The 2016 WWE Payback Kickoff pre-show opens live from Chicago with Renee Young as we see fans inside the Allstate Arena. Renee welcomes us and she’s joined by Jerry Lawler, Booker T and Corey Graves on the panel. Renee sends us backstage to Greg Hamilton in the Social Media Lounge. He plugs tonight’s hashtags and will have Sami Zayn later for fan questions.
We go back to Renee and she sends us to a video of Shane McMahon and Stephanie McMahon on last week’s RAW. The panel talks about Vince McMahon’s announcement and we get a video for Chris Jericho vs. Dean Ambrose. We get more hype for tonight’s show and a Tapout video. Renee leads us to a promo for tonight’s main event. Booker predicts AJ Styles wins, Graves goes with Roman Reigns and Lawler agrees with Graves. Renee leads us to a WrestleMania 32 recap video and plugs tonight’s tag team tournament finals.
Dolph Ziggler def. Baron Corbin via pinfall: A surprising outcome for sure given how Corbin had been getting a push as WWE’s newest big man monster and Ziggler is so often called on to do a job. I wonder whether the match being pushed to the kickoff show had anything to do with the outcome. Tough to guess where either Ziggler or Corbin go from here with a clean victory and no set program ahead.
Kalisto (c) def. Ryback via pinfall to retain: In what will likely be one of the better matches on the entire show, WWE got the booking right and had Kalisto hold on to the United States strap. It’s easy to compare Kalisto to Rey Mysterio Jr., but it’s also fair. The fans like him, and he’s exciting in the ring with some unique moves and a tremendous finisher. Whether WWE ultimately gives him a main event push remains to be seen, but for now, he’s in a much better spot than he was as a tag team performer.
Dean Ambrose def. Chris Jericho via pinfall: We all thought Jericho would do the job at WrestleMania against A.J. Styles only to be surprised with Y2J winning clean via pinfall. With Ambrose on a rise and coming off a loss to Brock Lesnar, plus Jericho’s appearance schedule set to expire, Ambrose going over here made all the sense in the world.
Vince McMahon announces who will control Monday Night Raw: A long and drawn-out segment ended with McMahon announcing that both his son and daughter, Shane and Stephanie McMahon, will control Raw together beginning Monday night.