2023 WWE Payback results, recap, grades: The Judgment Day reigns supreme in multiple title matches – CBSSports.com

While only featuring six matches, WWE Payback delivered plenty of intriguing matches and big moments on Saturday night in Pittsburgh. Ultimately, the night belonged to Judgment Day, with the group winning their matches and adding the undisputed WWE tag team championship to their rapidly growing collection of hardware. In addition, Seth Rollins managed to outlast a game Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the world heavyweight championship in the night’s main event.

Despite not being officially booked in a match, Dominik Mysterio was Judgment Day’s MVP. Mysterio was key to his teammates, Finn Balor and Damian Priest winning the undisputed WWE tag team championship from Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a Steel City Street Fight, using Priest’s Money in the Bank briefcase to take out Zayn for the win. Mysterio then made his way to ringside as Rhea Ripley defended her women’s world championship against Raquel Rodriguez, setting Ripley up to retain her title.

The only thing Judgment Day did not do was leave Pittsburgh with the world heavyweight championship. After a grueling match that saw Nakamura target Rollins’ back throughout, Priest did not appear to cash in the Money in the Bank contract to try to leave with the world title.

CBS Sports was with you the whole way through the event, providing updates and highlights as the action goes down in the live blog below.

2023 WWE Payback match results, grades

Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus (Steel Cage Match): Stratus immediately tried to escape out the cage door and then by climbing the cage walls, but Lynch was able to cut her off and take over the fight. Stratus briefly continued her attempts to win by escaping the cage but was eventually forced into the fight by Lynch. Stratus began to give as good as she got by fishhooking Lynch and using the cage as a weapon. The pair exchanged punches after Lynch countered Stratus’ headstand rana from the top rope, nearly allowing Stratus to climb out of the cage before Lynch managed a big powerbomb for a near fall. Stratus came back with a Widow’s Peak for her own near fall, the move being a shoutout to Victoria, who faced Lita in the first cage match between women in WWE history. Lynch would hit Lita’s Twist of Fate moments later. Stratus nearly made her escape, managing to get over the top of the cage and partway down the other side but was caught by Lynch, who pulled her back up by her hair and hung her upside down after Stratus’ legs were caught in the top of the cage. This led to Lynch hitting a superplex from the top rope for another two count. Zoey Stark finally got involved, preventing Lynch from leaving the cage and slamming the cage door in her face. Lynch managed to get back to her feet and drop Stratus with a Manhandle Slam only for Stark to enter the cage and break the pin. Lynch then closed the cage door so she and Stark could fight. Stratus tried to escape during the scuffle but Lynch hit Stark with a Manhandle Slam before catching Stratus and hitting the Manhandle Slam from the top rope for the three count. After the match, Stratus slapped Stark and told her to leave the cage. Instead, Stark closed the cage door and hit Stratus with the Z360 before walking off. The match was definitely on the high end of what you could expect, especially given Stratus’ limitations as a performer in 2023. Stark was not involved for much of the match, which was also nice as it let the story play out as needed. Becky Lynch def. Trish Stratus via pinfall. Grade: B+

The Miz vs. LA Knight: Payback host John Cena came to the ring before the match and said he was making himself the special guest referee for the match. Miz took issue with Cena’s decision, trying to talk him out of it before berating Cena. Cena ultimately was handed a referee shirt and Knight came to the ring. Once the bell sounded, Miz tried to leave the ring but was chased down by Knight before the two started trading strikes in and out of the ring.  Miz quickly took over, starting to wear Knight out with punches and slamming him into the ringside guardrail. Knight briefly came back with a backdrop over the guardrail but Miz was able to grab momentum back. Cena broke up a Miz attack in the corner for ignoring the referee’s count. Miz took issue but Cena did the same to Knight two times. Miz blindsided Knight as Knight argued with Cena, leading to a few near falls. Miz hit the It Kicks, but Knight managed to counter the last kick into a big slam. Miz came back with a pair of DDTs after a run of Knight offense. After Knight nearly punched Cena by accident, Miz hit the Skull-Crushing Finale but only got a two count. Miz mocked Cena and went for Cena’s “You can’t see me” fist drop only to be countered by Knight, who hit the BFT for the victory. After the match, Knight and Cena jawed at each other a bit before shaking hands. It may be a personal issue but the match felt like it dragged a bit by going a bit longer than needed. Still, the right man won and got an endorsement from Cena, which is a big thing in WWE. LA Knight def. The Miz via pinfall. Grade: B-

