WWE Payback 2013 Belonged to AJ Lee and Kaitlyn

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJune 17, 2013

Photo from WWE.com
Photo from WWE.com

Much of the talk about WWE Payback 2013 is sure to center around the night's intense Divas Championship match between AJ Lee and Kaitlyn.

The inaugural edition of WWE's newest pay-per-view event featured another great battle between Chris Jericho and CM Punk, a slickly done double turn and a vicious Three Stages of Hell match for the WWE title, but it was the women who told the best story on Sunday night.

No match exceeded expectations like Kaitlyn vs. AJ. No match felt more personal and powerful than AJ's title win over her former friend.

Punk and Jericho did a masterful job, but theirs was a clash fans had seen several times before. Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio's role reversal is sure to make for interesting TV on Monday's WWE Raw and beyond, but this night belonged to the Divas champ and challenger.

How often does the Divas title match trend worldwide on Twitter?

It was the culmination of a story that has been slowly building since both women were in NXT.

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Back then, AJ and Kaitlyn were best friends and tag team partners. By the time they clashed in front of the Chicago fans at Payback, their relationship had rotted out and festered for all of us to see.

AJ sought her first Divas title while Kaitlyn sought revenge.

Kaitlyn thought she had a like-minded secret admirer who dug The Simpsons and appreciated her for both her beauty and quirkiness. Instead, it was revealed to be AJ playing the most heartless of tricks. After humiliating Kaitlyn on live TV, AJ now had the psychological edge going into their match.

It was rage and hunger for payback that fueled Kaitlyn and helped her dominate her foe at first, but it was also what caused her to lose her title. Like Captain Ahab in Moby Dick, lusting for revenge had her lose focus and lead to her own demise.

Kaitlyn began the match by pounding on AJ and tossing her over the announce table.

She played the hurt hero while AJ played the devious and callous torturer. AJ mocked Kaitlyn, at one point saying, "You need help?" as the champion tried to rise to her feet.

The two women had their moments of sloppiness, but overall, their clash was a work of compelling theater. They traded near-falls. They built on their storyline hatred. They won the crowd over.

You don't get a "This is awesome!" chant from the famously opinionated Chicago fans without earning it, and both AJ and Kaitlyn certainly did.

As TheHistoryofWWE.com pointed out, both women benefited from Sunday’s result. 

As one of the better Divas matches in recent memory neared its end, Kaitlyn nailed AJ with a massive spear. The move sent AJ flying down on the mat, seemingly out cold. Kaitlyn had the match won here, but her hatred distracted her.

She lifted AJ's head and blew a mocking kiss to her.

It was this delay that allowed AJ to kick out, and it was this moment that catapulted this match into show-stealing territory. It was a testament to how much this was more than a normal match; this was two women wading through the ruins of their former friendship.

The Black Widow was then used to perfection as a means to create drama. AJ had slapped it on earlier, only to have Kaitlyn eventually find her way out. In the end, it was the move that did Kaitlyn in, that took advantage of her revenge-born haze, that became her punishment for failure.

AJ and Kaitlyn proved how great a story they can tell, given the time and attention the Divas division has been lacking. Hopefully, WWE officials watched this match and thought of ways to continue this rivalry and to further showcase their female talent.