The 2013 edition of WWE’s Payback pay-per-view was flat-out amazing for everyone that participated in the event, but certain wrestlers built more momentum than the rest.
All of the following stars walked away from this PPV victorious, and Payback’s booking indicated that the company is building these top names to look incredibly strong over the next several months.
CM Punk Is Back
While there was much speculation that Punk would not return to Chicago or that he would become a good guy and turn against Paul Heyman, none of that came to fruition and Punk simply beat Chris Jericho in the best technical match of the night.
The WWE embraced the Chicago crowd and let Punk soak it up. Instead of trying to turn the former champion face, the company understands that it can withstand the cheers for a week and then rely on the heel antics of Punk to get people to boo him once again.
No matter what the future holds for Punk, the fact that he came back to so much hype proves he’s one of the WWE’s top two superstars. While there is no beating John Cena, Punk is clearly the second most valuable wrestler on the roster.
John Cena Is Still Top Dog
Despite taking a clean pinfall against Ryback in the Three Stages of Hell match, it was clear from the booking of the main event that there are big things in store for the WWE Championship and John Cena coming out of Payback.
The match itself was really well done, but the final spot with Ryback going through the roof of the ambulance was reminiscent of the Attitude Adjustment to Batista at Over the Limit 2010 on the hood of the Camaro.
Whether fans like Cena or not, this is an iconic moment that will define this PPV moving forward. This was a great show, and with this being the staple match and the last image most remember, this is another feather in the cap for Cena and the WWE.
Curtis Axel Is…PERFECT
There is no doubt that the WWE took a serious risk going all-in on Curtis Axel, but with a huge Intercontinental Championship victory Sunday night, the genesis of the former Superstars staple is in full swing.
Heyman has done a great job opening the door for people to accept Axel, and while his mic skills are still lacking, he has done everything asked of him and more in the ring and alongside his manager to get over as a potential top heel in the company.
Add in the fact that the fresh face will be touting his IC title win on top of his victories over John Cena and Triple H, and the hype around the third-generation wrestler is through the roof.
In a word, his performance was…PERFECT.
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.)