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Payback 2017 Recap & Review

April 30, 2017
(aired live)

City: San Jose, CA
Venue: SAP Center

Commentary: Michaels Cole, Corey Graves, Booker T
Spanish Commentary (ringside): Carlos Cabrera, Marcelo Rodriguez
German Commentary (ringside): Carsten Schaefer, Tim Haber, Calvin Knie
Mandarin Commentary: Meng Ai, Sean Deng
Japanese Commentary: Shun Yamaguchi, Funaki
Russian Commentary: Moti Margolin, Zhan Pomerantsev
Hindi Commentary: Obaid Kadwani, Shez Sardar
Portuguese Commentary: Marco Alfaro, Roberto Figueroa
Ring Announcer: Jojo

Brand: RAW
Attendance: 13,694
Theme Song: “Born for Greatness” by Papa Roach

<< View the Recap & Review for the Payback Kickoff show


Intro Video
What makes you “Payback”? Featuring clips from the Jericho/Owens, Wyatt/Orton, and Reigns/Strowman feuds.


Match 1
US Title Match
Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens (US Champ)
(referee: Rod Zapata)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Chris Jericho wins via submission with the Walls of Jericho and becomes the new US Champ (and becomes a member of SmackDown)
Time: 14:02

Match Thoughts
Very good match, very entertaining. It was very solid with some great back and forth throughout the duration of the match, and the final segment was really great. Owens’ finger-save returned from Wrestlemania, and that played directly into how the rest of the match played out. It was fantastic. And I take back what I’d previously said about this match being easy to predict. They surprised me, and I love it when that happens.


Match 2
Cruiserweight Title Match
Austin Aries vs Neville (Cruiserweight Champ)
(referee: Darrick Moore)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Austin Aries wins via DQ after Neville pulls the referee to the mat, Neville retains the title
Time: 11:18

Match Thoughts
A very good match, despite an inconclusive ending. Aries looked to be te more dominant of the two, though Neville was great as usual. There was one segment where Neville played to the crowd for a long time which made it obvious that something was going to happen, but other than that one moment this match had a very fast pace and a lot of great sequences.


A trailer for the WWE Studios movie, Sleight.

Shinsuke Nakamura will be at Backlash for his SmackDown in-ring debut.


Match 3
RAW Tag Team Title Match
Cesaro & Sheamus vs The Hardy Boyz (RAW Tag Champs)
(referee: Chad Patton)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Jeff Hardy pins Sheamus after a Swanton Bomb, The Hardy Boyz retain the titles
Time: 12:44

Match Thoughts
Good match. Other than the finish which seemed to take a little time to get in the correct positions, this was good. Sheamus and Cesaro didn’t explode like I’d hoped they would, but they were very dominant in the match. They pretty much destroyed Jeff Hardy, and even though Matt seemed to fare better, he got dominated at times as well. I liked the back-and-forth in this one.


Ring Area
After the match, as the Hardys celebrate their victory, Sheamus and Cesaro return to the ring to attack. Sheamus Brogue Kicks Jeff’s arm into the post, then he gives Matt a Brogue Kick in the ring.

** Well, they exploded, just a little too late. Looks like the feud will continue, which is fine by me. **

WWE does charity stuff.

Braun Strowman addresses Roman Reigns, saying Reigns is making the biggest mistake of his life.


Match 4
RAW Women’s Title Match
Alexa Bliss vs Bayley (RAW Women’s Champ)
(referee: John Cone)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Alexa Bliss wins via pinfall after a DDT and becomes the new RAW Women’s Champ
Time: 11:12

Match Thoughts
Good match. I like how the match developed. Bayley started with a lot of energy, mostly due to her excitement of being in her hometown. Alexa started to take over the match, but her arrogance (and taunting) led to Bayley getting back into the fight. From that point on, the action got a lot more serious, leading up to a couple close near falls and a finish that I think worked well.


A trailer for The Wall starring John Cena.

Clips of the Wyatt/Orton feud.

The House of Horrors Match begins. It’s a movie.

Randy Orton arrives at a house in (apparently) the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere. He enters the house and is attacked by Wyatt. They brawl around the house, with Wyatt disappearing at time before coming out of nowhere again and again. They end up in a kitchen where Wyatt pushes a refrigerator onto Orton. Wyatt leaves the house, magically makes a red light shine on the house, and uses Orton’s limo to head toward the arena.

