John: This Sunday night WWE brings Payback to Baltimore for their annual May PPV. It's the time of year where there's a bit of a WrestleMania hangover, but with an Elimination Chamber show set in two weeks and the always exciting Money in the Bank next month, there are some things to look forward to.
Four of the matches on this show are rematches from Extreme Rules while Seth Rollins and Randy Orton are in the same match together for the third straight PPV.
Joining me for the preview are Christian Michael, Matty J. Douglas and Heather Hickey. As always, the match order isn't the order that we necessarily think will happen on the show. It's just a format to use for this preview.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.com. The banner is courtesy of our friend Steve Melo.)
Kickoff Match: Damien Sandow (aka Macho Mandow) & Curtis Axel (aka AxelMania) vs. The Ascension
Christian: Remember when you and your friends were younger and would dress up as your favorite WWE Superstars and brawl in your Mom’s basement? That is essentially what the four guys in this match are doing, just in front of a much larger audience. The Accension are dollar store knock offs of the Legion of Doom and Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow are a drunk frat boy’s version of Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage.
Take the babyface team for the win here to get the night started on a lighter note.
Prediction- The Not-So-Mega Powers
Matt: I have no patience for this match. I’m not going to pretend I’m excited about, or that it is offering anything that anybody should go out of their way to see. It will more than likely be a bad joke which is depressing. All the guys in it at one point or another had me, and have become caricatures of what I’d hoped they could be.
Sandow had momentum for so much of his run as Mizdow, that was eventually dwindled. Now he’s Macho Mandow? Jay Lethal did Macho so much better. To be honest, I liked him before that whole mimic thing even started. I had so many ideas for what to do with a performer of his calibre. It’s just sad.
Axel could be something good (not great, but good). Let’s not forget that he’s the guy they had work with The Rock in preparation for his Wrestlemania matches. He could be doing more.
The Ascension… their main roster gimmick has been downright awful.
All these guys had the makings of something good. Now they’re this. This is a match of wasted potential, squandered opportunity, bad storytelling, and underdeveloped character. It hurts my soul.
Winner: The Minor Powers (because this joke of a match should be won by the competitors who are the biggest jokes)
Heather: This smells like a “get more names on the card” kind of match, because it makes little sense. Axel and Sandow went from being opponents to tag partners in a matter of minutes, stupid MegaPowers gimmick notwithstanding, and The Ascension comes out saying “Dressing like a legend doesn’t make you a legend” which is pretty damn rich coming from them. I don’t know what’s worse: having these four parade around like it’s Halloween, or just throwing the New Age Outlaws on the card. I think this discussion on Raw pretty much sums it up:
[The Ascension comes out; JBL crows about how great they are.]
Cole: “You used to hate them!”
JBL: “Now I love ‘em”.
Cole: “Thanks for coming out.”
Winners: What the hell, Axel with a leg-drop
John: It's a comedy match, so to sit here and take it seriously would be the wrong way to look at it. I think the Sandow/Axel pairing will be fine for the short term. If they are still doing it in three months it probably won't be a good thing. However, for now I'm all for it. Sandow's impression of Savage could be better, but maybe he's not doing it that great on purpose and that's what makes it funnier. Anyway, it'll be a nice way to pop the crowd to start the show with Sandow and Axel getting the win. As for The Ascension, their main roster run continues to be a disappointment.
Winners: Damien Sandow & Curtis Axel
King Barrett vs. Neville
Christian: This one is a tough one to call. King Barrett needs a win to establish some credibility as King of the Ring. Lord knows he had none as the Intercontinental Champion. Neville needs a win because he is a guy that has burst upon the scene and really shouldn’t be losing matches until he’s more established on the main roster.
That said, we should see a competitive 10-12 minute match the ends after Neville eats a Bullhammer after missing one of his ridiculous flippy moves.
Prediction- King Barrett
Matt: I haven’t really liked King Barrett. Of all the potential ways they could have gone with that King Of The Ring Tournament, Barrett winning was certainly the most boring… so of course they went that way.
Imagine how fun King Stardust, ruler of the galaxy could have been? King R-Truth would have at least been moderately funny. If Jimmy Uso was in the tournament, I would have been into seeing what he could do with the crown during a singles run while his brother is out.
Barrett basically traded in one cape for a more traditional and more boring cape, with a sceptre and a crown. Why not try to present his reign as king with more unique apparel? At the end of the day, Barrett as King is kind of a dud.
