WWE Payback Pre-Show:

The 2016 WWE Payback Kickoff pre-show opens live from Chicago with Renee Young as we see fans inside the Allstate Arena. Renee welcomes us and she’s joined by Jerry Lawler, Booker T and Corey Graves on the panel. Renee sends us backstage to Greg Hamilton in the Social Media Lounge. He plugs tonight’s hashtags and will have Sami Zayn later for fan questions.

We go back to Renee and she sends us to a video of Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon on last week’s RAW. The panel talks about Vince McMahon’s announcement and we get a video for Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose. We get more hype for tonight’s show and a Tapout video. Renee leads us to a promo for tonight’s main event. Booker predicts AJ Styles wins, Graves goes with Roman Reigns and Lawler agrees with Graves. Renee leads us to a WrestleMania 32 recap video and plugs tonight’s tag team tournament finals.

Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

We go to ringside with Mauro Ranallo and Byron Saxton. We see the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal trophy at ringside as Baron Corbin makes his way out first to mostly heat. JoJo is doing ring announcing. Dolph Ziggler makes his way out next to a pop.

The bell rings and they meet in the middle of the ring for some trash talking. Corbin shoves Ziggler. Ziggler fires back with right hands into the corner. Corbin pushes Ziggler off and whips him shoulder first into the turnbuckles. Ziggler hits hard and goes down. Corbin goes to work on Ziggler and chokes him on the bottom rope. Corbin slides out to the floor and nails Ziggler with a big right. Corbin with a 2 count. Corbin keeps control and argues with the referee. Corbin shows off and gets booed. Ziggler tries to fight back but Corbin catches him and drops him over the top rope.

After wasting time, Corbin comes back in and puts a boot on Ziggler. Corbin picks Ziggler up but stalls to argue with the referee. Ziggler rolls him up out of nowhere for the win.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

After the match, Corbin is upset and can’t believe it. Ziggler makes his exit as Corbin looks on.

– We get promo videos and come back to Renee, who sends us to a video package for Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens. Sami is in the Social Media Lounge now with Greg Hamilton. Sami says his biggest inspiration growing up was Bret Hart because of his tenacity and his matches. Sami isn’t sure if he would ever trust Kevin Owens again because of their history. He says they’re like brothers but probably never fought like this. They talk more about Owens before Greg sends us back to Mauro and Byron.

WWE United States Title Match: Ryback vs. Kalisto

We go to the ring and out comes WWE United States Champion Kalisto for this WrestleMania 32 rematch. Ryback is out next to mostly boos.

We get formal ring introductions from Eden. Fans chant Goldberg as soon as the match starts. Ryback fakes a handshake attempt and drops Kalisto with a right hand. Ryback takes control as the “you can’t wrestle” chants start. They run the ropes and Ryback goes to the floor. Kalisto leaps out and nails him. Kalisto runs the ropes again and nails a corkscrew plancha over the top. Kalisto brings Ryback back in and goes to work with kicks. Ryback pushes Kalisto off and wheelbarrows him into the turnbuckles.

Ryback counters a DDT and suplexes Kalisto for a 2 count. We cut to a break. We come back and Ryback is still in control, keeping Kalisto down. Ryback drops Kalisto with an elbow and covers for another 2 count. Ryback launches Kalisto into the corner as fans boo and he taunts the crowd some more. Ryback toys with Kalisto and wastes more time now. Kalisto comes back with kicks. Ryback catches him in mid-air but Kalisto counters with a DDT. Ryback rolls to the apron and tries for a suplex but Kalisto counters and ends up nailing a big DDT into the apron, driving Ryback face first. Ryback sells a shoulder injury now. Kalisto springboards in for a 1 count. Kalisto with a corkscrew for a 2 count. Ryback kicks him and goes for a powerbomb. Kalisto slides out and rolls him up for 2. Kalisto ducks a clothesline and kicks Ryback in the head. Kalisto plants Ryback face first and covers for a 2 count.

Ryback blocks Salida del Sol and goes for Shellshocked. Kalisto blocks it and rolls him up for 2. Ryback catches him in a big spinebuster for a close 2 count. Ryback goes to the top but Kalisto kicks him in the head. Kalisto climbs up but has to kick Ryback in the head again. He climbs back up but Ryback presses him high over his head and nails a super gorilla press. Ryback goes back to the top but misses a big splash. Kalisto nails Salida del Sol for the win.

Winner: Kalisto

After the match, we go back to the panel as the camera shows us the door to Vince McMahon’s office. The panel talks about the US Title match as we see the announcers coming out. That’s it for the pre-show.

WWE Payback Opener:

The show opens with New Day telling Chicago not to be sour, and to clap for the 2 time champs, and feel the power!

