Big E defeated Ryback in the first of three matches for a chance to face Bad News Barrett at WWE Payback. Big E and Ryback worked pretty solid together, considering how limited Ryback can be at times in the ring. I really thought that Big E carried most of the offense, but Ryback sold each move very well. Big E picks up the win in a slugfest and starts the matches off on the right note. You will not love this match, but it was an average match that helped Big E be remembered a little more. What happened with his involvement with Rusev? Big E got a good pop last week when he came out, but this week there was no involvement with him and the Bulgarian Brute.
Rob Van Dam defeated Alberto Del Rio in faster time than Big E had. RVD and Del Rio really looked rough here, missing a few big spots and an overall sloppy match. You would expect much more from both guys, but it seemed like Del Rio and RVD did not want to be there. RVD picks up the win with his finisher. Again, with both men relying on their timing and instincts in matches, this one fell flat.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Mark Henry ended in No Contest when the time ran out. I actually enjoyed this match as well, with Ziggler making Henry look like a monster. Henry looks slimmer and more athletic in the ring, which is only going to benefit the guys around him. Ziggler hit Zig Zag, but could not cover him in time. I wonder what WWE wants to do with Mark Henry. Isn't he better suited as a heel? Aren't both of these guys better suited as heels?
-RVD vs. Bad News Barrett will be a good match because both guys will find a way to create a compelling story in the ring. I just worry about RVD's lack of mic work compared to the improved work that Barrett has put in. Maybe, just maybe, Bad News Barrett will shine here in every way. A fan favorite of RVD versus a guy who gets cheered as a heel… How will this be booked appropriately?