The name Payback was quite appropriate for WWE’s latest pay-per-view endeavor. It was a night where the company paid fans back for some of bad pay-per-views they’ve put on with a night of tremendous wrestling action from top to bottom, culminating in a Three Stages of Hell match for the WWE Championship, capping one of WWE’s best all-time pay-per-view events.
On a night where six championships were on the line, it was the Three Stages of Hell match for the WWE Championship between John Cena and Ryback that served as the main event.
The first match was a lumberjack match. Cena wants the five knuckle shuffle, but Ryback gets up and grabs Cena and throws him over the top onto the lumberjacks. He wants the Shell Shock, but Cena throws him over the top. Antonio Cesaro goes to throw him back in, but Ryback hits Cesaro. Then all the lumberjacks attack and it’s chaos. Everyone is fighting when Cena goes to the top and flies into the crowd. They finally get thrown back into the ring and Cena locks in the STF. But Ryback powers right out of it, dead lifts Cena and hits the Shell Shock. That does it.
Ryback up 1-0
The second stage is a tables match. Ryback immediately goes to power bomb Cena through the table but Cena escapes. Action is getting quicker now, with each man countering each other. They go to the outside and Ryback sends Cena into the steps. Then he throws a step into the ring and levels Cena with it. He goes again with Cena leaning against a table, but Cena moves and the steps break the table. Cena grabs the step and hits Ryback with it.
Cena sets up another table, but Ryback hits him with the steps that send Cena onto the table. Ryback lifts the steps and goes to drive them through Cena and the table, but Cena moves and another table is destroyed. They counter each other multiple times again and Ryback hits a huge spinebuster and the meat hook clothesline.
Cena is down and out and Ryback grabs another table from under the ring. He lifts Cena in position for the Shell Shock, but Cena slides out, grabs Ryback and hits the Attitude Adjustment through the table. I’m shocked.
Match tied 1-1
Ryback almost immediately up and they go to the floor. He clears off the English announce table and power bombs Cena through it. He grabs Cena and takes him to the ambulance near the entrance stage, but Cena slips out and runs Ryback into the ambulance. They battle around the ambulance and Cena Irish whips Ryback through the open ambulance door. Cena tries to shove Ryback into the driver’s side of the ambulance, but Ryback fights it off and throws Cena into the hood.
Ryback rips a panel off the ambulance and hits Cena with it. But then Cena back drops Ryback onto the hood. Cena climbs on top of the ambulance and Ryback tries to follow, but Cena hits him with the big light. But Ryback rises and grabs a crutch. He climbs, but Cena takes the crutch and breaks it over Ryback’s back. He grabs Ryback and hits the Attitude Adjustment on the roof, which caves in, sending Ryback into the ambulance and ending the match.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Money in the Bank on July 14.
Following a video package, Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler and John Layfield welcome us to Payback, a seven-match show from Allstate Arena in Chicago.
Curtis Axel is the new Intercontinental champion. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Match #1 – WWE Intercontinental Championship – (c) Wade Barrett (Norwich, England) vs. The Miz (Cleveland, Ohio) vs. Curtis Axel (Champlin, Minn.)
Axel decides to sit it out early and allow Barrett and Miz to tear each other apart. Barrett works Miz’s ribs, with Axel only sliding in to potentially break up a pin. Axel gets involved on Miz and goes to work, smashing his head into the canvas. Big elbow to the base of the neck by Axel. Saito suplex connects for Axel, but Barrett breaks it up.
All three men involved now. Miz throws Axel into Barrett and then lands the corner clothesline on Barrett and a big boot on Axel for two. Barrett with the Boss Man Slam on Miz for two. Axel up now, but Barrett loads him up, but Axel slips out and hits the Perfect Plex but Miz barely breaks it up in time. Miz escapes an attempt by Axel and hits the Skull Crushing Finale, but Barrett tries to steal the pin, but Miz pulls Barrett out. Miz fights off Barrett and then tries to pin Axel, but Axel kicks out at two.
Miz working on Axel now in the corner and lands a drop kick to the knee. He grabs the leg and goes for the Figure Four but Axel shoves him off right into Barrett. But Miz ends up locking in the Figure Four on Barrett after dumping Axel over the top rope and to the floor. Barrett tries to get to the ropes, but Miz pulls him back in the center of the ring. Barrett in trouble, but Axel comes back in and covers Barrett before he can tap and Miz can’t release the hold quick enough to break it up. That does it.
