The following are the results of tonight's WWE Payback premium live event, courtesy of Matt Boone of Rajah.com:
The "WWE Then. Now. Forever. Together." opening signature narrated by John Cena airs to get us started. The WWE Payback 2023 Kickoff Show is now officially off-and-running.
Jackie Redmond welcomes us to the WWE Payback 2023 Kickoff Show. She introduces Kayla Braxton, Booker T, Wade Barrett and Peter Rosenberg as her fellow co-panelists for this pre-show.
After their light-hearted banter and introductions, they begin running down the lineup for tonight's show as the official match graphics flash across the screen. We then shoot into a video package looking at WWE Tag-Team Champions Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and their defense tonight against The Judgment Day.
When the package wraps up, we return to the panelists, who each weigh-in with their thoughts on the scheduled Steel City Street Fight in one of tonight's featured title bouts.
From there, they send us into our next pre-match video package for tonight, this time looking at the events leading up to the showdown between LA Knight and The Miz. After the package, the panelists sound off with their thoughts on this one.
We then hear the predictions for the match, and it's a clean sweep with all of the panelists picking LA Knight to defeat The Miz. Once they wrap up the talk on this match, we shoot to a video package for Cody Rhodes, who will be the guest on "The Grayson Waller Effect" later tonight.
The package wraps up and then we return to the panelists, who are joined now by Grayson Waller. He is asked if Cody is his biggest guest yet. He says he probably is next to Logan Paul. He mentions how Cody has big news and he decided to break it on his show tonight. He also talks about John Cena coming back to host tonight's show.
As the talk continues, they ask Waller who is gonna win between The Miz and LA Knight. Waller says it's obviously going to be his personal friend The Miz. He has some fun with LA Knight fans in the background and then they continue to talk to Waller about tonight's show.
Now we shoot to a quick commercial break. We return to a Drew McIntyre vignette simply hyping up "The Scottish Warrior" and his journey from rookie in WWE several years ago to being one of the top Superstars today.
We then move on to our next video package, which looks at the events leading up to tonight's Steel Cage match between Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch. After it wraps up, we return to the panelists, where Grayson Waller has left, who give their thoughts on the rivalry as a whole and tonight's match.
Booker T, Wade Barrett and Peter Rosenberg give their final thoughts on the bout and then we shift into another commercial break. Jackie Redmond plugs the official theme song by The Struts "Too Good At Raising Hell" for WWE Payback 2023 and then we shoot into the video package for Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez for the WWE Women's World Championship.
Kayla Braxton welcomes us back live at the panelists area and talks about coming into NXT around the same time as Ripley and Rodriguez. She talks about how Ripley is finally dealing with someone of similar size and similar strength. The rest of the panelists then weigh in on the discussion as well.
Rodriguez gets a vote from Booker T as his pick to win the match, however Barrett and Rosenberg both side with Ripley. After they wrap up their talk on this title tilt, they shift gears and the discussion transitions to the Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory showdown for the WWE United States Championship.
Rosenberg goes with Mysterio to retain, while Barrett and Booker agree that Theory will recapture the U.S. gold tonight. After they finish up their predictions discussion, we head into another quick commercial break. The Kickoff Show wraps up next.
The commercial break wraps up and we hear Kayla Braxton welcome us back to the Kickoff Show, as the camera pans live inside the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA.
On that note, we shoot backstage live and see a shot of the outside of John Cena's locker room door. The panelists talk about Cena being in the building and mention how he will be serving as the official WWE Payback host for tonight's premium live event.
Now we shoot into our final pre-match video package, this time looking at the events leading up to the scheduled showdown between WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth "Freakin'" Rollins and "The King of Strong Style" Shinsuke Nakamura.
As the panelists run down their thoughts on our main event of the evening, we hear the packed house in the background breaking out into a loud dueling "Let's go Cena!" and "Cena sucks!" chant. The panelists go 2-1 in favor of Rollins retaining the title and then Braxton wraps up the Kickoff Show as the cage lowers over the ring in the PPG Paints Arena.
