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WWE Payback 2023 Review & Analysis

7 months ago By Sports Desk

Today in the world of professional wrestling, it’s been quite an eventful and newsworthy day. Let’s dive into the action at Payback.

WWE’s Payback Premium Live Event showcased four title matches this time around, skipping the usual Kickoff Show match. The show began with a Steel Cage Match pitting Becky Lynch against Trish Stratus.

As always, the opening video package was excellently produced, highlighting the Payback match competitors and consistently impressing the audience.

Notably, NXT Women’s Champion Tiffany Stratton was spotted in the front row, seeking potential competition outside of NXT.

Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus – Steel Cage Match:

This ongoing feud has moved at a slow pace, much like Lita’s movements in the ring during her involvement. It’s time for this rivalry to come to an end. Trish can return to her previous endeavors, while Becky can focus on the upcoming feud with Tiffany Stratton, which seems evident.

For a while, the Pittsburgh crowd appeared disinterested in the feud, but credit goes to Becky and Trish for persevering and eventually winning the crowd over with their entertaining match.

The match featured plenty of physicality, although it lacked the blood that some fans crave in such matches. Nevertheless, there were hard-hitting actions, and Trish took her fair share of punishment from the steel cage, leaving her with visible bruises and welts. Both women deserve praise for delivering one of WWE’s best matches of the year, possibly even deserving more than the 4.25 stars it received.

LA Knight vs. The Miz – With Special Guest Referee, John Cena:

The live WWE crowds continue to treat LA Knight as a major attraction. This match had the feel of a house show bout, which isn’t an insult. House shows provide enjoyable entertainment for the crowd without striving for five-star classics. LA Knight’s popularity seems to shield him from criticism for now. It might matter in the future if he becomes a main event star and wrestles longer matches regularly, but for now, he’s in good standing with the fans, earning 3.25 stars.

Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory – WWE United States Title Match:

Following the Steel Cage Match, a John Cena appearance, and an LA Knight match, the crowd’s energy waned. The match felt like another house show-style encounter, not memorable but not bad either. It received a solid 3 stars, but it didn’t leave a lasting impression.

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. Finn Balor & Damian Priest – Steel City Street Fight for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Titles:

This was a wild brawl that paid tribute to wrestling legend Terry Funk and the Pittsburgh sports teams. It featured unexpected bloodshed and plenty of chaos. Despite multiple interference moments, the match was excellent, even if the ending surprised some. It deserved its 4.25 stars, possibly even more.

Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez – Women’s World Title Match:

This match might divide opinions due to its slow pace. Some enjoyed the physicality, while others found it sluggish. Despite the crowd’s lukewarm reactions, it was a solid match with 3.5 stars, primarily for the intensity displayed by two of the industry’s fiercest women.

Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – World Heavyweight Title Match:

The match’s initial build was criticized for a plot hole regarding Seth’s injured back. Nevertheless, the match itself was excellent, showcasing the best of Shinsuke Nakamura and Seth Rollins. Despite its slow pace, it delivered in terms of physicality. This match was a standout, earning 4.5 stars and being hailed as the best of the night.

Overall, WWE’s Payback event exceeded expectations for a non-“Big Four” show, with three out of six matches reaching “great” status and the lowest-rated match still earning a respectable 3 stars. WWE delivered a solid performance.

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