Joining me this month for our Payback Preview is Mike Lightning, J-Bru, and the always honest KP. Enjoy!
Pre Show Match: Damien Sandow vs Sheamus
ML: First of all, I’m not overly impressed that this match is on the pre-show. These two performers are too good to be involved in a match that draws probably less than 10% of the PPV viewers. Secondly, if their matches over the last year and a half are any indications of the match they’ll put on this Sunday. I’m stoked. The WWE has an opportunity here to help start building their future. Their future lies in guys like Sandow, and a win on a pre-show will catapult him, but still protect the “almighty” Sheamus. The WWE can afford to put Sandow over Sheamus without hurting Sheamus at all. And they should.
J-Bru: I’ll keep this one short and sweet. Sheamus doesn’t need the win. Sandow deserves the win. But Sheamus is the good guy, so…
KP: Sheamus’ booking has been mind-numbingly frustrating how he just bowls through and bullies the heels to the point where casual fans think why should I care about this match? Especially since it’s on the freaking pre-show, logically I don’t see it going Sandow’s way even though I want it to…but this business has taught me you can’t get everything you want. Not much else to say other than I hope I’m wrong here
Prediction: Sheamus wins
JT: Give these guys fifteen minutes and it could easily be a great addition to an already stacked wrestling card. Sheamus won’t lose here, but it will be interesting to see how WWE plans on putting over Sandow when he can’t seem to catch a break or pick up a big win.
Divas Championship: AJ vs Kaitlyn
ML: What usually takes the WWE four weeks to build a legitimate feud, they have done in just over two months for these two divas. Kaitlyn’s reign as Champion as been pretty uninteresting, but I feel like I have said that about a lot of the Divas lately. That’s the WWE for you and it goes to show how much of a joke they feel the Divas are. The “secret admirer” angle may have been pretty predictable, but I feel it does more than enhance the feud between AJ and Kaitlyn. I think what Big E. Langston did will cause Mark Henry to come to Kaitlyn’s aid. The WWE should use the divas to set up that match.
Prediction: AJ Lee to become the New Divas Champion
J-Bru: Kaitlyn’s run with the butterfly belt hasn’t been all that spectacular as of late. If AJ wins the belt (for the first time, by the way), there are so many possible match-ups WWE could go with, as she’s made little friends since losing her mind one year ago. Either way, this match is still going to be the bathroom break of the PPV.
Winner: AJ Lee
KP: I think that this feud took way too long to finally get here but finally we get to see them go at it. I just hope it’s good and that they possibly have a rematch at Money in the Bank if they do well here and leading up to that show. The angle where Big E was the “secret admirer” was hilarious in my opinion but at times during the segment I felt like I wanted to tell AJ to shut the hell up. Now it’s put up or shut up time, I think Kaitlyn should get the win here to get the payoff for the emotional roller coaster then again that could be a double edge sword because she can get DQ’ed but in either scenario she still retains the title.
Prediction: Kaitlyn retains Divas title
JT: This one has been a long time coming for pay per view, but I’m still not entirely convinced that AJ will take the gold this time around. The heel might be more elevated in the eyes of WWE creative, but all they’ve done is embarass Kaitlyn lately with the secret admirer storyline. Kaitlyn retains.
United States Championship: Dean Ambrose vs Kane
ML: Kane has done everything as a big man in the business. He’s one of the unspoken cornerstones of the WWE, and he has always done what is for the best of the business. He’s done everything they have ever asked of him. There’s no secret that the WWE and fans expect big things out of Dean Ambrose, and in my opinion, rightfully so. It’ll be interesting to see how this match plays out on Sunday because of the chemistry between these two has been pretty solid in the six-man tag matches. Look for Kane to look strong through the duration of this match because he’s going to need momentum when he hits singles wrestling again.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose to retain the US Championship
J-Bru: While I understand the Shield can’t hold on to their gold forever, it doesn’t make sense for Kane to take the US title from Ambrose. If he wins, then what? There’s no real program set up for him afterwards. Retaining the title against a future hall-of-famer would be a big step up for Dean, whose seven-month main-roster resume is already very impressive. It makes him that much closer to the main event picture, and sets him even further apart from his stable-mates. Don’t ruin a good thing, WWE!