New Day come out to a huge pop and head straight into the ring. They soak in the cheers before Woods welcomes the fans to Payback. He says tonight one tag team will have the opportunity to become #1 contenders to the WWE World Tag Team Championships. And Kofi wants a ringside view, so they’re going to sit back and watch with some lemonade. Woods tells Beyonce if she wants to get back at her man, she needs to talk to Woods because he’s on Twitter, and his DM’s are open BAYBEE. Big E says times are a-changing. It’s a new era in WWE because New Day Rocks!

– We go right into a video package that highlights Shane McMahon talking about a new era in the WWE, footage is shown of Styles, The Vaudvillains, Anderson and Gallows, and some of the other new faces in the WWE. Quite a bit of time in this video package is devoted to these new faces, with Shane McMahon saying it’s time for a new chapter, and new matches. The theme of the entire video package is ‘NEW’, and Payback is touted as the first PPV of a new era.

– Back in the arena, Enzo and Cass make their way out for the opening match, getting a huge pop. Enzo goes through his usual spiel, letting the crowd know he’s a certified G and a bonafide stud, and that Big Cass is 7 foot tall, and you can’t teach that. Bada Boom, realest guys in the room, how you doin’?

Enzo says if his aunt had hair on her back, she’d be his uncle, and the Vaudvillains are getting a certified G beat down. Let bygones be bygones, hop in the DeLorean, and go back to the future. Cass says the Vaudvillains flex like they’re Arnold. More like Her Arnold. He and ‘zo are going to tee off on their football heads. They should have never stepped off the stoop. Enzo says their’s no elevator to success, you’ve gotta take the stairs, but for people like he and Cass, there’s an escalator. They’ll prove tonight that there’s only one word to describe them, S-A-W-F-T, SAWFT!

The Vaudvillains are out next, and they get a very subdued reaction, especially compared to what the crowd just gave up for Enzo and Cass.

WWE Tag Team Championship #1 Contenders Tournament Finals
Enzo and Cass vs. The Vaudvillains

The bell rings and it looks like Gotch and Enzo will kick things off for their respective teams. Gotch goes behind right away, but Enzo is able to turn things around into a test of strength followed by a monkey flip. Gotch bridges up and catches Enzo’s arm in an arm bar. Enzo fights up and pushes Gotch off, but Gotch drops him with a couple of shoulder blocks. Enzo comes right back with a dropkick. English tags in and blocks a drop toe hold from Enzo. Big Cass tags in and steps over the top rope, staring down English. English psyches himself up and scores with a couple of rights, but Cass backs him into the corner and scores with a couple of shots to the ribs. New Day are eating pizza and popcorn ringside. Enzo tags back in and jabs English in the gut while Cass hold his arms back. Cass tags back in and tosses Enzo into Gotch, then into English. Cass press slams Enzo into English, right into a cover for two.

Enzo stops Gotch from getting into the ring, but English catches Enzo with double boots to the face. Gotch launches Enzo out of the ring and Enzo’s head bounces off the bottom rope. Enzo looks like he may be knocked out. Enzo checks in and the ref throws up the X, calling for assistance from the back. They keep playing the replay and the whiplash Enzo must have suffered looks really nasty. A hush has fallen over the crowd as the stretcher comes down from the back and the ref calls for the bell.

No Contest

The camera cuts to a tight shot on the announcers who look on with concern as Enzo is being attended to.

Enzo is placed in a neck brace and the crowd chants for Amore. Cole says they’re going to move on with the broadcast, and they throw things to a video package highlighting the history between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, picking up at the Royal Rumble where Zayn made his official main roster debut, and eliminated Kevin Owens. The video package is very well done, showing pictures of the two from their past while the two discuss their relationship.

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

Kevin Owens is the first man to make his way out to the ring. Cole lets us know on his way down to the ring that they hope to have an update on Enzo Amore over the course of tonight’s event. Owens gets a nice reaction on his way down to the ring, but it dies down quickly from the fans who are likely still shocked at the result of the opening match.

Sami Zayn is out next, and Zayn gets a nice pop as the fans begin to rebound from Enzo’s injury. The fans are singing along with Zayn’s music, getting very into it.

The bell rings and there are huge ‘Ole’ chants throughout the arena. Owens and Zayn jaw with each other for a bit before Zayn winds up and swings. Both men trade repeated right hands, and Zayn backs Owens up, before Zayn scores with a knee to the gut. Zayn tosses Owens to the outside and dives over the top rope with a tope con hilo out on top of Owens. Zayn follows and slams Owens into the barricade before turning around and whipping him in once more. Zayn sends Owens back into the ring and Owens rolls to the other side, standing on the apron and hanging Sami up on the top rope. Owens heads back into the ring and Zayn scores with a heel kick that’s good for a near fall.

Owens begs off and Zayn hits him with a couple of big right hands. Zayn leap frogs over Owens and connects with a head scissors, Owens backdrops Sami to the apron and stops him with a knee to the shoulder. Owens brings Sami out to the floor and drives him shoulder first into the ring steps.