Winner via pinfall and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion: Curtis Axel
Match Rating: 7/10
New Divas champion A.J. Lee. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Match #2 – WWE Divas Championship – (c) Kaitlyn (Houston, Texas) vs. AJ Lee (Union City, NJ)
Action quickly spills to the outside where Kaitlyn sends AJ flying over the Spanish announce table. She keeps attacking her in the ring. AJ trying to get away, and she clocks Kaitlyn with a dropkick off the apron. AJ takes over from there. She lands a neckbreaker but Kaitlyn kicks out at two. AJ working a sleeper, but Kaitlyn is able to escape and she hits a drop kick.
Kaitlyn with a shoulder block for two. AJ, though, with a crucifix pin, but Kaitlyn rolls it back over and hoists AJ and hits a gutbuster. AJ holding on for dear life as Kaitlyn rips off her belt. She pulls the apron off, and as the referee fixes that, AJ hits Kaitlyn with the belt, and then goes down so it’s not suspicious. She covers, but Kaitlyn kicks out at two. AJ goes to the top for a crossbody but Kaitlyn catches her. She goes for a spinning side slam but AJ locks in the Black Widow. Kaitlyn is somehow able to fight out and hit a backbreaker and a huge spear. But she takes a moment to taunt AJ before she covers and AJ kicks out.
Kaitlyn is upset now. She lifts AJ up, but AJ escapes. Kaitlyn charges but AJ moves and Kaitlyn goes face-first into the turnbuckle. AJ locks in the Black Widow again. Kaitlyn trying to hang on but she has to tap out.
Winner via submission and NEW WWE Divas Champion: AJ Lee
Match Rating: 7/10
Match #3 – WWE United States Championship – (c) Dean Ambrose (Cincinnati, Ohio) vs. Kane (Hell, Fire & Brimstone)
Slow start to this one, but Kane is in control. But thanks to the crack staff at WWE.com and their awful stream of the pay-per-view, I missed a large chunk of the match. Got back just in time to see Ambrose DDT Kane right on the floor. Ambrose gets back in at the count of seven and Kane does not even come close to making it.
Winner via countout and STILL WWE United States Champion: Dean Ambrose
Match Rating: NR
In a video package, it was announced that former WWE Champion Rob Van Dam will return to the company next month at Money in the Bank in Philadelphia.
Match #4 – World Heavyweight Championship – (c) Dolph Ziggler (Hollywood, Fla.) vs. Alberto Del Rio (San Luis Potosi, Mexico)
Alberto del Rio sort of turned heel with his World title win over Dolph Ziggler. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
It’s all Del Rio in the early going. Del Rio all over him, but Ziggler creates some space with with a nice dropkick, but Del Rio lifts him over the top and he goes face-first to the floor. They battle on the floor and Del Rio slams Ziggler’s head into the announce table and Big E Langston steps in. Del Rio shoves Langston and Langston returns the favor, leading the referee to give Langston the heave-ho.
Back in the ring, Del Rio continues to work on Ziggler’s head, landing several headbutts in a row. Del Rio wants a suplex but Ziggler slides out the back door and locks in the sleeper. Del Rio escapes and continues going to work on the head. Ziggler in a bad way. He counters the armbar, though, with a neckbreaker. Ziggler tries to get going and he does, landing the Fameasser for two. He goes to the top, but is slow, and Del Rio kicks him in the head and goes up and sends Ziggler flying with a reverse superplex, but Ziggler somehow kicks out at two.
Del Rio kicks Ziggler to the outside and then absolutely clobbers him in the head with a kick. The doctor is checking on Ziggler right now and AJ is telling him no, then Del Rio comes in and drop kicks him right in the back of the head. Even Jerry Lawler is talking about how despicable Del Rio is right now. Crowd heavily booing Del Rio now. He hits an enziguri but Ziggler again kicks out. Del Rio is livid.
Del Rio all over him now as the crowd boos heavily. Del Rio taunts and Ziggler hits him and hits the Zig Zag, but Ziggler is holding his head and not able to capitalize. Del Rio is actually up before Ziggler is and clobbers Ziggler with a superkick. That does it.
Winner via pinfall and NEW World Heavyweight Champion: Alberto Del Rio
Match Rating: 9/10
They go to a video package and then to the update desk before Del Rio comes back down with a mic. He asks the crowd for their support (they boo). He cuts a babyface promo, but clearly doesn’t mean it. The crowd boos him out of the building.
