WWE Payback 2013: Who Were the 5 Stars of the Event?

Anthony Mango@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2013

WWE Payback 2013: Who Were the 5 Stars of the Event?

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    No one superstar in WWE is bigger than the company itself, but with every pay-per-view, a few wrestlers find a way to make the spotlight shine on them.

    WWE's latest pay-per-view, Payback, is no different from the rest. Tonight showcased a lot of talent in a lot of different ways, with a lot of twists and turns along the way.

    John Cena retained his WWE Championship in a Three Stages of Hell match. Alberto Del Rio regained the World Heavyweight Championship with a new-found and brutal edge. The Shield held on to their respective titles. Sheamus kicked the event off quite literally with a Brogue Kick victory.

    But when it comes down to it, who were the stars of the event that rose above all the rest and truly became the focal points of the night?

    For the purposes of this article, the choices will be made based on the criteria of two main attributes: match quality and storyline progression importance in order of appearance.

1. Curtis Axel

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    This one is a no-brainer. Joe Hennig achieved relatively nothing under the Michael McGillicutty name, but with his change over into Curtis Axel territory, he's accomplished quite a bit over the past few weeks.

    Fandango's concussion allowed Axel to be in the right place at the right time and become the new Intercontinental champion.

    Not only did he win his first singles championship here, but he did so by beating two men that are far more credible on the roster than he currently is and he started the show off with a bang in a high quality match.

2. AJ Lee

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    This pay-per-view was no strangers to championships changing hands and AJ Lee is no stranger to being a focal point.

    Despite its predictability, Lee did in fact win the Divas Championship from her former best friend Kaitlyn.

    The big surprise, though, was that the match ended up being so well-received. Generally speaking, Divas matches in WWE are considered to be a boring waste of time used primarily as a bathroom break. Rather than being subject to ridicule and disregard, this match ended up being quite a highlight on the card.

    Considering the quality of Kaitlyn's matches in the past in comparison to this, much (if not all) of the praise should be given to Lee for her efforts in entertaining the fans so well.

3. Dolph Ziggler

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    Your mileage may vary on this one and you might be thinking to yourself that Alberto Del Rio should be in this spot rather than Dolph Ziggler.

    After all, Del Rio seemingly turned heel and won the match to become the new World Heavyweight champion.

    That being said, which person was talked about more after the fact?

    Ziggler was trending on Twitter and most of the conversation was about how he was screwed over and deserved better.

    Ziggler is the one that received the reaction from the crowd that Del Rio spun off from.

    While Del Rio is sure to be a talking point on the next episode of Raw, it will more predominantly be about what happened to Ziggler and less that it was Del Rio who did it.

    This could be the start of a massive push for Ziggler, despite losing the title.

4. CM Punk

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    CM Punk returning to win a match in his hometown of Chicago pretty much speaks for itself as being one of the more obvious focal points of the night.

    Many people were greatly impressed with the match he had against Chris Jericho—even though I personally felt as though it could have been much, much better—and the fact that he won made that even better to them.

    Punk will be able to continue riding this momentum on Raw to hopefully build to something another step above this come Money in the Bank.

5. John Cena

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    You may not like it, you may not want to admit it, but the fact of the matter is that John Cena clearly was made to be one of the big bullet points of Payback.

    Was it the epic encounter that we all heard rumblings about? I would submit that it was not in the slightest, but WWE will assuredly tell us that we should believe otherwise.

    More often than not, the people that are given the spotlight are the ones that WWE directly wants to be, so any person of sound mind would have told you that Cena would be in this position before the event even started.

    Cena may not be what all of us are talking about, but come Raw, everyone on the commentary team will be doing that for us.


    Which people do you think were standouts at Payback? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.


    Anthony Mango is the owner-operator of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment as well as the host of its YouTube podcast show Smack Talk. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook for more.