CM Punk confronts new World Champion Alberto Del Rio.
By Graham "GSM" MatthewsCM Punk Interrupted Alberto Del Rio's Championship Celebration
If there were any doubts that Del Rio is a heel after WWE Payback on Sunday night, they were put to rest in this segment. One of the reasons Del Rio grew stale as a heel in his previous run was because he had nothing substantial to work with. However, since he slowly won over the fans and turned his back on them, the turn was much more effective. His explanation of his actions was logical and planted the seeds for Dolph Ziggler's pending face turn as well. I enjoyed CM Punk bringing up his history with Del Rio from late 2011 as well as teasing tension with Paul Heyman. This was a great start to the show that help set up the main event match for later in the night.Christian def. Wade Barrett
To say that I'm excited that Christian has finally returned to the ring would be a massive understatement. He's been missing from action since last August, so it's great to finally see him back. The crowd reacted accordingly and it was certainly a pleasant surprise. He and Barrett produced a nice match, but it definitely could have gone on a bit longer. Christian spoke of getting his "one more match" on the WWE app, so is it safe to say that a World Heavyweight Championship program might be in Captain Charisma's future?Team Rhodes Scholars def. Sheamus in a 2-on-1 Handicap Match
The match itself was nothing out of the ordinary, but the finish took me by surprise. Not only did Sandow score the victory over Sheamus, but he did so in clean fashion, which certainly is a big boost in momentum for him. If they intend to continue this feud between the two, it's crucial that they continue to make Sandow look like an equal to Sheamus before being ultimately squashed by The Celtic Warrior.
By Rick Velazquez
This is a new mini series of articles I hope to start doing often, just to share my personal thoughts and display them as if I were booking a wrestling event, angle, storyline, match, etc.
Money in The Bank is quickly approaching and the fallout from Payback, is going to make this show one to remember. Money in The Bank has a reputation for being one of the better pay-per-views WWE puts on yearly. Since its inception in 2010, the event has delivered countless unforgettable moments and classic matches. The past three years have provided great MITB events, but what is in store for this year?
As of June 16, it is confirmed that Rob Van Dam will indeed be making his highly anticipated return to World Wrestling Entertainment at Money in The Bank, but it is still unknown to what capacity. Also, it has been heavily rumored that Daniel Bryan will challenged John Cena for the WWE Championship, in what many are calling a dream match. This is only a rumor, and nothing has been confirmed, but what if it was true? How would WWE set up such a big match?
CM Punk celebrates his victory over Y2J in Chicago.
By Graham "GSM" MatthewsSheamus def. Damien Sandow in the Payback Kick-off Match
This was easily the most entertaining pre-show match we've had in a long time. Sandow's attacks on Sheamus over the last two weeks combined with his pleasantly surprising amount of offense in this match didn't make his loss feel like a major letdown, but I still would have loved to see Sandow pick up the upset victory. Nonetheless, Sheamus' victory was predictable from the moment this feud started, so no need to complain about that. This wasn't the most worthwhile pre-show ever, but it was a significant improvement over what we've received from past pay-per-views.Curtis Axel w/Paul Heyman def. Wade Barrett and The Miz in a Triple Threat to Win the Intercontinental Championship
The first few minutes of this bout weren't all that great, but the competitors really picked up the pace down the stretch. The live crowd was buying into the near-falls and enjoyed the action as a whole. The finish with Axel pinning Barrett while he was enduring the Figure Four leg lock was pure brilliance. It was quite clever and gives Axel a clean victory under his (championship) belt. Having Axel win the title his father Mr. Perfect made famous on Father's Day was the best booking one could ask for. This was a great way to kick off the main card and the Chicago crowd ate it up.AJ Lee def. Kaitlyn to win the Divas Championship
After Taryn Terrell and Gail Kim provided one of the best women's wrestling matches in recent history at TNA Slammiversary earlier this month, I guess WWE felt the need to reignite their Divas division as well. I've heard from a number of sources that these two haven't had the best of matches in the past, which is hard to believe after the excellent performance they put together last night. Both lovely ladies put forth a strong effort in what was the best Divas match I've seen in years. Kaitlyn ignoring the pin-fall and blowing a kiss to AJ instead was spectacular story-telling and furthered the angle of Kaitlyn's apparent insanity. The fact this match received nearly 10 minutes of in-ring action was a nice touch and ensured that nothing was rushed. I was hoping to see AJ capture her first Divas title in her home state at WrestleMania 29, but it's better late than never. She definitely deserves this honor.
