Title: WWE Payback Preview & Predictions
Date: May 30, 2014
Original Source: Voices of Wrestling
Synopsis: I helped preview WWE’s Payback pay per view event as a part of a four-person panel.
Mask vs. Hair Match
El Torito vs. Hornswoggle
Blake Murphy: Yeah, they’re really gonna unmask him, kill a character they obviously love and have to stop referring to El Torito as an actual miniature bull. Sure. Hornswoggle entered the E with a shaved dome, anyway, so no biggie there. This match should be fun and a nice way to ease into the card but I doubt it tops their Wee-L-C bout.
Prediction: El Torito
Big E. vs. Alexander Rusev
Blake: Rusev is a Clippers fan. Putin was once given a Clippers jersey. Rusev continues to squash wrestlers of a certain ethnicity. Adam SIlver ain’t walking through that door, Big E. Hopefully, though, we get Rusev’s first competitive match and Big E. starts a return to relevance.
Prediction: Donald Sterling’s Russian Destruction Machine
WWE U.S. Heavyweight Title Match
WWE Linear Title Match
Sheamus vs. Cesaro
Blake: This match has the potential to be the best or second-best on the card (behind the six-man), as these two have a nice chemistry and can both put on a hell of a brawl. Cesaro’s momentum has stalled some since the pairing with Paul Heyman (and boy, I never thought I’d write that) and Sheamus doesn’t really need a midcard title at this point, so the choice seems clear from a booking standpoint, though the outcome isn’t. Given the proper time, both guys will come away looking strong, which is all that really matters. In the end, though, Sheamus just has too many limes, allowing Cesaro to pull out the W.
WWE Diva’s Title Match
Paige vs. Alicia Fox
Blake: They debut Paige to great excitement, have her win the Diva’s Title on her first night, show her crying in celebration and then…not much, really. I get that Alicia Fox got hot and you have to run with that, but the complete lack of focus on getting Paige’s character across to the masses has been annoying. Luckily, Fox’s character has already been set up such that she won’t really be hurt by a loss (maybe even the opposite), so there’s no real risk in booking Paige strong and credibly here. The actual match should be really good, too.
WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam
Blake: I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news: the WWE continues to have no clue what to do with midcard titles. Barrett won the strap in a fun tournament, found his groove and was rolling, then got paired with an ice-cold RVD. Not only that, but there’s little actual storyline here, and both participants have been made to look weaker than their US Title counterparts. Barrett obviously gets the win, but his first feud as champion should have been one that helped elevate him, not deflate him.
Prediction: Bad News Barrett
No Holds Barred Elimination Match
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins) vs. Evolution (Triple H, Randy Orton, Dave Batista)
Blake: I can’t see this match being anything but excellent. Their previous bout, and the entire storyline, really, was excellent, and the addition of the elimination format adds interesting storytelling wrinkles. We’ve heard a lot (if you read the dirtscreens) about how this feud was handpicked to further elevate The Shield, so you’d think they come out clean. If that happens, though, where do they go from here? It almost seems like the turn everyone has been waiting for should happen here, but it may be too predictable. Instead, I’d guess The Shield are booked to look strong, as usual, with all three standing tall. Batista being the first eliminated gives a storyline reason to remove him from the Authority picture (“you left us 3-on-2”), while Orton and Triple H aren’t much worse for the wear since they can blame the numbers game.
Prediction: The Shield – All three survive
Last Man Standing Match
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
Blake: Look, if this isn’t the time and scenario for Cena to really put a heel over as a strong and credible force, I’m not sure when is. Wyatt has “it,” and while it’s tough to craft a story from a Wyatt win – what does Cena say to save face on Monday? – it’s also pretty much impossible to see Wyatt going anywhere meaningful without a win. I’m not sure how they get there, but I think Cena is kept down for the 10-count, fairly or otherwise. Of course, that means the feud will continue, so maybe we’re better off with hero Cena winning.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt