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WWE Payback 2013

by Scrooge McSuck

- Originally broadcasted live, on Pay-Per-View, on June 16th, 2013. We're coming to you from the All-State Arena in Chicago, IL. Michael Cole, Jerry "The King" Lawler, and JBL are calling the action, unless otherwise noted. Sorry to skip the Pre-Show, but for those who care, Sheamus defeated Damian Sandow after weeks of intelligence challenges, or something equally lame. It all happened on Smackdown, so don't mind me for never watching the show.

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match:
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel (w/ Paul Heyman):

Fandango suffered a concussion a week or so prior to this, so he's out, and randomly thrown in is freshly pushed and renamed Curtis Axel (Formerly known as Michael McGillicutty... yeah, it's still a stupid name after all these years). Sweet remix of his father's theme music, by the way. I always hate recapping triple threats... too much clusterfucking. Miz pounds away on both heels to boos (zuh?), and rolls up Barrett for two. Heyman holds Axel back while Barrett lays out Miz from behind. Whip to the ropes, Miz slides through the ropes and tosses Axel into the waiting arms of Barrett. Pumphandle slam for two by the Champion. A rogue clothesline knocks Axel to the floor, and Barrett boots Miz in the face for two. Hot crowd, even when you take away the fact it's the opening match. Miz and Barrett continue going one-on-one as Axel waits for an opening. Barrett catches a sneak attack and rams a series of knees to the chest. Axel avoids a boot and forearms Barrett to the floor. He counters a back breaker from Miz and connects with a beautiful dropkick.

Axel pounds Miz down in the corner, snapmares him over, and does the float-over snapmare for two. I can't help but mark for these old Mr. Perfect spots. That forearm must've been a real Axe, Barrett is STILL dead on the floor. Miz makes an anti-babyface comeback until Axel takes him down with a hard belly to back suplex (to a big pop) for two. I guess Bizzaro-World moved to the United States. Barrett saves the pin attempt, by the way. Miz with clotheslines to both men, and Axel completely over-sells having his leg kicked from under him. Jumping clothesline to the corner on Barrett, followed by a double axehandle. Miz rolls through a sunset flip from Axel and boots him for two. He sweeps the leg of Barrett, but can't get the Figure-Four on, and Barrett plants him with a sidewalk slam for two.

Axel sets up for the Perfect-Plex, but Barrett fights free and goes for Wasteland. Axel counters that and the Perfect-Plex gets two. Miz with skull-crushing finale on Axel. Barrett tosses Miz and goes for the cover, but Miz breaks it up. Miz goes for the cover, and it only gets two! Miz goes to work on the leg to set up for the Figure-Four. Axel kicks him off into Barrett, and somehow turns it into a Figure-Four! Barrett can't make it to the ropes, but Axel sneaks in and covers for three at 10:39 to become the NEW Intercontinental Champion! Well, that finish came out of nowhere, but holy crap, that was the best Triple Threat I've seen in years. I'm sure the nuclear hot crowd had something to do with that, too. Is it wrong for Axel to do all his father's spots to get over? No, because he looked good doing them, and IT'S HIS FATHER. Cole with the sappy "that was the Perfect ending for Curtis Axel" line. He's supposed to be a heel, right?

- Mark Henry makes his return "tomorrow" night on Monday Night Raw. CAUSE THAT'S WHAT HE DO!

WWE Divas Championship Match:
Kaitlyn vs. A.J. Lee (w/ Big E. Langston):

Hey, weren't both these ladies part of that awful all Divas Edition of NXT? Does anyone really care? Seems like this angle has been going on forever, despite not doing much about it. If I really cared about the build, I'd remind everyone of what happened, but it was stupid. Trish vs. Lita this isn't. Kaitlyn takes her down and pounds away. They take it to the floor and she throws A.J. over the announcers table! Highspot in a Divas Match? Go A.J.! Who was it that said Kaitlyn and Seth Rollins share the same hair-style? A.J. with a double boot to the face to turn the tide. We get our first official chinlock of the night. Lawler with the line of the night: I've had three weddings and no anniversaries. A.J. with a pair of neck breakers for a two count. A.J. with a sleeper hold. Kaitlyn escapes, and takes a dropkick to the back of the head for her efforts. Kaitlyn catches A.J. off the ropes with a dropkick, but lays around to sell her big comeback. I can't even tell if they blew a spot running the ropes. A.J. with a crucifix for two. Kaitlyn rolls through it and connects with a gustbuster. Clothes get torn (to the delight of the crowd). A.J. lays her out with... whatever the hell was in the ring, but it only gets a two count. A.J. with a slow climb to the top. Kaitlyn catches a crossbody, but A.J. turns it into that Octopus Hold. Kaitlyn fights free and kills A.J. with a spear, but fucks around before covering, and A.J.kicks out at two. Serves her right. A.J.avoids a charge to the corner, slaps on the Octo-Lock again, and Kaitlyn taps, making A.J. the NEW Divas Champion at 9:56. Wow, you never see the Diva's get 10-minutes. Surprisingly good match (as in, good for the Diva). Kaitlyn's all wah about it afterwards.

