WWE United States Champion John Cena defeated Rusev in an “I Quit match”
In the final chapter of a brutal rivalry, John Cena not only had to overcome the devastating force of Rusev to retain his United States Championship at WWE Payback, but also the language barrier. Fortunately for Cena, Lana’s conscience could not let her stand idly by as her charge screamed in agony in his native Bulgarian while locked in the STF, leading her to leap in the ring and put an end to the barbaric bout.
Before the bell even rang, Rusev grabbed the microphone and urged Cena to “swallow his American pride” and quit. The brave United States Champion never seemed to entertain the idea, instead leaping at Rusev in a flurry of offense that was quickly cut short by The Russian Tank.
Lana proved to be a distraction for The Hero of the Russian Federation. Following an opening salvo that left Cena stunned, Rusev was perturbed at the WWE Universe’s adoration of The Ravishing Russian, leaving the ring to remove Lana from his corner and sit her in a chair at ringside, returning throughout the match to admonish her.
Rusev went right back on the attack, stunning Cena with an onslaught of devastating kicks that would leave a normal man begging for mercy. The Russian Tank even took a few moments to stand over Cena while holding the colors of mother Russia. Unfortunately for the Russian beast, Cena has an unmatched resolve and battled back to his feet, stunning Rusev with a series of shoulder tackles and the Five Knuckle Shuffle.
Every time Cena looked to be gaining the upper hand, however, Rusev found a brutal way to halt him momentum. The recipient of the Gold Star medal hurled Cena shoulder first into the unforgiving steel ring steps, repeatedly ordering the official to ask Cena if he wanted to say “I quit,” only for Cena to shove the microphone away.
Things only got worse for Cena, as Rusev brought the steel steps into the ring, tossing Cena into them repeatedly. But after every devastating slam, Cena refused to give up, frustrating the Russian monster to no end. Rusev went to stomp on Cena’s back, setting up for his trademark Accolade, only for Cena to move out of the way and Rusev to drive his foot into the steps. Having weakened Rusev, Cena drove Cena into the steel steps with a thunderous Attitude Adjustment.
Rusev refused to quit, even after Cena picked up the heavy steel steps and tossed them at him. Even after Cena promised that he would send Rusev crashing through the ringside barricade, Rusev would not relent and Cena kept his vow.
With the brawl spreading like wildfire away from the ringside area, Cena grabbed anything at his disposal to clobber the Russian Tank, including monitors, computers and tables. However, the unstoppable Rusev would not give in.
The Hero of the Russian Federation, desperate to put The Champ down, began to mash on the buttons of the pyrotechnics control board, setting off a dazzling display of fireworks. Seeing his opportunity, Rusev tried to slam Cena into the explosives, only for Cena to reverse it, sending Rusev into the fireworks, giving the WWE Universe an unexpected light show. Despite the searing pain after the pyro went off against his skin, Rusev still would not quit.
Crawling back to the ring, Rusev regained his composure as Cena set up a steel barricade against the ring, making his move and slamming The Champ through it. Rusev emerged from the mangled steel and locked Cena in his devastating Accolade. Cena refused to quit and passed out in the hold. Rusev poured cold water on Cena to revive him and get him to say the words “I quit,” the only way to win the match.
A desperate Rusev removed the top turnbuckle and charged at Cena with it, only to end up trapped in the STF. Cena wrenched back even further in the hold, using the ring rope across his opponent’s nose for extra leverage. Rusev’s painful screaming echoed throughout the sold-out Royal Farms Arena as Lana jumped out of her seat. Increasingly distraught with every scream Rusev let out in his native language, The Ravishing Russian got into the ring and quit for her charge, putting an end to the carnage once and for all.
The final chapter in the devastating rivalry between John Cena and Rusev was written at WWE Payback, with Cena standing tall as the American flag flew high in Baltimore. However, there are still questions that the WWE Universe will want answered. Did Rusev actually say “I quit” in Bulgarian, or did the official, not wanting to see a career-ending injury, take Lana’s word for it? Also, what toll will this brutal bout take on John Cena? Will the United States Champion continue with his U.S. Open Challenge on Raw or take time to recover from one of the most physical bouts of his storied career?
WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day def. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match
“Positivity,” or at least The New Day’s version of it, prevailed at WWE Payback, where the ruthlessly upbeat trio of Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods celebrated a victory over Tyson Kidd & Cesaro in a chaotic 2-out-of-3 Falls Match.
After gleefully drawing attention to the Baltimore Orioles’ 32-year championship draught to the sold-out crowd in the Royal Farms Arena — and particularly Orioles outfielder Adam Jones sitting at ringside — it was Kingston and Big E who locked up with the game challengers in this Monument City melee, which awarded victory to the first team to score two pinfalls or submissions.
