By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Aired August 30, 2020 live on WWE Network and pay-per-view
Aired live from Orlando, Florida at Amway Center
WWE Payback Kickoff Show match result: Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott defeated “The IIconics” Peyton Royce and Billie Kay in 9:00.
A Payback video package opened the show…
1. Apollo Crews vs. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP, Shelton Benjamin) for the U.S. Championship. The Raw broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe were on commentary. A pre-taped MVP promo aired. MVP and Benjamin sat in office chairs at ringside and rooted for Lashley.
Lashley picked up Crews and dropped him over the top rope a few minutes into the match. Lashley followed to ringside where he hoisted up Crews on his shoulders and then ran him into the ring post. Lashley rolled Crews back inside the ring, followed, and covered him for a two count.
Crews came back with a leaping kick to the back of Lashley’s head. Lashley cut him off and then performed a Dominator. Lashley covered Crews in cocky fashion and then counted along with the referee’s count until Crews kicked out. Crews connected with another kick to the head and then performed a cross body block from the middle rope.
Crews fired up and threw shoulders and punches at Lashley in the corner. Crews performed a spinebuster and followed with a standing moonsault for a two count. Crews tried to press Lashley over his head, but Lashley escaped. Crews performed a pair of German suplexes on Lashley. Crews went up top and frogsplashed Lashley for a good near fall at 8:15.
Lashley rallied with a one-armed slam. Lashley waited for Crews to get up and then applied the Full Lashley (Full Nelson). Crews quickly tapped out.
Bobby Lashley defeated Apollo Crews in 9:30 to win the U.S. Championship.
A cameraman was at ringside and they showed still shots of Lashley, MVP, and Benjamin celebrating the win. Crews attacked them and left the ring. The broadcast team assumed that he wasn’t happy with the way they were celebrating. Crews barked that he’ll get a rematch and isn’t done yet…
Powell’s POV: A good opener. Crews got a decent amount of offense before Lashley put him away. It will be interesting if the company takes care of Crews or if he ends up spending more time in catering, just as MVP’s character threatened would happen if he dropped the title.
After some ads, the Smackdown broadcast team of Michael Cole and Corey Graves checked in. They set up footage from Friday’s show of the Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman reveal at the end of Smackdown…
Kayla Braxton stood outside the locker room of Roman Reigns. Paul Heyman was about to enter the room when she asked him how he was able to squirrel his way in. Heyman took issue with the question. He said that if he has to recite his resume after all these years then they were wasting each other’s time. She asked if Reigns would sign the contract. Heyman recalled Reigns saying he would sign the contract and said he has every reason to believe that he will…
Keith Lee was shown warming up for his match in his locker room when JBL joined him. JBL tried to give him some hedge fund info that costs a million dollars to join. Lee said he didn’t have those types of resources. JBL said he would if he beat Orton. JBL spoke of Orton as one of the greatest ever, then wished Lee good luck…
Cole set up footage from Talking Smack of the latest Miz and Big E debate…
Powell’s POV: Dot Net reader Greg pointed out that there are no LED boards or ring post casings. They usually scrap them for certain gimmick matches, but there’s nothing advertised that would require a change. So it will be interesting to see why they made the switch for this show.
2. Big E vs. Sheamus. Cole and Graves were on commentary. Sheamus dominated the early offensive and targeted Big E’s left knee. Sheamus eventually went to the ropes and leapt at E, who suplexed him. E followed up with a second suplex and set up for a third, but Sheamus headbutted him. Big E came right back with a uranage slam for a two count.
Sheamus caught Big E with a knee as he was going for his spear through the ropes. Sheamus went back on the offensive for a couple minutes. E rallied and speared Shemaus through the ropes and both men tumbled to ringside. E set up for his finisher, but Sheamus slipped out and applied a heel hook. E punched his way free. Sheamus blasted E with a knee to the head and then fell onto E for a near fall.
