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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Payback Pay Per View Review with Match Ratings & Show Grade
By Mr. Tito
May 1, 2016 - 10:57:37 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome to Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Payback 2016 Pay Per Review exclusively here at / This column was written during the Pay Per View and posted instantly following the show's end. Enjoy.

FYI - Pregame show matches are not included in this review. Got in late from being out of town much of the day and therefore tuned into the WWE Network about 7:55pm.

Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Payback 2016 Review

By the way, I use "phat" as a homage to the columns that I wrote from 1998-2002 called Mr. Tito's Phat Daily Column. I'm well aware that the word "phat" is old but it's just respect to my older columns. If you have a problem with it, then it's just another word that bothers you in today's society. I'll tell you what, haters... When the Miz stops using "awesome", I'll stop using "phat". Mmmkay?

Show opens with the New Day with the segment mostly having Xavior Woods hitting on Beyonce. Alrighty. Payback intro and that leads to our first match...

Enzo/Big Cass vs. Vaudevillains for the #1 Tag Team Title contendership is the HOT OPENER. I've figured out Enzo and Cass... They are the NEW AGE OUTLAWS reincarnated. Maybe Enzo has some originality, but Big Cass sounds JUST LIKE Badass Billy Gunn. "We've got one word for ya"... Cass was probably trained by Gunn before Gunn was terminated as a NXT trainer. Sure sounds like him... LOVE that Vaudevillains entrance. Not much of a match, as a HORRIBLE accident occurred and caused the match to be stopped by the referees. Enzo took a hard Irish Whip to the ropes and tried to baseball slide underneath the ropes. However, Enzo caught the middle rope and it essentially clotheslined him. Seemed like Gotch and Enzo were too close to the ropes when attempting this and Enzo didn't have enough time to react. Prayers are with Enzo as he battles a potentially bad head injury.

Up next, we have Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens. High energy match to start, but what else do you expect? These guys have worked with each other for a while. They could wrestle a good looking match together with their eyes closed at this point. Chicago fans are marking out as if they've never seen the 2 wrestlers work before. Good back and forth match between the two guys and the finishing sequence was fantastic. The real issue I have with this match is "why are they fighting?". Oh boy, they feuded in NXT... So what? Why should I care about 2 wrestlers who LOSE repeatedly in the WWE to OTHER wrestlers? Especially Zayn who must be "paying his dues" right now to grab that brass ring. Yet, Zayn has had amazing matches with EVERYBODY he's wrestled this year. Does Vince McMahon GIVE A DAMN about either guy in that ring right now? I'm not seeing it... [ **** ] After the match, Kevin Owens brags about being better than Zayn (has a point, he beat him cleanly) harasses Byron Sexton. Owens will be ringside for the Intercontinental Title match.

Miz (c) vs. Cesaro is up next for the Intercontinental Title... You know, I always rant about tradition having the Champion come out second but I hate the Miz. He's a child wrestling mark trapped in an adult body who has a WWE job. For as many attitude changes and pushes that he's received, WWE is not getting much bang for their buck. So to hell with him if he's getting disrespected by coming out first as champion. Miz is a guy who is a FIVE TIME Intercontinental Champion since his WWE Title run in 2011. Could you imagine how successful Cesaro would be if he had the SAME booking attention as the Miz? GOOD GOD... This match was DULL to start with the Miz applying weardown moves robotically without telling a story... Seriously, they've silenced a hot Chicago crowd. Cesaro shows amazing power by reversing a hold and lifting Miz up into a Suplex. Cesaro wakes up the crowd... Just as the match gets going, Sami Zayn decides to attack... What? He lost CLEANLY to Kevin Owens? It's one thing if Owens cheated to win, but it's another when he loses cleanly. And their brawling spills over into the ring causing enough distraction for Cesaro to get rolled up by the Miz with the tights held. Just great... [ ** ] Before anyone can get excited for Zayn/Owens/Cesaro working together, realize who is STILL Intercontinental Champion... The Manchild, the "awesome" Miz. I think as Miz rolled up Cesaro, Kevin Dunn in the WWE Production truck came up with the next WWE Films movie idea...

