the ribs and Bro to sleep knee. Riddle with the Floating Bro off the top rope for the pinfall win at 10:55.

Winner by pinfall: Matt Riddle

Analysis: *** This was good as a match that was similar to Sheamus/Big E where the heel was in control for most of it and then the babyface Riddle found a way to come back to win. I think maybe the should have tried a different match formula because it felt too similar to the match before it. Corbin did a nice job of selling the ribs whenever Riddle would attack them and that played into the finish since the Floating Bro is splash right onto the ribs. I liked the Sheamus/Big E match more than this match, but both of them had the same goal of having the babyface win. That’s the right finish.

There were some commercials with Alexa Bliss in one of them. There was a commercial for a WWE Network show looking back at SummerSlam 2015.

Matt Riddle was shown backstage after his match with Alysa there for an interview, Riddle said it was great to be done with Corbin and that led to Corbin attacking Riddle from behind.

Analysis: That means that this feud MUST CONTINUE. I was ready for them to move on, but it could be a stipulation match with Riddle winning again.

PLUG TIME: Please check out our WWF 2000 section on TJRWrestling where I review every Raw, Smackdown and pay-per-view from that amazing year 20 years ago. Most posts go up 20 years to the day that took place including the SummerSlam 2000 review for a show headlined by The Rock, Triple H and Kurt Angle while the first ever TLC match clearly stole the show. The quality of PPVs that year was amazing. When writing about Raw and Smackdown, it was a different time where they had short matches on a consistent basis, but when it came time to have the matches on PPV, the incredible roster did an amazing job. I’m looking forward to continuing on post SummerSlam while leading into Steve Austin’s return from a major neck injury. It’s all in the WWF 2000 section on TJRWrestling, so please check it out now and check back for more new content all the time.

There was a video package about Sasha Banks and Bayley having a lot of success over the last few months as the Golden Role Models with the women calling themselves the best Tag Team Champions ever.  They barely defend the titles, but heels like to lie like that.

Sasha Banks and Bayley entered for the Women’s Tag Team Title match. It was noted by Cole that it was Bayley’s 324th day as Smackdown Women’s Champion. They put a Role Model shirt on Cole’s head, so that makes me like the women more. Nia Jax made her entrance along with her reluctant partner Shayna Baszler. The Smackdown announcers called this since Sasha and Bayley are Smackdown wrestlers normally.

Women’s Tag Team Championships: Bayley and Sasha Banks vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax

Baszler started with Banks with Banks avoiding the stomp on the arm as Bayley tagged in. Baszler hooked the arm leading to a slam. Banks was grabbing Jax’s foot and Bayley shoved Baszler into  Jax, who went down to the floor with Jax selling a left knee injury. Banks pulled back on Shayna’s arm, then a knee to the ribs and two vertical suplexes like Eddie Guerrero. Bayley and Banks picked up Baszler for a double team slam, but they didn’t time it well, so it looked off. Jax shoved Banks into the ring to try to break up a pin. Banks tried jumping onto Jax, but Jax caught her and whipped Banks into the barricade repeatedly. Cole was screaming during that. Jax tagged in with a shoulder tackle on Bayley, then a splash and an elbow drop. Bayley broke free with a slap to the face, the referee was busy with Shayna to keep her out of the ring, then Banks clipped the knee and Bayley hit a running knee. Banks with the double knee attack in the corner twice. Banks with a dropkick on Jax to keep her down. Banks drove Jax’s left knee into the ring apron. Bayley charged, Jax caught her and Jax did a front slam. Both champs were in the ring, Banks sent Banks’ feet into Bayley and Jax hit a Samoan Drop on Banks. Bayley tried a leg submission that went nowhere as Jax dragged Bayley to the corner and Baszler tagged in. Baszler with kicks, then a running knee, a sliding knee on Banks and a sliding knee on Bayley too. Baszler with a gutwrench suplex and another knee to Bayley for a two count. Banks tagged in leading to Shayna hitting a gutwrench suplex on her. Jax splashed Banks, then Jax Bayley/Banks at the same time and when Jax went for a Powerbomb, Banks drove Jax face first into the mat. Jax was grabbing at her nose to sell an injury. Bayley up top, elbow drop and Banks up top with a Frog Splash on Jax for a two count while Bayley hit a Bayley to Belly on Baszler. It was a power kickout by Jax.

Banks with a sliding knee on Jax for another two count. Banks with a kick to the head, Bayley tagged in and Baszler made the blind tag as the champs hit a double back body drop on Jax. Baszler with a flapjack on Banks. Baszler had Banks in the Muta Lock on her legs and then Baszler slapped on the Kirifuda Clutch on Bayley. Baszler grabbed Sasha’s arm to help choke Bayley, so then Bayley tapped out at 10:30.

