Matthew Roberts takes a look at WWE Home Video’s latest DVD release, Payback 2023.
If you believed some onlookers, there wasn’t much to get excited about for the line-up for Payback, the very epitome of a “B” Show apparently. To me it was one of those shows that, whilst not mind-blowing, certainly had an intriguing line up that promised some great action. For the most part, it delivered on that promise.
Things kicked off with the “much delayed” Steel Cage match between Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus. Whether by design or not, it did mean that this match truly felt like the big blow off to what had been a very entertaining feud. The two certainly didn’t leave anything out there, delivering with one heck of a fight that oozed the intensity it should have. Becky usually delivers in big matches like this and Trish rolled back the years (arguably, she was better here than in her “prime”) and the result was a very good match indeed. Both women deserved all the plaudits going for this one.
Next up was John Cena, hosting the PLE. He was here to add himself as guest referee for the Miz/LA Knight match. That was a match that probably didn’t need that added attraction. The match itself was overly long at fifteen minutes plus, but that might just be my bias against Knight, who, to me, is currently riding a wave of popularity his in-ring performances in the WWE have yet to live up to. Still, it was passable.
The US title match between Austin Theory and Rey Mysterio was a lot better as a, well, match. It was also a lot better than their previous encounter on Smackdown too. After a brief interlude between Bekcy Lyndn and (then) NXT Women’s Champion Tiffany Stratton it was time for the Tag Team Titles Streetfight pitting Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens against Finn Balor and Damien Priest of the Judgment Day. This was everything it need to be and what a streetfight should be. As opposed to fifteen minutes of Miz/Knight, twenty minutes of this flew by without ever overstaying it’s welcome.
The Grayson Waller Effect welcomed Cody Rhodes next, as a way to introduce Jey Uso as Monday Night Raw’s newest addition to the roster. I suppose at least it meant that Uso “walking out on Smackdown” was handled in the storylines.
The Raw Women’s Title match between Rhea Ripley and Raquel Gonzalez was up next and it was another that went a little too long. It was an interesting opponent for Rhea in terms of matching her size but never really felt as if it played out that way. (Raquel needs to become more as a character than the monster who smiles a lot). It wasn’t awful but would have been a lot better received if it was half the time.
Things ended with the World title match between Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura. Again, at twenty five minutes this perhaps went five more than it needed to but it was a strong effort for the most part even if it was one of those matches held back by the challenger having little realistic chance of winning the title.
All in all, Payback 2023 was a good show. Most of the matches were good, if a little long, and kept the entertainment value rolling. It may well, ultimately, be that Payback was nothing more than a “B” show. But it was a very entertaining one, nonetheless.
8 out of 10
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE. Thanks to WWE Home Video for our review copy of WWE Payback 2023, which is out on Monday 23 October on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.