WWE’s Payback 2023 took place on September 2nd, 2023 at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The event is the first Payback event put on by WWE since 2020, with the last one taking place in front of no fans during the pandemic era.
It was the first WWE pay per view event to be held in Pittsburgh since Extreme Rules 2018, which also took place in the PPG Paints Arena.
Payback 2023 featured some huge matches from most of WWE top stars – one noted absence is Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns, who did not wrestle on the card.
Some of the stars wrestling at Payback 2023, hoping for a high rating from Dave Meltzer, including World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, Judgement Day’s Rhea Ripley and Japanese star Shinsuke Nakamura.
Here are the star ratings for WWE Payback 2023, taken from Cagematch, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, and from Atletifo ourselves.
Becky Lynch vs Trish Stratus (Steel Cage Match)
The tired Becky Lynch vs Trish Stratus feud finally came to an end at Payback 2023, in a steel cage match for the Pittsburgh fans.
After their match was unceremoniously dumped off the Summerslam 2023 card (plus a disappointing bout on Smackdown weeks later), the fans were excited to these two legendary women face off on pay per view.
Winner: Becky Lynch
- Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 4 Stars
- Cagematch Rating – 8.30
- Atletifo Rating – 3 Stars
LA Knight vs The Miz (Special Guest Referee: John Cena)
WWE’s favorite Megastar (Yeah!) continued his rise to the top with a match against a WWE stalwart in The Miz.
In the build up to this match, The Miz accused LA Knight of being just a flash in the pan, and a mere imitation of former stars like The Rock and Steve Austin.
Despite John Cena being the surprise referee for the match, it was the most basic of basic matches, carried by how over LA Knight was with the crowd.
Winner: LA Knight
- Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 2.25 Stars
- Cagematch Rating – 6.55
- Atletifo Rating – 2 Stars
Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory (United States Championship)
The US Championship scene continues its muddled mess as Austin Theory tries to take the belt back from Rey Mysterio.
Mysterio is nearly 30 years older than Theory, and has already had a much more interesting reign in the weeks since first picking up the title.
Sadly, this match was your basic bout between a legend and a young star who simply isn’t working. Theory proved with this low star rating that he needs a big shift in character if he wants to become a main eventer in WWE.
Winner: Rey Mysterio
- Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 3.25 Stars
- Cagematch Rating – 5.96
- Atletifo Rating – 1 Star
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Judgment Day – Street Fight (Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions)
Continuing their unending rivalry with Judgement Day, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn put their Undisputed WWE World Tag Team Championships on the line against two of the groups finest.
Following his loss to Seth Rollins at Summerslam, Finn Balor teamed with Mr Money in the Bank, Damian Priest, as tensions flared in their quest for tag team gold.
In a fun street fight, Judgement Day won the match and ended Sami and Owens’ run as the tag team champions.
Winner: Judgement Day
- Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 4.25 Stars
- Cagematch Rating – 8.88
- Atletifo Rating – 3.5 Stars
Rhea Ripley vs Raquel Rodriguez (Women’s World Championship)
Raquel Rodriguez returned from injury on Raw to challenge Women’s World Champion Rhea Ripley to a championship match at Payback 2023.
Hearkening back to their legendary feud in NXT, the pair had a hard-hitting match that looks to finally get Rhea Ripley’s Women’s World Title reign back on track.
While it wasn’t the best match on the card, it was a decent outing that saw Ripley retain her belt in just over 17 minutes.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
- Dave Meltzer’s Star Rating – 1.75 Stars
- Cagematch Rating – 5.06
- Atletifo Rating – 2.5 Stars
Seth Rollins vs Shinsuke Nakamura (World Heavyweight Championship)
Shinsuke Nakamura attacked Seth Rollins on Raw, before challenging him to a title match at Payback.
The former Royal Rumble targeted Rollins’ back in a bid to win his first World Championship in WWE at a fantastic match at Payback 2023.
Despite working Rollins back for the whole match, it was the World Heavyweight Champion who won the bout with a curb stomp – not really playing into the story of the match at all.
It seems Seth Rollins isn’t great as a face champion, and this match cost us the chance of seeing Shinsuke Nakamura as the world champion in WWE for the first time.
Winner: Seth Rollins
- Dave Metlzer’s Star Rating – 3.5 Stars
- Cagematch Rating – 7.45
- Atletifo Rating – 3 Stars
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.