Sheamus waited in the corner. Once Big E got to his feet, Sheamus went for the Brogue Kick, but E hoisted him up and slammed him down with a powerbomb. E followed up with The Big Ending and scored the pin…
Big E beat Sheamus in 12:20.
After the match, Big E approached Graves. He pointed at the ring and yelled that if you don’t feel that, you don’t feel me. Big E told Graves to tell the viewers. E walked past Sheamus, who was sitting against the apron. E walked to the stage and said, “I told you people”…
Powell’s POV: If you listened closely, you may have been able to hear Jim Ross calling this a hoss fight even though he works for another company. It was a well worked match. The production team is getting a little more bold with the audio. For instance, they had a “New Day rocks” audio clip that they worked in at one point.
New broadcast team member Alyse Ashton interviewed Matt Riddle. She asked how motivated he was to beat King Corbin. Riddle called her “bro” and said he’s always motivated. Riddle said Corbin is afraid that he’ll take his crown. He said that’s exactly what he’ll do. Ashton said Corbin stated earlier that he will prove that Riddle is a failure in the ring and added that he’s already proven to be a failure at home. Riddle’s facial expression changed and he walked away without responding…
Powell’s POV: Well, I didn’t expect that to become part of the storyline.
Backstage, Nia Jax told Shayna Baszler that they would beat Sasha Banks and Bayley if she follows her lead. Baszler said they would win if Jax stays out of her face. They poked and shoved, then cooler heads prevailed…
3. Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin. Corbin was carried to the ring on his throne. Cole and Graves were on the call. Cole read the full Corbin quote about Riddle having already proven that he’s a failure at home. Graves said Corbin is already living in the mind of Riddle. Corbin clotheslined Riddle as he was about to flip off his flip-flops. The referee separated them, checked on Riddle, and called for the bell to start the match.
Corbin jumped out to a fast start coming off the pre-match attack. Riddle eventually caught Corbin in a sleeper. Corbin stood up with Riddle on his back and then flung him off to break the hold. Corbin went back on the offensive for a few minutes until Riddle caught him with a kick to the head. A short time later, Riddle delivered another kick, then threw running forearms in the corner. Riddle performed a Bro-ton and a lousy running knee that resulted in a two count.
Riddle delivered some kicks to the chest of Corbin. They traded punches. Riddle got the better of it and then threw another kick to Corbin’s gut. Corbin punched Riddle and fell to the mat to sell the punch. Corbin ended up getting a near fall and showed frustration over not getting the pin. Corbin threw punches at Riddle, who caught him in a triangle. Corbin pulled him up. Riddle released the hold and threw another kick to the gut. Riddle performed a Bro to Sleep and followed up with a Floating Bro and scored the pin…
Matt Riddle defeated King Corbin in 10:55.
Powell’s POV: The broadcast team framed Riddle’s kicks to the gut as potential liver kicks. They also labeled this as the biggest win of Riddle’s career. Much like the previous match, the heel got a lot of offense, but the babyface got the win.
After an ad, Riddle was shown walking backstage and saying that he was on to greener pastures. The new interviewer asked him how it felt. Before he could fully answer, Corbin attacked him from behind and left him lying…
The broadcast team set up a highlight package on Sasha Banks and Bayley’s title reign…
4. Sasha Banks and Bayley vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. Jax was going to start the match and once again told Baszler to follow her lead. Baszler tagged herself into the match to start instead. Baszler roughed up Banks to start and then stepped on her fingers. Banks tagged out and was tossed to ringside.
Baszler applied a hammerlock on Bayley. Banks tried and failed to pull Jax from the apron, but Bayley ran Baszler into Jax, who fell to the floor and sold a knee injury. Banks and Bayley picked up Baszler and dropped her to the mat awkwardly. Banks dove at Jax, who caught her and flung her into the barricade. Baszler tagged in Jax, who tossed Bayley around.
Banks clipped the knee of Jax while the ref was caught up with Baszler. Jax was isolated by the champions. Jax eventually made the tag while dragging Bayley by one of her legs. A short time later, Jax was back in the ring and went for a powerbomb on Banks, who performed a facebuster.
