WWE Payback 2013 on June 16, 2013
Watch: WWE Network
Allstate Arena – Chicago, IL
Precursor: When reviewing I try to give the overall story, feel, and important moments of a match. I try not to veer off into move descriptions. This keeps it fairly short and sweet. I always put the result of the match in italics as well if the champion(s) defended or if there’s a new champion. I don’t use star ratings or any scale because the system doesn’t work for me. I spew out what I think of the match and articulate my thoughts that way. (Evil laugh…) — you’re forced to read my writing and not glance at the stars! Got it? Enjoy.
Matches are categorized under four sub-categories: don’t watch it; you may enjoy it; highly recommended; you need to see it. These are guidelines to help you pick out matches if you’re not watching the full show. These are used more in an “if you were to watch the card” sense rather than standalone grades.
WWE Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett (c) vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel (w/Paul Heyman)you may enjoy it
This was a highly effective opener with every guy playing their role extremely well. It was Father’s Day and this will be known as the match where Axel got the ‘Perfect’ win in tribute to his dad. Not only that, but 20+ years after, on the same day, Curt Hennig won the IC Title himself. What surprised me the most was the fact that the crowd was so hot for this. They were hanging on every near fall and potential Miz or Barrett victory. Axel was preserved for the end where he got chucked out anyway but would enter back only to sneak out with a victory Mr. Perfect would be proud of — and maybe in the day hone as his own creative idea. Axel won after pinning Barrett, who was trapped in the figure four leglock. Curtis Axel is the new WWE Intercontinental Champion.
Axel and Heyman celebrated backstage only to come to a crossroad with Triple H. HHH stared down Axel only for Vince McMahon to appear and pitch HHH vs. Axel on Monday Night Raw. HHH didn’t like it one bit, shutting it down only to walk off the screen. Booker Man was confused.
WWE Divas Championship: Kaitlyn (c) vs. AJ Leedon't watch it
You can read Rebecca’s review of this match as part of her ‘Women at Payback’ research piece. It’s utterly insane to think how bad the presentation and treatment of women in the company was, even 4 years ago as evidenced here. Whether it was commentary talking about how women secretly despise each other, or the crowd at one point chanting “we want puppies” (IN 2013). The match itself was solid like all AJ vs. Kaitlyn matches. The power vs. agility story was in play with Lee bumping around a few times only to come back and take the wheel. This produced some teases and near falls (with Big E Langston standing on the ramp onlooking). Both sold well, especially Kaitlyn, in agony in the black widow, giving up her reign and balling her eyes out in pain in the process. AJ won after a black widow. AJ Lee is the new Divas Champion.
Kaitlyn and Layla embraced and pranced backstage sadly. Wyatt Family vignette!
WWE United States Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Kanedon't watch it
I think this would have been utilized better as a cooldown from something, but this was a solid mid-card title match. It showed early signs in the Shield run of Ambrose being a good utility singles run guy, who could put on solid performances anywhere on the card. The two showcased a little bit of their “brawling” tendencies and were rough nosed in-ring. The best part of the match was when Ambrose went a little crazy and tried to do old school to Kane only for that to not work out. Kane was protected by taking a DDT on the outside, and that did it. Ambrose won after a count out. Dean Ambrose is still the WWE United States Champion. Not bad; not good. Just there as a solid match on the card.
Rob Van Dam returns at Money in the Bank.
World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Alberto Del Rioyou need to see it
This is, and still is, a brilliant match. They stuck to the story of Ziggler’s concussion and executed one of the best in match double turns of all time. The stakes kept mounting as Ziggler upped his selling game, the doctor/AJ, and the crowd became increasingly worrisome. There was no flawed logic. ADR continued to hit all the cheap shots, eniguris, and offense targeting the head of Dolph. It was the perfect storm for a turn and limb based offense/result. The match reached its peak as Ziggler hit the Zig Zag but smashed his already decimated head on the mat. That’s all it took to lose the dream. ADR won after the destiny kick. Alberto Del Rio is the new World Heavyweight Champion. The best performance of ADR’s career, and second best for Ziggler sans Survivor Series 2014 traditional tag. The double turn was proved to work exceptionally as the crowd was pro-Ziggler and anti-ADR during his post-match promo.
