Welcome cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only reviews that totally promise to pay you back that $20 we owe you, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as WWE takes a big running jump into the season of Summerslog with WWE Payback 2014! We’ve officially entered what is traditionally the dreariest season of WWE, ladies and gentlemen, as the long march from Wrestlemania to Summerslam stretches ahead. But unlike most years when this time is used for things like R-Truth main event pushes, this time around we have some real interesting irons in the fire. The People’s Champion Daniel Bryan is injured and will have to choose between his title and his wife’s career, the old guard of Evolution is being stampeded by the most dominant force in recent memory, and John Cena has been stretched to his limits by a mysterious force bent of stealing his fanbase out from under him. All of it is going to come to a head here on a show that would normally be an afterthought, and by the end of the night, the landscape of World Wrestling Entertainment might look very different indeed.
So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
And so it was that after many, many months of hoping, wishing demanding and complaining, the fans of WWE got their fondest desire. Daniel Bryan, the small, strange looking badass who captured the hearts of millions defeated the Authority utterly, winning two incredible matches in one magical night to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and restore order in the universe. It was an incredible moment of unity among wrestling fans, as we all toasted each other on the dawning of a new era with a new top star. That was April.
Riding high on all of this momentum, WWE targeted Kane as the perfect opponent to give Bryan his first title defense, due both to their extensive history and the fact that being a monster threat to new top stars is what it says on Kane’s business card. Their’s was a sloppy feud, marred by a directionless storyline and the fact that Daniel Bryan needed time away for both his honeymoon and the death of his father. But ultimately, Bryan and Kane met at Extreme Rules in a satisfying match, and after Bryan defeated his former friend, the question hung in the air thick and heavy: who’s next? Would Bryan revive his feud with Bray Wyatt? Would one of the major babyfaces turn heel to face him? Was it Cesaro’s time yet? Yes, excitement continued to abound. That was May.
And now it is June, and we have been greeted by the sobering reality that our new champion and figurehead has suffered a neck injury just 2 months into his reign, and wont be back for several months. Suddenly, a future that seemed very stable and sure has been thrown entirely into doubt, and it’s unclear whether we even have a WWE Champion. Which leads us to this strange show, the first in ages where no World title will be defended, where Daniel Bryan is going to be forced by the Authority to choose between his title and his wife’s dream career. The future is murky, and there’s no telling what Bryan will decide. But unfortunately, for the time being at least…
Segment 2 – WWE United States Championship – Sheamus (c) vs. Cesaro
Cewsh: This feud is refreshingly simple. Sheamus is a big tough bastard who has a title, and Cesaro is a phenomenally talented up and comer who wants it. Their interactions up to this point have been marked by the two taking turns showing each other up in the best way they know how, (Sheamus by kicking people in the face region, and Cesaro by being a smirky prick who is better than everyone.) So it probably won’t surprise you to hear that this match is a hard hitting battle of one upsmanship that is immensely satisfying to watch. They go back and forth and back and forth, and while there is plenty of stiffness it never dissolves into a full on brawl for no reason. That allows both guys to utilize some great counters and even introduce some new moves that get huge reactions from that crowd, especially Cesaro’s unveiling of one of his many indy finisher’s, the Alpamare Waterslide, which is somewhere between an Attitude Adjustment and an Angle Slam, and is probably better than both.
The funny thing about a match like this is that there’s actually very little for me to review. It’s a lot quicker for me to just tell you what you need to know, which is that the crowd was electric for the whole match, both guys looked fantastic, and WWE would be insane not to have a high profile rematch. It’s significant, I think, that Cesaro loses this match without seeming weaker in the slightest, and maybe even more significant that this is really the first great match that Sheamus has had since returning from injury. Before he left, Sheamus was building a convincing resume to be considered among the very best that WWE has to offer in the ring, and if this is the start of another run like that for him, then the midcards for the rest of the year are going to look pretty damn promising.