United States Championship – Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Austin Theory: Mysterio quickly took the upper hand, going right at Theory with punches in the corner, but Theory quickly slowed things down with a big clothesline. Theory used his power to cut off several Mysterio comebacks, going repeatedly to chinlocks to ground Mysterio. Theory tossed Mysterio around the ring, dominating with ease until the decision to try and rip Mysterio’s mask off. That fired Mysterio up enough to come back with elbows and a moonsault body block. Mysterio also hit the sliding tornado DDT to the outside of the ring to set up a near fall. Theory nearly stole the match with a sit out torture rack powerbomb and a dropkick, but Mysterio continued to battle out of pins. Mysterio hit a 619 but Theory countered the splash by getting his knees up and tried to roll through to hit Mysterio with A-Town Down. Mysterio countered the move with a roll-up to score the pinfall. The match felt a bit flat but did not run too long like Miz vs. Knight. The finishing section was a nice bit of work with the counters and Mysterio remains a bit ageless while young Theory needs something to freshen his act up. Rey Mysterio def. Austin Theory via pinfall to retain the United States Championship. Grade: B-

Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship — Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) vs. Finn Balor & Damian Priest: The teams immediately paired off, with Zayn and Balor brawling in the ring and Owens and Priest on the outside. Balor quickly used a kendo stick to get the advantage, but Owens re-entered the picture and attacked Balor after Balor stomped on a Pittsburgh Steelers “terrible towel.” After Zayn hit a dive onto the Judgment Day members, he and Owens used trash cans on Priest and then put a can over Balor and took turns hitting it with kendo sticks. After back-and-forth action, Dominik Mysterio made his way to ringside to help his Judgment Day teammates take over. During this stretch, Owens was busted open, blood covering his face. The pair came back by taking out Mysterio. Back in the ring, Zayn hit Balor with a blue thunder bomb onto a pile of chairs while Owens was cleaned up at ringside. The action spilled from the ring and into the crowd after Priest used a hockey stick on Owens and Zayn. Out in the crowd, Zayn hit Priest with a dive off the desk used for the kickoff show before Mysterio again involved himself. This resulted in Owens putting Mysterio through a table with a swanton from the security guardrails. The action went back to the ring and Zayn put Balor through a table before Owens hit Priest with a stunner to set up Zayn for a Helluva Kick. JD McDonagh ran in to break up the pin. Owens took out McDonagh but was speared through the ringside barricade by Rhea Ripley. Zayn hit Balor with a Helluva Kick but the pin was broken up by Mysterio running in to hit Zayn with Priest’s Money in the Bank briefcase, allowing Balor to get the pin. This was a fun plunder-filled battle with a lot of chaos and big moments. It’s an unfortunate reality of modern WWE that bleeding — planned or accidental — is a firm no because Owens’ bleeding added to the feeling of danger in the match before they took care of it. Still, a fun match and Owens and Zayn just being unable to overcome the combined interference of Mysterio, McDonagh and Ripley made sense. Finn Balor & Damian Priest def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) via pinfall to win the titles. Grade: B+

Cody Rhodes joins Grayson Waller on “The Grayson Waller Effect”: Waller suggested Rhodes needed the boost from being on the “show.” This led Rhodes to say that everyone expects things to play out where Waller says something that bothers Rhodes, they brawl and he hits a Cross Rhodes. Rhodes said they could instead subvert expectations before telling Waller that he instead would use the stage to make an announcement. Rhodes said he used whatever political pull or credit he had to get someone added as the newest member of the Monday Night Raw roster, welcoming Jey Uso to the ring. After acting excited to have Uso as a new guest, Waller was insulting and ate a superkick for his trouble before Uso celebrated to end the segment. Uso to Raw is certainly an intriguing wrinkle in the story of The Bloodline and it will be interesting to see where it goes.

