WWE is back in Chicago for "Payback" and though Daniel Bryan doesn't have a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, there's quite a bit to look forward to on the card.
"Payback" is headlined by two main events, John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match and The Shield vs. Evolution in a No Holds Barred Elimination Tag Team match. Bryan is scheduled to appear, furthering his storyline with The Authority. They want him to give up the title, he refuses.
The live audience is going to be an interesting variable in tonight's show. Chicago crowds are typically hot, even more so since CM Punk "retired." However, tonight is also game 7 between the Blackhawks and the LA Kings, determining who will be going to the Stanley Cup finals. Chicago loves their teams dearly and the outcome of that game, which CM Punk is attending, will definitely be felt throughout the crowd. Viewers should be in for a pretty fun night.
Before "Payback" begins, you can check out the card for the show and Zap2it's predicted winners. Then, kick back and watch "Payback" along with us on this live blog. "WWE Payback" kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on pay per view and the WWE Network.
7:42 - The real main event is up first.
Hornswoggle vs. El Torito in a Hair vs. Mask match
Think about it: Hornswoggle is one of the longest-tenured veterans on the current WWE roster. He first debuted on WWE programming in 2006. The crowd immediately chants "We want tables" but they're out of luck. Without the WeeLC gimmick, this isn't nearly as much fun, but Swoggle is one of the more charismatic people on the roster.
One by one, each member of 3MB and Los Matadores dive to the outside, including Hornswoggle and El Torito. the high spots wake the crowd up, then El Torito hits a Bronco Buster. Hornswoggle counters with a powerbomb and rips off Torito's mask, not realizing there was another underneath. Torito gets the pink and Hornswoggle has to lose his hair.
Winner: El Torito
They've got a barber chair at ringside and someone gives Torito scissors. That's a bad idea. Before long the clippers come out and Swoggle is bald. In a perfect world this end with Hornswoggle adopting a Stone Cold Steve Austin attitude
7:58 - During the pre-show, Booker T announced Kofi Kingston will face Bo Dallas on the show.
8:04 - Let's get this show going. Lots of CM Punk chants during the pre-show.
Sheamus vs. Cesaro for the United States Championship
It's still a bit funny that WWE identifies their United States Championship as the same one from WCW.
8:12 - A hard-hitting back and forth match between the two, with wicked hits from both. Cesaro's European uppercuts are the best in the business.
A superplex, Tigerbomb and double stomp won't even keep Sheamus down, though.
No matter what Cesaro does, it's just not enough to win. That's driving Paul Heyman insane outside the ring. On the other hand, Sheamus throws everything he has at Cesaro, including White Noise and it doesn't work.
8:20 - Luckily, we get a Cesaro Swing out of it, with over 20 rotations. The crowd will never get enough of that one. However, Sheamus then reverses the Neutralizer into a small package for the win.
The Rhodes Brothers vs. Rybaxel
8:25 - Well, this definitely wasn't advertised. Rybaxel dominated throughout, taking the brothers apart. When Cody hits Crossrhodes out of nowhere, it looks like things may be turning around, but no such luck. He goes for the Disaster Kick, but Ryback catches him with the Shellshock for the win.
8:35 - After the match, Cody is sad but doesn't want Goldust to console him. Instead he grabs the microphone. Cody says Goldust needs a better tag partner than him, which isn't really a heel turn at all. Has there ever been a time when I babyface made a turn to an even bigger babyface?
Here comes Rusev. At this rate there's going to be more matches on the show that weren't announced than those actually on the advertised card.
Rusev vs. Big E.
Two very big men fighting it out? It's actually a pretty nice addition. Big E. speaks Rusev out of the ring, which the crowd loves. the announcers also point out it's the first time we've really seen Rusev in a weakened state.
8: 44 - It's just not enough, though,. Rusev gets the sumission win with the Camel Clutch, or whatever Russian name he's given it. The Iron Curtain, maybe?
It was a quick match, but an entertaining one none the less. Short matches like this are good for Rusev, as it builds him as a threat without the chance of showing any weaknesses he has in longer matches.
Here's your reminder, "Money in the Bank" is the next pay per view, June 29.
Kofi Kingston vs. Bo Dallas
8:47 - No more pyro for Kofi, poor guy. Bo Dallas is the second heel to tell the crowd the Blackhawks will lose their matchup.
