05/01 Powell’s WWE Payback Kickoff Show coverage – Kalisto vs. Ryback for the U.S. Championship

paybackkickoffBy Jason Powell

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WWE Payback 2016 Kickoff Show
Aired live on WWE Network and social media
Chicago, Illinois at Allstate Arena

The broadcast team of Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Lawler, and Corey Graves checked in from their desk, which was set up on the floor of Allstate Arena. Graves said it was more electric than usual backstage and he said we are on the verge of something special. Graves gave a shout out to his son over a sports accomplishment and then his picture was shown…

Greg Hamilton was in the social media lounge and said he would be joined in the whacking den by Sami Zayn later in the show. Graves said he looks forward to Tom Phillips returning to the social media lounge.

Powell’s POV: Well, at least we know Phillips survived the recent broadcast team changes. I was worried there for a moment.

The hosts discussed the McMahon family and who will control Raw… They shifted focus to the Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose feud and aired a video package… The hosts thanked the horrible artist who created the Payback theme… A Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles video package aired and focussed on the mystery surrounding Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows…

The panel discussed the Styles, Gallows, and Anderson situation. Graves said Styles is trying to fool everyone. Booker objected. Lawler said the match will be fun because it’s fun to boo Roman Reigns. He said if you don’t believe him, just listen to the crowd. Booker praised Reigns for taking the fans boos at WrestleMania. You know, like he had a choice. Lawler said Reigns would not be as good a champion as Reigns is. Booker said tonight is AJ’s night. Graves and Lawler predicted Reigns wins…

The hosts discussed the tag match briefly… Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton checked in from ringside as the pre-show broadcast team…

1. Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler. The Dre trophy was at ringside. Corbin and Ziggler jawed at one another. Ziggler threw punches, but Corbin ran Ziggler chest first into the corner and then put the boots to him. Corbin remained on the offensive for the next couple minutes and got a two count at one point. Ziggler started to come back only to run into the corner chest first again.

Later, Ziggler applied a sleeper, which Corbin eventually broke by back into the corner. They went to ringside where Ziggler leapt off the ring steps and into a kick from Corbin, who also ran him into the post. Back inside the ring, Corbin got a cocky as he toyed with Ziggler, who ended up rolling him up and pinning him clean…

Dolph Ziggler pinned Baron Corbin in 7:40.

Powell’s POV: I despise this finish. It’s sad that Ziggler means so little, but he is just a mid-card guy at this point. Losing to him brings Corbin down in the eyes of most fans. I have no doubt that Corbin will get his win back and probably even tomorrow night on Raw, but why not establish Corbin as an undefeated badass and eventually have him lose in a key match rather than on a worthless Kickoff show opener?

Sami Zayn was shown joining Hamilton, who has tamer hair, in the masturbation den… The hosts set up the Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens video package…

Zayn was interviewed by Hamilton, who asked him questions sent in by fans. Zayn said he looked up to Bret Hart when he was a fan. Zayn said he and Owens have fought before and mended the fence before, but he said they’ve never fought like this before. He said never say never when it came to mending fences again. Zayn was asked if he has any regrets about his friendship with Owens. He said he wishes things were different between them, but they wouldn’t be here now if things hadn’t played out the way they did…

2. Kalisto vs. Ryback for the U.S. Championship. Ryback knelt down and checked his watch just as another Chicago native did (CM Punk). Eden Stiles handled the in-ring introductions for the title match. Kalisto performed an early corkscrew plancha that looked impressive until Ryback had to reach out to catch him. They cut to break during the match. [C]

Ryback was dominant coming out of the break, but Kalisto came back with a DDT. Later, Kalisto performed a nice springboard off the second rope and into a DDT on the apron. At 6:05, Ryback went for a powerbomb, but Kalisto countered into a pin for a two count. Ryback went for Shellshocked a short time later, but Kalisto countered out of it. At 7:10, Ryback put Kalisto down with a spinebuster for a two count.

Ryback went to the ropes and Kalisto cut him off with a kick. Kalisto went after him, but Ryback recovered and gorilla pressed him while leaping off the top rope. Ryback went for a top rope splash, but Kalisto avoided it. Kalisto performed the Salida del Sol for the win…

Kalisto beat Ryback in 8:25 to retain the U.S. Championship.

Powell’s POV: An entertaining match. I just wish they would get serious about Kalisto as champion or take the title away. Is he a star or a guy who loses random tag matches and lots of non-title matches.

A shot aired of Mr. McMahon’s office door as the pre-show panel spoke. Graves gave big props to Ryback, and Lawler said it was the best match he’s seen Ryback have. The broadcast team made their entrances in the background as the hosts closed the show…

Join me on the main page for WWE Payback coverage…



The new edition of the Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features ProWrestling.net staffer John Moore returning for an in-depth discussion on NXT, AEW, Impact Wrestling, MLW, and the NWA, and more...


Readers Comments (2)

  1. Disagreed on the Ziggler/Corbin finish. I liked the idea of Ziggler winning because Corbin made the rookie mistake of taunting the crowd instead of going for the finish.

    Also, Kalisto should send Ryback a fruit basket because he most certainly could have saved his career and/or life with that catch. I’m not the biggest Ryback fans but that good looking out for his opponent on his part.

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