Bayley tagged in and went up top. Banks tagged in before Bayley performed an elbow drop on Jax. Banks followed up with a frogsplash on Jax and covered her, but Jax kicked out strong. Baszler made a blind tag before the champs performed a double back body drop on Jax. Baszler tied up Banks in a leg lock and simultaneously applied a Kirifuda Clutch on Bayley, who tapped out.
Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defeated Sasha Banks and Bayley in 10:20 to win the WWE Women’s Tag Titles.
After the match, Banks and Bayley sat dejected on the floor while Charly Caruso interviewed the new champions. Baszler said she and Jax are definitely not best friends, while Jax did an over the top celebration…
Powell’s POV: I’m not sure how they want viewers to feel about the title change. The heel duo of Banks and Bayley lost the titles, but the heel duo of Baszler and Jax won the titles. At least I think Baszler is a heel? I’m not seven sure anymore. This was my least favorite match of the main card, but there was more good than bad.
After some advertising, the Raw broadcast team set up a video package on Randy Orton, Keith Lee, and Drew McIntyre…
5. Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton. Cole, Saxton, and Joe were on commentary. Lee wore the black spandex shirt again, but he wore green spandex shorts rather than the black gym shorts he wore on Raw. Lee charged Orton, who moved, causing Lee to run shoulder first into the ring post a couple minutes into the match. Orton followed up by performing a side slam onto a broadcast table.
Back inside the ring, Orton applied the Chinlock of Doom. Once Lee was free, he delivered a shoulder block that sent Orton to ringside. Lee followed and dumped Orton onto the broadcast table. Lee threw Orton back inside the ring. When Lee followed, Orton kicked him and then delivered a draping DDT.
Orton looked to the ThunderDome virtual fans and then struck the Viper’s Pose. Orton went for the RKO, but Lee stuffed it and hit a Spirit Bomb and scored the clean pin…
Keith Lee defeated Randy Orton in 6:40.
Powell’s POV: That’s more like it. Lee’s Raw debut was disappointing, but they gave him the big pay-per-view win over Orton. I wonder if this is leading to Drew McIntyre vs. Lee vs. Orton in a Triple Threat at Clash of Champions. Either way, I hope they put Lee in the ring with someone who can bring out the best in him on Raw so that viewers who are unfamiliar with him will get a chance to see what he can do.
Backstage, Kayla Braxton caught up with a smiling Paul Heyman and asked about Roman Reigns’ status. Heyman ran through the promises that Reigns made, including that he would end the night WWE Universal Champion. Heyman said you can believe that and you can believe him. “Satisfied?” Heyman asked…
The Raw broadcast team put over Lee’s win and then shifted the focus to setting up a video package on the tag team match…
6. Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy. Dom ditched the bad hood from his gear. It looked like Rey was going to start the match, but Dom darted past him and Murphy and went after Rollins when the bell rang. There was a stretch were Dom was isolated until he made a hot tag to Rey, who worked over Rollins around 10:00.
Mysterio went for a 619, but Rollins avoided it. Rollins went for a powerbomb. Rey rolled through and then delivered a kick to Rollins. Rey had Rollins pinned, but Murphy broke it up. Dom took out Murphy with a tornado DDT. Rollins hit a sling blade clothesline on Dom. Rey performed a top rope senton and then ran the ropes, but Rollins caught him and delivered a backbreaker.
A short time later, Rey went for a cross body block from the top rope only to be hit with double knees. Rollins superkicked a kneeling Rey and covered him for a near fall. Rey avoided a Stomp, but Rollins then slammed him face first to the mat and had him pinned until Dom broke it up.
Rollins and Murphy took Dom to ringside and ran him into the barricade. Rollins grabbed Rey and threw him into the barricade. The Myserios rallied. Dom slid his father under the bottom rope and Rey slid onto Rollins with a sunset bomb into the barricade. Dom hit a 619 on Muphy and followed up with a frogsplash and then got the pin.
Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio defeated Seth Rollins and Murphy in 16:00.
