Chris Jericho defeated Kevin Owens to win the United States Championship
Payback 2017 was introduced to us with this United States Championship match, in which he belt surprisingly changed hands, only to change back two days later on Smackdown. This match was largely boring to me in the beginning, much like their WrestleMania match, but when they started calling back to the figure spot, and incorporated it into the match, I was interested. By the end of the match I was ultimately satisfied by the performance, it was a nice surprise and the angle they followed up with on Smackdown was pretty great as well. But moving forward with Kevin Owens as the champion we are headed to Backlash were AJ Styles will challenge him, but I don’t think AJ will be winning the belt in Chicago. WWE seems fixated on creating this nationalistic character in Kevin Owens, he has a new gimmick being the ‘Face of America’ he even has brand new graphics on the stage and everything, so I doubt that they would invest all of that money and have him lose after two months of the gimmick. Therefore Owens will probably hold on to the championship until at least SummerSlam and possibly drop it to Shinsuke or Tye Dillinger.
Austin Aries defeated Neville by disqualification, and therefore Neville retained the Cruiserweight Championship
The show continued with the Cruiserweight Championship Match which ended in a justified disqualification finish. The match as a whole was nothing special, but passable, there wasn’t any TJ Perkins involvement like I speculated. The finish was justified because neither one of these guys can afford to take a clean loss. Going forward this division really needs so proper direction, the company really still hasn’t integrated the cruiserweights into Raw. They still constantly do rest holds and don’t do anything unique or inspiring and whenever someone is on TV enough to get over like Jack Gallagher was for two or three weeks they lose to Neville and are replaced on Raw and sent down to 205 Live. Cedric Alexander is still out injured and if I was booking this division I would build around him going into SummerSlam and have him defeat Neville.
The Hardy Boyz defeated Sheamus and Cesaro to retain the Raw Tag Team Championships
Besides one very notable exception, this was easily was the low point of the entire night. I had absolutely no interest in this match, so much that I wasn’t even paying attention to this match. I was preoccupied and putting cloths on the line and I caught the end of the match as well as the heel turn. I willing to wait this heel turn out and see what these guy can do in this different role, but Cesaro is still unbearable in promos and Sheamus is so played out so it will be an up-hill battle for these guys to do anything of purpose on the main roster. Another point of contention in the wrestling community as of late is the state of the Broken Matt Hardy character, and in my opinion what they are doing now is perfect of old, attitude era Matt Hardy and the new, broken version of Matt Hardy. But overall we just need to hurry to SummerSlam and get to this Revival vs Hardy Boyz match!
Alexa Bliss defeated Bayley to win the Raw Women’s Championship
The highlight of the night was easily this match for the Raw Women’s Championship with another surprising championship change when Alexa Bliss picked up a semi-clean victory over Bayley in her very own hometown, it was beautiful. Alexa Bliss, and maybe if I’m being super generous Carmella, are the only NXT women that have come up to the main roster and improved. All the four horsewomen have been destroyed by this 50/50 booking and terrible promos but Alexa has risen above them all and deserves to win this belt. This is the best main roster women’s match I have seen in a very long time. But with Bayley no longer the champion the Sasha Banks heel turn has seemingly been pushed back because if she was to turn heel now there wouldn’t be any baby faces on Raw besides Bayley and Mickie James. So the future of this division is totally unknown, but at least in the meantime Alexa will be cutting promos instead of the female Roman Resigns that now resides on Smackdown.
Bray Wyatt defeated Randy Orton in the House of Horrors Match
Quite frankly this ‘match’ was dogshit! This is a prime example why the Broken Matt Hardy gimmick shouldn’t be fully explored in the WWE. This was over produced garbage that didn’t even make environmental sense. When the PPV was airing the sun was still out but in the pre-tape its pitch black. Dave Meltzer summed it up perfectly! Moving on…
Seth Rollins defeated Samoa Joe
This feud definitely shouldn’t have happened at this time, for multiple reasons. The first is that neither one of these guys can afford a loss they both should run through people until SummerSlam, nut they finished with a roll-up attempting to protect both guys but that just means this feud must needlessly continue and someone has to win at some point. After this is wrapped up I think Samoa Joe should win the Intercontinental Championship before SummerSlam and I think a Joe vs Ambrose feud would be intriguing. Rollins always has the Lesnar dynamic, they could always go back down that route, but I think another opinion would be to have Rollins go after Bray Wyatt, it would be fresh and it hasn’t been done yet so why not?
Braun Stroman defeated Roman Reigns
This match will forever live in the shadow of the match at Fastlane that match had a disappointed finish but this match was overall disappointing and the finish was utterly underwhelming. Nothing interesting or compelling happened in the match it was just two dudes in a ring and then Stroman rightfully won, but even that was screwed up when they had him comically run into an ambulance door immediately after the match on Raw Talk. It’s also disappointing that Stroman is only being built up like this monster because Lesnar needs someone to squash. But the plan is seemingly to do Lesnar and Resigns at WrestleMania next year which is fine with me I guess. However I would much rather see Resigns vs Cena or Rock vs Resigns.
Ultimately this show overall was a total disappointment and I regret wasting 3 hours of my life just to see Alexa Bliss win a meaningless title. Payback 2017 gets a 5. Hopefully Backlash, a show I have actual interest in, will live up to my expectations. YOU CAN’T HINDER THE JINDER!