Our next bout was Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose. Jericho is working hard at being a heel in this match in order to help Dean Ambrose. See, this is what Roman Reigns needed at WWE Payback to strengthen him as a babyface. Jericho is one of the best wrestling personalities of all time and he knows how to either (a) get over or (b) generate heat. WWE doesn't have many like him on their roster or in NXT. This match needed Jericho as Ambrose appeared drained in this match. Not sure if old man Jericho was too much to handle or if something else is bothering Dean these days. To my SHOCK, Dean Ambrose actually won this match... So yeah, so much for using a strong heel Jericho against a babyface Roman Reigns. Match was solid, no complaints... We'll see if this match creates any momentum for Dean or not... Probably not. [ ***1/4 ]

Backstage, AJ Styles is being interviewed as I'm baffled at how he's styling that hair tonight. Get the guy a haircut, please.

Backstage again, Shane McMahon is talking to Sasha Banks. Great job, Shane, on getting Sasha another shot at that WWE Women's Title... Oh wait. Natalya gets another shot.

Whoooo... Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya is next. For the SECOND time tonight, the Champion comes out second... Uh oh, I'm sensing a trend here. FINGER OF SHAME to the WWE for bucking tradition. Champions should ALWAYS come out second. But hey, if that's a condition on getting Bret Hart to appear in the WWE... Good to see him tonight, given his Cancer issues. This visuals are quite interesting as Charlotte towers over Natty. "We Want Sasha" chants break out... You know what, where was she at Wrestlemania 32? Sure, that Triple Threat match was great but Sasha didn't exactly stand out. Much different world wrestling 20,000 person arenas than Full Sail. This match is actually pretty good... The two have worked together for a while now and it's paying off. That, and Charlotte is peaking both as a wrestler and as a personality. She's the BEST of the Divas Revolution call-ups. Charlotte is an amazing athlete and is great on her own... Just watch her moves after countering the Sharpshooter attempt and to her credit, Natalya is selling them. Natty kicks out of a beautiful Moonsault by Charlotte. Charlotte locks in the Figure 4 but unable to turn it into a Figure 8... Natty reverses it as I wonder how that hurts the person applying the Figure 4... Wondered that for YEARS! Match had Charlotte winning with a Sharpshooter when Little Natch, Charles Robinson, called the match and said Natalya submitted. Robinson, in WCW, was once a Ric Flair flunky... Ha! Afterward, Bret and Natalya fight off Ric Flair and Charlotte and apply Sharpshooters. Good women's match, [ *** ]

And out comes Vince McMahon for the 20 minute (probably longer) segment to decide who gets to run RAW. Just log into your WWE Network and watch 2000-2001 storylines to see the SAME THING that you're seeing right now. Seriously. LOUD "CM Punk" chants occur and Vince, to his credit, responded nicely to them... "Is that all that you got, this is a crazy crowd". And then Vince plays along with the "What?!?" chants too. Hot crowds are easy to play... Why? Because you have their attention... Just mess with them. Out first is Stephanie McMahon and she also plays the Chicago fans well. Hate Stephanie and Vince all you want, but they know how to communicate and generate heat as heels. Problem is, as I've mentioned about 2000-2001... They have been doing this for 15 years! And the Chicago fans join me, "BORING" chants break out. Now Shane McMahon arrives. By the way, live crowds, the more you chant for Shane McMahon, the more McMahon drama crap that you'll have shoved down your throats. And Shane cuts a bad, monotone promo too... So keep it up, WWE fans... We'll eat more spoonfuls of McMahon crap on your behalf. And "the Decision"... BOTH Shane and Stephanie are running RAW together and Vince wanted them to fight it out. LOL, what a joke. See, we're truly stuck in 2000-2001. Nothing but garbage McMahon storylines over and over again.

