A NEW ERA, WITH ONLY A FEW ERRORS
By Sam Jones
Broadcasted live on May 1, 2016
Emanating from Chicago, Illinois
Announcers: Kick-Off: Mauro Ranallo, Byron Saxton
Main Show: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, John “Bradshaw” Layfield
DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. BARON CORBIN (KICK-OFF)
U.S CHAMPIONSHIP- KALISTO © VS. RYBACK (KICK-OFF)
WWE TAG TEM CHAMPIONSHIP #1 CONTENDER’S MATCH- ENZO AMORE AND COLLIN CASSIDY VS. THE VAUDEVILLAINS
KEVIN OWENS VS. SAMI ZAYN
INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP- THE MIZ © VS. CESARO
DEAN AMBROSE VS. CHRIS JERICHO
WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP- CHARLOTTE ©/w RIC FLAIR VS. NATALYA/w BRET HART
MR. MCMAHON CHOOSES WHETHER STEPHANIE OR SHANE MCMAHON WILL RUN RAW
WWE WORLD HEAVY WEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP- ROMAN REIGNS © VS. AJ STYLES
SPOLIER ALERT: MATCH RESULTS AND DETAILS MIGHT BE REVEALED, SKIP TO “FINAL VERDCIT” TO AVOID SPOILERS
Payback 2016 has been promoted by the WWE as being the first show of a “new era” in the company’s history. The question is, did Payback deliver on this promise and usher in a shiny, new era of wrestling? Or did it just turn out to be the same ol’ same ol’ long time fans have come to expect?
Well, I can safely tell you that on a pure wrestling level, Payback absolutely delivered in spades. Every match, from top to bottom, Kick-Off to main event, delivered wrestling and action that ranged from above average to fantastic. This was especially true of the Owens/Zayn match-up, which was the match of the night and easily rivalled any of their matches from down in NXT. The fact that this card was also loaded up with fresh talents and relatively new match-ups also made Payback feel like a real breath of fresh air after so many months of stale, predictable booking, and with any luck we can hopefully expect that trend to continue into the coming months.
However, despite the wrestling and action on offer being high quality, Payback was not without its hiccups. An extremely scary legitimate injury suffered by Enzo Amore during the opening match completely derailed the match and got the show off to a shaky start. Of course, things that couldn’t be helped aside, I found that there were at least a handful of matches on the card that were damaged by over-booking and bizarre finishes. Special mentions go to Baron Corbin inexplicably losing his first big match-up to Dolph Ziggler via a completely random roll-up, the Women’s Championship match, which ended in an utterly pointless and baffling recreation of the Montreal Screwjob, and the World Heavyweight Championship match having not one, but two, false finishes that happened purely to reiterate the fact that Shane and Stephanie McMahon now have joint control of the show. In fact speaking of the McMahon brood, their 20-minute long segment that took place before the main event was an extreme energy-sapper in an otherwise energetic show, and ultimately proved rather anti-climatic, since Vince just chose both of them anyway instead of providing an actual definitive choice. Choosing to end the show by once again giving time to this angle, not to mention its impact on the main event also sent something of a wrong message: one would hope the “new era” in WWE doesn’t continue to revolve around the McMahon family like it has for so much of the past.
Despite my issues with the booking and choice of finishes in this show, not to mention Enzo Amore’s shocking early injury, Payback 2016 nevertheless proved to be a fairly enjoyable show, the dodgy writing being propped up by some great wrestling performances from all involved, especially Zayn/Owens and the main event, which in spite of its slight over-booking, proved highly entertaining. If you can stomach the questionable booking and just stick to the great wrestling on offer here, then you’ll get plenty of enjoyment out of Payback 2016.