WWE Payback 2017 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterApril 30, 2017

WWE Payback 2017 Results: Winners, Grades, Reaction and Highlights

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Braun Strowman reigned at WWE Payback 2017.

    Even on a night where Alexa Bliss had the performance of her career, Bray Wyatt crushed Randy Orton with a refrigerator and Chris Jericho walked away with another championship.

    Sunday's pay-per-view saw Superstars overcome blase builds. The Raw-branded event delivered a number of quality in-ring dramas. Seth Rollins, Bliss, The Hardys and Neville were among those who thrived in San Jose, California. 

    Even so, Strowman once again forced the post-event discussion toward him.

    He and Roman Reigns tore each other apart in Payback's main event. And in a surprising move, WWE chose to showcase Strowman, even above The Big Dog. The Monster Among Men walked out of the PPV with momentum to spare.

    Read on for a full look at the night's high and lows, from the pre-show bout to Strowman leaving Reigns bloody.

Big Cass and Enzo Amore vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson (Pre-Show)

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    The Realest Guys in the Room kicked things off with their usual banter.

    Enzo Amore recalled Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows attacking him. Big Cass listed types of Chinese food.

    Once the bell rang, Amore went after the heels aggressively. Anderson and Gallows, though, took down the trash-talker and beat him up in their corner. The Club kept Amore away from his partner for a long stretch.

    Cass eventually stormed in, bowling over Anderson and Gallows.

    When The Club looked ready to close in on a victory later, Amore rolled up Gallows for the win.

    Result

    Amore and Cass win via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Amore tells The Club they'll end the match with "a pupu platter in their pants."
    • "The Mets could have used him today."—Michael Cole on Cass.
    • Anderson blasts Amore off the ring apron.

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    Classic tag team psychology led to solid action. Cass added fire to the bout. The heels looked strong for the most part.

    The fluky win is a clear sign this feud is continuing. It hasn't been a memorable one so far, unfortunately.

    Amore and Cass' act has devolved into grade-school humor and listing things. WWE has been inconsistent in painting Anderson and Gallows as formidable foes. Something needs to change in a hurry.

Miz TV with Finn Balor

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    Before welcoming Finn Balor, The Miz talked up the former universal champion. 

    Balor's long entrance annoyed the host. They talked about The Balor Club and whether The Miz belonged in it. The Miz played up Balor's accomplishments before trying to tear him down.

    Balor promised to win back the universal title.

    After things got tense, Balor said he'd rather not attack The Miz, but the heel egged him on. Balor responded with a Sling Blade.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "Are you done? Because that was a five-minute entrance."—The Miz.
    • "Do you feel like a failure?"—The Miz.
    • "Brock Lesnar will break you in half. Hell, I'd wipe the floor with you."—The Miz.

    Grade

    C+

    Analysis

    The Miz did well to talk up Balor. The segment teased the possibility of Brock Lesnar vs. Balor, set the stage for a potential Balor-Miz feud and made the babyface look cool in the process.

    Still, this didn't feel PPV worthy.

    It was good of WWE to find a spot on the card for Balor. The interview, though, only partially made up for the fact that The Demon King is treading water right now, and that he's now gone two PPVs in a row without a match.

Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho (United States Championship)

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    Kevin Owens tried to escape early, but Chris Jericho pulled him back into the fray. KO, though, regained control and throttled his former friend outside the ring.

    Slowing the pace, Owens kept Jericho grounded and overwhelmed him with a methodical offense.

    Jericho rallied back but was unable to put away the champ. He resorted to trying to break Owens' finger. The strategy worked, as Owens was unable to escape the Walls of Jericho thanks to the injured hand.

    Result

    Jericho wins via pinfall to win the U.S. title.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Owens smashes Jericho's head into the ring post.
    • Jericho hits Owens with a long string of chops.
    • Jericho counters a pop-up powerbomb with a hurricanrana.
    • Owens escapes defeat by putting a finger on the ropes a la WrestleMania.

