The Diagnosis: WWE Payback Fallout
Welcome back to another edition of The Diagnosis. This week we’ll be looking at where WWE is heading after last Sunday’s Payback PPV. I did a similar thing after Extreme Rules in May. I’m not sure if this is going to become a monthly thing or not yet. I do think it’s a good idea to kind of forecast where some superstars may head in the coming weeks. Payback was a very good PPV that was noteworthy for title changes and character changes. So, let’s see what the Payback Fallout is.
In the Kickoff before the PPV aired, Sheamus pinned Damien Sandow. The decision isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that they booked a long, competitive match between the two and then Sandow pinned Sheamus in a Handicap Match on RAW. I don’t think this match makes another PPV as I think they’ll use Sheamus’ star power in one of the Money in the Bank Ladder Matches. Sheamus seems to be stuck in the midcard right now because WWE is more interested in pushing other guys and rightfully so. Payback was full of guys turning but Sheamus should be added to the list. He acts more like a heel than most heels do. That could give Sheamus a jump start and some fresh feuds. If he stays a babyface, I can’t see him doing more than he is now. As for Sandow, it seems as if they are getting ready to push Antonio Cesaro (THANK GOD) so he’ll be stuck doing whatever it is that he’s been doing. You know WWE can only push one midcard heel at a time. I’m sure that’s some kind of rule written down somewhere.
The PPV opened with Curtis Axel beating Wade Barrett and The Miz to win the Intercontinental Championship. The ending of the match was fabulous. Miz had Barrett in the Figure Four and was so focused on getting Barrett to tap, he didn’t notice Axel sneak in and pin Barrett to win the title. I’m glad Axel won the title and that they paid homage to his father, Mr. Perfect on Father’s Day. This is a great spot for Axel. He can gain momentum and some real credibility with the fans by winning consistently. He can’t be another secondary champion that loses all the time. It looks like his first string of title defenses will be against The Miz. This is fine because Miz is a former WWE Champion that will be a nice feather in Mr. Axel’s cap. As for the former champ, Barrett, who knows? He is a really good worker, he’s just been saddled by boring gimmicks and losing all the time. The fans don’t care about him because he’s booked as a loser. Maybe he should just go away for a while so the fans can forget about him being a loser and then come back strong. Then again, this is WWE so he’ll probably win a Money in the Bank Briefcase.
AJ Lee made Kaitlyn tap out to become the new Diva’s Champion. Kaitlyn had a very crappy week. First Big E and AJ made her look like a fool on RAW. Then she lost her title and then the next night her boob popped out. These two had a good match with a very personal feel. Which is such a refreshing change of pace for the Divas that WWE actually let a good storyline develop around a Divas match. The tricky thing now is where does Kaitlyn go from here? She could be a superstar but WWE could not care less about pushing any women not named McMahon. I don’t think it matters what she does after this feud with AJ runs the course because she’ll just get lost in the pack most likely. This is a shame. AJ is the star of the Divas division. With her cuddle buddy Dolph Ziggler going babyface (more on that to come) what does she do? She was still very much a heel on RAW. She could still stay aligned with Big E as heels that are Dolph’s next feud after Alberto Del Rio.
Dean Ambrose retained The United States Championship against Kane via countout. The match was booked so Kane could receive a rematch and he did the next night. During the rematch The Shield got involved and Kane won via countout. Kane is going to hang around The Shield for the next month or so because WWE desperately wants to do Kane and The Undertaker vs. The Shield as SummerSlam. So, expect more of Kane and The Shield going forward. I think this one is pretty easy to predict.
Alberto Del Rio beat Dolph Ziggler to become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion. My initial reaction to this match was pure anger. I’ve been a big fan of Ziggler since I started reviewing SmackDown in 2011 and he was always on that program showcasing how great he is. Then in his first title defense he loses. Pure anger! Then I recalled what the announcing team was saying about him. Putting him over as a courageous fighting champion. Then Del Rio cut a dick promo about winning the title. I thought to myself that this could actually be pretty awesome. Dolph as a babyface would be great and him chasing the title and then winning it would be really great. This was all cemented on RAW when Del Rio went full out heel and Dolph decided to kick his ass later on in the show. As much as I’d love Ziggler to still be champ and it really sucks that his concussion derailed his title reign before it even got started, this is a great move. Del Rio is so much more a natural heel and was more entertaining in that role. Ziggler is loved by the internet fans and wasn’t even really booed by the regular folk because they respected his ability. Dolph has the potential to carry the company as a babyface and they need to start grooming some replacements for Cena and Punk since neither man is getting any younger. I’m not saying Ziggler is going to be Cena but let him run as a top babyface and let’s see what he can do. The fans already want to cheer for him.
