My Two Centsss - Payback Predictions
By Super Chrisss
May 31, 2014 - 3:48:06 PM
Happy non-Memorial Day Weekend, folks. Summer is on the horizon, and you know what that means - it's time to get some Payback! At least, that's what WWE seems to be trying to tell us this year. Am I the only one who noticed there are more rematches from Extreme Rules happening at Sunday's Pay-Per-View than Extreme Rules offered from Wrestlemania XXX? Had Daniel Bryan not left to have neck surgery, all three of the top matches would have been rematches from earlier this month. While the post-Extreme Rules booking hasn't been very, well, good, I like this notion of starting new rivalries the night after Wrestlemania. It makes 'Mania feel more special, knowing that we won't be seeing most of the same matches on another PPV less than a month later. But that's just my opinion.
So...for the second year in a row, Payback comes to us from Chicago, Illonois. The difference is, two of Chicago's favourite wrestlers - Daniel Bryan and CM Punk - won't be wrestling. To possibly make matters even worse, Bryan could very well be stripped of his WWE World Heavyweight title (more on that later). All those factors could combine to create a hostile and smarkier-than-usual crowd. Then again, having the likes of Paige, Bad News Barrett, Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, and The Shield all scheduled for high-profiled matches might appease the crowd and their chants for the hometown hero. That being said, good f***ing luck, Big E and Rusev.
Kickoff match: Hornswoggle vs. El Torito in a Hair vs. Mask Match
For the second Pay-Per-View in a row, WWE chose the perfect match to keep off the main card and stick on the pre-show instead. Honestly, I could not even begin to care about this match/feud if I tried. Their Extreme Rules match - which many people enjoyed, for whatever reason - should have been the conclusion to their 'feud'. Instead, we had to watch El Torito bury every single member of 3MB in singles matches since then. How sad is it that Torito has been receiving more TV time than guys like Dolph Ziggler or Kofi Kingston, and has a better win-loss record than Damien Sandow?!?
Neither of these guys stand to gain anything at all from this feud, so please, for the love of God WWE, do the right thing and add a 'Loser Leaves Town' stipulation to this match. It will be one step forward in improving the quality of Raw lately.
Winner: Don't give a f***
United States Championship: Sheamus (c.) vs. Cesaro
Although some people consider this match to be the default "number three match on the card" due to the WWE World Heavyweight title not being defended, and Sheamus being a bit higher on the pecking order than Bad News Barrett (for the moment, anyway), I see this match kicking off the PPV. Why? Because I expect Cesaro's manager, Paul Heyman, to get on the mic and cut a promo to try and silence the 'CM Punk' chants like he did on Raw a few months ago. Heyman worked his magic once; he can easily do it again and again.
Considering the quality of Sheamus and Cesaro's past battles, this could be a top contender for Match of the Night. Unlike their past TV matches, they'll have a really strong crowd to perform in front of, and both men will have additional time to work with than they would on Raw. They might as well work a double-turn into their match - since Chicago will be undoubtedly pro-Cesaro and anti-Sheamus - even if it's just for one night. Then again, last year's Ziggler vs. Del Rio match resulted in permanent character shifts for both wrestlers, so who knows? I certainly wouldn't be opposed to history repeating itself. As for the winner here, I agree with WWE here - Cesaro winning a midcard title would probably hurt him more than help him, so I say keep the belt on Sheamus, a credible, former world champion.
Winner, and STILL U.S. Champion: Sheamus
Big E vs. Rusev
Oh, boy. With the exception of possibly the divas match, this is the only bout on Sunday's show that I feel will be crapped on by the rowdy crowd. In fact, I would die laughing if Chicago started a "Racist Rusev" chant at some point during the match. Hey, if any city would do such a thing, look no further than Chi-Town!
I really don't understand why they booked these two to meet on Sunday but gave away Adam Rose vs. Jack Swagger for free on SmackDown. Rose/Swagger had a lot more build-up, and I was genuinely interested to see those two have their first match on PPV. Big E vs. Rusev doesn't do a lot for me; even though the former Intercontinental Champion will be the
Bulgarian's Russian's toughest challenge to date, the outcome is still inevitable.
Divas Championship: Paige (c.) vs. Alicia Fox
If you listened to my final few episodes of "The Doc & Super Chrisss Show" on LOP Radio, you know how mixed my feelings are about this match. On the one hand, I'm thrilled WWE is finally doing something with Alicia Fox. She may not be my favourite diva on the payroll, but she's not a Total Diva, and she finally has a character, even if it's one I don't quite understand. However, I absolutely HATE the way they've booked Paige since her Raw debut last April. Rather than let Paige keep her badass persona from NXT, they've transformed her into an underdog who gets her pretty booty kicked for the majority of the match, only to come back, hit a few moves, and win.
Paige and Tamina had a pretty good match at Extreme Rules, and that's mainly because Paige was allowed to get in a lot of her offense, rather than only a few moves. Will lightning strike twice at Payback? I'm not so sure, but I can guarantee you Alicia won't be leaving Chicago the new divas champions.