- The Wyatt Family is coming to the WWE. This should be very interesting. I'm looking forward to them finally making their debut.

WWE United States Championship Match:
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane:

Weird to see Kane working a singles match on PPV, after roughly a year teaming with Daniel Bryan as the Tag Team Champions. Ambrose won the belt last month at Extreme Rules, and there's definitely no chance in hell of him dropping the title to Kane. Ambrose pounds away to start, with little results. Whip to the ropes, Kane with an elbow, followed by a clothesline. He takes Ambrose over with a suplex for one and slaps on a chinlock. Ambrose wastes little time to escape, but ends up walking into a back breaker. Kane with a snapmare, but the basement dropkick is countered with a dropkick from Ambrose. He takes Kane over with a dragon screw, followed by choking across the middle rope. Ambrose with another leg whip takedown and a snap elbow drop for a one count.

Kane offers a comeback, heading to the top, but Ambrose cuts him off. Kane fights off a rather stupid suplex attempt, and still misses the flying clothesline. Ambrose with a twisting elbow from the second rope for two. Ambrose slows things down again, slapping on a form of the Dragon Sleeper, and then a sleeper hold. Kane escapes, but a chokeslam attempt fails. He still manages to boot Ambrose down and hits the basement dropkick for two. Whip to the ropes, Kane blocks a sunset flip attempt, but Ambrose fights out of another choke and pounds Kane silly. Ambrose DARES to try and go Old School, but Kane throws him off. Kane with clotheslines, followed by the side suplex for a two count. Kane to the top rope, and this time the clothesline does connect. Kane sets for a Chokeslam, but Ambrose rolls to the floor. They do their thing until Ambrose plants Kane with a DDT and sneaks back in for the Count-Out victory at 9:35. Okay match, but so far the weakest on the card. There was a definite styles clash here, and it's always hard to work around the limitations of a larger worker. At this point, Kane definitely should remain in tag matches so he doesn't have to work 10-15 minute singles matches anymore.

- Rob Van Dam RETURNS to the WWE at Money In The Bank in Philadelphia! Really? I guess smoking weed day and night doesn't violate the wellness policy.

World Heavyweight Championship Match:
Dolph Ziggler (w/ A.J. Lee & Big E. Langston) vs. Alberto Del Rio (w/ Ricardo Rodriguez):

It seems like so long ago, but Ziggler cashed in his briefcase the night after WrestleMania to take advantage of a seriously injured Del Rio to win the Championship. Unfortunately, during the build to Extreme Rules, Ziggler suffered a nasty concussion, taking him out of action for about a month, leaving Del Rio, floundering as a top face, to keep defeating Jack Swagger and Big E. Langston to fill time until he could be cleared to compete again. Lockup, Del Rio shoots Ziggler to the ropes, only for Ziggler to slide out of the ring and annoy Del Rio by stalling. Ziggler pounds away with rights. Whip to the ropes and Del Rio catches him with a tilt-o-whirl back breaker, sending Ziggler back to the floor. Back inside, Del Rio catches Ziggler charging with an elbow to the side of the head. Del Rio with a kick to the chest, followed by stomps to the head. Del Rio with a high angle back suplex for a one count. Del Rio continues to target the head until Ziggler surprises him with a dropkick. Charge to the corner, and Del Rio back drops Ziggler all the way to the floor. Del Rio follows him out, ramming him onto the announcers table. Langston gets involved and thrown from ringside for it. This crowd seems to have a hard time making up their mind who they want to be the face and heel.

