If you don’t like spoilers, I have to question why you’re reading a WWE post the day after an event you haven’t seen. So for the sake of “spoiler alert” warnings, before we dive into what happen with the “House Of Horrors” match from WWE’s Payback, please enjoy this photo of Chris Jericho in his sparkly scarf covered in crosses. Bow down before it, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan.
You good? Okay. I’m of the age where I can recall watching some of the worst matches in WWF/E and WCW history. The “Chamber Of Horrors” match from Halloween Havok, “Viagra On A Pole” from Nitro, Judy Bagwell on a forklift, the Ready To Rumble cage match—I’ve been through visual hell being a wrestling fan, kids. And trust me, WWF/E has a few horrible matches of their own. But NONE of them can compare to the new depth of stupidity the company just created at Payback (also known as WrestleMania Light) with the “House Of Horrors” match. We’re going to go over the “highlights” here in a second, but I feel like I have to throw up a disclaimer ahead of time: I do not condone watching this match. If you’re any kind of a wrestling fan, this will make you cringe. And I know what you’re thinking, “But Gavin, I’ve watched boiler room matches, lion’s den matches, empty arena matches—how bad can it be?” And to you I say… I warned you.
If you haven’t been following the Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt feud for the past eight months, don’t worry, you didn’t miss anything special. Their program was basically designed to get Wyatt over as a better creepy heel while also appeasing Orton and giving him another championship title on the resume after getting his skull caved in by Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. I’d equate their time together as seeing two of your friends dating who you know aren’t good for each other, but they’re both miserable to be around when they’re single, so… whatever. A bunch of brainwashing, creepy promos, maggots being projected on the ring at WrestleMania—and here we are, finally at the end of this trainwreck before Wyatt goes to Raw and Orton continues as champion.
The match didn’t even begin in the arena, it started at some random farm pre-recorded, leaving the audience in the SAP Center of San Jose to watch an empty ring for 12 minutes, which was received by boos. The start of the match shows Orton pulling up in a limo to a house bathed in blue lighting and a tractor being driven backward with no one in it. Because nothing screams horror like mood lighting and unattended farming equipment. Good thing Bray owned this home so close to the PPV spot, who knows what he would have done if it was anywhere else in the country. Everything about the editing of this entire ordeal screams cheap-budget horror flick made in the ’80s. It’s at this moment I can see how much gray is in Orton’s beard, and a look on his face that says “I’m way too old for this shit.”
Orton makes his way into the home for another two minutes of quick flash cuts to objects and mood setting before being attacked in the living room by Wyatt. There’s no crowd noise, there’s no real ambiance beyond the creepy violin music underneath as if to signal a serial killer is in the house, and way too much plastic and glass around the house for neither man to get cut on. After some brawling here, we scary clip our way into a bedroom with mutilated dolls hanging from the ceiling. Because nothing says horror like dolls with scissors in them. I swear to you, one was painted to look like Goldust! After getting thrown through a wall and hit by a crib, Randy finds the Blair Witch Project tribute room, which you see above. The most interesting room of the house and NOTHING HAPPENS HERE!
We eventually make our way into the kitchen, covered in grime, dirty dishes, and food that’s been sitting on the counter for weeks. Because nothing says horror like the kitchen you’d find at a college frat house. By far the best spot here (which is saying something) was watching Orton get kicked in the junk and crushed by a fridge. In other words: something I think smarks everywhere had been wishing for since late 2013. After that, Wyatt stumbles and screams his way out of the house, looking the same way grandpa probably does whenever he gets drunk at home, he screams “Follow The Buzzards” on his front lawn and the house lighting turns red. He hops in a limo and makes his way back to the arena, still coughing and panting for three minutes. Because nothing says victory like taking your opponent’s ride back to the pre-scheduled ending point that they announced would happen at the start of the match.
We come back to the announcers and the production crew of WWE trying to cover 18k fans chanting “boring” and then get into a real match with Seth Rollins and Samoa Joe. When they finish up, Wyatt returns to the arena with his music and spooky McDonald’s Halloween lantern to celebrate. The crowd at this point is dead, and I’m not exaggerating on this at all, the audience could not have given two shits about Wyatt when he got there. They may have their lights on in participation, but if you do choose to watch this moment, you’ll know what thousands of people being bored looks like. Even when Orton shows up from under the ring with a folding chair, the reaction is barely positive. What little fighting they do here is the best thing in the entire sequence of events. When suddenly… a savior appears!
The Bollywood Boyz (now being called The Singh Brothers) attack Orton only to get dispatched, Orton hits an RKO, but then Jinder Mahal jumps in and nails Orton with the World Championship he stole last Tuesday. The crowd actually supported Mahal, but also give him the appropriate amount of heel heat afterward to lock him in as a credible opponent. One more title belt smack to the back followed by a Sister Abigail and Wyatt wins the match. And there you have it: A 12-minute crap horror flick in the middle of a PPV, followed by five minutes of okay wrestling, some decent heel interference, and a setup for the next title match between Orton and Mahal. It is, by far, one of the biggest wastes of time I had ever seen on WWE programming, to the point where I thought I was watching a WCW match. All that was missing was a Dusty finish. The sad news is that Wyatt is now going to Raw to feud with Finn Balor, so expect more of this hocus pocus evil intentions crap on Raw over the next few weeks. After all that work, after all the editing and planning, after all that buildup to their final match… the only person to come out of it looking awesome was Mahal.