That said, the match will be good. Great that they’re showcasing Neville on PPV, despite the fact that he’ll probably lose.
Winner: King Barrett (because if he loses, I’ll have literally no reason to care about his status as King of the Ring)
Heather: Holy moly, I adore Neville. He’s like Dynamite Kid crossed with a hawk. On one hand, I want to go out on a limb and say Neville will win this in spectacular fashion, and wear that hideous royal cape from now on. I like the idea of him making a genuine impact, and not just being made to look good by nearly winning all the time. Not that the King of the Ring is a credible accolade these days, but it’s a notch above a regular win. That said, I think they gave Barrett the crown for good reason, as babyface Kings make little sense, and Barrett needs a winning streak for a refreshing change.
I think they’re going to have a cracking match, if I can borrow the British term in honor of these two competitors. Neville can withstand (and match) Barrett’s brutality, and Barrett is a good foil for Neville’s aerial antics. I don’t think we’ll see a lengthy match, given the rest of the card, but I’m looking forward to it nonetheless. All Hail Neville, crown or not!
Winner: Wade Barrett
John: They have wrestled quite a bit in the last month whether it's in singles or tags. I even saw them in a match at a live event two weeks ago, which was really good. When you wrestle somebody that often you build up a good chemistry, so I expect this to be the best match they have.
Since Neville won at Extreme Rules and Barrett won at King of the Ring, this one ends their unofficial series. While a Neville win would be good for him, it just makes more sense for Barrett to win because WWE needs to elevate more heels and they had to have made him King Barrett with the idea that they want him to become a bigger star. He deserves the opportunity. Barrett wins a close match after about 10-12 minutes.
Winner: King Barrett
Naomi & Tamina vs. Nikki & Brie Bella
Christian: This is the third PPV in 2015 that has had a Divas tag team match booked on it. Surely that is some sort of record. Here is how this one goes, it’s pretty easy. WWE isn’t done with Naomi as Nikki’s top contender and after losing to her at Extreme Rules she needs a way back into the top contender spot. She does that by being victorious in this tag match. It is booking 101 really.
Prediction- Naomi and Tamina
Matt: I’m loving heel Naomi. She’s absolutely been killing it lately. The addition of Tamina is great, but I wish they’d worked her in to Naomi’s story in a more interesting way. Her involvement was hurt by Michael Cole having to explain their relationship after the fact. Would have been better to show us their relationship as opposed to just telling us on commentary. Actually involve Jimmy Uso as the link between Naomi and Tamina. Just because his Jey’s out doesn’t mean they can’t use Jimmy.
I still don’t know why I should cheer Nikki and Brie. Has the WWE given us any legitimate reason to view them as the heroes of this story? Naomi and Tamina have literally been doing the same stuff to the Bella Twins, that the Bellas have done to everybody else over the last year. The thought of cheering them is laughable to me, from a narrative perspective, as they’ve done nothing to show me that they are better, more heroic figures now.
Winner: Naomi and Tamina (because a Bellas win accomplishes nothing)
Heather: The Bellas against Naomi and Tamina makes me think of AJ versus Kaitlyn times two. The twins are small and athletic, but their strikes lack ferocity. Their opponents are bigger, stronger, and a lot more intense. But the comparison ends at first-blush, because Tamina’s skill set leaves a lot to be desired. The Bellas may be bendy, but they’re also breaky, so let’s all hope that Naomi carries the brunt of this match. Tamina is an excellent sidekick, best left outside the ring to glower. With so many better options on the women’s roster, why is Tamina Snuka, daughter of Superfly, cousin of The Rock… never mind.
I think this match is going to suffer from a lack of flow, ending with a babyface Bella victory, but followed by a beatdown.
Winners: Bella Twins
John: I'm writing this on Saturday morning and there was a report from Friday's live event that Brie may have a shoulder injury because the ref made the "X" sign for her. If that's the case, I would imagine that Paige can sub in because she's back on the road after filming a movie and has that built in storyline with Naomi.
When a champion is in a tag match that usually means that they are going to lose. It just makes more sense for Naomi and Tamina to win. Most PPV diva matches get about seven minutes. I think that's about what they'll get in this case too.
Winners: Naomi & Tamina
WWE Tag Team Titles 2/3 Falls: The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods) vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd
Christian: I’d be much more exited for this match if it was just a one fall match since WWE has proven they can’t book 2/3 Falls bouts. Each fall should get near equal time. You shouldn't rush through the first two in three minutes and then have a basic single fall match.
