WWE Payback 2016

Payback 2016

Allstate Arena – Rosemont, IL – Sunday, May 1, 2016

Byron Saxton and Mauro Ranallo are on commentary for the kickoff.

~KICKOFF MATCH~
Dolph Ziggler defeats Baron Corbin at 7:43. Both men try to work the match at their pace, as Ziggler is full of fire early on and Corbin works to contain him. They fight both in and out of the ring, and it’s outside the ring where Corbin does a great deal of damage. Corbin gets too cocky though and Ziggler surprises him with a rollup for the flash pin. Typical kickoff fare here, with a weak-ass finish that makes Corbin look like a moron.
Rating: **

~KICKOFF MATCH~
WWE United States Champion Kalisto defeats Ryback at 8:33 to retain the title. Kalisto has been the Champion since 1.24.16, and this is his fourth defense. It doesn’t take Ryback long to assert his physical dominance. Kalisto comes back by flying all over the place, which works for him. He pulls off some pretty slick aerial maneuvers and DDT variations, and Ryback sells pretty well for him. Ryback executes some big moves but Kalisto won’t give in. The Big Guy goes to the top rope, which he rarely does, and Kalisto kicks him in the face to knock him down. Kalisto joins him up there but pays for it when Ryback hits a Gorilla Press! Very cool. Ryback comes down with a splash but Kalisto moves out of the way and hits Salida del Sol to get the pin and retain the title. I really thought these two worked well together in the big man v little man formula, and Kalisto went over super clean. Good stuff.
Rating: ***

Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, and JBL are on commentary for the main show.

~MATCH #1~
The Vaudevillains (Aiden English & Simon Gotch) defeat Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady via referee stoppage at 4:00. English and Gotch beat Goldust & Fandango and The Usos to get here, while Enzo and Cass defeated The Ascension and The Dudley Boyz. WWE Tag Team Champions the New Day open the show and remind everyone that the winner of this match will be the number one contenders to their titles. Momentum shifts back and forth as both teams try to set the pace. Everything seems to be going along just fine until Gotch goes to throw Amore to the floor, but Amore’s head snaps back off the ropes and he’s legit injured. That ends the match. It’s a little tough to rate, but I’m OCD so I have no choice.
Rating: *

~MATCH #2~
Kevin Owens defeats Sami Zayn at 14:29. I don’t think I’ve ever disliked a match between these two, ever. It doesn’t take long for this one to heat up, as there’s no need for a feeling out process. When Owens is on offense he works a slower pace, and focuses on keeping Zayn grounded. When Zayn controls the pace is much quicker, and the attacks much more explosive. The crowd is juiced for both guys here, and they react to every attack and counter. Zayn and Owens fight in the ring, out of the ring, on the ring apron – wherever they can get their hands on each other. Zayn gets a late burst of energy and goes for the Helluva Kick, but Owens pops out of the corner with a wicked Superkick. One Popup Powerbomb later and Owens collapses on top of Zayn to get the pin. What a great match – awesome pacing, great offense, cool counters, and a super-clean finish. The crowd was hot for the whole thing too which made this even more enjoyable.
Rating: ****¼

~MATCH #3~
WWE Intercontinental Champion The Miz (w/ Maryse) defeats Cesaro at 11:19 to retain the title. Miz has been the Champion since 4.4.16, and this is his second defense. Kevin Owens joins the commentary team, just because he feels like it. Cesaro uses his size and strength to control the first few minutes. One mistake turns things back over to the Miz, who works on Cesaro’s surgically repaired left shoulder. Late in the match, Sami Zayn reemerges and takes the fight to Owens at the commentator’s table. The crowd is distracted by this development, but Cesaro regains their attention with the Cesaro Swing. Cesaro turns the swing into a Crossface, and the referee gets distracted by Zayn and Owens fighting on the ring apron and he doesn’t see Miz tapping out! Cesaro gets up to yell at the ref, and Miz rolls him up with a handful of tights to get the win. This broke down into chaos by the end but it worked really well. Cesaro and Miz had shockingly good chemistry together, and the involvement of Zayn and Owens was very well done. The finish set up a four-way match that I would buy a pay-per-view to see, so this certainly did its job.
Rating: ***¾

