- Payback 2023 was a successful event featuring intense rivalries and action-packed matches, with Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura stealing the show.
- Rey Mysterio retained the United States Championship against Austin Theory in an underwhelming battle, ending Theory's dreams of regaining the title.
- Rhea Ripley retained the Women's World Championship against Raquel Rodriguez, but the challenger's dominant performance could give her a push in the future. The match was intense, and WWE has plans for both women post-Payback.
WWE has been delivering some of the best wrestling content in the industry lately. After a massive Bloodline story, WWE has developed some interesting rivalries and matches on both Raw and SmackDown. In addition to that, the return of the franchise player, John Cena, has proved to be an icing on the cake.
One of the most recent examples of WWE’s massive success was Payback 2023. Hosted by John Cena himself, Payback 2023 was a great combination of WWE’s intense rivalries and hard-hitting action. Headlined by a banger match between Seth Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura, millions around the world consider Payback to be better than SummerSlam 2023.
The major reason for Payback’s success was the action-packed matches throughout the event. With six matches on the card, the premium live event has increased the excitement of fans for the upcoming shows. With all set, let’s take a look at the rankings of every match featured at Payback 2023.
6 Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory (United States Championship match)
The United States Championship match between Rey Mysterio and Austin Theory was one of the underwhelming battles of Payback 2023. Though the match featured some hard-hitting action throughout, the crowd was silent.
Though Austin Theory dominated over the legend during the early moments of the match, things turned around when the challenger tried to take off Mysterio's mask. In the end, a roll-up pinfall from Mysterio finished the job and ended Theory’s dreams of regaining the United States Championship.
5 Raquel Rodriguez vs. Rhea Ripley (Women’s World Championship match)
One of the most anticipated matches on the Payback card was the Women’s World Championship match. Rhea Ripley retained her title at the premium live event. Though Raquel couldn’t get her hands on the title, she turned out to be a nightmare for The Eradicator of the Judgment Day.
With some hard-hitting action sequences throughout, Rhea Ripley and Raquel Rodriguez tore each other apart at Payback 2023. The challenger dominated over the champion for a few moments during the match which could give her a huge push in the coming weeks. The battle between both women turned out to be intense. It would be interesting to see what WWE has in store for both women after Payback.
4 LA Knight vs. The Miz
The Miz and LA Knight have had one of the most entertaining rivalries heading into Payback 2023. Both men collided for the first time in a singles match at the premium live event. However, before the bell rang, John Cena gave a surprise to the WWE Universe.
Cena announced himself as the special guest referee of the match which The Miz tried to resist. The match began with some intense action and featured some arguments between both stars and Cena. Though the match ended in Knight’s favor, The Miz also deserved appreciation for his effort.
Though this feud is not expected to continue after their battle at Payback, the WWE Universe loved their match and could see another in the future. After the match ended, John Cena and LA Knight came face to face on the stage and shook hands before Cena lifted his hand as the winner.
3 Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus (Steel Cage match)
Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus collided in a steel cage match at Payback 2023. The match has been expected to be the last match of their long rivalry which turned out to be their first entertaining and hard-hitting match.
The match ended with The Man getting a pinfall victory. However, the WWE Universe was shocked when Zoey Stark delivered the Z360 to the Hall of Famer and ended her friendship with her mentor.
The steel cage match was called one of the best matches in the women’s industry this year. Not only that but Stratus, who ended up losing the battle, was given an ovation while she was heading back.
2 Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (World Heavyweight Championship match)
Shinsuke Nakamura shocked the world with his attack on Seth Rollins a few weeks ago on Raw. This was followed by both men engaging in one of the most intense rivalries of the company heading into Payback 2023. In addition to that, the revelation of Rollins’ back injury took their feud to a new level.
Rollins and Nakamura collided with the World Heavyweight Championship on the line at Payback 2023. Both men engaged in one of the most anticipated matches of the night and their match turned out to be a show-stealer.
Though Rollins retained the World Heavyweight Championship, Shinsuke Nakamura’s character work turned out to be stunning. After their amazing battle at Payback, Rollins and Nakamura might run it back once again, heading into Fastlane 2023.
However, if WWE decides to end their rivalry here itself, Rollins could engage in a new rivalry with the likes of the newest member of Raw, Jey Uso. On the other hand, Shinsuke Nakamura could be given a major push for a possible World Championship run around WrestleMania. It would be interesting to see how things play out after Payback 2023.
1 The Judgment Day vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn (Steel City Street Fight)
A brawl broke out in the Steel City Street Fight right when the bell rang. Weapons were introduced early, and some intense action was then seen during the match. Though there were cracks between The Judgment Day before the battle, the desire to win tag team gold kept them together.
The NXT North American Champion, Dominik Mysterio, made his presence known during the match. However, Kevin Owens delivered a risk-taking Swanton Bomb through the table to take Mysterio out of the picture.
The ending moments of the match saw Rhea Ripley sending Owens through the barricade and JD McDonagh getting involved, helping Priest and Balor become the new Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions.
With new champions, it seems like Finn Balor and Damian Priest will have some new rivalries waiting. However, Owens and Zayn might not be done with The Judgment Day yet. After a huge loss at Payback 2023, the former tag team champions will more than likely want to get their hands on Balor and Priest once again.