I hope these teams get nearly 20 minutes because this is going to be a fantastic match. These teams have just clicked whenever they’ve gotten in the ring together. I’m not a fan of The New Day as individuals but together they are great and have really embraced the heel role making them must watch when they come on TV.
Cesaro and Kidd are two of the best technicians in the ring so it really takes a lot for either of them to have a bad match and as babyfaces they really know how to pop the crowd with their awesome array of moves.
I think New Days retains through some sort of cheating since there are three of them. With the Tag Titles being defended in an Elimination Chamber Match in a few weeks I don’t think Cesaro/Kidd losing means that much since they will be the favorites to walk out of the Chamber as Champs.
Prediction- The New Day retains the Tag Team Championship
Matt: This match is the best match on the card. Seriously you guys, New Day is the best thing in the WWE right now. There are no performers I look forward to seeing more than Kofi Kingston, Big E and Xavier Woods. This trio is magical! They’re killing it on the mic, they’re killing it in the ring, they’re killing it with these characters, and most importantly they’re having fun! I like it when the guys performing actually seem like they are having fun with what they are doing.
The best thing about The New Day, is that instead of the previously used delusional heels that think they're babyfaces, these three are heels that desperately want to be babyfaces. It’s a subtle but important distinction. They legitimately don’t understand why they’re hated. It’s glorious. I love it so much!
Oh and Cesaro and Kidd are great babyfaces too. I’m actually really impressed by how reserved the WWE has been with their face turn. Not making them into smiling good guys, but presenting them as legit cool ass-kickers is great. The match should be great, especially if New Day mixes up their representatives fall by fall.
Winner and Still WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day (because they are the single greatest part of WWE Television, and should be main eventing this PPV!)
Heather: I already bragged about this on twitter during Extreme Rules, but oh how I danced when I actually got a wacky prediction right for once. Was I the only one who thought New Day would win the titles? My predictions usually stink, because I like to believe that WWE is able to surprise us on occasion (which doesn’t usually happen). I love Cesaro and Kidd chasing the titles, and New Day as the saucy prey. They are demonstrating excellent promo skills, and finding their heel groove.
On paper, this should be a no-brainer. Cesaro is hella strong, and both he and Kidd are ridiculously ring intelligent. Big E’s strength and Kofi’s jumping abilities just don’t add up to anything that can touch the former champs. That said, we have to consider the shenanigans factor with Xavier Woods at ringside, and the storyline factor with New Day being on such a roll. I say this goes to a third fall, with Woods interfering on the sly for a New Day win. Then I’m going to predict a Kidd/Cesaro domination at Elimination Chamber.
Winners: New Day
John: It's my favorite match on the show because these teams are awesome and I've always been a big fan of tag team wrestling. When you have two teams performing at a high level like these guys it makes for some outstanding matches. Cesaro/Kidd are my favorite tag team in years. Awesome chemistry and they have made going face look easy. New Day are clicking. Perfect as heels. Happy for them.
Hopefully The New Day does the obvious thing where they change participants for the three falls. Can start with Kofi/Xavier, then Big E/Xavier and end with Kofi/Big E for example. Since it's a different fall they could definitely do it. I think Cesaro/Kidd get the first fall, then New Day get the second fall and they can have an exciting sequence for the final fall with New Day getting the victory. The cheaper the better too.
A three week title reign for The New Day seems too short to me. They'll find a way to retain here. It's just better for the storyline for the heels to be the champs with the faces going after them to get their titles back. That's basic wrestling booking. Plus, we know there's a tag team Elimination Chamber match in two weeks so if they want to do a title switch that's the perfect time for it.
Hopefully this match gets 15-20 minutes because if it does we'll be talking about a classic tag match.
Winners: The New Day
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
Christian: We've seen these two wrestle enough times to know what to expect. It's all about the story heading into this bout. The smart money would tell you that Dolph Ziggler is getting the win. He won at Extreme Rules, but was embarrassed after the match. Sheamus kicked his head in on RAW. It's time for the hero to thwart the villain, right? Probably not. I can't see Sheamus losing two straight PPV matches with his new character to a guy that almost never wins a big match.
Matt: From something I absolutely adore, to something I’m already tired of. I just don’t care. The match will be good, but I just don’t care! What are they fighting for? And if they were fighting for something, would it even matter? Their last match showed us that the winners and losers in this rivalry are meaningless, so I have no ounce of anticipation for this bout.