84 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Artie: Throw two hard European bastards in a ring and give ‘em something to fight for. It’s booking 101. These two do not fail to deliver as they brutally batter the hell out of each other over the United States title. Sheamus has been great as champ and already has a good amount of damn good title defenses under his belt. Cesaro has been ascending the ranks between winning the Andre battle royal and taking on Paul Heyman as a manager. Sheamus fights valiantly with some of those brutal chest clubs that I love so very much. Cesaro fights back with everything including a wonderful lifting European uppercut, which is ten times as impressive when you think of just how fucking big Sheamus is and how strong Cesaro must be to pull that off. It was great to see the Giant Swing again, as it’s been fairly absent from the so-called King of Swing’s moveset lately. I love, love, love ending to this match as Sheamus uses Cesaro’s own dizziness from the swing to roll him up into a small package and retain. Psychology like that is important, as we realize that this is one of the few times in which Sheamus is out-muscled in a match, but he used his wits to retain instead.
Grade: B+ fantastic opening match. Really, really fantastic.
Cewsh: This match is a last minute addition to the card, is really just hear to continue to sow the seeds of dissension between Cody Rhodes and his brother, Goldust. These four have a fine match in service of that storyline, and do a surprisingly great job considering that the crowd has zero reason to care about this match or anyone in it.
In the end Cody gets caught in midair by Ryback, and one Shellshock later, Rybaxel gets to celebrate it’s first significant win ever. This leaves us with a frustrated Cody Rhodes in the middle of the ring, having absolutely none of his brother trying to comfort him.
Cody grabs a microphone and declares that his brother deserves a better partner, and unceremoniously ends their tag team. And to think, not even 1 full year ago, this was the team that finally stopped the Shield’s reign of terror, (briefly.) Those were good days, when men were men, cows were cows, and tag teams were a thing that existed.
Ah, the old days.
65 out of 100
Artie: Ever since being dropped as Heyman guys, Ryback and Axel have been trying and often failing at piecing together a decent in-ring product. With this match, I’m really starting to see much more team cohesion out of these two. I’m glad that they’ve finally learned to play up to their strengths (Ry’s strength and Axel’s technical skills) while avoiding each members’ respective weaknesses (Ry’s psychology and Axel’s excitement). I hate to say it, but RybAxel actually impressed me tonight. Now, that was helped in no small part by the fact that they were working with the Rhodes brothers who work just a brilliantly as a team as they do in singles competition. The only thing I need to complain about is Cody’s Moonsault. It’s sloppy and dangerous and I’d love if he’d stop doing it before he gets seriously hurt.
The ending to the match was great as Ryback countered Cody’s Disaster kick into a shellshock. Love it. Post-match, Cody says that he’s not good enough to team with Goldy anymore. I really hope this is the start of a solo run for Cody and an amicable split between the two. I really don’t want them feuding.
Grade: C for cheerfully delightful
Cewsh: These guys need full names. That segment header looks terrible.
We don’t need to get into any sort of backstory here, I think. I could just show you a picture of these two and anyone could be relied upon to say, “Oh, those two men are very large and would like to run into each other at high speeds, got it.”
The premise, such as there is, is simply that Rusev has not been challenged by anyone, and now here comes Big E waving an American flag to make a stand against the Russian guy who is actually from Bulgaria, (Americans don’t know what Bulgaria is, right?) And while this match is actually shockingly short, as in under 5 minutes officially, it’s still a fantastic big fan slugfest. For the first time since coming to the main roster, Rusev actually looked to be on his heels for a bit, a Big E came at him full force, and knocked the latkas out of him with a BIG EXPLOSION.
Of course, Rusev is still going to be an indestructible murder machine until he runs into the brick wall that is John Cena, (which should be happening aaaaaany time now,) so he shakes it off and locks in his camel clutch. To his credit, he actually wrenches it back and makes it look good this time, and Big E taps out to end things.
