Disclaimer: I was in a bad mood when I wrote this so reader discretion advised. Read at your own risk.
Our constant readers may have noticed that the F2H family failed to post their usual live review articles about Smackdown Live’s No Mercy and last night’s Monday Night Raw. Have we lost faith in Vince McMahon’s promotion? Are we bored with the product? I’ll answer your question with a question: does a bear shit in the woods? In this instance, the bear is Sean Waltman and the woods is Rena Lesnar’s luggage; and the answer is an emphatic yes.
While on the surface the No Mercy pay-per-view seemed like a solid venture, when you scrutinize it even a little bit, the entire show folds like a wet house of cards. Here is a short list of some of the more cringe-worthy moments of the show. The pre-show featured Jerry Lawler awkwardly flirting and eye-fucking Nikki Bella, a 4-team tag match (overkill in any scenario) that included The Acesnsion, and Curt Hawkins big debut that was only a declaration by him that he would have a match on Tuesday.
Prior to the show, WWE announced the “main event” triple-threat would go on first to start the show, essentially confirming WWE’s lack of confidence in their own product, being fearful that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would pull viewers and bomb their PPV. Although the triple-threat was a decent match, it still featured yet another John Cena title attempt, grasping for the coveted Ric Flair record; and Dean Ambrose in the main event picture, a man with no charism, character evolution, or ability to carry a promotion as either a heel or babyface. And while AJ Styles put on a great outing, I am still watching him on NJPW every week on AXS-TV and his crimped style with WWE is nowhere near his best work in a ring.
No Mercy also featured Nikki Bella utilizing the antiquated 50/50 booking style of WWE in order to beat Carmella. Speaking of the women, Becky Lynch was suddenly injured and not competing. So we saw Naomi not only wrestle but defeat Alexa Bliss. Both finishes were weak and did nothing at all for the losers while barely giving a boost to the winners. The third women’s match of the night was between Jack Swagger and Baron Corbin. Yeah, I said it. Why is this on a pay-per-view? Nobody cares!
The highlight of the night was Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. This was an excellent match and the best on the entire card. Nothing to complain about here. The main event was Randy Orton taking on Bray Wyatt. Oh great, two of the weakest in-between heel/face chimeras in the entire company. Wyatt has strewn together infinitely more losses than wins. And Orton has been a watered down version of himself ever since returning from injury. The build to this match was terribly dis-interesting. And the big “twist” finish was a Luke Harper run in. This ended a pay-per-view in 2016.
Skip ahead to Monday Night Raw and now we’re really swimming out to the deep end with no life preservers. We’re talking about a show that surprisingly opened with Sasha Banks and Charlotte declaring they were having a rematch INSIDE Hell in a Cell. This was a groundbreaking moment…that was immediately cut short by Rusev interrupting. He insults both of them, along with all women’s wrestling (as does Lana) and hijacks what should have been an epic segment. Then Roman Reigns comes out and further buries the angle. Then, in all of Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley’s jaded wisdom, they put Charlotte on a team with Rusev against the team of Banks and Reigns. Despite Rusev belittling Charlotte, she now gets the “honor” of being his tag team partner.
Do you know why this segment happened? Because Kevin Dunn (a guy that probably has twenty Donald Trump signs in his yard) objectifies women and probably doesn’t think they can carry a moment on their own. They needed big, strong men to come out and bolster their credibility. “Nobody is going to buy women in the Cell! We need men to put it over!” Nevermind the fact that when you have a match with Roman Reigns, Rusev, Charlotte, Lana, and Sasha Banks, the only goddamn babyface in the entire thing is Banks. Reigns is not a face! But WWE continues to try and pair him with any one in order to try and persuade the crowd to oh and ah over him.