We get an update that Enzo is talking and moving his extremities on his way to a local hospital. Owens picks Sami up and sends him into the ring steps once more. Owens climbs up the steps and stands on Sami’s fingers before kicking him in the face. Back in the ring Owens goes for a pin and gets a two count. Owens backs up and kicks Sami in the shoulder, then talks smack as Sami stands. Owens hits a massive chop that drops Sami for another near fall. Owens picks Zayn up and drops him again with a big forearm. Owens continues the assault, kicking Zayn in the back before clamping on a rear chin lock.

Sami is able to fight up to his feet and out of the hold, but Owens stops him with a front suplex, dumping Sami on the top rope. Owens connects with a senton, but it’s still not enough for three. Owens looks out to the announcer’s team and screams at Cole to watch. Sami gets up to his knees and Owens hits him with a big right. Sami begins to fight back, but Owens drops him again with a back elbow. Sami pops right back up with a huge clothesline.

Sami scores with a couple of right hands and another big clothesline. Owens tries to beg off, but Sami won’t let him go. Sami mounts Owens in the corner and hits Owens with repeated rights. Owens comes back with a big boot to the face. Sami comes right back with a Michinoku driver, but it’s not enough to keep Owens down for three. Sami tries for the blue thunder bomb, but Owens fights it off. Sami pulls Owens back and scores with the blue thunder bomb, but it’s still not enough for a three count.

Owens picks up Sami and drops him across his knee with a fisherman buster, but it’s only good enough for a two count. Owens heads to the top rope and comes down with a big frog splash on top of Sami, but Sami still will not die. Owens waits for Sami to stand, and he knocks him down with a huge clothesline in the corner. Owens scores with a cannonball before backing up and scoring with a second. Owens sends Sami into the ropes and tries for the pop-up powerbomb, but Owens counters with a dropkick. Sami hits the exploder, and Owens pops right back up for a giant clothesline that stuns Zayn.

Both men struggle to make their way back up to their feet and trade immediate right hands. Owens scores with a knee to the gut, but Zayn is able to counter another pop-up powerbomb into a roll up for two. Zayn runs the ropes and goes for a DDT, but Owens counters by putting his knee out for Zayn to land on. Owens and Zayn trade right hands on the ring apron, and Sami gets the upper hand. Same backs up and tries for the helluva kick, but Owens kicks him in the gut. Owens tries for a powerbomb, but Zayn counters with a backdrop on the apron.

Zayn heads to the outside and leaps through the ropes in the corner to deliver a tornado DDT to Owens on the floor. The crowd is going nuts for this match!

Zayn sends Owens back into the ring and follows, hyping himself up in the corner. Zayn goes for the helluva kick, but Owens counters with a superkick and a pop-up powerbomb for the three count.

Winner: Kevin Owens

JBL screams to call the Chicago PD because these guys just stole the show. He also screams ‘follow that’, which any match tonight will have a very difficult time doing.

After the match Owens picks up Zayn and tosses him out to the floor, telling the crowd how great he is before screaming at Byron Saxton. Byron takes off his headset and grabs a mic. Owens invites Byron into the ring, holding the rope for him right up until Byron actually tries to enter the ring. Owens tells Byron where to stand, then tells him to ask about beating Sami. Saxton asks if the rivalry is finally over. Owens says that’s not what he said to ask, but he finally beat Sami Zayn! He finally put to rest the question people have been asking for 14 years. Kevin Owens is the better man. Owens tells Saxton to ask him something else. Then he says he’s not done, he’s going to re-focus and get back his Intercontinental Championship. Saxton says that match is next, and he asks if Owens thinks Miz will retain. Owens says he doesn’t care, but on that note, Owens thanks him for the invitation, and he will do commentary with Byron for the next match.

Intercontinental Championship
The Miz vs. Cesaro

Miz is the first man to make his way out to the ring, and he gets a decent amount of heat from the crowd who is not at all excited to see him (but is a little excited to see Maryse).

Kevin Owens is wearing JBL’s hat over his headset while commentating. I wish I could just cover Owens on commentary, but there’s a match to be covered! Cesaro is out next, and the Swiss Superman gets a huge pop on his way out from the back.

They lock up and Miz with a wrist lock and Cesaro gets out of the hold. They lock up and Miz returns to the arm. Cesaro wtiha reversal using kip ups and Cesaro with an arm drag into a near fall. Cesaro with a dead lift side salto for a near fall. Cesaro with a side head lock. Miz goes for a leap frog but Ceasro with a tilt-a-whirl back breaker for a near fall. Miz is sent into the ring post. Cesaro goes for the Gorilla superplex but Maryse grabs the leg and Miz with a kick followed by a double sledge from the turnbuckles and boots for a near fall. Miz with a wrist lock and he uses his shoulder to add more pressure to the arm. Miz with a suplex for a near fall.