Ziggler returns the favor, ramming Del Rio onto the announcers table. Back inside, Del Rio greets Ziggler with a kick to the head, followed by a series of headbutts for a two count. Del Rio slaps on a chinlock and continues to pound away on the back of the head. Ziggler counters a suplex and holds on Del Rio with a sleeper hold. Del Rio escapes, ramming Ziggler face-first into the turnbuckle. Del Rio quickly comes off the ropes with another kick to the head. Ziggler rolls to the apron, only for Del Rio to trap him between the ropes, pounding the back, and adding a forearm to the back of the head for good measure. Del Rio with the Back Stabber, but it only gets two. He signals for the Cross Armbreaker, but Ziggler counters with a neck breaker for a two count. Ziggler with rights and a sloppy Rocker Dropper gets two. At least the broadcast team points it out, and covers by blaming Ziggler's possible head injuries throwning off his balance. Ziggler with the slow climb to the top rope, allowing Del Rio to kick him on the face. Del Rio climbs up with him, and takes him down with a reverse super-plex. That only gets two.

Del Rio with a baseball slide, sending Ziggler back to the floor. He follows him out, and lands ANOTHER kick to the head. The ringside trainer comes over to check on Ziggler, but he wants to keep going. All this does is bring Del Rio back with a dropkick to the back of the head. Del Rio throws Ziggler back in the ring and casually punts the Divas belt because it seemed like a good idea at the time. Del Rio with a running enziguri for two! Del Rio pounces, pounding away on Ziggler. Del Rio gets cocky, allowing Ziggler to hit the Zig Zag. He sells it more for the impact on himself than whatever it might have done to Del Rio. That, ladies and gentleman, was the last bullet in his chamber. Del Rio with one last kick to the head, and that's finally enough for the three count at 13:53, making Del Rio the NEW World Heavyweight Champion. An absolutely fantastic match, telling a story worth caring about, making yourself a new sympathetic babyface that everyone wants to get behind, a despicable heel that everyone wants to hate, and just letting it all hang out in the process. I haven't felt real emotion for a wrestling match like this in a very, very long time.

Chris Jericho vs. C.M. Punk (w/ Paul Heyman):

It's hard to designate Punk as the heel of the match, because we're in Chicago and he gets a phenominal reaction, regardless of what he has done in the last 12 months. The build to this was absolutely pointless. Just a way to say "hey, we're advertising a potential 4-star match. Isn't that enough for you to buy it?" Nice mutton-chops on Punk, by the way. Lockup to start, resulting in a shoving match. They fight over a waistlock until Punk counters with a drop toe hold. Jericho gets the upperhand, grabbing a hammerlock to crowd disaproval. Punk snapmares free, and it's back to a nuetral position. Jericho with a side headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Punk catches him off the ropes with a dropkick and takes him over with a headlock of his own. He turns his attentions to the arm, ramming a series of shoulders across the elbow. They exchange chops until Jericho boots him down in the corner. Whip to the corner, Jericho misses a charge. Punk grabs a front facleock, but gets thrown from the second rope, and Jericho sends him to the floor with a clothesline.

Jericho with a baseball slide to send Punk back into the security wall. He measures up for another big hit, but the springboard dropkick results in him being dropped throat-first across the top rope. Punk to the top rope, connecting with a double axehandle for a two count. Whip to the ropes, and Punk with a knee to the midsection for two. He continues working on the left arm, this time slapping on a short-arm scissors. Jericho escapes by pounding away with rights. Whip to the corner, and Jericho meets a boot on the charge. Punk takes his sweet time coming off the top, missing the clothesline. Jericho with a pair of shoulder tackles, followed by his own double axehandle from the top rope. He takes Punk down with the bulldog, but the Lionsault doesn't hit the target, and Punk takes him down with a neck breaker for two. Punk with the running knee in the corner, but the bulldog is clocked, and the Lionsault connects for two! Jericho sweeps the legs and turns over with the Walls of Jericho. Punk slides through the legs and somehow counters with the Anaconda Vice from a standing position. Jericho manages to survive the hold for longer than even John Cena, and hooks the ropes to force a break. Punk signals for the GTS, which means it won't connect. Jericho catches the leg, sweeps Punk off his feet, and goes for the Walls again, but this time Punk kicks him off. Punk goes for the GTS again, but stalls for a second and gets rolled up for two.

