Payback 2016

WWE Payback 2016 – Reigns Retains and Enzo Injured

Last night the WWE declared it was time for a new era in sports entertainment. Unfortunately, a few of the worst things about the previous era loomed large over proceedings. Here are your three things.

What on earth happened to Enzo Amore?

So after the scene is set and the new era is ready to start the poster boy tag team of Enzo and Big Cass emerged to take on the Vaudevillians, themselves an exciting team from NXT, albeit with a difficult gimmick to pull off. This was a safe bet to get the PPV off to a crowd-pleasing start, letting Enzo and Cass win before setting up a feud with the New Day, present at ringside. Then the incident happened. Simon Gotch of the Vaudevillians threw Enzo towards the bottom rope. Now this was either to be a simple bail out of the ring, or a more severe bump against the ropes and bounce back into the ring. Whatever the case and whoever messed up, Amore went temple first into the extremely tight second rope, his head snapped back towards the ring and smashed off the ring apron on his way to the outside. Everyone knew this wasn’t a work and within minutes the match was called off and the medical team was on the scene. Enzo hadn’t moved and some say not even blinked. The tv coverage focussed on the announce team in a move not seen since the tragic death of Owen Hart. With Bret backstage, everyone was fearing the worst. The latest,is a severe concussion, but what actually happened? Was there a bit of needle from Gotch that they weren’t the team to be getting the shot or was it simple inexperience from all concerned. Unfortunately, it doesn’t help the storylines moving forward or Vince’s confidence in call-ups from NXT.

The Chicago Screw Job was every bit as bad as the Montreal one for different reasons

The Montreal screw job should be annexed from the history books of the WWE. It remains one of the most heinous acts in the history of wrestling and will forever be a black mark against everyone involved in the match. For the WWE to replay it here for comedy value shows a crass lack of tact and dignity for the sport itself. Obviously, the plan for this was run past both Hart and Flair and they must have been willing to go with it. When it was played out in front of a smart Chicago crowd it fell flat. There was no intervention, no result, and no reaction. People immediately thought of the previous screw job, which had such wide-reaching ramifications and ignored this disaster. In one creative decision the WWE has set the Women’s division back to the Diva days. Hopefully, this can be explained away on RAW but I doubt it. It leaves a sour taste when anyone references Montreal and to see another Hart have to go through the motions, playing along hurts real wrestling fans.

Roman Reigns managed to have a good match

Finally, Roman Reigns was allowed to have a match where he acknowledged the hostile crowd. I won’t say it was a heel turn but it was exactly what he needed. AJ Styles put on a masterclass in carrying a match, yet Reigns played his part well. He was the larger man so never got bullied, he used his power and big moves to  counter AJ’s. The spots where the superman punch and phenomenal forearm countered each other were highlights of the night. The match actually would have been better without the token interference of Anderson and Gallows and the Usos. But then again any match is better without the Usos at the minute. They cancelled each other out before catching both AJ and Reigns in high suicide spots out of the ring. At the end, as the commentary team correctly said it came down to one man hitting their move and in this case, it was Reigns. He won and couldn’t have cared less about the crowd. Exactly the attitude needed if he is to be a success. For AJ there will be another chance at the next PPV, however, the shadow of Seth Rollins looms large and we wait to see where the pieces will fall when he returns. AJ vs Rollins is the dream match, yet will any of them ever get to beat Reigns, who has still not been pinned clean since his split from the Shield.

That shocking statistic is the real problem with the WWE today.

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