CM Punk pinned Chris Jericho in an amazing match. I had it rated at ****1/4. It’s no surprise really that CM Punk is involved in the top three matches in WWE this year. The ***** classic vs. Cena on RAW, the WrestleMania match vs. The Undertaker and now this one. Punk got a huge babyface reaction as was expected in his hometown. I expected some sort of friction between Punk and Paul Heyman since Heyman accepted this match without a word from Punk. It played out to some degree as Heyman almost cost Punk the match when Heyman was on the apron. Punk went on to win the match and the next night on RAW dismissed Paul from being at ringside during his matches. Then after he beat Alberto Del Rio via count out he ate a big F5 from Heyman Guy, Brock Lesnar. I think we all expected at one point or another babyface Punk would face Lesnar. I’m surprised they started the feud this soon as the match is pegged for SummerSlam and not Money in the Bank. That makes you wonder what they’ll do with Punk at MITB. He can’t be left off the show. There should be a law in this country that if CM Punk is healthy he has to wrestle on every WWE PPV. I could see him maybe feuding with Axel to bridge the gap and then Lesnar costs him the match as MITB or maybe in his quest to be The Best in the World, Punk enters a MITB match and falls short because he gets attacked by Lesnar. Anyway you go about it, the match and build should be awesome. As for Jericho, after losing to Punk he treated 3MB like the jobbers they are on RAW. I don’t think WWE does a lot of long term planning for Jericho as he comes and goes with Fozzy and I believe they have another summer tour coming up.
Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins defeated Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan to retain the Tag Team Championships. As I said earlier, I expect The Shield to hang around Kane for the time being to set up a possible match with The Undertaker. They might kill sometime with The Usos until then. We all want to know what is going to happen with Bryan and Orton. At the end of the match it sure looked like Orton shoved Bryan into Reigns’ Spear to end the match. The announcers barely touched on it, if at all after the match and the next day on RAW. They can always go back to that if they want. Orton has said in interviews he wants to be a heel. I think his character is much better as a heel but he has better matches as a babyface so, I’m torn on what to do with him. The crowds go nuts for him as he and his RKO are so over in WWE. Because of that I don’t know if WWE would want to touch him. Bryan and Orton had a match on RAW that was ended early due to a stinger. SPOILER for SmackDown, these two meet again. The main event of SmackDown was changed from Bryan vs. Ambrose to Bryan vs. Orton. I hope that wasn’t the blowoff to a feud that never got underway. These two deserve a PPV match and they could tear the house down. It seems by all accounts that Bryan is being primed for a main event run. I hope it is as a babyface. If you want to know why, all you have to do is listen to the crowds when he goes bananas in the ring. This is where doing away with the Brand Extension may hurt Bryan. They could push both Ziggler and Bryan as new top babyfaces. One on RAW and one on SmackDown. Now, they’ll both be on both shows and may get in each other’s ways so-to-speak. I hope that’s not the case but you never know with Vince’s attention span.
In the Main Event, John Cena beat Ryback two falls to one in a Three Stages of Hell Match. I liked this match. Granted it reminded me of General Zod and Superman just messing stuff up in Man of Steel without anyone seemingly getting hurt, but I enjoyed the carnage in the movie and in the match. We all know Cena’s next challenger is going to be Mark Henry after one of the most bizarre segments in RAW history. Henry gave a heartfelt retirement speech and even cried like the likes of Edge, Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair. That’s why it felt so real. Then he turned on Cena and drilled him with the World’s Strongest Slam because that’s what he does. I call it bizarre because they went with something so real to set up a match. Then they wonder why fans are skeptical when guys say they are going to retire. I’m sure there was a better way to get to this match. It was fun seeing Cena look like a fool though. It all doesn’t matter as Henry is just another monster for Cena to conquer. As for the monster he just conquered, Ryback, who knows? He was kept off of RAW this week to sell getting AA’d through the ambulance. I’m tired of complaining about how they’ve botched him. I don’t even know who he should feud with next. Maybe he should stay away for a while too and come back with a fresh start.
Overall, I think the outlook for WWE in the summer months is looking good. Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan are primed to be top babyfaces. CM Punk is back and The Shield is still awesome. Payback was a good PPV followed up by a good edition of RAW so things are moving in the right direction and the Wyatt Family is on their way too! Let me know how you’re feeling about WWE heading into the summer in the comment section. Peace out, cub scouts.
(That’s what she said.)
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