I would totally be into this if they had gangs. Make it a multi-man street fight resembling something from The Warriors, and I’m in. Just imagine Sheamus and a band of Warrior Punks with crazy hair and beards, battling Dolph Ziggler leading a collection of denim clad dudes from California, with a war cry of “CELTIC WARRIOR, COME OUT AND PLAY!!!!!”
What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, this boring, plain old, singles match.
Winner: Sheamus, but it will feel like he lost (because Dolph won last time, even though it feels like he lost)
Heather: Do these guys look like they’re having a mid-life crisis, or what?? On a positive note, I’m happy that they’re getting a mid-card feud of conventional proportions. I don’t think either of them belongs in the main event picture at this stage, but I want to see them tearing it up on PPV’s. Here’s hoping Kiss Me Arse II is the final chapter on Sunday, and we can see Sheamus/Ziggler in the Chamber for the IC Title.
As for the match itself, I’m hoping for more of a brawl, in keeping with the acceleration of their feud. It would be a unique way for Ziggler to showcase a different side of him.
Winner: Ziggler (Truth be told, I’d much rather see his arse be kissed.)
John: It's a tough one to predict because the story calls for a Ziggler win since he was embarrassed by Sheamus at Extreme Rules when he was forced to kiss his ass. However, it wouldn't help Sheamus to lose at two straight PPVs.
What I think will happen is that Sheamus will get the win in some really cheap way and then after the match Ziggler will get the upper hand on him. Then they could have a third match down the road.
As for the quality of the match, their Extreme Rules match was a bit too short. They deserve a bit more time. There's a good chemistry with them since Sheamus works well as a heel bully while Ziggler is awesome as the face bumping around and making the comebacks. I'll go Sheamus with the win, but it's not easy to call.
Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
Christian: Bray Wyatt is really lowering his standards. He went from being all creepy with The Undertaker to being all creepy with Ryback. While I like Ryback, he and The Undertaker aren't exactly in the same class. Maybe he like the rest of us realizes he needs to win some matches and picking on a floundering midcard guy might do the trick. It's probably a good plan because he really needs to get back on track. He just hasn't been able to stay on the rails in the last year due to the Cena feud and the loss to The Undertaker at WrestleMania. I'm not sure Ryback cures all that but it's a start.
Prediction- Bray Wyatt
Matt: This is the least interested I’ve ever been in a Bray Wyatt feud. Mostly because I don’t see the point of it. I’m just not sure what is at stake for each of these guys. What does Bray accomplish by winning? What does it cost him if he loses? The same goes for Ryback?
Maybe I’m overthinking this. I mean Wyatt is still calling himself the New Face Of Fear, despite losing to The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. Do his matches have any meaning? By the way, all the questions posed by me here are legitimate, so if somebody could let me know, you’d be doing me a solid.
Winner: Bray Wyatt (because it would be nice to see him win, even if it is meaningless)
Heather: How can anyone take Bray Wyatt’s threats seriously anymore? I am so very disappointed on his behalf, for he had so much potential. Can you believe it’s been almost two years now since his main roster debut? This is not going to be a pretty match either, but I hope that Bray destroys Ryback, giving Ryback a goal to work towards and Bray some teeth behind his threats.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
John: Wyatt needed somebody to feud with after doing nothing last month. Ryback is an interesting choice. He immediately comes to mind as somebody that Wyatt can beat in a feud although I really wonder if they are going to go that route in the first match.
I'm interested in the quality of the match. I hope it doesn't suck, but it's a concern because it's a new rivalry without much of a backstory. They are two bigger guys that hit hard, so the hope is they can have a physical match with some good nearfalls. Ryback is well liked by the crowd. Some of them like Wyatt too.
I know people are going to get mad at me for picking Ryback because Bray's the better performer with the brighter future, but if they're going to have multiple matches then Ryback should win the first match and Wyatt will ultimately win the feud. This is my least confident prediction, for the record.
US Title I Quit Match: John Cena vs. Rusev
Christian: Rusev and Bray Wyatt should probably be best friends at this point. Or at least in a support group together. The "We wrestled John Cena at WrestleMania and it ruined our careers" support group. While it is a great honor to wrestle Cena at WrestleMania because it's built as one of the top matches it hasn't done any favors for Wyatt or Rusev. Both were built up brilliantly as great heels and in comes Cena and out goes whatever greatness they had. It's been a year for Wyatt and he still hasn't fully recovered. Rusev has lost a lot of steam since his loss at WrestleMania.
