Whats up everybody? If you were in the chatbox last week, you probably remember me openly pondering about whether or not I should start reviewing PPV's, seeing as to how AlternateDemise has kinda gotten me interested into writing about wrestling instead of my usual stuff and how different it would be to write about wrestling in general. So without further ado, I give you all the first installment to what I hope will be a longstanding tradition.
During my reviews, I will rate matches on a scale of 10, while the different aspects of the match will be rated on a scale of 5. These "aspects" will be the following: In-Ring Performance (IRP),
Storytelling, Psychology, Story Development and Character Development. At the end of every review, I will give my final thoughts along with the overall score, which will be scored out of 10 as well. Lets do this shit.
P.S.: I don't watch the kickoff show so don't expect to see any reviews regarding the matches that take place on it, you've been warned.
Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens (c) for the United States Championship
These two have solid chemistry together, I often bag on Jericho's in-ring ability because I feel like he slows down every talent he works with, but him and KO put on a well-paced match that was tightly contested. Time and time again Jericho proves that if he's in the ring with the right performer, he can do more than just keep up. KO channeled the him of old during this match (and as he has done since his move to Smackdown) with rest holds to slow down the match and stopping any momentum Jericho could muster up. The rest holds were admittedly tedious, but thats how you know KO is doing his job as a heel correctly, he's not supposed to be wrestling at the high octane style that does nothing but illicit cheers, something he's been accused of doing many, many times. The psychology was excellent, with the most noteworthy aspect of it coming from KO favoring his fingers after Jericho smashed them between the steps, so much so he couldn't even lift the man for his Pop-Up Powerbomb. The one thing making this feud so great is the little nuances, such as KO's using his finger to rope-break the Walls Of Jericho and the animosity you feel between every move. I feel like this match furthered KO's transition back to his "Prizefighter" character because as much as I hated Jericho winning the strap off of him, I can't help but feel like this will restore that much needed edge KO has been missing since his debut and during the build to his match against Goldberg. At first I didn't get why Jericho won the title right back, but the more I sat on it, all it did was add a new dynamic to the US title scene over on SD with Styles, Owens, AND Jericho in the mix. Three performers who has wrestled each other enough times to develop chemistry. Overall, a solid match and a good opener.
Match Review: 6.75/10
Story Development: 4.5/5
Character Development: 4.25/5
Austin Aries vs. Neville (c) for the Cruiserweight Championship
Although it doesn't quite measure up to their Mania match (which is by no means an insult), this was yet another great outing between these two. I feel like every match these two contest for the CW belt, it does nothing but increase its prestige and profile. Just like their Mania match, the action was fluid, crisp, and physical. The beginning of the match saw them feel each other out with armdrags and rest holds with Aries displaying his nonchalant charisma in between sequences, almost like the WWE is trying to play out this storyline that Aries has Neville's number down to a T. We saw more high flying out of Aries than we've normally seen along with some stiff strikes by both him and Neville, the ending sequence however, showcased the brilliance behind heel Neville. Coming off a sunset flip powerbomb off the top turnbuckle, Aries quickly transitioned into the Last Chancery, desperate and knowing if he doesn't do something
he's going to tap, Neville pulls the referee into Aries and gets himself disqualified. Fantastic. This, among many other things, is why I believe Neville is the best booked champion on either brand. His act is believable, his tactics are clever even though you don't agree with them, and more importantly, that man has placed a crap load of stock into the title he's carrying. Listen to any of his promos on 205 live or on Raw when he's talking about some upcoming title defense, the man almost always refers back to his title and how it makes him "Dah Kaing". Its making the fans want to see Aries dethrone this so-called "king" and shake up the Cruiserweight hierarchy, but because of Neville's wit inside the ropes, he's going to have to come up something better than just matching Neville's offense. Great match overall, would've placed this as the opener.
Match Result: Neville def. Austin Aries via DQ, retains Cruiserweight Championship
Match Review: 7.75/10
Story Development: 5/5
Character Development: 4.5/5
Sheamus & Cesaro vs. The Hardyz (c) for the Raw Tag Team Championship
I must admit, even being a diehard Jeff Hardy fan, I've been skeptical of the Hardy's ability to keep up with today's talents, but this match proved that skepticism wrong as both teams wrestled a smooth, physical match that showcased how far Sheamus and Cesaro has come as a unit and how the Hardy's can keep up. Jeff and Matt played their usual roles well, with one of them normally being in peril while the other team keeps going to work, but what was interesting was how it happened to both of them instead of one. This made Sheamus and Cesaro look strong as all get-out, whether that was WWE's intention or not, but it also made the Hardy's look more triumphant when they were able to squeeze their way out. The spots in this match felt natural, nothing felt like they were just doing it to do it, more like they were doing it to get them closer to victory which is a hard feeling to convey to the fans now and days. Whether it was Sheamus's White Noise off the top rope or Jeff Hardy flying off the apron onto Cesaro, everything felt natural because the action in the beginning was so well executed. You had your tag match usual: Rest holds, the odd tag team move, isolation of one opponent while working on their limbs. It felt like the match was coming to the a heated end. At the end of the day, The Hardy's retained in a great first title defense, but that wasn't the biggest takeaway. No, the biggest takeaway was Sheamus and Cesaro's turn. Despite actually working as faces, Raw desperately need a top heel team with the Revival on the shelf and the Colons being traded to SD, and damn does the shoe fit. These two seem better geared as a heel tag team, what with them being two brutes who beat the shit out of their opponents (or if your Jeff, kicks your teeth out) and not exactly being apologetic about it. Once again, this felt natural. Thats the keyword for this match: Natural. Because we all know we're the Hardy's are going next...
