This Sunday is the 4th instalment of WWE Payback, headlined by Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
As we continue the build-up to WWE Payback, we have compiled a list of the top 5 matches in the PPV’s short history, in no particular order.
WWE Championship 3 Stages of Hell Match: John Cena (c) vs. Ryback – Payback 2013
I know I may be in the minority here, given the feeling towards Ryback and Cena, but I actually found this match extremely entertaining. Sure, PG placed limitations on just how much hell the two Superstars could cause, but nonetheless they put on a very hard-hitting and physical match.
Stage One was a lumberjack match that Ryback won, putting him 1-0 up. Lumberjack matches aren’t my favourite kind of matches, but this was entertaining with various near falls and a lumberjack brawl. Stage two was a tables match, with Cena winning courtesy of an Attitude Adjustment through a table, tying scores at 1-1 going into the decider. Stage three was an ambulance match, the first that I had ever seen. Many weapons were used in this match, with the objective being to place your opponent in the ambulance and render them unable to leave. After various exchanges with crutches and a fire extinguisher, Cena & Ryback climbed to the top of the vehicle to fight it out. Cena hoisted Ryback onto his shoulders and performed an Attitude Adjustment, sending Ryback crashing through the roof of the vehicle and meaning Cena won the match 2-1.
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk – Payback 2013
I’m going to start by saying that I’m a huge CM Punk fan, and to this day I’m still a bit gutted that he left WWE on the terms that he did. That being said, this was an absolutely incredible match and an example of WWE storytelling gold.
To provide context, 3 months earlier CM Punk had tried, and failed, to conquer The Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania and this was his return to television. Punk, the hometown hero in Chicago that night, hadn’t been seen on TV since his loss to Taker and fans had questioned whether he might be finished with the company until this match came to fruition.
A fast-paced match that was filled with teases, I highly recommend you check this match out on the WWE Network. Punk and Jericho exchanged blows and, despite being a heel at the time, CM Punk was the recipient of most of the crowd’s chants that night, as he always is in his hometown. Punk attempted to hit his GTS signature move on Jericho but it was blocked and Y2J turned it into the Walls of Jericho. Punk escaped and hit Jericho with the GTS two times, and secured the victory.
The Shield vs. Evolution: No Holds Barred 6-man Tag Team Elimination Match – Payback 2014
This is probably my favourite match on the whole list because of the incredible in-ring performances, high spots, result & the appearance of Blue-tista.
It’s very rare for a match like this to main event a show, however that is exactly what happened on the 2014 edition of WWE Payback. Evolution had reformed as Triple H’s way of trying to regain power from The Shield after they all turned on The Authority. The Shield and Evolution charged at each other in the opening moments with the brawl quickly breaking off into three parts: Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose; Batista vs. Roman Reigns and Triple H vs. Seth Rollins. The fight led Reigns and Batista into the crowd. Rollins and Triple H soon followed. Eventually, everyone returned to the ring to begin the match properly. Powerful offense was on display here with Batista hitting a spinebuster on Ambrose and Rollins hitting three suplexes in a row on Triple H. When the match descended into fighting between everyone once more, Rollins leaped from a production case only to suffer a blow with something metal from Triple H. Evolution began to emerge as the dominant faction in this battle, leaving every member of The Shield fallen throughout the arena.
The trio sent Reigns through the Spanish announce table with a triple powerbomb. The focus remained on Reigns as Evolution attacked him with kendo sticks, bashed him with the steel steps and tore off his vest. Somehow, the powerhouse survived. Reigns would spear Batista for Rollins to pin and eliminate him. The shift of momentum toward The Shield continued. Ambrose would hit a Dirty Deeds on Orton on a chair to take him out of the match. This left Triple H alone as the remaining Evolution member. Orton (despite being eliminated) then handed Triple H his signature sledgehammer, and Triple H knocked Ambrose down with one shot. Rollins then hit a knee dive onto Triple H on the temple, following by Reigns spearing him for the win to mark The Shield’s final match together as a stable.
Of course, the night after on RAW is just as famous as this match. WHY SETH, WHY?
Last Man Standing Match: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt – Payback 2014
This match was a rematch from their encounter at WrestleMania 30, which John Cena won. Of course, this match had the added stipulation of being a Last Man Standing contest.
The entire Wyatt Family circled Cena but before they could attack, The Usos ran out, evened things up and forced Erick Rowan and Luke Harper to be bystanders.
The clash began with a wild energy as Wyatt took control of the contest with hard shots to Cena’s jaw. Wyatt scored with a few head butts that had Cena pulling on Wyatt’s legs to stand. He gathered enough strength to hit the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but his flurry was soon over after not being able to capitalize. Wyatt continued his onslaught on Cena, who was still struggling to stand. Wyatt’s Sister Abigail finisher did not keep Cena down as he responded with the Attitude Adjustment, which wasn’t enough to score a victory for Mr Hustle, Loyalty and Respect. A brawl broke between The Usos and The Wyatt Family at ringside as Harper dove out of the ring at his foes.
Meanwhile, in the ring, Wyatt cracked a chair across Cena’s back. His next chair shot only struck the ring post. It was then Cena’s turn to take advantage of the Last Man Standing stipulation. He whacked Wyatt with the chair and then brought a table into the ring. Wyatt turned the table into a weapon for himself as he hit a suplex that sent Cena through it, barely able to rise for the 10-count. The clan leader then took to clocking his enemy with the steel steps.
The level of viciousness increased, both men using more weapons, Wyatt hitting Sister Abigail outside the ring and Cena flinging him into another set of steps before hitting a second Attitude Adjustment. Harper and Rowan rushed back to ringside. They mauled Cena before lifting Wyatt to his feet to beat the referee’s count. The ref struggled to maintain control as The Usos and The Wyatt Family used each other to break tables out of the ring and Wyatt broke a barricade by crashing into Cena. Cena and Wyatt fought among the sound equipment, where Cena won by sending Wyatt through a crate with the Attitude Adjustment and burying him under equipment cases so Wyatt couldn’t recover before the 10 count.
Fatal 4 Way Match for the WWE Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton – Payback 2015
The main event of the night was a Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship between defending champion Seth Rollins (with Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury), Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Randy Orton.
During the match, there was a true mark-out-moment when the Shield had a mini reunion when Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose hit their Triple Powerbomb on Orton into the announce table. Following the move, Rollins wanted the group to reunite, but Reigns and Ambrose attacked him. Kane jumped in to help Rollins. This led to Kane getting powerbombed on top of Rollins, who was on a table, but the table didn’t break. Reigns and Ambrose hit another powerbomb on Kane, and this time, sent Kane and Rollins through the table. Ambrose and Reigns then started to wrestle each other.
Reigns missed two Superman punches, but finally connected the third one on Ambrose. Reigns hit a spear on Ambrose and made a cover, but Rollins dived in to prevent the three-count. Orton then got back into the fray and gave RKOs to Noble and Mercury, and hit a hanging DDT on Rollins. Orton then prepared for an RKO, however, Kane would try to interfere, only for Kane to receive an RKO. This allowed Rollins to kick Orton and hit a Pedigree for the pinfall victory, allowing him to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Agree? Disgaree? Let me know your top 5 WWE Payback matches in the comments section and be sure to check out WWE Payback, this Sunday on the WWE Network.