With WWE Payback taking place in Chicago this Sunday, a handful of stars will look to make an impact in front of a hostile crowd.
The card is stacked at the minute; seven matches are taking place on the main card while Ryback is involved in the pre-show yet again. However, three stars have a lot of pressure heading into the Allstate Arena, and will need to impress the most.
It’s the first pay-per-view since WrestleMania, so everyone involved will be looking to set the tone for the remainder of the year, with the responsibility lying on the shoulders of United States Champion, Kalisto, to kick off the evening in exciting fashion.
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There was a lot of excitement when Kalisto dethroned Alberto Del Rio and became the champion, although it’s no secret that his reign has not only fallen flat, the value of the title has also decreased since John Cena defeated Rusev for it at WrestleMania 31.
He did a fantastic job for the next champion to continue where he left off, but unfortunately for Kalisto, it’s his performances as part of the Lucha Dragons which is quickly dragging him down. There’s no denying his talent, as he’s one of the finest on the roster.
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However, you can’t disagree with the fact that something needs to change as early as this Sunday, or we need a new champion. I believe this is the final opportunity for Kalisto to prove himself as a worthy champion while I’m not worried about the match because he has great chemistry with Ryback, it’s his presence that lets him down.
If he doesn’t impress and deliver when it matters, I won’t be surprised to see him drop the title the following night on Monday Night Raw.
It sounds silly thinking about it because AJ Styles is one of the best wrestlers in the world and is enjoying a fantastic start to life in the WWE. However, his need to impress and having pressure is entirely different compared to the situation Kalisto is in.
While Kalisto needs to prove the WWE Universe wrong, Styles will want to show that the fans are right, and he deserves the opportunities he’s currently receiving.
If you told his fans that he'll sign with the company, debut at the Royal Rumble and put on an impressive display, pick up a debut win on Raw against Chris Jericho and end up as the number one contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, they would’ve bitten your hand off.
Now, Styles needs to prove why he belongs in the big time and show the suits at the headquarters that he’s not just somebody who can sell merchandise. He can be the number one star in the company, and he’s well on his way to solidifying that statement against Roman Reigns at Payback.
While I don’t doubt he’ll step up to the mark, this is his first championship match in the WWE and that alone adds more pressure than regular matches. If Styles can end up as the name on our lips when the event is over, then it’s mission accomplished for him and he would come out the other end as an even bigger success.
Finally, Baron Corbin is the third superstar with the most pressure on him heading into his match with Dolph Ziggler.
The Lone Wolf has burst on to the main roster from out of nowhere. Usually, at around WrestleMania time, the dirt sheets are discussing which NXT superstar will be receiving a call-up, yet nobody predicted Corbin would debut at WrestleMania and win the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal.
It’s clear that his success won’t sit well with others backstage, he isn’t in for an easy ride and he’ll need to put in hard work to show that he doesn’t expect successes like that handed to him on a plate. He’s improved greatly over the past year and despite facing some highly impressive superstars on NXT, Ziggler will prove to be his toughest test yet.
This is because the fans adore him, so the Chicago crowd won’t make it easy for Corbin and at that scale, he needs to ensure he doesn’t crumble under pressure. The good thing for him is that he has an opponent who will make him look better than he is, so Corbin has the opportunity of a lifetime to put his stamp on the main roster as the newest monster.
I expect Corbin and Styles to overcome the pressure and put on good performances, however, it’s the United States Champion that worries me the most.
Do you think Kalisto will impress at WWE Payback? Have your say in the comments section below!