Punk with a roundhouse kick, laying Jericho out. Punk is slow to his feet, and Jericho takes this opprotunity to partially connect on the Code Breaker, but it only gets two. They trade rights until Punk buts out the kicks. Whip to the ropes, and a jumping heel kick puts Jericho down. Punk with the running knee to the corner, followed by a short-arm clothesline. He heads to the top rope, and it's time to drop the Macho Man Elbow! He signals for the end, again, and this time the GTS connects, but it only gets two! The crowd chants for "One More Time", and I'm kind of not liking babyface Punk. Jericho with elbows to the chin to counter, but this time the Code Breaker misses. Punk with a clothesline, sending Jericho to the floor, and follows with a sucide dive through the ropes. Punk tries for the springboard clothesline and literally eats a Code Breaker (trademark Gorilla Monsoon), but somehow still kicks out at two. Jericho unleashes with a flurry of elbows across the chin and chest. Punk counters the Walls with a small package for two. Punk goes for a hurricanrana, but Jericho turns it into the Walls. Punk valiantly hangs on, pounding away at the arm and leg of Jericho to finally relinquish the hold. Punk with GTS knocking Jericho into the corner, and then again for good measure for the hard-earned three count at 21:27. It's hard to find fault with a 4-star match, but with a lack of reason behind the match other than "let's make a match", it's hard to say I enjoyed this more than Del Rio and Ziggler, which while technically inferior in wrestling quality, had more to it to grab my attention. It's worth a look, but somehow is only the second best match on this PPV.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match:
The Shield's Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton:

I'm not complaining, but they need to find someone new than Daniel Bryan to work with the Shield on PPV. It's always good, but you need some change, too. We need some USO'S! OK, Just kidding, I'll take a 3-4 star match every day of the week over that impending borefest. Reigns and Bryan start. Bryan lays in with a series of kicks. Reigns shrugs them off and drops Bryan with a clothesline for two. Was that a "Don't Hinder Jinder" sign I just saw? Back to the action, Bryan continues taking a beating in the corner. After some double-teaming, Reigns slaps on a chinlock. Bryan escapes with elbows and comes off the ropes with a clothesline. This crowd is surprisingly quiet, but they have to be burned out from the previous match. Orton tags in and lays out Rollins with clothesline. He catches him off the ropes with a powerslam, throws him through the ropes, and then somehow turns the DDT onto Reigns. This crowd is dead. Rollins tries a press from the second rope, but gets turned over with another powerslam.

Orton sets up and connects with another DDT, this time on Rollins. He gets in position for the RKO, but Rollins wisely rolls to the floor. Reigns comes from out of nowhere to lay Orton out with a forearm, turning the tide in favor of the Champions. Orton takes a beating inside the ring from both men as the crowd still doesn't care too much. Reigns with a spinebuster for a two count. Rollins in and works a chinlock. You can't blame them much for phoning this one in, the crowd is NOT coming back after Punk/Jericho AND Del Rio/Ziggler. Bryan eventually gets the hot tag, and quickly comes off the ropes with a missile dropkick. He works over both Shield members until we get face-miscommunication on a suicide dive attempt. Back inside, Reigns sets Bryan in a torture rack position, but Bryan fights out, sends Reigns into Rollins, and takes Rollins off the top with a double underhook super-plex! That only gets two. Here comes the No-Lock, but Reigns interrupts. Rollins with a school boy for two, and then it's back to the No-Lock. Reigns breaks it up formally this time. RKO comes in for an RKO, Bryan gets wiped out during the melee, and Rollins with the jumping boot to the head for three at 12:00 to retain the belts. Hot finish to a lethargic match. Again, can't blame them too much when the crowd needs a breather and there's no filler left on the board.

WWE Championship; Three Stages of Heck Match:
John Cena vs. Ryback:

It's about time they finally ended Ryback's run as a Main Eventer. Honestly, if this is where they were going with him, then why all the jobbing in big match situations? The build-up to this has been pretty average, but at least Ryback looks like he's an actual threat to winning the belt from Cena, even if any fan with half-a-brain knows better. Out of all the options to do "Three Stages of Heck", why the worst gimmick matches possible? Honestly, the only way it could be worse is if the Tables Match part of the series was a "Item on a Pole" Match, instead.