Women’s World Championship — Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez: The two women went power vs. power early, with neither able to back the other woman down or score a knockdown with a shoulder tackle. That lasted until they ran the ropes in opposite directions and Rodriguez did score the first knockdown of the match. Rodriguez was also able to resist multiple Irish whip attempts from Ripley but Ripley, now bleeding from the nose, was able to hit a dropkick and start the match trending in her direction. Ripley continued to dominate the action, using rest holds and the occasional bit of explosiveness to wear down the challenger. Rodriguez finally managed to get some offense going with big strikes and a splash into the corner but Ripley defended, kicking Rodriguez off the middle rope and hanging her in the Tree of Woe. Rodriguez used an impressive delayed suplex and an elbow off the second rope for a near fall. Ripley nearly won with a running knee moments later but an arrogant pin allowed Rodriguez to kick out. Rodriguez countered riptide and tried to throw Ripley from powerbomb position into the ropes, but the spot didn’t connect correctly. Rodriguez continued the attack before Ripley attacked the knee and locked in the Prism Lock. This wore down Rodriguez’s knee, leaving her unable to fully execute some of her moves. Rodriguez eventually got some stability back and took the fight outside, slamming Ripley into the ringside barricade and throwing her into the ring post. As the action hit the ring again, Dominik Mysterio made his way to ringside. After Rodriguez dragged him into the ring, she hit him with a powerslam but the distraction was enough for Ripley to kick Rodriguez in the knee and hit Riptide for the win. The match was a nice change of pace for the women’s division with the expected power battle adding some fun dynamics. Meanwhile, Mysterio remains key to Judgment Day’s success, which has become a running theme. Rhea Ripley def. Raquel Rodriguez via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: B+

World Heavyweight Championship — Seth Rollins (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: Japanese wrestling legend Keiji Muto was shown at ringside before the match. Some basic chain wrestling opened the match before Nakamura began taunting Rollins about his injured back. This led to Nakamura attacking the back for the first time with a kick. Rollins handled it well, however, and he continued to roll before forcing Nakamura to leave the ring and opening him up to a suicide dive. Nakamura hit a backdrop and began driving strikes into Rollins’ back. As the action spilled to ringside, Nakamura continued his attack on Rollins’ back, dropping him on the commentary desk and tossing him into the barricade. Nakamura continued to focus his offense on Rollins’ back, using submission holds and strikes to try and wear the champion down.

Rollins began fighting back and put Nakamura on the top rope but hesitated and decided not to go for a superplex, using a huricanrana instead to avoid landing on his back. Rollins continued to show signs of injury with every move he landed, leading to a frog splash for a near fall that, again, left Rollins in pain. Rollins began to yell at Nakamura that he knows he has a back injury and it leaves his wife to worry and Nakamura doesn’t need to make her worry more. This led to Nakamura again taking over with a flurry of attacks to Rollins’ back before Rollins was able to hit a superkick as Nakamura went for a Kinshasa. Nakamura countered a strike into an armbar, which he turned into a triangle choke. Rollins managed to hit a powerbomb to break the choke and score a near fall. After exchanging strikes, Nakamura hit a Landslide from the second rope for another near fall and then a Kinshasa to the back of Rollins’ neck. Nakamura waited in the corner to land another Kinshasa but Rollins collapsed instead. Nakamura landed a flurry of strikes, but Rollins hit a Pedigree to put Nakamura down and set up a stomp only to run into a Nakamura kick. A series of reversals followed before Rollins connected with a stomp for the win. A good mix of old-school and modern storytelling, the match featured a classic approach of working over a specific body part before Rollins was able to find a way to win and retain his title. Seth Rollins def. Shinsuke Nakamura via pinfall to retain the title. Grade: B+

This content was originally published here.

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