And all of this wasn’t really surprising for me. Despite all my speculation during the last few reviews I was pretty sure that Seth Rollins would retain his title, The Shield wouldn’t re-unite and no-one would turn heel. Anything else would have been highly surprising and illogical for a Fatal-4-Way match. And now for a detailed report on this match plus a few thoughts on the forthcoming RAW.

Dean Ambrose_collage


Prologue: Shades of change
The main event of Payback started with a little four-minute vignette of storyline history that led to this Fatal-4-Way. One main focus was Kane who appeared like a thorn in Seth Rollins’ backside. And right before the match Kane met up with Rollins and J&J Security to wish him “good luck” with a smug grin into his face. So, Kane would be at ringside, still hadn’t make a decision who would get his help if needed but looked much like a man of change. And these kind of teasers are never a good sign. At least for a Pay-Per-View when the main focus is on as much viewers as possible.

Shades of The Shield – thankfully not for too long

Credit: stellarollins on Tumblr.
Credit: stellarollins on Tumblr.
It won’t come with no surprise that I’m not a huge fan of all that Shield reunion talk. Fangirls were crying and dieing about that Triple Powerbomb. But for me it was just cringy to see. Storyline wise it made no sense whatsoever. But after Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns made it clear to Seth Rollins that he won’t get another two lapdogs, it could be explained as “just let’s make a little fun of Seth Rollins; let’s make him think that we forgave him” – and WWE maybe did this to give the fangirls at least something. Not a very wise decision for my liking. Because now the fangirls want even more. Give them the little finger; now they want the whole Shield. But people seem to forget that still Roman Reigns is the chosen golden boy and is still built to create more chants for him than against him. So reuniting The Shield would be some kind of surrender to the fact that Roman Reigns will never be the undisputed face of the company.

It’s also baffling to me that people want to forget about Seth Rollins’ betrayal who broke up The Shield in the first place. And now he almost appeared like he would be glad to have it back. But Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns haven’t forgotten, so this Shield reunion wasn’t durable.

Also, for a Fatal-4-Way match there wasn’t enough heat between all four competitors. Either make Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns form a tag team (obviously I wouldn’t like it that much) or give them more reason to be just a bit angrier against each other for such a match. Yes, it’s about fun and showing great moves during a match basically but it’s still for a title, so I expect both of them go for it with just a little less love for their “brother”.

And then at the very end, when Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns finally went against each other, I wished that Reigns would have taken that smug grin out of his face. Yeah, commentary tried to explain it with “Reigns admires Ambrose because he survived just another pin by Reigns”. But for me it basically looked like, “look at this lunatic – he really thinks that he’s able to overcome the Superman”. Arrogant grin that has got nothing to do with love for his “brother” but amusement about Ambrose who takes a lot more punishment than needed to know that he can’t beat the Superman.

It’s also counterproductive for Reigns’ character, who is still supposed to be that lone wolf kind of guy, to alternately fanboy for Dean Ambrose (like he did when Ambrose made it clear to Rollins, that this Shield reunion wasn’t going to last long) and smug grinning arrogantly at him because… Superman. I haven’t seen Dean Ambrose out of character once during his matches. He’s always willing and able to tell a story from the first to the last bell ring. On the other side, Roman Reigns just doesn’t tell whole stories. He breaks out of them at a few points, when he’s proud of a certain move, he shows his pride – but most wrestlers do this, that’s not a huge mistake – then he likes to watch a few segments within a match like he’s just a spectator, not a competitor. Then it seems like he’s remembering a specific move sequence, so he’ll do it without decent built-up to it. And he’s just not good enough at believable selling. He can act beat up, there’s no doubt about it. But his change from almost dead to fresh like a young deer sometimes is just too sudden. You can act like fooling your opponent and then all of a sudden come to life as a surprise for your opponent and advantage for yourself. But that still has to look slightly believable for the audience.

Shades of Money In The Bank 2014

Credit: wrestling-giffer on Tumblr.
Credit: wrestling-giffer on Tumblr.
And to give a little break-down to the actual match: like almost every main event at a Pay-Per-View it had a decent length of 20:52 minutes. The early one-on-one fights happened to be between Rollins vs. Reigns and Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton. Of course, J&J Security were on ringside and they interfered from time to time but without much impact. Kane, of course, had the stronger spots and his interferences were more decisive for the outcome of this match. All in all Kane interfered thrice in this match. Once he chokeslammed Dean Ambrose onto the canvas. His most important interference happened after Dean Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds on Seth Rollins. That would have been the win for Ambrose but Kane grabbed one of Ambrose’s legs and pulled him out of the ring.