CM Punk made a big return. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Match #5 – Chris Jericho (Winnipeg, Manitoba) vs. CM Punk (Chicago, Ill.)
Some mat wrestling to start, chaining holds together. They trade some chops. Jericho sends Punk to the floor with a clothesline. Jericho drop kicks Punk and sends him into the barricade. Punk, though, snaps Jericho’s neck on the top rope and then hits a double axehandle from the top. He goes to work with a hammerlock and some other arm-related holds. Slow match so far.
Jericho goes to the top and hits a chop and then a bulldog. He lands on his feet after Punk rolls out of the way of a Lionsault, but Punk hits a neckbreaker for two. Punk hits the high knee. He goes for the bulldog, but Jericho shoves him down and hits the Lionsault for two. Jericho wants the Walls of Jericho and he locks it in. Punk is able to roll it back around and ends up locking in a standing arm-triangle choke. He takes it to the canvas and turns it into the Anaconda Vice. Jericho fighting now. He finally rotates his body to get his foot on the rope.
Punk wants the GTS, but Jericho slides out, and then sees Paul Heyman on the apron and allows Punk to get Jericho back up, but Punk now is distracted by Heyman and Jericho gets a roll up for two. They both rise and Jericho hits the Codebreaker for two. Jericho beating him up now. Punk rises and they trade some punches. Punk lands some kicks and then the running knee and bulldog. He follows with the flying elbow. Punk lifts him for the GTS and hits it (barely). Jericho kicks out at two.
Crowd chanting “one more time” now. He hoists him again, but Jericho elbows out. He wants the Codebreaker but Punk shoves him off and clotheslines him out of the ring. Punk sends him back into the ring and goes for the springboard clothesline, but Jericho catches him with the Codebreaker. He’s a little slow to cover, though, and Punk kicks out.
Jericho landing elbow after elbow on Punk. Jericho wants the Walls, but Punk turns it into a small package for two. Punk lands some shots, including one that really pops him, and then goes for a ‘Rana, but Jericho catches him and locks in the Walls. Punk tries hitting Jericho’s arm and leg and breaks one side and then the other. Punk stands and lands a series of blows to Jericho’s neck, forcing Jericho to give up the leg he’d been holding. Punk lifts Jericho and hits the GTS, but Jericho goes stumbling into the corner. Punk grabs him on the rebound and hits another for good measure to end it.
Winner via pinfall: CM Punk
Match Rating: 8/10
Tag team champions Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea
Match #6 – WWE Tag Team Championship – (c) Seth Rollins (Davenport, Iowa) & Roman Reigns (Atlanta, Ga.) vs. Randy Orton (St. Louis, Mo.) & Daniel Bryan (Aberdeen, Wash.)
The Shield quickly gets the advantage on Bryan. Bryan gets going and hits and clothesline and brings Orton in. He hits a scoop slam on Rollins and then wants the draping DDT on Rollings, but Reigns gets involved and takes it instead. Rollins to the top but he eats a scoop slam in mid-air. Rollins rolls out as Orton wants the RKO and Reigns hits Orton with a superman punch, allowing The Shield to take back over.
Rollins with an STO that sends Orton into the buckle. Samoan drop connects for Reigns for two. Rollins clocks Orton with a kick to the head. Rollins eats a boot but then Orton drops Rollins right on his head. Oh man. Orton tags Bryan in and he runs wild. Apparently Rollins is OK. Bryan runs wild, taking out both men. Rollins slides to the outside and Bryan is kicking Reigns. Reigns to the outside with Rollins and Bryan goes for the suicide dive, but they push each other out of the way and Bryan hits Orton instead.
Back in the ring, Bryan is able to overcome the stun to hit a double-underhook superplex on Rollins. Bryan with the No Lock on Rollins, but Reigns breaks it up. Orton back in and he wants the RKO on Rollins, but Rollins shoves him forward, almost into Bryan, but he stops. But then Orton slides to the side and Bryan eats a spear from Reigns. Orton hits the RKO on Reigns, but Rollins knocks him out of the ring and then hits the stomp on Bryan and that ends it.
Winners via pinfall and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns
Match Rating: 7/10
Match #7 – Three Stages of Hell Match for the WWE Championship – (c) John Cena (West Newbury, Mass.) vs. Ryback (Sin City)
Winner and STILL WWE Champion: John Cena
Match Rating: 7/10
Event Rating: 10/10