WWE Payback 2017: Best and Worst Moments

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Best: Great Storytelling

If we’re judging just on storytelling and psychology, the Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe match is a clear cut Match of the Night.

The story itself was a pretty simple one: Rollins still has a weak knee, and Samoa Joe is out for blood. So clearly, Joe was going to attack the knee. If Rollins was going to have any chance at winning the match, he was going to have to find a way to overcome the knee issue.

The bigger wrinkle to that story? The vast majority of Seth’s offense is centered around the knee in some way, shape, or form. Both his old finisher – the Pedigree – and his new one – the ripcord knee strike – involve using the knees. Rollins likes to utilize kicks – and has to plant on the knee. High flying moves? You’re going to land on the knee hard. All of this spells trouble against a veteran and a monster like Joe.

But Rollins is – both in kayfabe and in reality – one of the most talented superstars in WWE. So he managed to weather the storm enough to find a way to pull out a victory. Yes, he did cause more “injury” to the knee himself with the frog splash, among other moves.

However, Rollins was able to win the match without his big knee crushing signature maneuvers. In fact, it was basically using Joe’s own momentum against him – Rollins was smart enough to know that Joe wouldn’t let go of the Coquina Clutch because of the punishment inflicted with the hold. By the time Joe knew what had happened, Rollins won via pinfall.

It’s great storytelling, and works as both a way to possibly end the feud as well as possibly extend it if necessary.