Payback was OK.
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Fine, I will discuss it further. Honestly that’s how I really feel, though. It was an OK show with really nothing to talk about. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t a show that I would consider worthy for free WWE Network subscribers to plop down ten bucks next month.
There were no surprises. No swerves. No new developments. The matches were good, as they usually are on a WWE pay-per-view. I’ve said it before, but no matter the strength of the creative, the roster always puts on a good show at a PPV. As for the creative, there wasn’t much involved to distinguish this PPV from a house show. Sure, Lana and Rusev had a tiff. Nothing new, though. We are still at the same point with them. No titles changed hands – that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in a show with no new developments, the creative is pretty much in the same spot as it was before the show started.
I think WWE is missing an opportunity with the preshow. Yes, I watched it on the Network, but according to Renee Young, it is available for free on other platforms. You would think the purpose of the preshow is to get people last minute purchases for the event. Sadly, there are never any new developments to get people excited. One thing WWE used to do very well with Sunday Night Heat on PPV nights was use the program to add developments to the upcoming event. Whether it was Vince McMahon adding stipulations or Steve Austin dressing up as a member of the ring crew, it was hard to not want to watch the PPV after viewing Heat. I would love WWE to take that approach with their preshows.
Another missed opportunity, in my opinion, is the buildup and anticipation for the main event throughout the show. I believe we only had one backstage skit with Seth Rollins and Kane. They could have taken many roads to build towards the match, such as Rollins trying to manipulate Ambrose and Reigns into taking his side, interviews with all the participants, or some type of backstage shenanigans. One thing that TNA did well this week on Impact was continually visit backstage and show story developments of the main event participants to help build the excitement. I don’t understand how WWE wouldn’t do that on a PPV.
The bright spots, as I mentioned before, were the performances of the talent. I thought the Rusev/Cena match and the Fatal Four Way were both well done. Many will disagree, but I liked the finish to the Neville/Barrett match – I just hope some type of story will come out of it so it wasn’t pointless. Sheamus and Ziggler opened the show well, and the Divas match was pretty good – I just wish there was more substance to both.
Hopefully we can get a good episode of Raw tonight. Tomorrow, here at VinceRussoBrand.com for The Brand VIP members, we debut a new show called “Raw: The Day After.” Every Tuesday, Vince and I will be doing a podcast to review the prior night’s Raw. Anyone who has heard an episode of Russo on Raw in the past can tell you how entertaining it is to hear Vince discuss WWE’s flagship show. There won’t be any pulled punches. If he likes it, he will tell you why. If he hates it, he will tell you why. Please sign up so you don’t miss an episode! Besides this weekly podcast, you will also get THREE VIDEO PODCASTS WEEKLY with stars in wrestling and entertainment plus the always entertaining “Bucket Full of Chicken Necks” where Vince tells it like it is. Just click the big red “Subscribe” button and you will be on your way to hours and hours of entertainment.
Follow Jeff on Twitter: @JeffLane22