WWE Payback 2015 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterMay 17, 2015

WWE Payback 2015 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    WWE Payback 2015 offered chaos and ferocity aplenty, just not satisfying climaxes at some points during the night.

    In the hunt for revenge, championships and pride, wrestlers thrived in the ring. Many of the event's endings, though, held the pay-per-view back. 

    Rusev didn't say "I quit," but still lost an I Quit match. Bad News Barrett thought about finishing his fight with Neville, but seemed to say "screw it" instead. And what WWE was trying to accomplish with how The Ascension vs. Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow unfolded is a mystery.

    Still, during an event lacking hype leading up to it, some great action pleased the fans in Baltimore. Even with Kane inserting himself into the main event, the Fatal 4-Way for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship was a standout contest.

    The following is a breakdown of all of Payback's matches, looking at who stole the show in Charm City and where WWE either stumbled or succeeded. 

Stardust vs. R-Truth (Pre-Show)

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    After trading slaps early on, Stardust and R-Truth's battle slowly got more intense. 

    The bizarre, face-painted heel dominated. He took pleasure in kicking the rapper and clamping down on him with wear-down holds. R-Truth survived the onslaught, though.

    R-Truth made a quick comeback and nailed Stardust with his finisher for the win.

    Result

    R-Truth wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Stardust takes off his glove to slap R-Truth across the back.

    Grade

    D

    Analysis

    The thrown-in bout lacked energy and hype. This felt like something that belonged on Superstars. Nothing about it said pay-per-view.

    Even the announcers seemed disinterested.

    WWE has to a find a better use for Stardust. He's such a tremendous performer and versatile actor. Sitting this low on the card is a waste.

The Ascension vs. Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel (Pre-Show)

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    Damien Sandow and Curtis Axel turned up the volume on their imitation gimmicks. Axel entered donning a feather boa and Hulk Hogan-like mustache.

    Axel hulked up after Viktor's first blows, following up with a big boot and legdrop a la The Hulkster. The Ascension then briefly took control before Sandow charged in and went on a flurry.

    The Ascension withstood that storm as well. They teamed up on Sandow and ended the short bout with a three-count.

    Result

    The Ascension wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "There's the Fall of Man or the Fall of Mandow."—Michael Cole

    Grade

    F

    Analysis

    This match didn't accomplish anything. Sandow and Axel didn't come off as an entertaining comedy duo; The Ascension didn't look especially impressive.

    The action was hurried. It had a lethargic energy.

    What WWE is trying to do with Sandow is anyone's guess. Why have him fall into the same pattern that he established when he was cycling through identities? His character isn't progressing, and WWE has wasted the momentum he created as Mizdow.

    And an Ascension win is fine if it's meant to elevate them. The way this victory unfolded failed to do that.

Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler

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    After Dolph Ziggler's first onslaught, Sheamus walked with a limp. The Celtic Warrior responded by leaving Ziggler dealing with his own leg pain, focusing on his foe's left knee.

    Each man doled out punishment in the even matchup. Sheamus employed his grinding, bruising style; Ziggler used his speed to stun the powerhouse.

    Sheamus slowed Ziggler with his signature power moves but grew frustrated as none of them were enough to keep The Showoff down.

    It took a headbutt that left Ziggler busted open and a Brogue Kick to end the fight.

    Result

    Sheamus wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ziggler hits a series of running forearms to Sheamus' head.

    Ziggler rubs his bare butt cheek onto Sheamus' face.

    After a headbutt, Ziggler's forehead is covered in blood.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    Great intensity and back-and-forth action powered an impressive opening bout. Ziggler and Sheamus' chemistry gets better the more they work together.

    Had they been asked to go on longer, this would have gotten closer to classic status.

    As it stands, it looks like it sets up a rubber match with massive potential. Put these guys in a cage at Money in the Bank and wait for the fireworks to fly.

The New Day vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (2-out-of-3 Falls)

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    Credit: WWE.com

    The New Day riled up the Baltimore crowd by reminding them how long it's been since it had won the World Series. The champs then remained cocky as the bout began, ganging up on Cesaro.

    It didn't take long for Cesaro and Tyson Kidd to notch the first fall, though. They used a Cesaro Swing and dropkick combo to get a three-count.

    Kofi Kingston and Big E soon had Kidd in their corner, taking turns wearing him down. After knocking Cesaro They hit a double-team move of their own to even the match at one fall apiece.

    The pace picked up. Xavier Woods slipped in undetected to halt the challengers' momentum and gain the decisive pin for his team.