The bad-ass cold open video package for tonight's WWE Payback 2023 premium live event airs now to get this show officially off-and-running. After it wraps up, we shoot back live inside the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA., where the commentators welcome us to the show.
Michael Cole and Corey Graves then inform us that the steel cage showdown between Trish Stratus and Becky Lynch will be kicking off the show. The cage finishes lowering over the ring and then the pre-match video package for this bout airs. The package makes this feel like the women's equivalent to The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan from WrestleMania.
Back live, "Whoa-oh!" plays and out comes "The Man" herself, Becky Lynch. The crowd in Pittsburgh gives her a rock-star reception as she comes out to smoke billowing out of the entrance way and fireworks erupting. She makes her way to the cage for our first match of the evening.
Lynch settles into the cage and her music fades down. "[Ladies giggle...I don't care what they say...] OH! It's time to rock-n-roll!" plays and out comes the WWE Hall of Fame legend (THANK YOU, TRISH!) to a chorus of boos. She makes her way down and joins Lynch in the cage.
NXT Women's Champion Tiffany Stratton is once again shown in a cameo appearance in the crowd with her title. The fans boo. Trish's theme wraps up and now it's time to get this steel cage opener officially off-and-running. The bell sounds and these two stare each other down and then begin getting after it.
Lynch looks for a Man-Handle Slam after stopping Trish from attempting to flee the cage straight out of the gate. After some back-and-forth action, we see Trish settle into the offensive lead. She taunts Becky as she beats her down. Lynch fires up and takes over, hoisting Trish up and lawn-darting her into the cage wall over and over again.
"The Man" spends some time in the offensive driver's seat, even hitting a big top-rope power bomb for a close near fall. Trish's forehead is looking marked up. The fans loudly chant "This is Awesome!" Trish fights back with an impressive display of power, hoisting Lynch up for a power bomb of her own.
The two end up on the top-rope holding onto the cage. Trish shows her toughness again with a top-rope bulldog. She goes for the cover, but somehow Lynch kicks out after the count of two. They head back up and Trish climbs over the cage. Lynch stops her and they fight up there.
Trish is held by her feet by Lynch as the rest of her body dangles upside down over the cage. Lynch pulls her back up and hits a super-duper plex off the top of the cage. Ouch! Lynch goes for the cover but somehow Trish kicks out. Trish calls the door and starts crawling out. Lynch grabs her legs to stop her. Zoey Stark appears and the two are tug-o-war'ing over Lynch.
Stark slams the cage door into Lynch's face and Trish rolls her up. Lynch kicks out. Trish goes for the Chick Kick but Lynch ducks it and hits a Man-Handle Slam. She goes for the cover but Stark, who got into the door while it was open, breaks it up. The commentators point out the obvious, which is that the whole point of this match was to ensure fans a fair fight.
Lynch slams the cage door shut in a moment out of "A Bronx Tale." Now you's can't leave! The crowd pops. She hits a Man-Handle Slam on Stark and then stops Trish as she tries climbing out over the cage. Man-Handle Slam off the cage. 1-2-3. Lynch wins in a great opener.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Trish Stratus Turns On Zoey Stark, Gets Left Laying
Once the match wraps up, Becky Lynch celebrates and heads to the back. Zoey Stark helps Trish Stratus up. Trish gets up and pulls her arm away from Stark. She slaps Stark and tells her to get out.
Stark slams the cage door shut instead of leaving and turns back. She hoists Trish up and hits her with the Z-360. She takes her "Thank you, Trish!" shirt off and throws it on Trish's fallen body. We head to a commercial break.
When we return from the commercial break, we hear the familiar sounds of John Cena's theme song. The WWE legend runs down to the ring to a huge pop and settles in the ring. He mentions how awesome the first match of the evening was.
Cena then talks about all the things he's done throughout his WWE career, pointing out that he's never had the chance to be a host. He says he was told his job as the host for tonight is to make sure tonight is special.
