It’s been an interesting month following the results of Extreme Rules. Daniel Bryan is out indefinitely thanks to neck surgery and he may be forced to surrender the belt tonight. With the WWE World Heavyweight title no longer on the line tonight, it’s time for both the Shield and Bray Wyatt to step up their game as they prepare to continue their winning ways against their Extreme Rules opponents, Evolution and John Cena, respectively. While the former looks to continue their good fortunes, the later definitely has payback on their minds as the winners of both bouts may be on the express lane to a world title shot. It all goes down tonight, live at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

Match 1: Singles for the United States Championship- Sheamus(c) vs. Cesaro w/ Paul Heyman

What a great way to start off Payback with what I hope will be a rejuvenated United States title for whoever ends up the winner in this one. Just going to say I find it a little unusual that neither the champion nor the challenger for the US title this time is actually from the United States.

Before Cesaro makes his way to the ring we’re shown a recap of the past few encounters of the champ and the challenger. Here comes the Paulrus and the crowd is none too pleased. The obligatory CM Punk chant starts. Heyman decides to instantly quell this by saying Punk isn’t at this arena, he’s at the United Center watching the Blackhawks, which does get a nice pop from the crowd. Of course, Heyman doesn’t want to be liked, so he instantly adds that Punk is about to watch the ‘Hawks “get their streak broken by the LA Kings”. Cue the Brock Lesnar reference and finally the sirens blare.

JBL says this is going to be a very physical match very quickly and he wasn’t joking as both men start throwing bombs at each other. Based on what Cole says at the beginning of the match extolling the virtues of the various WWE Hall of Famers who have been US Champ, I think we can expect the winner of this match to get quite a push.

Some of the highlight moves include Sheamus getting not one set of 10 Beats of the Bodhrán, but two sets of 10 in a row and Cesaro showing off his strength doing his modified superplex. The crowd doesn’t really seem to be in this one, and that’s a shame. It’s a methodical match, but it makes sense given the styles of both men.

The crowd finally gets alive when Cesaro hits the european uppercut for a long two-count. We’re told that #USTitle is the top trend on Twitter. Then comes an onslaught of two-counts. Sheamus goes for the Brogue Kick but Cesaro counters it into a bridging german suplex. The Swiss Superman goes for the Neutralizer but the Celtic Warrior goes with White Noise. Cesaro goes top rope. Big mistake as Sheamus locks on the cloverleaf. This being Cesaro, he’s able to muscle his way to the ropes to break up the submission.

Paul pleads with Cesaro. Out comes the Cesaro Swing and I counted 17 rotations. I don’t know if this is medically possible, but it seemed to me around the 15th rotation that Sheamus’ forearms and face were bright red due to all the blood being rushed there. If anyone reading this is a medical professional, let me know if that can actually happen.

Anyway, after 17 rotations, it’s time for Cesaro to offer an obligatory cover because this one’s over. It turns out that’s right, but not the way Cesaro intended as Sheamus is able to sneak up and pin Cesaro with a small package to retain the title.

Winner by pinfall and STILL United States Champion…Sheamus

Rating: 7.5/10

Cesaro is infuriated. Paulrus is somehow even more angry, but there’s little they can do as it was a clean victory.

Match 2: Tag- Rhodes Boys vs. Rybaxel

It’s been a rough few weeks for Cody because he just hasn’t been able to win lately. Rybaxel is now really looking like a good tag team. They keep this up, I can see them challenging for the tag belts in the future. We’re told that Cesaro Swing is now trending on Twitter.

Axel gets the hot tag and prevents Goldust from doing the same with his brother. The Bizzare One buys himself some time and finally tags in his baby brother. It’s now Cody against Ryback and Cody seems to have an answer for everything Rybaxel is throwing at him.

Cody goes for a moonsault on both Rybaxel. It doesn’t seem like he was able to fully rotate but because he lands in between Rybaxel, it seems to have broken his fall enough. Cody goes for the Disaster Kick but Ryback catches him and tosses him into Goldust. Ryback hits the Meat Hook but Goldy breaks up the pinfall. Cody hits Cross Rhodes on Ryback but Axel breaks up that pinfall.

Cody again goes for a Disaster Kick. Just like before, Ryback counters it, this time he turns it into the Shell Shock and that’s all she wrote for this one.