** This is terrible. I hate it. I don’t even want to talk about it. **

Clips from the Samoa Joe/Seth Rollins feud.


Match 5
Seth Rollins vs Samoa Joe
(referee: Darrick Moore)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Seth Rollins wins via pinfall with a fireman’s carry transitioned into a pin
Time: 15:58

Match Thoughts
I really liked this match, but I’m not sure I’m satisfied with the finish. It worked well and I understand the point, but personally I felt a little let down. Maybe a repeat viewing removed from the context of the story will help me like it more. The action was great, and I liked the story Joe and Rollins told in the ring. Joe was relentless in his assault on Rollins’ knee, and that played a major role in everything that happened in the match. It was very well done, and I look forward to more matches between these two.


You can watch every PPV on the WWE Network.

Bray Wyatt arrives at the arena in the limo we saw earlier.

Ring Area
Bray Wyatt slowly makes his way to the ring, selling the damage done during the movie we saw earlier. As Wyatt gets to the ring and the lights come up, Randy Orton appears behind him. Somehow he beat Wyatt to the arena, and the refrigerator apparently had no effect on him.


Match 6
House of Horrors Match
Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton (WWE Champ)
(referee: John Cone)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Bray Wyatt wins via pinfall after Sister Abigail
Time: 4:25 (from the in-ring start)
44:05 (from the moment Orton entered the house)

Match Thoughts
This whole thing was a mess. Orton and Wyatt brawl a little, then the Singh Brothers and Jinder Mahal show up, and Wyatt takes the victory. Not because Wyatt played mind games, but because he got a ton of help. Ugh.


A trailer for The Resurrection of Gavin Stone from WWE Studios.

Shinsuke Nakamura will make his SmackDown in-ring debut at Backlash.

Clips of the Strowman/Reigns feud.


Match 7
Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns
(referee: Chad Patton)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Braun Strowman wins via pinfall after a running powerslam
Time: 12:43

Match Thoughts
This was fine. It was about what I expected. I think it works for the story they’re trying to tell, though I’m not 100% interested in that story. I liked the energy in the match, and I liked the power that was on display. Reigns came in injured, and that worked for the match. It was believable without resorting to any superhuman comebacks. I think that was a good decision.


Ring Area
After the match, Strowman brings the ring steps into the ring and drops Reigns onto them. He then lifts the steps above his head and drops them onto Reigns’ chest. Finlay and Pearce come out to get Strowman to leave. Back in the ring, Roman Reigns is bleeding from the mouth. Reigns manages to walk out of the ring and refuses to be stretchered as the show ends.


Show Impressions
With one glaring and horrible exception, I think this show was good. It was better than I expected. I’m not a huge fan of all the finishes, but I can see where they’ll work moving forward. I wasn’t expecting much from this show, but it has actually made me interested in seeing how some of the fallout plays out over the next few weeks. The one exception to all of this is, of course, the House of Horrors.

I understand that WWE Studios is making all sorts of movies these days, but I don’t tune in to a pro wrestling show to watch a movie. As a wrestling fan, I’ve become very good at suspending my disbelief, but trying to pass off an obviously pre-taped and edited movie as something that is happening right now is never going to work for me. Not when they do it like the House of Horrors. It was horrible.

Braun Strowman’s attack on Roman Reigns a few weeks ago on RAW was also obviously pre-taped, but it was actually done a lot better. I can buy that. I can’t buy nearly anything they’ve done with Orton and Wyatt in their feud. I appreciate that they’re trying new things, but this just doesn’t work. Not for me.

And on top of everything, Orton has basically no-sold absolutely everything Bray Wyatt has done. We’re supposed to buy the idea that Wyatt is dangerous and “evil” and magic and whatever, and that he’s a master of mind games, but Randy Orton has not been affected by any of it. Ever. It just doesn’t work as a credible or interesting story. I’m glad they split Orton and Wyatt to different shows. I hope they put all of this behind Wyatt and go in a different direction with him.

Match of the Night
Seth Rollins vs Samoa Joe
I nearly picked the US Title match instead of this, and I think all of the matches on this show were enjoyable except for the House of Horrors, but I think Rollins vs Joe was the most compelling.



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