By RJ Marceau
On Sunday night, Payback was an enjoyable PPV. I thought they did some good things and had better matches then at WrestleMania.
The show had a few hiccups with Enzo Amore getting injured and two preshow matches but here are my 5 biggest takeaways.
5. The United States Championship Deserves Better
Ryback and Kalisto contested a really good match on the Payback pre-show for the United States Championship. This was leaps and bounds better than their match at WrestleMania 32 but with zero build and promotion most people probably didn’t care or see it. I don’t understand how they have dropped the ball with Kalisto as champion but when he hasn’t been on Raw in weeks you could see why.
Kalisto beat Ryback clean so now it will be interesting to see who goes or wants to go after the United States Championship next. That isn’t a knock on Kalisto but the belt has been diminished since John Cena dropped it to Alberto Del Rio at Hell in a Cell. The belt has been defended on the pre-show the last two PPVs and Kalisto is never on TV. I believe Kalisto will face Rusev next for the title and maybe he can make it mean something again.
4. The WWE Is Stalling the Women’s Division
After the revealing of the Women’s Championship and the amazing match at WrestleMania 32 I thought the WWE Women’s Division would have a new champion and build to the future. Unfortunately Charlotte retained but I still had hope. The next night on Raw was the exact same old crap with Natalya challenging Charlotte. Instead of Sasha saying she never lost since she didn’t get pinned or submitted she just stormed to the back while Natalya stepped up. I don’t hate Natalya but she has been in the company for a while and they have new women who are ready to take over the division.
Instead of giving the fans what they want with Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch they have only focused on this feud.
They have teased tension between Becky Lynch and Emma but they haven’t faced each other and this has been building for weeks. Sasha is never on TV as well as Paige. The WWE decided to rehash the Montreal Screwjob again last night with Charlotte winning even though Natalya never submitted. It seems like they will drag this feud till at least Money in the Bank.
If there is any saving grace of this division I hope reports that there may be a Women’s Money in the Bank ladder match are true. There are a handful of women who could have an amazing ladder match and bring new excitement to a division that has become dull since WrestleMania 32.
3. Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews May Be Doomed
Last week on WrestleRant Radio, Graham and I stated that since it makes no sense for Dolph Ziggler to win that WWE would do it. Unfortunately Ziggler did win. Baron Corbin only lost twice in NXT and a month into his main roster run he has already lost. I think the future is brighter for Corbin because at least he is in a feud but c’mon his first singles PPV match and he lost on the pre-show to Dolph Ziggler.
If Crews doesn’t find a feud he could be lost in the shuffle so for his sake maybe they pair him up with an old member of the League of Nations for the near future.
2. The WWE Will Miss Chris Jericho
Wow, I just read Chris Jericho’s tweet presumably stating he will be leaving the WWE again. He was a key component heading into WrestleMania as one of the company's top heels. He had a great program with AJ Styles and Dean Ambrose. I loved the work he did with Kevin Owens on SmackDown so maybe down the line they could form a tag team because they are a perfect pairing.
Now that Jericho is gone the only legitimate heel the company has is Kevin Owens. The Miz is the Miz and even outside of him they just have a bunch of heels that have been losers for a while. The WWE could turn Dean Ambrose heel but I fear that they may keep Rollins heel upon his return from injury. I know Jericho was only around for a few months but it definitely was Jericho’s best and my favorite run of his in the WWE.
1. AJ Styles Is the Top Face While Kevin Owens Is the Top Heel
The WWE treated us KO fans by featuring him in the second and third matches of the night. Owens had an amazing match with Sami Zayn and came out on top. Owens has incorporated new moves like the frog splash, which shows his versatility in the ring. After the match he had a hilarious interview segment with Byron Saxton, which led him to the commentary table. Owens literally runs circles around the commentators and it’s due to him not being scripted. He just rips on Michael Cole and Byron, which is amazing. Owens actually wanting the IC Championship gives it some legitimacy that he actually wants to contend for the midcard championship.
Styles has been booked perfectly since coming to the WWE. He has the look and moves to win over the crowd. The match he had with Roman Reigns was a lot better then the main event of WrestleMania 32 and saw Styles use every move in his arsenal besides the Styles Clash. After stupid WWE overbooking, Reigns was able to beat Styles after interference from Gallows & Anderson and The Usos. Styles lost clean so I am puzzled why he is still contending for the title and deserves a rematch. I am a huge fan of Styles and will be at Extreme Rules but logically he doesn’t deserve a rematch.
The show was good especially for a B pay-per-view. It will be interesting to see how they book towards Extreme Rules but I hope they stop shoving how Roman Reigns is “The Guy” down the audience’s throats. If they think people hate him now wait till they keep this crap up for a few more months.
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