Winners by pinfall…Rybaxel

Rating: 6.5/10

Older brother goes to comfort Cody, but Cody wants to be left alone. Cody asks for a microphone and gets one. His message is short, but definitely not sweet as he says “Brother to brother, you need a better tag team partner than me.” Cody walks off as the crowd chants “No!” to the request. Goldust is just sad. Definitely not what I was expecting.

Match 3: Singles- Александър Русев w/ Lana vs. Big E

For the first time since making his debut in the WWE main roster, it looks like Rusev finally is matched up against someone who can go toe-to-toe with him, the former IC Champion Big E Langston.

Lana comes out and does her thing bashing America while extolling the virtues of Russia’s president. Rusev comes out waiving the Russian flag and we get the obligatory USA chants. Of course, Big E walks to the ring sporting Old Glory and it looks like what started out simply as a battle between 2 of the big men in the WWE will now take on political tones as well.

Both men get in some good shots and give it as good as they take it. Rusev goes to the apron to catch his breath which ends up being a big mistake. Langston nails him with a spear and both men are now on the floor outside the ring. Wow. Rusev is favoring his left side and it seems like that spear actually knocked the wind out of him. Lana yells as Big E tries to put away Alexander. Langston goes for some running move but Rusev catches him with a superkick.

Rusev works himself into a frenzy, simply waiting for Lana to yell “Crush!” She obliges and he slaps on the Accolade. Big E is forced to tap.

Winner by submission… Александър Русев

Rating: 6/10

We go backstage to see Daniel Bryan and wife Brie Bella. Daniel’s decision will have to wait a little while longer.

Match 4: Singles- Kofi Kingston vs. Bo Dallas

Bo is now being referred to as “inspirational”? Uggh. King makes a good point by asking why a guy who has only won two matches is already on a PPV card. For some reason Bo decides to bring up the fact that the Blackhawks are going to lose their game tonight. Maybe if he gets this prediction right, I suggest giving him the nickname Bostradomus™.

These two guys don’t even get one move in before pyro hits and out comes Kane. Bo decides to hightail it out of the ring, while Kofi for some reason thinks he’s going to stand toe-to-toe with Kane. That’s like playing catch with a bowl of hot soup: it’s going to end quickly and very painfully for you. Kane unloads on Kofi and Bo is still cowering near the announce table. I’d like to criticize Dallas for his decision, but I would have done the same thing.

Bo finally comes to the ring with a microphone in hand, reminding Kofi that he’ll be back on his feet soon. Of course, all Kofi must do is Bo-lieve. Cole mentions that Kane may have done this to Kofi because of a few tweets Kofi sent out criticizing the Authority. Fair enough.

Match 4a: Singles for the Intercontinental Championship- Bad News Barrett (c) vs. Rob Van Dam

It was a little more than a month ago that these two men faced each other in the final match of the number one contender’s match for the IC strap. BnB topped RVD and then went on to dethrone Big E for the title. Now we get to see if Barrett’s win against Van Dam was a fluke or if the Englishman will hold onto the title longer.

Barrett has a mic in hand and proceeds to deliver some bad news. (Who’d have ever thought that?) It’s simple news: Barrett is going to end RVD’s run in the WWE, referring to him as Old Yeller. Crowd chants “Let’s go Barrett/RVD”

We get the classic RVD moves that elicit the “ECW” chants. Even though RVD isn’t a bad guy, it’s clear that Barrett has gotten over. Barrett decides to give RVD a taste of his own medicine, taking the fight outside the ring when he needs to. JBL does some terrible impressions of other famous English people delivering bad news but he does have a point that as a society we do like to hear other people get bad news.

Van Dam isn’t going away easy. He goes top rope for a Five Star Frog Splash but takes too long posturing. Barrett moves out of the way. He goes for the Bull Hammer but RVD counters into the scissor leg pin. Barrett kicks out and delivers Winds of Change but can’t get the 3 count.

RVD goes out of the ring to catch his breath. BnB again goes for the Bull Hammer but Van Dam ducks it and Barrett ends up hitting the ring post instead. RVD nails a Tornado DDT but can’t get the pin. Van Dam goes for a corkscrew move but Barrett blocks it and the third time’s the charm as the Bull Hammer FINALLY connects.

