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A2Z Analysiz: WWE Payback (John Cena, Ryback)

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All State Arena – Chicago, IL – Sunday, June 16, 2013

Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry “The King” Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.

MATCH #1: Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship – Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel

Axel, who is replacing the injured Fandango, has his agent Paul Heyman in his corner. Barrett has been the Champion since 4.8.13, and this is his third defense. Miz is outnumbered as the only babyface, so he dumps Axel to the floor to focus on Barrett. Axel distracts Miz from the floor, so Miz forces his hand by throwing him back into the ring into Barrett’s waiting arms. Barrett hits Axel with a pumphandle slam for two. The offense is coming from all three men, but Axel takes the most time out of the ring to confer with Heyman. Whatever Heyman says seems to help, as Axel sends Barrett to the floor and flattens Miz with a dropkick. Axel continues to beat on the Miz while Barrett recovers on the floor. The Champion finally makes his way back in to break up a cover. Miz fires up though and throws both of his opponents around, even using them as weapons against each other. And I’ll be damned but the crowd is into him. Barrett catches Miz in the Winds of Change for a two-count. He goes for Wasteland on Axel and swings Axel’s legs into Miz to take him out. Axel reverses to a Perfectplex but only gets two. Miz hits Axel with the Skull Crushing Finale and Barrett hurls Miz to the floor. The resilient Miz pulls Barrett to the floor and covers Axel for a close near-fall. Miz goes after Axel’s knee and tries the Figure-Four Leglock but gets kicked off. Barrett tries to grab Miz out of the air but Miz is able to counter and put Barrett in the Figure-Four after backdropping Axel to the floor. The sneaky Axel comes back in the ring and covers Barrett to steal the pin and win the title at 10:37! That was a shockingly fun opener, and the Chicago crowd really got into it and that always helps. Axel didn’t quite seem ready, but Mr. Perfect’s son winning the Intercontinental Title on Father’s Day is pretty apropos.
Rating: ***

MATCH #2: Divas Championship Match – Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee

Kaitlyn has been the Champion since 1.14.13, and this is her second defense. AJ has been messing with the Champion for weeks, so Kaitlyn immediately assaults her and AJ seeks solace on the floor. Kaitlyn gives her no such thing by hurling her over the Spanish Announce Table. Back in the ring Kaitlyn continues the beating so AJ bails again. AJ runs away and gets to the apron, where she’s able to hit a nice dropkick to the face. That gives AJ the advantage. AJ wears Kaitlyn down with a variety of offense, and things aren’t looking good for the Divas Champion. Kaitlyn is able to fire back with a dropkick and both women are down. Back on their feet Kaitlyn is a house afire, putting together a string of offense but not enough to put AJ away. AJ comes back with a crucifix for a two-cont. Kaitlyn counters to a gutbuster and then pulls AJ’s belt off. AJ hangs on to the apron, and when the referee goes to fix it AJ decks Kaitlyn with said belt. AJ covers but only gets two. The challenger is frustrated now. AJ goes up top for a cross body block but Kaitlyn catches her, and AJ counters to the Black Widow submission hold. Kaitlyn breaks that and hits a hard backbreaker. She follows with a huge Spear but doesn’t cover right away so AJ is able to kick out. Kaitlyn picks AJ up but AJ slips out and avoids a charge in the corner. AJ then locks on the Black Widow and Kaitlyn taps the title away at 9:55. That was one of the better Divas’ matches in WWE in quite some time, as they were actually given time to tell a story within the match and there was an actual feud built up so they had reason to hate each other. Good stuff here.
Rating: ***

