braun strowman payback

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SmackDown In A Nutshell: It’s Time For Payback

WWE SummerSlam is in the rear view. It's almost time for Payback-that happens this Sunday. And in case you missed it, the Big Dog is back!

It’s the end of another week-and the last WWE SmackDown in August too. Also, it’s time for Payback.

OK, not exactly time for WWE Payback. But this rapid-turnaround PPV happens Sunday evening, so close enough.

We are not even a week removed from an extremely eventful SummerSlam.

The show was WWE’s first actually live PPV since before the pandemic shut things down. They made the most of it, of course.

SummerSlam was the second show in WWE’s new ThunderDome concept, and it has gone off mostly without a hitch.

The Summer’s Biggest Party also happened to give us a return that no one saw coming: Roman Reigns.

That return has led to a huge title match for Sunday.

Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt and Braun Strowman had their contract signing Friday. We know how those usually go…

So, it’s (almost) time for Payback.

Let’s crack open this Nutshell!

It's Time For Payback
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Best Match of the night:

Felt like no one wanted this honor.

Out of all the choices, I give one honorable mention to Hardy and Shinsuke Nakamura.

My choice for best tonight would be our six man main event, but this was not a good night for good matches.

Worst match of the night:

We had a few options.

Cesaro and Kalisto was mostly good to further wherever they are going with Lucha House Party’s drama.

Matt Riddle and Chad Gable…need I say more? Riddle debuting over AJ Styles seems so long ago…

And then we finish with Drew Gulak losing to Braun Strowman.

It's Time For Payback
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Crowd Chants of the Night:

No crowd…no chants.

But that noise…ugh.

Star of the Night

Big E gets it from me.

I love Otis, I really do. But during the main event, I admit I was sitting there and saying…the man with the briefcase is not the man who should have it.

Can I see Otis cashing in on any of Bray, Braun or Roman on Sunday (and it being believable?)? No, no I cannot.

Could I imagine Big E doing that? Absolutely.

Not saying that Otis isn’t every bit as capable…but it’s how he’s been presented to us for so long, it’s hard to envision him as a champion at that level.

Big E, on the other hand, is long overdue…I would be thrilled to see him get a run at the big belt.

Spot of the Night:

Not much. I guess the Gulak chair shot maybe?

This wasn’t bad either…

Otherwise, that image of Roman Reigns sitting next to Paul Heyman as the show fades to black.

Jobber of the Night:

Poor Drew Gulak.

It's Time For Payback
Image Credit: provided via wwe.com

He made a bad move hitting Braun with a chair, and Adam Pearce gave Strowman a match with Drew, just to get Braun’s signature.

On a contract that was just for show, and that any Superstar would readily sign. I mean…hello…title match!?

Holy Sh** Moment of the Night:

First, Sami Zayn returns and we have dueling IC straps…

and then…

Man, is WWE milking the “you’ll never see it coming” tagline from SummerSlam.

First, we never saw a Roman Reigns return coming.

Now, how about a Roman Reigns switch…he’s a Paul Heyman guy!

Seriously, did not see that one coming…at all. Makes Payback a wee bit more interesting, does it not?

LOL Moment of the night:

Adam Pearce was funny, the body language and whatnot. The postal outfit didn’t help.

That could have been a nod to the Mister Rogers feel for the Funhouse. Or, perhaps a Creative team member was taking a veiled shot at the USPS?

Also, leave it to Big E, Otis and Tucker to be playing with a sausage.

Noteworthy Moment:

While the ending of the show will certainly get the vast majority of attention, it was an earlier return that lands here.

It had gotten to the point that we almost forgot about Sami Zayn (specifically, I had). Most of us expected that once he returned, there would be another IC belt along with him.

We weren’t wrong, with Zayn returning as Hardy was exiting, calling both Jeff and AJ Styles frauds. Feels like another triple threat possibly brewing.

Overall lowlights:

Is it just me, or was the piped-in crowd noise super annoying this week?

I could probably do without it, to be honest. I know other sporting events do use fake or recorded sound to simulate the crowd, but this just reminded me of like, white noise.

I could do without it.

Food for thought…as intriguing as a Roman Reigns-Paul Heyman partnership could be (and it is)…does this now pave the way for another Reigns-Lesnar clash?

Like, once Vince decides to write another big check, or Brock decides to, or is able to travel again, does Lesnar have issues with Reigns stealing his advocate? Or do we get a Roman + Brock tag team?

Speaking of Reigns and Heyman…and even the Zayn return…this is where we miss a live crowd the most. The pop for those moments would be tremendous, but instead…nothing.

Overall highlights:

I have to give WWE credit. Ahead of the show, when I heard “contract signing” I groaned.

Seriously, how many cliche contract signings do we have to endure?

Tonight was anything but, however. Having Adam Pearce have to chase each one down was unique.

Although, you have to say…why on Earth would three men in a major title match be hard to get signatures from? They wouldn’t be.

But…you know…suspend that logic for a moment.

Happy…very very happy…to see Paul Heyman back.

After the final bell:

An interesting go-home show, for sure.

Nice spin on contract signings, even if we all came in expecting a cliche contract signing. The Heyman return at the end was pure icing on the cake.

I was also surprised we didn’t see any big thing from Retribution. Not upset that we didn’t, just surprised.

Regardless, it’s definitely time for Payback!

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