Why isn’t this show being billed as The Biggest After-Party of the Summer? With only one week in the books since SummerSlam, it’s Payback 2020 from the WWE ThunderDome. Gavin and Dave Hillhouse will be taking turns calling the action tonight, with the other on-hand for some colour commentary.

Riott Squad VS IIconics (Pre-Show)

Gavin: Billie Kay and Ruby Riott start off the match against each other. Kay goes for Shades of Kay right off the bat, but Ruby ducks under it and beats down Kay. She tags in Liv Morgan for a double team move, but Kay reverses it into a pin for 2. She tags in Peyton Royce and they hit a double team kick maneuver. Morgan goes to the ropes but Ruby tags herself in. She beats Royce down but refuses to tag in Morgan, allowing Royce to tag her partner in.

Riott takes out Kay before she can get it, but Royce leads Riott outside so Kay can hit Shades of Kay. She drags Riott inside and pins her for 2. Kay tags Royce in and they hit a double forearm on her. Riott rolls up Royce for 2 and tries to get to her corner, but Royce drops her with a clothesline for 2. She tags in Kay and they choke Riott in the corner, and Kay locks Riott in a submission hold.

Riott fights out of it, but Kay beats her down immediately. Kay hits a double ax handle for 2, and gets frustrated at not getting the win. She tags in Royce for yet another double team move, and Royce stops Riott from getting to her corner once more. She hits an elbow drop for another 2, and gets even more frustrated.

Dave: I must say that this is exactly what a pre-show match should be. Not a championship match, and not a long-term storyline. It’s good action meant to entice a viewer to want to see more. It’s already doing that.

Gavin: Royce locks in a working hold, but Riott elbows her way out and drops Royce with a forearm. She goes to tag in Morgan, but Kay distracts Morgan, allowing Royce to take her out. Kay tries to convince Morgan that it was Riott who hit her, and then Royce hits Riott with a spin kick.

She tags in Kay and they plant Riott with a facebuster. Morgan is conflicted, not sure if Riott really did hit her or not. Riott definitely does hit Kay though, with a wicked enziguri. Riott crawls to her corner and Morgan makes up her mind and tags her.

Royce is also tagged in, but she wishes she wasn’t as Morgan drops her with two clotheslines and a facebuster. She plants a series of strikes into Royce’s head and stomps her head into the ground for 2. Morgan tags in Riott but Royce fights out of the trouble team attempt, sending Morgan to the outside. They hit Deja Vu on Riott but Morgan breaks  up the following pin.

An IIconic Deja Vu on Ruby Riott. Photo: WWE

Morgan drags Riott to the corner and tags herself in, but Royce hits her hard and tags in Kay. They go for Deja Vu again, but Morgan escapes it and hits Royce with ObLIVion. Kay rolls up Morgan for 2, and Morgan tags in Riott. They hit the double knee-Riott Kick combo for the win.

Amazing match, amazing tag team wrestling. The fact that this great match is on the pre-show and Bayley, Sasha Banks, Nia Jax, and Shayna Baszler are the face of the women’s tag division just makes my blood boil.

Winner via pinfall: Riott Squad

Gavin’s Rating: 4/5

Dave’s Rating: 4/5

Bobby Lashley VS United States Champion Apollo Crews for the United States Championship

Dave: Lashley is looking just a wee bit leaner than usual. He starts with waist-lock takedowns that get applause from Benjamin and MVP, who are watching from beside the announcers.  A nice stranding dropkick from Crews stems the tide as we cut to MVP laughing at something Benjamin just said. I wish we’d heard that joke. A crazy handspring escape by Crews followed by a standing moonsault from the apron to the floor has Lashley’s head spinning.

The back-and-forth business continues as Lashley lifts Crews up and drapes his midsection across the ropes. Lashley follows with a sort of running fireman’s carry with Crews’ head meeting up with the ring post.

Lashley gets a bit cocky, jawing it up with his Hurt Business pals while setting Crews up for a Suplex, but the champ escapes and delivers a spinning kick to the head. Still, a Dominator later and Crews is down for a two-count. Another kick to the side of Lashley’s head and a second-rope flying cross-body by Crews gives both men a chance to recuperate. Crews beats Lashley into the corner and actually looks like he is pumping up the ThunderDome crowd. Crews hits a standing moonsault for another two-count.