Miz with an arm bar. Cesaro wtih punches but Miz with Reality Check for a near fall. Miz continues to work on the arm but he loses focus to pose. Cesaro with a shoulder and sunset flip for a naer fall. Miz with a sleeper and he climbs on Cesaro’s back. Miz gets Cesaro down to the mat. Miz adds a body scissors for more leverage. Cesaro is able to get out of the sleeper but Miz holds on and Cesaro powers into a dead lift vertical suplex. Cesaro with European uppercuts to Miz. Cesaro connects with nine before five Irish whips and European uppercuts. Cesaro with a drop kick for a near fall. Cesaro sets for the Gorilla suplex but Maryse distracts him. Cesaro hits the Gorilla superplex for a near fall.

Miz with a boot but he misses a second time and Cesaro with a rollup for a near fall. Cesaro with a springboard European uppercut. Miz stops the Giant Swing and Miz goes for the DDT but Cesaro counters into the pop up European uppercut but Miz gets his foot on the ropes. Cesaro sets for the Gotch Style Neutralizer but Miz counters with a back body drop. Cesaro lands on his feet and Ceasro wtih a back slide. Cesaro goes into the ring post shoulder first and Miz hits the Skull Crushing Finale and Cesaro kicks out.

Zayn attacks Owens at the announce table and Zyan with a clothesline taht sends both of them into Yeatonville.

Cesaro with a spinebuster and giant swing. Cesaro wtih a Crossface and Owens and Zayn get on the apron and the referee does not focus on the match he is refereeing and Miz taps out but the referee did not see it. Owens and Zayn fall to the floor and Miz with a rollup and a handful of tights for the three count.

Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: The Miz

After the match, Cesaro with a European uppercut to Miz and he brings him into the ring. Owens takes care of Cesaro and hits a Pop Up Power Bomb on Zayn. Maryse pulls her husband to safety but Owens has the Intercontinental Title in his hands.


Stephanie McMahon is shown backstage talking to Apollo Crews while the announcers talk about who will run Raw going forward. The announcers transition right into a video package highlighting the recent history between Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose, leading up to tonight’s match between these two men.

Chris Jerichoi vs. Dean Ambrose

In the arena, Chris Jericho is the first man to make his way down for the next match. Jericho gets a mixed reaction, but it appears there are lots of fans who have no problem still cheering for Y2J.

Dean Ambrose is out next, and the Lunatic Fringe gets a very nice pop from the crowd. Cole continues to update us about Enzo Amore, saying they’re waiting on more information, but Enzo is waiting on testing. Enzo is moving his arms and legs and is able to communicate with the medical staff.

The bell rings and Jericho heads straight out to the apron. Ambrose waits for Jericho to come back to him, staring down Y2J the whole time. Ambrose attacks, beating on Jericho in the corner and burying his shoulder in Jericho’s gut. Ambrose kicks away at Jericho repeatedly before slamming his head into the turnbuckle. Ambrose chops Jericho repeatedly, then hits him with a head butt. Jericho catches himself in the ropes and bails out to the floor. Ambrose follows and chases Jericho around the ring. Jericho hops back into the ring. Ambrose ducks a clothesline and connects with a big cross body. Ambrose grabs Jericho’s legs and stomps on his midsection.

Ambrose chops Jericho, then finds himself backdropped out to the floor. Jericho hits the ropes and dives through, hitting Ambrose with a big dropkick out to the floor. Jericho slaps Ambrose in the side of the head, and attempts to throw him into the ring, but Ambrose spins around and clotheslines Jericho to the floor before mocking Y2J by placing his foot on his chest and flexing. Ambrose tosses Jericho into the ring and Jericho grabs right on to the ref. Jericho fights him off with a back elbow. Jericho blocks Dirty Deeds and suplexes Ambrose, dumping him across the top rope. Jericho hits a springboard dropkick that sends Ambrose out to the floor.

Ambrose struggles back into the ring and is suplexed by Jericho. Jericho lays in a couple of right hands, then clamps on a rear chin lock.

Ambrose catches Jericho with rights and lefts before running right into a big dropkick for two. Jericho slingshots Ambrose throat first into the bottom rope. Jericho kicks Ambrose in the spine, then cranks back on Ambrose’s arms. Ambrose fights up to his feet, but Jericho lays in with a knee and several chops. Jericho tries for the running bulldog, but Ambrose sends Jericho flying into the corner, crotching him on the middle turnbuckle. Ambrose scores with jabs and chops, then elbows. Ambrose drops Jericho with a couple of forearms, then scores with a running forearm in the corner. Ambrose catches Jericho with a boot, then a tornado DDT out of the corner for two.

