The build to Payback has been lackluster, to say the least. Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens are unable to cut scathing promos on each other because for some crazy reason, they’re on different brands. And then there’s the House of Horrors match. It’s all 3Spooky5Me and it’s not even a title match, for whatever reason. Probably because Jinder Mahal stole it.
However, Payback has had some good matches. So let’s look back at some of them, yes? Some of these matches will never be forgotten, while others have flown under the radar. Still, a great match is a great match, so let’s get started.
5. Wade Barrett v. Curtis Axel v. The Miz (Payback 2013)
The first ever Payback started off with a deceptively nondescript triple threat for the Intercontinental Championship. Wade Barrett, Miz, and Curtis Axel were not the company’s most exciting workers. None of them do flips or shooting star presses or spiral taps. Many people probably wrote it off, which is a shame, because it was a great match.
Sure, it’s not the greatest triple threat in history, but it’s the greatest triple threat to take place on Payback. It was an exciting contest which saw lots of action and near-falls. When the match got into 2nd gear, everyone was wondering who would win. There were quite a few near-falls that had people saying “that’s it.” It also deserves credit for the inventive and imaginative finish that established Curtis Axel as an opportunist. When Miz got Barrett into the Figure Four, Axel swooped in from out of nowhere and pinned Barrett. He stole a win and became the Intercontinental Champion, on Father’s Day, no less. It was a great tribute to his father, one of the most iconic Intercontinental Champions in history, Mr. Perfect.
4. Seth Rollins v. Randy Orton v. Dean Ambrose v. Roman Reigns (Payback 2015)
This was an excellent and gripping fight that saw Seth Rollins sneak a win with the help of Kane and the ever lovable J & J Security. Despite some overbooking in the match (Kane did quite a lot in this match), it was quite the battle. While the story wasn’t go great (WWE fans voted for this match instead of having an actual storyline), the match more than made up for it.
There was a plethora of suicide dives, and some great back and forth action. There was even, for a very short while, a Shield reunion, as they performed a triple power bomb on Randy Orton. Rollins would get what was his, though, as his brothers then turned their sights on him and powerbombed him onto the table, and then powerbombing Kane onto him.
This was smack in the middle of Rollins’ “Golden Boy” run with the championship, so he won the match after Kane ate an RKO. Still, it was a great match that showed how talented the members of the Shield were.