Then we have a match between Kofi Kingston and Cesaro. The big angle here is Sheamus sits ringside and tweets during the match. Oh, just brilliant fucking television. Really helps sell Cesaro and Sheamus as a team and absolutely helps make New Day look strong. *vomits in mouth, down onto Ultimate Warrior t-shirt*
Bayley comes out and wrestles Cami Fields. Who? Exactly. She beats a jobber and then gets attacked from behind by Dana Brooke (wearing a way-too-tight outfit) and then Brooke just stands there awkwardly like Will Ferrell in Talladega Nights when he doesn’t know what to do with his hands. Brilliant. There were four horsewomen in NXT. Becky has the Smackdown Women’s Title. Sasha and Charlotte are breaking new ground fighting for the Raw Women’s Title. Meanwhile, Bayley is given about two minutes against someone named Cami Fields. Just a real career booster for her. Good job, Vince!
The newly formed Cruiserweight Division continues to get its legs cut out from underneath it as WWE, despite having three hours of television, just keeps hitting us with Cruiserweight tag-team matches. We get Tony Nese and Drew Gulak against Sin Cara and Lince Dorado. Without fanfare, Sin Cara is now suddenly in the division. Dorado spends the whole match carrying Sin Cara before picking up the win. According to Kevin Dunn and Vince McMahon, there are only two Cruiserweights named T.J. Perkins and Brian Kendrick. Anybody who isn’t them will just be the bathroom break match on Raw.
Then we come back from commercial to find Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas in the ring. Oh boy! That’ll really boost the ratings! Luckily we are saved by Enzo Amore and Big Cass. But before we can even see them wrestle, they are attacked by The Club. So let me get this straight. Cesaro and Sheamus, a team thrown together two weeks ago get to face New Day, but two of the top three tag teams on Raw have a segment with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel? Then WWE hits us with a bullshit 4-team tag at a PPV the night before? Why not save the multi-team matches for actual talent? I’d definitely watch New Day vs Enzo and Cass vs The Club any day.
Oh, but that segment isn’t even over. After The Club and Enzo and Cass leave, Axel and Dallas are still competing! They demand a team! So we have to suffer through not only them in a match, but a hastily thrown together Sami Zayn and Neville tag-team. Is Teddy Long running creative all of a sudden? We’ve had five matches so far and four of them have featured tag teams! Brilliant! I’m just as baffled as Vince as to why the ratings continue to tank. Fuck you, McMahon.
As if things couldn’t get any worse, we then are “treated” to a match between R-Truth and Titus O’Neal thrown together, on the premise, and I shit you not, of Truth trying to give O’Neal’s favorite candy bar to another wrestler. Now, while I can appreciate both men as they have skill and could be great if pushed properly (yeah right, as if that would ever happen), they certainly should not be in a match facing each other. Why, you might ask? Because they have a combined age of fucking 83. R-Truth is in his mid-forties and Titus is 39. This is not a live-TV match. This is not something you expose people to and then try to laugh off the sliding ratings to the board of directors. In simple terms, this is not a match you put on TV if you want people to take what you do seriously.
Backstage segment with Perkins and Kendrick showcasing the 50/50 booking again. I won’t even elaborate on any of that. Braun Strowman then squashes the “Splash Brothers” (who look like a Sheamus and Xavier Woods cosplay couple) and then asks Foley for stronger competition. If only Braun could be what he’s asking for: better talent. He has become a spectacle much like Big Show, Kane, and The Great Kahli before him. Vince will take a giant, twist and contort them, and turn them into a traveling freakshow.
And then the inter-gender match. Holy shit what a waste of time. Rusev and Charlotte against Reigns and Banks. The big creative ending here was Sasha making Charlotte tap to the Bank Statement timed perfectly with Reigns hitting Rusev with a spear. Been there, done that, played all the way out. Then Reigns and Banks stand with their arms in the air, smiling. As if Reigns was suddenly a good guy. Then T.J. Perkins defeated Jinder Mahal. Oh wait, that was Ariya Daivari. Another useless squash match doing nothing for anybody, including the viewers.
The main event was Seth Rollins versus Chris Jericho. Alright, I really can’t complain about this if I’m being fair and unbiased. It was a great match, highlight of the night for me. My only real gripe is that Jericho has main-evented a shit ton of Raw’s this year and did so again last night. Yes, Jericho is awesome. And his work these past few weeks with Kevin Owens has really been the crutch that has saved Raw from swirling into a black hole from wince there is no return. That being said, Jericho is older than both R-Truth and Titus O’Neal. Is the best WWE can do is to have a 45-year-old in the main event? Does that sound bonkers to anyone else? It says a lot about how incredibly talented and what great shape Y2J is in; but it also speaks volumes about how weak WWE thinks their own product is.
