WWE

WWE Payback 2014 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan DilbertWWE Lead WriterJune 2, 2014

WWE Payback 2014 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE Payback 2014 celebrated vengeance as John Cena and The Shield entered rematches from Extreme Rules with foes who have ignited fury in them.

    Cena faced Bray Wyatt once more in a Last Man Standing match that promises finality to a long feud. The Shield sought a 2-0 record against Evolution, further signaling a shift toward the future. The pay-per-view also featured Daniel Bryan's unenviable choice, championship bouts and Rusev's toughest challenge to date.

    How well did WWE's next generation of marquee stars perform? How well did they and WWE itself tell the stories that happened in Chicago's Allstate Arena on Sunday?

    The following is a breakdown of the results with grades and reaction, beginning with the unusual stakes of the latest El Torito and Hornswoggle collision. 

El Torito vs. Hornswoggle (Mask vs. Hair)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Hornswoggle went for El Torito's mask early, roughing up the bull. El Torito fought back by speeding around him and spinning him until he was dizzy.

    The move had Hornswoggle wobbling.

    When he recovered, he began to berate the referee. That allowed El Torito to gore him out of the ring.

    3MB and Los Matadores soon clashed, Drew McIntyre flipping onto both foe and ally. Hornswoggle dove out of the ring as well.

    Back between the ropes, Hornswoggle powerbombed El Torito before tearing off his mask. There was another mask underneath, and while Hornswoggle was celebrating, El Torito hit a crossbody for the win.

     

    Result

    El Torito wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    El Torito wears a basketball jersey with 2/3 on it rather than Michael Jordan's 23.

    El Torito flips Heath Slater onto Los Matadores and 3MB with a leg scissors.

    "His real face is a mask!"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield on El Torito.

     

    Grade

    C+

     

    Analysis

    Not nearly as fun as the WeeLC match, this bout offered a few laughs, but not much else. El Torito was a heavy favorite, making the outcome no surprise.

    The novelty of them battling has been used up as well.

    Their last pay-per-view match would have been a fitting end to the feud. Hopefully this ends it and it doesn't drag on past Payback. 

Sheamus vs. Cesaro (United States Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Paul Heyman cut off the "CM Punk!" chants by telling everyone that the absent star was watching hockey and not going to be in the arena. He smoothly transitioned that into introducing Cesaro.

    Sheamus charged early, cracking his knee against Cesaro's chest. "The King of Swing" countered with a suplex and then proceeded to pound on the champion with swift kicks.

    With Heyman looking downtrodden on the outside, Sheamus smashed Cesaro's chest with his Beats of the Bodhran. A thunderous uppercut from Cesaro stopped the Irishman's momentum.

    This constant shift of the advantage continued.

    Each man delivered a number of stinging blows only to suffer some from his opponent moments later. Sheamus hit three flying knees from the second rope. Cesaro responded with a diving uppercut.

    Counters blocked signature moves. Each man's best weapons faltered.

    A Texas cloverleaf wasn't enough to finish Cesaro, and the Cesaro Swing couldn't do Cesaro in. Sheamus rolled up the challenger as he went for a pin attempt, leaving Cesaro seething in the ring.

     

    Result

    Sheamus wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm sorry. He's not here tonight. He's at the United Center watching the Blackhawks."—Heyman to fans chanting for Punk.

    Cesaro tosses Sheamus in the air and hits a fantastic uppercut.

    Cesaro slams Sheamus to the mat from a Torture Rack position.

    "How dare you."—Heyman to Sheamus after the match.

     

    Grade

    A-

     

    Analysis

    Smart move by WWE to open the show with a match it knew was going to be excellent. As a bonus, Heyman is the best man to quell Punk chants. 

    Cesaro's loss doesn't hurt him much as it felt like a fluke. 

    The match could have go on for much longer and kept entertaining, but it's clear the company is planning to keep this feud going. With how physical this was and how good their chemistry is together, continuing Sheamus vs. Cesaro is good business.

Ryback and Curtis Axel vs. Cody Rhodes and Goldust

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    Credit: WWE.com

    In an unannounced match, Curtis Axel and Ryback began aggressively. They had Cody Rhodes reeling early with power moves and big forearms.

    Rhodes escaped and tagged his brother in only to watch Goldust play the role of sufferer. Ryback wrenched his arm back. Axel slammed him to the mat.

    "The Bizarre One" gutted it out, slipping away to tag Rhodes back in.

