WWE’s first big event since Wrestlemania plays out Sunday night with Payback where an Internet fan favorite battles an Internet scourge for what was once the biggest prize in the business in the main event. Five titles will be on the line tonight at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL, outside Chicago. This is the fourth Payback event in company history, and Reigns has been in the main event for the last three.
DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. BARON CORBIN
Corbin took most of the match, had Ziggler up for a power bomb but flipped him backwards instead into the post. Corbin then started stalling and celebrating and they were totally teasing the idea that Corbin was taking it for granted. Corbin got in the ring and Ziggler pinned him with a schoolboy. It was fine for a preshow match.
U.S. CHAMPION KALISTO VS. RYBACK
They went really fast and did a lot of near falls ending with Ryback missing a splash off the top rope and Kalisto pinned him with Salida del Sol. A few botched spots but it was okay. Kalisto did a tope and some spinning moves.
New Day did an interview saying they were going to be at ringside for the tag team tournament final later tonight.
WWE TAG TEAM TOURNAMENT FINALS: ENZO & CASS VS. VAUDEVILLAINS
There was a legit injury a few minutes into the match. Simon Gotch threw Enzo Amore out of the ring. Amore’s left arm caught the middle rope as he was sliding and his head hit the middle rope and then the back of Enzo’s head hit the apron and he fell to the floor. Ref Dan Engler immediately put up an “X” and they stopped the match. It was legit as the cameras quickly went to the announcers while medical personnel were working on Enzo and he was carried out. No announcement was made and JBL and Byron Saxton looked pretty concerned.
They said that Enzo can move his extremities and is talking and was rushed to the hospital.
SAMI ZAYN VS. KEVIN OWENS
Excellent match. Owens, who a bloody nose, won clean with a superkick and the pop up power bomb. Owens stepped on him after the match. Owens slapped him in he face and threw him out of the ring when it was over. They worked this more like a Japanese match than a WWE match with the pacing and Zayn popping up from moves as opposed to long term selling. The crowd was going pretty nuts in spots, particularly the usual Zayn dive from the floor into and out of the ring with the DDT on the floor. Owens did a cool frog splash.
Owens wanted Byron Saxton to come in the ring. Owens teased opening the ropes for him but then didn’t. Saxton asked if the rivalry was over. Owens said he beat Zayn. Owens said he finally put to rest the question after 14 years, he’s the better man. Now he wants the IC title back. Saxton noted the match was next. Owens said he didn’t know the match was next but he’s staying to do commentary in the match.
I-C CHAMPION THE MIZ VS. CESARO
The match was good. It was a set up for a four-way program for the title with Owens and Zayn. Zayn ran down to ringside during the match. Zayn attacked Owens. They were fighting. In the ring Cesaro used a giant swing and had the crossface on. Miz was tapping but ref John Cone was distracted by breaking up Zayn and Owens. Cesaro let go of the move and knocked both Zayn and Owens off the apron and Miz schoolboyed him for the pin to keep the title.
After the match, Cesaro laid out Miz with the neutralizer. Owens superkicked Cesaro. Owens also power bombed Zayn again and went to power bomb Miz, but Maryse pulled Miz out of the ring to safety. Owens grabbed the belt.
They announced Enzo was in the hospital and able to communicate with the medical staff and move his arms and legs. He was knocked out at one point before waking up backstage before they rushed him to the hospital.
CHRIS JERICHO VS. DEAN AMBROSE
Another excellent match. Ambrose did a tope and may have hit Jericho head first because he came up bleeding from the nose. Jericho also hit the back of his head on the German table. Ambrose won clean with Dirty Deeds after Jericho went for the quebrada but Ambrose got his knees up and threw a seris of knees to set up the finish. This was more Americanzied than Zayn vs. Owens. There were several spots coming off the Walls of Jericho used.
Mauro Ranallo interviewed A.J. Styles, and he asked about Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. He said it’s one-on-one tonight.
They showed Shane McMahon talking to Sasha Banks.
WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPION CHARLOTTE (WITH RIC FLAIR) VS. NATALYA (WITH BRET HART)
The match was going well when they redid the 1997 Survivoir Series finish. Charlotte put Natalya in the sharpshooter and ref Charles Robinson called for the bell even though Natalya didn’t submit After the match, Bret Hart knocked down Ric Flair, Charles Robinson ran off, Natalya put Charlotte in the sharpshooter and Flair and Charlotte both tapped. Natalya was doing a great job of selling the knee most of the way refusing to submit to the figure four. The match was designed to build a rematch more than be a great match building to a conclusion. Not sure if there weren’t better ways to get where they were going but that’s the way they know.
Vince McMahon called out Stephanie and Shane. Will update later as we had technical issues on the site but the end result was Vince chose that both would have to get along and run Raw together and it starts a new era. Obviously they needed a shock and change to Raw with the ratings the way they were, but more McMahons isn’t new but the same thing they’ve been doing for two decades. Stephanie did a big speech about all she accomplished. Shane had newspaper clippings claiming he was doing a great job and Vince said he didn’t care what the media thought or anyone thought.
– Enzo had a concussion but all other tests have come back negative. He is believed to be out of the hospital right now.
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WWE CHAMPION ROMAN REIGNS VS. A.J. STYLES
The match was designed to get over Stephanie and Shane. Fans hated Reigns of course with “Roman sucks” chants. After Reigns got to the ropes after the calf crusher, he was out of the ring. Styles did the springboard forearm to the floor and they all went through one of the announcers tables. It was an amazing spot, particularly in slow motion. Styles barely got up, tried to get Reigns in the ring but Styles couldn’t get him in, jumped in himself and won via count out.
Shane came out and restarted the match as a no count out match. They went about two minutes and Styles came off the top rope into a punch by Reigns which was low. The ref DQ’d Reigns so again Styles won but didn’t win the title. Of course, Stephanie came out and restarted the match.
The third match had some cool stuff. Styles kicked out of a Superman punch. Reigns hit a second Superman punch and Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson ran in and pulled Styles out of the ring. They double teamed and laid out Reigns with the boot of doom since this was a no DQ match. Then they left. Styles hit the springboard forearm but Reigns got his foot on the ropes. The Usos came out to fight Anderson and Gallows. Styles went to the top rope but Reigns shoved him off and Styles flew to the floor but landed on everyone. Reigns then did a running dive over the top. The match continued and Styles hit a springboard 450 but Reigns kicked out. Styles went for the Styles Clash, but Reigns backdropped him over the top rope. Reigns went for a Superman punch but Styles snapped his neck on the top rope. Reigns then speared Styles and pinned him. The announcers put over how Reigns earned the win.
It felt more like a TNA main event with all the overbooked stuff at the end. Styles was excellent in his timing. When it was over, the stars were the McMahons who were all together and Vince said the match was great, asked Stephanie & Shane if Styles deserved a rematch, they both said he did, and it’s an Extreme Rules match in three weeks on the Extreme Rules PPV.