Starring: John Cena, Tyson Kidd, Seth Rollins
It’s all in the name – this high-testosterone grudgefest (originally shown as a pay-per-view extravaganza) offers heavyweight wrestling with an edge as various time-honoured adversaries get back into the ring to settle old scores. Among the highlights, “three hundred pound human wrecking ball” Ryback takes on satanic heavy Bray Wyatt – who makes Leatherface in the Texas Chain Saw Massacre look like a cosmopolitan sophisticate – and ginger Hercules Sheamus turns the other cheek to handsome blond Dolph Ziggler, but not in a nice way.
For anyone who hasn’t watched a WWE DVD before, it’s all a disorientating but heady mix of tongue in cheek video interludes, hyperbolic trash talk, Mad Max styling, manic, high intensity performances, bone-shuddering smackdowns and insane acrobatics. For all the play-acting and mugging to the crowd, there’s some genuine athletic virtuosity on display as these guys put each other through some gruelling paces, including not-to-be-tried-at-home moves like the cloverleaf (sounds harmless enough, but it’s oh so not). For regular fans of wrestling familiar with the larger than life personalities involved, Payback 2015 is sure to be an engrossing spectacle, while anyone new to the world of WWE should find the combination of vein-bulging grapples and extravagant theatrics completely fascinating.