It was Kidd scoring the first fall over Kingston, who suffered the wrath of a Cesaro Swing into a Kidd dropkick that put The Dreadlocked Dynamo down for a three-count. The New Day shifted momentum in their favor, however, after Big E speared Cesaro through the ropes and to the floor, taking The Swiss Superman out of the equation. Left without a partner, Kidd suffered a Kingston-assisted Big Ending, which tied up the bout with one fall apiece.
With his wife Natalya looking on from ringside and The King of Swing struggling to regain his bearings, Kidd continued to fall victim to a two-on-one numbers game (three-on-one if you count Woods’ taunting), until Cesaro finally shook off the cobwebs, tearing into Big E & Kingston with near-superhuman strength. However, after Kingston caught Cesaro with a neck snap onto the ropes, Woods opportunistically rushed the ring and scored a final three-count, despite the fact that he was never officially involved in the bout.
This wasn’t the first time The New Day stole a victory from The Swiss Superman and the Hart Dungeon graduate — in fact, bending the rules was how the trio came into possession of the WWE Tag Team Championship at Extreme Rules. Since then, Kidd & Cesaro have remained in relentless pursuit of their former titles, which evaded their grasp in a rematch on the April 30 edition of SmackDown after an intervening Woods forced a disqualification victory for the challengers. At WWE Payback, the brains behind The New Day struck again, sneaking into the match and scoring a questionable pinfall that won the match for his partners in positivity.
However, that perennial optimism will be put to the test on Sunday, May 31, when The New Day defends their titles in the first-ever WWE Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber Match on the award-winning WWE Network. Will all that clapping come to a painful end inside the formidable structure?
Sheamus defeated Dolph Ziggler
At WWE Payback, the head games between Sheamus and Dolph Ziggler might have finally come to an end. Unfortunately for Ziggler, though, the headache of dealing with The Celtic Warrior only intensified.
Thanks to a brutal Brogue Kick, Sheamus put down The Showoff in the bitter and highly physical opening contest of WWE Payback. Yet, even in losing, Ziggler earned the long-overdue retribution he and the WWE Universe have dearly craved since Sheamus ignored the stipulation of their “Kiss Me Arse” Match last month at Extreme Rules.
WWE’s irate Irishman wasted no time setting the tone of the brawl, pie-facing Ziggler before the bell even rang. As soon as the match got underway, Ziggler leapt into his supercharged offense, dropkicking and clotheslining The Celtic Warrior out of the ring. The Showoff kept up the pace from there, launching into a flying cross body block. An early attempt at the superkick, however, was thwarted by Sheamus, who elbowed Ziggler’s lower quadriceps in an attempt to hyperextend his opponent’s leg.
Though the WWE faithful in Baltimore mocked Sheamus’ haircut with cries of “You look stupid,” Sheamus seemingly used their heckling as motivation, punishing Ziggler with rugged takedowns, a huge tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and a litany of hard kicks.
Never one to be deterred, the resilient Ziggler fired back with a series of forearms and a vicious DDT for a two-count. After blasting the Irish gladiator with boots in the corner, The Showoff finally scored personal payback, yanking up his trunks and shoving his backside into Sheamus’ face. Embarrassed and enraged, Sheamus escaped the ring and washed out his mouth with water while the WWE Universe voiced their approval, chanting “Yes!”
Upon returning to the ring, Sheamus regained momentum, eventually landing a sit-out powerbomb and a giant, over-the-shoulder powerslam before locking in the Cloverleaf submission hold. Fortunately for The Showoff, he was able to break the hold by reaching the bottom rope.
Adding insult to injury, Sheamus verbally berated Ziggler as he slugged him with haymakers, only for Ziggler to find an opening and land a devastating headbutt and superkick to down The Celtic Warrior. The fearless, if reckless, offense took its toll on The Showoff, however, as the head butt lacerated Ziggler’s forehead
Dazed and kneeling on the mat, Ziggler remained easy prey for a re-energized Sheamus, who clocked his rival with an unforgiving Brogue Kick for the pinfall.
R-Truth def. Stardust (Kickoff Match)
Action inside the Royal Farms Arena began with a clash between R-Truth and Stardust, with The Rapping Superstar scoring a victory over his interstellar foe.
The evening’s first WWE Payback Kickoff bout was the culmination of longstanding issues between the two Superstars, including Truth knocking Stardust out of the opening round of The King of The Ring tournament.
Although Stardust looked strong with two near pinfalls and a series of insulting slaps with his glove, R-Truth battled back with a boot to the mouth. With Stardust reeling, Truth delivered a hard-hitting Lie Detector to plant Stardust to the canvas for the win.
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