Winner by pinfall and STILL Intercontinental Champion…Bad News Barrett

Rating: 6/10

Just as Barrett triumphantly holds up his title we’re told that #ICTitle is the top trend on Twitter now. Cole asks his partners what Bryan should do regarding the title. King remembers an old proverb “Happy wife…happy life.” JBL suggest Byan should find a new wife. That’s not going to happen. We’re shown the package about Daniel’s decision. I’ve already spoken my mind about what I think Bryan should do.

The “Yes!” chants for Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella are not music to Stephanie McMahon’s ears.

Stephanie comes to the ring and sets us up for the decision. Ride of the Valkyries blares and Bryan and Brie make their way to the ring. Stephanie says something relating to Daniel and Brie one day having bearded babies and that Daniel needs to set a good example for them. On a personal note, Stephanie did a masterful job of not letting the Chi-Town crowd “What!” any of her time on the microphone.

Daniel says he knows it’s a longshot, but he’s giving her a chance to do the right thing. Stephanie gets to the point and tells him to surrender the belt. Before making his decision, Byran points out that while Stephanie spoke of his potential children, he hopes that Stephanie’s actual children are watching this now so they can see what a narcissistic, self-centered bitch their mother is.

Stephanie doesn’t seem to mind being called that, actually applauding Brie for having the guts to speak her mind. Brie tells Daniel he knows what he needs to do. Brie doesn’t let Bryan give up the belts. Brie says she won’t be a powerless victim so she quits and then gives Stephanie five across the face. Stephanie doesn’t know what’s hit her as she runs off to the back and we’re now left with the champ and his now unemployed wife in the ring.

Bray Wyatt launches the ring stairs at John Cena.

Match 5: Last Man Standing- John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

At ‘Mania, Bray Wyatt made sure his followers didn’t interfere. At Extreme Rules, Harper and Rowan did nothing but interfere. It’s time to see if Cena will be facing a 3 on 1 or if Bray wants a straight up 1 on 1 match. As Bray makes his way to the ring, I’m transformed back to the Attitude Era when the Undertaker would come to the ring light by the WWE Universe and their lighters. Now it’s for Bray Wyatt and the lighters are cell phones. It’s still cool after all these years.

Cena’s music hasn’t even hit and we have the Let’s go Cena/Cena Sucks chant. Cena makes his way to the ring and it looks like Harper and Rowan are going to instantly gang up on Cena. But the Usos show up and now it looks like the fight will be on even terms.

Not sure why, but Cena goes for his Five Moves of Doom way too early in this match. Starting off the match, both Bray and John simply try to land one or two haymakers and then wait for the ref to count rather than any sustained offense.

Cena goes for the AA a second time, but Bray counters and hits Sister Abigail. Cena gets up at the count of eight. Bray walks right into an AA and Cena finally hits it. The ref gets to the count of 7 and Bray simply does his inverted crab thing to stop the count. Harper, Rowan and the Usos decide to get involved. Harper actually nails both Usos outside the ring with a suicide dive. One of the Usos is able to get to the top turnbuckle and hit a corkscrew move to knock all 4 non-participants silly for a while. Back in the ring Bray nails John in the gut with a steel chair and once over the back. John escapes to the outside and delivers a few chair shots to Bray.

Bray starts to get up and John simply tags him again with the chair. Bray is spitting up blood now. As the ref counts, John goes under the ring and pulls out a few tables. John sets on inside the ring but Bray is able to suplex Cena into the table. The ref counts to nine as John grabs the ropes to stand up.

What did you think of WWE Payback?
It was great – 17%
It was okay – 28%
Didn’t like it – 11%
Didn’t see it – 44%

Bray brings in the steel steps and nails John with them. Wyatt stands on top of the steps and proceeds to lead the crowd in a rendition of Whole World. John makes his way to his feet but Bray drives him chest first into the steps. Bray goes outside for a chair but John delivers the ring steps to Bray this time. #LastManStanding is now trending on Twitter.

Bray makes his way out of the ring. John picks up the steps and hurls them at Wyatt. They don’t miss their target as Bray gets hit directly. Bray gets up around nine. John can’t believe it as he goes outside to get another table. There was an instant replay and during that replay the Sister Abigail connects, we finally get a replay of the move.