He says he can't think of a way to make things more special than to be a special guest referee for a match tonight. Which match? The match between The Miz and LA Knight.
With that said, the theme for The Miz hits and out he comes in his ring gear and robe. He gets in the ring and says he'd expect this from LA Knight, but not Cena. He brings up him pandering to the audience here tonight.
Miz says they call Cena the greatest of all time. He says if he's being honest, as a host, he sucks. Miz mentions he's been a host before and Cena asks him genuinely if he has any advice. Cena then asks if there's anything else. Miz says yeah if they ask you to be a Mer-Man in a "Barbie" movie, you say no!
Cena then pretends to want real advice again. Miz starts to take it serious and boasts being the best WrestleMania host ever. He then tells Cena to dress better, saying he's almost 50 and he still dresses like a Teletubby. Cena concludes that all of this advice points to his idea to be the special referee for Miz vs. Knight.
He says Cena doesn't even have a referee shirt. Cena pulls out one and declares himself the special referee for the match between Miz and Knight. Miz says no. Cena says "YEAH!" like LA Knight. They do this back and forth. LA Knight's theme hits and the crowd explodes.
LA Knight settles in the ring as Cena gets his referee shirt on. Miz watches from outside of the ring. The bell finally sounds and now it's time for our second match of the evening here at WWE Payback. The crowd very, very loudly chants "LA Knight! LA Knight!" from the word "go."
As Miz finally gets in the ring, the fans break out in a loud "Tiny balls!" chant. Miz drops back down to the floor and takes his time. They finally mix it up in the ring and Miz tries leaving. Knight heads out after him. Miz tries sneaking in a clothesline but Knight sees it coming and beats him up as they head back to the ring.
Back inside the ring, the fans loudly chant "YEAH!" as Knight lands each shot on Miz. The fans then spread a loud "LA Knight! LA Knight!" chant around the PPG Paints Arena. Knight heads to the top-rope with Miz for a super-plex but Miz avoids it and drops Knight way down below, face-first. Miz comes off the top with a double axe-handle and now Miz settles in the offensive driver's seat.
The action spills out to the floor where Knight repeatedly bashes Miz's head into the commentary table as the fans chant "YEAH!" each time. Knight clotheslines Miz over the barricade and then back to the other side. He stands on the barricade and leaps, connecting with a flying clothesline. Back in the ring, Miz takes back over.
As Miz works over Knight, we see him stretching the rules, which leads to he and Cena jawing at each other in spurts. Knight takes back over and now Cena has to get on his case for refusing to break at five in the corner. The two go face to face for a super close-up shot teasing a potential match with the two. As they do, Miz attacks Knight from behind and takes over on offense once again.
Knight fights back with a huge German-release suplex and then a sliding kick to the dome of the A-Lister for a close near fall. Miz fights back and rolls up Knight. He tries holding onto the ropes to steal the win but Cena ends up catching it. They jaw at each other, leading to Knight attacking from behind.
He goes for the B.F.T. but misses. Miz pushes him and he almost bumps into Cena. He stops and turns into a Skull Crushing Finale. Miz goes for the cover but Knight kicks out. Miz gets Knight down and goes to mock Cena with the Five Knuckle Shuffle, but Knight pops up and does his version of The People's Elbow and then connects with a B.F.T. for the win. Fun match.
Winner: LA Knight
It's time for our first title match of the evening!
After a quick commercial break, Michael Cole announces a sold out crowd of 14,584 fans inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. for tonight's WWE Payback 2023 premium live event.
Now the "ALL DAY!" A-Town Down theme for Austin Theory hits and out comes the former longest running U.S. Champion of the past decade. He settles in the ring as Cole does a live ad-read.
Rey Mysterio's iconic theme hits and out he comes with the entire LWO group. The fans give him a big rock-star reaction and then the WWE Hall of Fame legend heads to the ring by himself as the LWO heads to the back.
