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A2Z Analysiz: WWE Payback 2014 (The Shield, Evolution)

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Allstate Arena – Chicago, IL – Sunday, June 1, 2014

Michael Cole, Hall of Famer Jerry Lawler, and JBL are on commentary.

In the Kickoff match, El Torito (with Diego & Fernando) defeats Hornswoggle (with Drew McIntyre, Heath Slater & Jinder Mahal) in a Hair vs. Mask Match at 7:10. This was a fairly typical minis match, with plenty of silliness. The corner men have plenty of involvement as well, so I’m not sure why they didn’t just book it as a six-man tag. Near the end, Hornswoggle pulls Torito’s mask off, but the clever bull has another mask on underneath. The confusion allows Torito to hit a moonsault press to get the pin. Perfectly acceptable Kickoff show stuff here, and a nice little variance in the usual cards.
Rating: **½

WWE United States Champion Sheamus defeats Cesaro (with Paul Heyman) at 11:38 to retain the title. Sheamus has been the Champion since 5.5.14, and this is his second defense. This feud was based on two tough guys beating each other up and disrespecting each other. That works for me. This was a tremendously physical match, both in and out of the ring. Cesaro, a former U.S. Champion himself, gets to show off his ridiculous power and Sheamus perseveres through the myriad attacks. The action really picks up down the stretch, and when Cesaro tries the Neutralizer, Sheamus is able to counter into the White Noise. Sheamus follows with the Cloverleaf and Cesaro reaches the ropes. Cesaro hits the Alpamare Water Slide for a near-fall. He executes the Cesaro Swing to a huge pop. Sheamus is able to surprise the Swiss Superman with a small package to get the pin. I enjoyed this a great deal, as it felt like a tough man contest between two bruisers on the same level. Excellent choice for an opener to get the crowd going too.
Rating: ***½

RybAxel (Curtis Axel & Ryback) defeat Cody Rhodes & Goldust at 7:49. This is a fairly typical tag team match between the two duos, and no different than something we might see on TV. Goldust plays the face-in-peril this time around and that goes on until Cody gets a hot tag. Cody gets cut off by a Meat Hook from Ryback, but he’s quickly back on offense. He hits the Cross-Rhodes but it only gets two. Cody then tries the Beautiful Disaster but Ryback catches him and hits the Shellshock to get the pin. This was fine but nothing special. It was just another loss for Cody Rhodes on his way to becoming Stardust.
Rating: **

Rusev (with Lana) defeats Big E at 3:40. Big E counters the Russian flag by bringing the American flag out with him. This is a slugfest from the get-go, with both men peppering in power moves to try and knock their opponent. The crowd is mostly quiet until Big E pulls off a spear through the ropes with Rusev standing on the apron. That looked cool, but it’s not enough to get the win. Rusev is able to catch Big E with a superkick, and then he locks on the Accolade to get the win. This was very short and felt a lot like a TV match, but at least they were energetic out there.
Rating: *¾

Bo Dallas versus Kofi Kingston ended in a No Contest at 0:32. Before anything can happen Kane’s music hits and I don’t remember why this return was a big deal. Dallas bails quickly and Kane destroys Kingston. Total RAW segment.
Rating: DUD

Intercontinental Champion Bad News Barrett defeats Rob Van Dam at 9:32 to retain the title. Barrett has been the Champion since 5.4.14, and this is his second defense. This is Barrett’s fourth reign with the IC Title, and RVD has six to his credit. Both men show off their offense in the early going, but RVD looks the more dominant of the two. Barrett cuts RVD off and works him over for a little bit. They pick things up and trade signature moves and counters. Barrett hits the Winds of Change for two. RVD comes back and tries the split-legged moonsault but Barrett gets his knees up. Barrett then hits the Bull Hammer to get the pin and retain the title. This was good back and forth stuff, and a nice clean win for Barrett. This is the role RVD should be playing and he’s doing a nice job with it.
Rating: ***

John Cena (with Jey Uso & Jimmy Uso) defeats Bray Wyatt (with Erick Rowan & Luke Harper) in a Last Man Standing Match at 24:15. It looks like Cena is going to be at a three-on-one disadvantage from the get-go, but he brings out the WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos to back him up. Momentum shifts often in the opening minutes, but Wyatt appears to be the stronger of the two tonight. Signature moves are attempted several times before Wyatt can score first with the Sister Abigail. Cena makes his way back to his feet and hits the Attitude Adjustment. Both men make it back to their feet and it’s time for the Family and the Usos to get involved and they start flying around both in and out of the ring before battling to the back. Chairs, tables, and steel steps all make appearances in the later portions of the match. When Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment on the floor, he gets back in the ring to regroup but gets attacked by Rowan and Harper! When Harper and Rowan try to set up a table the Usos find their way back out and things get chaotic as they start building towards the finish. Two tables get set up side by side, and Harper delivers a superplex to one of the Usos through the tables on the floor! Wyatt then Spears Cena through the barricade and everyone is down. Cena and Wyatt fight up by the entrance, and Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment from one piece of equipment through another, and then he traps Wyatt underneath a third piece of equipment to win the match. This could have been pretty whip-ass had they just gone all-out and made it a six man tag for the duration, because the involvement of the Usos and the Wyatt Family definitely added some excitement. The rest was typical Cena stuff, but Wyatt made a formidable opponent and this was certainly entertaining without being brilliant.
Rating: ***¾

WWE Divas Champion Paige defeats Alicia Fox at 6:33 to retain the title. Paige has been the Champion since 4.7.14, and this is her third defense. Both women are aggressive in the early going and they fight both in and out of the ring. The heel challenger controls the bulk of the match until the babyface champion makes the fiery comeback. Song as old as rhyme. Paige gets the win with the Paige Tap Out (PTO). Good energy here, and sticking to the formula is nothing to fault.
Rating: **½

The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins) defeat Evolution (Batista, Randy Orton & Triple H) in a No Holds Barred Elimination Match at 30:55. This one is going to be all over the place, with six great athletes in a main-event setting. This of course is the debut of the infamous #Bluetista, which is just about my favorite thing ever. The early parts of the match are all spent on the floor, with all six men brawling. When things settle into the ring Evolution takes over. It’s somewhat surprising that when Reigns and HHH are in the ring together for the first time the crowd goes banana. The pace of the match is done perfectly, with some tremendous ebbing and flowing of who’s in control and where the action happens. Evolution withstands the onslaught of their younger opponents and takes all three members of the Shield out of commission, including Reigns with a triple powerbomb through a ringside table. Ambrose and Rollins come back into the fray but they’re outnumbered. Evolution takes Ambrose out with a suplex through a chair, and then HHH hits Rollins with the Pedigree right on a steel chair. They head back to the ring and triple-team Reigns for fun, and they destroy him mercilessly. After several minutes of Evolution dominance, Rollins surprises everyone with a huge dive off the scaffolding that swings the momentum back to the Shield. Rollins and Batista go back to the ring and Rollins slips out of a Batista Bomb. Reigns drills Batista with a Spear and Rollins scores the pin and the first elimination at 27:30! Orton snatches Rollins in the RKO and covers but Reigns breaks it up. Ambrose surprises Orton with a chair shot to the back, and then he hits Dirty Deeds for the pin at 28:36! It’s now three-on-one! HHH is able to blast Ambrose in the face with his sledgehammer. He looks at Reigns next but Rollins cuts him off with a flying knee to the face. Reigns then hits the Spear to get the pin and score a clean sweep on Evolution! That match ruled in many different ways, with well-paced action, great spots, awesome heat, and a killer last couple minutes that made the Shield all look like the real deals. I love this stuff.
Rating: ****½

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