MATCH #3: United States Championship Match – Dean Ambrose vs. Kane

Ambrose has been the Champion since 5.19.13, and this is his third defense. The Champ shows no fear and goes right after Kane, but he gets slugged down and suplexed for a two-count. Ambrose continues trying to fend off the Big Red Monster but Kane catches him with a side suplex. Kane dominates until Ambrose delivers a low dropkick and then viciously targets Kane’s legs. Kane comes back with a powerslam and then heads to the top rope. Ambrose joins him but gets knocked back. Kane misses the clothesline and Ambrose lands a diving European Uppercut for two. Ambrose uses a Sleeper but Kane is able to break free. Kane puts together a string of offense but can’t put Ambrose away yet. Ambrose comes back with a hard dropkick for two. He goes for Old School, and that just irritates Kane so he fires up and starts throwing Ambrose around the ring. Kane goes up top and hits the flying clothesline. He signals for the Chokeslam so Ambrose rolls to the apron. Ambrose snaps Kane’s neck off the top rope and Kane responds by kicking him in the face, knocking him down to the floor. The bold Ambrose slaps Kane in the face and laughs about it. Kane doesn’t respond well to that, knocking Ambrose down and getting a table ready. The wily Ambrose catches Kane with a DDT and beats the count back to the ring to earn a countout victory at 9:34. That was not the most exciting match, as Kane’s style tends to be a bit plodding. But at least Ambrose looked good in fighting Kane off, and while it would have been nice for Ambrose to get a clean pin, the way he won at least makes him look smart, and he did take Kane out with a DDT, so it’s not like Kane beat himself or anything.
Rating: **¼

MATCH #4: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio

Ziggler has been the Champion since 4.8.13, and this is his first defense. He is massively over in Chicago, and he has his girlfriend AJ Lee and his bodyguard Big E Langston with him. This is his first match in five weeks after suffering a concussion. Del Rio goes right after the arm and Ziggler bails. Back in the ring Del Rio goes after the Champ’s arm again, so Ziggler takes another powder. Once again when he goes back to the ring Del Rio takes control while the crowd chants “RVD.” Del Rio starts going after Ziggler’s head, taking advantage of the concussion. Ziggler fires back with a beautiful dropkick. He charges into the corner and gets backdropped to the floor. Del Rio follows him out and continues the head abuse. Big E steps in and gets into a shoving match with Del Rio, so the referee kicks him out! Ziggler throws Del Rio back into the ring, and as he goes to follow, Del Rio levels him with a kick to the head. AJ looks concerned as Del Rio viciously attacks. Ziggler is tenacious and locks on a Sleeper hold and Del Rio is able to break it. Del Rio goes for the Cross Armbreaker but Ziggler counters with a neckbreaker for a near-fall. Ziggler hits the Fame-Ass-Er (sort of) for another two-count. He goes up top but Del Rio stops his momentum and brings him down with an inverted superplex for two! I don’t know if i’ve seen that before. Del Rio continues to target the head as the trainer and AJ both try to convince him to stop. Back in the ring Del Rio is viciously attacking the Champion but Ziggler will not quit. Ziggler is able to catch a quick Zig Zag but he can’t make the cover. Finally Del Rio blasts Ziggler with a superkick right to the head to get the pin at 13:50. They did a really good double-turn there, as one couldn’t help but feel sympathy for Ziggler as he continued to fight against the odds. Del Rio did a good job being a horrible person doing anything to regain the title.
Rating: ***¼