An I Quit Match is so hard to book without making the loser look weak. Cena's whole mantra is "never give up" so how can he quit a match? What can Cena possibly do to the Bulgarian Tank to get him to quit? I heard a scenario where Rusev uses Lana to get Cena to quit the match by threatening her. While it makes sense since Cena is such a swell guy WWE has been so against man on woman violence that I can't even see them teasing it.
I'm stumped how we'll get to the end, but the end will undoubtedly be Cena holding the United States Championship above his head.
Prediction- John Cena retains the United States Championship
Matt: How This Match Should End:
Cena, after nearly 20 minutes of action has been shackled to the turnbuckle by Rusev, who beats on him mercilessly; first with his fists, then with an assortment of weapons. All the while Cena never says the words “I Quit”. Rusev at his wits end, grabs Lana and threatens her. Right before Rusev locks her in the Accolade, Cena says I Quit to save the damsel in distress. Rusev Wins!
Lana’s crying in the middle of the ring, head buried in her hands before she looks up with a smile on her face. Sobs turn to laughter as she and Rusev embrace. It was all part of their plan! They knew the only way to make John quit was to make it the heroic option, because if there’s one thing John loves more than America and the United States Championship, it’s looking like a hero! He let everybody down for some crocodile tears!
How This Match Will End:
John Cena beats Rusev for the third time in four matches. Rusev whines, Lana dumps him and reveals she’s been American the whole time! She changes her name to CJ, not because it’s her real name, but because Vince thinks people still give a flying f*** about Baywatch!
Winner and Still United States Champion: John Cena (because I want more John Cena United States Championship Open Challenges, dammit!)
Heather: I don’t enjoy these two wrestling each other at the best of times. Both Rusev and Cena benefit from opponents who are more skilled than themselves – I’m not saying that they don’t have anything to offer in the ring, but that neither has that “It” factor that can make a match special.
Cena has the type of talent where he can feed off of someone else’s “It Factor” and put on a great show. Rusev is a different kind of cat. He looks like a barefooted Weeble and is deceptively nimble. He’d be great against a Ziggler or a Neville. What fun that would be! Instead, we’re getting the interminable “I Quit” match. SIGH.
I’m sensing an Arnold Skaaland-style towel throw from Lana, which will result in Rusev becoming so furious that he excommunicates her from the regime. And he can say that he never actually quit.
Winner: John Cena, via schmozz
John: Four PPV matches for this feud seems like too many. Every loss for Rusev hurts his character as this unbeatable monster that suddenly loses too often.
I feel like the plan was probably three matches, but then Vince McMahon decided he really wants to push Lana as a babyface by herself. Because of that, they extended the feud another month so that Lana can either throw in the towel to cost Rusev the match to quit for him or for him to blame her for the loss, which makes her a very sympathetic character.
Since there aren't other matches on the show with stipulations that will lead to a lot of weapons being used, this match will likely features chairs, tables, kendo sticks and all that other stuff we see in more of the hardcore WWE matches.
Who wins the match? Cena wins LOL. At least he's doing a good as the US Champion, so I have no problem with it at all. I'm worried about Rusev's future after this.
Winner: John Cena
WWE Title: Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns
Christian: This match is going to be beyond chaotic with four men in the match and the suspense of what Kane will do. It's baffling that the most important factor in the last two WWE World Championship Matches has been Kane and he's not even a competitor in them. Does WWE really think a babyface turn for Kane is something the fans are clamoring for? It's almost as if the point of Seth Rollins' title reign is to get over Kane as a babyface, which is a ludicrous thought in 2015.
Seth Rollins is walking out of Payback as WWE World Champion. It's the only outcome that makes sense. You're not going to give Roman Reigns' his first title win in a match like this. Honestly I wouldn't even put him in a WWE Title Match until it's time for him the win the title. We're not going down the Orton road again and while Dean Ambrose would make for a great story and be fitting for an agent of chaos to win in such a chaotic environment I can't see it happening.
Kane will play a pivotal role in this match and we'll have to deal with him being the next contender to Rollins' title until the Beast is unleashed later in the summer.
Prediction- Seth Rollins retains the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Matt: I have mixed emotions about this match. On one hand, it’s great to see Dean Ambrose, my personal favourite wrestler, in the main event championship match at a PPV. On the other hand, this build has been so formulaic, it makes me want to cry. Could they not have been a little creative?
