- Dean Ambrose def. J&J Security via Pinfall
Kind of a joke match to be honest. No one actually expected Ambrose to lose, but it wasn’t a complete squash either. A fun match for what it was.
- Bad News Barrett def. Dolph Ziggler via Pinfall
The match was basically fuel for Ziggler vs Sheamus. It ended before it could truly pick up, but the attack by Sheamus afterwards made up for the abrupt ending.
- Erick Rowan def. Fandango via Pinfall
A squash match to beat in to our heads that Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are back together as a tag team.
- Neville def. John Cena via Pinfall
What a great match! Neville was as impressive as ever against Cena. It just shows that Cena has the ability to pull something great out of younger talent. And despite the match ending in a DQ, this was definitely the best ending to a US title challenge we’ve received in a long time. Usually Cena abruptly ends them with the AA, but Cena could have ended this match a few times with the AA in a more believable and desperate way than he has recently. The fact that Neville had the match won before Rusev interfered made the match even better in my opinion. A way for Cena to help new talent without actually losing the strap.
- Kane and Roman Reigns never officially started
It was basically a brawl that ended in Reigns’ favor.
- Tamina Snuka def. Brie Bella via Pinfall
Although the match wasn’t long at all, Brie Bella looked amazing in the ring against Tamina. She delivered a serious knee to Tamina’s face while she was against the ropes. But despite her performance, Brie lost to a convincingly dominant Tamina in the end. The Bellas received a decent pop this time. But there is no telling if it was for Brie, or both twins since it was Brie’s song that hit the arena.
- Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow turned in to The Mega Powers
Not the ending to the match I expected, but the best ending for it. Either Axel and Sandow came up with this idea on their own, or someone on WWE’s creative team needs a promotion. I can only assume the former than the latter.
- Cesaro def. Big E via Pinfall
Cesaro is always amazing in the ring. So I was more surprised with Big E’s performance, especially since he has shined as a heel lately. The New Day is finally having fun with their gimmick, and it seems like their feud with Kidd and Cesaro is starting to heat up nicely. Kidd and Cesaro just need more mic time in order to make the feud seem less one sided and more even.
- Randy Orton def. Seth Rollins via DQ
A decent match despite the interruption. Seth Rollins vs Randy Orton is slowly becoming a normal occurrence. But this particular match helped solidify why it is still a big deal and not quite ready to be filed under “Same old shit” just yet. The fallout after the match sold the main event at Payback effortlessly. And having Ambrose come out the last man standing in his home town was the best way to close the show.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that WWE has finally figured out how to put on a good show. While most of the matches were just setup for Payback, this episode of Raw continued the excitement from last week by giving us enough buildup and entertainment on the mics to forgive the lack of good in ring performances. From Daniel Bryan’s touching moments, to Bray Wyatt selling the hell out of Ryback as a face, the microphone was the most powerful tool used throughout the night.
While this episode wasn’t as good as last week’s, it proved that WWE has the ability to dish out two good episodes in a row. Hopefully, this will become a normal occurrence with the show.