Kester's WWE Payback Rundown: John Cena drops Ryback through an ambulance, CM Punk succeeds in his return match, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio execute a double turn, and more
By Ryan Kester
John Cena vs. Ryback
This match was better than expected, but it still suffered from the massive amount of gimmicks involved. There's only so much quality that can come from so many start-sop spots with lumberjack, table, and ambulance spots before a match loses its pacing. Still, I expected very little from this match, and both men managed to put on a decent to solid show.
Cena putting Ryback through the top of the ambulance in the final fall helps protect the big man some, but Ryback still lost a lot of heat throughout the build the last two months. It's understandable that WWE needed to turn Ryback last minute, so a lot of what we got wasn't planned. However, the time spent trying to find Ryback's rhythm did damage to his act, and he is hurting for PPV wins at this point. If WWE still wants him around the top of the card as a heel, then he needs to start earning credible and decisive wins quickly.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho
This was a great match. I was expecting a bit more of an evolution for Punk beyond mutton chops, but that can easily come within the next few weeks on Raw. Punk and Jericho put out one hell of a match together.
It will be interesting to see where Punk goes from here. Despite the chemistry Punk and Heyman have, Punk has done almost all he can with his current heel character, He either needs to add a few new wrinkles to the act or find a means of turning babyface.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
It's been a long time since I was this caught off guard by a wrestling angle. Alberto Del Rio slipped right back into his heel persona and did a great job of making Ziggler look sympathetic with his incessant shots to Ziggler's skull. I said in my preview that Del Rio didn't need to be anywhere near one of the tops titles until his character went through an overhaul, and this type of intensity and malice is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Quick side note, kudos to Ricardo Rodriguez for removing his Mexican flag bowtie, an item he started wearing when Del Rio went babyface, as soon as Del Rio began laying in the head shots. It's often the little things that can make the most difference.
While I am disappointed to see Ziggler losing the belt so soon and am hesitant to get behind a babyface run for him so early, the way the story was told in the ring gives me hope that WWE has solid plans for him. We've seen before that winning the big title can mean very little for a guy if creative isn't paying them a great deal of attention, and last night's match was laid out in a way that showed WWE put a lot of thought into what was going on. In the long run, having the attention of creative is going to be more beneficial to Ziggler's career than a title run with stale opponents.
This was a great show. Almost every match delivered either an amazing match or a memorable moment, and there was enough shakeup that happened to make me look forward to tonight's Raw. For once, I didn't feel like the PPV had a buffer match, and when the main event came, I was surprised to see how quickly the time had gone. WWE is by no means perfect in their current product, but they have enough new acts getting attention and have invested enough creative attention recently that it paid off in a very entertaining PPV.
If you have any questions or comments or just wish to chat with a fellow wrestling fan about whatever, then feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter.
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