The MAIN EVENT is finally here and the WWE Production Truck did their best to make the video package look great... Lots of editing done there, but even in short doses, Roman Reigns sounds awful on his promos. Styles isn't great either, but he's more known for his in-ring ability... WWE is pushing Reigns as much as a personality as well as being a wrestler. Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles is finally here and Chicago fans are immediately chanting "YOU CAN'T WRESTLE" to Roman Reigns. Has any WWE Champion ever had to endure that at a WWE specific event? This is a joke to keep this babyface Roman Reigns scheme going any longer. Early psychology of the match has Styles acting like Reigns is over-powering and has to use sneaky moves and kicks to actually harm Reigns. Nice clothesline and then deadlift by Reigns though, to his credit... Beauty of a sitdown powerbomb by Reigns after that. Nice sequence with Reigns attempting the Superman Punch and AJ Styles hitting the Pele Kick. Reigns and Styles are working well together. Damn beauty of a Phenomenal Forearm on the outside to Reigns and the momentum carried them through the table. What?!? That resulted in a COUNTOUT? AJ Styles couldn't drag Roman Reigns back into the ring but Styles was able to get into the ring. However, Countouts cannot result in a title switch.

Shane McMahon, now co-owner of RAW, comes out and restarts the match with NO COUNTOUTS. That's hilarious! 450 splash by AJ Styles gets caught with the knees up. HOT CROWD went from trolling Reigns to appreciating the match. By accident, Roman Reigns hits a low blow on AJ Styles... Roman Reigns is disqualified! Ha!

Oh wait, the MCMAHON DRAMA CONTINUES... Stephanie McMahon restarts the match and it's now NO DISQUALIFICATION. Why don't we just rename this event "Wrestlemania 16"? They now brawl to the outside. Back in, AJ Styles tried the Phenomenal Forearm but was caught with the Superman Punch in midair. Nice. As Roman Reigns attempts another Superman punch, Anderson & Gallows arrive and actually attack Roman Reigns. They hit their "Boot of Doom" tag move on Reigns and it's now up to Styles to take advantage. Usos would run down and attach Anderson/Gallows and we had a nice moment where AJ Styles was launched on all for 4 guys on the outside. Styles gets in lots of offense, almost gets a few pins, but loses when he misses another Forearm and gets Speared. Wow... [ ****1/4 ]. If you had any doubts about AJ Styles, and I admit that I had mine, they were erased tonight. What a job selling and executing that match by the veteran, AJ Styles. I hope Vince McMahon saw that performance closely and realizes what a legit talent he has in Styles. Amazing in-ring performance and to Reigns's credit, he had good chemistry with Styles.

Backstage, both Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon are talking with their daddy, Vince McMahon, as it relates to their in-ring calls. Vince discusses with both and suggests that AJ Styles deserves a rematch at Extreme Rules. Cool... AJ Styles deserves it after tonight's effort.

LAST WORD: Not a bad event, in-ring wise... In fact, most WWE events for the last 2 years have been pretty good in the ring. The issue remains to be the results or overall booking of the card. The "50/50" booking as Scott Keith coined it where nobody is allowed to win consistently was present. Dean Ambrose beats Chris Jericho after Jericho beat tonight's #1 contender, AJ Styles, at Wrestlemania 32. Kevin Owens sees mixed results in his booking and yet beats Sami Zayn, his rival, 100% cleanly. WWE has such a thin bench of "over" guys who are needed to step up if the top guys get injured or aren't "over" themselves. And on top of that, endless McMahon drama. Meanwhile, AJ Styles sold like a champion and gave Roman Reigns one of his best matches. Good matches, but just odd booking and layout for the shows. And too much McMahon drama. [ A- ], as this show carried on well after an injury to start the show. I pray Enzo gets healthy.


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