Match Results: The Hardys def. Sheamus & Cesaro via pinfall, retains the Raw Tag Team Championships
Match Review: 7/10
Story Development: 5/5
Character Development: 5/5
Alexa Bliss vs. Bayley (c) for the Raw Women's Championship
Four words describe my feelings towards this match: Was not expecting that. I often deride these two for the in-ring abilities, with my usual arguments being that Bayley needs to be carried and Alexa works off of charisma alone, but man oh man were those arguments thrown out the window. These two worked a solid, tightly contested match-up where even though there were obvious communication errors, the action inside of the ring more than made up for it. These two worked extremely well off of each other, Alexa's charisma was on a full display while Bayley FINALLY channeled her NXT roots and fought from beneath, making the match all the more enthralling. As much as we all bash Bayley, her PPV catalogue in 2017 is no laughing matter, outside of Fastlane, she's delivered in every match. Thing is though, her title reign just didn't sit right with a lot of us mainly because of how ass backwards they booked her character during it. This was the one night I felt like they nailed the Bayley character and how she should be presented. She's already won the Womens title, so the whole "I just want to accomplish my dream" shtick isn't going to mean that much anymore, so it'll be interesting to see where she goes from here. As for Alexa, WWE is right for placing all their eggs on her. Whether we like it or not, she legitimately is the top girl behind Charlotte and for a damn good reason after last night. If she can continue to produce like that, our qualms about her workrate will be put to rest swiftly. Especially if she continues to try and be the "Queen of Strong Style", that girl throws the meanest forearms, she obviously took lessons from Jinder Mahal and applied it to Bayley.
Match Result: Alexa Bliss def. Bayley via pinfall to win the Raw Women's Championship
Match Review: 7.95/10
Story Development: 3/5
Character Development: 2.75/5
(we have to see if Bayley continues acting like she's still trying to achieve a dream)
Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton in a House of Horrors match
I don't even know what to say. Let me get the theatrics and bullshit out of the way before I assess the action. If they would've left the house alone and let it be just some dingy, grimy, termite infested cabin then it would okay, but the moment I saw the blue hue over the house, I knew where they were going. Let me just say Randy showing up in a limo without a weapon was the biggest storyline mistake, never mind him showing up in a limo in the first place. Then you got that moment where Orton was looking for Bray and a hand reached out a choked him from some hole in a wall beside, which was beyond cringey. The less said about the room with the babydolls, the better. Last but not least, we got Wyatt acting like he was possessed by a holy ghost just for the house to turn from blue to red. I don't know when the WWE decided to let Wyatt become this supernatural force, but it's killed all of his momentum. Its killed his character. The man started off as a backwoods cult leader who didn't know that he's just a another delusional false-prophet, to somebody who can control where maggots appear :
It doesn't make sense. One of the most promising characters is now the most groan inducing, and I say that as his fan. Anyways, the actual action, y'know the stuff that took place beside the supernatural bs, was actually pretty good. I always felt that these two would be better suited in a No-DQ environment, I still scratch my head wondering how their Mania match wasn't No Holds Barred, as this match showed these two can bring it when no rules are sanctioned. From throwing each other through walls, smacking each other with anything they can get their hands on, to Wyatt tipping the refrigerator onto Orton, the action inside the house was excellent, chaotic fun. The action once we got back to the ring was ok too, with Orton already being in the ring once Wyatt got back being a nice touch. But heres where I get frustrated with Wyatt's booking, after the Singh Brothers interfered, Orton should've walked into a Sister Abigail-- Wyatt was looking weak enough after needing the help from two people he doesn't know. Instead, his SA gets reversed and he walks into an RKO. Where he almost loses if it wasn't for the Man Who Will Not Be Hindered, Jinder Mahal, smacking him upside the head with the WWE world title. THEN Wyatt hits SA and gets the 123. Stevie fucking Wonder could see how that makes him look weak as hell.
Match Result: Bray Wyatt def. Randy Orton via pinfall
Match Review: 5.25/10
Thats just me being nice.