    Result

    The New Day wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Big E points out Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles in the crowd, inciting a "Let's go O's!" chant.

    "You don't have to be losers forever. Just clap along with us."—Woods.

    Kidd flips over the top rope to avoid Big E.

    Big E hits a release German suplex to Kidd on the floor.

    Big E spears Cesaro off the apron.

    Kidd dropkicks Kingston in midair.

    "We are well aware."—Woods, in response to "This is awesome chants!"

    "He's got a bag full of uppercuts. Cesaro's going to use them all."—John "Bradshaw" Layfield.

    Kidd throws Kingston in the air; Cesaro swats him down with an uppercut.

    Grade

    A

    Analysis

    This is the best The New Day has looked to date. The wrestling stable thrives opposite Cesaro and Kidd, but beyond that, collectively members are extremely effective as antagonists on the mic.

    Using Woods in the third fall was a nice touch. It plays to the fact that the champions are willing to cheat, making them seem crafty and softening the blow of defeat for Cesaro and Kidd.

    The tag team division lacks depth, but the top feud is most certainly delivering. Count on WWE returning to this well a few more times.

Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt

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    A split crowd watched on as Ryback pounced on Bray Wyatt early. The powerhouse charged like a bull; Wyatt looked to slip out of his way and failed.

    The Eater of Worlds changed strategies. He turned things around by emulating a freight train and running over Ryback.

    Wyatt then slowed the bout, torturing his opponent like a spider chewing on an insect stuck in his web. 

    When The Big Guy rallied back, he had sustained so much punishment that he hurt even when he was on the offensive. A splash left him clutching his ribs. Crashing into an exposed turnbuckle left him vulnerable for Wyatt's Sister Abigail.

    Result

    Wyatt wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Ryback's a block of granite. Wyatt just played Michelangelo and started carving him up."—John "Bradshaw Layfield.

    Wyatt hits a senton off the ring apron, leaving Ryback gasping.

    Ryback hits a splash off the top rope.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    This hard-hitting clash is well worth re-watching. Both Wyatt and Ryback left themselves on the mat. Their effort and chemistry created great action.

    Having such little pre-match story hurts this, though.

    WWE needs to narrow the focus of why Wyatt is after Ryback and do a better job of building anticipation. It needs to step up the narrative outside of the ring overall. The gladiators inside it are certainly doing their part.

John Cena vs. Rusev ('I Quit' Match for United States Championship)

6 of 9

    Rusev failed to get John Cena to quit before the match began. He only angered him with the suggestion.

    The Bulgarian Brute overpowered Cena early. Dropkicks, forearm shots and power moves had the champion reeling. Cena, though, kept pushing away the microphone when the referee asked him if he wanted to quit. 

    The crowd chanting for Lana distracted Rusev, which opened the door for Cena to fight back. 

    Rusev thwarted the comeback. He flung Cena into the ring steps which left the steel bent. The champ responded with another rally, though.

    It was then Rusev's turn to have referee Mike Chioda hold a mic in front of his face.

    The action moved outside the ring, where the guardrail and sound equipment came into play. The two men brawled, using everything in reach as weapons, including a table that refused to break when Rusev slammed him into it. Blood dripped from Cena's ear; electronics coughed up puffs of smoke.

    When they returned to the ring, Rusev attempted to use The Accolade to end things. Cena failed to power out of it. The move knocked the babyface out, and Rusev splashed water in his face to revive him.

    Cena wrapped the ring rope around Rusev's face and applied the STF until Lana called it quits for her client.

    Result

    Cena wins via submission.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "Swallow your American pride and say the words 'I quit' now, and I will spare the pain."—Rusev.

    Cena hits an Attitude Adjustment to Rusev on the steel steps.

    Cena barrels through Rusev to break down the security barrier.

    Cena whips Rusev with a laptop.

    Rusev gets caught in an pyrotechnic explosion.

    Rusev suplexes Cena into a steel railing.

    Rusev takes the top rope off the turnbuckle.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    The final chapter of this feud was a mixed bag, much like the feud as a whole.

    There was too much of the referee asking Cena if he wanted to quit in the early going. Rusev had barely begun to hurt him at that point. Later on, they went to that angle in excess, hurting the pace of the match.

    It was painfully slow at times and lacked intensity in spite of all the big spots. 

    WWE was smart to have Rusev take such a beating and still not quit. But it makes no sense that Lana would be able to say "I quit" for Rusev. The stipulation states that Rusev had to say those words. The announcers were confused afterward, which is far from how you want a match to end.

