The WWE heats up on the path to Extreme Rules.
Coast 2 Coast is co-written by Josh Rebuck.
Payback is in the books and the WWE machine marches on towards Extreme Rules. While Payback and the following night’s Raw stayed in a holding pattern there’s still a few major pieces of news to discuss. Here’s the quicktakes.
1) What are your impressions on Payback?
Corey: I’ll be the first to say it: Payback and Wrestlemania are pretty much neck and neck for me as far as quality goes. Outside of what happened to Enzo (by far one of the scariest injuries I’ve seen live in years. Get well soon!) The match quality was great. But I definitely got the impression that the only feud that was finished is the Jericho/Ambrose feud. The only thing I flat out didn’t like was the Montreal Screw Job reboot. Lazy writing if you ask me.
Josh: Payback was a fine PPV. I think we collectively had higher hopes for what the event could have been and were subsequently disappointed by what we got. But when we look back on it we’ll see it as a perfectly acceptable post-Wrestlemania event with some quality wrestling.
2) Is Ryback really gone from WWE?
Corey: As vocal as he’s been lately I think he is. He’s not a huge draw nor does his merchandise sell out so he doesn’t have much leverage for him. With his wrestling ability and age he may find what he’s looking for in TNA or on the indie circuit.
Josh: This was the crazier story to come out of Raw on Monday as it’s widely reported Ryback was told to go home. I think it’s fair to state that Ryback is a little disgruntled with his position in the company. He’s wildly fluctuated between big pushes and lower-mid card. His contract is supposedly up in the Summer and I wouldn’t expect either party to come to an agreement, so yes, Ryback is likely leaving WWE. I’m guessing the weight-lifting belt he wore on Sunday with “Pre-Show Stopper” emblazoned on it probably didn’t do him any favors either.
3) NXT appears to be getting another influx of talent: Eric Young, Bobby Roode (highly likely), the collection of talent that will make up the NXT Global Cruiserweight Series. Is this the most stacked WWE talent roster we’ve seen?
Corey: 100% yes. I love how far Triple H has brought NXT. He’s done a stellar job with finding talent and I for one can’t wait to see where they go from here, especially with the Global Cruiserweight Series.
Josh: I think what’s most impressive is the balance they’ve struck in developing talent. The trainers down in NXT should all be applauded for the work they do with these guys coming up because more have hit than have missed. The Performance Center which is by all accounts a Triple H brainchild is a major factor in the quality of talent and level of performance these guys are able to deliver when making the main roster. And since WWE is more accepting of mentioning outside promotions and partnering with them as well, professional wrestling is definitely hitting a boom period which may turn out better than anything we saw during the much fabled Attitude Era.
4) Rate the onscreen dynamic of Shane and Stephanie McMahon. Where does this story go?
Corey: So far I’m really interested in what’s going on with the brother/sister combination. It’s inevitably going to lead back to the brand split which I would be all for! If they really play their cards right they can lead this to Shane running Raw and Stephanie running Smackdown, and having their own brand competitive rivalry leading to the two brands duking it out at Survivor Series in November. And if dreams do come true they could have Raw vs Smackdown vs NXT but that would be a longshot.
Josh: It’s a little awkward. There’s a weird dynamic here because this iteration of the characters positioned against one another is new, but we’ve also seen this before so it’s old. I’m giving it time and I think it leads to something cool, but 40 minutes of stumbling promos does not make great television.
5) Which match are you most looking forward to for Extreme Rules?
Corey: Without a doubt Roman Reigns vs AJ Styles. I really feel like they are going to pull the trigger on this Reigns heel turn and I’m ecstatic about it and after watching Monday Night Raw I’m even more convinced that he’s going to turn heel, slowly but surely.
Josh: The four-man dance for the Intercontinental title. I might be in the minority, but I really enjoyed how the Owens/Zayn match spilled into the Cesaro/Miz match. This sort of cross rivalry dynamic keeps the story interesting. Having options keeps fans guessing. And no matter which direction WWE decides to go in there’s quality wrestling and stories for them to tell.
So how did you feel about Payback? What storylines are catching your interest? Let us know in the comments below.