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May 02, 2016

WWE Payback: Reigns retains in a wildly entertaining main event

Wrestling WWE
050216_reigns_WWE WWE/Twitter

Despite interference from Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows, Roman Reigns was able to retain his championship against AJ Styles Sunday night.

WWE’s Payback pay-per-view on Sunday night was a really good show and almost hit a home run if it wasn’t for the fact that only three of my eight predictions heading into the event came true. The beginning of the show got off to a rocky start because nothing made sense. The booking was terrible. Especially with the first two preshow matches. If you had a chance to see them, I feel bad for you.

However, once the main card hit, things picked up. Fortunately, it looks like Enzo Amore will be okay after suffering a concussion in what looked like to be a more devastating injury at first glance. We’ll show you that later.

Here’s what went down at the Allstate Arena in Chicago on Sunday night:

Kickoff Preshow

Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

With Corbin gaining the upper hand on Ziggler more times than not, it makes pro wrestling sense for Ziggler to come out on top here. However, this is Corbin, a guy they’ve built already to win the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal and to look like a million bucks on television, so what do they do?

Have him lose to Ziggler. Why? I can’t answer that. Corbin’s first singles pay-per-view match, and he’s losing to Ziggler. A guy he has demolished on television for weeks. What sense does that make? A new star, brought up from NXT, and losing like this.

But, it’s WWE. It happens all the time. That’s why they can’t build new stars. Their booking is solidly terrible. So I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Your winner: Dolph Ziggler

United States Championship

Kalisto (c) vs. Ryback

This is the match Ryback should have destroyed Kalisto. This is what this angle has been building to. Ryback needs to win the United States Championship or else he suffers a huge blow to his character and his chances to ever get another big reaction from the crowd again.

So, what does WWE do? They have Kalisto defeat Ryback with the Salida del Sol. And I’m not happy about it.

Your winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Kalisto

And the ridiculous run of Kalisto beating Ryback continues. This “feud” makes zero sense if Ryback doesn’t win the United States Championship at least once. Instead, he’s lost to Kalisto way too much for this angle to even work. There’s not much else to say other than this story sucks.

Kalisto isn’t even a good champion. He never defends the title. That’s not necessarily his fault, but if the creative team wants people to take him seriously as a champion and not just a tag team wrestler who just happens to have a title, he needs to defend the title on TV more. Maybe then this outcome would’ve been okay with me.

Hey, Kalisto, maybe it’s time to start defending your title each 
week, like John Cena did when he was champion. Ever think of that!? Huh!?

No. 1 Contender Tag Team Tournament Final

Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady vs. The Vaudevillains

Unfortunately, this match never had the chance to get off the ground. In an inadvertent accident, Simon Gotch was supposed to throw Amore beneath the ropes to the outside of the ring, but Amore’s body couldn’t get under the ropes in enough time.

Here’s a Tweet from WWE’s official account, and I warn you, it’s not pretty.

Amore’s head hit off the second rope and then the mat before going under the bottom rope, and that’s when he seems to be completely out cold. His eyes were open, but he wasn’t there. He fell outside the ring and may have also smacked his head on the concrete floor below the ring, since the mat cuts out where the ring apron begins. It’s hard to tell if he landed on concrete, but it didn’t look good at all. The match was immediately stopped and there was no winner declared.

WWE posted video on its YouTube channel if Amore being taken out of the arena in an ambulance and we can really see how emotional Cassady is.

Throughout the night, Michael Cole and WWE’s Twitter feed kept us updated on the status of Amore. He reportedly suffered a concussion, and other tests have come back negative.

Before Amore was discharged from the hospital, Kevin Owens had some fun.

Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for one of the men who has reinvigorated WWE’s tag team division.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

What a way to follow up that scary Amore injury, but if anyone on the main roster could do it, it’d be these guys. Following a fantastic video package that WWE still for some reason hasn’t put on their YouTube channel, Owens and Zayn just had a flat out brawl.

It was also full of great wrestling, too. That’s what both of these guys bring when they get in the ring every day. Sunday night marked the first time they went one-on-one in a WWE main roster ring, and it was great. These guys tell a great story and it really comes across on television like they both hate each other now after being best friends before.

Too many ring apron bumps, though. Ouch.

The Pop-Up Powerbomb struck again for Owens as he put Zayn down for the count, but something tells me this isn’t the end of their war.

Your winner: Kevin Owens

After the match, Byron Saxton reluctantly got in the ring to interview Owens, but it definitely didn’t go how he had planned. Owens said his feud with Zayn was over and now he was going to focus on the Intercontinental Championship again.

And that meant staying at ringside on commentary for the next match.

WWE Intercontinental Championship

The Miz (c) w/ Maryse vs. Cesaro

I thought this would be the time Cesaro would finally win a singles championship after the run he had with the United States Championship years ago. That wasn’t meant to be. And that was because the feud between Owens and Zayn spilled over to this match. Sorry, Owens, it’s not over between you two.

The Miz/Cesaro match wasn’t a bad encounter, but having Owens and Zayn actively involved in it may be hinting towards a future Fatal Four Way match, possibly at Extreme Rules. Cesaro had Miz beaten, but Zayn, who attacked Owens on commentary, and Owens made their way to the ring apron, which got the attention of the referee.

Cesaro wasn’t having it, so he knocked both guys off the apron and then got rolled up by the champion and pinned. And, yep, Miz was holding the tights. That dastardly heel.

