The 2013 edition of WWE’s Payback pay-per-view is one of the most anticipated shows of the year, and with an amazing card featuring many of the biggest stars in the company, wrestling fans across the world are ready to see which stars walk away winners.
When: Sunday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Ill.
Watch: PPV (order details)
Live Stream: WWE.com
While the perception of June PPVs since King of the Ring was eliminated has been that of the throwaway variety, the WWE has gone all in on this year’s edition.
With John Cena, CM Punk, Chris Jericho, Daniel Bryan and the company’s biggest names adorning this card, there is enough action on the schedule to satisfy even the most fickle wrestling fans.
There is a wild night of wrestling ahead, and we'll be updating the results of every match throughout the night. Enjoy!
Stipulation: Three Stages of Hell Match
In one of the rarest type of matches in WWE history, it was John Cena that defeated Ryback to retain the WWE Championship in a Three Stages of Hell Match during Sunday night’s Payback PPV.
Ryback won the first clean pinfall in the lumberjack match, Cena snagged the victory in the tables match and it was Cena that finally secured the overall win in this 2-out-of-3 falls match by putting his opponent through the roof of the ambulance.
Cena’s win means the company’s biggest star isn’t going to lose the WWE Championship anytime soon. Expect a heavy push for Cena throughout the rest of the summer.
As for Ryback, taking another PPV loss is devastating to his reputation as a title contender, but all hope is not lost. With the right booking as a midcard monster, he could be right back on top within months.
Match Grade: B+
After a match that featured plenty of turmoil between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, it was Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of The Shield that defeated the odd couple to defend the WWE Tag Team Championships.
Bryan and Orton were at each other’s throats throughout the build to this match and during the bout, but it was eventually Orton that eventually threw his opponent into harm's way and cost his team the victory.
While Orton has remained a fan favorite throughout the last several years, he has grown boring on the mic and his character is stale. Bryan, on the other hand, has been red hot and the WWE should be capitalizing on the bearded star’s momentum.
Match Grade: B
In front of his hometown crowd of Chicago, former WWE champion CM Punk returned to action for the first time since his loss to The Undertaker at WrestleMania 29 and defeated Chris Jericho in spectacular fashion.
These two in-ring stars put on another amazing match that proved Jericho still has plenty left in the tank and assured the WWE Universe that Punk was still the best in the world.
Punk and Jericho have a long history, and while this should be the end of their interactions for awhile, it wouldn’t be a shock to see the duo go face-to-face on Raw Monday night.
Match Grade: A
During Sunday’s Payback pay-per-view, the WWE announced that former champion Rob Van Dam would return to the company at July’s Money in the Bank event from Philadelphia.
RVD is back next month at Money in the Bank! Put him in a MITB match, couldn't think of a better return. #payback— Arda Ocal (@arda_ocal) June 17, 2013
This is huge news for the WWE as the company continues to lack top faces, and RVD will be able to step in immediately and fill that role. With a part-time role for the former world champion, this could be the smartest signing in a long time for the company.
In one of the most stunning outcomes of the night, No. 1 contender Alberto Del Rio shocked the WWE Universe by beating Dolph Ziggler to win the World Heavyweight Championship.
Del Rio had been stuck in a holding pattern with Big E. Langston while Ziggler missed almost six weeks of action with a concussion, but he was rewarded for his patience by once again winning the SmackDown title.
Ziggler looked like a lock to win this match after the WWE didn’t even hint at a possible title change while he was out with his injury, but this kind of swerve is exactly what the company does when presented with an ideal situation.
Match Grade: D
In one of the best worked matches of the night thus far, it was The Shield’s Dean Ambrose that successfully defended his United States Championship against Kane via count out in a bout that mixed great in-ring work with wrestling psychology.
Ambrose continues to look like the strongest member of The Shield on the mic and in the ring, and beating a bona fide legend like Kane at Payback is just another feather in his cap to start his promising WWE career.
Kane has always been a wrestler willing to put over a younger guy and make him look strong, and with the ongoing storyline with Team Hell No, Ambrose was lucky enough to get a huge rub from the Big Red Monster.
Match Grade: B+
In a match that was months in the making, AJ Lee defeated Kaitlyn at Payback to become the new Divas champion.
A.J. has been one of the biggest female stars for the WWE over the last year, and she deserves the honor of wearing the title belt for the company. While Kaitlyn was a fine champion, A.J. has much more upside for the company.
With Dolph Ziggler wearing the World Heavyweight Championship, the power couple of A.J. and Ziggler will be one of the strongest twosomes in the history of the business.
Match Grade: B-
The instant success for Curtis Axel continues as the newest Paul Heyman guy was able to defeat The Miz and Wade Barrett to win the Intercontinental championship and continue to Hennig dominance of that title.
As the son of one of the greatest Intercontinental champions of all time Mr. Perfect, Axel has some huge shoes to fill. While his mic skills are limited, the fact that Heyman is acting as his mouthpiece and Axel is excelling in the ring proves this is a long-term project with major upside.
Add in the Intercontinental Championship in a solid PPV match and this victory was PERFECT!
Match Grade: B
Stipulation: Payback Kickoff Match
In the opening match of the night—the first WWE Kickoff show featured on both YouTube and Yahoo! Sports—it was Sheamus that defeated Damien Sandow in one of the most well-built feuds leading into of the PPV.
Sheamus took the victory in a surprisingly well-wrestled matchup, proving this was a bout the WWE used to build hype around the company’s Yahoo! Sports debut and had nothing to do with the participants.
Sheamus is a big draw, and having him on the pre-show was the smart business move for the WWE.
Match Grade: C
For more wrestling talk, listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot topics or catch the latest episode in the player below (some language NSFW.)