They don’t trust their youngers guys to do the job. They don’t have faith or confidence in their roster. And this is true across the board. Both Raw and Smackdown suffer from this inability to pull the trigger on younger talent. The result is getting a 39-year-old John Cena in a main event trying to get another world title. When is WWE going to move on? They speak of a new era and yet continue hitting us with out-to-pasture talent. Now the big hyped up sell is a potential match between Brock Lesnar and Bill Goldberg, a match about fifteen years too late between two men with a combined age of 88. Granted, both men are genetic anomalies (Lesnar more so on the chemically enhanced side) and will probably look great. But the point being is that WWE continues to live in the past. And the WWE Universe seems nostalgic to days gone by.
That’s why Sasha Banks gets a pop for mentioning Eddie Guerrero. That’s why Charlotte gets a “Woooooooooo!” every single time she mentions her dad. WWE doesn’t do anything to make their current talent relevant. They are censored and limited and forced to get over by mentioning long since retired or dead Superstars. It’s a vicious cycle all the way around. Fear, uncertainty, doubt; it all mixes together to make WWE unsure of their talent, the talent unsure of their place, and the fans unsure of why they should even give two shits about any of it. There are so many problems to list but I’m just one man and this article is already absurdly long. I have a love/hate relationship with WWE. It’s a frustrating partnership because I see the potential of what this company could be. As a kid I watched wrestling. Then I grew up. But wrestling never did. It plateaued and in some instances took a step back.
You can blame the break of kayfabe. You can blame the dirt sheets. You can blame the internet. You can even blame Vince for bringing too many promotions together and “killing the biz.” It doesn’t matter what the cause was. The effect is what truly matters, and in this case the effect is mediocre, unfulfilling, lazy, and often boring professional wrestling. CM Punk said it best: “Vince McMahon is a millionaire who should be a billionaire.” The reason why he isn’t is that the wrestling experience he presents is no longer thrilling to a certain extent. We demand more but WWE keeps coming up short. Smackdown Live is on tonight and we won’t be doing a live review for that either. If they want us to write something, they need to give us something worthwhile to write about. Until then, let the onslaught begin.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker
The WWE Drafts had me on edge for a number of reasons. There were so many ways that this could go wrong, and so many obvious right choices that could be overlooked. What worried me the most was the danger of splitting up great tag teams and the six NXT draft picks. Certain pairings would be just fine going solo, but other teams simply aren’t meant to part ways just yet. As far as the NXT picks, my worry was that their debuts would be ruined by the announcements.
My fears were proved to be justified when Finn Balor was named as Raw’s third draft pick. Balor is a staple of NXT, an incredible athlete, and a huge draw. His debut was a given, but I had such high hopes for it, that hearing about it via this draft is simply a let down. Now, there is still the chance that his debut can be done in a grand fashion, but somehow announcing the intent ruins the magic that could have been. Balor’s entrance is intense and rivals The Undertaker’s as far as theatrics; I only hope WWE puts effort into making it a must see moment instead of just another 30 second walk down the ramp.
Keeping Enzo and Cass together on Raw was the right move to make, as was assuring that The New Day stayed together. Both teams are easily the best in the tag division, work incredibly well together, and still have a lot to do together as teams. Since Raw now has the best of the best in the tag division, it made perfect sense to draft NXT’s American Alpha to Smackdown; they can truly shine there with the champs and their former NXT colleagues away on Monday nights. I’m also glad to see Enzo and Cass away from John Cena, so we can finally stop seeing that unnecessary alliance. Another solid pairing is Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens both being drafted to Raw. I normally get tired of feuds after a while, but this one could go on forever and I would never tire of it.