The bell sounds and quickly Theory darts across the ring and starts to put it on the reigning and defending U.S. Champion. Rey fights back and climbs up on Theory in the corner for the ten-punch spot. Theory fights back and nearly be-heads Rey with a massive clothesline.
After some back-and-forth action, we see Theory hit a spin-out power bomb for a close near fall. Theory is getting closer and closer at this point in the bout to finishing off the WWE Hall of Famer. Rey is hanging in there and the crowd is trying to rally behind him now.
Theory looks for his A-Town Down finisher, but Mysterio avoids it and starts to fight back. Rey goes for the 6-1-9 but Theory avoids it and fights back. He looks for A-Town Down again, but this time Rey counters into a pin attempt and gets the 1-2-3 out of nowhere for the win. With the win, he retains the U.S. title.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Rey Mysterio
We shoot backstage to Cathy Kelley, who is standing by with her guest at this time, Becky Lynch. She asks her now that she's done with Trish Stratus, what is next for "The Man."
Before she can answer, up walks Tiffany Stratton. She mentions how she referenced past champions when saying she would be the best NXT Women's Champion ever. She corrects herself and mentions how she mistakenly called Lynch a former NXT title-holder.
Lynch tells Stratton she should focus on her title match this coming Tuesday. A happy-go-lucky Tiffany responds, "Okay! Tootles!" and walks off. We head to another commercial break.
It's time for our next title match of the evening. Out come the Undisputed WWE Tag-Team Champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens after the pre-match video package for this bout wraps up.
The two head to the ring to a huge pop and settle inside, as we prepare for our Steel City Street Fight for the tag straps. Their music dies down and they await the arrival of their opposition.
Now the theme for The Judgment Day hits and out comes "Senor" Money In The Bank Damian Priest with his briefcase and his tag-team partner, Finn Balor. The two head to the ring together but don't seem to be super buddy-buddy already.
Both teams are in the ring and now it's time to get our next match of the evening officially off-and-running. The bell sounds and we're underway. All four men immediately start duking it out in this Steel City Street Fight.
Owens and Priest fight out to the floor and brawl around the arena while Zayn and Balor hang close to the ring, mostly fighting inside the squared circle. The fans break out into a loud "We want tables!" chant early on.
Balor blasts Zayn with a kendo stick and then grabs a steel bucket with a Steelers terrible towel in it. He throws it down for cheap heat. Owens blasts him for an equally cheap pop.
The brawl continues with The Judgment Day taking over, using a ton of steel chairs that they brought into the ring. As Owens and Zayn finally start to take over, we see Dominik Mysterio enter the mix and join in on the beat down of the tag champs.
We hear the crowd crap all over Dom-Dom as he cheers like it's over after the trio took out Zayn and Owens. The two then pop up from the penalty box area in the building dressed up in Pittsburgh Penguins hockey gear. Owens' face is badly busted open and bleeding like a mess. Like a bad mess.
The crowd goes nuts as Zayn and Owens build to a spot where they knock off their hockey gloves and start hockey fighting Dom-Dom at the top of the entrance area. Zayn hits a Blue Thunder Bomb on Balor on a pile of chairs in the ring for a close near fall attempt.
A loud "This is Awesome!" chant spreads throughout PPG Paints Arena as Zayn and Owens unfold and set up a bunch of chairs in the ring. Priest attacks from behind and hits his finisher on Zayn through all the chairs. He goes for the cover but Owens uses a chair to break it up in time.
Zayn recovers and runs up to hit a somersault senton onto The Judgment Day duo in the crowd. Dom-Dom re-appears and gets in some cheap shots. The crowd loudly boos. Owens beats Dom down and sets up a table under some steps in the crowd.
Owens lays Dom on it and climbs up, where he leaps off and flips, connecting with a swanton to put Dom through the table. A loud "Holy sh*t!" chant breaks out. Zayn hits an exploder suplex in the corner. Balor fights back and goes for the cover but only gets two.
Sami hits an exploder suplex on Priest in the corner and then puts Balor through a table. Owens hits a stunner in the ring on Priest. Zayn follows up with a Helluva Kick. They go for the pin but JD McDonagh runs out to break it up. The crowd boos. Owens takes McDonagh out at ringside.
