WWE Payback is this Sunday. And it is way more interesting than Wrestlemania ever was. Pretty much every match on the card has been built well. The outcome of the main event could go a handful of different ways. The undercard should produce some quality matches. And we hopefully finally know who will be running things on TV, unless the WWE decides this decision won’t matter either and do whatever they want the next night on RAW.
But lets get down to some predictions!
United States Championship: Kalisto (c) vs Ryback
-This is apparently still a feud. I don’t even know if they were interacting on WWE TV since Wrestlemania. Has Ryback even been on RAW since Wrestlemania? Kalisto has done absolutely nothing since winning the United States Title. Why not switch things up here? I’ll take Ryback to win the U.S. Title.
#1 Contenders For The Tag Team Titles Tournament Final: Enzo and Cass vs The Vaudevillians
-Enzo and Cass are over. They aren’t just over in the big time markets. I mean, they got the best reaction of the night in Hartford on RAW. That’s saying something. And the Vaudevillians haven’t been treated as bad as a lot of people thought they would be since debuting. The New Day could work with either team here. Even if it is Enzo and Cass, just imagine the interactions between both teams leading up to this match. Enzo and Cass went through the whole “close but no cigar” thing when it came to winning the Tag Titles in NXT. Does the WWE want to risk doing that again with them on the main roster? This is a tough one to figure out. I’m leaning towards Enzo and Cass here. The Vaudevillians have surprised so far, but I’m going with the more popular act in Enzo and Cass.
WINNERS: Enzo and Cass
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin
-Here is another feud that has surprised me as to how it has been built. It is pretty much built as two guys that just hate each other. Corbin is trying to make a name for himself and he attacked Ziggler. But Ziggler isn’t going down without a fight so he came right back at Corbin. Hopefully the crowd doesn’t decide to bounce a beach ball around during this match like they did after Wrestlemania. Corbin has improved since his early days in NXT, and he has embraced his heel role pretty well. I’m going with Corbin to pick up the win. Ziggler is pretty much going nowhere at this point.
WINNER: Baron Corbin
WWE Women’s Championship: Charlotte (c) w/Ric Flair vs Natalya w/Bret Hart
-Well Bret Hart has said that he doesn’t really want to be here, then he recently ripped Triple H even though he was somewhat wrong about what he said. I really wasn’t a fan of the first couple matches these two had. But the one they had on RAW a couple weeks ago was good. And they are actually building this match up to mean something this time. Natalya is looked at as the veteran of the women’s locker room and she wants to humble Charlotte and teach her something about respect. I don’t know what Ric Flair and Bret would actually add to the match. Natalya also isn’t taking the Title away from Charlotte. Charlotte, smartly, is being built up as the dominant woman in the division so when someone beats her they will be the top star. That person isn’t Natalya. Charlotte wins.
Intercontinental Championship: Miz (c) w/Maryse vs Cesaro
-This match will be fun. I don’t know what has happened but Miz has been great in the last month or so. And adding Maryse to his side has made him even more fun. That backstage skit with the water on RAW was hilarious. He has that look and act of a guy that you want to punch in the face every time you see him. And that is exactly what a heel is suppose to do. Cesaro’s James Bond look/routine since he has returned has been great as well. Some people have always criticized Cesaro for not having a character, but now they can’t do that. Hopefully this is one of the final pieces of the puzzle for Cesaro and he finally gets a good push going forward. But does the WWE jump the gun and put the IC Title on Cesaro right away? Or do they let that build up for a bit? I’m going with the Miz to retain the Title here, but he uses some help from Maryse to win. It extends the feud into the next PPV.
Dean Ambrose vs Chris Jericho
-This feud started with Ambrose getting his own talk show, the Ambrose Asylum. Since then Jericho and Ambrose have traded words back and forth. RAW even ended a few weeks ago with Jericho taking out Ambrose with the Codebreaker. This match should be good, but the feud itself has just kind of been there. I don’t know what to make of it. Ambrose should pick up the win here. He needs one badly after taking so many losses leading up to Wrestlemania. And Jericho’s win over Styles at Wrestlemania will actually make Ambrose’s win bigger to some people. Ambrose gets the win here.
