by Adam Salzer
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another edition of Making the Grade!
Tonight is WWE Payback, the "Raw Exclusive" PPV event that also happens to feature a bunch of SmackDown stars thanks to the poorly-timed Superstar Shakeup. I'm going to try and not let my overtiredness cloud my opinions of the show. Let's see how it goes!
Kickoff: Enzo and Cass v. The Club
Given their history of not letting Enzo and Cass win anything important, I'm going with The Club here...
Grade: C, immediately forgettable, and the announcers do no help by saying that Enzo "stole" the victory
US Title: Chris Jericho v. Kevin Owens (c)
Good choice to open. Expect Kevin to win here and send Jericho off to be with his band in Europe.
Grade: A, I enjoyed this. I enjoyed the callback to WrestleMania and the way Jericho reacted to it, and the way it played into the finish. Well done, all around.
Cruiserweight Title: Austin Aries v. Neville (c)
Looking forward to this match, and where this feud goes after tonight.
Grade: A, good action, back and forth, and a brilliant finish for the heel champion. They had me legit believing that Neville was going to lose the title. Love when that happens.
Raw Tag Titles: Sheamaro v. The Sprained Hardyz (c)
Hardys win, Sheamaro splits, all is well.
Grade: B, the match itself felt like it was lacking something, to me, but the post-match beatdown made up for it. If they're going to insist on keeping Sheamaro together then I think the heel turn is definitely needed to freshen them up.
Raw Women's Title: Alexa Bliss v. Bayley (c)
I don't see the title changing hands here, but this match could steal the show.
Grade: B, the hometown curse strikes again, and that turnpost spot in the finish looked weird. Other than that, not a bad match.
House of Horrors: Randy Orton v. Bray Wyatt
I don't even know what to expect here.
Grade: C, So it's part one, then. I know I'm about to complain about logic in a House of Horrors match, but it was dark at the house. This match started at about 6:30 Pacific, and sunset in San Jose isn't until 8. If they're more than an hour and a half away from the arena, and this show ends an hour and a half after the match started, how are we supposed to believe that both of these events, at the house and at the arena, happened on the same day? Also the house itself wasn't really that horrifying.
Seth Rollins v. Samoa Joe
This should be good, as long as Seth doesn't tweak his knee.
Grade: B, again, something missing for me, and that finish didn't really pop. Plus Joe's shoulder was up the entire time.
House of Horrors, Part II
Where'd he get the damn lantern from?!
Grade: D, I wasn't expecting the second part to be worse than the first, but then Randy apparently teleported from the house to the ring. And THEN Bray couldn't even win his own stipulation match without the help of three people he's not even affiliated with. That was a whole lot of terrible.
Braun Strowman v. Roman Reigns
Someone tell me, again, why this doesn't have a stipulation?
Grade: B, that's the match they should hve had at Fastlane. Absolute domination by Strowman. The post-match, however, takes away from the whole story. Why does Roman have to get one up on Strowman after the fact?
Average Grade: B-, a solid show from start to finish, minus that House of Horrorshow...
- It's in the cards: The first four matches of the show were the four title matches on the show. Who scheduled that?
Final Grade: C+, Payback, slightly above average!
Check out this week's episode of The Rundown on Thursday for full analysis of the show and I'll be back in three weeks for Backlash!
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