Winner: Dean Ambrose
KP: I really like the contrasting styles of these two and think that this could be a good match. As far as Kane is concerned I think after this Team Hell No break up he won’t be doing much noteworthy I think, I do however think Kane and Bryan will have one more match down the line. Ambrose I expect he will hold the title and drop it to someone re-pushed or a new star hopefully in a few months.
Prediction: Ambrose retains US title
JT: For whatever it’s worth, I don’t see Kane carrying another midcard title at this point in his career. If by some chance he does win the gold, he won’t have it very long. I expect Ambrose to retain here when Dbry accidentally costs Kane the match.
ML: This match holds a lot of intrigue for me. Not because of how much I love the Shield and how I’m a huge Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, but because of the rumors that have been swirling around the internet. Usually, I take a lot of what the dirt sheets say with a grain of salt and don’t put too much weight into what they “report.” After this past Friday with Shield losing on Smackdown, it added a lot more interest for me. Daniel Bryan and Shield have been booked perfectly. Daniel Bryan is so “over” with the crowd right now that he may have just, in fact, achieved “Stone Cold” or “Rock” super-stardom. People have been expecting an Orton heel turn any day now, this storyline is perfect for that to happen. If the WWE tries to turn Daniel Bryan heel, they will fail miserably because the fans will still blow the roof off the place for him.
Prediction: The Shield of Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns to retain the Tag Team Championship
J-Bru: The Shield vs RKNo! Much like the other Shield match, there’s no real reason for Orton and Bryan to take the gold in this one. If they do, then what? A dysfunctional tag team somehow gets gold and it’s Team Hell No all over again. I think if Rollins and Reigns are going to drop the twin titles, it should be to a legit tag team like the Usos, who seem to be working their way up to that point anyway.
Winner: The Shield
KP: Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan….what can I say about them? Orton just feels bland as a face and you cannot help but to scream yes or cheer loudly when Bryan is in the ring. He’s done some amazing work and really got the crowd in the palm of his hands. However I believe The Shield will take this victory from underneath them. I just do not see Orton/Bryan winning the tag titles, and I don’t see Bryan taking a pin or sub after he’s basically been pinned by The Shield in almost every one of their encounters. Shield I believe will lose when WWE builds a viable team not one thrown together.
Prediction: The Shield retains Tag titles
JT: WWE could go either way with this one, but I don’t seem them pulling the belts off Rollins and Reigns so quickly. If they did, then I would expect Reigns to win Money In The Bank in July. As far as predictions go, this match will be SECOND best of the night and will deliver big. The champs retain.
Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett vs The Miz vs Curtis Axel
ML: First of all, there’s no secret for my dislike for the Fandango gimmick. And there’s no secret that I was never a huge Johnny Curtis fan when he was in NXT. But I HATE hearing about performers getting hurt. There’s some speculation that Fandango’s concussion is kayfabe to put Fandango’s push on hold and to launch Curtis Axel’s push further. That may be true, but I have to say that I hate the fact that Fandango is hurt. Wade Barrett has been used during live events as a headliner while Ziggler was out with his concussion, that could mean good things for Barrett in the near future. Curtis Axel is being pushed to the moon and back and I love every minute of it. I’ve been a fan of his since day one. And The Miz is a guy who, I believe, should be in a World Title picture of some sort. He took a lot of blame when he was involved in the main event scene a couple years ago, that was unwarranted and uncalled for. I’m happy he worked his ass off and worked his way through that nonsense.
Prediction: Curtis Axel to become the New IC Champion.
J-Bru: Since Fandango became the latest recruit to WWE’s army of concussion victims, Axel took his place in this match. I highly doubt the Miz will get the belt again, but Wade’s run with the IC title hasn’t been all that impressive. I’m honestly going to go with the son of Mr. Perfect on this one. With Paul Heyman in his corner, this guy is on his way to big things. It may not be a clean victory, but hey, a win is a win, right?