Jericho avoids a suplex, catching Ambrose with a couple of back elbows. Ambrose sends Jericho out to the apron and Jericho leaps right up to the top rope, coming off with a huge axe-handle smash. Jericho tries for the Walls of Jericho, but Ambrose counters and comes up with a swinging neckbreaker. Jericho pulls himself up in the corner. Ambrose hits a running forearm and follows with a running bulldog for another two count. Ambrose climbs up to the top rope and leaps off with an elbow, but Jericho avoids it and goes right into the Walls of Jericho, locking him in the hold. Ambrose struggles, but makes it to the ropes to break the hold. Jericho charges in with a knee to the chest, then follows it up with kicks to the face. Jericho charges in again, but Ambrose avoids it and tosses Y2J out to the floor, following with a huge flying forearm through the ropes that busts open Jericho’s nose. Ambrose takes apart the German announcer’s table.

Ambrose puts Jericho on top of the German announcer’s table, picking him up and trying for Dirty Deeds. Jericho counters, trying for the Walls again, but he decides to slingshot Ambrose into the timekeeper’s area instead.

The ref counts, but Ambrose is able to make it back into the ring at 9. Jericho stomps at Ambrose, screaming at him to stay down. Jericho goes for the codebreaker, but Ambrose fights it off. Ambrose scores with the rebound lariat, but it’s only enough for a two count. Ambrose heads out to the apron and up to the top rope. Jericho stops Ambrose cold, heading up after him and knocking him out to the floor. Ambrose pulls himself up to the apron and blocks the springboard dropkick, hanging Jericho up on the top rope. Ambrose heads to the top and leaps off with a giant elbow drop, but it’s still only enough for a two count.

Ambrose seats Jericho on the top turnbuckle, heading up after him. Jericho fights Ambrose off, pushing him into the ring. Jericho leaps off the top right into a boot to the gut. Jericho fights off Dirty Deeds and is able to trap Ambrose in the Walls of Jericho once more. Ambrose summons the strength to drag himself toward the ropes, but Jericho drags him back. Ambrose turns the hold and scores with right hands before locking Jericho into a small package for a two count. Jericho scores with an enzugiri that’s good for a two count of his own.

Jericho hits a butterfly suplex into a backbreaker for another two count. Jericho slaps Dean in the side of the face. Dean fights back with jabs and chops, wearing Jericho out, but he runs directly into a back elbow. Ambrose blocks the lionsault by getting his knees up. Ambrose tries to lock Jericho in for Dirty Deeds, but Jericho continues to fight it. Ambrose connects with Dirty Deeds, and rolls over into the pin for the three count.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

Jericho is furious, ripping up papers from the Spanish announcer’s table and pushing on the stairs before jawing with the fans on his way to the back.


Mauro Ranallo is backstage with AJ Styles. He asks about Anderson and Gallows. Styles says he’s going to become the WWE Champion all on his own. He told Anderson and Gallows it’s all him tonight. They’re his friends, but it’s a one-on-one match between him and Reigns, and tonight they’ll know why he’s phenomenal.

– Sasha Banks is shown talking to Shane McMahon backstage, and we get another reminder that Mr. McMahon will decide the fate of Raw moving forward.

WWE Women’s Title Match
Natalya (with Bret Hart) vs. Charlotte (with Ric Flair)

Back in the arena, Charlotte makes her way to the ring accompanied by her father on the way to the ring. We get a recap of some of the recent events that led up of this match, including Natalya making Charlotte tap out, but winning the match by DQ due to Ric’s interference.

Natalya is out next, accompanied by her uncle, Bret the Hitman Hart. Bret gets one of the biggest pops of the night so far as he makes his way into the arena. Cole notes that this is Bret’s first appearance since beating prostate cancer earlier this year.

After formal ring introductions from Jojo, we’re ready to kick things off. The bell rings and both women circle each other. Charlotte woo’s in Natalya’s face and Natalya tries for the Sharpshooter right away, but Charlotte fights out. We get a lockup and Natalya takes Charlotte over with an arm drag. Charlotte shoves Natalya away and woo’s once more. Natalya goes for a kick, but Charlotte grabs the leg and slaps Natalya. Charlotte is able to lock in a side headlock, but Natalya fights her off, only to fall to a shoulder block. Natalya scores with a huge shoulder tackle, then she goes for the Sharpshooter again, but Charlotte breaks it and rolls out to the floor. Natalya gives chase, and walks right into a neckbreaker in the ring that’s good for a two count. Charlotte slams Natalya’s head into the mat, then gloats to the fans. Charlotte drops her knee pad and drops the knee across Natalya’s face. Charlotte buries her knee in Natalya’s midsection, then goes right back into a modified rear chin lock. Charlotte slams Natalya back down to the mat by her hair, then slaps her across the face.

Charlotte struts a bit before heading back into the ring. Charlotte chops Natalya, then hits another. Natalya ducks the third, then scores with a chop of her own before sending Charlotte into the corner and following up with a German suplex for two. Natalya runs up Charlotte’s back and hits a low dropkick to the face. Charlotte blocks a big boot and hits a huge forearm before dropping her knee across Natalya’s kneecap. Charlotte continues the assault on the leg, dropping her knee into the side of Natalya’s knee repeatedly. Charlotte grabs the leg and wrenches it back, slamming it down against the mat.