WINNER: Dean Ambrose
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens
-If it was up to me, this would be the start of a year long feud culminating at next year’s Wrestlemania. I’m not talking about these guys fighting each other at every PPV. But they can interact with each other while also feuding with other people at the same time. You just have to let the other know that you are still around and lurking in the background.
Kevin Owens is my current favorite to win the Money in the Bank briefcase this year. I don’t know if there is anyone else you can make a case for. Most of the time the MITB should be won by a heel. Owens fits the mold of someone who should win it perfectly. He’s proven to be opportunistic and only looking out for himself.
Zayn makes the perfect foil for Owens. Given their history and chemistry in the ring it isn’t that hard for these two to have a good match. The video package going through both men’s history on RAW this past week was really well done. Zayn plays the underdog role perfectly. He might end up being better than Daniel Bryan at it in the long run, but we are still a long ways away from talking about that. Hopefully the WWE doesn’t wait as long with Zayn as they did with Bryan if he gains enough momentum.
As for this match, I’m taking Kevin Owens to win here. If my vision of this feud were to start here, Owens would win and then win with the help of someone at Extreme Rules, which would transition Zayn into a new feud and allow Owens and everyone else to start concentrating on Money in the Bank.
WINNER: Kevin Owens
Who Controls RAW?
-Who needs Wrestlemania right? That has been beaten to death so it doesn’t really do anything for me to go back and talk about how Shane’s match at Wrestlemania pretty much means nothing now. Shane has been running RAW the last three weeks and the shows have been booked logically and had good wrestling on it. I don’t know what changed in the WWE’s writing philosophy after Wrestlemania but things have picked up for the better.
I can only think of two ways this decision ends up going. The first being that Vince names both of them co-Gms. That would be absolutely awful. The second would be a brand split, with Vince’s goal to create competition between his children to put on the best show. If they did the brand split, however, RAW would have to drop back down to 2 hours. A split roster can’t take up an entire three hour show. Either way, I don’t need Authority figures taking up more TV time again. Just be in the background, book matches, and don’t get involved in them.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs AJ Styles
-Again, I have to give props to the WWE. When AJ Styles won the #1 Contender’s match on RAW the night after Mania, I was worried. I thought Styles was just fodder for Reigns and nothing would be made of it. But the WWE built this up to a match that now has a good amount of intrigue to it.
The introduction of Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson has helped Styles in this match. Styles continues to say that he has nothing to do with Gallows and Anderson’s attacks on Reigns. Roman of course does not believe anything Styles is saying. Roman taking out both Anderson and Gallows twice on RAW kind of left me scratching my head. The first time I wrote it off because they did just finish a match. The second time though? I thought that could have been done better.
Roman continues to not work as WWE Champion. The WWE can try and try, but the boos aren’t going away for Roman Reigns. This past Monday on RAW, Reigns was booed in Hartford. Hartford really isn’t a “smark” town. Payback is in Chicago. The boos Reigns will receive on Sunday will be enormous. This is a completely different situation than John Cena experienced. Cena was accepted at first before the boos came in. Reigns, on his own, has never been accepted by the fans. Hell, look at this whole jeans thing on Twitter. Cena probably would have laughed along with the people making fun of him. Reigns made fun of the fans. He just doesn’t get it.
Now despite all of that, Reigns is still retaining the WWE Title this Sunday. It’s only a matter of what role Anderson and Gallows will play in the outcome. Does Finn Balor debut and prove to be the man behind Gallows and Anderson? Do Gallows and Anderson cost Styles the match, intentionally or not? I think Finn is staying in NXT for a bit longer so I don’t know if he will debut on WWE TV as a likely heel and stay a face on NXT. There are so many questions leading into this match, and that is a good thing. It made a once predictable match interesting. Roman Reigns is retaining the Title. I’m going to stay Gallows and Anderson’s interference backfires. But after the match, they attack Styles and Finn Balor appears on stage to close the show.
WINNER: Roman Reigns
I’ll more than likely be on HTC this Sunday with live Payback results.
Until Next Time,
Follow Me On Twitter @JCWonka