By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Payback Kickoff Show
Aired live August 30, 2020 on WWE Network and social media
Orlando, Florida at Amway Center
-The Kickoff Show was hosted on the floor of Amway Center by Charly Caruso, Booker T, Jerry Lawler, JBL, and Peter Rosenberg. Lawler said he was the not-so-good-looking replacement for Renee Young, but he wore bling on his t-shirt in her honor. Caruso said they can’t replace Young and already miss her.
-Caruso hyped WWE Clash of Champions for Sunday, September 27.
-The hosts ran through the WWE Payback lineup.
-A video package recapped “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt beating Braun Strowman to win the WWE Universal Championship at SummerSlam, which was followed by the return of Roman Reigns.
-The Reigns and Heyman relationship was discussed by the panelists. JBL said Heyman is among the worst people in the world, but he might be the greatest manager of all-time. He said that if Reigns wants to go on the Mount Rushmore of WWE then it’s wise to bring in Heyman. Lawler said he’s seen a lot of shocking things happen during his time with WWE. He said that Reigns returning at SummerSlam was shocking, but Reigns being seated next to Heyman was even more shocking. Rosenberg compared it to the first time Bobby Heenan was aligned with Andre the Giant.
-Footage aired of Randy Orton punt kicking Drew McIntyre on Raw, followed by McIntyre pulling Orton out of the ring during his match against Keith Lee. They also showed McIntyre being hauled away in an ambulance and the promo that Lee cut afterward.
-A video package spotlighted the WWE Women’s Tag Title feud involving champions Sasha Banks and Bayley and their challengers Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler.
-The panel discussed Apollo Crews’s feud with The Hurt Business, including his U.S. Title match with Bobby Lashley. R-Truth showed up and wondered when he was on Raw Talk. Caruso told him he was a day early. Truth said he was looking at his 2019 calendar. JBL informed Truth that he was live on TV. “Cut!” Truth said. He asked what they were talking about. They told him the U.S. Title match. Truth said he likes Apollo Crews, but Lashley put him in the “Nelson from The Simpsons.” Truth departed. Caruso said he’s her co-host for Raw Talk and she loves him, but there’s a couple of screws loose.
-After a brief ad, Caruso said she ran into Big E backstage and he’s ready for Sheamus. Footage aired from Talking Smack of a Big E and Miz debate. Rosenberg mentioned how much he likes Big E. Booker said he likes his neighbor, but he doesn’t have any championships. JBL said they have mindless robots who can’t draw money, but Big E is a future world champion regardless of what he wears. Booker said it’s about checks and championships. He said it’s about making the people believe.
-A video package focused on the Rey and Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy feud.
-The panel briefly focused on the Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin match. JBL asked how many kings they have (one too many).
1. Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott vs. “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay. The Raw broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe were on the call. The IIconics came out second and spoke as they walk to the ring and said they tried to warn Morgan about who Riott really is.
Early in the match, Riott chased Royce to ringside and ran into a kick from Kay, who rolled her into the ring and covered her for a two count. Riott was isolated. Kay taunted Morgan, who screeched “Shut up” at her multiple times. There was an spot where Royce knocked Morgan off the apron, then Kay tried to convince Morgan that Riott was actually responsible for hitting her.
Morgan acted like she was upset and confused, then hopped onto the apron and took a tag from Riott. Morgan worked over both opponents. Riott checked back in and was hit by the Deja Vu finisher, but Morgan broke up the pin attempt. The IIconics tried to hit the same moveon Morgan, who avoided it. Riott tagged in. Morgan hit double knees on Kay, then Riott connected with a Riott Kick on Kay and pinned her…
Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott defeated “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay in 9:00.
Powell’s POV: Well, that happened. If you missed it, there’s a good chance you’ll see a rematch a few more times on future Raw episodes. Creative keeps trying to tell the story that Morgan might not be able to trust Riott, but it just hasn’t been compelling.
-After a brief ad, Riott and Morgan joined the Kickoff Show panel. Morgan said she was confused for a second and thought Riott hit her. Riott said she’s tried to tell her that the IIconics were trying to tear them apart. They both proclaimed that the Riott Squad is back.
-The panel ran through the pay-per-view lineup again. They set up a video package on Drew McIntyre beating Randy Orton to retain the WWE Championship at SummerSlam, Orton’s punt kicks on Raw, and the involvement of Keith Lee.
-The hosts spoke about the Orton vs. Lee match. Lawler said Orton suffered a hairline fracture of the jaw from the punt kick. Caruso said it was great news since it wasn’t a fractured skull. They wrapped up the Kickoff Show.
Join me for live coverage of the WWE Payback main card in a separate story on the main page.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...