Two German suplexes lay Lashley out, letting Crews climb to the top rope for a high frog splash, but all it gets is another near fall. Lashley’s eyes show an uncharacteristic concern, but he recovers quickly and locks in the Full Lashley, leaving Apollo Crews no escape except to tap.

Winner via pinfall and NEW United States Champion: Bobby Lashley

Gavin’s Rating: 3/5

Dave’s Rating: 3.5/5

After the photo gallery celebration of the new champ and his partners, Crews gets back in the ring and pounces on Lashley before leaving with a promise that he’s getting the title back.

Big E VS Sheamus

Gavin: The match starts out with some evenly-matched jockeying for position. Big E shows his power with a massive hip toss, but Sheamus takes him down with a headlock. Big E fights out of it and hits a high elbow on Sheamus. Sheamus throws Big E to the apron and hits the 10 Beats of the Bodhran.

Big E brings Sheamus out with him and slams him on the apron, but when he goes for his Big Splash, Sheamus rolls out of the way. The Celtic Warrior focuses on the left leg of Big E, softening him up for the Cloverleaf. Big E fifths back with some hard punches, but Sheamus sweeps his leg and locks in a submission. Big E starts to fight out of it so Sheamus just stomps his leg and then pins him for 2.

He locks in a submission again. Big E fights out with some hard kicks to the back, but Sheamus drives Big E with the Irish Curse for 2. Sheamus locks in a half crab on the left leg, but Big E flips around and kicks his way out of it. Sheamus answers with a kick and an elbow drop, but when he looks for a flying ax handle, Big E catches him and delivers a plethora of belly-to-belly suplexes. When he goes for the last suplex, however, Sheamus gets out of it, but he gets caught with a uranage by Big E for 2 anyway.

After slapping some feeling back into his leg, Big E gets taken down with a springboard tackle. Big E delivers another suplex, but when he goes for his splash, Sheamus picks him up and slams him with an Alabama Slam for 2. Both men work their way back to their feet, and Sheamus locks in a deadly looking submission. Big E barely makes his way to the bottom rope.

This probably looks worse than it feels for Big E Langston. Photo: WWE

Sheamus goes to the ropes, but Big E sends him to the apron and delivers an amazing spear to the floor. Big E looks for the Big Ending, but Sheamus reverses it into a heel hook. Sheamus has shown some very impressive submission mastery this match. Big E fights out of it, but Sheamus answers with a bicycle knee strike that echoes throughout the ThunderDome for 2.

Sheamus looks for the Brogue Kick, but Big E catches him and delivers a brutal powerbomb. He immediately picks up Sheamus and drops him with the Big Ending for the win. Great match, great storytelling and great submissions from Sheamus.

Winner via pinfall: Big E

Gavin’s Rating: 3.5/5

Dave’s Rating: 3.5/5

Matt Riddle VS King Corbin

Dave: The King busts out of the gate with a clothesline before the bell. Why do I now suddenly miss Corbin’s restaurant busboy ring attire? He beats Riddle out to the floor and up against the announcers’ table, then brings him back in the ring but doesn’t offer much of anything but more punches. This allows Riddle to crawl back into the match. He gets a sleeper hold on Corbin, who escapes by falling to the ground, only to have Riddle lock it on again. 

Gavin: The very start of this match is exactly what Corbin should always be, a brutal fighter who punishes his opponent, rather than a weasley joke. Also, both of them shouting during the sleeper hold is hilarious, if I didn’t see the screen I honestly wouldn’t know who’s getting hurt.

Dave: Corey Graves works hard to sell Riddle’s ring awareness shown by setting up for a clothesline from Corbin’s left arm instead of his right. Every time that Riddle finds a window to land some kicks, Corbin powers him to the mat with clotheslines and elbows, but a frustrated Corbin can’t get more than a two-count.

Gavin: Corbin’s ring-around-the-rosey clothesline is still very fun. And adding Bro to any move that Riddle does is another thing that hasn’t gotten old. He’s the new Scott Steiner.