The whole build should have centered around alliances. Seth should have broached the subject of The Shield working together to take out Orton, a proposal that would have been rejected by Dean and Roman. Seth should then have focused on making Orton and uneasy ally, citing the bond between Dean and Roman. Orton will also reject Rollins, though the clear camaraderie of Ambrose and Reigns would become more evident show by show, culminating in a tag team match featuring all 4 competitors, where Reigns chooses Ambrose as his partner, leaving Randy forced to team with Rollins. In the end all hell breaks loose, but Ambrose and Reigns stand together to take out the other two men, showing that they’ll have each other’s back.
In that scenario, you have Reigns and Ambrose coming into the PPV as clear favourites because they plan to work together to take out the other two challengers, and battle it out one on one for the title afterward. Their alliance causes a marriage of convenience between Orton and Rollins, as it’s their only option to combat the Roman and Dean duo. Now that’s a compelling story… one primed for moments of betrayal that actually matter. If it were up to me, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose wouldn’t have laid a finger on one another during this build, in order to establish their bond… one that Seth solidified in The Shield, and must break to keep his title.
As it stands this is just a match. What should be a very good match, but just a match nonetheless. It could have been a story with moral dilemmas, betrayals, uneasy alliances, and themes of having to combat your own creation and the corrupting influence of fortune and fame. But just a match is cool too.
Winner and Still WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins (because it’s obvious)
Heather: I know I’m not alone in being super-duper excited for this match:
Rollins has hit his stride, and his immeasurable desire to keep the title will make for an interesting 4-way dance. Seth is going to pull out all the stops in order to hold onto that belt, and the fans will be all the richer for it. He is the best wrestler in this match and will deliver.
Reigns excels in multi-man matches. He’s the clean-em-up guy who can complement the work of his partners/opponents, rather than being the sole focus. He proved at Mania that he has some legs, and I have a feeling that this match will do more for Reigns than the last 4 months of overselling him.
Ambrose is finally in a main event, against his Shield brothers – and you can see how it has affected his game. If Rollins is the architect and Reigns the heavy hitter, then Ambrose is going to be the spirit in this match. His emotions are going to suck everyone in – remember how we all thought that HE would betray The Shield first? – and though he won’t see final glory, Dean will prove his position.
Orton can sell shit well and understands big matches. He will be the poise and the palate-cleanser between big moments. We WILL see the perfect RKO outta nowhere – but unfortunately for him, it won’t lead to a title win.
Winner: Seth Rollins, the champion we need and deserve right now.
John: I think WWE does triple threat and fatal fourway matches too often. I'm a traditionalist that likes singles matches the best. I also think it's a mistake to put the three Shield guys in the same match at an event like Payback that just doesn't feel like a major show. If it was me, they wouldn't have been in a triple threat or fatal fourway until they met for a triple threat at WrestleMania 32 where a Rollins vs. Reigns v. Ambrose would feel very fresh.
Despite my gripes, I like all four guys in the match and feel like it will be an outstanding match. They're likely going get 20-25 minutes since it's the main event. All four guys have come through in big matches. Rollins and Ambrose have amazing chemistry. Orton has worked with Rollins so many times that they always deliver the goods. Reigns is hated by some fans for reasons I don't really understand even though he has improved a lot in the ring in the last few months.
The big storyline (or at least WWE thinks it is big) involves Kane helping Rollins. If Rollins doesn't leave as champ then Kane is fired as the Director of Operations. I think what we might see is that Kane doesn't willingly help Rollins, but Seth finds a way to still retain the title and then they officially turn Kane face on Raw. I honestly don't care either way. With all due respect to Kane, I think WWE is hurting themselves by building a big storyline about a 48 year old Kane that has average matches. Please invest some of the Kane TV time on your younger stars that could benefit from a storyline.
Look for Rollins to find a way to retain. I think Ambrose or Orton will be pinned. Reigns might have a singles PPV match with Rollins very soon, so WWE will want to protect him. Ambrose may have been added just to get pinned, but I think it will be Orton that does the job. It won't hurt him.
Winner: Seth Rollins
John: It's one of those cards where it may not be that appealing to the casual viewer, but if the right matches get a lot of time (WWE Title and Tag Titles) then it's going to be hard for this show to disappoint the viewer. There may not be anything that surprising on the show. However, in terms of in-ring work I have high expectations.
I'll be writing about Payback live on TJRWrestling.net on Sunday night, so check out the live review or read it after the show is over.
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