Charlotte traps Natalya in a single leg crab, stomping down on Natalya’s head at the same time. Natalya fights out of it and into an immediate armbar. Charlotte makes it to the ropes to force Natalya to break the hold. Charlotte kicks the back of Natalya’s leg before suplexes Natalya legs first into the ring ropes. Charlotte mocks Bret Hart before turning back to Natalya, stomping away at her. Charlotte heads to the top rope and Natalya pushes her out to the floor.

Natalya goes for a baseball slide, but she’s caught by Charlotte. Charlotte gets Natalya in powerbomb position, but Natalya counters with a headscissors. Natalya picks up Charlotte and sends her back into the ring. Natalya and Ric Flair have a staredown. Charlotte blocks a clothesline with a big boot to the face that’s good for two. Charlotte tries for the figure four, but Natalya breaks it up with a chop. Natalya scores with a couple of big forearms, and a huge discus clothesline, but it’s still not enough for three.

Natalya goes for the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte blocks it and hits a neckbreaker. Charlotte connects with Natural Selection, but Natalya is able to get her shoulder up at two. Charlotte heads up to the top rope and she tries for the moonsault, connecting for a two count.

Charlotte locks on the figure four, but she can’t transition into the figure eight. Natalya is able to reverse it, but Charlotte makes it to the ropes to force Natalya to break the hold. Charlotte stands and slaps Natalya across the face. Charlotte traps Natalya in a sloppy Sharpshooter, and the ref calls for the bell immediately, grabbing the belt and bolting out of the area. Charlotte holds the belt high while Cole screams that Natalya never tapped out. Bret takes out Ric in the ring, and Natalya takes out Charlotte. Both turn over the Flair’s with Sharpshooters, causing Ric and Charlotte to tap out.

Winner and STILL WWE Women’s Champion: Charlotte

The Harts stand tall in the ring as we head into a video package for Extreme Rules, which is later this month on May 22nd.

In the Arena:

Eden introduced Mr. McMahon, who makes his way out to the ring to announce who will be in charge of Raw moving forward. The fans chant for CM Punk, and Vince leads eggs them on. Vince says Raw is the longest running weekly episodic show in history. He says one of the reasons Raw has been so successful is because it’s evolved and changed over the years. Vince wonders how long the crowd can go with the CM Punk chants, calling them a crazy crowd. Vince says they reinvent Raw all the time, and in order to do that, there are certain eras that occur. One of his favorites is the Attitude era, but now it’s time for a new era, so they need someone with new leadership skills, ethics, and great business acumen. Someone who has a vision as to where they should be going. They need to be a great person of personal ethics. So he’s at a decision. Who should be running Raw, Shane (huge pop), or Stephanie (tons of heat).

Vince introduces Stephanie first, who makes her way out to continued heat from the crowd.

Vince asks the crowd ‘isn’t she beautiful’, which gets a lot more heat. Stephanie thanks the crowd for their outpouring of support after Roman Reigns speared her at WrestleMania. Vince screams that the fans in Chicago are animals, and need to show some respect. Stephanie says she doesn’t want their support, compassion, or sympathy. She’d rather be feared or respected, than felt sorry for. Under the Authority’s leadership they saw the biggest WM in history, the Women’s revolution, superstars like the Shield, Kevin Owens, The New Day, Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks, Charlotte, and even tonight’s #1 Contender, AJ Styles. But perhaps the biggest accomplishment was the launch of the WWE Network, taken from an idea into 1.8 million subscribers. The fans may not agree with all of Stephanie’s decisions, but there’s no denying that everything she did was best for business, unlike Shane. The reason Shane thinks he can run Raw, is because he’s a man. And when the going got tough, Shane abandoned the fans. What’s going to stop him from doing that again. Also, Shane lost his match with the Undertaker. He was so desperate he leapt from the top of the cage, showing clear stupidity. And she knows her dad doesn’t want to be reminded, but the only reason he got his foot back in the door was by blackmailing Vince. Stephanie can’t imaging someone lacking in integrity running Raw. Vince needs the smartest, most experienced person running Raw, and that leaves one choice, Stephanie. Stephanie’s interrupted by Shane McMahon’s music, and the Money struts his way out to the ring.