Fall #1: Lumberjack Match: I'd say "at least they're getting this out of the way first", but I hate Ambulance Matches more. Ryback wins a lockup and stomps Cena down in the corner. Cena tries to offer the same, only to be planted with a powerslam for two. Ryback with a fallaway slam as we discuss the origins of the Lumberjack Match. Cena with a crappy fisherman style suplex, followed by an elbow. Cena gets tossed to the floor, but the Lumberjacks let him be... for now. Ryback grabs a chinlock, and I'd make a smart ass remark, but this has been a good show so far, so I'm in a fairly good mood. Cena fights free and goes for the AA, Ryback counters and connects with an odd Stunner for two. Cena gets dumped in front of a camp of heels, and takes a mild beating before being thrown in and covered for two. Cena takes another trip to the floor, with the same result. Cena tries the same, but the heels let him go. The crowd is so thrilled, we get a random RVD chant. Ryback counters the 5-Knucke Shuffle by press slamming him onto a pile of Lumberjacks. Cena counters Shell Shok by tossing Ryback to the floor, and now the Lumberjacks get into a battle royale. Cena jumps onto the pile, trying to be the next Shawn Michaels. BEDLAM! BEDLAM! Back inside, Cena with the STF, but Ryback won't sell a move that isn't even applied properly. He powers up with Cena on his back, and the Shell Shock gets a three count at 7:31?! RYBACK PINNED HIM CLEAN!? Someone must've watched some old Ric Flair tapes on properly putting someone over in the first fall.

Fall #2: Tables Match: Before we get to the action, we see several more replays of Cena's highspot. Ryback charges into the corner with a shoulder, and quickly throws a table into the ring. Ryback sets up for a powerbomb, but Cena slips free and goes for the AA. Ryback shoves him to the ropes, and lays him out with a spear. That quickly triggers a massive "Goldberg" chant. Ryback's press slam is countered with another AA attempt, but Ryback wisely flips the table and gets thrown to the floor as a result of it. They take it to the floor, with Cena being introduced to the ring steps. Ryback throws the steps into the ring before throwing Cena back in as well. He bashes Cena in the face, but a second attempt leads to a broken table. Cena with a back suplex to tae Ryback down, and returns the steel steps bashing. We need a new table, stat! Cena mostly blocks being hit with the steps, and Ryback destroys another table trying to use the steps as a means of ramming Cena through it. Cena ducks the steps, takes Ryback down and connects with the 5-Knuckle Shuffle. Ryback counters the AA again, and puts Cena down with a spinebuster. Ryback measures up and connects with the Meathook. A third table comes into play, Cena counters the Shell Shock, and puts Ryback through the table with the AA at 7:25.

Fall #3: Ambulance Match: Ryback wastes no time in no-selling the table spot and throwing Cena to the floor. He takes apart the announcers table, probably confused about which fall this is. He puts Cena through the table, probably as a symbolic "I beat him twice already, and am going to beat him in the third stage, too." Here's a weird idea: how about someone winning 2 falls to 0 for once? The bell rings to finally OFFICIALLY start the fall, with Cena knocked loopy. Cena escapes Ryback's clutches and whips out some crutches. Ryback tries to KO Cena, but punches out a window, instead. Dammit, quit being Goldberg! Ryback opens the front door for whatever reasons, and gets whipped into it, ripping it off it's hinges. RIGGED! Cena uses the door as a battering ram and tries putting Ryback in the FRONT SEAT?! That's not how an ambulance works, Cena! The gimmicked ambulance keeps getting torn apart to supply these two with weapons. Ryback sets for a powerbomb, but Cena counters with a back drop, onto the hood. Cena climbs to the top of the Ambulance, and Ryback follows. Cena gets the upperhand, and an FU puts Ryback THROUGH the roof, and it's over at 6:03, with Cena retaining the WWE Championship. There was some solid action, with the falls being well done to protect everyone. Cena does the clean job in the only one that needs a pinfall, yet still wins the last two falls without having to pin Ryback or make him submit. The "brawling" during the Ambulance Match stage felt a bit flat, though, but otherwise, a fine match that's a bit exposed for it's quality with such a stacked midcard.

Final Thoughts: Even though the crowd seemed to flatline at times during the last third of the PPV, this is a pretty solid effort from start to finish from everyone involved. Ziggler and Del Rio take him Match of the Night honors, barely edging out Jericho and Punk. The opening triple threat for the Intercontinental Title was surprisingly good, much better than I was anticipating, John Cena and Ryback delivered a satisfying Main Event, and even the Divas Match was of decent quality. To my surprise, the two matches that felt the flatest were the two involving the Shield. I guess everyone CAN have an off night, right? This one is definitely worth picking up on DVD in a few weeks.

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