John Irish whips Bray into the bottom half of the ring steps. Bray gets up and delivers a back body drop to Cena on the steps. Rather than let the ref count, Bray delivers a running dive move and Cena starts coughing, sounding like he’s in a lot of pain.

Wyatt goes to town on Cena but John hits an AA on the outside of the ring. As the ref counts, Harper and Rowan comes back and kill two birds with one stone by knocking Cena down and helping Bray up. Here come the Usos again but they serve merely to buy Cena some time as the ref is trying to figure out what to do. During this time, Bray has been down on the floor for much longer than a ten count.

The four non-participants go to work on each other as all four men are put through tables outside the ring which includes Rowan superplexing one of the Usos onto 2 of them and the Holy $#*% chant is well deserved.

We’re back to just Cena and Bray. Bray charges into John at full speed, running both men through one of the security barricades. Both men get to their feet around seven and now the fight spills into the arena.

Bray tosses Cena into the audio equipment which sets off a nice spark. Bray laughs maniacally as that happens. Not the best idea because John hits Bray with another AA. This time Bray goes through one of those audio suitcases. John tosses another one on top, essentially burying Bray and tells the ref to start the count. Bray has no counter for this.

Winner…John Cena

Rating: 7.5/10

John goes back to the ring to help the Usos walk backstage because all 6 men are very banged up after this one. Even JBL gives Cena props for this win.

Match 6: Singles for the Divas Championship- Paige(c) vs. Alicia Fox

Both Paige and Fox have split their matches this past month with tonight being the rubber match. Paige starts this one off on fire. #LastManStanding is the top Twitter trend right now. Alicia suckers Paige out of the ring and the announcers start arguing if Alicia was playing possum or simply being a sly fox with the move.

For some reason there’s a person in the audience wearing clown paint (not Juggalo-themed) and wearing a Blackhawks jersey. Alicia has a few words with this person so I don’t know what to think of it. Alicia stays on the offense tossing Paige back into the ring but can’t get the three count. Alicia has now totally lost it, yelling different things every time she can’t put Paige away.

Alicia continues to manhandle the Divas champ including several different backbreakers. Out of nowhere, Paige finally starts to rally and locks on the PTO and Alicia is forced to submit.

Winner by submission and STILL Divas Champion…Paige

Rating: 3/10

Alicia is not happy following this loss. The crowd chants that she tapped out. Alicia tries to calm herself down but it quickly goes downhill. She yells and then runs back to the ring looking like a spaz.

Main Event: Six-Man No Holds Barred Elimination Tag Match- Evolution vs. The Shield

I really think Big Dave needs to get his eyes checked. Randy Orton and Triple H come to the ring wearing simple black and white trunks and high and tight haircuts. Batista comes out wearing three different shades of blue including arm sleeves, something I’ve never seen as part of his ring attire and a scraggly-looking beard. He could not look less like a member of a faction than he does right now.

The bell rings and it’s instant bedlam. Hunter vs. Rollins, Orton vs. Ambrose and Batista vs. Reigns to start off as all three pairs head out of the ring. At least one member of each group is getting beaten down during this beginning part of the match without either side looking strong. Finally the match officially starts as the two big men on each side start off.

Rollins tags in but Orton blind tags himself in the match. Ambrose tags in and goes to work on Orton’s lower body. Reigns tags in and unloads a few times on Boo-tista. Finally Reigns gets Hunter all to himself and the crowd likes this matchup. The two men circle around each other for a short time but Reigns starts to exhibit his power and the Hounds of Justice pick apart the COO including Rollins channelling his inner Eddie Guerrero by hitting the triple suplexes. Dean Ambrose makes the mistake of trying to do too much by himself and that gives Hunter, Dave and Randy a chance to wail on him. #Bluetista is the top trend worldwide. You’ll totally understand why that’s trending and not #ShieldvsEvolution when you see the pictures. Even JBL thinks that’s clever. Can’t wait to see the memes on this one tomorrow.

Hunter goes for an Irish whip but Dean counters the momentum and sends the COO out of the ring, landing awkwardly outside of the ring. Hunter gets back in the ring and both he and Dean make hot tags, to Big Dave and Reigns, respectively. Reigns starts running roughshod on all three members of Evolution.