Dave: Riddle finds his way to do more than just peck away, hitting his Bro-ton and a “Superman Punch Lite” that Michael Cole calls “a powerful punch”. A kick to Corbin’s side brings the King to his knees in pain, holding his side gingerly. A Deep Six nets yet another two-count, and not long after the combination of a Bro-to-Sleep and Floating Bro is too much for Corbin.

Winner via pinfall: Matt Riddle

Gavin’s Rating: 3/5

Dave’s Rating: 3/5

Backstage, as Riddle celebrates being free of Baron Corbin, the King attacks him from behind and leaves him laid low, in a pool of pain and surrounded by a craft services cacophony of Froot Loops and plastic plates. 

Women’s Tag Team Champions Sasha Banks and Bayley VS Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler

Dave: This tag team title match unfortunately features four notable singles competitors posing as two teams. Banks and Bayley make a good team, mind you, but they’re not a “Capital T” tag team. Baszler especially seems like she shouldn’t care less about tag team success. I hope that she finds her way back to top-spot contention for a singles title. Plus, if a makeshift team such as Jax and Baszler can win the titles, it will be an unintentional slight against the entire women’s tag division.

Gavin: Nia Jax and Sasha Banks start out in the match, but Shayna Baszler tags herself in almost immediately. Baszler schools Banks in the striking game, but Banks locks in a submission. Sasha gets out and Baszler looks to stomp the arm of Banks, but she rolls away and tags in Bayley. Baszler locks in an arm submission on Bayley and looks to tag in Nia, but Bayley throws Baszler into her partner.

Dave: I see Yoshi is on one of the ThunderDome screens. Nintendo, not Tatsu. 

Gavin: Bayley gets Baszler the champ’s corner and they stomp her down. Sasha throws Baszler with a snapmare for 1. She tosses Baszler with  a couple suplexes, and tags in Bayley for a double powerbomb. Bayley hits a sliding clothesline and goes for the pin, but Nia tosses Banks into them to break it up. Bayley goes for Nia on the outside, but Nia slams her into the barricade. Banks goes for a hurricanrana but Nia catches her and slams her hard into the barricade.

Baszler tags in Nia, and she gets a 2 count from a splash and a biel. Bayley hits Baszler, who gets mad and tries to come in. Banks takes advantage of the ref being distracted and takes out the leg of Nia. Bayley tags in Banks and she hits Nia with a meteora and a kick for 2. The champ dropkicks Nia and tags in Bayley, who focuses on the leg of the Irresistible Force.

Nia catches Bayley after a crossbody attempt, and slams her hard to the ground. Nia uses Banks as a weapon to hit Bayley, and then drops her with a Samoan drop. She goes for a leg drop on Bayley, but Bayley reverses it into a leg lock. Nia simply drags Bayley over to her corner and makes the tag to Baszler, who comes in and plants Bayley with some hard strikes. She slams the SmackDown Women’s Champ with a gutwrench for 2, and gives Banks one as well after she’s tagged in.

Nia and Baszler finally start to work together with a few double team moves. Nia attempts a powerbomb, but Banks reverses it into a facebuster. She tags in Bayley and then tags herself back in. Bayley drops an elbow on Nia and Banks follows it up with a frog splash, but the following pin only gets 2.

Dave: I don’t particularly buy Sasha Banks splashing anybody as a finisher, but it is especially comical watching her land on Jax and pretending that it’s devastating. 

Gavin: Banks hits Nia with a shining wizard for another 2, and tags in Bayley to attempt a double powerbomb. She gets out and goes to the ropes, allowing Baszler to tag herself in. The champs toss Nia with a double back body drop, but Bazsler locks both champs in a submission, Banks in a Muta Lock and Bayley in the Kirafuta Clutch, forcing Bayley to tap.

The belts keep slipping away from Bayley and Banks. Photo: WWE

Winners via submission and NEW Women’s Tag Team Champions: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler

Gavin’s Rating: 4/5

Dave’s Rating: 4/5 (mostly for the ending)

Keith Lee VS Randy Orton

Dave: Before the match preview, Tom Phillips says that Lee is out for “retaliation” against Orton. It’s Payback, Tom, Payback! 