Rhea Ripley runs down and spears Owens through the barricade. Back in the ring, Balor hits a Sling Blade on Zayn and then drop kicks him into the corner. He heads to the top and goes for the Coup de Grace but Zayn moves. He hits an exploder in the corner on Balor and then a Helluva Kick. He goes for the cover but Dom uses the briefcase to break it up. Balor's arm is put over Zayn. We have new tag champs.
Winners and NEW Undisputed WWE World Tag-Team Champions: Finn Balor & Damian Priest
After the match we head to another commercial break. When we return, we hear the drum roll. It stops and Grayson Waller's theme starts. It stops and then starts again as always, and we see Grayson Waller standing in the ring on the set of his "Grayson Waller Effect" talk show.
Grayson Waller trashes Pittsburgh for some cheap heat and then introduces his guest at this time, Cody Rhodes. On that note, we hear the familiar sounds of the entrance theme music for "The American Nightmare" and out he comes to a big pop and a ton of pyro.
Out he comes and he settles in the ring. He takes a seat next to Waller. He begins, "So, Pittsburgh ..what..." before he can finish, we hear Waller saying, "No, no no..." He says no one cares what Pittsburgh wants to talk about, so we're not doing that tonight. He asks what the big news Cody has is.
The two banter back-and-forth a bit and then Cody asks if Waller wants the big scoop. He asks Grayson if he watches Raw, NXT and SmackDown. He then mentions something he saw wrong on SmackDown that he feels he needs to help right. He says he used whatever clout he has and then says please welcome your newest member of the Raw roster "Main Event" Jey Uso.
Jey Uso comes out to a modified version of the "Day one ish!" theme to a big pop from the crowd. He heads down to the ring. He settles in the ring and blasts Waller with a super kick without saying anything. He plays to the crowd and heads to the back as Michael Cole hypes up his Raw debut coming this Monday night. We head to another commercial break.
Now we return inside the PPG Paints Arena where we hear the familiar sounds of Raquel Rodriguez's theme music. Out she comes to the ring for her title opportunity in our co-main event of the evening here at WWE Payback 2023.
Her music dies down and then we hear "THIS IS MY BRUTALITY!" The crowd roars as WWE Women's World Champion Rhea Ripley emerges and makes her way down to the ring, where she settles inside.
The ring announcer handles the final formal pre-match ring introductions for the champion and the challenger. The bell sounds and we're officially off-and-running with this one. The lock up and the commentators quickly point out the size advantage that Ripley usually has is something she doesn't have tonight.
Rodriguez starts off strong, but it isn't long at all before Ripley is on the right end of a one-sided beatdown. Things remain like this for a while until finally Rodriguez grabs Ripley by the throat and puts the fear of God into her eyes. She hits a spinning cork-screw elbow for a close near fall but Ripley kicks out and keeps this one going.
Ripley connects with a headbutt and a reverse suplex and then hits a running knee for a close near fall of her own. Ripley looks for Rip-Tide but Rodriguez counters out of it. Ripley chop-blocks the injured knee of Rodriguez and gets her in the Prism Lock. Rodriguez screams in pain but hangs in there.
Both women trade shots and then starts wildly swinging back-and-forth at each other. Ripley trips Rodriguez up on the ring apron from the floor, again focusing her attack on the injured knee of Rodriguez. Rodriguez power bombs Ripley into the ring post and the barricade. Dominik Mysterio runs down to the ring.
Dom holds onto Ripley from the floor. Rodriguez pulls Ripley by her legs. Dom doesn't let go so he ends up getting yanked into the ring as well. Rodriguez hits her running power slam on Dom-Dom, but then Ripley kicks out her injured leg. She then hits a Rip-Tide and gets the win to retain her WWE Women's World Championship.