Winners by submission AND NEW Women’s Tag Team Champions: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax

Analysis: *** The finish was great. There are new champions, which I expected since the Bayley/Banks duo is slowly falling apart. It’s hard for me to be that interested in Nia Jax matches, but Banks and Bayley were so awesome with their teamwork, their selling and the emotions with which they sold some of the things in the match. Baszler looked great although I wonder if fans would cheer for her in a situation like that. Anyway, I loved the finish and that boosted the rating for sure. It was really innovative, so give a lot of credit to Baszler, Banks and Bayley for it.

Post match, Jax and Baszler hugged briefly, then moved away from each other (that was mildly funny) and they each celebrated with the Women’s Tag Team Titles.

There was Charly Caruso in the ring with Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler. The interview didn’t go anywhere because Jax was just celebrating and said she didn’t care about doing an interview. Meanwhile, Banks and Bayley looked very sad at ringside. Banks has no title anymore while Bayley still has her Smackdown title. Jax and Baszler continued their celebration where they didn’t get along.

There was a commercial for WWE Network shows. They have been busy with a lot of content.

A video package aired to set up Randy Orton vs. Keith Lee. That included highlights from Raw with Orton hitting The Punt to WWE Champion Drew McIntyre, which set up Lee facing Orton in a rematch from Raw.

Keith Lee made his entrance first. It looks like he has back to wrestling in trunks again, so that’s an improvement from Raw. There was some frilly thing that was part of his jacket, which looked weird, but it’s not like he wrestled in it. Lee was also wearing a tight tank top rather than wrestling shirtless like he did in NXT. You can see the photo below. Randy Orton was up next as the opponent.

Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton

Lee with a running cross body block that sent Orton out of the ring. Orton said he was the Legend Killer that demands respect, so Orton hit Lee with three hard chops to the massive chest of Lee. It was a double chop from Lee to the chest, a charge, Orton moved and Lee went left shoulder first into the turnbuckle. Lee was on the floor with Orton following out there with a belly to back slam onto the announce table, which did not break. Orton grabbed a chinlock. Lee got out of it with an elbow, then he ran the ropes and hit a running shoulder tackle with Orton bumping under the bottom rope to the floor. That was a great sell job by Orton along with his facial expressions. Lee slammed Orton onto the top of the announce table just like Orton loves to do. Lee to the apron, Orton kicked him and Orton hit a DDT off the ropes. That spot needs to be more creative. It makes Lee look like dumbass. Orton was setting up for the RKO, but Lee caught him and Lee hit the Spirit Bomb (sitout powerbomb) for the pinfall win at 6:40.

Winner by pinfall: Keith Lee

Analysis: ** Yes! This was great. This was everything that it should have been. I’m so happy they booked it this way. That’s how I wanted  Lee to beat Orton in dominant fashion, but I didn’t expect it to happen like that in a six minute match. It’s great that they booked it this way. The star rating doesn’t matter because it’s all about making Lee look dominant on the Raw brand and beating Orton in that kind of way was what I was hoping for. This does a lot for Lee as a credible wrestler that can be pushed in a big way on Raw in the near future.

Lee celebrated the win while the announcers put it over as a big deal. Orton was stunned while sitting outside the ring. Lee continued to celebrate.

Paul Heyman was backstage in a hallway with Kayla Braxton there to ask him about Roman Reigns. Heyman said that Roman Reigns offered not a prediction, but a spoiler that he will leave this evening as the Universal Champion and you can believe that. Heyman said that you can believe him.

The video package aired for the tag team match with Rey and Dominik Mysterio against Seth Rollins and Murphy.

The entrances took place for Rollins and Murphy. Rey and Dominik entered for what will be their second tag team match together after they teamed on Raw as well.

