The HTCWrestling Staff’s WWE Payback Predictions

2015 WWE Payback - Fatal Four Way

{Above artwork by Sarthak Garg}

The Ascension vs Curtis Axel and Macho Mandow

JC: Just when I thought maybe Damien Sandow would be getting a serious gimmick, they stuck him with another comedy act. Axel and Mandow will be good for a couple laughs, but they will never get a serious push. As for the Ascension, I forgot they were even on the main roster. Axel and Mandow get the win here.

Draw: A throwaway tag team match featuring a very new comedy tag team and a tag team that’s comedic but it really shouldn’t be. Coming out of NXT, The Ascension were supposed to be the next Wyatt Family. Instead they’ve been laughed off the screen almost every time they’ve appear. They do need a win here but rarely does a comedy tag team lose their first match. Look for Axel & Mandow to run wild here.

Winners: Axel & Mandow


The Bellas vs Naomi and Tamina

JC:  The fact that this was made a tag match instead of a Divas Title match leads me to believe that the heels are going to pick up the win here. I think the program keeps going for a bit before we hopefully, maybe some day get some NXT Divas on the roster. Naomi and Tamina get the win and Naomi gets a Title match in the near future.

Draw: Nikki Bella won the Divas Championship at Survivor Series of last year. That puts her at close to 200 days as champion. Sure she doesn’t defend the title at every PPV (like this one) but it’s still damn impressive. What’s not impressive is her competition. Challengers have been few and far between since the retirement of AJ Lee and the WWE is starting to feel it. Manufacturing challengers like Naomi and Tamina is a good place to start but both women have been on the roster for too long and haven’t gotten over. This feud is a throwaway until Paige returns and Charlotte is finally debuted on the main roster. I would not be surprised to see Nikki lose the title to Naomi though if Creative wants Charlotte to pin a heel on her debut.

Winners: Naomi and Tamina


King Barrett vs Neville

JC: It was great that Barrett won the King of the Ring, but he has done nothing of note since. Well, unless you count getting a stupid cape and crowd something of note. Neville meanwhile has looked great since his debut and had John Cena beat this past Monday on RAW. Neville to me is the front runner to win the Intercontinental Title at the Elimination Chamber show. I’m glad they’ve booked Neville so strong and I think he gets the win here again.

Draw: Although Barrett is the new “King”, Neville was the star coming out of that event and is LOADED with momentum since his debut. Don’t be surprised if Barrett picks up the win here to regain some momentum going into an Intercontinental Championship Chamber match.

Winners: JC – Neville // Draw – Barrett


Sheamus vs Dolph Ziggler

JC: What the hell has happened to Dolph Ziggler? Headbands? Eye liner? He looked more like Zack Ryder than himself on RAW. Dolph got the win at Extreme Rules so I think Sheamus gets the win here. Sheamus should get moved up the card into a bigger feud, maybe with John Cena. The Ziggler train may have left the station already and I honestly don’t know what is left for him on the roster.

Draw: If only Sheamus had answered one of John Cena’s “open” challenges instead of focusing on Ziggler. I will say this, I like the dynamic Ziggler and Sheamus have in the ring. The problem I have is that I’ve seen it for the last 5 years. A title involved here would make this feud interesting but since there’s not, I’m bored. There needs to be a strong babyface going into the IC title Chamber match though and Ziggler appears to be the only option.

Winners: JC – Sheamus // Draw – Dolph Ziggler


The New Day vs Kidd and Cesaro

JC: I don’t know who to thank for it, but I love what has been going on with the New Day over the last month. They’ve gone from unbearable to what many consider to be the best part of the show in recent weeks. Credit has to go to all three guys involved as well. Kidd and Cesaro have continued to impress in the ring as well. This is the match I’m looking forward to the most this Sunday. I’m picking the New Day to win here. They just got the tag titles and I don’t think they will lose them yet.

Draw: Kidd and Cesaro may have the worst luck of any two guys on the roster. Right when they hit their groove both with the audience and with the powers that be backstage, somehow The New Day parlay a bad gimmick into heel heat and all the tag team focus gets redirected from Cesaro and Kidd to Kofi, Big E and Woods. Kidd and Cesaro just won’t work as a typical babyface team and it feels like there’s only room for one heel tag team right now and that’s The New Day.

Winners: The New Day


Bray Wyatt vs Ryback

JC: Is it sad that I care more about Ryback as a character at this point than Bray Wyatt? Wyatt’s character has done nothing new over the last year while at least Ryback has shown some personality and growth as a character. I actually want Ryback to win Sunday, but I know this program is being used to build Wyatt back up. Screw it, I know I’m wrong but I’m picking a Ryback win here because I’m just done with Bray unless something big changes with him in the future.

Draw: Wyatt is coming off a VERY BIG and high-profile loss to The Undertaker at WrestleMania and needs to re-establish himself as a threat. It’s obvious that the WWE is more invested in Bray Wyatt than Ryback and Wyatt needs this win.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

John Cena vs Rusev

JC: Please don’t let this be the end of Rusev. As my fellow HTC Staff and readers know, I have high hopes for Rusev and don’t want him to go away. But this feud with Cena needs to end this Sunday. And how Lana plays into the finish will be interesting. I would love if all of this tension was a big fake out and Rusev wins, but I know that won’t happen. Cena is retaining the Title, it is only a matter of how. I see Lana quitting for Rusev. After the match, Rusev berates her and goes to attack her, only for all American good guy John Cena to make the save for her. Maybe Rusev moves on to the IC Title. At least that is what I hope.

Draw: I hope that Rusev doesn’t win here but all the signs point to that conclusion. Cena had another month boosting the prestige of the US title, he got the big win at Mania & this throwaway PPV is the perfect place for Cena to lose and save face. It’s boring but I expect the “Russian” to win the US strap tonight.


Seth Rollins vs Randy Orton vs Roman Reigns vs Dean Ambrose

WWE World Championship Match

JC: Another match where I think the outcome is rather obvious, it is just a matter of how we get there. I think Seth Rollins will retain the WWE Title. But something will happen among the other three in the match to get to another program. It could be a heel turn, but who do you turn? Orton just turned face. Reigns is the WWE’s golden boy. Ambrose may be the most obvious, but he’s also the most popular of the three. I wouldn’t mind a straight up Reigns/Ambrose feud with no one turning, but I doubt that happens. And how does Kane play into the finish? I honestly wouldn’t mind a Rollins/Kane, Title vs Career match at Money in the Bank or Battleground. Kane’s earned it with his work in recent weeks. I’m going with Rollins retaining with a pin on Ambrose after Reigns spears him and Rollins sneaks in for the pin.

Draw: The TV ratings haven’t been stellar for Rollins as champ but when are they ever for a new star as the centerpiece. WWE desperately needs new stars at the top of the card and a heel like Seth Rollins is where to begin. It’s time to build these stars now and this match is a great place to start. But Rollins needs some foundation to stand on as the WWE Champion and a win here will help that.