By CJ Blaze
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow - Pre-Show Match
I was shocked that this was put on the pre-show, but maybe it will draw. I would’ve instantly thought Sheamus would go over, but Sandow might be getting a push. It’s hard to say.Winner: SheamusAJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn © - Diva’s Championship Match
I was not surprised by AJ/Big E coming out as the secret admirer. Unfortunately, Kaitlyn's reign hasn’t meant anything, and AJ could be a breath of fresh air for the diva’s division.Winner: and new Diva’s Champion, AJ LeeKane vs. Dean Ambrose © - United States Championship Match
I expected Bryan to be challenging for the U.S. title, but this should be a good bout. Obviously Ambrose isn’t going to drop it so soon, and Kane needs to be challenging for a world title. I’m also predicting that the rest of The Shield will cost Kane the match.Winner: Kane - by DQ, Ambrose retains
By Austin Ward
Curtis Axel is definitely a bright, young talent. Grandson of Larry "The Axe" Hennig and son of Curt Hennig aka Mr. Perfect, Curtis certainly has wrestling in his blood. He's already got an impressive resume in the short month that he's been in WWE. He holds wins over the likes of John Cena, Chris Jericho, and Triple H three times. Axel also has the honor of saying he's a Paul Heyman guy. Now this Sunday, at WWE Payback, Curtis Axel has a shot of becoming the new Intercontinental Champion.
Being a third generation superstar already gives one some lofty expectations. So far Axel's looked very impressive in the ring and you can tell he's been working really hard to improve in that aspect. One of the things I've noticed is he still needs a little work on the mic, but that can come with time. While it's impressive that he holds wins over the likes of Jericho, Cena, and Triple H, it seems like its been going a little too fast. Curtis Axel wasn't even scheduled to be in the Intercontinental Championship match, but a concussion suffered by Fandango put him in the triple threat match against Miz and Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett.
Daniel Bryan forces Seth Rollins to submit to the No Lock.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Team Hell No and Randy Orton Argued
There was plenty of solid mic work to go around between Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton and Kane. I enjoyed the dynamic between Bryan and Kane, acting as if they had just broken up in the midst of a middle school relationship. They teased tension enough to make viewers question if Bryan and Orton can truly coexist in their tag title match at Payback, so this segment was successful in that aspect. They continued to foreshadow a potential Bryan heel turn, which I hope ultimately doesn't come to fruition. He is just way too over with the live crowds at the moment to be a heel, so WWE should make the right decision by not turning him at this point in time.Sheamus def. Antonio Cesaro
These two always work well together and this match was no exception. Similar to their match on WWE Main Event last week, this bout was full of physicality and hard-hitting action. Cesaro hasn't meant anything in ages, so I didn't at all expect him to pull out a victory here. However, he took Sheamus to the limit with his impressive impressive, so at least he looked good in defeat. Damien Sandow's post-match attack on The Celtic Warrior was a nice boost of momentum for Sandow going into their Kickoff match at Payback.Heath Slater w/3MB def. The Great Khali w/Natalya and Hornswoggle
This was an absolute waste of a match. I couldn't care less about anyone involved and the bout accomplished nothing at all. If nothing else, it was only a mere minute long and it was cool to see Slater pin a former World Heavyweight Champion. Aside from that, though, this bout was meaningless and served no purpose on a go-home show for a pay-per-view in two days.
AJ Styles struggles to free himself from the ankle lock.