    Rhodes picked up the pace of the match, knocking both foes down. His fiery offense earned him a few near-falls. 

    He went for the Disaster kick, but Ryback caught him, delivered Shell Shocked and continued Rhodes' losing streak.

    Goldust tried to console him. Rhodes grabbed a mic and told Goldust that he needed a better tag team partner than him before walking out.

     

    Result

    Axel and Ryback win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Can you imagine the monosyllabic strategy Ryback is shouting here?"—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Rhodes brings down Axel with a midair dropkick.

    Rhodes hits a moonsault on both Ryback and Axel after slipping on the turnbuckle.

     

    Grade

    B-

     

    Analysis

    An average match turned better near the end. The near-falls and saves added drama. There was little energy, though, as there had been no buildup prior to the pay-per-view.

    WWE tried to sell a story of Rhodes' frustration over losing so much recently, but it's not something the company had been highlighting enough in previous weeks.

    The expected Rhodes brothers split got a touch closer with Rhodes' declaration. It is still progressing slowly, building suspense along the way. Look for that story to get more focus in the next few weeks as the narrative picks up speed.

    SummerSlam is the kind of big event that would be perfect for Goldust vs. Rhodes.

Rusev vs. Big E

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Lana insulted the United States and saluted Vladimir Putin, per her usual. Rusev soon joined her, vigorously waving the Russian flag.

    Big E waved Old Glory during his entrance, decked out in a singlet covered in stars and stripes. 

    Both men collided after the bell rang. A nasty suplex from Rusev stopped Big E's flurry of strikes. "The Bulgarian Brute" then looked to run into Big E in the corner, but the former defensive lineman knocked him on his back.

    Big E smashed into Rusev, sending both men outside. 

    While Rusev looked more vulnerable than he ever has, he soon responded with fury. A thrust kick had Big E's eyes rolling in the back of his head. A stomp on the spine and The Accolade spelled the end of the match. 

     

    Result

    Rusev wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Fans chant "We want Ziggler!"

    Big E spears Rusev off the apron.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    While this was over rather quickly, it was clearly Rusev's best outing to date. Big E challenged him more than anyone else has. He was booked to push Rusev and look strong in the process, but tapping out after just a few minutes is a sign of who will be showcased more in the coming months.

    WWE clearly believes in Rusev, having him steamroll a man who just lost the Intercontinental Championship.

    We saw more selling, more drama and a smidgen more variety to his moves. Count on the powerhouse moving up to even bigger names now that Big E is on his list of victims.

Bo Dallas vs. Kofi Kingston

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Bo Dallas took a shot at the Chicago Blackhawks. He didn't get to take a single shot at Kofi Kingston, though.

    Kane stomped down to ringside. Dallas fled while Kingston fought the big man. Kane battered the high-flyer around before hitting the Tombstone piledriver.

    Dallas then slipped in, comforted Kingston and told him he just had to "Bo-lieve."

     

    Result

    No-contest

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Dallas consoles fans about the Blackhawks.

     

    Grade

    Incomplete

     

    Analysis

    It's unclear where WWE is heading with this. Is Kane on a rampage just because he's a crazed sadist? Does he have something against Kingston in particular?

    Michael Cole theorized that Kingston was being punished for being critical of The Authority.

    Dallas got to show off some of his character, even getting a short "Bo-lieve" chant going. It's odd that this was part of a pay-per-view as it was unannounced and ended up being the kind of transitional event that is featured on Raw and SmackDown.

    Both the Rusev vs. Big E and Cesaro vs. Sheamus matches could have used this time more effectively.

Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam (Intercontinental Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Bad News Barrett promised to send Rob Van Dam on a permanent vacation before their bout again.

    Barrett controlled the action early. His power and hard strikes had Van Dam grounded. A hard kick from "Mr. Monday Night" changed his fortunes.

    He then cracked Barrett into the barricade, threw him into the crowd and hit his patented spinning leg drop from the apron.

    The champion fought back, cracking Van Dam's head against the barricade.

    The match moved along slowly. Each man winced as they moved. 

    Van Dam soon went on a flurry. His kicks had Barrett's head snapping backward. He looked to finish off his foe with the Five-Star Frog Splash, but missed. Barrett missed his own finisher, nailing the ring post with the Bull Hammer.

    His second attempt landed. Van Dan couldn't kick out.

     

    Result

    Barrett wins via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Someone needs to put Old Yeller down."—Barrett.