Story Development: 2/5
Character Development: 1/5
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
This match should've been better, but what we got was sufficient enough so I'm not going to complain. The biggest takeaway from this match is that Rollins has seemingly regained his confidence in his highflying ability as he hit some impressive dives and hit a picture perfect Frog Splash onto Samoa Joe. I forgot what he said, but after hitting another high-flying move, dude said something along the lines of "I'm back in business" (someone clarify this for me, please?) and it made me believe from here on out, we're going to be seeing THAT side of babyface Rollins we've been pleading for. The daredevil acrobat with a method to his madness. Samoa Joe played his part well, I didn't realize until yesterday but he easily has the best worked punches in the WWE, the actually look like they connect and the way he punches makes them look legit. And I'm one of those people who believe punches should be phased out of wrestling because they do nothing but expose how phoney wrestling is (especially if you look at some of todays "brawls"). That being said, its obvious Joe is holding back in the ring and its only a matter of time before he gets the platform to show everybody his arsenal, so I have no qualms about the way he wrestles now. The only thing I had a problem with in this match was Seth's wishy washy selling of the knee. I'm pretty sure he would switch the knee he was favoring and sometimes you could see him go "Crap, I forgot my knee is supposed to be hurt" and start limping/tending to it whenever the time was convenient. That blockbuster he did only exemplified it, as well as his frog splash. He did the same thing at Mania too, so he really needs to buckle down on it (no pun intended) and remember that the story comes before the wrestling.
Match Result: Seth Rollins def. Samoa Joe via pinfall
Match Review: 6/10
Story Development: 2.75/5
Character Development: 3/5
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
I'll admit, I'm not a fan of this pairing, I don't know why but I just don't get excited when it comes to these two facing off unless its a stipulation match. This match demanded my attention though, due to the storyline surrounding and how flawlessly they have booked Strowman since Mania-- outside of Kalisto beating him in that Dumpster match. I'm convinced that if they continue booking Strowman the way they are, the fans are going to turn him face and before we know it, he's going to be one of the top faces in the company. This was Strowman's first main event on a PPV and boy did he deliver. The action was physical, intense, Roman looked like he knew what he was going up against and Strowman had the look of a killer. Everything about this man screams "monster", thats why its not cringey when he roars before every attack and why its not nearly as boring to watch him maul his opponent like he did Roman Reigns, you genuinely believe you're watching a monster at work. The way he tosses his opponents, like that one spot with him slinging Reigns into the barricade, doesn't make you think his opponent is selling as much as Braun is legitimately tossing him with brute force. But if we are going to talk about selling, we cannot, and I repeat, cannot
overlook Roman's tremendous selling of his shoulder. The man wrestled the entire match with one arm. One. Arm. Outside of a spear I think he hit with his taped shoulder, every strike that man threw was with that one arm. Whether he was favoring it in between the action or selling a calculated strike by Strowman to that specific area, Reigns sold it as if his arm was actively being torn off. Just fantastic selling that I hope becomes a trend for him, because he's always lacked in that department. A Strowman win made the most sense as his aura would be diminished had he lost to a one armed Roman Reigns, plus the fact it only took 2 powerslams and 4 or 6 helped establish his finisher, because remember Reigns was kicking out of 4 F5s back at Mania 31. Though I do wish Strowman would slam his opponents with more face and be more confident in his ability, you can tell he's trying to ensure everybody's safety but more often than not the impact leaves a lot to be desired. Overall a very good match that barely surpasses their Fastlane match.
Match Result: Braun Strowman def. Roman Reigns via pinfall
Match Review: 6.75/10
Story Development: 3.25/5
Character Development: 2.75/5
As you can see, every match outside of the House of Horrors were entertaining in their own right and provided a little something for everybody in terms of storyline and character development. It left us more questions than answers, such as how the US title scene will shape out over at SD now that Jericho won it, how Aries will respond to Neville and his tactics (I've heard others say ladder match, which I have no problem with whatsoever), if Sheamus and Cesaro started the Hardy's turn to their broken personas, and how Bayley is going to respond to her loss at the hands of Alexa Bliss. A big storyline development however, was Strowman's squeaky clean win over Roman Reigns. One has to think this will lead to him demanding a match against Lesnar for his title at "Great Balls of Fire", which should be a barnburner if Lesnar is motivated. My biggest concern is where Rollins and Joe goes after their match, yeah Rollins won by technical means, but outside of the usual rematch (or non-stipulation rematch), how will the WWE try to spin this as something we should be invested in? The general consensus around their match was that of disinterest, which is bad for Samoa Joe's first main roster feud.
Payback 2017 review: 6/10
Thanks for reading! I know I should've uploaded pictures but that'll come in later entries. Plus I'm kinda lost on how to upload a cover photo so if anyone could PM how to do so, it would be greatly appreciated. Stay blessed.