Charlotte and Dana Brooke will both be on Raw, which wasn’t a great move. Our first Women’s champ has been hiding behind someone else during her entire reign as champion; first her father and now Dana. It makes her look incredibly weak. In a surprise move, The Wyatt family did not get to stay together; Bray and Erick Rowan are on Smackdown and Braun Strowman is on Raw. The Wyatt family needed to rebuild and strengthen their faction, not split it. Now, there is a chance that when Luke Harper returns from injury, he goes to Smackdown and the original family unites. Unfortunately for now, the family is split and won’t have a chance to redeem themselves for the embarrassment at the Wyatt compound.
Nia Jax’s draft to Raw was a pleasant surprise. I am a big fan of the women who don’t conform to the “beauty queen” standard that so many female wrestlers are unnecessarily held to. Jax is a force to be feared, but there isn’t much left for her in NXT. She has proven that she can defeat every female there except for champion Asuka, who has plenty of other contenders for her title, including fan favorite Bayley. Jax can do great things in the Women’s division on Raw, can be the one to dethrone Charlotte, either by winning the title or assisting someone else, and can give us a new standard of strength and beauty that we currently don’t have on the main roster.
Another surprise from NXT was Alexa Bliss, who is drafted to Smackdown. Formerly the manager of tag team Blake and Murphy, Bliss is a fantastic heel who isn’t afraid to embrace her comical side when the situation calls for, and who doesn’t let her small stature keep her from kicking ass. Bliss has definitely grown on me over the past few weeks and I think she can do great things for the Women’s division. She has the unfortunate luck of being drafted alongside the useless Eva Marie, so hopefully she’s able to avoid having too many matches with All Botch Everything.
Overall, I still have mixed emotions about the draft, but I’m trying to stay hopeful that the split will allow more athletes to have better opportunities and extended on-screen time. Congratulations to the NXT call-ups: Finn Balor, American Alpha, Nia Jax, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, and Mojo Rawley. Please let us know what you think about the draft picks in the comments, and tweet us your favorites at @facetoheel. Below is a complete list of all draftees, minus the unfortunate Heath Slater.
The New Day
Rusev (with Lana)
Enzo and Cass
Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
The Shining Stars
The Miz (with Maryse)
Alberto Del Rio
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
WWE’s post-mania PPV is tonight, May 1st, in Rosemont, IL, and I’m enjoying a glass of wine and juicy steak while I get excited about the line up for the evening. We have Renee Young, Corey Graves, Booker T, and Jerry Lawler on the preshow, which makes me wonder if Lawler will be replaced by someone else on the main event commentary.
Our preshow kickoff starts with Baron Corbin vs Dolph Ziggler. Moving this to the kickoff seems to be a poor choice, especially considering the huge pops both men received as they walked out to the arena. Corbin comes out strong and dominant, but Ziggler’s energy is high and he manages to eventually get Corbin to a knee with a sleeper hold. The action moves outside of the ring, where Corbin dominates and throws Ziggler into the steel post. As Corbin is arguing with the ref and maintaining dominance over a comatose Ziggler, Dolph suddenly comes back to life and scores a victory with a quick roll up. Normally, I don’t like these type of endings, but this was a shocker and was also Corbin’s first lost on the main roster. No doubt we will see Corbin back for revenge later on.
Next up we have a great video package for the Zayn vs Owens match that leads into a Q&A with Sami Zayn. It’s clear that if you want your tweet to be on TV, you have to have a very WWE-themed twitter handle and ask a very easy question. Zayn is doing great answering the questions, but the interviewer is pretty flat.
Up now, we have the US Title Match between reigning champion Kalisto and challenger Ryback. Once again, these two are competing on the preshow kickoff. As a diehard Ryback fan, I’m annoyed. Ryback comes out to some loud boos, which get louder when he starts to mock CM Punk’s entrance. It was brilliant. Push Ryback forever. Ryback comes out strong and dominant, ignoring the taunts from the crowd as he throws Kalisto around the ring. Kalisto manages to get the Big Guy to the floor outside of the ring, but Ryback gets control of the match back right before we go to a commercial. He’s the perfect heel, and I just noticed that his belt says “The Preshow Stopper.” Ryback is gold. Ryback goes up to the top rope, but Kalisto ruins it with a well timed kick. Ryback gets control back quick and goes back to the top rope, but misses wildly, allowing Kalisto to regain control and pick up the win. I am very unhappy.
