WWE Payback 2017: Best and Worst Moments

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Worst: Unpredictability, Part 2

Sometimes, though, doing the unexpected bites you in the rear end. That’s what happened with the Cruiserweight Championship match.

Most people probably assumed that the championship would change hands. Neville has been champ for over three months, which in this day and age is a lengthy run. Austin Aries has been absolutely killing it since returning from injury. And the two had a pretty solid match to kick off the WrestleMania pre-show.

All those signs should have pointed to a title change here, right? Give Aries a chance to carry the championship, get some fresh matches in the title picture with some new heel top players, and everyone is happy. Instead, a great match ends in a way that – on paper – should have been interesting and great, but in reality was dumb.

I do enjoy Neville having to show some kind of vulnerability – that’s ultimately a good thing for his character. The fact that he felt threatened enough to bail on the match like he did shows that he’s smart enough to do whatever is necessary.

However, a similar finish was just done about a month ago at NXT TakeOver: Orlando, when Asuka retained the NXT Women’s Championship over Ember Moon. That one was a bit different, as the referee inexplicably didn’t call for the disqualification. Regardless, it just seems like a recycled finish here, as opposed to something fresh – like ending the feud that’s been going on for months.