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punkyou need to see it
This was a great match. What started out slow picked up at a main event pace, which makes, even more, sense when this could be considered the featured match of the evening (at least the match the fans care the most about). The two dug deep for ridiculous sequences and near falls. Just to name the most impactful: finisher kick outs, aplenty Walls of Jericho struggle, Heyman freaking out on the outside as pressure mounted, A MID-AIR CODEBREAKER KICKOUT. They didn’t have to do so much, but Punk was having the time of his life in front of one of the coolest crowds he’d perform in front of led to magic. Punk won after two consecutive Go to Sleeps. It lived up as another battle between the two to determine who the BITW was. Loved the last 5-10 minutes especially. It felt like a massive deal for Punk to not only beat Jericho as a rebound to losing to Undertaker but in the fashion, he won — it was naturally complementary to the match.
WWE World Tag Team Championship: The Shield (Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) (c) vs. Randy Orton & Daniel Bryanhighly recommended
This was a nice little banger of a co-main event. Just a wonderfully done tag that brought out the best in a lot of the match. Any Shield tag is bound to be minimum good around this time, and this was no exception. The mismatched team of Orton and Bryan were pushed as such — not always on the same page, not a lot of tagging together, but that last point was due to isolation (classic tag wrestling). Rollins and Reigns were on that same page together, with Reigns standing out like a sore thumb, especially in the sequences with Bryan. It never overstayed its welcome and was heavily enjoyable. I LOVE the finishing sequence with Bryan hitting a tope on Orton by accident which led to both accidentally clashing in ring, Orton still hitting the RKO on Reigns, but Seth pushing Orton out only to get the finish on Bryan. Rollins won for The Shield after a curb stomp on Bryan. The Shield are still the WWE World Tag Team Champions. Two thumbs up.
WWE Championship 3 Stages of Hell Match: John Cena (c) vs. Rybackhighly recommended
There hasn’t been a match in a while that has evoked this much enjoyment out of myself in comparison to the first watch. I was in a time period of misterably ranting on YouTube for a failed audience — a typical anti-Cena fan. Here I am now and boy did I love this. It might even be my favorite match on the show from a viewing perspective. They nailed down the pacing of all 3 stages. The lumberjack match was enjoyable as a barebones singles match with wrenches thrown in like the heels beating down Cena then Ryback to a pop, and Cena hitting a memorable dive on everyone (in which I remember seeing live). The tables match was short and sweet but effective as Ryback was put over as a monster who kept throwing objects everywhere, avoiding being put through a table, only to be AA’d through one as the comeback would continue into sudden death. The ambulance match was a helluva gimmicky ride — a hoot at that. The ambulance was gimmicked to the point where parts fell off as they were used, which would eventually lead to a chase down/trap that would see “STOOPID!” Ryback trapped into losing the title he oh so came close to. Cena won after an Attitude Adjustment through the ambulance. John Cena is still the WWE Champion.
WWE PAYBACK ON JUNE 16, 2013
Excellent - 8.5/10
WWE Payback 2013 is one of the better non-big four WWE PPVs of the 2010s. Everything delivered barring a few okay matches in AJ/Kaitlyn and Ambrose/Kane. Everything else was on a high level, ranging in variety -- with three matches considered great, or even better. There are plenty memorable moments to coincide with the praise such as Curtis Axel winning the IC Title on Father's Day or the classic double turn WHC match or CM Punk's homecoming/return or Cena diving on everyone and putting Ryback through an ambulance. This is a prime example as to why 2013 is an all-time great WWE year. Everything clicked, and this was shorter than an episode of Monday Night Raw.