Just the fourth time Payback has happened – one of the newer PPV events for the WWE – this one was mostly pretty lacklustre. There were moments but it felt, largely, like a clusterfuck. Kevin Owens came out shining – the crowd loves him. And he works.
By contrast Roman Reigns – who is supposed to be the big guy at the moment – doesn’t work and isn’t liked. That’s a problem.
The problems didn’t end there and started way earlier…
In the opening tag battle, it’s cut short due to a brutal (legit) injury where Enzo Amore was hurtled into the bottom rope neck first causing a whiplash concussion. Match stopped. Game over. No contest. He was stretchered off, the fans couldn’t quite tell what was up though the action on replay was ugly-ugly-ugly. We got an update from the commentators that he could move his limbs and was responding but this was definitely a real and nasty injury. So, unfortunate. But not a great start.
Even when matches did get a good start there were problems. The women’s title had Natalya and Charlotte going at it, both good performers with pedigree. But a convoluted storyline killed the match. It went on a tad long at any rate, and then we get this forced “Screwjob” repeat. Charlotte has her father Ric Flair in her corner, Natalya has her uncle, Bret Hart. For no real reason we get an early ringing of the bell, the referee duping Natalya. So Bret enters the ring and puts Flair in a figure-four while Natalya replicates the move on Charlotte. Watching old, battered men wade through their moves is not pretty and this made no sense.
It was jarring too, given it was followed by a protracted McMahon family love/hate-in, where Vince put his children together to co-run RAW with ongoing acrimony; the tag-line they were all working hard to put over was about an exciting new era…
Not all that new (nor exciting) when it features re-run, tired old storylines.
There wasn’t one single knock-out classic match either.
So let’s just forget this one happened, eh?