Rollins was pissed and stared a hole in Murphy afterwards. Rollins headed up to the ramp without Murphy, who sold against the barricade…
Powell’s POV: A really fun tag match. Dom hit the finishers of his father Rey and then his television father Eddie Guerrero to get the win. Funny. It will be interesting to see if there’s a split coming with Rollins and Murphy or if Seth’s anger will be forgotten on Raw.
The Hurt Business were shown laughing as they walked through the back together… Cole hyped Clash of Champions… A video package set up the main event…
7. “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Universal Title. The Fiend made his entrance. Once he was in the ring, Strowman attacked him out of nowhere. The bell rang to start the match without Reigns in the ring. The Fiend quickly regrouped and hit Sister Abigail on Strowman for a near fall just a minute into the match.
The Fiend uranage slammed Strowman through the ringside broadcast table. Alexa Bliss was shown watching the match on a backstage monitor. Fiend pulled the giant clown mallet out from underneath the ring. Strowman cut him off by throwing a chair at him and clubbing him onto the bottom piece of the ring steps. Strowman grabbed the mallet, but Fiend kicked him and hit Strowman’s chest with the mallet. Fiend laughed maniacally.
Fiend and Strowman fought to the stage. Strowman charged Fiend and they both tumbled off the stage and threw a covered table or two below. Both men returned to the ring. Fiend cut off Strowman on the ropes and superplexed him. The ring collapsed.
Roman Reigns’ entrance music played and he walked out with Paul Heyman. Reigns signed the contract while Heyman held the folder, then headed to the ring with a chair. Reigns wore the “Wreck Everyone & Leave” t-shirt along with black pants and boots. Reigns barked to get a referee out there. A ref showed up and Reigns tried to pin Fiend twice, and Strowman once, and got two counts each time.
Reigns went to ringside and grabbed the chair that he brought out, then returned to the ring and slammed it over the back of Strowman several times. Reigns covered Strowman for another two count. Reigns showed frustration over not getting the pin. Reigns picked up the chair and moved toward Fiend, who put him in the Mandible Claw. Reigns kicked Fiend below the belt to break the hold. Reigns speared and pinned Strowman to win the match…
Roman Reigns defeated Braun Strowman and “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in 12:40 in a Triple Threat match to win the WWE Universal Championship.
Powell’s POV: Meh. The superplex spot causing the ring to collapse felt hokey. Reigns waiting until deep into the match to sign the contract and then pick the bones was really predictable. I’m still looking forward to the Reigns heel run with Heyman, but this felt contrived and predictable. And it’s too bad because the rest of the main card was solid to good. Let me know what you thought of WWE Payback by voting for the best match and grading the overall show in our polls available on the main page.
ProWrestling.net Live returns on Monday at 3CT/4ET with Jason Powell and Johnny Fairplay taking your calls at PWAudio.net.
My god. Why does every Corbin feud have to continue even after the face has handily beaten him? If they don’t drag it out for two more months I guess it just isn’t a Corbin program.
I know how I feel about the Tag change. Either Bayley and Sasha alone are better than Shayna and Jax together, and I’ve zero interest in seeing two charisma vacuums with the titles. Hard pass.
If they would let Shayna be who she was in NXT, she would be awesome. Unfortunately, she is turning into the biggest NXT call up misuse since Asuka.
Biggest win of his career??? Beating the possum king means NOTHING.
That Lee/Orton match was very similar to Owens/Cena on Raw years back
Wait. I’m confused. Did Lashley win the title tonight or had Crews already dropped it? The chaos has been so distracting I’ve lost many storyline threads
Roman just needs to spear Wyatt. Goldberg showed that’s the way to beat Bray Wyatt in record time.
Good PPV overall. No problem with women’s tag title change as long as it leads to Banks face change. Roman did a Paul Heyman managed move as well in a Solid main event. Last two PPVs look to be building to future. Smackdown showed that outside of Rollins they clearly have better talent.
Jeez, are they trying to break the world record for number of matches with a frog splash in?