Your winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: The Miz

After the match, Cesaro attacked Miz, but then Owens came in and attacked Cesaro. Zayn then came in and received a Pop-Up Powerbomb for his troubles. Owens then went for the Pop-Up Powerbomb to Miz, but Maryse saved him and they retreated.

No controversy for Miz retaining his title, according to Miz and Maryse.

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

This feud has been building pretty well, and Jericho deserves a lot of the credit. Ambrose, a sneaky babyface, still knows how to play off a great heel like Jericho, so it seems like a natural fit for these guys to feud.

I wasn’t sure about the match placement, so I thought Jericho would win this one with Ambrose getting a win in their rematch. That wasn’t exactly the case.

There were some great spots in this match, but the ending was a little weird. Ambrose was trying to set Jericho up for Dirty Deeds, and it looked like Jericho would counter after battling it. He didn’t, and Ambrose hit his finisher for the win.

Your winner: Dean Ambrose

Jericho threw a fit after the match.

WWE Women’s Championship

Charlotte (c) w/ Ric Flair vs. Natalya w/ Bret Hart

Both WWE Hall of Famers, Ric Flair and Bret Hart, were at ringside for this match, with Charles Robinson as the referee. That’s important, as you’ll soon see.

This was a pretty good match even though I don’t think anyone thought Natalya had a realistic shot of winning the Women’s Championship. I could buy a fluke win and then losing it back to Charlotte at Extreme Rules because it is just three weeks away, but, hey, why not another screwjob since Hart is here!?

Robinson, who has a long history with the Flairs dating back to WCW, called for the bell as Charlotte has Natalya in the Sharpshooter, even though Natalya never submitted.

It happened so quickly, that Hart couldn’t do anything about it. I guess that’s how they get around Hart being there to diminish Flair’s effectiveness.

Your winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Charlotte

It’s the Chicago Screwjob. WWE says it’s a new era, but then it goes back to a finish from almost 19 years ago in Montreal. Never change, WWE. Wait. As a matter of fact, do change, because these women deserve better outcomes than Flair interfering and screwjob endings.

Vince McMahon made his way down to the ring to announce who would be taking over Monday Night Raw’s decision-making – his son, Shane or his daughter, Stephanie. After quickly entertaining some of the “CM Punk!” chants from the crowd, Vince introduced his daughter who gave a speech on why she should be selected by her father to run Monday Night Raw.

Shane O’Mac then interrupted with his awesome theme song and made his way to the ring. He cited several publications that have written articles about how he’s done such a great job at the helm of Raw, including FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, and Rolling Stone. I guess my constant stream of Tweets to him and talking him up on my previous Raw roundups wasn’t good enough for him to list PhillyVoice, but I’m a big enough man with character to let that slide as an honest mistake. You’re forgiven, Shane.

Things got rather awkward when Vince said he wants to see his children seek blood. He said he wanted them to slit each other’s throats before ultimately giving them both control of Raw. Poor SmackDown. Nobody likes you. Until either Shane or Stephanie are forced to head that brand when the inevitable brand extension occurs.

Maybe. It still could happen.

The partnership of brother and sister began with a handshake after Vince left the ring, and we didn’t even have to wait until Raw to see it play out.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles

I was wondering how these guys would use each other’s styles [no pun intended] in the ring to make this main event great, and I didn’t have to wait for long. Reigns can definitely be seen as a product of who he’s in the ring with because this main event was highly entertaining and Reigns had a lot to do with that.

In a fantastic spot, Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm from the inside to the outside of the ring, putting both himself and Reigns through an announce table. Here I am, taking notes and sipping on my iced tea, and before I know it, the referee counted to ten and Reigns had been counted out, giving Styles the victory but not the title.

Not so fast. New co-general manager (?) of Raw, Shane O’Mac, came down and announced this match would have no countouts. So Reigns had a chance to get a win back and Styles had a chance to win the championship again.

But, we had another issue arise after Reigns inadvertently [maybe?] hit Styles with a low blow as he was coming off the top rope for a high-risk maneuver. It certainly was high-risk for Styles.

After a few moments of surveying the damage Reigns did, the referee rang the bell and disqualified him for low blowing Styles. So in the span of a few minutes, Styles defeated Reigns twice, but no championship had changes hands.

Not so fast again. This time, Stephanie came out to declare the match was No Disqualification.

Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Reigns got him with the Superman Punch, but only got a two count.

Styles then was able to hit the move after Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson attacked Reigns, but the champion got his foot on the rope to break the count.

A wild match became even wilder as The Usos made their way to the ring to even the odds.

So many awesome things happening, that we almost saw Styles hit a third Phenomenal Forearm on Reigns after a Styles Clash attempt was countered, but Reigns countered again and hit him with a spear for the pin and win.

Your winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns

After the match, Vince was shown backstage with Shane and Stephanie and thought their decisions to come out and make the main event a no 
countout and no disqualification match, respectively, was brilliant. The two then decided it’d be a good time to announce the main event for the next pay-per-view, Extreme Rules, in just three weeks. They both agreed Styles deserved a rematch for the title, so they gave it to him against Reigns in an Extreme Rules match.

Overall, this was a very entertaining main card, with two subpar preshow matches and a scary situation with Amore. We’ll keep you updated on his condition in our Raw roundup on Tuesday morning.

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