Once again Dean Ambrose had to take a lot during this match while Randy Orton wasn’t seen that much. At some point the action took place outside of the ring and after a little staring between all four men, Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns kicked down Orton to set him up for the Triple Powerbomb onto the announcers table of Michael Cole & Co. Then Ambrose and Reigns made it clear to Rollins that the reunion wouldn’t going to happen, so after a little beat-down Kane found himself Double Powerbombed onto Seth Rollins and the other announcers table – twice. Because the audience demanded, “one more time”.

After that Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns were the only two guys left, so they somehow decided to fight it out against each other inside the ring. A little stare down between the two was accompanied by “let’s go, Ambrose” chants. And finally both men went after each other. Now it happened what I’ve already written above: a smug grinning Reigns being all arrogant against an inferior Dean Ambrose. The final sequence happened like this:

  • Reigns spears Ambrose – Rollins makes the save;
  • Ambrose takes out Reigns with the lariat – Ambrose hits Dirty Deeds on Rollins – Kane makes the save;
  • Orton hits RKO on Noble, Mercury and Kane – Rollins hits Pedigree on Orton for the win to retain his title.

Epilogue: Shades of no change at all
Changes were teased long before this Pay-Per-View and especially Kane looked like there could be a different outcome than the usual and expected one. In the end there was the usual and expected one. And even worse: Kane cost Dean Ambrose another win. He cost him the win at Money In The Bank 2014 and he now cost him the win for getting the WWE World Heavyweight championship. If Dean Ambrose isn’t mad about this fact and won’t address this tonight at RAW, I’ll be heavily disappointed. I’d also be quite interested to hear from Kane what actually made him help Seth Rollins in the end.

Now with all these interferences during the match, it could be another Fatal-4-Way match at Elimination Chamber in just two weeks. If WWE goes this route they should step up the tension between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Because in the end, there’s only one WWE World Heavyweight championship belt. This isn’t a tag team match, so there shouldn’t be that much “bromance” between them. For a start, I would kind of like it if they’d have to go against each other tonight on RAW. “Kind of like it” because Roman Reigns certainly would be made strong while Dean Ambrose would sell the hell out of his punches and moves. And since this is the RAW after a Pay-Per-View, there could be the heel turn that some people expected for last night. I still hope that Reigns joins The Authority. Wouldn’t make much sense for his character, a.k.a One Versus All – but when was the last time the WWE really made sense?

4 thoughts on “Payback 15/05/17: The Shield isn’t back, no-one turned heel and Kane helped Seth Rollins to retain

  1. They are just stretching the storylines too much , aren’t they . Like when there was tension between Seth and Orton ’cause Orton had to fight Seth’s battles since they were a part of the same “Authority” and then the wait begins . He will turn on him tonight , next RAW , next month , …….. Until it happened . Seth took Orton out , OH , once Randy returns he will get his revenge . Randy will return this PPV , the next PPV …….. Randy returns . He will kill Seth . NOPE , Randy is OK with it , I mean your “Authority” partner taking you out for 2 or 3 months is not that big of a deal , yes !!! And tease after tease , and Randy gets his revenge on RAW , the revenge Dean never got , well , then Seth is fine enough to be there on the next RAW . And what does Randy need more … ???

    The same with Miz and Sandow , they just kept teasing it so much to the extent that you don’t care anymore ’cause you know nothing is gonna happen , Sandow is gonna get slapped on his face just to come back for more . Then , the feud is gonna end with the worst way possible and Sandow will continue to be anybody but himself . They wasted all those months of his career just to make him a failure all over again . It is sad .

    And that brings us to Kane and Seth , we all knew Seth was gonna retain . And no matter what they did to convince us he might get a taste of his own medicine , we will always remember that it was the same case at extreme rules , Kane acted all mad about Seth just for Seth to retain . Too much focus on Kane is just too much . Seth’s first title defence was all about the gate keeper “Kane” . Seth’s second title defence is all about Kane doing the exact same thing every single time , saving his job that he “doesn’t need it anymore” . And so on . And the ultimate result is : nobody cares about what they do . This 4 way match could have been much better , it could ‘ve been a classic if Kane wasn’t there from the get go . If it wasn’t all about Kane . But about the guys the champ once crossed one way or another . About them tearing each other apart to get to him . About “Payback” . If they convinced us that Seth is the least likely guy to walk out the champ . May be this is just too much for us to ask for .

    Peace .