~MATCH #4~
Dean Ambrose beat Chris Jericho at 18:28. The crowd starts the match with dueling chants, so they’re pretty excited to see what they do with each other. Ambrose controls the early going until Jericho cuts him off by dropping his midsection on the top rope, and then hitting the springboard dropkick to send Ambrose to the floor. They go back and forth as the referee is pretty lenient with how much he’s allowing them to fight on the floor. Both men have multiple counters for each other’s big moves, but Ambrose has the golden ticket tonight, countering a Lionsault into Dirty Deeds to get the win. This started pretty slow but they picked it up about half way through and it got pretty fun down the stretch. Ambrose going over super clean was definitely the right call.
Rating: ***½

~MATCH #5~
WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte (w/ Ric Flair) defeats Natalya (w/ Bret Hart) at 13:09 to retain the title. Charlotte has been the Champion since 4.3.16, and this is her second defense. Charlotte seems to be taking Natalya lightly, and she pays for that arrogance early on. The Champ perseveres and takes her challenger to the mat, working on the knee. Charlotte executes several of her key moves, including Natural Selection and a beautiful moonsault but Natalya won’t stay down. She even uses the Figure Eight, but Natalya reverses it. Charlotte has to resort to using the Sharpshooter, and referee Charles Robinson calls for the bell even though Natalya didn’t tap out. Yes, they actually did a Montreal finish here. Match was going along okay until that garbage finish.
Rating: **

~MATCH #6~
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns defeats AJ Styles in a No Count Out No Disqualification Match at 25:05 to retain the title. Reigns has been the Champion since 4.3.16, and this is his first defense. Just guess who the crowd hates passionately here. Reigns uses his power to try and keep Styles grounded. When Styles reclaims control, he bumps up the pace. Styles knocks Reigns to the floor and decks him with the Phenomenal Forearm, breaking the announce table in the process! Great spot. Styles makes it back to the ring but he can’t bring Reigns with him, so he wins by countout. BUT WAIT! Shane McMahon comes out to announce that this match will restart with “no countouts,” making what’s to come supremely obvious. Moments later, Reigns hits Styles with an accidental low blow, and the referee disqualifies him. That doesn’t last long, as Stephanie McMahon comes out and restarts the match with “no disqualifications.” The battle continues and when Styles tries the Phenomenal Forearm, Reigns cuts him right out of the air with a Superman Punch. That only gets two. When Reigns sets up for the Spear, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows run out and deliver The Boot of Doom on Reigns. Styles recovers and lands the Phenomenal Forearm but Reigns gets his foot on the bottom rope! The Usos run out to fight off The Club and even the odds. Reversals and counters continue coming from both men, but when Reigns avoids the Phenomenal Forearm he destroys Styles with a Spear to get the pin. Reigns and Styles worked really well together and the heat was great. The two re-starts really hurt the match though, as it was all about who’s “in charge” and really took away from the match. Good stuff before and after those segments though.
Rating: ***¼

A2Z Analysiz
This is a really strong pay-per-view, and if the main event would’ve had less McMahon shenanigans it would’ve ended on a higher note and been an even better show. As it is, Zayn v Owens is must-see, and the main event, Cesaro v Miz, and Ambrose v Jericho are all good to great. Plus, Kalisto somehow got three stars out of Ryback on the preshow, so something was clicking on this night.

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About Jake Ziegler

I've been in love with the movies for almost 20 years. I follow the Oscars obsessively, and try to see as many movies a year as I can. I'll watch anything good bad or otherwise, and my life long dream job has always been to be a bona fide film critic. View all posts by Jake Ziegler

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