Following on from Thursday’s excellent NXT Arrival, WWE delivered another well received show in Payback, with Match of the Night honours going to John Cena and Bray Wyatt for their Last Man Standing encounter. There was also an advancement in the Daniel Bryan v The Authority storyline and the resolution to the feud between The Shield and Evolution, with the young stars coming out on top with a clean sweep in their elimination match.
The Pre-PPV show saw the return battle of Hornswoggle vs El Torito in a Hair vs. Mask match. Torito got the win and Hornswoggle got a haircut in a match which featured the usual combination of comedy, interference and high flying that has been seen thus far in this feud.
The main card kicked off with US Champion Sheamus defending his title against Cesaro. Despite the Chicago crowd’s support of the Swiss superstar, it was Sheamus who retained after countering a fifteen plus revolution Giant Swing into a Small Package for the pinfall.
The deterioration of the Rhodes brothers tag team continued as they fell to Ryback and Curtis Axel in the next match, with Cody apparently suffering from a crisis of confidence after taking the pinfall loss to Ryback. Declaring that his brother ‘needs a better tag team partner than me’, Cody left Goldust alone in the ring as the inevitable breakup inches closer for the former tag team champions.
Big E failed to defend the honour of America in the next bout, as Rusev once again looked dominant in victory.
Kane derailed the unadvertised clash between Kofi Kingston and Bo Dallas, destroying Kingston with a Chokeslam and Tombstone before the bell rang. Dallas had words of encouragement for Kingston following the attack, noting that Kingston would come back better than ever if he just ‘bo-lieved’.
In the following bout, Preston’s finest Bad News Barrett retained the Intercontinental Championship against Rob Van Dam with his patented Bull Hammer elbow.
Next came the big angle as World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan had to decide between his title and his wife Brie Bella’s job, with Stephanie McMahon delivering the ultimatum on Raw this past Monday. It would be Brie who took matters into her own hands, telling Stephanie that she couldn’t fire her as she quits ,following up with a hard slap to the face as the Chicago crowd came unglued. It will be interesting to see the direction this feud will now take as there is still no confirmed date for Bryan’s return.
Then came what many are calling not only the match of the evening but one of the matches of the year as John Cena defeated Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match to seemingly settle their feud. In a battle that involved Cena, Wyatt, Eric Harper, Luke Rowan and The Uso’s, Cena and Wyatt put it all on the line with Wyatt coming out of the contest visibly bleeding heavily from his elbow. Following a number of risky moves which harked back to the TLC era of the Dudley’s, Hardy Boys and Edge and Christian, Cena emerged victorious by trapping Wyatt in a large box following an Attitude Adjustment off another large box in a finish which looked more impressive than it sounds in writing.
Diva’s Champion Paige and Alicia Fox were put in the unenviable position of having to follow the Last Man Standing match, and it would be the Norfolk native who would emerge victorious with her PTO submission.
The main event of the evening saw The Shield beat Evolution in a no disqualification or count out elimination match. In a thirty minute plus encounter, The Shield perhaps surprisingly beat all three members of Evolution without losing a member of their team, continuing their ascension to the highest echelons of WWE. Following the eliminations of Batista and Randy Orton, HHH was left all on his own against the trio, and succumbed to Roman Reign’s spear. The highlight of the match came from Seth Rollins, whose dive from the titantron onto Evolution was another addition to his spectacular show reel of aerial manoeuvres.
Pre-Show: Torito def Hornswoggle
Sheamus def Cesaro to retain the US Championship
Ryback and Curtis Axel def Cody Rhodes and Goldust
Rusev def Big E
Kofi Kingston and Bo Dallas No Contest
Bad News Barrett def Rob Van Dam to retain the Intercontinental Championship
John Cena def Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match
Paige def Alicia Fox to retain the Diva's Championship
The Shield def Evolution in an Elimination match