WWE Payback is live from Chicago’s Allstate Arena tonight and it should be a memorable night. It will be the first pay-per-view NOT culminating in a title match for quite some time thanks to Daniel Bryan’s neck surgery. While the current World Heavyweight Champion will be making an appearance he will definitely play a role in the evening as he has to choose between relinquishing the belts or have his wife, Brie Bella, fired by Stephanie McMahon. As for the matches of the evening let’s take a look at the card and I’ll give my predictions.
Hair vs. Mask Match: Hornswoggle vs. El Torito
Sigh….this feud should have never happened in the first place, let alone have a decent amount of TV and pay-per-view time the past month. Whatever happens in this match I hope it’s the last we see of this feud for a good long time.
Winner: a tail-less El Torito
Big E vs. Rusev
This match will be a competition of brute strength. Expect a short match with a lot of power moves. I expect Big E to give the Bulgarian Brute the biggest test since his debut on WWE’s main roster but I still see Rusev going over to continue his push as a dominant heel.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam
Bad News Barrett has been one of the best things on WWE lately. Whether he’s berating the live crowd with “Bad news” or taking out opponents with the Bull Hammer, he has quickly ascended to the top of the mid-card and captured the Intercontinental title. A victory over a proven veteran like RVD would do nothing but boost Barrett’s already impressive wins since returning with the “Bad News” gimmick. I fully expect to see the good times keep rolling for Wade.
Winner: Bad News Barrett
Divas Championship: Paige vs. Alicia Fox
This one is a tricky call. On one hand, Paige has added some new blood to the Divas division and the audience seems to be starting to connect with her. On the other hand, Alicia Fox has seemingly taken the “craziest female” title away from A.J. Lee the past few weeks with her post-match antics. While it seems unlikely the WWE would take the title off of Paige so quickly, it would definitely be nice to see an actual rivalry in the Divas division for the first time in a while. A feud that culminates at Summerslam or something in the middle of the summer would be nice. I’m going to play it safe, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Alicia Fox pulls the upset.
United States Championship: Sheamus vs. Cesaro
Apparently Sheamus is supposed to be a heel right now. Did anyone else get that memo? So far it seems to be the same old Sheamus but this time he’s got the U.S. title. Cesaro has been on an impressive streak as of late. With Paul “Master of the Microphone” Heyman at his side, the “King of Swing” has quickly climbed the ranks of one of the most exciting performers in the ring. This match has all the potential to be a very entertaining match, filled with shows of strength, near falls and the inevitable Heyman “oh my god” face. If Sheamus is supposed to be a heel, then a loss would certainly set him off into an Irish rage.
Last Man Standing: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
This feud has maintained interest since Wrestlemania and the latest stipulation match being a Last Man Standing match has all the potential of being the most violent and dark match of the series so far. I expect plenty of outside interference from Eric Rowan and Luke Harper and the Usos as well as plenty of weapons. Bray Wyatt has been on absolute fire with his promos and in-ring presence. Cena has still maintained his “superhero” image and continues to fight for all that is good and right in the world. Wyatt seems to be hell bent on bringing out Cena’s dark side and if the WWE is smart they will continue to let Bray’s star rise. Another victory over Cena drives Bray Wyatt’s sermons even farther home.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
No Holds Barred Elimination Match: Evolution vs. the Shield
These six men tore the house down at Extreme Rules and another match should be just as entertaining. The addition of eliminations will bring a very interesting element to this match. Expect Evolution to focus their attention on Roman Reigns in order to get him out of the match quickly. There will be wild moves, daredevil dives and tons of action. While a win would cement The Shield as one of the best factions in WWE history I also find it hard to believe that a storied faction like Evolution would drop two straight matches. However, with the rumors that Batista will be leaving WWE for a while after this pay-per-view to promote Guardians of the Galaxy it begs the question of how he exits the match and if he gets written off due to injury or some other storyline. While I think this feud would benefit if Evolution gets the best of The Shield, I can’t pick them given the uncertainty of Batista’s status after tonight.
Winner: The Shield
Those are all of the confirmed matches for the card, with a rumored Tag Team Championship match between the Usos and Luke Harper and Eric Rowan. Should that match take place, I’ll pick the Usos to retain. As for the in-ring segment with Daniel Bryan and Stephanie McMahon I think WWE finds a way to keep the belts on Bryan if he is expected to return quickly, if not then I could see him forced to be stripped of the belts and set up a Money In the Bank match for the titles at the next pay-per-view of the same name. It should be an interesting night in Chicago and while there seems to be a zero percent chance of a CM Punk return (he confirmed he’ll be at Game 7 of Blackhawks and Kings tonight); the Allstate Arena is just north of the city. WWE always seems to bring it’s “A” game to Chicago so expect a card that looks somewhat weak on paper to be filled with big moments and exceed expectations.
Filed under: Ringside Chicago
Tags: Alicia Fox, Allstate Arena, Bad News Barrett, Batista, Big E, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, Cesaro, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, El Torito, Eric Rowan, Evolution, Extreme Rules, Hornswoggle, John Cena, Luke Harper, Paige, Paul Heyman, Payback, Randy Orton, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, Rusev, RVD, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, Summerslam, The Shield, The Usos, The Wyatt Family, Triple H, Wrestlemania, WWE