This Sunday, the WWE will proudly present the Payback pay-per-view for just the fifth time. The event will showcase fallout from WrestleMania as well as some fresh feuds stemming from the superstar shakeup. When you really dig through some of this card it really presents itself as an interesting pay-per-view and it isn’t for the best of reasons.
Despite Randy Orton’s involvement, the house of horrors match has not been listed as an actual title match. Jinder Mahal and the Singh brothers stealing the title from Orton on Smackdown Live is all but confirming that point. It will be just the second time in the pay-per-view’s history that the heavyweight championship will not be defended.
The universal championship will not be defended as it currently collects dust somewhere in Brock Lesnar’s home. You can also scratch the intercontinental championship as that too will not be defended. The superstar shakeup has this show predominantly occupied by RAW superstars with a dash of Smackdown talent.
While all of this may leave a sour taste in your mouth, the pay-per-view is still loaded with talent and does have it’s fair share of intrigue. Continue to read on as I go through the card and give some predictions and thoughts on this unorthodox pay-per-view.
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Kickoff Show Match: Enzo and Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
While the Hardy Boyz battle Cesaro and Sheamus on the main card, here are the tag team remnants from WrestleMania 33. The one impactful storyline that could come of this is if the winner gains number one contender status. This yet another opportunity for Enzo and Big Cass to remain over without having a relevant match. Gallows and Anderson could be better utilized in a faction with a top heel but for now this will have to do. Enzo and Big Cass rarely win pay-per-view matches so I’m going to go with Tex Ferguson and Chad too bad here.
Winners: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
United States Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho
It has been mentioned both shows that if Jericho wins at Payback he will join the blue brand. This would normally be a pretty cool stipulation, but it likely isn’t going to come to fruition. The WWE has already planted the seeds of a Owens and Styles program and Chris Jericho has other commitments outside of the company.
On May 5th, Jericho’s band Fozzy is set to take the stage in Virginia Beach and will continue on a tour that is scheduled to run until at least June. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an apron powebomb sendoff for Y2J here. Of all the superstars that come and go Chris Jericho is the most committed of them all. When he does make a return it’ll be a full go. For now though, it is pretty easy for us to draw our own conclusions and assume that Owens will retain his title here and move on to a feud with the phenomenal one.
Winner: Kevin Owens
RAW Tag Team Championship: The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro
These two teams have been able to keep things as civil as two competing tag teams possibly can. I think that good sportsmanship fades here as Sheamus and Cesaro will be a bit more aggressive and show some heel tendencies. The Hardy Boyz do not need the titles to be relevant in the tag team division but I think this would be too soon to pull the titles off of them. This feud doesn’t end here and the only question here is if Sheamus and Cesaro go full heel after losing this match.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz
House of Horrors Match: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
This is one of the most bizarre ways in which a championship feud has come to a close. The Wyatt family storyline had lasted for months and had a healthy head of steam headed into WrestleMania. The match didn’t live up to some fans expectations and Orton went on to win the championship. The wheels really fell off of this feud during the superstar shakeup. It was at the last minute when WWE officials decided to move Wyatt to RAW instead of AJ Styles. What continued to muddy the waters in this feud was Jinder Mahal becoming number one contender. This has basically placed Orton in two feuds headed into Sunday.
This match is listed as not having the title on the line and I think that helps this match tremendously. The eater of worlds winning here will provide some much needed momentum into a feud with Finn Balor. Wyatt doesn’t seem all the formidable coming off a loss in a match that he created. I’m a big fan of Wyatt and feel that if he is booked correctly that he could really become a prominent figure. If WWE doesn’t want this House of Horrors match to be one and done then Wyatt needs to win. The title may not be on the line here but the credibility of the House of Horror match along with Wyatt is.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Cruiserweight Championship: Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
I wasn’t the only one on pins and needles hoping that this wouldn’t become a kickoff show match. Fans of this feud can now rejoice as these two superstars are headed to a much deserved title match on the main card! The storyline doesn’t seem as compelling now that the two have already done battle but where the storyline has fallen off, the quality of the match will not. Neville’s heel turn has brought him to stratospheric heights and he has become the main attraction for the cruiserweight division.
Austin Aries is no slouch as his charisma is right on par with his in ring capabilities. The sky is literally the limit for these two and if provided ample time will likely put on the best match of the night. Thats right, I’m beating that drum again. This Neville run has been like a runaway train and this writer’s feeling is that it is best to just let it keep going. Aries will take Neville to the limit here but the King of the cruiserweights will hold on to his title and his throne.
RAW Womens Championship: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
It is becoming apparent that the WWE universe is suffering from a bit of Bayley boredom. It is difficult to make the day dreaming underdog a believable when you have been champions for over 70 days. Maybe I’m just over analyzing but it is a red flag that Sasha has to continuously be Bayley’s mouthpiece. It is disheartening that the boss has gone from a ground breaking feud to BFF. I do think that this match is most definitely worth keeping an eye on just as long as you keep the other eye on Sasha.
Fans have been clamoring for a heel turn from the Boss and some will hope it happens in Bayley’s hometown. I don’t think we see a full fledged heel turn from Sasha. I can definitely see her inadvertently costing Bayley the title this weekend and thus get the ball rolling on an eventual heel turn. Those that read my ‘7 potential SummerSlam matches‘ know that I expect these women to do battle through the summer. Alexa Bliss represents not just five feet of fury but a bit more of a classic heel. Her handling of the ‘What’ chant during RAW had social media panting. Miss.Bliss may be just what the RAW woman’s championship needs.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
This weekend, Seth Rollins will look to tie up some loose ends from WrestleMania season as he takes on Samoa Joe. It is a match that is Joe’s first big pay-per-view match on the main roster. I get the feeling that this match is flying a bit below the radar with the rest of the card being what it is and that’s likely just fine with these two. For me, the big question will be where will these two superstars go from here. If this is the first of many chapters for these two or if they go their separate ways the next night.
This match is likely to get about 15 minutes or so and I like Samoa Joe to go over for the win. Seth Rollins was already given his vindication over Triple H at WrestleMania. He is already a prominent figure in the RAW picture and if WWE is expecting people to buy into Samoa Joe, he needs wins against some serious players. Defeating Jericho on RAW was a nice feather in the cap but Joe could really elevate his stock with a pay-per-view win this weekend. For what it is worth, I’m really not in love with Seth Rollins’ new finisher.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
As we are all unfortunately aware, Reigns has been off of television for more than just selling the backstage beat he received. The monster among men has been in a position to utilize this spotlight and has put together some memorable moments. He has broken a ring with the Big Show and possibly broken Kalisto by plunging a dumpster off the stage. You can read my thoughts on ‘Brilliantly Booking Braun‘ here. Braun was on a roll prior to WrestleMania but now his run is on another level. It is customary for the ‘baby-face’ to make a triumphant return and to go over on the heel but I really think it’s essential to give this one to Braun.
It is safe that to say that this win would benefit Strowman more than it would Roman. If Strowman could get this win, the next night on RAW he could begin saying that he wants Brock, or else. That is what that the universe wants and what Braun deserves. These two will put on a hellacious match that will be fitting of the main event spot. I would prefer that this mark the end of their run as it has been going for quite some time. It is almost ironic to think that if the apparent good guy in Roman Reigns comes out on top that the crowd will most definitely not go home happy.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Writing credit goes to: Michael Hauff
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