Winner: Curtis Axel
KP: Personally I don’t care for this match and I’ll say why. Barrett hasn’t really been pushed right for the last few months, The Miz I never understood why he won and lost the IC title in 24 hours and then there’s Axel who seems to be the only beneficiary of the victory in the match cause imo it does nothing for the other two guys in it. If the winner isn’t Axel, I don’t see the point in why they added him in the match in the first place (other than replacing Fandango)
Prediction: Axel wins IC title
JT: Fandango isn’t wrestling, and I’m honestly not too happy about it. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Curtis Axel come away with the gold here, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Wade Barrett hold onto the strap if the plan is for Fandango to hold it next. I’ll pick Axel to continue his streak and become the new Intercontinental Champion.
World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler vs Alberto Del Rio
ML: It feels like an eternity since the last time that Del Rio wasn’t involved in the World Title picture. It seriously feels like he’s been a contender for years. Maybe that is true starting with his Royal Rumble win. Ziggler’s World Title run never really got off the ground before Swagger kicked him in the head and concussed him. This match has all the makings of being one of the best matches on the card. The problem I have with Ziggler is the WWE’s booking of him. It’s very hard to take him seriously as World Champion, when they constantly book him to lose every other show to this guy or the next guy. They should understand by now that booking your Champions to lose in non-title matches is not a good way to build “contenders.”
ML: Dolph Ziggler to retain the World Title
J-Bru:I don’t expect to Ziggler to retain the belt cleanly in this match (though it’d be nice), but I do expect him to retain the belt. However, this match is the one that WWE could really have some fun with in terms of how it ends. If they’re going to go through with Big E turning face, he could cost Ziggler the title in this match, but after his little scheme against Kaitlyn with AJ, that doesn’t seem likely just yet. Ziggler will retain, and at least one other person will get involved in the match.
Winner: Dolph Ziggler
KP: This match almost feels out of place just because of how long Ziggler has been gone. I don’t think there will be much ring rust by the champ but I have to address those who compared his reign to Swagger’s in 2010, I’ll say it right now…you’re freaking idiots. Alberto Del Rio in my opinion should not get the World title any time soon. I like the guy as an in ring competitor but for the life of me I cannot stand him trying to be funny sometimes. Leave that to Ricardo good sir, I think he’s better off letting his wrestling doing the talking and when he gets on the mic keep it short and sweet. Personally they cannot end Ziggler’s reign right now, it hasn’t gotten enough traction to take off yet especially after how hot the crowd was when he cashed in. He deserves a shot to carry the title for a few months.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler retains WHC
JT: When you look at the stacked amount of quality wrestling on this card, how can you complain? Del Rio and Ziggler should deliver huge, and Ziggler will finally be recognized as the deserving world champion when he comes away with the win in this one.
CM Punk vs Chris Jericho
ML: Everywhere I have read since this match was proposed and accepted by Paul Heyman suggests that CM Punk is going to be a “no-show” for the PPV. My question is: Why? What good would that do for the WWE to actively advertise the pay per view in Punk’s hometown just to have him no-show? It makes no damn sense. I’m actually expecting this match, get ready for it, to MAIN EVENT the PPV. *gasp* Reasoning being; watch a crowd not give two shits about your WWE Title match if you put this match on first. This match will suck the emotion and life out of the arena. This will be your match of the night.
Prediction: CM Punk
J-Bru: As awesome as this match could be, it’s way too early for Punk to return. But regardless of his status in the WWE (he’s still technically a heel), he’ll be a fan-favorite in his hometown, which means Y2J (the face) could get booed out of the arena. If WWE is going through with this match – as in they aren’t going to troll us with Punk not showing (then he’d REALLY get heat), it’s safe to say the hometown hero is winning this. Unless Jericho is turning heel before going on tour with Fozzy.
