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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

WWE Payback

-From Chicago

-Hosts are Cole, King, & JBL

-Match 1 for the Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett [c] VS The Miz VS Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman)

-As if you didn't know who was winning this, Cole immediately talks about this match having special meaning to Axel because of it being Father's Day. Miz manages to fight off both heels to start, and hit a flapjack on Barrett for two. Miz calls for Axel, who declines on advice from Heyman. Miz gets sent outside by Barrett, and he throws Axel in. Miz missed Wade with a clothesline that hits Axel instead, and Barrett gets a big boot on Miz for two. Barrett sets Miz across the top turnbuckle and punts him in the ribs for two. Barrett controls the ring for a minute, until getting crotched on the top rope and elbowed outside by Axel. Axel fights out of the Reality Check and catches Miz with a nice dropkick as Heyman celebrates.

Axel works on Miz's head as Barrett hangs out on the outside. Miz fights back, but Axel gets a nice high-angle suplex for two, as Barrett makes the save. Miz fires up and takes out both heels, finally rolling through an Axel sunset flip and kicking him in the face for two. Barrett gets in and hits Miz with the Winds of Change for two, with Axel making the save. Axel counters Wasteland and hits the PerfectPlex to a BIG pop, and the crowd is pissed when Miz makes the save at two. Miz hits the SCF on Axel, but Barrett throws Miz outside and steals the cover, but Miz pulls him off at two, and crawls back in for his own near-fall.

Cole talking about how wonderful it is to be IC champion falls on deaf ears considering the booking of Barrett the last few months. Miz goes for the figure 4 on Axel, but Axel kicks him off, so he gets in on Barrett instead. Axel sneaks in and pins Barrett before he can tap to win the title at 10:36. Good opener, GREAT finish. It's nice to see WWE finally has a couple secondary champions they won't be jobbing out every week. Axel's reaction to winning the title put it over as a huge moment for him, which I'm sure it was, considering he spent the last couple years as a jobber before this push.

-Mark Henry hype video. His return was the best thing on Raw not involving The Shield in ages.

-Backstage, Axel & Heyman run into HHH. Vince comes in to congratulate the new champ, and propose HHH/Axel III for Raw. HHH says he's not feeling it. Probably a good thing for Axel.

-Match 2 for the Divas Championship: Kaitlyn [c] VS AJ Lee (w/Big E. Langston)

-AJ blows a kiss at Kaitlyn, and takes a beatdown as a result, including getting launched over the Spanish announce table. Kaitlyn works AJ over on the outside, but then runs right into a low dropkick off the apron, taking it right in the face. That gets two. AJ grabs a cravat, then cuts Kaitlyn off when she fights out. AJ hits a couple neckbreakers for two. AJ hops on Kaitlyn's back with a sleeper, then catchers her in the back with a mule kick when Kaitlyn forces a break, and that gets two. Kaitlyn rolls through a crucifix pin, and hits a gutbuster. AJ tries to get away, but gets pulled back in, hanging onto the ring apron the whole time, As the ref puts the apron back, AJ gets a hold of something and drills Kaitlyn for two.

AJ goes up top, but gets caught in mid-air. Kaitlyn goes for a spinning slam, but AJ counters that into the Black Widow. Kaitlyn hits a spear, but stops to blow a kiss at AJ, so it only gets two. AJ avoids another spear in the corner, and gets the Black Widow for the submission and the title at 9:54. Usually a ten minute divas match would be death, but this was pretty good. Easily the best divas title match in a long time. Finally the most over diva (by miles) has the title.

-Kaitlyn tears up, and the crowd adds a "you tapped out" chant on top of it. Layla tries to console her with help from Natalya and & Alicia Fox, but it doesn't work.

-Money in the Bank promo.

-The Payback Panel (Josh Matthews, Big Show, R-Truth, & Cody Rhodes) talk about the IC title match, then a little about the Divas title match. I like this type of stuff.

-The Wyatt Family is still coming.

-Match 3 for the United States Championship: Dean Ambrose [c] VS Kane 45:54

-Crowd is solidly pro-Ambrose. They slug it out early, then Kane hits a backbreaker. Kane takes control until Ambrose hits a low dropkick, then a dragon screw. Ambrose works the leg, then drops an elbow before locking in a rear chinlock. Kane counters a hangman's neckbreaker, and hits a powerslam. Kane goes up and fights off Ambrose, but misses the flying clothesline, and Ambrose hits a flying European Uppercut for two. Ambrose blocks a chokeslam, but runs into a boot to the gut, followed by one to the head, then a low dropkick for two.

Ambrose comes back with slaps to the face, then a running dropkick for two. Ambrose looks to go Old School, but Kane cuts that off, and hits a sidewalk slam for two. Kane hits a flying clothesline and looks for a chokeslam, but Ambrose rolls outside. Ambrose slaps Kane, who gets PISSED and preps the Spanish announce table, but walks into a DDT on the floor, and Ambrose wins by count-out at 9:33. Pretty crappy finish, and it came just as they were finding a second gear.