Tons of love for Shane from the crowd. Stephanie says the crowd loves pandering. Shane responds by asking ‘what’s up Chicago?’. Shane says normally he doesn’t like talking about himself, but it looks like that’s what he needs to do. Shane asks about how many headlines Stephanie and Hunter have gotten, saying what a great job they’re doing running Raw. Shane runs down headlines from Fox Sports, SN News, SK, Bleacher Report, Daily DDT, and Rolling Stone noting what a great job he’s doing revitalizing Raw, along with superstars from NXT. Shane says Stephanie talked about the Network, and that is the brainchild of one man, Vince, and much respect. Shane says they’ve got 18,000 subscribers in the building. The only ones who can take credit are the 1.8 million. There was a jump around WM 32, but there perhaps was one match in particular that everyone was extra interested in, and on of those match participants is in this ring. Shane says she talked about his departure (big ‘you still got it’ chants gfrom the crowd). Stephanie thanks the crowd, saying yes she does. Shane says that never gets old. Shane says his departure 7 years ago was because his voice wasn’t being heard. That resulted in irreconcilable differences between him and the CEO. That left an enormous void that Stephanie and Hunter filled, but instead of putting on new matches, they put their poison through it all. Their venom went through the corporate offices, into the locker room, into every arena. They nearly burned the thing to the ground. So Shane came back to ensure the future for his kids, and her daughters, and their children into the future. That’s why he came back. So Shane asks Vince that he listens to him, and he doesn’t have to listen to him, the fans all speak for him. The fans erupt.

Vince gets the fans to quiet down. Shane leads the crowd, asking who they’d rather see, and the result is unanimous, with the fans booing Steph, and cheering Shane. Vince doesn’t get much of a reaction when he puts his own hand over his own head. Stephanie says the one thing Shane has is likability. But business is not won by popularity. Vince says Stephanie has some good points. Vince says he gave Shane the chance because he was classy on the Raw after Mania. Some would say Shane’s been better than OK. Shane wants Vince to listen to the fans, and the media, but he only listens to himself. It’s not about Shane or Stephanie, it’s about Vince and what he wants. Vince wants blood. He wants to see Shane and Stephanie disembowel each other. Or, there can be a collaborative effort that might be best for Raw. All he knows is that this will be entertaining. They have equal say, and will both be running Raw, and they need to figure it out.

Vince’s music hits and he exits the ring as Shane and Stephanie look each other up and down. Shane looks OK with it, Stephanie looks less than impressed.

Shane offers his hand to Stephanie, and Stephanie shakes. they look each other in the eye, then leave the ring together, keeping an eye on each other the whole time.

– We check in with the pre-show panel including Renee Young, Cory Graves, Booker T and Jerry Lawler. Jerry Lawler says he’s not sure what to say about what we just witnessed, but he doesn’t see it working. Shane and Stephanie won’t mix, but what will happen, he can’t guess. Graves says he knew tonight would be big. Finally Kevin Owens vanquished Zayn, but then that egotistical sore loser Zayn cost Cesaro the Intercontinental Championship. Booker says Dean Ambrose deserves respect. We get a look at the pre-show matches including Dolph Ziggler defeating Baron Corbin, and Kalisto retaining his US Title in a match against Ryback.

– It is time to talk about Camp WWE, which will debut after Payback. Michael mentions that while Camp WWE will be TV-MA, most of the network programming will remain TV-PG.

– Coming up next, it’s time for the main event. Cole mentions that this era began at WrestleMania with Roman Reigns winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship from Triple H, and it continues tonight with Reigns defending that title against AJ Styles.

– Before the main event, Cole says they’ve got breaking news on Enzo Amore. They replay footage of Amore’s injury from earlier tonight, then update us that Enzo has been diagnosed with a concussion, but all other tests have come back negative. Cole says they hope to have updates on WWE.com, and tomorrow night on Raw.

World Heavyweight Championship
Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles

AJ Styles is the first man to make his way out to the ring for the main event, and he gets a great reaction from the fans in Chicago.

Roman Reigns is out next, and the Champ gets a huge outpouring of boos as he makes his way from the back.

After formal ring introductions from Eden, we’re ready for our main event.

The bell rings and both men circle each other before soaking in the atmosphere. We get a lockup and Roman pushes Styles away. Another attempted lockup and Styles goes right into a side headlock. Roman blocks the takeover and pushes Styles off. Another lockup and Styles goes for another headlock. Roman fights out and Styles kicks Roman in the back of the leg. Roman goes for a test of strength, but Styles kicks at Roman’s legs instead. Styles goes to work on Roman’s arm, but Roman fights him off with a fireman’s carry takeover. Styles hits an arm drag that sends Roman out of the ring.

Styles waits for Reigns to get back into the ring. Reigns backs Styles into the corner, but Styles ducks a couple of clotheslines, delivering a clothesline of his own. Styles bails out of the ring and tells Roman to bring it. Reigns follows and gives chase. On his way back into the ring he’s caught with a couple of kicks from Styles. AJ scores with a couple of big forearms but Reigns shakes it off and delivers a shoulder tackle that sends AJ crashing out to the floor.