But while this match was short and Big E did lose definitively, it was anything but a squash. You would be hardpressed to find a more entertaining 5 minute PPV match in recent memory, and with any luck, that bodes quite well for Rusev moving forward.
76 out of 100
Artie: Well hot damn, for a last minute addition to the card and something that I wasn’t expecting much out of, Big E and Rusev fucking DELIVER. This is a damn fight between two behemoths who slug the absolute shit out of each other. Big E fought damn hard and Rusev fought harder. Very interesting to see Rusev on the receiving end of a move for once, as Big E actually took him down with a huge corner clothesline. Big E nailing that spear to the outside was great, as it showed desperation on Big E’s part, as he was willing to throw whatever he could at Rusev. Rusev’s big superkick looked devastating…
…and he locked in the most devastating looking Accolade to date. These two told a hell of a story in 4 minutes, which is NOT easy to do. Many kudos to both men here.
Grade: B for bastardly brilliant
Cewsh: Alright, so here we have the newly debuted Bo Dallas in his first PPV match against Kofi Kingston, so it’s pretty easy to guess what is going to happen her…
Well, that shows me. I was not guessing that Kane would randomly appear and take out his eternal frustrations on poor Kofi Kingston, who hasn’t even had a match with Kane in about 2 years. This does not go well for Kofi.
The announcers cover for the fact that this whole thing seemed completely random by saying that Kofi had tweeted some derogatory things about the Authority earlier in the day. And hey, in kayfabe terms, if you stupid enough to be critical of an all powerful heel group immediately before you have a match, you kind of deserve what you get. At least, that’s what I Bolieve.
GET IT?! GET IT?!!!
Sorry. Let’s just move on.
Artie: Oh hey look, a black guy in a squash match, what a surprise. Oh wait, no, this isn’t a match, Kane just comes out and gets heat by killing the black guy instead. Sensing a disturbing theme here, WWE.
Bo’s post-match promo on Kofi was ace. Dug the BO-LIEVE chants from the crowd.
Grade: N/A for Kofi is Not Available for anything outside of getting squashed apparently.
Segment 6 – WWE Intercontinental Championship – Bad News Barrett (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
Cewsh: Bad News Barrett crushes Rob Van Dam’s face in.
All is right with the world.
70 out of 100
Artie: Not exactly looking forward to this, but the crowd is unusually loud for it. Barrett works this match beating the piss outta RVD, who pretty much just goes through the motions. This had been my biggest criticism of RVD since he returned, it just feels phoned in. I know he doesn’t wanna be there, but giving a shit is at the very least some small, teeny tiny part of the job.
The ending minute or so was fun, with lots of roll-throughs and counters from both men, ending with a big nasty Bullhammer elbow. God, that move is so fucking ace.
Grade: C for I almost cared. Just a little.
Cewsh: That was the question posed all through the night, as we awaited Daniel Bryan’s fateful decision. Would he surrender the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that both he and the WWE Universe had worked so hard to attain, or would he allow his new wife to have her dreams crushed for something she wasn’t even involved in? It’s an impossible choice, and as Stephanie McMahon stepped into the ring, her face showed exactly how happy it was making her to be putting him through it. After months of being foiled and undermined again and again by this thorn in her side, Stephanie finally had a chance to punish Bryan for all the trouble he’d caused her. The woman was wearing vicious glee like a Halloween mask.
Ultimately, though, it wasn’t Daniel Bryan OR Stephanie McMahon that made the decision. Brie Bella, in a rare example of a Diva actually getting to stand up for herself, took the microphone from her husband and told Stephanie that she had decided to quit, before knocking the boss’ daughter silly with a slap that sent Stephanie running to the back, humiliated and in pain, as the fans chanted YES for their hero, and his even more heroic bride.
