WWE has a couple of big cards lined up in the next week. This Sunday is this month’s 3 hour PPV offering Payback, and on May 20th, we get their next NXT Takeover Special, Unstoppable.
Starting with Payback, I have to say that it is very hard to care about this show for a myriad of reasons. Over-saturation of these events is one problem as I feel like we just had Extreme Rules, and we’ve got Elimination Chamber coming up just two weeks after this. This event feels shoehorned in for no other reason than the WWE has to fulfill that monthly PPV quota. It doesn’t help that there really isn’t much intrigue in the big matches on the card either because of obvious outcomes or the fact that we’ve already certain matches multiple times before. We all pretty much know Seth is going to retain and it feels like we’ve more than had our fill of Cena Vs. Rusev. I don’t think the card is terrible, but in the current climate where the sheer volume of WWE’s content is just unwieldy, this event feels like an easy one to skip. Payback strikes me as one of those shows that the Wrestlers are going to have to make themselves because creative gave them almost nothing to work with in such little time to build up the show.
NXT Unstoppable on the other hand is a completely different story. One of the main benefits of NXT is the brand does not have nearly the same level of oversaturation of the main WWE continuity. Instead of three hour main shows with tons of supplemental content, NXT only has one weekly show that is an hour long. Instead of PPV events that happens seemingly every couple of weeks at this point, NXT has quarterly two hour specials that actually feel, for lack of a better word, SPECIAL.
The overabundance of content on the main WWE show often leads to storylines burning out too quickly whereas NXT is allowed to breath, take their time, and develop their feuds. For example, Rusev and Cena have been feuding since January and I was sick of it before Wrestlemania. Even supporters of that rivalry will probably admit that by now, three straight PPV outings with a fourth on the way is just overkill. Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens have been feuding since December of last year and it still feels fresh, exciting, and depending on how this rematch goes, it feels like they could probably take it beyond Unstoppable. Also, they are heading into only their second match with months of time put in between the two bouts to allow anticipation to truly build.
That is the main reasons these NXT Takeover Specials have been as well received as they have been. We don’t get killer matches every single week. We don’t get all the stars appearing on every single show, and with that, the anticipation to see those killer matches and see those stars is enhanced and it makes those two hour events feel like they are can’t miss. How else can you explain a three hour PPV event feeling mundane and a two hour special being worth crawling across broken glass to see? The only thing holding NXT back this time around are some very untimely injuries that could have an effect on the biggest matches on the show, which are obviously factors outside of their control.
WWE Payback is scheduled to take place on Sunday, May 17th starting at 8:00PM EST
NXT Takeover: Unstoppable is scheduled to take place on Wednesday May 20th starting at 8:00PM EST. Both events are available on the WWE Network.