Winner and STILL WWE Women's World Champion: Rhea Ripley
We shoot backstage to the WWE Payback host, who is dressed up like a goof. He talks in corny fashion and mentions that he is now the backstage correspondent. He introduces his guests at this time.
The Judgment Day walk in boasting being the new Undisputed WWE World Tag-Team Champions. Damian Priest and Finn Balor say they have had their problems but all families do. They mention all the titles members of The Judgment Day has and walk off.
It's main event time!
After a quick commercial time out, we return inside the PPG Paints Arena where Michael Cole introduces the official promotional trailer for our next WWE premium live event, WWE Fastlane 2023 from Indianapolis, IN. on October 7.
From there, we head into the pre-match video package for our final match of the evening here at WWE Payback 2023, where the WWE World Heavyweight Championship will be on-the-line.
The video package wraps up and we return live inside the arena in Pittsburgh once again where we immediately hear, "BURN IT DOWN!" Seth Rollins emerges and heads to the "freakin'" ring to the tune of the fans singing his music.
He settles in the ring, his music dies down, but as always, the fans keep singing his music as he soaks it in. He's wearing a giant gold oversized robe and gold glittery boots. He's definitely one for fashion.
Now a special video entrance for Shinsuke Nakamura airs in anime fashion. After it wraps up, "The King of Strong Style" Shinsuke Nakamura makes his grand entrance to the ring. It was actually pretty damn bad ass, too.
Michael Cole mentions that this is the first time Nakamura has headlined a premium live event in WWE. We see Japanese legend and WWE Hall of Famer The Great Muta seated at ringside inside PPG Paints Arena for this main event match.
The ring announcer handles the formal pre-match ring introductions for the champion and the challenger. Now it's time for our main event of the evening. The bell sounds again and we're officially off-and-running with this one.
Straight out of the gate we see Rollins doing well, however it isn't long before Nakamura takes over and settles into the offensive driver's seat. He enjoys a prolonged run in the offensive lead, taking it to Rollins and focusing his offense on the injured back of the champ, which was a large part of the focus leading up to tonight's match.
Rollins starts to show signs of life and he begins fighting back. As he takes it to Nakamura he yells at him about his back hurting but him still being able to fight. He yells at Nakamura for making his wife nervous about him. He looks for a Stomp to end this one but Nakamura avoids it and takes back over.
We see Rollins hit a Sling Blade and then a top-rope frog splash. Nakamura hangs in and takes over again. He hits a snap German suplex into a close near fall. Nakamura looks to be measuring Rollins for a Kinshasa Kick. He charges at Rollins looking for it but Rollins counters and blasts Nakamura with a super kick for another close pin attempt.
"The King of Strong Style" slaps an armbar on Rollins out of nowhere. Rollins screams in pain as Nakamura cranks back with everything he's got. Rollins muscles Nakamura up while still in the hold and connects with a sit-out power bomb into a pin attempt. Nakamura somehow kicks out to keep this one alive.
Nakamura and Rollins start trading shots in the middle of the ring. Rollins hits a Pele kick. Both guys are down. Rollins slowly drags himself up to the top-rope but Nakamura stops him and climbs up after him. Nakamura comes off the top with an Avalanche Landslide that looked painful. He goes for the cover but somehow Rollins kicks out.
Now we see Nakamura connect with a Kinshasa to the back of Rollins' neck. He stalks the champ in the corner and waits for him to get up. When he does, he collapses. Nakamura goes over and taunts him. Rollins slaps him from his knees. Nakamura lights him up with kicks and stomps as Rollins curls up in the fetal position under the ropes.
Shinsuke goes to pick Set up for a suplex into the ring but Rollins floats overhead and lands on his feet. Rollins connects with a Pedigree. He looks for a Stomp but Nakamura counters with a kick. Rollins rolls Nakamura up but he kicks out. Rollins pops up and Stomps him out of nowhere. He covers him and gets the win to retain the title in an excellent main event.
Rollins celebrates with his title in the ring after the hard-fought victory. We see Nakamura circling the ringside area on the floor.
Winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth "Freakin'" Rollins
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