The Bella Twins vs. Tamina Snuka and Naomi

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Nikki and Brie Bella looked strong in the opening moments. A cheap shot superkick from Tamina Snuka stunned Brie, though, shifting the momentum in the heels' favor.

    Naomi and Tamina kept Brie in their corner, keeping her grounded, nailing her with hard strikes. Brie managed to slip away to let her sister take over. Nikki didn't fare much better at first, though.

    Brie and Tamina brawled on the outside, Naomi pinned the Divas champ.

    Result

    Naomi and Tamina win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Nikki kicks out of the Rear View.

    Tamina throws Brie into the guardrail.

    Grade

    C-

    Analysis

    It was a good effort from the women here with the short amount of ring time they had. This felt, though, like the lead-up to something bigger. Naomi relied on a distracted Nikki to get a bit of a fluky win.

    The rivals' animosity looks to be just picking up between everyone involved.

    With some more attention from the WWE creative team in the next few weeks, the next chapter can be something more substantial. For now, this served as an appetizer to whatever's ahead.

Neville vs. Bad News Barrett

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    To Bad News Barrett, Neville must have looked like a blur as the match began. Neville stunned Barrett with his array of electric moves before the king caught him outside the ring and altered the fight to more of a grounded affair.

    Barrett dissected his opponent. Using a methodical pace, he looked to hurt Neville's back.

    The Man That Gravity Forgot rallied back, but Barrett derailed him each time. 

    When Neville looked to get on a sustained run, Barrett stood outside and purposely got counted out. The former leader of Nexus then went on the attack, flinging Neville into the guardrail and slipping back on his crown and cape.

    Neville got a measure of revenge, suplexing his foe before hitting Red Arrow.

    Result

    Neville wins by count-out.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    "I'm the bloody king!"—Barrett to the crowd.

    Neville corkscrews over the top rope onto Barrett.

    Grade

    C-

    Analysis

    Their third clash was not as good as their previous efforts by a long shot.

    The cheap finish certainly didn't help, but the match itself wasn't stellar. The slip-ups outnumbered the highlights. Moves failed; moves were off-line.

    Neville's fun offense and a solid in-ring story made this a decent bit of entertainment. WWE is likely to keep this feud going as this was far from a climax.

    Barrett, though, would be better off squashing other folks to take advantage of his King of the Ring win. Neville needs to be tangling with someone he can get some real wins over.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE World Title)

9 of 9

    Seth Rollins found himself in the sights of Randy Orton, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose as the bell rang. Chaos saved him, though. J&J Security jumped in, and a massive brawl broke out.

    No one had a clear advantage before Ambrose and Reigns decided to work together. They pounded on Rollins until Kane got involved.  

    The Director of Operations whipped Rollins' foes outside the ring; the world champ handled Ambrose on the inside.

    The narrative shifted soon after with Orton looking to pin Rollins, Kane trying to prevent anyone from defeating the champ and Ambrose dealing with J&J Security. Outside, The Shield reunited just long enough to take out Orton. Rollins then became the victim of his former partners.

    That left Reigns and Ambrose alone in a battle of babyfaces.

    Rollins stopped them from deciding the next champion themselves. Kane and Orton reinserted themselves in an increasingly destructive contest.

    It took some more help from his security team and Kane, in addition to Rollins borrowing a move from Triple H to walk out of that fray still champion.

    Result

    Rollins retains via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    Reigns flies out of the ring onto a mass of wrestlers.

    "Ambrose, he's playing with house money."—Micheal Cole.

    Ambrose hits a nasty rebound clothesline before tagging Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble.

    Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns gang up on Orton and triple-powerbomb him through a table.

    Ambrose and Reigns powerbomb Kane onto Rollins, breaking a table underneath them.

    "I don't want to do this."—Reigns to Ambrose, signaling a Superman punch.

    Orton hits an RKO to both members of J&J Security.

    Rollins hits a Pedigree.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    The Fatal 4-Way eventually morphed into something great, but it had less impressive beginnings. Kane being so involved in the story and the match dragged it down. It took the focus off the men seeking the title.

    Some of this was overbooked, clunky. When it leaned on the subplots surrounding Ambrose, Reigns and Rollins' past as The Shield, however, it kicked into high gear. 

    In the end, fans got a number of memorable moments, including a brief reunion of that stable. Rollins using Triple H's finisher promises to lead to something interesting moving forward.

    Keeping the belt on Rollins was the right move as well. He needs to take on Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. That's too good of a match to pass up.

    WWE is going to need to be creative with Rollins' challengers from Payback, though. Reigns can't battle Kane forever; Orton needs a new foil.