So here we are with a rather strange PPV from WWE. You see after Wrestlemania, the WWE went through a #Superstarshakeup that moved some people around from Raw to Smackdown and vice-versa. Due to the shake up, PAYBACK will feature a couple of matches with Smackdown talent even though this show is being put on by the Raw brand. It’s a bit weird to be sure and smacks of last minute booking decisions; never a good sign. That being said, there are a few standout matches on the card and hopefully the overall show will be good. Who will win and who will lose? Read on wrestling fans and find out.
Once upon a time Neville was one of the most over superstars on the roster. His finisher, the Red Arrow, got one of the biggest pops of the night every night. And then he got boring because WWE did nothing to move him forward. And then he got hurt. AND THEN he came back as a bad ass heel, the King of the Cruiserweights. (plus he had facial hair, so evil) Since his return he has been one of the highlights of the company. His heel work has been awesome and his match with Aries should honestly be the best match of the night. Aries also got hurt, albeit in NXT, and has been sitting on commentary for the last little bit. His return to in ring action has been welcome as he is one of the best wrestlers on the planet.
Much like Neville, Bayley has been floundering a bit since her call up from NXT. She is still one of the most over women on the roster but her matches overall have been lackluster. She has gone from main-eventing an NXT show to being in less than five minute affairs every week. Her run as champ has been largely forgetful. Thankfully though Alexa Bliss is here to save us and inject life into a stayed division. Bliss has been a revelation since turning heel in NXT and getting the call up to the main roster. Her work on Smackdown was great and the move to Raw has done nothing to slow her down. She is the perfect heel. She does all of the little things right. And for a character like Bayley, chasing the title against a true heel is just a more interesting story.
Prediction: Alexa Bliss
So the Hardys are going to lose the belts here. I’m almost positive. The word ’round the campfire is that WWE has settled with TNA for the rights to the “Broken” gimmick that made Matt and Jeff Hardy the talk of the wrestling town over the last year plus. Since returning and winning the belts at Wrestlemania, the Hardys have been teasing the gimmick with Matt doing most of the work with his mannerisms in the ring. Coming back on such a high and losing the belts at the next big show is a good enough reason to have the Hardys get re-broken. And make no mistake, Broken Matt and Brother Nero are where the money is with these two. Sheamus and Cesaro make sense to take the belts and have a decent run with them.
Prediction: Sheamus and Cesaro
Another one I think is pretty easy to call, Owens is keeping the belt. The break up of JERI-KO was one of the best storylines from the past year. It did everything right and ended with a nice little payoff. This match does nothing but spin some wheels until Owens is ready to start his feuds on Smackdown. Him moving brands is one of the best things from the shakeup. Smackdown now has Owens, AJ Styles, Nakamura, and Sami Zayn on the same roster. That’s incredible and an opportunity to have some truly all-time matches. There is no way that WWE will screw this up. They can’t. Owens has to win to keep the belt on Smackdown since Dean Ambrose took the IC title with him to Raw. Plus, Jericho needs to go on tour with his band so there’s that.
Prediction: Kevin Owens
Joe finally makes his PPV debut against the man he injured in his Raw debut. Thankfully, Seth Rollins was able to heal up enough to make his Wrestlemania match against Triple H and become the Kingslayer. There are so many ways they could go with this match. Having Rollins win makes sense as he exacts a measure of revenge. Having Joe win makes sense since looks wise he is one of the few credible threats to Brock Lesnar and the Universal title, minus the actual in ring wins. Regardless this should be a dope match. Both guys are insanely good and are capable of match of the night performances. Really all I want is a clean match with no shenanigans. I doubt that’s what we’ll get though.
Prediction: Seth Rollins
The second of the interbrand matches and one for the WWE Championship and it’s not the main event. (as of this writing anyway) Randy Orton of Smackdown beat Bray at Wrestlemania for the belt. It was a stupid, boring move that still makes no sense and does nothing to help Bray Wyatt become what he should be in WWE. With him moving to Raw there are plenty of fresh feuds for him to have and hopefully some solid character direction. Orton on the other hand continues to be a placeholder at this stage in his career. There is almost nothing interesting left to do with him. I’m hoping against hope that he keeps the belt and drops it to someone like Sami Zayn or Baron Corbin. Truthfully, I have no idea what to think here.
Prediction: Randy Orton
The breaker of streaks and ender of careers Roman Reigns will make his return after the absolutely amazing beating he suffered at the hands of Braun Strowman a few weeks ago. WWE has done an amazing job in building up Braun as an absolute monster. They have seemingly done everything right with this guy and are probably about to royally shit the bed. There is absolutely no way Braun should lose this match to Reigns considering that storyline wise he put him in the hospital four weeks ago. (he even flipped the fucking ambulance he was in) It was such a great moment. And yet, WWE have shown that they are not willing to let the Reigns story play out organically. Reigns is one of the most hated men in wrestling period. Not haha hate, not jk we really love you but are supposed to boo you hate, but real, honest to goodness hate. He literally got booed for ten minutes the night after Wrestlemania on Raw. (he did just retire the Undertaker but still) He’s not a heel, he’s a villain. And that’s awesome. WWE should have villains. But those villains need to lose to stay relevant. If he continues to win, to play the underdog babyface who doesn’t know he’s a heel, fans will simply stop caring. They will stop watching. Because it’s boring and forced. But they will. They will fuck it up. I’m sure of it.
Prediction: Roman goddamn Reigns even though I hope I’m wrong
So there it is. It should be a good show. If nothing else, we should see the return of Broken Matt and that is nothing but a good thing. Make sure to follow me on twitter and instagram, @geekadedan, and let me know what you thought of PAYBACK. Check back next week for another edition of WILW Games. Until then…