Hello all! Payback took place last night (or Sunday for those of you in the future) and boy was it...something! Controversial to say the least. Fans seem to be pretty split on whether or not it was solid or weak. In fact, our very own WNW Staff members seem to be split on the matter. For those who didn't watch the PPV *SPOILERS* the finish of the match saw AJ beat Roman by count out when he connected with a Phenomenal Forearm that put Roman through a table. Shane McMahon came out and restarted the match with no count outs. Then, AJ beat Roman by DQ when Roman accidentally (?) hit AJ with a low blow. This time, Stephanie came out and announced it was No DQ. This prompted visits from Gallows and Anderson and the Usos. The finish saw AJ connecting with a huge Phenomenal Forearm and then a springboard 450 splash but can only get a 2 count. AJ goes for the Styles Clash but Roman fights out and Styles goes for another Phenomenal Forearm but Roman ducks it and connects with a Spear for the win. So was this epic? Was this weak? Big M and I will be battling it out aka discussing what we thought. Be sure to sound off in the comments to let us know who you agree with and what you thought of the PPV's ending.
Big M: Negative
The Main Event for Payback…which had so much potential became a spot fest with little story told in the ring. You know what I'm just going to come out and say it…WHAT THE BLOODY HELL WAS THAT RUBBISH. We had two workers actually trying to tear the house down but couldn't possibly due to completely idiotic booking. Here are three reasons why that match was a travesty.
#1. Abandoning a penitentially great storyline. We all knew Roman Reigns was going to go over (Despite the fact 90% of the audience still doesn't like him very much…and probably never will) so I'm not complaining about that but how with so much fan anticipation can you book a match like that. WWE promoted the whole match around the possibility of New Version of the Bullet Club being formed in WWE…But they seemingly completely abandoned that in favour of using the Main Event to further the McMahon Family Feud storyline.
#2. The False Finishes. AJ Styles technically beat Roman Reigns twice (Once by count out and again by DQ) but in the end, both Shane and Stephanie restarted the match after each decision. Why on earth did you have both Gallows, Anderson and The Uso's interfere in the match after Stephanie declared the No DQ stipulation thus making the run-ins meaningless. You could've had either team run-in while the ref was knocked out and cost either man the match…having either man turn heel. You could've given the whole wrestling world a shock and have Gallows and Anderson turn on AJ. Which could have lead to a Reigns heel turn and AJ with a debuting Fin Balor could've faced Gallows and Anderson down the line. So many options that were a crapload better than the one WWE picked.
#3. WWE have once again booked themselves into a corner with Roman Reigns. Like I said I'm not upset that Roman Reigns won (We all knew it was happening fan dissatisfaction be damed) but the fact he won clean (Mostly) against a far more popular worker (even with all the shenanigans) will only make people resent him even more than they do now. WWE's higher ups need to face facts most people don't like the guy, and his new tweener persona only makes him look arrogant and entitled. Which, FYI, was part of the reason why fans turned on him in the first place. And this leaves WWE with a huge problem…how to book him to look like strong babyface Champion when everyone he works with, Heel or Face, is the person fans want to win. They could either pull a screwjob on AJ in a manner that turns Reigns heel or pull a screw job on AJ where Reigns stays babyface…but instead, they booked this travesty of a match. WWE's higher-ups, however, are stubborn. They want Reigns to be the next big babyface star so they are never going to turn him. Even though Roman Reigns is the most hated man in WWE (And that's not going to change) they simply refuse to turn him. Reigns going over clean even with shenanigans only puts WWE into a corner for the rematch. You can't possibly book Reigns to go over at Extreme Rules clean now…the audience just won't have it. They now HAVE to turn him now…But we all know they won't.
I'm not going to come out and say last night was perfect. It was certainly suffering from a bit of overbooking. Here's the thing, though, sometimes overbooking isn't a bad thing. Overbooking creates questions and they make me wonder. When the match restarted for the second time as a No DQ match, all bets were off in my book. I knew deep down that it was extremely unlikely for AJ to walk out as WWE Champion. At the same time, you start to think. Roman has been getting booed a lot. There has been a lot of teasing with the Bullet Club. AJ has been built pretty well lately. All these questions start to run through my head and my heart started pounding in my chest. "Maybe," I told myself, "just maybe!" That moment, that hook WWE now has in your mind is what makes a match great. Let's also be clear, people love to hate on Roman's skills, but last night's match was very good wrestling. I've said it before and I'll say it again. Roman is a very solid wrestler, he just needs someone else to call the match. I think Roman is too green to be the one calling matches. That doesn't mean he's bad, it means he's inexperienced. The biggest problem coming out of last night is that WWE sets themselves up for failure by teasing and hyping more creative outcomes, only to deliver a bland outcome. The wrestling was good, the match's story was well told throughout, the outcome was just lacking. I would argue if this match were watched from the future, if someone were to get on the WWE Network in a few months and watch this match with no context from the last few weeks of Raw, they would say that the match was rather good. Unfortunately, that's not how things work in WWE. Reactions are based in the moment because WWE is a story being constantly told. Personally, I'm able to step back and say, "Hey, I was glued to my screen and that's a win." Yes, I get the frustration from a booking standpoint, but objectively I have to say this match entertained me.
What do YOU think? Did Payback entertain you or was it rubbish? Be sure to sound off in the comments below.
Follow Big M on Twitter @TheBigM91 and Zack on Twitter @ZKrasney. We will see you next time!