Winner, and STILL Divas Champion: Paige
Intercontinental Championship: Bad News Barrett (c.) vs. Rob Van Dam
I know a lot of people have soured on RVD since his WWE return, but honestly, I don't see a problem with the way they're using him. It's not Van Dam has won all his matches and main-evented or headlined every other show. RVD is still over, still putting on good matches, and come Sunday, will be putting over the emerging star known as Bad News Barrett. The ECW alumni is essentially Chris Jericho V 2.0, although Jericho >>> RVD. All the same, what's the problem?
Both men will receive plenty of love from the crowd during their match on Sunday, and while the action might be slow-paced at times, something tells me the closing sequence will be something you won't want to miss. Barrett is more motivated than ever, and I have a feeling performing in front of an energetic crowd like Chicago will push RVD to put in more effort than usual. While their match probably won't come close to topping Sheamus vs. Cesaro, I can't see why they won't have a fun encounter when all is said and done.
Winner, and STILL Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett
Last Man Standing Match: Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
This one is a bit hard to predict. In fact, I think this will be one of those times where the bout's placement on Sunday's card will indicate who will be the man to answer the referee's ten count. If Wyatt vs. Cena doesn't close out the show, then Wyatt will probably win. But if they are the final match of the night (which is a strong possibility considering Cena hasn't main-evented a PPV since Elimination Chamber), then you would have to assume that the good guy wins.
I'm not sure what's left to say about this feud that hasn't already been discussed at length either by myself, fellow columnists here at LOP, or wrestling fans in general. Cena and Wyatt have been in each other's sights for the better part of five months (remember, it was The Wyatts who cost Cena his match against Randy Orton at the Royal Rumble), and the end of the brand split has really made this rivalry feel longer than it should. How many times have we seen Cena face off with Wyatt, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, or all three of them over that time? This feud has to come to an end on Sunday, and as much as I want to see Wyatt emerge the victor, I can't bet against Cena in a Last Man Standing Match (much to Chicago's delight, I'm sure).
Winner: John Cena
No Holds Barred, Six-Man Elimination Match: The Shield vs. Evolution
I really enjoyed their match at Extreme Rules, but considering the stipulations that will come into play on Sunday, I think the rematch between The Shield and Evolution will be as close to a five-star bout as you could ask for. Prior to Extreme Rules, many people - myself included - based their pick on the rumours of Batista finishing up on the Raw after the PPV. Well, here we are almost a month later, and Big Dave has been on almost every Raw and SmackDown since then, and not once have they played up any tension between the trio on-air. As far as I'm concerned, no one truly knows when, or if, Batista is taking a hiatus to promote Guardians of the Galaxy, so I'm heading into this match under the assumption that he isn't going anywhere.
With Batista's status out of the way, it becomes more fun to speculate on who will win at Payback. The elimination stipulation is interesting, considering none of the six men in the match aren't exactly the 'weak links' of their respective units. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how WWE goes about booking this match. After taking the loss at Extreme Rules, Evolution has to be the favourites to win this time around, but I really hope they take the route many people are fearing they will: Ambrose and Rollins are the first two eliminated after a string of crazy spots, leaving Reigns alone to face all three members of Evolution on his own, and putting up a good fight, before falling to HHH, setting up a match between the two at a future PPV. I certainly hope they don't book it that way, as both Ambrose and Rollins deserve some of the spotlight too, but that's precisely what I see happening on Sunday.
Daniel Bryan's Decision
Is it just me, or did it feel more like Bryan was on the verge of being stripped of his WWE World Heavyweight Championship heading into Monday's Raw than it does now, on the eve of Payback? I actually like the idea of WWE teasing the end of Bryan's reign as champion by saving it for a PPV, similar to the way they teased Shawn Michaels possibly retiring at SummerSlam 2008. It keeps a hot feud going strong, rather than putting it on the backburner until Monday's Raw.
Now, the question is, what will Bryan do? Does he surrender the title to Stephanie McMahon in order to save his wife's job? Does Bryan "turn heel" by sacrificing Brie (although, getting a Total Diva fired would more than likely get Bryan even more over, if that's even possible)? Does Kane come out and destroy Bryan for the 100th time, making it physically impossible for Bryan to answer Steph's ultimatum? I could realistically see any of those three scenarios happening on Sunday, but my gut is telling me that Bryan will still be champion after Sunday night, provided he can be medically cleared to compete for SummerSlam.
I know there are people who feel Bryan should be stripped if he can't return before WWE's next PPV, Money in the Bank, but I'm not one of those people. Overall, Payback looks like a strong card, and that's without a WWE World title match. Money in the Bank will be easy enough to book without a world title match, and as for Battleground in July, well, who cares about Battleground? WWE have produced many PPVs in the past that didn't feature a world title match, and those shows delivered just fine (TLC 2012, anyone?). One match doesn't make or break a show; it's the Creative Team and the bookers' job to make the other matches feel more important, which I feel they've accomplished with Payback, and that's without the likes of Bryan, CM Punk, Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Chris Jericho, etc.
Prediction: Bryan leaves Chicago STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion
Your Two Centsss: Would you be alright with Daniel Bryan remaining champion provided he returns to action no later than SummerSlam?
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