    Grade

    B

    Analysis

    The bout featured a grinding pace much like their WrestleMania 33 encounter. Its aggression wasn't befitting of their storyline hatred of each other. Jericho's win wasn't as explosive as it should have been as a result.

    The callback to WrestleMania involving Owens' finger was great.

    The foes had good chemistry, too. The performers certainly did their part.

    The result, though, was odd. Jericho will now move to SmackDown with the title despite going on tour with Fozzy soon, and Owens' reign ended far soon, long before he could do anything with the gold.

Neville vs. Austin Aries (Cruiserweight Championship)

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    Neville and Austin Aries traded the advantage in a hard-hitting bout.

    The champion gloated as he went on the attack. Aries withstood his best shots and had Neville reeling. They both flew at each other, maintaining a rapid pace.

    Aries tore off his elbow pad as he went on a tear. He looked ready to claim the title when Neville bowled over the referee to get purposely disqualified.

    Result

    Aries wins via disqualification; Neville retains the title.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Both foes collide in the corner and tumble to the mat.
    • Aries sends Neville flying off the ring apron.
    • Aries hits a sunset flip powerbomb. 
    • Neville grabs the referee's hand to avoid tapping out.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    The cruiserweight looked determined to steal the show.

    They delivered a high-octane pace marked by violent strikes and seething emotion. The ending showed more vulnerability than we've seen from Neville in a long while. 

    Neville and Aries now head into the next chapter of their story with plenty of sparks around them. This is building to quite the climax. 

The Hardys vs. Cesaro and Sheamus (Raw Tag Team Championship)

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    Matt and Jeff Hardy worked over Cesaro in the early going. Sheamus helped the challengers even things up.

    Teamwork from Cesaro and Sheamus left Jeff hurting.

    Jeff risked his body to take down his foes. He flew around the ring to clear the way for his brother.

    After the match picked up speed and intensity, Sheamus believed he had the match won. Jeff, though, nailed him with a Swaton Bomb from behind to put him away.

    After the match, Cesaro and Sheamus raised The Hardy's hands in victory. They followed up with an attack that left the champs out cold.

    Result

    The Hardys win via pinfall to retain the tag team titles.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Jeff tumbles awkwardly through the ropes and out onto the floor.
    • Sheamus appears to kick a tooth out of Jeff's mouth.
    • Jeff hits Poetry in Motion to both opponents.
    • Sheamus hits White Noise from the second rope.
    • "This is personal. This is bad blood overflowing."—Corey Graves.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    Good performances all around offset a poor build. Electricity grew after a stagnant start. A number of near-falls added drama.

    The babyface-against-babyface dynamic has limited the animosity between the teams, but that will now change. The Europeans are now a better fit as foils after embracing their dark side.

Bayley vs. Alexa Bliss (Raw Women's Championship)

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    In front of her hometown crowd, Bayley knocked Alexa Bliss around to kick things off. 

    The challenger took control after a thunderous forearm. Bliss slowed the bout down, punishing Bayley with a merciless attack. She gloated as she smothered the champ with strikes and yanked on her hair.

    A gutsy comeback from Bayley had Bliss on the ropes.

    A diving elbow drop couldn't put The Wicked Witch away. And after crashing into the ring post, Bayley struggled to stand. 

    Bliss took advantage with a DDT for the win.

    Result

    Bliss wins via pinfall to capture the Raw women's title.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • The San Jose fans go wild for Bayley.
    • "That sounded like a puck hitting the floor."—Cole on Bliss' forearm to Bayley.
    • Bliss hits a sunset flip powerbomb after avoiding a top-rope Bayley-to-Belly Suplex.
    • Bayley hits a loud running knee strike.

    Grade

    A-

    Analysis

    What a star-making performance from Bliss. 

    This was her top effort to date. She was nasty, focused and cocky. She compelled throughout. And Bayley now has a rival who brings out the best in her.

    This was a surprising move to crown Bliss so early after her move to Raw. It's a sign that WWE is all in on her. She continues to make the company smart for backing her.

Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe

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    Seth Rollins couldn't evade Samoa Joe's strikes as the match began. 

    The Kingslayer relied on his high-flying offense to battle back. That only lasted until Joe went after Rollins' knee. The Destroyer then picked his foe apart, leaving him hobbled.

    A heroic effort allowed Rollins to stave off defeat and stun Joe.

    Rollins and Joe traded shots until The Destroyer tried to clamp on the Coquina Clutch. The Architect managed to roll over his foe while within the hold and get a three-count.

    Result

    Rollins wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Rollins hits a flying clothesline from the security barricade.
    • Joe sends Rollins crashing through the announce tables.
    • Joe hits a senton onto Rollins' knee.

    Grade

    B+

    Analysis

    An intense, dramatic battle was a few notes short of being truly excellent.

    Joe attacking the knee, much like Triple H did at WrestleMania, provided easy, effective drama. This is something WWE can't overuse moving forward, but it worked here.

    A lack of hype beforehand made this contest feel less electric than it would have otherwise, though.

    The finish suggests that we won't have to wait long to see the sequel, though. With a better build leading up to it, Joe vs. Rollins II could be special. 

Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton (House of Horrors)

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    Randy Orton showed up to a creepy house by way of a limousine. 

    Bray Wyatt awaited him inside. The Eater of Worlds beat him on him as he taunted him. Orton soon found himself wandering through an abandoned house filled with macabre artifacts. 

    The enemies brawled in the kitchen.

    Wyatt moved to the outside where rode the limo back to the arena. When he arrived, Orton was there waiting to strike.

    The Viper and Wyatt battled at ringside with steel chairs in hand.

    The Singh Brothers ambushed Orton. Jinder Mahal soon followed suit. Wyatt pounced afterward to get an easy win.

    Result

    Wyatt wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • "You took everything from me. I'm going to take everything from you."—Wyatt.
    • "Welcome to hell, Randy."—Wyatt.
    • Wyatt pushes a fridge onto Orton.
    • Orton DDTs Wyatt off the announce table.
    • Mahal attacks Orton with the WWE title.

    Grade

    C

    Analysis

    The first half of House of Horrors was a refreshing change of pace. It was dark, different, with a touch of horror-movie atmosphere. 

    Some fans surely laughed at its weirdness, but it worked for the most part, as cheesy as it got at times. It ventured well outside the box and gave fans a number of images to remember.

    The climax, though, hurt it. Mahal's inclusion hurt the power of Wyatt's win and made this battle feel like a warm-up to the Backlash title bout between Mahal and Orton. 

    This could have been a career-defining moment for Wyatt but fizzled out in its third act instead. 

Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns

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    A bandaged Reigns tagged Strowman with right hands. The monster responded with a barrage of power moves.

    Strowman charged into Reigns, hurling him around the ringside area.

    The Big Dog struggled for air as he fought back, evaded the big man and extended the battle. Strowman was able to kick out after a spear. Reigns couldn't do the same thing after two powerslams.

    After the bell, Strowman attacked Reigns with ring steps. 

    Result

    Strowman wins via pinfall.

    Memorable Moments and Quotes

    • Strowman catches Reigns in midair and flings him into the security guardrail.
    • "What do you do when you look out at your yard and see a Kodiak bear sitting on it?"—Graves.
    • Strowman's kick-out sends Reigns onto his feet.
    • "Reigns is in survival mode tonight."—Cole.
    • Strowman blocks a spear attempt with a boot to the sternum.
    • Fans chant "Thank you, Strowman!"

    Grade

    A

    Analysis

    A hard-hitting meeting of titans lived up to all of its hype. 

    Strowman looked like an absolute beast; Reigns came off as a badass with guts to spare. The image of Reigns clutching his ribs as he stumbled up the entrance ramp was a powerful one, as was Strowman towering over his fallen prey. 

    This didn't just set up a future rematch; it made the possibility of them colliding again a mighty enticing one. 

    WWE wisely took advantage of Strowman's momentum here. He remains Raw's top commodity right now, and this victory is recognition of that.