Seth Rollins and Murphy vs. Rey and Dominik Mysterio

Dominik was aggressive right away, which caused the heels to retreat to the floor. Dominik was in the same outfit as last week covering his body, but no hood on the top of it, which is smart because it gets in the way. Dominik sent Rollins out of the ring again after a springboard attack. Dominik with an arm drag followed by a dropkick. Dominik with a side Russian legsweep and a running dropkick for Rey that got a two count on Murphy. Rey wanted Rollins with Rey getting a nearfall after a sunset flip style move. Rollins came back with a gutbuster power move. Rey knocked Murphy off the apron, then Rollins slid Rey under the bottom rope right onto the knees of Murphy. Back in the ring, Rollins hit a running shoulder tackle on Rey and Murphy tagged in for his own running shoulder tackle on Rey against the turnbuckle. Rey avoided a charge from Rollins and hit a creative bulldog. Dominik got the tag from his dead, Dominik off the top, but the heels caught him and Rollins hit a Falcon Arrow sitout slam for two. Murphy slapped on an abdominal stretch on Dominik. There was a jawbreaker by Dominik, but Murphy pulled Dominik to the turnbuckle and Rollins tagged back in with a body slam. Dominik tried with some punches, but then Rollins sent him under the ropes to the floor. Dominik sent Murphy into the barricade. Rollins jumped off the apron, Dom moved and Rollins hit the barricade. Rey got the tag with a headscissors on Rollins, then a whip into the turnbuckle and Rey hit a moonsault off the top onto a standing Rollins. Rey with a drop toe hold into the ropes, Rollins avoided the 619 kick, Rey rolled out of a move and hit a kick to the face for a two count. Dominik got back into it with a spinning DDT on Murphy that looked incredible. Rollins with a Slingblade on Dominik. Rey went up top, seated senton onto Rollins and Seth came back with a backbreaker. A lot of action going on here! Rollins and Rey battled in the ring while Dominik exchanged punches with Murphy on the floor until Rey took out Murphy with a diving attack. Rey went for a move off the top, Rollins got the knees up to block and Rollins hit a superkick for two

Rey avoided The Stomp from Rollins, Rey jumped up, Rollins caught him and hit a sitout slam that sent Rey face first. Dominik broke up the pin. Dominik tossed Murphy out of the ring, but then Rollins hit Dominik in the ribs. Rollins and Murphy drove Dominik back first into the barricade. Rollins whipped Rey into the barricade. Rollins trash-talked Rey wondering where’s his family now, where’s Angie (Rey’s wife) and he told Murphy to kick Rey in the head. Rey countered Seth’s move and Murphy kicked Rollins by accident. Rey with a headscissors into the ropes, Dominik sent Rey onto Seth on the floor for a sunset flip into the barricade. Dominik with a 619 kick on Murphy and up top with a Frog Splash for the pinfall win at 15:57.

Winners by pinfall: Rey and Dominik Mysterio

Analysis: **** This was an awesome tag team match. I’m amazed at how well Rey continues to move out there at 45 years old and many knee surgeries, but he looks like a kid out there. Speaking of his kid, Dominik continues to impress because he’s in the right spot at the right time, he has cool looking moves and sells really well as well. Rollins and Murphy were excellent as well with Rollins showing a lot of cockiness that ended up backfiring on him throughout the match. Murphy taking the pin was no surprise since that’s what he is there for in these tag team matches. Dominik getting the win for his team was also the right move since it gives him his first pinfall victory in a match where he got to team with his dad. That’s pretty cool as a story. Get the Tag Team Titles on Rey and Dominik soon. Build up to it. Make it a big deal. Doesn’t have to be right away, but obviously that’s something that needs to happen with them.

Post match, Dominik hugged his dad as the victors. They had a lot joy together being in the ring together and it showed. Rollins looked at Murphy with a look of disgust on Seth’s face and Rollins left alone, so it’s a tease that there might be a breakup or at least Murphy will have to prove himself to Rollins.

A commercial aired for Clash of Champions on September 20. Moments later when the announcers talked about it, the graphic on the screen said September 27. The actual date is September 27, so the commercial had an error. I believe it was September 20 and then WWE pushed it back one week later.

The Hurt Business trio of MVP, Lashley and Benjamin were shown leaving the building looking happy about their night since Lashley is the new US Champion.

A video package aired to set up the Universal Title match in the main event.

Universal Championship No Holds Barred Match: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

Strowman hit a quick Running Powerslam for a two count. The Fiend came back with a running cross body block and Sister Abigail for a two count. They kicked out of finishers within the first two minutes. They left the ring with The Fiend hitting a uranage slam on Strowman through the announce table. There was a shot of Alexa Bliss in pigtails watching on a TV screen backstage. The Fiend grabbed a huge mallet from under the ring. We have seen that before. Strowman launched a leather chair at The Fiend. Strowman tried to attack again, but Fiend sent him into the barricade. The Fiend attacked with the giant mallet to the chest of Strowman followed by some laughing from The Fiend. When Strowman got back up, The Fiend did the dreaded neck twist to knock the big man down. Fiend had the steel steps and he hit Strowman with them. They showed Bliss watching on a TV backstage again. The Fiend did another neck twist. The wrestlers were on the staging area while the referee was in the ring because that’s where you had to go for the pinfall. Strowman shoved Fiend into the big screens on the stage. The Fiend wanted to hit Sister Abigail on the stage, but Strowman fought him off and Strowman hit a running shoulder tackle off the stage through a table that was conveniently right there. There was still no sign of Reigns as Strowman and Fiend were at the side of the ramp. Strowman brought The Fiend back into the ring. Strowman slowly climbed to the top rope, he had a tough time getting his balance and Fiend knocked him down. Fiend hit a superplex off the middle rope and the ring imploded, which led to referee Charles Robinson bumping out of the ring and onto the floor.