By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Aces and Eights Interrupted Hulk Hogan
I was surprised we didn't get any fallout from the conclusion of last week's edition, but I'm glad they held off on it. This show as fully focused on the Bound For Glory Series, as it should have been. I was glad that this was the only time we saw Hulk Hogan all night, the way it should be. Bully Ray, Jeff Hardy and Bobby Roode played their roles well, but nothing too extraordinary. As much as I like Roode and Hardy, it doesn't make sense to simply give them spots in the tournament just because they've won it before. Why not make theme earn their spot like everyone else?Bad Influence def. World Tag Team Champions James Storm and Gunner to Qualify for the Bound For Glory Series (Non-title)
I'm ecstatic to see both members of Bad Influence in the Bound For Glory Series this year. Daniels was able to compete in it last year, but not Kazarian, so it's nice to see both guys getting their due. However, after being the odds on favorite to win last year, I'm a bit disappointed that James Storm won't be in the tournament this year. He's World Tag Team Champion alongside Gunner, so I guess that takes precedence. I hope this victory over the tag champs leads to Bad Influence getting a title shot at some point.Joesph Park def. Crimson to Qualify for the Bound For Glory Series
It's awesome to see Crimson back on television after a year-long absence, but why reintroduce him in this fashion? Crimson is much more deserving of a spot in the Bound For Glory Series than Park. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the Park character, but he serves no purpose in participating. Alas, I guess they need someone to be the jobber to the stars similar to Robbie E's role last year. This should be part of an on-going story with Crimson rather than a meaningless one-off loss if they intend to keep him on television.
By CJ Blaze
The show kicks off with a video highlighting Bo Dallas winning the battle royal to get his shot at the NXT Title tonight!Sami Zayn vs. Antonio Cesaro
I could watch these two fight all night! Their chemistry is great, and they will probably be fighting each other for a world title someday. Zayn’s loss comes as a surprise because it kind of kills his momentum, but it won’t matter too much.Winner: Antonio Cesaro - by pinfall
-Renee Young interviewed Baylee backstage about her upcoming match in the Women’s title tournament. Baylee has a new gimmick. where she loves robots.
John Cena goes to work on Payback opponent Ryback.
By Graham "GSM" MatthewsConvoluted opening segment featuring Triple H, Curtis Axel and Mr. McMahon. The matches between Axel and HHH were fine for what they were, but weren't long enough to truly mean anything. McMahon restarting the match got old rather quickly, but I appreciate the effort in attempting to do something different. I had my hopes up at one point that we might actually see a 60-minute Iron Man match between the two, but sadly, it was too good to be true.
Decent match between United States Champion Dean Ambrose and Kane. This wasn't one of Ambrose's better matches, but it was passable for what it was. I was initially upset with Ambrose losing via disqualification, but it made sense it settling up the U.S. title match between the two at Payback. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan fending off The Shield was a nice way of building towards their respective matches for later in the night.
Brief match with The Miz defeating Cody Rhodes. We've seen these two clash multiple times in the last few months, so this bout was nothing out of the ordinary. Wade Barrett was good on commentary and helped hype the Intercontinental Championship match for Payback. Although I wanted Fandango to capture the title, Curtis Axel is a great consolation prize. Hey, it's better than seeing Barrett face Miz in singles action for the billionth time.
Nice match between Chris Jericho and Big E Langston. Jericho's pre-match promo was solid and was effective in building towards his upcoming match with CM Punk. His verbal exchange with Dolph Ziggler was pretty good, but it makes me wonder if we'll be seeing them feud over the World Heavyweight Championship down the line. As for the match, it was mere minutes long, but at least it tied into Ziggler's feud with Alberto Del Rio, which will culminate on Sunday.
Fun match with Antonio Cesaro between Sin Cara. I enjoyed this bout more than most Sin Cara matches and they managed to work well together. I'm glad to see Cesaro score a rare victory on Raw, which he was in desperate need of. I hope to see him join forces with Zeb Colter, who is currently directionless due to Jack Swagger getting injured a few weeks back.
By CJ Blaze
It’s that time of year again. NXT recently cut ties with seven of its talents, and several others seem to be on the horizon of coming to the main roster. There are several superstars and divas who are jobbers, and they may never succeed again in the WWE. Let’s take a look at who might be future endeavored sooner than later.Alicia Fox
Ever since Fox lost the Diva’s title in 2010, she has bounced around frequently. She is currently known for switching between the face and heel role. Fox hardly wins anymore, and her days as champion are obviously long gone. These reasons lead me to believe that she should be released, and see what TNA can bring for her.David Otunga
Otunga hasn’t been seen for a while, and when was the last time he won a match? The only success he has had was holding the tag team titles with Curtis Axel (when he was McGillicutty). He looked like a viable threat to Santino Marella’s U.S. title, but nothing came out of it. Otunga probably won’t find further success, and even the WWE Universe thinks his ring work is boring.