Monday, June 2, 2014

WWE Payback 2014

Some thoughts on WWE Payback, the PPV Special Event from this past Sunday, which I will continue to refer to as such until these events become exclusive to the WWE Network, like the NXT stuff. Anyway, let's get to it.

United States champion Sheamus defeated Cesaro with a roll-up pinfall to retain the title and the supposed good guy resorts to the most chicken-shit heel way of beating the King of Swing. What a guy... and then they wonder why we don't care about their chosen heroes. Anyway, this is a good solid fight and both guys turned out well for the most part. For an opening contest, you couldn't ask for a better match to get the ball rolling and they did just that here. No complaints.

The team of Ryback and Curtis Axel defeat the Rhodes Brothers with a Skip Sheffield Shellshock on Cody. Cody then tells Goldust

he needs a better tag team partner. Well, that's kinda harsh, Cody. What, you want him to get Judy Bagwell as a tag partner, 'cuz God knows how well THAT went. Anyway, this was nothing amazing, but nothing offensive. Kept me somewhat entertained, at least, so there's that. So far, so good.

Rusev defeat Big E Langston and there goes the goodwill... two big guys with virtually no personalities other than the nationalist angle at play here... didn't care.

There was a thing with Coffee Kingston and Kane and one of IRS's kids and... wow, they really had nothing to fill this show with.

Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett defeated Rob Van Dam to retain the title. I genuinely don't recall much about this match, which says quite a bit, but I do recall being somewhat entertained and overjoyed that Barrett retained, so... you know what? No complaints. It was a throwaway match that kept things going and was forgotten about later; that's the best way to sum it up.

Next up, we have THE DECISION: does Daniel Bryan Danielson, saddled with a neck injury that prevents him from defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship, surrender said championship on those grounds or does Nipple H follow through on her threat to fire Brie Bella? The answer is obvious; Brie quits, slaps Nipple H, Nipple H gets hard as she walks off in shock, we get the happy yes chant where the babyfaces have the moral high ground for once... and I'm facepalming in disbelief.

Look, as much of a bullshit move it would've been to just strip Daniel Bryan Danielson of the championships on the grounds that he can't compete, it is, ultimately, the right thing to do. Even within the context of fake sports entertainment or whatever, there has to be a point where someone says "You haven't defended the title in 30 days, on those grounds, you've been stripped of the title." And then you have a title match at the Money In The Bank PPV event - presumably the match itself - and at some point, when he's healthy, Bryan can come back and challenge the new champ to a match for the title he never lost, and that could be an angle in itself.

I don't understand the endgame or the logic of having Bryan keep the championship for purely selfish reasons, especially since he's in no condition to compete. Not to mention that his not wanting to surrender the titles on those very grounds come off as a dickish, heel move that, if it persists, people will turn on him as a result. And I shudder to think that WWE would want to sabotage a fresh new superstar - which they DESPERATELY need, by the way - in order to shaft the fans that decided to go against what WWE originally intended. Maybe there's more to do this than what's being let on; maybe the injury is not as serious as what's being reported... but this has to get to a point where... we'll see.

John Cena defeat Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match... I didn't care. Because every time they stick Cena with some guy in a Last Man Standing match, the outcome is obvious. Cena wins... anyway, match was long, plodding, too many people involved, didn't care. And that just sums up the whole feud in general; I simply didn't give a shit. Hopefully, this feud is over and done with, because this was worthless overall.

Divas champion Paige defeats Alicia Fox to retain the title. Oh goody, just what I needed to kill the tension; a match in which the pasty-skinned divas champion defeated the tan woman who throws hissy fits every time something goes wrong. THAT's going to reinvigorate interested in the shallow and completely interchangeable Divas division. God, shoot me.

Finally, in the main event, The Shield defeated Evolution in a clean sweep of a 6-man tag-team elimination match. Overall, a nice solid brawl that went a little long thanks to that whole portion re-enacting the Passion of the Christ, with Roman Reigns playing the Hayzus role. That went for a little long and, if nothing else, exposed Evolution as the biggest bunch of fucking idiots on the face of the planet, because that whole stretch of time spent caning Reigns and doing this and doing that before Seth Rollins came in from the top and saved the match from falling into a complete and utter lost cause, they could've pinned somebody, anybody, to get an upper hand... but because they're morons, they got swept clean. It's never a good idea to drag a segment out where you're expecting a reaction of morbid hopelessness as they're delivering this long-winded, slow-paced beating and instead, the only reaction you get is "Pin the son of a bitch, you motherfucking retards." And that's only the real sore spot with this match and a harsh reminder as of how shitty Evolution truly was because I was around when that stable was in its prime and, believe me, nothing good came out of Evolution that made it worthwhile other than to give a couple young guys a platform to become big stars.

But other than that bit, it was a great brawl. Probably not as good as their Extreme Rules match, but still a very good match.

On a whole, this was a pretty damn good show with some good to great matches throughout. Sure, there's a couple duds in there, but they don't detract from the rest of the show. Truly solid stuff on display here. Now I would suggest that WWE have an NXT special on the WWE Network every week preceding a PPV Special Event, because then you'd get shows like Payback. I haven't seen enough of the NXT product, but from what I've seen, there's some really impressive stuff going on. So with the drive to actually make an effort in producing a quality show instead of extorting their usual non-effort when it comes to these PPVs, Payback is the end result; a solid show with a couple top-notch outings and some good stuff all around.

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