The music of Roman Reigns hit as he walked down to the ring with Paul Heyman by his side. Reigns signed the contract that Heyman had in his hands. Reigns covered Fiend, a new referee Dan Engler went to the ring and Reigns got multiple nearfalls on both guys. Reigns beat on Strowman with repeated chairshots to the back for a two count. The Fiend popped back up with the Mandible Claw on Reigns, but then Roman kicked him in the groin to break free. Reigns bumped out of the ring because it was not balanced. Reigns hit a Spear on Strowman and that led to the pinfall win at 12:41. Reigns worked the whole match with his “Wreck Everyone & Leave” t-shirt on.

Winner by pinfall AND NEW Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

Analysis: **1/4 The Roman Reigns comeback is complete as the new Universal Champion. I didn’t like how it was booked with Braun and Fiend beating eachother up for ten minutes and then Reigns picked up the scraps so to speak. While I get why they booked it this way since it made Reigns look like a jerk, I think they could have gone another way with it. Give Strowman and Wyatt some credit for working hard in their ten minutes, but it was tough to get into any of the nearfalls since we knew Reigns was going to show up. It wasn’t a great match by any means, but the end result should get people talking with Reigns as the new Universal Champion while Paul Heyman is by his side.

There were replays of the key spots of the match.

Reigns stood on the ramp with Paul Heyman by his side as Heyman raised Roman’s hand as the new Universal Champion. Reigns stood proudly with a smile on his face as the new Universal Champion. That was the end of the show.

Analysis: It was nearly two years ago when Roman Reigns had to give up the Universal Title due to leukemia. Reigns never lost it and now it’s back. I think it’s going to be a long reign until perhaps WrestleMania. It sucks for The Fiend that he only had it for a week, but it’s Roman’s time. I also don’t think The Fiend, as a character, really needs a title as long as he can have interesting feuds with different people. Meanwhile, it will mean more with Reigns holding the title. I’m looking forward to seeing how things go on Smackdown from here.

This event had a runtime of 2:31:54 minutes on WWE Network.

 

Five Stars of the Show

  1. Rey and Dominik Mysterio
  2. Seth Rollins and Murphy
  3. Keith Lee
  4. Big E
  5. Roman Reigns – I’m happy he’s back.

 

Final Thoughts

I’m going with a 7.25 out of 10 for this show.

I think Payback was an easy show to watch with a lot of babyface wins, three title changes that were a bit predictable, but that’s okay because they felt right. My fave match was Rey/Dom vs. Rollins/Murphy. It went by quick at 2 hours and 32 minutes too. If I had to compare it to SummerSlam last week, I liked SummerSlam just a bit more and that show was 30 minutes longer. My favorite booking on the show was Keith Lee beating Randy Orton in the dominant manner that he did. I wanted it to happen that way, but I had my doubts that it would and then to see them do it, that was really cool to see.

This was also the second straight Sunday PPV with no sign of the Retribution group that ended Raw and didn’t appear on Smackdown either. It’s weird how sometimes WWE features them, yet other times there’s no sign of him. It’s hard to really predict where things are headed with them.

It was a big night for babyfaces since Bobby Lashley was the only heel to win in the early matches. Roman Reigns is now a heel I guess, so that’s another heel win. The other matches were about putting over the faces like Big E, Riddle, Lee, Rey/Dominik and have the heel team of Bayley/Banks lose to another team.

I don’t think this was a special show or anything like that. However, it was well booked, the matches were timed well with nothing going too long or short and it had some good finishes as well. SummerSlam was also booked well. Does good booking lead to better shows? Yes, it does. Imagine that! More of that, please. We all want good booking.

 

My WWE PPV Rankings for 2020 looks like this so far:

Royal Rumble – 8

SummerSlam – 7.75

Payback – 7.25

Money in the Bank – 6.75

WrestleMania 36 – 6.25

Backlash – 6

Elimination Chamber – 6

The Horror Show at Extreme Rules – 5.75

Super Showdown – 3

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