hat were your expectations for WWE Payback this last Sunday? Mine were that it was going to be an awful show, almost a blow off, but my god was I wrong. I was extremely entertained throughout Payback and thought that the WWE really delivered a solid product on Sunday. With all the moments, the RVD promo, Cena tearing apart the ambulance, Curtis Axel winning his first championship, what was my favourite? Hands down the best part of the night for me was the performance given by both Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio for the heavyweight championship. This match did not excite me when it was announced, I had very low expectations for it because honestly I just do not like Alberto Del Rio. It upsets me deeply that Dolph had to lose the World Title in only his first title defense, but the way the story worked out was just too perfect and the entire match was executed beautifully.
As it stands following that match Dolph Ziggler is in line to be a main event level good guy, but still acting smug and arrogant, something like Triple H when he was playing the good guy. This offers the possibility to turn Ziggler’s entire family for the good, or could be used to create dissension within the three of them. While I would probably enjoy seeing Dolph, AJ and Big E being a group that is just too cool for school, getting positive crowd reaction, I feel turning AJ at this moment would be a bad idea, she seems to be doing some of the best diva’s work in years and wonderfully filling the role of the evil diva queen on Raw. Dolph Ziggler has been getting positive crowd reactions from a good portion of the crowd for some time, but this is the first time WWE has seemed to attempt to get that reaction for Ziggler, also the first time they’ve tried to get him sympathy.
And that’s what was so wonderful about the match at Payback, we’ve seen Del Rio and Ziggler seemingly many times in the past, but this is the first time it was presented like this. Mixed with the huge amount of reality by using the recent concussion of Dolph Ziggler gave us a wonderfully dramatic match up on the Pay Per View. What I particularly like about the match as it progressed was that nobody really drove at the fact that both men were turning to make it too blatantly obvious. Until Del Rio came back out to do a victory promo you couldn’t really be sure if WWE was looking to make Dolph’s head, he’s just getting back from a concussion and this is a match for the World’s Heavyweight Championship. As the match began reaching the end, personally as a fan I was wildly impressed with Ziggler’s determination to try and keep getting up and eventually got a little scared for his safety as Del Rio kept continuously attacking his skull.
Even the conversation on commentary about how the referee needs to use discretion and help protect Dolph who would simply not stop himself was awesome. This story, while perhaps not the most original, is extremely logical and makes sense from every perspective, except maybe why Del Rio chose to snap at this moment. But that can be easily swept aside as he saw his moment and he captured it, he took advantage, he had to switch right. Regardless though, does anyone really care? Is anyone out there overly concerned with the fact that Alberto Del Rio is no longer playing the good guy? Alberto wasn’t awful as a good guy, but he seems to posses little excitement in his voice and comes across as kind of boring. With Del Rio again playing the heel he at least has an easier job of making us care before he gets in the ring. It’s much easier to make people hate you than it is to make them care whether or not you win.
One problem that I can see arising is just how over Ricardo Rodregiuz is, the guy is so wildly lovable, he hits his mark every time and seems to constantly be adding just a little more to all of Alberto’s stories. Even at Payback, while Del Rio was giving his victory speech and I became well aware of what they were doing with Del Rio, I wondered how Ricardo felt about all of this. Obviously not the actual man, but the character, when Del Rio was being arrogant in his speech I wondered if Ricardo agreed, felt his boss was wrong, or just agress blindly like the stooge that JBL has reminded some many times that he is. All in all I have to say that Payback was one of the better WWE PPV’s I’ve seen recently and my favourite part was the Del Rio and Ziggler story. It not only continued the story of where all the involved parties have been, but changed and progressed the story logically with a tremendous amount of excitement. When creative does a good job you have to acknowledge it, and the way that the Del Rio/Ziggler match progressed reminded me of why I love professional wrestling.