The WWE returned to pay per view with Payback 2013 on Father’s Day. While the Three Stages of Hell headliner may not go down as a classic, the undercard is being regarded by many as one of the strongest in recent memory.
John Cena retained the WWE championship as expected winning two falls to one in the Three Stages of Hell main-event over Ryback. Ryback pinned Cena to win the first fall in a Lumberjack Match. Cena came back to win two straight in a Tables Match and an Ambulance Match. The finish came when Cena put Ryback through an ambulance with an Attitude Adjustment to win the match.
I’d say the match was pretty good, not great, but certainly not bad. That said, it didn’t hold a candle to the Punk vs. Jericho match and was probably better thanks to a hot crowd. I am assuming that this feud is over, especially with a rumored Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena match at Money in the Bank although I have heard rumblings that they may wind up circling back again at the end of the summer.
CM Punk returned after a lengthy absence and defeated Chris Jericho in what some are calling a Match of the Year candidate. I would probably say that this was better than The Undertaker vs. Punk but both were just completely different matches. Punk and Jericho had a ton of near falls here which made for some great drama with the hot Chicago crowd. There is something about Punk in Chicago that is just gold on pay per views and this match was no different. Punk won with two Go To Sleeps. It should be noted that Jericho was working with an injured knee which is pretty remarkable given his performance.
The big news coming out of this match was the aftermath on WWE.com. Punk and Heyman had a vignette that went under a minute which saw their relationship end…yep that’s the angle. Punk told Heyman that they’re friends but he doesn’t need his help and is not his client. My hunch here is that Heyman will continue to get Punk involved in matches and Punk will eventually lose it on RAW culminating in a Brock Lesnar SummerSlam match.
In other big news Alberto Del Rio not only regained the WWE world heavyweight title from Dolph Ziggler, but the both actually turned in the match. Ziggler wrestled the match like a babyface and wsa cheered heavily by the Chicago crowd. Del Rio worked over Ziggler’s head throughout the match playing off of the concussion. The trainer came out at one point and wanted to stop the match but Dolph wanted to continue. A.J. also wanted the match stopped. Dolph eventually succumbed to a superkick. I am excited to see where Dolph goes as a babyface and Del Rio was much more tolerable as a heel to me. I am not sure if this means Big E. and A.J. turn although you’d certainly get that impression after the match.
Speaking of turning, The Shield defeated Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan. Bryan connected on Orton with a tope at one point by accident. Rollins pinned Bryan with a running curb stomp. Orton walked out frustrated after the match. If I didn’t know any better I’d certainly think they were going with a Bryan vs. Orton feud although reports still indicate Bryan will be challenging Cena.
I could see a scenario where Bryan turns at the end of all of this. Maybe The Shield get involved with Bryan vs. Cena, Bryan and Cena team up against The Shield, Bryan turns officially on Cena and the two have a lengthy series in the fall. Once again this is just a guess on my part.
The big news of the night may be the return of Rob Van Dam. RVD was announced for Money in the Bank. I’ll have more on this later.
Overall this was a fantastic show. I’d highly recommend the replay if you skipped the live show for Father’s Day activities like I did.
Sheamus defeated Damien Sandow
Curtis Axel (with Paul Heyman) defeated Wade Barrett (c) and The Miz in a Triple threat match to win the Intercontinental Championship
AJ Lee (with Big E Langston) defeated Kaitlyn (c) to win the WWE Divas Championship
Dean Ambrose defeated Kane via countout to retain the WWE United States Championship
Alberto Del Rio (with Ricardo Rodriguez) defeated Dolph Ziggler with AJ Lee and Big E Langston) to win the World Heavyweight Championship
CM Punk (with Paul Heyman) defeated Chris Jericho
The Shield (Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) defeated Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
John Cena defeated Ryback in a Three Stages of Hell match for the WWE Championship
Stage 1 – Lumberjack match (won by Ryback)
Stage 2 – Tables match (won by Cena)
Stage 3 – Ambulance match (won by Cena)
Cena wins 2 falls to 1
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