It’s still the two big men who are legal. Reigns nails Dave with a Superman punch but Orton prevents the first pinfall elimination. All six men again start pairing off and the fight spills outside the ring and into the crowd. Rollins goes for a diving move on Hunter but the Game sidesteps it and nails Seth with what looks like a flat screen TV monitor. Ouch.

Back near the announce table Hunter and Randy team up on Reigns. Hunter drives Reigns into the ring steps as Orton clears off the Spanish announce table. It’s now Evolution vs. Reigns as Evolution hits Roman with the triple powerbomb on the bare announce table, breaking it cleanly. No idea where either Ambrose or Rollins are. Evolution decides to mock the Shield and then on cue both Rollins and Ambrose hit running attacks.

Just a reminder, nobody has been eliminated yet even though Roman is currently incapacitated. This allows Evolution to take Rollins and Ambrose to the entrance ramp. Helmsley hits both Shield members with a chair. Orton sets up another chair and drops Ambrose on it. Hunter grabs another chair and delivers a Pedigree to Rollins on top of the chair.

Roman has made his way back inside the ring, but he’s in bad shape. Evolution now surrounds him, and Roman can’t even get one move in before Dave hits a spinebuster and Randy stomps on him. Randy and Hunter tear off Roman’s combat vest and undershirt as kendo sticks and steel steps are brought into the ring by Batista. Hunter holds down Reigns on the steps as Orton and Batista tee off on him with the kendo sticks. Hunter joins in on the caning and now a steel chair is brought in. Reigns hits a Superman punch but Hunter grabs the chair and hits Roman a few more times.

Roman rolls out of the ring and you can already see several welts on his back from the kendo sticks. Hunter hits Roman in the back two more times as Evolution takes Reigns to the entrance ramp to join the should-be fallen brethren. As it turns out, Ambrose had enough time to muster a quick offensive. Unfortunately it’s still 3 on 1 as Rollins is nowhere to be seen. Orton hits his elevated DDT using the entrance decoration for added oomph.

Again, there hasn’t been a single elimination yet. Evolution turns their attention back to Reigns. We finally find out where Rollins went. Apparently he got to the top of the Titan-Tron. He hits a cross-body dive and lands on all three members of Evolution and Reigns. All 6 men now start crawling back to the ring. I have no idea who are the “legal” men but I don’t think anybody cares at this point. I’m sure the ref will simply consider the first two men in the ring as the right ones.

This ends up being Batista and Rollins first to the ring. Dave eats a boot to the face but Batista catches Rollins with a spear as Rollins dives at him. Boo-tista loads up for the Batista Bomb but Rollins escapes the move. This leads Roman to spear Dave and allows Seth to cover him for the first elimination.

Orton seems to be the next legal man. As Big Dave is being helped away the crowd does the Hey Hey Hey Goodbye chant. Orton hits an RKO but Reigns is able to prevent the cover. Orton then gets ready to deliver the elevated DDT when Ambrose hits him with the steps and then the Dirty Deeds, driving Randy face first into the chair. Not sure if Dean was tagged in, but the ref counts to three regardless and it’s now 3 on 1.

Hunter goes for a low blow on Dean. He loads Dean up for a Pedigree but Reigns hits the COO with a Superman punch. Dave has yet to go backstage and nails Roman with a spear before being forced to leave. This leaves Roman and Hunter in the ring. Orton slides a sledgehammer to Hunter before he officially leaves. Hunter is in a bad way as he needs the sledgehammer like a cane to stand up.

Dean goes for the save but eats the sledgehammer for his efforts. Hunter sizes up Reigns but before he can unload, Rollins hits the Game with a flying knee and then Reigns spears him for the final three count. Evolution has just lost a clean sweep.

Winners…Clean Sweep by the Shield

Rating: 9/10

Hunter may be the only member of Evolution still in the ring, but he’s not the only way in a bad way as the three winners can’t even stand up on their own. We’re shown a recap of the carnage. The Hounds finally get to their feet, but need each other stay up. They do their signature pose while standing triumphantly over the corpse of the COO of the WWE.

Overall Rating: 8/10