Judgment Day, LA Knight and the Real Winners and Losers from WWE Payback Match Card

Judgment Day, LA Knight and the Real Winners and Losers from WWE Payback Match Card

Judgment Day, LA Knight and the Real Winners and Losers from WWE Payback Match Card

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    Judgment Day captured even more gold at Payback.

    Judgment Day captured even more gold at Payback.Credit: WWE.com.

    WWE didn’t sell Payback 2023 as the biggest show of all time, but the roster is far too talented to take any night off.

    This was a premium live event built around some of the company’s biggest workhorses, who were rewarded for their efforts.

    The Judgment Day picked up huge wins, taking the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship from Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, while Rhea Ripley retained the Women’s World Championship against Raquel Rodriguez.

    LA Knight got the John Cena rub, picking up a big win over The Miz before The Champ raised The Megastar’s hand.

    Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus had one of the best matches of the year in a steel cage clash where few gave them a serious chance.

    On the other side, though, Shinsuke Nakamura couldn’t capitalize on his hype to dethrone Seth Rollins, and Austin Theory failed to recapture the United States Championship.

    These were the true winners and losers for WWE coming out of Payback.

Winners: Trish Stratus, Becky Lynch and Zoey Stark

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    The feud between Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus fell off quickly over the past month. It should have ended at SummerSlam. When the two missed that spot, they both clearly took offense.

    This led to an opener that stole the show on Saturday. Stratus turned back the clock, working at a speed and with flexibility that should not be possible at 47 years old. It may be the best match of her career.

    Lynch worked her best match of 2023. It was physical and intense, and she carried that heat on her face and in her walk.

    At a time when the women’s division has struggled, Stratus and Lynch had one of the best matches of the year.

    Zoey Stark arrived late and looked to be an afterthought until post-match. But she may have benefited more than either woman on the night. She got to lay out an all-time great to a raucous ovation.

    Coming out of Payback, Lynch is a top woman in the division again, Stratus has added a definitive match to her legacy, and Stark may have been set up for a title run sooner than expected.

Winner: LA Knight

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    It has taken too long based on the reactions to LA Knight, but he finally got a major rub at Payback. He won a competitive match against The Miz, despite The A-Lister being in top form.

    Moreover, though, Knight got the John Cena endorsement. While there were some teases that The Megastar could face the veteran in the future, what matters most is that he ended his night with Cena holding up his arm in respect.

    It is fair to always wonder if WWE will push talent that gets over naturally. History has not been kind in the past, but it looks like the stars are aligning for The Megastar.

    Whatever is next for Knight should get a major spotlight. He has a chance to heat up all the way to challenging either Roman Reigns or Seth Rollins sooner rather than later.

Loser: Austin Theory

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    Austin Theory has struggled over the past year. He lost his Money in the Bank briefcase on a failed cash-in, his United States Championship reign barely registered for many fans while Gunther was stealing the show with the Intercontinental Championship.

    His match with John Cena at WrestleMania 39 was the most widely panned showing at the event. He dropped his title in ignominious fashion to Rey Mysterio, losing his rematch in front of an uninterested crowd.

    Saturday’s PPV was electric. Each match had time to deliver, but this was the one that stuck out in the worst way.

    The Master of the 619 will recover from that fact. He has shown he can still go with the top names in WWE, but Theory is without a title to keep him relevant and may fall into the background now.

Winner: The Judgment Day

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    Many assumed that The Judgment Day would end in their current form after Payback.

    Finn Bálor and Damian Priest have been at odds for months. The Prince had struggled to win big matches and has relied on JD McDonagh to help him over his own stablemates.

    However, the group rallied together to beat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, using every trick possible. Rhea Ripley speared KO through the barricade, and McDonagh saved Priest from taking the loss. Dominik Mysterio got the deciding hit in with the Money in the Bank briefcase.

    The Prince and The Punishment now hold the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship. The Eradicator again retained the Women’s World Championship, and Dirty Dom holds the NXT North American Championship.

    WWE has put all the chips on the stable for The Judgment Day. In many ways, the group has taken up the No. 1 position over The Bloodline.

    With all the gold in the faction, including tag titles that represent Raw and SmackDown, The Judgment Day could be appearing on all three brands for a long time to come.

Loser: Shinsuke Nakamura

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    Shinsuke Nakamura walked into his first WWE PPV main event with major hype. He was the last man walking out after an epic animated introduction, and his friend, The Great Muta, was at ringside.

    This should have been his moment, but even the live crowd did not buy it. On a night when the fans inside PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh were consistently loud, they flattened out for what was a very good contest between The Artist and Seth Rollins.

    The Visionary remains world heavyweight champion, but Nakamura stood frustrated at ringside afterward and accepted his fate. He was treated as the one-and-done challenger most expected him to be at the start of the night.

    Rollins has been a great champion and remains a great champion. However, Nakamura has been set up to fade back into the background unless WWE evolves his booking right away.

    If there is a plan for The Artist to stay a top contender, the story needs to begin moving again on Monday’s Raw.

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