Lee is sporting some sweet Black Panther entrance gear. I thought that Mysterio or Rollins, with their history of superhero inspired gear, might have been the ones to pay such tribute to Chadwick Boseman, but it works great for Lee.

Gavin: I cannot believe that Keith Lee is 340 pounds. Not many slim people can do a moonsault from the second rope, but Lee is giant and he can. He’s just amazing.

Dave: Orton starts with a rest hold. Figures. A side headlock by Orton barely fazes Lee who amusingly tries to break it up by twisting Orton’s ear.

Orton very loudly demands Lee’s respect before delivering chops like he was taught by someone who knows how they’re done. Lee counters with the Grizzly Magnum, which sounds like the name of a sequel to Magnum P.I. with a 75-year-old Tom Selleck.

Orton gets control again and an attack sequence leads to … a side headlock. The ThunderDome buzzes. Lee picks up steam and runs Orton to the mat and through to the ropes to the floor. He follows him and drops him back-first onto the announcer’s table. After tossing Orton back into the ring, Lee walks right into a rope-leveraged DDT.

That’s about the height of Orton’s offence in this match, though, as Lee says “nope” to an attempted RKO and drops Orton with a Spirit Bomb for a 1-2-3 in what was practically a squash.

If there’s any sense to the world, Keith Lee’s grin will be a meme before long. Photo: WWE

Gavin: Amazing win for Lee, very glad that he’s getting the recognition he deserves. I got mad after Raw because of his music and gear change, but as long as he’s still doing incredible things for us, it doesn’t matter too much to me. Never mind, his gear definitely matters to me.

Winner via pinfall: Keith Lee

Gavin’s Rating: 4/5

Dave’s Rating: 3.5/5

Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio VS Seth Rollins and Buddy Murphy

Dave: I’ve been calling for a Mysterio family breakdown with either Rey or Dominik unintentionally costing the other a win, but now that it looks like they’re going for family unity, I’m all for it and hope that it lasts. Watch me be wrong tonight, now.

Gavin: Right out of the gate, Dominik rushes past the legal man Buddy Murphy to attack Rollins. He hits him off the apron and follows him off. Murphy tries to pull him off and throw him back in the ring, but gets hit with a 619. Rollins gets tagged in and faces off with Dominik, with Dominik getting the better of the exchange with a beautiful springboard arm drag. Rollins gets frustrated and tags Murphy back in, but he too gets thrown around with a couple of arm drags. It might be one of the only moves he can do but I’ll be darned if he isn’t good at it.

Rey gets tagged in and the two hit a leg sweep dropkick-combo for 2. Rollins gets tagged in and Rey unloads on him. Rey drops Rollins with a seated senton for 2, but the Monday Night Messiah makes him pay with a gutbuster. Rolllins goes for another one, but Rey reverses it into an O’Connor roll. Murphy tags himself in during the move, but Rey throws him out of the ring. Rollins takes advantage and slides Rey under the bottom rope onto Murphy’s knees on the floor.

Murphy pins Rey for 2, and he tags in Rollins who spears Rey in the corner. Rollins tags in Murphy who follows his Messiah with a spear. Rollins is tagged back in, and he goes for another spear, but Rey dodges it and Rollins crashes into the corner. Rey drops Murphy with a wheelbarrow bulldog. He tags in Dominik, who goes for a crossbody, but Rollins catches him and delivers a Falcon Arrow. Rollins tags in his disciple, who delivers a snap suplex for 2. Murphy locks in an abdominal stretch, but Dominik escapes with a jawbreaker.

He tries to tag in his dad, but Rollins is tagged in, and he slams the younger Mysterio. Rollins just messes with Dominik, stomping his hands. Dominik fights back for a second, but Rollins tosses him to the outside.Rollins distracts the ref while Murphy tries to throw Dominik into the barrier, but he reverses it and Murphy is thrown into it instead. Rollins jumps off the apron and hits the barricade as well.