Styles makes his way back into the ring and continues working over Roman’s leg, kicking away. Roman scores with a clubbing blow to AJ’s back, and he picks him up only to drop him with another clubbing blow to the neck. Roman sends AJ into the ropes and Styles responds with a running knee. Styles tries for a German suplex, but Reigns fights out of it. Styles hits the ropes and runs into a giant clothesline from Reigns. Roman rolls AJ up, then picks him up and slams him back down to the mat hard. Tons of heat on Roman right now. Roman picks up Styles and hits a sit-out powerbomb, but Styles is able to kick out at two.

Roman calls for the Superman punch, but ends up running right into a huge kick to the side of the face from Styles. Reigns picks himself up, and Styles comes up with a series of strikes, a clothesline, snapmare, and a low running forearm. Styles pins Reigns, but only gets a two count. Styles shoulders Reigns, dropping him down across his knee with a neckbreaker for two. Reigns drops Styles out to the apron, then shoulders him when he leaps from the top rope. Reigns fights off Styles, but Styles is able to trap Reigns in the calf crusher. Reigns makes it to the ropes to break the hold.

Reigns pulls himself up on the apron and is knocked off with a huge forearm shiver from Styles. Styles springboards off the top, hitting the phenomenal forearm and driving Reigns through the announcer’s table.

Both men are slow to make it back to their feet, Styles makes it into the ring, but Reigns can’t make it back by 10.

Winner: AJ Styles, by countout
STILL WWE Champion: Roman Reigns

Shane McMahon has re-entered the arena. He says that may have been how things ended in the old era, but in the new era, that’s not how a Championship match will be defined. This match will be restarted with no countouts.

The bell rings again and Styles brings Reigns back into the ring. Styles heads up to the top rope and Reigns crawls away. Styles comes off the top and hits Reigns with repeated strikes and forearms, along with a Pele kick. Styles drags Reigns into position, then heads to the top rope. Styles goes for the 450 splash, and connects with Reigns’ knees. Reigns goes for the pin but only gets two.

Styles leaps off the second rope, right into a shot to the gut from Reigns. The ref determines it to be a low blow, and the ref calls for the bell.

Winner: AJ Styles, by DQ
STILL WWE Champion: Roman Reigns

Stephanie McMahon is out next and says her brother missed something. This match will be restarted and it will be no DQ.

The bell rings again and Styles comes up with some strikes, but Roman seats him on the top rope and sends him to the outside with a big right hand. Reigns heads out after Styles and slams his head into the ring steps, then into the Spanish announcer’s table. Reigns sends Styles crashing into the barricade, then outside into the crowd. Reigns follows after Styles, fighting in the crowd. Styles stuns Roman and hits a giant running clothesline, sending Roman crashing back into the ringside area. Styles climbs on top of the barricade and drops a knee across the back of Roman’s neck while he’s laid out on the announcer’s table. Styles sends Reigns back into the ring, then he heads up to the apron. Styles tries for the Phenomenal forearm, but Reigns counters with the Superman punch. Reigns goes for the pin, but Styles kicks out at two.

Reigns picks up Styles and hits another Superman punch, then soaks in some of the boos from the crowd. Styles struggles up to his feet, and Reigns sets up in the corner. Gallows and Anderson pulls Styles out of the ring, then stare down Reigns. Anderson and Gallows enter the ring and beat down Reigns, stomping away and hitting the boot of doom.

Styles drags himself up to the apron while Anderson and Gallows scream words of encouragement. Styles stands on the apron, connecting with the phenomenal forearm, but Reigns is able to get his foot on the bottom rope to break the pin at two.

The Uso’s are out from the back to go after Anderson and Gallows. Styles heads up to the top rope, and Reigns pushes Styles out on top of the Uso’s, Anderson and Gallows.

Reigns struggles up to his feet, then leaps over the top rope on top of Anderson, Gallows, and the Uso’s. AJ stands on the barricade and connects with the Phenomenal forearm before sending Reigns back into the ring. Styles hits the springboard 450 splash, but Reigns is still able to kick out at two.

Styles picks Reigns up and goes for the Styles Clash, but Reigns fights out of it, backdropping AJ to the apron. AJ hangs up Roman on the top rope, and AJ goes for the Phenomenal forearm, but Reigns avoids it, connects with the spear, and pins Styles for three.

Winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Roman Reigns

Fans seem happy about the quality of the match, but not so much about the outcome. Reigns holds his title high to a chorus of boos. Vince, Shane and Stephanie are shown in the back, talking about how great the match was. Vince applauds Shane for restarting the match, then also applauds Stephanie for one-upping Shane. Vince asks whether or not AJ should have a rematch. Both agree they should. Stephanie says it should be at Extreme Rules. Shane says it should be an Extreme Rules match, in fact. Stephanie tells Shane she fully supports his decision. Shane looks confused, but thanks her.

The show ends with Reigns holding his title in the ring, supporting himself on the ropes, and nodding his head.

5.0 / 5
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