    The crowd alternates chants for Van Dam and Barrett.

    Barrett throws Van Dam up and kicks him in the gut.

    Van Dam hits a vicious springboard tornado DDT.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    Van Dam has not been as electric as he was during his last run. Whether it's age or being out of rhythm for some reason, his ring work lately hasn't been what fans have come to expect from him.

    He still delivered some thrilling moments here, and it was a solid, strong match.

    Barrett looked like a warrior in his win. He survived some stinging blows, avoided Van Dam's best weapons and retained his title without resorting to cheating. Van Dam and Barrett could certainly top this effort, should they meet again. 

Daniel Bryan's Decision

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Stephanie McMahon reminded fans of the impossible choice Daniel Bryan had before him—losing either the world title or his wife.

    Brie Bella accompanied him as he entered the ring in a neck brace.

    McMahon did her usual patronizing act. Fans tried to insert CM Punk chants, but McMahon deflected them. Bryan held out the world title, seemingly ready to give it up.

    Brie quit. McMahon laughed at her, inspiring a slap from the Diva. McMahon scurried to the back.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "You know this is all on you, Daniel."—McMahon.

    McMahon calls Bryan and Brie's potential future children "weird, bearded babies."

    "These people want you to quit, just like CM Punk did."—McMahon to Bryan.

     

    Grade

    B

     

    Analysis

    As much as this felt like a segment that belonged to Raw, one has to hand out kudos to McMahon. She added to her collection of great heel moments and handled the Punk situation beautifully. 

    WWE got to add Daniel Bryan to Payback despite his injury. It wasn't an instant classic of a segment, but one that leaves the audience hungry for the next chapter. 

    The fact that WWE has dragged this out for as long as it has points to Bryan keeping the titles. Why spread out the narrative this far only to strip him later. It's the right move. Patience here keeps Bryan on top.

    The company suffers without an active world champion for the moment, but maintaining Bryan's momentum while he's out and keeping him in the throne will please the majority of fans over time.

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (Last Man Standing)

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    Bray Wyatt roared, laughed and spread his arms out after his entrance music ended. John Cena received his usual mixed reaction.

    The entire Wyatt Family closed in on Cena. Before they could attack, The Usos ran out, evened things up and forced Erick Rowan and Luke Harper to be bystanders. 

    The clash began with a wild energy. Wyatt took control of the slugfest with hard shots to Cena's jaw. Head-butts and a running clothesline had Cena pulling on Wyatt's legs to stand.

    He gathered enough strength to hit the Five-Knuckle Shuffle, but his flurry was soon over.

    Wyatt sent Cena plummeting toward the mat. "The Eater of Worlds" kept bringing the fan favorite down and then watching him try to rise.

    The Sister Abigail didn't keep Cena down. He responded with the Attitude Adjustment, which wasn't enough to beat Wyatt.

    A brawl broke between The Usos and The Wyatt Family. Harper dove out of the ring at his foes. Meanwhile, in the ring, Wyatt cracked a chair across Cena's back. His next chair shot only struck the ring post.

    It was then Cena's turn to take advantage of the Last Man Standing stipulation. He whacked Wyatt with the chair and then brought a table into the ring.

    Wyatt turned the table into a weapon for himself, though. A suplex sent Cena through it, barely able to rise for the 10-count. The clan leader then took to clocking his enemy with the steel steps.

    The level of viciousness increased, both men using more weapons, Wyatt hitting Sister Abigail outside the ring and Cena flinging him into another set of steps. 

    Harper and Rowan rushed back to ringside. They mauled Cena before lifting Wyatt to his feet to beat the referee's count.

    The ref struggled to maintain control as The Usos and The Wyatt Family used each other to break tables out of the ring and Wyatt broke a barricade by crashing into Cena.

    Cena and Wyatt fought among the sound equipment, Cena sending Wyatt through a crate with the Attitude Adjustment. 

     

    Result

    Cena wins by 10-count.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Wyatt dances with a groggy Cena.

    Wyatt poses on top of the ring steps, conducting the crowd's version of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands." 

    Cena hurls the ring steps out of the ring into Wyatt's mug.

    Wyatt launches himself from the ring steps, hitting a running senton on Cena.

    Harper stops Jimmy Uso from diving at him by hitting him with a table.

    Harper hits a superplex onto a table.