MATCH #5: Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk

The reaction for Punk in his hometown is massive, obviously. Punk has Paul Heyman in his corner, and it’s clobbering time. This is Punk’s first match since losing to the Undertaker back at WrestleMania 29. These two have faced each other many times before, so there shouldn’t be a ton of surprises on either end. They chain wrestle to start and the crowd is firmly in Punk’s corner. Punk lands a dropkick and keeps Jericho grounded with a side headlock, and then he targets the arm. Jericho fights back blocks a tornado DDT, and then clotheslines Punk to the floor. He hits a baseball slide dropkick and tries the springboard dropkick but Punk catches him and snaps his neck on the top rope. Back in the ring Punk goes to the top and hits a flying ax handle for a two-count. Punk continues to keep up the pressure, focusing on Jericho’s arm. He misses a flying clothesline off the top rope and Jericho takes advantage. Jericho goes up top and hits his own double ax handle. He takes Punk down with the bulldog. C’mon babay! Jericho tries the Lionsault but can’t connect. Punk hits a neckbreaker for a two-count. He hits the high knee in the corner and goes for his bulldog but Jericho counters and hits the Lionsault for two. Punk tries to come back with Go 2 Sleep but Jericho counters to the Walls of Jericho. The resilient Punk is able to counter with a standing Anaconda Vise, and then he takes Jericho down to the mat, still in the hold. Jericho reaches the ropes to break the hold. Punk signals for Go 2 Sleep but Jericho catches his leg and goes back to the Walls of Jericho and Heyman comes up to the ring apron. Punk breaks out of it and goes for the Go 2 Sleep but gets distracted by Heyman’s presence and Jericho rolls him up for two. Both men pop back to their feet and Punk nails Jericho with a roundhouse kick. Jericho surprises Punk with a Codebreaker for a two-count. Both men rise and trade strikes. Punk wins the battle with a leg lariat. He hits the running knee in the corner again, and pulls him out with a short-arm clothesline. Punk goes up top and hits the big elbow drop, and the crowd is going wild. He hits the Go 2 Sleep and Jericho kicks out! Punk goes for another one but Jericho avoids it. Jericho goes for the Codebreaker but Punk blocks that and sends Jericho to the floor. Punk then follows him out with a suicide dive. Back to the ring Punk tries a springboard clothesline but Jericho catches him in mid-air with the Codebreaker! Somehow that only gets two. Jericho is frustrated and he delivers a series of elbows to Punk’s face. Punk fights back and tries a rana for some reason, which Jericho expertly counters to the Walls of Jericho! Heyman looks worried but Punk is able to fight his way out of the hold and hit the Go 2 Sleep! Punk hits one more Go 2 Sleep for good measure and that’s enough to get the pin at 21:21. These two have always had good chemistry together, and this match was a reminder of that. There wasn’t a huge storyline going on like they had in 2012, but they just went out there for 20 minutes and had a tremendous wrestling match, with great action and counters, and Punk’s hometown crowd was into it the whole way.
Rating: ****

MATCH #6: WWE Tag Team Championship Match – Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton & Daniel Bryan

Rollins and Reigns have been the Champions since 5.19.13, and this is their second defense. Reigns and Bryan start the match. Bryan is already all fired up but Reigns cuts him off with a hard clothesline. The Shield takes the first advantage and starts picking Bryan apart in their half of the ring. After a few minutes Bryan is able to catch Reigns with a flying clothesline. Tags are made and Orton is a house afire. Orton hits Rollins with the scoop powerslam and goes for the Rope-hung DDT, but Reigns tries to stop him and ends up taking the move instead. Rollins goes to the second rope but jumps right into a powerslam, which gets a near-fall. Orton then delivers the Rope-hung DDT to Rollins, and then signals for the RKO. The crowd is loving it, but Rollins escapes by rolling to the floor. Orton leans out to grab him and Reigns surprises him with the Superman Punch. The Shield takes over on Orton now, keeping him away from Bryan. This goes on for several minutes until Orton avoids a charge by Reigns in the corner, and then he catches Rollins with an exploder suplex. Bryan gets the tag and he goes right up top, drilling both Champions with a missile dropkick. He goes nuts, hitting IEDs on everyone and covering Reigns for two. Bryan delivers the Yes Kicks and a Knockout Kick to Reigns, but he only gets two. He dumps both Shield members to the floor and goes for the Flying Goat, but they move and Orton takes the hit. Reigns capitalizes with a clothesline, and then brings Bryan back in the ring for a two-count. The Shield appear to set up for Ode to the Bulldogs but Bryan avoids it. Bryan goes up and brings Rollins down with a butterfly superplex! I love that move. Bryan traps Rollins in the No Lock and Reigns breaks it up. Orton gets back in the ring and tries an RKO on Reigns but gets shoved off. He almost knocks Bryan over but stops short. Reigns comes flying in with a Spear and Orton moves, causing Bryan to take the hit. Orton then hits Reigns with RKO. Rollins dumps Orton to the floor and catches Bryan with the Curb Stomp to get the pin at 12:10. As with everything involving Bryan and the Shield (and Orton too), this was really good stuff. The miscommunication between Orton an Bryan felt organic and not forced, and the Shield’s teamwork is second to none. I love the finish and how it played into Bryan’s “weak link” storyline. I could watch combinations of these guys wrestle all day.
Rating: ***¾