Before the match can start, here comes Kane. Without Daniel Bryan to screw with, Kane really serves no purpose, so why not ruin matches? Kofi goes after Kane, but Bo splits. A chokeslam and Tombstone later and the match never happened, so there's that.
Winner: No one.
Dallas is still around, now with a microphone. He wants Kofi to Bolieve. This gimmick is not getting over, where's Adam Rose? Would you rather Bolieve or be a Rosebud? If you choose Bolieve, you should probably check your priorities.
Rob Van Dam vs. Bad News Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship
8:56 - The crowd is split between the two. For a bad guy, Barrett doesn't try at all to be hated. Seeing how the crowd has embraced him though, maybe he's playing things just right. the match goes outside the ring, allowing RVD to get in some of his classic offence. That earns a rare "ECW" chant from the audience.
9:06 - Back in the ring, RVD counters Barrett's strikes with a bunch of kicks, Rolling thunder, and an attempted Five Star Frog Splash, but Barrett rolls out of the way. RVD ducks the Bull Hammer, but takes a Spinning Sidewalk Slam for two.
He rolls out of the ring, where Barrett tries for the Bull Hammer again. RVD ducks and Barrett hots the ring post. Van Dam takes control, but it's short-lived when Barrett gets hits knees up for a split-legged moonsault. One pained Bull Hammer later and he retains the title.
Winner: Bad News Barrett
That's the second really good match of the night, after the opener. Time for Daniel Bryan's big title decision. If he doesn't hand over the title, his wife Brie Bella will be fired.
Stephanie is out first, followed by Bryan and Brie. The champ gets the hero's welcome he truly deserves. Stephanie says they will have weird children and that this is really all Daniel's fault. The crowd doesn't like any of that.
Bryan is giving Stephanie the chance to win the fans over and change their minds. He says he worked hard to get to the top and the fans go CM Punk chant crazy. "See Daniel, the fans want you to quit just like CM Punk dud," Stephanie says. Ouch. That's a pretty fantastic line.
Daniel says he hopes Stephanie's kids are watching so they see what she's really like, a "self-centered, narcissistic b****."
Brie won't let Daniel turn over the titles. Instead, she quits WWE and slaps Stephanie across the face. That was pretty awesome. Lady McMahon has no idea what to do, as the "Yes" chants pick up. She just leaves the ring, shocked.
John Cena vs. bray Wyatt in a Last Man Standing match
9:29 - The cell phones during the Wyatt Family entrance is so simple, but adds so much to an already fantastic TV moment. Based on the audience reaction so far, these people might eat Cena alive.
Wow, the boos almost drowning out his music is a very cool John Cena moment. He always takes it in stride. It still a bit silly that he taunts in tune with his entrance theme, though.
Since Wyatt has his Family on the outside, the Usos come down to keep things nice and even.
9:37 - Without a numbers advantage, Wyatt loses control of the match early on, though reverses out of an AA. He goes on the offense, but Cena gets out of a Sister Abigail attempt and bails to the ropes to stand up. In a Last Man Standing match, you have to stand before a 10-count.
Wyatt then DDT's Cena on the ring apron, the most unforgiving part of the ring.
9:41 - Eventually, Wyatt does hit Sister Abigail and Cena stays down for 8. Cena responds with an AA, which brings a six count, until Wyatt gets up into that creepy back bend. That's when the Family and The Usos start beating on each other outside the ring.
It distracts Cena and Wyatt grabs a steel chair, hitting John with it repeatedly. Before a 10 count, Cena gets the chair, though. Unlike "Wrestlemania," where chair shots were illegal, it's game on for Last Man Standing and Cena has no problem using weapons. That includes tables, which sends the crowd into a tizzy.
It's Cena who goes through the table, barely getting to his feet before a 10 count. Wyatt tosses the steel steps into the ring. This is more extreme than anything at "Extreme Rules." Wyat hitts Cena in the head with the steps, then leads the crowd in a verse of "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands."
9:47 - Cena makes it to his feet again. So Wyatt grabs the chair again. With Cena sprawled out on the steps, he goes for a Conchairto type of move, but Cena moves. He then grabs the steps and nails Wyatt with them.
Wyatt escaped the ring and Cena simply throws the steps at him, which still doesn't get 10. Time for another table! Cena stays on the attack outside and Wyatt is bleeding from the elbow, possible where the stairs caught him.