Moving on to the main show, we start things off with The New Day, who are out to watch the Tag Team match to see who qualifies for a shot at their titles. I hated New Day when they debuted and now I can’t get enough. As New Day settle in with some snacks, Enzo and Cass come out to the arena. Enzo drops his mic and makes a show of running around to retrieve it as my husband and I yell along to his intro. The Vaudevillains are heavily booed; there is no question who the favorites are in this match. Enzo and Gotch start things off with a very acrobatic display, and I just noticed the poop emoji on Enzo’s ass, which is the greatest accessory of the night so far. Enzo gets taken down after an ugly hit to the head, and the ref throws up an X, signaling the ringside doctor. A stretcher is brought out and the match is called, which is quite possibly the worst thing that could have happened. My heart goes out to Enzo; I hope he’s all right. But the show must go on…
We move into a video package for the Owens vs Zayn match, and Owens is the first to the ring to a lukewarm response as the crowd tries to move on from Enzo’s injury. These men are now also tasked with getting the crowd back into this event, and I don’t envy them this job. I’m about to go get some vodka to numb the pain while Zayn throws Owens outside the ring and gets aggressive. Owens quickly regains control and throws Zayn into the steel steps as we get an update that Enzo is being taken to a local hospital and is able to talk and move his arms. Owens seems pretty cocky at this point, nearly getting a pinfall victory and talking trash to the announce team. We’re getting a lot of near falls in this high energy match; it’s incredibly tense. The crowd is definitely back into it now. The action moves to the apron and Zayn is able to throw Owens onto the lip, sending him out of the ring and diving through the bottom rope to take Owens down with a DDT. Owens is able to counter once they return to the ring, using a pop-up powerbomb to win the match. Owens throws Zayn out of the ring and forces Byron Saxton into the ring so he can force an interview and proclaim that he has finally beat Zayn and proved that he is the better man. He has announced his plan to win back “his” IC Title and then invites himself to the commentary table for the title match up next.
The Miz will now defend his title against Cesaro, who returned from injury stronger than ever and with an interesting take on a 007 gimmick. The Miz gets the red carpet treatment as he walks out with wife Maryse, who looks like a circus ringmaster. Cesaro comes out to a strong showing from fans with Cesaro Section signs. The Miz is getting destroyed thus far as his wife screams encouragement and Owens screams insults. Of course, Maryse gets involved to allow Miz to regain control. The most entertaining part of this match so far is Owens on commentary, but it’s difficult to follow Owens vs Zayn. Cesaro is pulled into a submission, but is able to turn it into a suplex and break free. Cesaro pins Miz a couple times for a near fall, but Miz is able to break free. Cesaro tries to get Miz up for the Swing, Miz counters, but Cesaro is still able to get the pin that is broken up when Miz gets his foot on the bottom rope. Out of NOWHERE, Zayn runs out to the ring and attacks Owens! In the ring, Cesaro hits the Swing for a dizzying 20 rotations, and then gets him in a crossface submission. Miz TAPS, but because Zayn and Owens begin fighting on the apron, the ref is distracted and Miz is able to steal the win via quick rollup. Owens is the only one left standing tall at the end of this mess, with the IC Title in hand. The IC Title suddenly means everything.
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose is up next. Ambrose says everything I secretly think about Jericho, only out loud, and I love it. This feud is a lot like the Jericho vs Punk feud on Jericho’s side as he keeps repeating “I’m the best in the world at what I do.” My husband pointed out that this match could have used a stipulation, and I clouldn’t agree more. Ambrose is best when you give him accessories. A “Y2Jackass” chant starts. Jericho looks tired, and if I’m being honest, even Ambrose seems to be holding back and is less enthusiastic than normal. Jericho locks in the Walls, but Ambrose is able to drag him from the center of the ring over to the ropes to force a break. The two move outside of the ring; Jericho’s face is bleeding and Ambrose is destroying the German announce table. Jericho is able to gently toss Ambrose into the timekeeper area and get back into the ring. This match has definitely picked it up from a slow start. We’re getting a lot of near falls now, and the crowd is hyped up. Ambrose tries for Dirty Deeds but Jericho counters and locks in the Walls again. Ambrose counters and gets the pin but Jericho kicks free. More near falls, and my kid is losing his mind. Ambrose finally hits Dirty Deeds and gets the win. Jericho leaves the ring to go attack paperwork and throw a fit.