Of course, now both Brie and Daniel are off television for the foreseeable future, and we now know that it was in vain, as Bryan has vacated the title due to injury anyway, but this segment was far from meaningless. In one go, they not only continued to set up for a huge return for Bryan, but they also managed to get Brie Bella over hugely as a babyface, in a way that Divas have been really struggling to do for years and years now. When she comes back, there might be a damn interesting future ahead of her. Let’s just hope that a match with Stephanie isn’t a part of it.
Cewsh: So here we are, at the end of the first clash between WWE’s greatest hero and it’s most dangerous evil. It would be hard to believe that this will be the last time that these paths will cross, or even that they will ever stop crossing, but for now this match marks the end. After making a huge impact upon his entry into WWE, Bray Wyatt immediately sought to poison, indoctrinate and undermine any babyfaces that fell across his path. He and his family terrorized the powers of good for months before tasting their first major success, first indoctrinating, and then defeating Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble. It was then that Wyatt decided that he was done going after the small potatoes, and cast his shadow on the brightest light there is.
The first John Cena knew of the threat that would dominate his future came in his title match that same night, when, with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship well within his grasp, he had opportunity yanked away by a Wyatt Family distraction, allowing Randy Orton to RKO him for the win. In the months that followed, Cena attempted to treat Wyatt like just another heel of the month, albeit one with potential, and why wouldn’t he? After all, John Cena has seen more monster heels come and go than Hulk Hogan’s wet dreams. But this one was different. Because when Cena beat Wyatt at Wrestlemania, Wyatt wasn’t deterred in the slightest. Indeed, it seemed like winning matches was hardly even the man’s intent. And as he haunted John week after week, his true plan became clear. He didn’t want to beat the mighty John Cena. He wanted to take away everything that made John Cena who he was. He wanted the Cenation. And to Cena’s dismay, the Cenation wanted Bray Wyatt.
Slowly at first, but with gathering momentum, arenas all across the country and the world began declaring allegiance to the man with the demon eyes. Thousands upon thousands would regail Cena with “He’s Got The Whole World In His Hands” while honoring Wyatt with an eerie, phone lit welcome.
Finally, when it seemed like even the children had taken Wyatt’s path, Cena neared his breaking point. He said clearly, in a rare moment of vulnerability, that he couldn’t understand why we had all abandoned him for a charismatic snake merchant, and that it hurt him to see the message of good be swallowed whole before the runaway momentum of this satanic salesman. Cena knew what he had to do. He had to drive Bray Wyatt back with one great victory. He had to prove that his way was the right one in the only way he knew how. And Bray Wyatt knew that with just one more victory, he could stand in rarefied air as one of the few men to ever truly best John Cena, and would have full access to the masses who eagerly awaited a new king. So a match was made, a Last Man Standing match. And whomever is left standing at the end of this one will have the whole world in his hands.
Artie: Alright folks, I am looking forward to this match, don’t get me wrong, BUT the conclusion is pretty much super duper ultra predictable. Cena does not lose Last Man Standing matches, not does he lose rubber matches. It just ain’t gonna end with Cena going down here.
Anywho, the match was still a damn good Last Man Standing match, as you’d expect out of these two. I did enjoy the fact that Cena introduced the Usos to his corner and that they and the Wyatt kids played such a big part in this match. Those two teams tore it up in there and met their ends with some nasty table spots.
Hopefully, even if the Cena/Wyatt feud is over, these two teams can start a nice long rivalry over the tag belts. Cena and Wyatt hit all the big LMS spots including table spots, steel stairs being thrown at people, and even both men going through the barricade. If that wasn’t enough, we also get an AA to the floor, vicious sister Abigail, and lots of each man overpowering the shit out of each other.
The end comes with both tag teams exhausted and presumably dead from tables, with Cena burying Wyatt (literally, not a pun) under a giant box of some sort. Cena is always good for a unique ending to a Last Man standing match. I’m just glad he didn’t duct tape Bray together or anything stupid like that.
Grade: B+ for brutality, bloody elbows, and beards.