Winner: CM Punk
KP: This I believe will be the match of the night if it occurs…a close second would be Bryan/Orton vs Shield because how over Bryan is. But this is Chicago and CM Punk, it’s the perfect recipe for a hot crowd and if they get some of Jericho and Punk’s magic from the past year then it should be one hell of a match and hell it could go either way at this point. Personally if they’re going to tear a guy down truly (not like freaking Cena) then WWE has succeeded that with Punk considering they’ve pointed out his failures. Payback could be Punk’s chance to get back at Jericho and the fans for doubting he is the best in the world or Jericho’s chance to get back at losing to Punk in their encounters last year. Should be awesome folks!
Prediction: CM Punk wins
JT: If this match is really happening, it will steal the show. Nothing will top what these two do in the ring together once again in Chicago. Nothing! Punk should win his return match here.
WWE Championship Three Stages of Hell: John Cena vs Ryback
ML: I can’t take Ryback seriously as a “threat” to the WWE Title. He hasn’t won on a PPV since July of last year. The WWE really made a huge mistake with his gimmick and character by pushing into the WWE Title picture too soon at the end of last year. The storyline actually helped Shield more than it did Ryback. Then, you add Ryback’s lose to Mark Henry at WrestleMania, and it makes Ryback look even worse. After all, Henry did just lose at Extreme Rules to Sheamus. John Cena’s three month title run has been a snoozefest thus far and I’m blaming Ryback’s involvement, Cena’s stale character and the fact that these two haven’t opposed each other in something as simple as a tag team match on Raw or Smackdown. Another fail with booking by the WWE.
Prediction: Ryback to win the Lumberjack Match, John Cena to get “desperate” and “surprisingly” put Ryback through a table, and John Cena to turn the tables and “dig deep” to put Ryback in the back of the ambulance.
J-Bru: WWE hasn’t done a Three Stages of Hell match in a while, and this Sunday, we’re probably going to be reminded why. Yes, I expect this to be a droning sequence of events, despite the stipulations and the potential spots. There’s no way Ryback is getting the title; he’s shown great improvement both in the ring and on the mic since debuting, but he still has a long way to go before he holds the company’s top prize.
Winner: John Cena
KP: I will remain positive here. I think this match will be a lot better than people give credit for. Lumberjack, Table and Ambulance matches don’t exactly sound “hell-ish” but I think both guys will do their best to make it look like they’re going through hell. I personally think if WWE were going book it like Cena’s title were in danger, then Ryback should win the first fall and then have Cena “somehow” pull away with the final two falls. It could also be Cena getting the victory in the first fall and being “unconscious” after being Powerbombed through a table and makes a comeback. I call it Superman booking 101; you are all dismissed…you’re welcome.
Prediction: Cena retains WWE title
JT: Cena wins. Cena is WWE’s top guy, and that isn’t changing with Ryback. Ryback will be a good heel to keep challenging for the belt, but he will never be THE top guy in WWE. He’s just another opponent for Cena right now. The champ is here!
ML: The card reads very predictable but still holds a lot of intrigue for me. EVERY title the WWE currently has is being defended, which is refreshing to me considering the WWE leaves off the Divas, IC and US Championships of pay-per-views on a pretty consistent basis. Axel’s push for the IC Title is definitely going to be fun to watch, but Barrett’s booking and where he goes from here, win or loss, will have me watching his storyline for sure. The Chris Jericho/CM Punk match is going to be completely electric, and if the WWE makes the mistake of putting that match on before the Cena/Ryback match – you’ll be able to hear someone in the audience fart during the match. Overall, the WWE filled the card nicely and I’m actually interested to see how well it will be executed.
JT: With the upbringing of the Shield, WWE appears to have turned the corner and recognized that fans want more straight up wrestling and less nonsense. With what we got at WrestleMania, Extreme Rules, and now this card, I’m going to say it’s proof positive that the message was received loud and clear. If nothing else, the show will be a fantastic WRESTLING pay per view, and what more could we really ask for as fans? Thanks for reading!