Dominik tags in Rey, who unloads on Rollins with a headscissors. Rey lands a moonsault for 2, and sets up Rollins for the 619, but Rollins ducks. Rollins goes for a powerbomb, but Rey rolls out of it and kicks him hard. Murphy breaks up the following pin and Dominik makes him pay with a beautiful satellite DDT, but Rollins takes him out with a slingblade. Rey strikes with a top rope seated senton, but Rollins fights back with a backbreaker. Rey dives outside to take out Murphy, but when he tries for a crossbody on Rollins he’s met with a Codebreaker and a superkick for 2.

Dave: If Rey doesn’t someday misjudge the distance of a 619 due to his lack of depth perception then the whole “losing an eye” story was a waste in my opinion. 

Gavin: Rollins looks for the Blackout, but Rey reverses it into a wheelbarrow attempt, which Rollins then reverses into a slam and goes for the pin, which is broken up by Dominik. Rollins tosses Rey and Dominik into the barricade, and Rollins looks to execute a powerbomb-kick combo with Murphy. He tags in Murphy and goes for the move, but Rey reverses it so Rollins gets kicked.

Rey sets up Murphy for the 619 and then slides out of the ring to deliver a sunset flip powerbomb to Rollins. Dominik hits the 619 and a frog splash (just like his dad! Wait, I wasn’t supposed to say that…) on Murphy for the win.

Dominik executes a 619. How old do you think he was the first time he did one? Photo: WWE

Dave: The timing of Murphy’s kick to Rollins’ head was unfortunately off enough to look instead as if Murphy was turning on his Messiah.

Winners via pinfall: Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio

Gavin’s Rating: 3.5/5

Dave’s Rating: 3/5

Universal Champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt VS Braun Strowman VS Roman Reigns (?) for the Universal Championship (No Holds Barred Match)

Gavin: Coming into this match, I thought “Well, I really liked this pay-per-view. Roman Reigns, you may now ruin it for me.”

Dave: During The Fiend’s entrance, Strowman attacks him from behind and gets the match going. No Reigns in sight. Strowman doesn’t even let The Fiend take his jacket off before giving him a non-running powerslam for a two-count. The Fiend counters with Sister Abigail for another two, and the cavalcade of finishing moves is off to a hot start.

Gavin: Their finishers just don’t matter at all and it’s so ridiculous.

Dave: A uranage drives Strowman through the announcer’s table and we catch a glimpse of Alexa Bliss watching from backstage. I love the storyline going on with her, they rarely do creepy or paranormal bits in the women’s division.The Fiend finds his huge mallet under the ring, but Strowman knocks him down with a flying rolling chair. No matter, The Fiend regroups and strikes the challenger in the chest with the mallet.

The Fiend takes a moment to enjoy his handiwork. Photo: WWE

Gavin: I feel like when multiple people who are billed as “invincible” face off, it’s not cool or anything, it just makes them both look weak and takes away the legitimacy of their finishers.

Dave: The stairs are the next weapon, as Strowman falls victim to the weapon of furniture. The fight makes its way up the ramp, where Strowman rams the Fiend off the side of the stage before dragging him back to the ring.

Strowman awkwardly climbs to the top rope where The Fiend meets him to deliver a superplex. The ring collapses and referee Charles Robinson is bounced right out to the floor.

With both men down, Roman Reigns makes his entrance, alongside Heyman, signing the contract on the way. It is now a Triple Threat Match.

Gavin:  I’m no lawyer, but I’m not sure that signing your contract after the match starts is legal at all. 

Dave: It’s not that different from a Money in the Bank contract, though. Reigns goes for a pinfall on the prone Fiend, but can’t get a three. The second attempt fails, as does a pin on Strowman. Reigns beats Strowman with a chair but once again fails to secure a win. 

He goes for a chair attack on The Fiend but is met with a Mandible Claw. He escapes with a low blow, spears Braun Strowman, and ends his laborious week-long journey of a championship dream with a win.

Winner via pinfall and NEW Universal Champion: Roman Reigns

Gavin’s Rating: 1/5

Dave’s Rating: 1/5

Gavin: This is absolutely ridiculous. Once again, Roman came in and got stuff for free. I really liked this show, but that whole last match was just terrible. Roman successfully Wrecked the Show and Left.



Payback 2020

Dave: Here’s how a poor main event can ruin a decent show.

Gavin: I thought it was a great show, one of the best in recent memory. Until the main event.