Cewsh: This match is crazy in the good way. The addition of the Uso Brothers added a fantastic chaos to the entire match, and both Wyatt and Cena really went all out to make this match feel brutal, while still entirely PG, which is not an easy task. I mean, these guys do everything. Hitting finishers on the floor, everybody jumping off the top rope to the outside, and doing finishers through tables and going through the barricade, and fuck man, are you ready for some gifs yet?
The general feeling about the matches in this feud is that they’ve been a serious mixed bag. Some worried that these two wouldn’t really be able to deliver here where it really counted, (I think Artie even said that these two had zero chemistry,) but this was everything that it needed to be and more. I’m sure this is far from the last time these two will square off, and now I can definitively say that that is a very good thing indeed.
Wait, I forgot to make a joke about Cena “burying” Wyatt! Wait, I’ll think of one! Um…um…no, don’t move on yet! I’ve got…
87 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Segment 9 – WWE Diva’s Championship – Paige (c) vs. Alicia Fox
Cewsh: The build to this match is built around Alicia Fox having a mental breakdown and throwing temper tantrums. This development has excited a lot of fans, who have seen more dancing alligators in their lifetime than Divas with actual characters. There’s nothing wrong with the gimmick, and it’s certainly nice to see the underrated Alicia Fox get something to do, but for the second month in a row Paige is essentially given a PPV match that focuses on everything BUT her. She hasn’t been given an opportunity to flesh out any sort of character, she hasn’t been made to look overly strong thus far, and by trying to make her into some kind of Barry Windham wildfire babyface, they’re not playing to her strengths. She’s the dark queen of women’s wrestling, and if they think they’re going to get her over as this Rocky Maivia character, then they’re going to fuck over the best young female talent in the entire industry.
With all of that said, this was a fine match, and it was miles ahead of what Tamina managed last month. But the crowd wasn’t invested in it, even though they were pro Paige both before and after, and it didn’t accomplish anything. I should probably just be happy that we’re getting competent Divas matches on PPV, but dammit, I’m not willing to settle. The talent is here. It’s time for management to get out of their way.
73 out of 100
Artie: I am so happy for Ms. Foxy getting a push and for good reason: she’s great. She and Paige go out there, following a blockbuster Last Man Standing match and show what the next generation of women’s wrestlers are all about in 5 minutes or less. Paige throws some brutal elbows, Alicia does some crazy crying and screaming and even exhibits a little bit of submission skill here. Paige and Alicia have this hard-hitting and just nasty exchange outside of the ring that helps to show people that not all women wrestlers are delicate fucking flowers. Alicia falls to the scorpion crosslock, but gets her heat back post-match with one of her showings of craziness.
I hope the feud continues on. These girls have damn good chemistry, foxy is on fire right now, and Paige needs a good feud till AJ comes back. I could see this going till Summerslam if need be.
Cewsh: If you every meet anyone in the real world who tells you that they saw this feud coming at the beginning of 2014, feel free to kick them in the balls so hard that their broken genitals reach escape velocity. The sequence of events that has led to the Shield not just beating, but ANNIHILATING, 3 of the biggest stars of this generation have been incredible. From the way that they were almost accidentally turned heel after over a year of unprecedented dominance against any force that was arrayed against them; to the fact that Evolution reformed simply to punish these burgeoning new stars and found themselves utterly overmatched, this is basically the push to end all pushes.
In their first meeting, the Shield smashed Evolution, with Batista losing the match clean for his team courtesy of a Roman Reigns spear. And now these two groups, the preeminent stables of the past 15 years, are suiting up to go to war again. Evolution has all the experience, all the tricks, all the momentum coming into this. But you know what they say. Believe in The Shield.
Artie: First things first: What in the hell is Batista wearing? He looks like Megaman’s older past-his-prime brother.
Seeing as they have 45 minutes to fill, this match starts off hot, but slows down considerably. Like, really slows down. Really. For like 12 minutes, Shield just beats on Triple H. Beating down a heel is just weird and does nothing to invoke emotion out of the audience, but whatevs. That’s not the part you wanna read about. You wanna know what happens once it picks up.