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    1. That’s basically it. They often miss the right moment for something finally to happen. Like you’ve already pointed out a few examples. Miz vs Sandow was very disappointing. For how many times I’d sit there in front of my screen, hoping that it NOW will happen. But Sandow still did nothing. And what they do to him now is just ridiculous. He had such a great gimmick in FCW – that intellectual jerk kind of guy – I was hoping that this Sandow could come back. But instead they put him into just another guy of the past. I just don’t know what’s wrong with the original Sandow gimmick. Probably WWE doesn’t think that people are able to understand it. But he could be such a great heel character, esp. in front of WWE crowds that basically aren’t the smartest people. You can always insult these guys with a guy who says he’s better than them on intellectual terms. On this basis Sandow and Cesaro would be a great tag team. But both of them are in tag teams that are just ridiculous and not really serious competitors. It’s just a shame what WWE does to these guys.

      And about Kane, that’s actually a good point. A bit too much focus on him, not the title. I mean, heel characters usually have their guys at ringside, and then they’ll do some injustice to the face characters to create heat from the crowds. It’s actually funny that lots of people say that Rollins is such a great heel. But I sometimes wonder where he would be without his lapdogs. The really great heel characters don’t need other guys to create heat from the crowds. They are hated for what they are and what they do alone. And Rollins has got basically five guys and gals of them who create the heat for him. Just saying…

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      1. Yea , and he is still scared of Dean even with these “fantastic five” by his side. How much more does he need!! Seth looks so weak. While Kane looks like a monster taking Dean and Roman out of the equation by the steel steps and distracting Orton for Seth to hit him with the pedigree at Payback and playing the equaliser to Dean’s energy on Monday for Seth to hit him with a better pedigree. I want this character to die. I hate Corporate Kane. He looked so silly on Monday during the “architect of a dream” thing trying to act he really loves Seth to the extent that he became “creative” enough to make him a video package , REALLY!!! I was waiting for the end to see if Dean shows up. And he did. I hope they will get rid of corporate Kane someday soon before he sucks the air out of my lungs and I die. Yea , he is that annoying to me.

        Sandow’s previous gimmick was indeed outstanding and different. Just like you said the “intellectual jerk kind of guy”. You can easily hate him when his whole gimmick is I > YOU and he could have been great heel character if given some accomplishments not a useless MITB case. I don’t know the entire story of him in WWE ’cause I wasn’t watching except by chance on TV , but I remember watching him come out to a theme song that really fit him and he once picked a fan and made a fool out of him ’cause he answered one of his questions wrong. When I watched Dean’s first MITB match , I saw Sandow winning by screwing his friend ” Staaaarrr Dust” Cody at that time. Elsewhere , Cody threw the case in a sea or whatever. Then he tried to cash it in on Super Cena whose arm or elbow was injured at that time and Sandow basically killed him by the case and the steel steps even before the match get started just to lose to the one armed guy.They just can’t help but make jokes out of their employees , can they !! And then Vince comes out to say that their employees are not hungry enough and still didn’t grap the “brass ring” like Cena did , REALLY!! He never thought that maybe Cena’s existence in the company as the REAL eater of worlds and face of fear … ’cause hey Superman … is the problem not the solution. Cena does nothing except eating talented guys. OH , almost forgot. After he eats them he give us his “Never give up” stupid smile. What is that!! This story with him have absolutely no end , no next chapter , no nothing. And it is really frustrating. He is the guy who never loses clean , never gives up , and most importantly never stops smiling. Everytime they put a young star in front of him the people wonder if the WWE finally got it and will make Cena put him over , but NOPE … LOLCENAWINS. Ahhhhhhhhhh.

        John Cena susks. Everybody is saying that the current roster is the strongest they have in years. It is either they are blind or they “can’t see” anything except a punch of people who represent the perfect meal for Cena and Cena 2.0’s empire.

        Waiting for your RAW review.
        Peace.

        Like

        1. Yeah, Vince McMahon with his outdated knowledge and wit always makes me laugh sarcastically. Like CM Punk once said in his famous pipe-bomb, “Vince McMahon is a millionaire, who could be a billionaire.” This company indeed has got some great guys. But most of them are put down in favour to basically two guys. Ambrose gets his well deserved push now but for how long? I can somehow sense it that he’ll get the title at Elimination Chamber – just because from how some people react during segments. But this feeling is momentarily. If Vince has got the idea that Ambrose could be beaten down by the entire roster, so he doesn’t appear on screen for the next two months, so this will happen instead of giving him the title. It’s that change of mood that makes whole storylines into a ridiculous mess or stretches storylines in mid-card because Vince doesn’t give a damn about these guys and doesn’t want to think about new and better stories.

          But enough of this for the moment. Just wanted to write that I have another text to write, so the RAW review will only make it online late tomorrow. But since you’ve written something about teacher and student on Twitter, I’ll link you some story that is really nice and great to read. I don’t know if you are much for fanfiction but since I already pushed you towards the Ambrose vs Regal feud, I’ll try again. The story isn’t finished yet (it’s from a good friend of mine) but there is much to read already – if you like to read something before I’ll come around with my review.

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