-RVD is coming back at Money in the Bank. I have no idea why.

-From Payback Kickoff: Sheamus beats Damien Sandow.

-Match 4 for the World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler [c] (w/AJ Lee & Big E. Langston) VS Alberto Del Rio (w/Ricardo Rodriguez)

-No warm up intro by Ricardo, which should have been a clue as to what was going to happen. The chants are the opposite of a Cena match, with the pro-Ziggler chants being mostly adult men, and the anti-Ziggler chants are decidedly higher-pitched. ADR immediately focuses on the head, and the crowd chants for RVD. ADR stomps the head, then hits a belly-to-back suplex for one. Ziggler hits a nice dropkick for his first offense, but then runs into a backdrop over the top, smacking his face on the floor. ADR works Ziggler over on the floor, then goads Big E. into getting kicked out from ringside.

A clearly-messed-up Ziggler makes a comeback, but back in the ring, he gets caught with another kick to the head. ADR sets Ziggler up for a suplex, and looks visibly baffled by the boo's. Smart work there. Ziggler takes advantage and gets a sleeper, but ADR counters, sending Dolph head-first into the turnbuckles. ADR gets Dolph ties up in the ropes and hits elbows to his kidneys, before adding one to the back of the head. ADR goes for the cross-armbreaker, but Ziggler counters into a swinging neckbreaker for two. Ziggler avoids a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and hits a fucked-up famouser for two.

Dolph goes up, but takes too long and takes another kick to the head, then an inverted suplex off the top for two. Dolph rolls out, and ADR gets on the apron to hit a VICIOUS kick to the face. The doctor checks on Dolph, but ADR cuts that off with another blow to the head. ADR sends Dolph back in, and hits a low running enziguiri for two. Dolph catches ADR posing and hits the Zig Zag, but he can't follow up. ADR finally finishes with another superkick to regain the title at 13:49. While it was pretty much an extended squash and Ziggler losing the world title in his first defense after jobbing for months leading up to his title win, this is probaby the best thing for him. The double-turn was expertly executed, and what was essentially an extended squash was eleveted by the selling of the beating by both guys, and ADR not understanding why he was being booed was great too.

-Dolph gets the post-loss sympathy reaction HHH chases, but can't get.

-The Pyback Panel weighs in on the world title match, and put over the change in ADR.

-To hammer the turn home, ADR comes out for a pandering promo to give Chicago one more chance to cheer him. They don't.

-Match 5: Chris Jericho VS CM Punk (w/Paul Heyman)

-They feel each other out to start, until Punk hits a dropkick. Punk starts working Jericho's arm, but then loses a chop exchange and gets stomped in the corner. Jericho knocks Punk outside, but the Punk blocks the springboard dropkick. Punk follows up with a double axe off the top to the shoulder for two. Punk continues his arm work with a short-arm scissors. Jericho gets out, but runs into a boot to the face. Punk takes forever to follow up, and Jericho counters. Jericho hits a bulldog, but misses the Lionsault, and Punk hits a neckbreaker for two.

Punk hits the running knee in the corner, but Jericho blocks the bulldog and hits the Lionsault for two. Jericho gets the Walls, but Punk gets out (with lots of help from Jericho), and gets the Anaconda Vice. Jericho hangs on, and gets to the ropes to force a break. Punk goes for the GTS (stopping to say "Blackhawks in seven"), but Jericho blocks and goes for the Walls again. Heyman gets on the apron, which distracts Jericho, then in turn distracts Punk when he counters into the GTS, allowing Jericho to slide out and get a schoolboy for two. Punk hits a roundhouse kick to the head, and both guys are down.

Jericho hits a Code Breaker out of nowhere for two. Punk wins a strike exchange, then hits his running knee/bulldog combo, followed by the Savage elbow. Punk hits the GTS, but that only gets two, with King & JBL saying he didn't get all of it. Crowd chants for one more GTS. Punk tries to ablidge, but Jericho fights out. Punk blocks a Code Breaker, clotheslines Jericho outside, then follows up with a suicide dive. Punk goes for the springboard clothesline, but Jericho counters with a Code Breaker for two. If I had been watching live, I might have bought that as a finish. Jericho goes to town with elbows to the head, then sets up for the Walls, but Punk counters into a small package for two.

Punk tries a rana, but that gets countered into the Walls. Punk fights out and hits the GTS, and Jericho rebounds off the corner into another GTS, and that finally gets the pin at 21:20. Not an all-time classic or anything like Jericho promised on Smackdown, but it was still pretty good.

-Match 6 for the WWE Tag Team Championship: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns [c] VS Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton

-There was a time in the not-to-distant past where putting the tag titles after a match like Punk/Jericho was definitely putting them in a death spot, but with the guys involved (especially Bryan), that's not the case here. I love Bryan going back to embracing the YES. Bryan & Reigns start. Bryan immediately hits a bunch of kicks, but runs full-steam into a clothesline for two. Bryan gets caught in the Shield corner, and takes another big clothesline from Reigns for two. Bryan fights out of a side headlock, and hits a flying clothesline, which allows him to tag Orton. Orton gets Rollins in the draping DDT, but then opts to hit it on Reigns instead.

