Last night’s three-hour slugfest was colloquially known as WWE Payback, but retribution may yet be waiting for a trio of Superstars who brazenly relieved incumbent champions of their titles in Chicago’s Allstate Arena. Chief among those is, of course, Alberto Del Rio, who took advantage of Dolph Ziggler’s lingering injury to reclaim the World Heavyweight Title, but he’s far from the only offender who’s likely in for a rematch in the near future. With a troika of new champs, The Champ still here, and CM Punk returned from exile, what’s likely to go down on this week’s must-see Raw?
Reopening for business
The Hall of Pain has grown empty since WrestleMania 29, but its monstrous manager looks to make his big return to Raw following his loss to Sheamus at Extreme Rules. Ordinarily, this would be a cause for unmitigated terror, but a series of cryptic tweets seem to hint at a far more existential Mark Henry than the WWE Universe has come to expect. What could the former World Heavyweight Champion have on his mind, if not mayhem?
El campeón esta aquí
Alberto Del Rio reversed his fortunes at WWE Payback and reclaimed the World Heavyweight Championship from Dolph Ziggler, although the way he did so wasn’t exactly in keeping with The Pride of Mexico’s recent altruistic streak. Looking to aggravate Ziggler’s recently concussed skull, Del Rio targeted Ziggler’s head with a flurry of kicks that even left new Divas Champion AJ Lee looking a little pale at the sight. (His post-match paean for respect didn’t sit too well with the Chicago crowd.)
Ziggler, shockingly, opted out of trickery in favor of a gritty effort to retain his title through the pain; a decision he probably regrets in hindsight, but that is what the rematch clause is for. What will the two World-class warriors have to say for themselves come Raw?
Flyin’ Bryan laid low
Coulda, woulda, shoulda: All words that apply to Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton’s challenge for the WWE Tag Titles at WWE Payback. If not for a pair of miscommunications, the submission expert might have earned his second run with the twin titles. A lack of synchronicity doomed the odd-couple challengers to The Shield’s fury (and Dean Ambrose's victory extended their title reigns), but given Bryan’s efficiency of late – and his particular beef with The Apex Predator – perhaps this is the Daniel Bryan tag team implosion that seems to have been coming for so long.
Out of the frying pan …
And into the light? John Cena survived Three Stages of Hell at WWE Payback, finally felling Ryback with an Attitude Adjustment through the roof of an ambulance in their bout’s final phase Sunday night. With The Champ still standing tall and his challenger banished (though very much on the loose), what awaits the Cenation leader on his first Raw after escaping the domain of the self-proclaimed Beelzebub, Ryback?
The Saint is coming
Looks like Paul Heyman is as good as his word: CM Punk did, in fact, return at WWE Payback and he did, in fact, defeat Chris Jericho, although Punk’s absence certainly took its toll on the former WWE Champion and winning the match was much easier said than done.
Most interestingly, however, Punk seemed to take issue with Heyman’s attempt to interfere in the bout, preferring instead to win on his own. It all turned out well for Punk in the end, but it will be interesting to see how exactly he’ll co-exist with the newest Heyman guy, Curtis Axel. With the third-generation Superstar holding the Intercontinental Title his father once had (he and Mr. Perfect are the first father-son duo to win the coveted prize), will Heyman be forced to choose between his “guys”?
MARK HENRY RETURNS
Discuss the fallout from WWE Payback and the build to Money In The Bank PPV.