Expectations for Payback this year were perhaps the lowest of any recent WWE PPV. Daniel Bryan wasn't wrestling due to injury and the two biggest matches on the card were rematches from the previous PPV. Let's take a look at what ended up going down tonight.
The Shield vs Evolution- ***3/4 (3.75 stars)
After a phenomenal match at Extreme Rules, a lot was expected for the rematch, and while the match had some really strong moments, overall it will probably go down as a disappointment to most wrestling fans. The match was perhaps the longest, non-iron man match in recent WWE history, and it seemed like there was never a great flow to it. The Shield ended the match as the clear victors, effectively dissolving Evolution for the time being.
The match started fast and furious, with both sides brawling all over the arena. Then, for some unknown reason, they decided to spend about 15 minutes of the match having a very boring standard tag match. Eventually they got back to exciting, no-holds barred beat-'em up style match, but because they wasted so much time doing a normal tag match, they ended up having to rush the finish. In the end, the match was just too long. Instead of having a 35 minute match, they should have just had a 20 minute match similar to the one they had at Extreme Rules and cut out all of the time-consuming boring stuff.
The repercussions of the match should be the most interesting thing that comes out of Payback. With Batista rumored to be out the door for a little while, combined with the fact that The Shield swept them tonight and ended the match by beating down the boss, Triple H, it is pretty clear that Evolution is done for now. Now, what is next for The Shield? One thought I had was tomorrow night on Raw, they come out and announce that since they have conquered every conceivable opponent, they are breaking up to pursue their personal ambitions. Another possible option is that Triple H comes out and says that while The Shield proved that they are superior to Evolution collectively, individually they still can't beat him. Eventually, this will work out for into the Roman Reigns/Triple H match that is speculated to take place at Summerslam.
The big loser in this is Randy Orton. He was very strong tonight, and showcased a supreme sense of glee to the audience while inflicting torture to the members of The Shield. But with Batista done for now, and Triple H either moving into a singles feud or falling back into his role as COO of the company, what is left for Randy Orton? He has been in the main event for pretty much every single WWE PPV for nearly a year, yet now his future is uncertain.
A conflicting match if there ever was one. In a vacuum, the match was actually quite good. The inclusion of Harper and Rowan and the Uso's was a smart choice, and those guys took a majority of the bumps and high-spots, despite the fact that they were not even in the match. The match had some of the dumb tendencies that WWE recycles in every no disqualification match (numerous chair shots to the back, the spot where someone gets sent through the time keepers barrier), but overall was at least entertaining for the majority of its existence.
The problem with the match is that John Cena won. Now, I'm not against Cena winning matches, but him going over in emphatic fashion, in a feud that he has pretty much dominated since the get-go, is aggravating and a tremendous detriment to the future of Bray Wyatt. Those who say that Cena didn't bury Wyatt tonight are not thinking about the full picture. Yes, Wyatt was very competitive in this match and got a lot of offense in, but now that it looks like the feud is over, it is clear that Cena didn't allow Wyatt the chance to properly advance his character, in fact, Wyatt was demolished by Cena over the last few months.
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