Mauro Ranallo conducts a brief interview with AJ Styles backstage before we move on to the Women’s Title Match. It feels so good to say “Women’s” instead of “Divas.” The champion is out first, followed by Natalya and Bret Hart. I hope that Bret and Ric are able to keep to themselves and let both women have an honest one-on-one match. The crowd is behind Natalya and so am I. The Network drops for the first time tonight, which is likely the fault of the storms we’re having in Indiana. Hopefully the weather doesn’t kill this PPV for us, because it’s been a great one so far. A “We Want Sasha” chant breaks out, and I get it; I was hoping The Boss would be champ at this point. Charlotte throws Natalya violently into the ropes and tries to go to the top rope, but is knocked off by Natalya. The action moves to outside the ring; the women get a bit sloppy, but are really holding their own thus far. Natalya is favoring her left leg but isn’t giving up. Charlotte is showboating and delivers a beautiful moonsault off the top rope to pin Natalya, who kicks free. Charlotte locks in a figure four and the match is called even though Natalya doesn’t tap out. In retaliation, the Harts lock Ric and Charlotte into figure fours to come out on top, but the fact remains that Charlotte won the match dishonestly once again.
Vince McMahon comes out to the ring now, strutting confidently as we await his decision on Stephanie and Shane. The crowd responds with a CM PUNK chant, but quiets down as Vince begins talking about the success of Monday Night Raw. Nevermind, they just got even louder with it. We will chant for Punk in Chicago forever. Vince invites Stephanie McMahon to the ring next. The crowd is booing so loud, I can barely hear what she is saying. She proclaims that the Network has hit 1.8 million subscribers as she showers herself with compliments and insults her brother. Shane has had enough and comes out to the ring doing his best White Boy dance. A deafening “Shane-O-Mac” chant rings through the arena, but Steph breaks it up by calling it pandering. Shane shows the crowd headline after headline that shows how great Raw has been since he was able to take charge. He continues to tear down his sister by accusing her of poisoning the company alongside Triple H. The crowd clearly supports Shane, but Steph insists that popularity isn’t what runs a business. Vince announces that he wants his children to either disembowel each other or learn to work together, because they both will be running Raw. What?
We return to the preshow announce team briefly to recap the night’s events thus far. Up next, our main event; reigning champion Roman Reigns vs newcomer AJ Styles. A video package plays to show the build to this championship match and highlights the recent attacks from new signees Gallows and Anderson. The big question of the night is who is going to interfere in this match. We have The Wyatt Family on the Payback poster, and we also have the rumors of Finn Balor’s debut. Excited to see what will happen.
After an update on Enzo’s condition (concussion, all other tests negative), Styles and Reigns enter the ring. Reigns gets booed heavily, and no, Lawler, we’re not booing because we like to do it. A “Roman Sucks” chant rings through the arena as the match starts, followed by a loud “AJ Styles” chant. We’ve never been behind Reigns as champ, and the majority of fans are pulling for Styles to win tonight. A “You Can’t Wrestle” chant follows. I don’t know how much clearer it can be that Reigns is the wrong guy to be the face of this company. Styles forces Reigns out of the ring to get his bearings, and he takes his sweet time getting back into the match. Meanwhile, WWE tweets out an update; Enzo has been discharged from the hospital and is hopefully heading home to rest. His injury has cast a shadow over this PPV, but all the credit goes to the competitors; they have brought their A-Game and kept the crowd from getting down about the injury.
