In his first match since March, Roman Reigns defeated The Fiend and Braun Strowman to win the Universal Title at WWE Payback this evening.
It was a curious match to say the least. Only Strowman and The Fiend wrestled the majority of the match. Reigns’ absence was barely questioned.
It wasn’t until the ring collapsed after a superplex spot (Is this an annual occurrence now?) that Reigns marched on to the stage with his new advocate Paul Heyman, signed the contract for the bout and hit the ring, steel chair in hand. A few minutes and a spear later, Reigns took the win and ended The Fiend’s title reign after just one week.
In truth, it was a lacklustre and plot hole filled ending to an event that fell marginally short of it’s pre-event expectations.
While this new direction for Reigns is incredibly intriguing, the way the main event unfolded tonight was not particularly satisfactory.
Elsewhere, the event opened with three matches that were solid and functional with the right winner in each (Lashley defeating Apollo Crews to win the US title, Big E getting a victory over Sheamus and Matt Riddle besting Baron Corbin.)
The event took a sharp uptick when Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax defeated Sasha Banks and Bayley in a fantastic match to win the Women’s Tag Team Titles (and further the tense storyline between the Golden Role Models).
The next match, like the first three felt like it ended before it got started. Keith Lee defeated Randy Orton clean as a whistle IK a match that felt way more hollow than it should have.
The last match before the main event was a the best of the night. Domino and Rey Mysterio got a win over Seth Rollins and Murphy when Murphy was pinned after a Frog Splash from Dominik (Hey Papi!) Rollins gave his disciple dagger eyes after the finish of this truly excellent match.