    Cena stuffs Wyatt into the sound equipment, piles more on top of him to keep him down.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    Cena vs. Wyatt instantly enters the discussion for one of the greatest Last Man Standing matches ever. It built beautifully to the climax, increasing in speed and brutality as it went on.

    The hectic energy that The Usos, Harper and Rowan brought elevated the bout. The table spots will be treasured for a long time.

    It's only the outcome that didn't feel right. How can WWE hope to make new stars if it doesn't get them signature wins? Cena has the power to boost other Superstars like no one else, and WWE continues to shy away from that possibility. 

    When the hero continues to thwart the monster, the monster becomes less scary.  

    Wyatt showed, as he did at the Royal Rumble, that he's a main eventer if WWE wants him to be. Great performances like these are key to reaching that status, but so are wins.

Paige vs. Alicia Fox (Divas Championship)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Paige attacked Alicia Fox as soon as the bell rang.

    She cracked her knees against Fox's back and hit a ferocious suplex. Fox started crying on the outside, a means to lure the champ out there. 

    The match descended into a brawl momentarily, each woman smashing each other with high-impact moves.

    When the bout moved back into the ring, Fox was in control. She bent Paige's back with a variety of holds, leaving red marks on her torso.

    Fox flung Paige out of the ring, barking at the crowd. The champion charged back, hitting an elbow and a clothesline to regain the advantage. 

    She locked in the P.T.O, and Fox couldn't escape.

    Fox tried to hold back a meltdown, but she failed. She screamed "Silence!" at the fans before flailing on her way backstage.

     

    Result

    Paige wins via submission.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "There's no crying in the WWE. Even for you, Cole."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield to Micheal Cole.

    Paige slams Fox into the barricade.

    "She wants to ruin my face."—Fox on Paige.

     

    Grade

    B+

     

    Analysis

    A shorter match sandwiched between the event's marquee bouts still impressed. Paige and Fox both showed off a viciousness not often seen in Divas' matches. 

    Fox's wacky antics made this more interesting, and Paige continues to look like a badass as she survives tough challenges like this one.

    WWE is doing a good job in building her up and, in this case, elevating Fox as well. Despite the loss, this was a boost to Fox's resume, showing off toughness few knew she had.

The Shield vs. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)

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    Chaos came early as The Shield and Evolution charged at each other in the opening moments. The brawl quickly broke off into three parts, Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose, Batista vs. Roman Reigns and Triple H vs. Seth Rollins.

    The fight led Reigns and Batista into the crowd. Rollins and Triple H soon followed.

    Eventually, everyone returned to the ring to begin the match properly. Moves of the power and high-impact varieties come fast.

    Batista hit a spinebuster on Ambrose. Rollins hit three suplexes in a row.

    When the match descended into fighting between everyone once more, Rollins leaped from a production case only to suffer a nasty blow with something metal from Triple H. Evolution began to emerge as the dominant faction in this battle, leaving every member of The Shield fallen throughout the arena.

    The trio sent Reigns through the Spanish announce table with a triple powerbomb. 

    The focus remained on Reigns as Triple H and Co. cracked him with kendo sticks, bashed him with steel steps and tore off his vest. Somehow, the powerhouse survived. He eliminated Batista with a spear.

    The shift of momentum toward "The Hounds of Justice" continued. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Orton to take him out of the match.

    That left Triple H alone.

    Orton tried to even things out by handing his boss a sledgehammer. That weapon was enough to knock Ambrose enough, but it couldn't prevent Rollins' knee from meeting his temple and Reigns spearing him for the win.

     

    Result

    The Shield win via pinfall.

     

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Triple H cracks Rollins with a piece of metal.

    Evolution mocks The Shield with their own signature gesture.

    Ambrose saves Reigns from an Orton DDT with a chair.

    Rollins leaps from the Jumbotron onto Evolution.

    Triple H hits Ambrose with the sledgehammer.

    Reigns puts his foot on Triple H after the match.

     

    Grade

    A+

     

    Analysis

    Another electric, energized match between these two teams. WWE wisely went an unexpected route and waited near the end for the eliminations to begin.

    The number of captivating spots is hard to count. It's a match that begs to be rewatched for that reason.

    The Shield were the stars here, as the company clearly intended. Ambrose got a number of saves, Rollins again made the top of the highlight reel with his flight from the big screen and Reigns once again looked like a wrecking ball.

    Expect Triple H to be angry about getting pinned, going on the hunt for Reigns individually. 

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