The announce team again discusses Styles’ career, pointing out that he hasn’t “made it” until he earns the WWE title, which he hopes to do tonight. Reigns takes control of the match, showcasing his strength and throwing Styles around like a rag doll. This is a good showing from Reigns so far; he isn’t resorting to fist-cocking (yet). It’s only10:35pm, so a hell of a lot can happen before we crown our champion. Of course, as soon as I type it, Reigns cocks his damn fist. He tries for a Superman punch, but Styles counters with a kick to the head and puts the champ down. Styles is showing his experience and not holding anything back; he has an answer for everything Reigns is throwing at him. Styles is able to lock Reigns in a submission, but Reigns quickly gets to the ropes for the break. Styles jumps off the top rope to deliver a Phenomenal Forearm that crushes Reigns and the announce table. Styles makes it back to the ring and wins the match via count out. What a letdown the title won’t change hands and this was a lazy way to end it. That said, it’s only 10:42pm, and Shane’s music just hit!
Shane restarts the match and declares that there will be no count outs, so the match continues! Styles is looking for a way to put the champ down for good, delivering a 450, but Reigns puts his knees up and goes for a pin. Both men go down after Reigns hits Styles with a low blow and gets disqualified, so Styles is called as the winner via DQ. Again, no title change. My husband called this; Steph’s music hits and she restarts the match with no disqualifications. The match will not end until we have a clear winner! Reigns violently knocks Styles out of the ring and throws him over the barricade and into the crowd. Reigns is all business at this point as he looks to put his challenger down, but Styles is able to counter and throw Reigns into the announce table. Reigns isn’t down for long; he delivers two Superman punches and starts with his showboaty nonsense. As he’s pandering to the crowd, Gallows and Anderson intervene and take Reigns down. Styles is struggling to get to his feet, but he manages to get back up and pin Reigns for the win; unfortunately Reigns is able to get his foot on the rope to stop the count. The Usos run out to the ring to attack Gallows and Anderson to even the odds, and Reigns steps in and throws Styles into the four brawling men outside of the ring. There is so much going on! Reigns jumps out of the ring to land on all 5 men, Styles quickly counters to get Reigns back into the ring so he can get a clean win. Reigns hit a spear and wins with a lazy cover, and the crowd goes mild. Great match, but not my ideal ending.
Overall, this was an amazing PPV. For me, this topped WrestleMania. As Reigns is celebrating, we cut backstage to see the McMahons discussing Shane and Steph’s decisions regarding this main event. We’re also getting previews of what will come on Raw and what the plans will be for Extreme Rules in three weeks. It’s already been decided that Styles will have a rematch with Reigns at Extreme Rules, and I am excited to see what will happen next. For once, I have no complaints about anything that transpired tonight, except for Enzo’s untimely injury. See you all tomorrow night for Raw with Co-GM’s!
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker
WWE’s Payback PPV will take place tonight in Chicago, IL at the AllState Arena. My husband and I attended Payback in 2014 and had a blast, so if you’re in the area and attending, I am jealous. This was originally scheduled to take place on May 22nd in Newark, NJ, but was rescheduled. It will be the fourth Payback PPV in history. Every title but one is on the line tonight, plus we will find out the future of Shane McMahon and his sister, Stephanie. Let’s take a look at tonight’s matches and make some predictions.
Kalisto (c) vs Ryback – United States Championship Match (Kickoff Show)
For the second PPV in a row, the US Title will be defended on the pre-show kickoff, because the WWE clearly doesn’t care about making this title matter. Kalisto’s title reign is on track to become more useless than Dean Ambrose’s reign, and that’s pretty bad. What is the point of having this title if it’s ignored or shoved to the preshow on a consistent basis? Complaints aside, I’m hoping that these two go full force and give us a match that screams Main Event. I’m also pulling for The Big Guy 100%, which is no surprise.
