Is it ever a good idea to hold the same event in the same venue in consecutive years? Well it worked for Summer Slam, so let’s give it a shot with Payback. The concept of revenge in wrestling is nothing new. The problem is half of this card has no long-term “payback” build. Most of the matches in the mid-card were thrown together in the last couple weeks. It’s up to the double Main Event to carry the load and provide a proper payback to both the fans & stories being told inside the 20 X 20 ring.
Kickoff Match- Mask vs. Hair Match:
El Torito vs. Hornswoggle
How this made it past last month’s Extreme Rules event is beyond comprehension. Perhaps more baffling is the fact their match last month was one of the top matches on the show. Seriously, go back and watch that “weeLC match” from last month. It was genuinely entertaining. This match likely won’t live up to their encounter last month. Hopefully, Hornswoggle losing his hair will end this ridiculous feud between a fake bull & a fake air band.
Our Pick- El Torito wins.
Rusev vs. Big E
Not enough time invested in Rusev to care. Big E has remained flat since losing the Intercontinental Championship to Bad News Barrett last month. This match is a better bathroom break than the divas match.
My Pick- Rusev wins.
Victor’s Pick- Big E wins.
Paige (c) vs. Alicia Fox
It amazes me how horrible the WWE creative crew is. They get handed the perfect successor to AJ Lee as Divas Champion, the “Anti-Diva” Paige, and they screw it up worse than a divas promo. In NXT, Paige was killing it. She was massively over and had some of the best divas matches in any wrestling organization this year. Now, she’s relegated to losing to Alicia Fox in her home country of England, in front of friends & family. Is there some sort of rule that says a talent can’t win and must be embarrassed in their home city or equivalent? Fox is gaining momentum with her postmatch meltdowns. Which are entertaining for a couple minutes, but get dragged out for 5-10 minutes. Another question, is it really a good idea to “rib” the people whose job it is to establish talent as stars? If given time, I expect Paige to show how good she is. But this match is going to get chopped short for time, because Hunter’s on the card.
Our Pick- Paige retains.
United States Championship:
Sheamus (c) vs. Cesaro
The whole point of this match is to put over Cesaro without getting the win, so that he looks strong heading into Money in the Bank at the end of June. Sheamus has to win to keep him strong, but Cesaro is the focus. The question becomes, is Cesaro going to win MITB?
Our Pick- Sheamus retains.
Bad News Barrett (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
It’s nice to see RVD putting over young stars as his own career winds down. This will be a good rub for BNB as he defends against RVD. Look for RVD to take a wicked Bull Hammer elbow, likely while going for a Five Star Frog Splash. And then hit rewind and watch it again.
Our Pick- Bad News Barrett retains.
Last Man Standing:
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
Let me just put these words to print (metaphorically)—John Cena is WWE’s Superman. Quite simply, Cena is unstoppable. Case in point, Cena had last month’s Cage match won about 5,000,000 in every conceivable way. (though I was legitimately expecting the cage gimmick where part of the wall simply gives way allowing Cena to tumble out to win.) It took a child singing a song through a voice distorter to stop Cena. More weapons are at Cena & Wyatt’s disposal this time around, but there’s obvious signs of impending shenanigans during this match. The obvious being the Wyatt Family. Their interference is not only legal in this match, it’s part of the expected game plan. However, the WWE Tag Team Champions The Usos have been in Cena’s corner for much of this month. With the Tag Titles not being defended (as of press time), it points to The Usos interfering in this match. This will likely be done to even the odds for Cena. But another interesting twist to this match is the continued babyface-like push Bray Wyatt has received. The fans are clearly behind him and it would be interesting to see what might happen if he defeated WWE’s Superman. But Cena usually doesn’t lose at 2 PPV…er… WWE Network events in a row. I have never counted out Cena in Last Man Standing matches, even with a record of 2-2-1 in televised contests. It’s hard to see Cena taking the fall here without above average chaos from the Wyatt Family.
My Pick- John Cena wins.
Victor’s Pick- Bray Wyatt wins.
No Holds Barred Elimination Match:
The Shield vs. Evolution
Great match last month, even better this month. There’s no reason whatsoever for Evolution to win with one-third of Evolution soon to depart. There’s no money to be made there. This is going to be a hellacious war, but The Shield is leaving Chicago with the victory. I see a 3-on-1 against Roman Reigns as the likely setup to the finish, with Reigns spearing Batista, Superman Punching Orton, & then clobbering Triple H with his own sledgehammer in a “live by the sword, die by the sword” moment. But I also believe Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins are going to steal the show. Rollins insane dive from the stands last month may look tame once these 6 men finish brawling. No doubt this is the match of the night.
Our Pick- The Shield wins.
Just to get this out of the way, CM Punk is not returning this Sunday in Chicago. He is retired and isn’t coming back until long after his current WWE contract has expired. Yes, it sucks. But that’s just the way it is. Maybe now all the dirt sheets can leave the man alone and stop bombarding us with constant Punk news and tweets. The other big angle for Payback is Daniel Bryan surrendering the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to Stephanie McMahon or letting his wife Brie Bella be fired. If they were going to take the Title from Bryan, it would already have been done. I suspect this will play into the General Manager firing from Raw. Perhaps a new GM is hired who overrules Stephanie McMahon and allows Bryan to keep the Title. Who that would be is anybody’s guess, brother.
If you have the WWE Network, go watch NXT Takeover. A great show from top to bottom. 3 solid main events that delivered. Sami Zayn is a match of the year candidate every time he steps in the ring. Tyler Breeze has really impressed me since I started watching in February. Zayn/Breeze. Go watch it now. Trust me.
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