After a SummerSlam that closed several narrative lines and at the end of a particularly sad month for the world of wrestling, WWE presents Payback 2023, a PLE that couldn’t be more transitional if it tried...
Date: September 2, 2023
Arena: PPG Paints Arena
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Payback 2023 | Steel Cage match: Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus
Trish Stratus started by trying to quickly escape the cage but then went on to have a period of dominance over her opponent.
Meanwhile, Becky Lynch managed to balance things out and also have her moments of ascendancy over her opponent, including an intense use of the cage to hurt Trish’s head.
Later on, there was a moment of tribute to Victoria, with a Widow’s Peak by Trish, and to Lita, with a Twist Of Fate by Becky .
Later, Becky kicked out not only after a Stratusfaction but also after a Bulldog from the top rope, having also prevented Trish from escaping the cage and applying a Superplex , the consequences of which did not go beyond the near fall .
After failing to win by settlement, Becky tried to escape through the top of the cage, but ended up backtracking to stop Trish from escaping through the door. This is when Zoey Stark entered the scene, who attacked Becky and did everything she could to make Trish win, but Becky closed the cage with the three of them inside, applied a Manhandle Slam to Zoey and then a Manhandle Slam to Trish from the top rope. The feud looked tired, but it was a phenomenal match, probably Trish’s best ever and one of the best women’s matches in WWE history, if not the best.
Winner : Becky Lynch
Rating : 10/10
Payback 2023 | L.A. Knight vs. The Miz
(John Cena as guest referee)
What an atmosphere! What an outpouring of support for LA Knight! Thus, any combat easily becomes fun to follow. Meanwhile, John Cena, who was refereeing the match discreetly, was forced to intervene on both sides, grabbing both The Miz and then LA Knight after each had run out of time to attack their opponent near the ropes. And he intervened again when The Miz made a settlement with his hands gripping the ropes.
The Miz , who always looked like a strong competitor, was close to victory after a Skull Crushing Finale , but LA Knight kicked out and after a Powerslam and an Elbow Drop secured the victory after a Blunt Force Trauma .
Winner : LA Knight
Rating : 8/10
WWE United States Championship :
Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Austin Theory
Fight dominated by Austin Theory for several minutes, with Rey Mysterio only able to respond to spaces.
Although the duel had some quality, the public never showed much interest, perhaps because they were catching their breath from the previous fights. After Austin Theory managed to reverse the Splash that followed 619 , Mysterio reversed A-Town-Down in a sudden and creative settlement.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
Rating : 6.5/10
Steel City Street Fight for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship :
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) vs. The Judgment Day ( Finn Bálor and Damian Priest)
The fight started with a bang, with an intense brawl and the participation of objects such as chairs, kendo sticks , trash cans and the ever-so-desired tables. And, at a time when the four fighters were fighting in the audience area, Dominik Mysterio appeared on the scene to help his companions from The Judgment Day.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn gained motivation by putting on the equipment and using the sticks of the Pittsburgh Penguins, the local ice hockey team, at a time when Owens was already bleeding from his forehead.
Still in the audience area and with Dominik involved in the noise, Kevin Owens climbed to the top of a railing in a high area and applied a Swanton Bomb to Dominik, who was lying on a table.
Back in the ring, Sami Zayn had to fight with Bálor and Priest. After throwing Bálor onto a table, which broke, he had the help of Owens to apply a Helluva Kick to Priest, but the ensuing settlement was interrupted by JD McDonagh, who soon after suffered a Pop Up Powerbomb from Owens at the commentators’ table. Moments later, Rhea Ripley appeared on the scene to spear Owens against the protective barrier .
Already in the ring, Sami Zayn managed to escape a Coup de Grace and apply a Helluva Kick , but the ensuing settlement was interrupted by Dominik, who hit Zayn ‘s head with Priest’s Money in the Bank suitcase, which allowed the Bálor advances to the victorious settlement on a very vulnerable Zayn .
Winners : The Judgment Day ( Finn Bálor and Damian Priest) (new champions)
Rating : 10/10
Payback 2023 | Women’s World Championship :
Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez
Fight between two heavyweights from the women’s division, two of the strongest women in WWE. And the duel focused a lot on this measurement of strength between the two. However, the public wasn’t very interested, perhaps because they were tired after watching a frantic fight and just a few minutes before the main event .
Although Raquel Rodriguez had been injured in her knee for a few weeks, it was only at the end of the fight (and without much insistence) that Rhea Ripley remembered it. After an appearance from Dominik and a kick to the knee from Raquel Rodriguez, Ripley achieved victory following a Riptide .
The idea was that the chemistry between the two wasn’t on point, the production of the fight wasn’t solid enough and that the fight dragged on for a few minutes, taking into account the low interest from the public.
Winner : Rhea Ripley
Rating : 6/10
World Heavyweight Championship:
Seth “Freakin” Rollins (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Sooner or later, it was already known, Shinsuke Nakamura was going to focus on Seth Rollins ‘ lower back , which has suffered two fractures for four years. One of the situations in which this was most visible was when the Japanese projected the champion from the top of the protective barrier onto one of the commentators’ tables, starting a new wave of attacks on Rollins’ back .
Rollins himself , when he released the restraints and was able to counterattack, was always careful not to apply blows that could cause back pain, particularly when he opted for a Frankensteiner instead of a Superplex . After suffering several projections that caused damage to his back and a Kinshasa , Rollins escaped a quick settlement attempt by Nakamura and applied the victorious Stomp .
Winner : Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Rating : 7.5/10