Dean Ambrose vs Chris Jericho – Singles Match
Jericho has thankfully moved on from bothering AJ Styles and calling him a rookie, and is now wrapped up in Ambrose’s antics. Ambrose shoved Jericho out of the way, replacing the Highlight Reel with the Ambrose Asylum. I thought that Jericho would be taking another break from in-ring action after his feud with Styles ended, but it looks like he’ll be sticking around for a few more months. Jericho may still “have it” if you listen to the fans, but for me, he’s best used in a part time capacity in limited matches. It’s unclear whether or not this match-up will be repeated in the future, but I hope it isn’t.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Enzo & Big Cass vs The Vaudevillains – #1 Contender Tag Team Championship Match
I initially thought that the tag titles would be defended tonight, because that would make sense, but instead we’re getting the qualifying match to see who will face The New Day for the titles. I’m disappointed not to see a Tag Title match, but incredibly excited to see Enzo and Cass compete. They are among the most over wrestlers in the company right now, and for good reason. NXT took a hit when it lost these two, but I’m happy they finally got a well-deserved call up to the main roster. I hope that New Day takes over the commentary table for this match the way they did on Smackdown recently.
WINNER: Enzo & Cass
The Miz (c) vs Cesaro – Intercontinental Championship Match
I love that The Miz keeps winning titles in underhanded, obnoxious ways. This time around, he stole the title from Zack Ryder 24 hours after he won it. I’m sadly not a fan of Maryse, Miz’s wife and new valet. She is joining the cast of Total Divas and will be on Raw and Smackdown for the foreseeable future as a way to promote her appearance on the reality series. Cesaro is back from injury with a new James Bond 007 gimmick that wasn’t necessary but not completely terrible either. I’m glad he’s back and still popular, and I’m hoping he wins tonight so he can have a decent run as champ. He’s earned it.
WINNER: The Miz
Charlotte (c) with Ric Flair vs Natalya with Bret Hart – Women’s Championship Match
Fans want Sasha Banks to be champ. I want her to be champ. WWE wants Charlotte though, and they don’t want her without her daddy in tow. Adding Bret Hart to the mix is actually an interesting move. It evens the playing field so we can hopefully finally have an honest match instead of seeing Charlotte’s victories earned by her father instead of by her. My hope is that Ric and Bret entertain each other outside of the ring so that Charlotte and Natalya can have a true one-on-one. The worry here, of course, is that Bret helps Natalya win and she becomes the same sort of champion Charlotte is now.
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin – Singles Match
I became a serious fan of Corbin after watching Breaking Ground and I’ve been enjoying his (squash) matches on Raw and Smackdown lately. He’s a powerhouse and his character feels genuine because it’s based on his personality to the letter. Ziggler is a good guy to have Corbin go against because he can make being hit by a light breeze look like getting mowed down by a freight train. I hate to see Ziggler jobbing, but if he has to job to someone, Corbin is a good choice. And maybe Ziggler doing the job now pays off for him in the future.
WINNER: Baron Corbin
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens – Singles Match
The build to this match has been phenomenal. Owens and Zayn have one hell of a history, and have gone from best friends to mortal enemies. I imagine that both men are excited about this one. Having worked with someone for so long and then both make it to the main roster of the WWE together has got to be a great feeling. This match has had so much hype behind it, you would think it was the main event. And rightly so; it’s about damn time we recognize real talent instead of the John Cena’s and Roman Reigns’s of the world being the only ones coming out on top. Regardless of how this turns out, I’m happy. It’s going to be fantastic and will also be a nice preview of what is to come when these two men finally main event a WWE PPV together (eg: WrestleMania 32?)
WINNER: Kevin Owens
Roman Reigns (c) vs AJ Styles – WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
I’m so confused about this match. I don’t know why Styles was thrown into the title picture so quickly, especially given all the “rookie” nonsense. No other male competitor has received a title shot so fast, and while Styles may deserve it, it is questionable given all the other seasoned talent on the roster. I’ve been working with the assumption that Seth Rollins will return at or around Summerslam, so I’m closely analyzing every move they make with the WHC belt. Styles makes no sense to me. As far as Reigns goes, it’s clear that we’re not going to have the strong and silent Reigns any time soon, so it’s also clear that I’m not getting on board with him. If I see him blow on his fist as if it is the barrel of a shotgun one more time, I’m going to lose it. I’m curious to see if The Authority makes an appearance during this match, especially since Triple H is due his rematch. Keep in mind the name of the show is “payback” so maybe HHH, Gallows and Anderson, or even Rollins comes out to get some.
WINNER: Roman Reigns
Article by Mrs Jamie Baker