Well, all hell breaks loose of course! Once Evolution gets their hands on Ambrose, they take this whole shingdig outside the ring and shit gets wild. Rollins gets smashed in the face with a control panel of some sort, Reigns eats a triple power bomb through the Spanish announce table, Rollins and Ambrose literally fly around to counter evolution, and Roman Reigns eats a 3-on-1 cane beatdown in the center of the ring. Phew.
Evolution heads back up the ramp to kill Ambrose and Rollins some more, only for Ambrose to ambush them with a flurry of punches and Rollins jumping off the FUCKING TITANTRON.
What I love about this level of carnage is slowly watching everyone crawl back into the ring. You know the selling of a match is good when everyone in it has to physically pull themselves back to the ring with their hands.
Back in the ring, Rollins counters a Batista bomb and Reigns spears him, giving Rollins the pin. Orton tries to get his mojo on by DDT-ing Reigns, but he ends up eating a Dirty Deeds facedriverjiggy from Ambrose dead into a steal chair. It’s now 3-on-1.
Triple H hits Ambrose with a low blow, Batista hits Reigns with a spear, and Triple H gets his hands on his trusty ol’ sledgehammer. Have the tables finally turned? No, because Rollins kills Trips with a big knee and Reigns breaks him in half with a spear for the 1-2-3.
Three things of note in this match:
1. Each member of The Shield got a pin
2. The entire match turned around in favor of the Shield ONLY after Rollins risked his life on that Titantron dive.
3. Dean Ambrose has a much better rebound clothesline than Nigel.
Grade: A for amazing awesome main event match.
Cewsh: This is a great match, but typing that just seems so redundant at this point. For the past year and a half, the Shield has delivered literally nothing BUT great matches, one PPV after the other. And here, in the last match these men would ever have together, (for now,) it’s like they were playing their greatest hits. Total dominance?
Seth Rollins jumps off of something?
Roman Reigns looks like a Samoan Terminator?
It’s all here, the blueprint to every Shield match. The Shield’s matches weren’t unique, they weren’t breaking new ground, and they weren’t complicated. They were just so, so, so, so, so fucking good. Now, let’s take a moment to think, not only of what we’re losing now that the stable has disbanded, but what we might be gaining. The Shield is dead, but the three splinters it has created are white hot, have an amazing collection of skills and experience, and are all poised to become major players immediately. So let’s honor the Shield, and remember them. They made themselves easy to believe in.
85 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Cewsh: This show surprised me a ton. Coming into the show, you can listen to any of the Cewshcasts and here me ho humming the entire card, and speculating on how good the show could be without a World title match in any way. But what we got instead was a serious of fun, hotly contested matches in front of a hot crowd, with very little filler in between. At some point WWE phased on backstage segments during PPVs altogether, and just let the matches do the talking, and I think the record will show that it has drastically improved the productions as a whole. This is the furthest into the summer that WWE has ever gone without having a bad PPV. I don’t know what that means for Money in the Bank, but let’s hope that there’s no jinxing involved.
Artie: Damn good show. Like, really damn good. Even the worst matches weren’t too bad. The lower card matches were damn good and even the women got to show their stuff in a short, yet effective match. The 2 main events were great and made up for the fact that our world heavyweight champion was not present.
Well that’ll do it for us this time boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed our recap of such an unusually interesting summer PPV from WWE. Next up we have a TNA show review. No wait, come back! Even if you don’t care about TNA, this is a big show! It’s TNA Slammiversary, and we’re going to bring you all the details you need to know just in case the FBI asks about your whereabouts and you need to pretend you were there. We’ll get into the confusing, injury plagued main event, a debate about sides, the newest induction into the TNA Hall of Fame and whatever the hell else TNA throws at the wall to see if it sticks. But in the meanwhile, remember to keep reading and be good to one another!
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