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By DC’s Dozen @TheNotFakeDC
DC’s Dozen is a Top 12 list focused on the WWE Universe past and present. It’s like a Top 10 List only with, umm, 2 more things.
Payback, the twenty-ten’s answer to In Your House (though without the awesome subtitles like “Beware of Dog”), will be celebrating its 5th anniversary this Sunday. As the name implies, Payback can often be a chance for superstars to get payback from Mania, hence an often underwhelming card where we see a rehash of some of the same matches. This isn’t to say Payback hasn’t been without it’s moments, and I’d argue that some of the biggest have actually occurred on the post-Payback Raw. So let’s take a look at the most memorable moments from the past four years of Paybacks.
12. (2014) Bo Dallas vs. Kofi Kingston – As a big Bo Dallas mark, I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the beginning of his ‘Bo’nasty (no, that doesn’t work…just looks like Bo Nasty). Bo Dallas made his first main roster PPV appearance for WWE in a match against Kofi Kingston. The match would be interrupted by Kane and ruled a no-contest. Although not a win, Bo would keep his undefeated streak alive, until his nonsensical loss at the hands of R Truth about two months later.
11. (2014) El Torito vs. Hornswoggle (Mask vs. Hair Match) – Slim pickens here I know. In a rematch from their WeeLC match at Extreme Rules, El Torito defeated Hornswoggle leading to the shaving of his head at ringside. It would be the last we’d see of ‘Swoggle’s (can I call him ‘Swoggle? We’re cool I think) trademark gorgeous locks untill, uhh, his hair grew back I guess.
Something about this seemed really wrong by the way.
10. (2013) Curtis Axel vs. Miz vs. Wade Barrett (Intercontinental title match)- More slim pickens, but it just goes to show you how quickly a superstar can rise and fall in the WWE. Four years ago, Curtis Axel had Paul Heyman as his manager, the IC title around his waist, and a victory over HHH under his belt. Today he umm, well he did get in a good line with the Miz on Raw this week. Perhaps things are looking up for the Axe Man.
9. (2015) Ascension vs. Mega Powers – Speaking of the Axe dropping…In what would be their only actual PPV match, the tribute tag team, the Mega (err Meta) Powers went down at the hands of the unstoppable juggernaut known as the Ascension. (Fun Fact: This was also the ONLY win for the Ascension…EVER!) Shortly after, Hulk Hogan would make the news for all the wrong reasons and the Hogan parody would be no more. Damien Sandow would continue the Macho Mandow gimmick briefly and would be gone from the company in about a year.
8. (2016) Ryback’s vs. Kalisto (pre show) – Relegated again to the Pre Show, Ryback faced off against Kalisto in what would be his last PPV with the company. Sporting a “Pre Show Stopper” belt, the clearly frustrated Ryback would be gone from WWE TV after this latest loss. To honor him, I suggest renaming the PPV in his honor…JAKKS Pacific presents WWE Ryback.
7. (2013) CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho – After a two month hiatus following his loss to Undertaker at Wrestlemania 29, Jericho goaded CM Punk into a fight at 2013’s Payback. After dispatching Jericho, Punk would essentially turn full face the next night on Raw, telling Paul Heyman he was no longer needed. This would lead to an attack by Lesnar and the start of a series of Heyman-related matches.
6. (2016) Enzo and Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains – The scariest moment on this list occurred during a tag match between the Vaudevillains and Enzo and Cass. Simon Gotch whipped Enzo through the ropes with Amore’s head slamming into the rope before also slamming onto the ring apron. Zo’s partner Big Cass was visibly shaken at ringside. Fortunately for Enzo, he only suffered a concussion and was back on WWE TV 3 three weeks later.
5. (2016) Natalya vs. Charlotte (Women’s Championship) In a lame attempt to recreate their infamous past, WWE attempted recreating the “Montreal Screwjob” by again having Bret Hart serve as the victim of a crooked referee. The “Chicago Screwjob” involved Charlotte and Natalya, featuring their famous father and uncle respectively by their sides. As Charlotte locked Natalya in the Sharpshooter, referee Charles Robinson quickly rang the bell despite Natalya never tapping. Hey is that Earl Hebner or LIttle Naitch? Hart would describe the ending as “pretty flat and unoriginal” though he did get some on-screen validation when he paired with his niece to apply simultaneous Sharpshooters on the Flair family.
4.(2015) Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton (WWE Heavyweight World Championship) –A year after the Shield split up (see no. 1) the WWE Universe (man, I feel stupid typing that) was finally treated to a match involving the Sierra-Hotel-Indigo boys (granted they shoved Randy Orton into the match too). The former Shield mates teamed up to perform their Triple Powerbomb on Orton, putting him through the announcers’ table. The reunion was short lived however, as Ambrose and Rollins ended the party by refocusing their attacks on Rollins. Could this be foreshadowing to Sunday? Perhaps Reigns will need some help with the Monster amongst Men?
3. (2013) Cena defeats Ryback (Three Stages of Hell Match-WWE Championship) – Only Satan himself could have thought of something as brutal, punishing and devious as a Three Stages of Hell Match…or John Cena. Cena retained by AA-ing (that’s a real verb, I promise) The Big Guy through the roof of an ambulance, essentially ending the feud and Ryback’s push as an unstoppable monster. The real fun though came the next night, when Mark Henry interrupted John Cena’s open challenge to formally retire from WWE. One of the most memorable promos in recent memory, Henry quickly ended his faux-retirement, hitting Cena with a World’s Strongest Slam. “That’s what he does.”
2. (2015) John Cena vs. Rusev (I Quit Match – United States Championship) –Both sides of the John Cena debate were on display here. Those who think he kills the momentum of up and coming stars would no doubt have good fodder, as Cena defeated Rusev for the third straight PPV. Keep in mind that before facing Cena, the Bulgarian Brute was the undefeated United States Champion. This would lead to Rusev blaming his failures on Lana, leading to their temporary on-screen separation. More importantly, the wrap of this feud would lead to an appearance by Kevin Owens the next night on Raw. For those who think working with Cena gives a performer a certain cache, take the case of Kevin Owens. The still-NXT champ would not only embarrass Cena on Raw by cheap-shotting him and treating him to a Pop-up Powerbomb, he would also go on to shock the wrestling word with a victory at June’s Extreme Rules. Clearly in the past two years, Owens star has only shined brighter since squaring off with Mr. Nikki Bella.
1. (2014) The Shield vs. Evolution – For the second straight PPV the Shield got the best of their elders. For a series of 3 on 3 matches with no discernable prize on the line, these matches still had a pretty epic feel to them. In addition to being an excellent match, the real ramifications of this match came the night after on Raw. Fed up by his lack of a proper title rematch, Batista bailed on HHH and Evolution and retired. Now down to two members, HHH put his “Plan B” into place via the chair-shot heard ‘round the world, as Seth Rollins layed steel into the back of his former brother Roman Reigns, as Dean Ambrose looked on in bewilderment.