Orton hits Rollins with a powerslam for two, then follows up with another draping DDT on him. Orton calls for the RKO, but Rollins rolls outside, and lures Orton into a Superman punch from Reigns. The Shield works Orton over, and the crowd shows how much they care by chanting for RVD again. Reigns hits a Samoan drop for two. Rollins gets in, and cuts off an Orton comeback attempt with a leaping enziguiri. Orton fights off a double team, and throws Rollins into Reigns via an exploder suplex. Bryan gets the hot tag and cleans house, getting a near-fall on Reigns. Bryan kicks the shit out of Reigns, then after missing a buzzsaw kick, connects on the second attempt for two.

Bryan tries the suicide dive, but accidentally hits Orton. Back in, Bryan fights off a double team, and tosses Rollins off the top with a butterfly suplex for two. It takes a couple tries, but Bryan gets the No Lock on Rollins, but Reigns breaks it up. Reigns howls, but gets caught by Orton with an RKO attempt. Reigns shoves Orton off, and he almost hits Bryan but doesn't. Reigns tries to spear Orton, but he moves, and Reigns crushes Bryan. Orton catches Reigns with the RKO, but then gets knocked out of the ring by Rollins, who finishes Bryan with a jumping curb stomp at 12:10. Not long enough to be on the Shield's more epic matches, but this was pretty much all action bell-to-bell, and it's way too early to be taking the tag titles off The Shield, so I'm happy.

-Orton walks out on Bryan as The Shield celebrate.

-Match 7 for the WWE Championship: John Cena [c] VS Ryback [3 Stages of Hell] 39:06

-STAGE ONE [Lumberjack Match]: Ryback quickly catches Cena with a spinning powerslam for two. As Lawler tells the origin of lumberjack matches, Ryback hits a fallaway slam. Cena gets sent into the babyface lumberjacks, and they let him get in on his own time. That doesn't help, as Ryback promptly hits a legdrop for two. Cena goes for the AA, but Ryback gets out, and hits a Backpack Stunner for two. Ryback sends Cena into the heel lumberjacks, and they swarm on Cena before sending him back in the ring.

Cena makes his usual comeback, but Ryback counters the Five Knuckle Shuffle and throws Cena out over the top onto some lumberjacks. Cena sends Ryback into the lumberjacks. Ryback gets into a shoving match with Cesaro, and all the lumberjacks get involved. Cena, instead of letting Ryback get beaten in the pile, dives onto it. Back in Cena gets the STF, but Ryback powers into the Shellshocked...for the pin? at 7:30. Well that was pretty weak. Probably the only time Cena will stay down after one finisher.

-STAGE TWO [Tables Match]: Ryback promptly tries to powerbomb Cena through a table, but Cena slips out. Cena almost gets the AA, but Ryback gets out and hits a football tackle. They again trade finisher teases, with Ryback tipping the table over while in AA position, and Cena sends Ryback outside. Cena goes outside, and is promptly thrown into the steps. Ryback puts the steps in the ring and sets up a table in the corner. Ryback cracks Cena with the steps, then throws the steps at Cena trying to use the force to send Cena through the table, but Cena moves, and the table is broken.

Cena cracks Ryback with the steps, and gets another table. As Cena sets the table, Ryback gets the steps and uses them to knock Cena onto the table, then throws the steps again, but Cena moves again, and another table bites the dust. Cena gets the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Ryback blocks the AA, and hits a huge spinebuster. Ryback hits the Meathook, and grabs another table. Ryback goes for Shellshocked, but Cena slips out, and hits the AA through the table at 16:04.

-STAGE THREE [Ambulance Match]: Ryback shrugs off the finish and throws Cena outside before prepping the English announce table. Ryback powerbombs Cena through the table and talks shit. Ryback gets Cena back in the ring and to his feet to officially start the third fall. Ryback takes Cena to the ambulance, but gets shoved into it. Cena gets some plunder from the storage compartment, then avoids a punch and Ryback punches through the passenger side window. Cena rams Ryback into the ambulance, then reverses a whip and sends Ryback through the driver's side door.

Cena cracks Ryback with the door, Cena tries to force Ryback into the driver's seat, but Ryback fights him off before throwing Cena onto the hood, then ripping the fender off in order to beat Cena with it. Cena backdrops Ryback onto the hood, and his foot cracks the windshield. Cena climbs to the top of the ambulance, grabs the light, and hits Ryback with it. Ryback meets Cena up there, and ends up taking an AA through the roof. It takes a few moments for the bell to ring, and it does at 24:38. This wasn't particularly good, except for the second fall, which I actually thought was one of the better tables matches WWE has ever had.

-FINAL THOUGHTS: This was a surprisingly good show. I wasn't expecting much going into it, but got good matches out of the IC & Divas title where I wasn't expecting much, and pretty much the best case scenario out of everything else. No complaints here, especially with the follow-up that happened on Raw.

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