MATCH #7: Three Stages of Hell WWE Championship Match – John Cena vs. Ryback

Cena has been the Champion since 4.7.13, and this is his second defense. Stage one will be a lumberjack match, stage two is a tables match, and the third and final stage if necessary is an ambulance match. The two heavyweights immediately start slugging at each other and Ryback scores the first big hit with a powerslam for a two-count. Cena avoids a charge in the corner and unleashes a flurry of offense. Ryback sends Cena to the floor an the lumberjacks do nothing about it. Glad they’re there then. Back in the ring Ryback goes on offense. Ryback hits a backpack stunner for a two-count. Someone needs to use that as a finisher. Ryback dumps Cena to the floor and the heel lumberjacks take a few shots before throwing him back in the ring. Once again Cena gets thrown out and the heels take cheap shots, so the babyfaces come to the rescue, but no huge brawl breaks out yet. Cena throws Ryback out amongst the heels and Ryback just glares at them so no one touches him. Back in the ring Cena dishes out Moves of Doom, but before he can hit the Five Knuckle Shuffle Ryback press slams him into a pile of lumberjacks. Back in the ring Cena returns the favor by throwing Ryback to the floor and finally an all-out melee breaks out on the floor, and Cena goes to the top rope and leaps into the pile. Back in the ring Cena locks on the STF. Ryback powers out of it and hits Shell Shocked to win the first fall at 7:30. The lumberjacks were pretty involved there, and they did the big dive spot with Cena, so that was cool.

The lumberjacks have been replace by tables. Ryback strikes first with a shoulder to the gut and he goes out to grab the first table. He goes for a powerbomb and Cena avoids it, but Ryback is still able to take him down with a Spear. A series of reversals ends with Cena sending Ryback to the floor. Cena sets up a table in the corner and goes outside to retrieve Ryback. That backfires when Ryback whips him into the steps. Ryback then throws the steps and Cena back in the ring. He goes to throw the steps at Cena but misses and breaks the table. Cena hits a belly-to-belly suplex and then hits Ryback with the steps. The Champ grabs another table and brings it into the ring. Unfortunately for Cena he gets hit in the face with the steel steps. Ryback tries to put Cena through the table with the steps, but Cena is able to move out of the way. Cena avoids another shot with the steps and hits Moves of Doom, including the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Ryback cuts him off with a spinebuster. He signals for the Meat Hook and flattens Cena with it. Ryback brings in another table and goes for Shell Shocked but Cena slips out and hits the Attitude Adjustment through the table to win the second fall at 7:25 (total match time 16:04). That was a solid tables match with a couple neat spots with the steps thrown in.

Ryback somehow gets up first. Ryback throws Cena to the floor and follows him out. He starts rearranging the furniture and powerbombs Cena through the announce table! They make it back to the ring and the bell rings to officially start the decisive third fall. (39:04)Ryback drags Cena back to the ambulance area and Cena slips out of his arms and pushes him into the vehicle. Cena goes into the ambulance and brings out a plethora of crutches to use as weapons. Ryback tries to punch Cena in the face but Cena moves and Ryback punches out the passenger side window! Cena slams Ryback’s back into the ambulance, and then whips him into the open driver’s side door, breaking said door clean off. Ryback fights back and breaks off a piece of the ambulance to use as a weapon. He goes for a powerbomb but Cena backdrops him onto the hood of the ambulance. Cena climbs to the top of the vehicle and pulls off the flashing lights to use as a weapon. Ryback grabs a crutch and joins him on top of the ambulance. Cena hits Ryback with the crutch and delivers an Attitude Adjustment that puts Ryback through the roof! That gives Cena the win at 6:02 (total match time 24:34). The finish was certainly unique albeit totally unbelievable. On the whole this match was pretty solid, with lots of action and very little resting. The crowd popped in all the right places too, all in all making for a perfectly acceptable main event.
Rating: ***

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