Eventually he gets John down on the stairs and lands a senton splash, knocking the wind out of Cena. Out of desperation, Cena hits the AA, but the Family gets involved, having dispatched the Usos. they set up a table.
That's when the Usos reenter the picture, diving onto the Family. One of them gets nothing but table, though.
9:54 - In all the commotion, the referee doesn't realize Wyatt's been down and out for quite a while. There's too much stuff going on that isn't involving Cena or Wyatt. Those two can tell a great story and all of this isn't needed.
Harper suplexes one of the Usos off the top rope though two tables on the outside of the ring, while Cena just kind of stands there looking.
With the outside guys taken care of, Wyatt splashed Cena through the guardrail at ringside, right into the timekeeper's area. They then fight into the crowd. They make it up to a production area near the stage and Cena AA's Wyatt through a large box, then topples another box on top of it so he can't get up. This is a terrible ending.
Winner: John Cena
10:00 - Well, there goes all of Bray Wyatt's momentum. He's fantastic on the microphone, but can he talk all of this away? Cena then just walks away, looking no worse for wear. He's not even really selling the pain the match should have put him through.
Paige vs. Alicia Fox for the Divas Championship
10:06 - Crazy Alicia Fox needs a new theme song, instead of "generic techno beat 24." Paige always seems to be talking to someone in the front row during her entrance. When do we get a WWE Network feature on this mystery fan?
Alicia takes control early on and is looking to break Paige's face. That's not cool, her face is pretty nice. Paige is getting practically no offense in this match, just being torn apart me Alicia.
Finally, Paige hits a dropkick and starts turning things around. After a flurry of offense, Paige gets the submission victory.
Not a bad match, short and to the point. It also sold Alicia as a legitimate threat in the Divas division, which is a good thing. No appearance by AJ Lee.
10:17 - Main event time already? This should be interesting. Can Evolution and The Shielf fill 35-40 minutes?
Evolution vs. The Shield in a No Holds Barred Elimination Tag Team match
Hopefully Ric Flair is there, somewhere. Batista has new ring attire. Never again will be be Bootista. Now he's Bluetista. Get to work on that, internet.
In no time at all, the fights goes out of the ring and into the crowd. For the most part, Shield is in control.
10:28 - Once they actually get into the ring and start tagging, Evolution fights back a bit. Good work Earth, you got #Bluetista trending worldwide.
Roman gets in the ring and works Triple H over rather well. The Shield is keeping on top of the tag game. It'll be interesting to see who the first person eliminated is. The two sides go back and forth, with no one keeping an advantage. Lots of "Bluetista" chants from the crowd, which is highly entertaining. It's Roman Reigns who kicks things into overdrive, laying out Batista.
The Superman punch gets two, but Orton breaks it up. Outside the ring, with a dismantled commentary table, Evolution puts those monitors to use as weapons.
10:40 - Still no eliminations. Like on "Raw," they triple powerbomb Reigns through the table. After a bunch of fighting on the outside, Evolution surrounds a lone Reigns in the ring. This doesn't bode well.
They strip away his flack jacket and set up the steps in the ring. Orton and Batista alternate Singapore cane swings across his bare back, with Triple H joining in. Then comes the steel chair, which knocks him out of the ring. Reigns is going to be in a lot of pain tomorrow morning. Finally, Ambrose comes to and tried to attack, but Evolution takes him out too. Orton DDTs him on the stage.
None of them realize Rollins scaled the entrance way, though. He dives off of it, taking everyone out. In this light, Bluetista's bald spot is very visible.
10:51 - Finally back in the ring, Batista gets speared by Reigns, who came out of nowhere. Rollings gets the pin and eliminates, but walks directly into an RKO. Reigns breaks up that pink, though. Ambrose then plants Orton on a chair for the pink. Triple H stands alone.
Batista spears Reigns, even though he's out of the match, to even the playing field in the ring. Tagging in and out is in play once again.
Orton gives Hunter the sledgehammer, and he hits Ambrose in the face with it. Before he can do anything else, Rollins flies in with a knee and Reigns hits the spear for the total victory, a clean sweep.
Winners: The Shield
Just like that, The Shield stands tall. The show ends with Triple H knocked out in the ring alone, sledgehammer at his wide, as The Shield celebrates their victory.
Photo/Video credit: WWE