Another week, another PPV prediction post. We are in the rapid fire section of the PPV year, with only three weeks between PPV's. It's not the worst situation to be in as a fan (more big matches!), but it can be a grind at times. Thankfully, Extreme Rules was pretty solid and Payback is shaping up to be quite a show. How will it all go down? Read on humanoids as I consult the crystal booking sheet for this week's post.
Pre-Show - The Meta Powers (Axelmania & Macho Mandow) VS The Ascension
First things first, I love the Meta Powers gimmick. Are Axel and Sandow better than imitation/comedy wrestling? Absolutely. But, they are really good at imitation/comedy wrestling. Spoofing the Mega Powers, Hulk Hogan and Macho Man, is a bold step. Hulk has been picked on and imitated by many, Macho Man, not so much (in WWE anyway, Jay Lethal killed it as Black Machismo in TNA. Seriously, YouTube that now. Amazing). This match, while seemingly a throwaway popcorn match, has big implications for The Ascension. The Ascension ran roughshod over the NXT tag division for about a year, totally dominating. Their call up has been awful in my opinion. They have been shit on by the commentary team, lost most of their matches, and looked very weak. However, a win here could go a long way in putting them on the right track. The talent is there, the trigger just hasn't been pulled. I predict that changes at Payback and that not only does The Ascension go over, but they go over in a relative squash match.
Dolph Ziggler VS Sheamus
Last PPV, Ziggler won a Kiss My Arse match and was about to force Sheamus to pucker up, only to be the recipient of a low blow, and made to kiss Sheamus' ass instead. While the stipulation was a bit stupid, the decimation of Ziggler by Sheamus at the end of the match went a long way in building the recently heel Sheamus. I expect that to continue here as well. Ziggler is super over with the crowd but, his character is relatively stale. Sheamus is back and looking positioned for a run as a monster heel in the mid-card. I predict a really good back and forth match that ultimately sees Sheamus go over and drop a vicious post match beat down on Ziggler keeping him off TV for a bit and building to a big return, blow-off match at Summerslam. It would be a great move for both parties and would lead to a huge match on a marquee PPV down the line.
Kidd and Cesaro VS The New Day (c) - WWE Tag Team Championship 2 out of 3 Falls match
WWE made the move with the New Day about a month or so before I thought they would. That said, it was the right call. Heel New Day is the best New Day. Their schtick is playing extremely well, heels who want to be babyfaces. I expect this match to further that angle with Kidd and Cesaro getting in some big spots, looking very strong, but ultimately losing the match because of some sort of cheating by the New Day. Being a 2 out of 3 Falls match I expect we will see a bit of the Freebird Rule applied, any combination of the members of the New Day can defend the belts, to push that cheating even further. They should continue to run with the belts for a bit while the rest of the division establishes itself.
King Barrett VS Neville
Other than botching his name, dropping the Adrian from Adrian Neville and just going with Neville is really dumb IMO, WWE has handled the debut and first run of Neville really well. He is already super over with the crowd and has had great matches with John Cena and WWE Champ Seth Rollins. He is poised for big, big things in his first year. However, Barrett is going over at Payback. Barrett has a loss to avenge from the Extreme Rules pre show and is the newly crowned King of the Ring. Pretty simple booking here; Neville gets hit with a wicked Bull Hammer from Barrett as he goes for either a flip or the Red Arrow. Probable match of the night contender.
Ryback VS Bray Wyatt
Wyatt needs this win. Plain and simple. You cannot try to establish a guy as the new Undertaker and have him lose every PPV match he is on. In fact, his only PPV win is over Daniel Bryan when WWE was trying, completely unsuccessfully, to convince us Daniel Bryan did not belong in the title picture. Now that being said, Wyatt has lost to the biggest of names and has looked really good in the process. Ryback gains nothing with a win. He is a mid-carder enhancement talent at best; a guy who can make others look good when he loses. I predict a stiff match but one that Wyatt ultimately wins.
Naomi and Tamina VS The Bella Twins
The Bellas are faces now. Naomi is a heel. The match should be fun I suppose since all four girls can work. I still simply cannot care about any storyline involving the Bellas. Maybe one day, but today is not that day. Prediction: Namoi and Tamina.
John Cena (C) VS Rusev - US Championship
To get it out of the way, even though he should, John Cena is not losing an I Quit match. It would be great. It would be new. It would firmly establish Rusev as a monster. And it will not happen. John Cena is the most protected man in wrestling and his whole thing, his entire being, is the guy who does not give up. It's all over his merch. It's his motto. So, it's not happening. (Not to mention that the Cena Open Challenge for the US Title is the best thing on Raw every week) The match will be close, Cena will get close to tapping, but at the end of the match, Lana, Rusev's manager, will throw in the towel splitting them up, turning Lana face, and pushing Rusev into monster heel territory. It will be interesting to see how he does by himself. It will be the turning point in his career. I think he will be able to handle it but time will tell.
Dean Ambrose VS Randy Orton VS Seth Rollins (c) VS Roman Reigns - WWE World Heavyweight Title Fatal Fourway
It's been quite awhile since we had a Fatal Fourway for the title. These matches are incredibly delicate. They can go oh so wrong in a big bad way. But when they hit, they are awesome. The talent is here for this to be one of the awesome ones. It all depends on the booking. I'm torn, honestly. Ambrose has the most to lose in this match as his push since the dissolution of the SHIELD has been the most on/off. Reigns is being groomed to be the next John Cena, Rollins is the champ, and Orton is a future hall of famer. Ambrose has the talent and the following to make him the next Stone Cold; that's perhaps a bit bold but is totally possible. Unfortunately, I think this will be a muddle of a match. Reigns has to be protected, Orton has to get his spots in, Ambrose has to be booked strong, Rollins has to keep his belt, this is really a no-win situation. I predict a Rollins victory in a totally chicken shit like way and for the the three remaining participants to be left with not much to do for a month or two, and for a SHIELD team-up to be teased at least twice during the match.
So there you have it. The potential is there, as always, for this to be an amazing show. I'm excited for it and hope you are too. Follow me on twitter, @geekadedan, and chat with me during the show.
WWE Payback takes place on May 17 @8pm.