Some of the most fun WWE pay per view events are the ones that look terrible on paper. Payback 2014 was one of those special events that exceeded expectations. Fans can argue results, but the champion-less crew delivered in front of an always hot Chicago crowd. While the headliner failed to deliver as advertised, it was the Last Man Standing Match that would make up the slack and stole the show.
[adinserter block=”1″]The big story coming out of Payback was the quality of the show. Most fans soured on the lineup once news broke that Daniel Bryan was unable to wrestle. The show on paper looked average with a main-event expected to deliver. Things didn’t go as planned. Instead fans got an exciting show with a disappointing main-event. The event had a great pace and most of the matches were all pretty good to very good to great. Yet it would be The Last Man Standing Match and not the main-event that stole the show. The L.M.S.M. is an immediate Match of the Year candidate. The Chicago crowd helped quite a bit as they were vocal from start to finish making every match on the event feel like something special.
John Cena and Bray Wyatt redeemed themselves with a classic following their dud at Extreme Rules. Cena brought the Usos out as backups to Harper and Rowan. Lots of action in this match, unlike their cage match. They traded finishers a few times throughout the match. At one point it looked like Wyatt was down after Cena used steel steps on him. Cena threw the steps over the top rope and they landed on Wyatt on the floor. They wound up brawling through the arena. The finish came when Cena delivered the Attitude Adjustment to Wyatt through a wooden tech case on the floor and subsequently tipped over another case on top of Wyatt for the win. Jerry Lawler called it a classic. I don’t know that he isn’t far off. It was great with lots of good spots with the Usos and Rowan and Harper, arguably the best Last Man Standing Match in WWE history (right up there with Umaga vs. Cena). It was the complete antithesis of their Extreme Rules match. If you missed the show and own the Network I’d recommend watching this one ASAP if you haven’t already.
According to reports heading into the match this feud will continue. I am not sure where they go from here, although I will say that this match didn’t appear to deliver any kind of closure. I have to think at this point that this feud is going through SummerSlam.
The Shield swept Evolution in a headliner that failed to live up to their previous match at Extreme Rules. This one started off wild with all of the guys paired off and fighting around the outside of the ring. The match finally started to settle down with Reigns and Batista in the ring. Things got stale for a bit until Reigns and Hunter squared off. The crowd was pretty quiet until a “Boo-tista” chant broke out. Solid match for about 15 minutes but nothing special. Things started to heat up again after Reigns and Batista tagged in. Reigns got a two-count on Batista after a Superman punch. At this point the action spilled to the outside. Triple H and Rollins brawled to the tech area. Ambrose and Orton brawled out into the crowd. Evolution gave Reigns a triple-powerbomb through a table. Hunter pedigreed Rollins onto a chair on the ramp. Reigns wound up back in the ring taking punishment from all three. It was a slow, methodical pace at this point with some fans starting to boo. All three Evolution members took shots at Reigns with kendo sticks. Reigns hit a Superman punch on Orton out of nowhere yet he was still outmanned. These guys really should have cut out that 10-15 minutes earlier in the match because this thing was starting to drag. It was 3-on-1 for way too long and the fans got restless. The story here was Evolution winning the numbers game by taking out two guys and triple-teaming the other. Rollins did a dive off the tron to turn things around. Batista speared Rollins as Rollins came off the ropes. Rollins rolled off of a Batista Bomb attempt and Reigns nailed Batista out of nowhere for the pin and Rollins covered him for the elimination. The story at this point was the Shield with the advantage. Dean Ambrose eliminated Randy Orton leaving Triple H as the sole survivor of his team. Reigns hit a Superman punch on Triple H as Hunter was going for a pedigree. Batista came back in and speared Reigns (it was No DQ). Orton slid a sledgehammer into the ring for Hunter. Reigns wound up pinning Hunter after a spear for the clean sweep.
This match was greatly disappointing. It went way too long and the action was too slow. It told a great story but it was overkill. Quite honestly I don’t recall the Shield ever having a match this disappointing.
It should surprise nobody that Daniel Bryan did not surrender the title. Bryan, Brie, and Stephanie had a fun segment going back and forth with each other. Stephanie at one point predicted Brie and Bryan having “bearded babies” which was pretty funny. Brie quit, taking the power away from Stephanie. Brie wound up slapping a laughing Stephanie hard in the face (and I do mean hard). Stephanie quickly left the ring with a surprised look on her face as the Chicago crowd carried out one of the best Yes chants since WrestleMania.
Sheamus pinned Cesaro in the opener to retain the United States title. That is not something I’d generally go out of my way to mention but the match was fantastic. Real back and forth match with these guys which saw Sheamus win with a small package. This was probably one of the best PPV openers I have seen in a while on a WWE event. The result while predictable was not well received by the Chicago crowd.
One more note. There were two mentions of CM Punk at Payback. Stephanie and Paul Heyman dropped his name during promos. I don’t want to start any rumors but that was odd. Maybe there is something there?
[adinserter block=”2″]Full WWE Payback winners and results…
The Shield defeated Evolution 3-0 in a No DQ Elimination Match
Paige defeated Alicia Fox to retain the WWE Divas title
John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing Match
Bad News Barrett defeated Rob Van Dam to retain the WWE I-C title
Kane destroyed Kofi Kingston
Ry-Baxel defeated The Rhodes brothers
Rusev defeated Big E by submission
Sheamus defeated Cesaro to retain the WWE U.S. title
Torito defeated Hornswoggle in a Hair vs. Mask match
[amazon_link id=”B00JHH1YAW” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]WWE The Paul Heyman Story[/amazon_link]