The Allstate Arena in Rosemont Illinois host this year’s edition of the WWE pay-per-view event, Payback.
With WWE moving the event ahead of Extreme Rules this wrestling calendar year, the event has been heightened on the principle behind WrestleMania revenge match-ups.
With it being the first opportunity since WrestleMania for the WWE to showcase its talented roster on pay-per-view, let’s have a look what they are offering at this year’s event and the potential fallout that could occur.
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Pre-Show Match: United States Championship Match: Kalisto vs Ryback
This is a match-up that has been booked horrendously by the WWE and is the only WrestleMania rematch on the card.
Due to WWE having to dedicate the majority of his television time to the tag division recently, the US Title division has suffered as there has simply been no time allocated for them to build a story.
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Ryback did however pick up a victory over Kalisto on SmackDown in the only build up to the match. Kalisto’s second run as champion has been quite poor, so it wouldn’t surprise many if 'The Big Guy' did walk out with the Championship.
Kalisto can be booked better in the future without the championship. The night after Payback, Sin Cara should turn on Kalisto and set up a potential Mask vs Mask match-up at Extreme Rules, whilst Ryback could move towards a feud with a babyface mid-carder like Dolph Ziggler.
Maybe a three-way feud between Ryback, Ziggler and Baron Corbin could be in the offering.
Dolph Ziggler vs Baron Corbin
Prediction: Baron Corbin
Recently being moved up to the main roster, Corbin has no real reason to lose this match-up.
It’s one that probably wasn’t expected or idealised for Corbin when he did join the main roster, but it’s actually been one that has created some good heat for him and rejuvenated Ziggler a little.
As said above, a three-way feud for US Championship seems the logical move post Payback for the Show-off and Lone Wolf.
Tag Team Tournament Final Match: Enzo & Cass vs The Vaudevillians
Prediction: Enzo & Cass
Two teams that were only in NXT a couple months ago and now are on WWE PPV.
It’s strange that WWE decided to book this match-up at Payback rather than the winners facing The New Day for the championships at the event. However, rumours speculate that the Bray Wyatt injury halted WWE’s original plans for the event and this match-up was moved up as a reaction to that.
A loss to The Vaudevillians does hurt there credibility as a tag-team on the main roster, so it’s going to be important that WWE quickly give them some TV attention post the event. Failing to do so, will result in them fading into the background like The Ascension did following their NXT call-up.
Enzo & Cass then get the opportunity to feud with The New Day. Both teams are clearly the best teams in WWE on the mic, so you would imagine there feud over the belts will be an entertaining one, full of plenty exciting promos.
Women’s Championship Match: Charlotte vs Natalya
The element of Bret Hart being in his niece’s corner does add an intriguing element to the match, but the daughter of the dirtiest player in the game still will find a way to win.
Giving Natalya the belt doesn’t make a lot of booking sense. All it would do is give a feel good moment to the Hart Family who have been going through a tough time of late. Therefore, this isn’t a good enough reason to tinker with somebodies championship reign.
WWE are continuing to hold off on Charlotte dropping the belt to the much more over, Sasha Banks. It would be expected for this to continue to drag out to probably SummerSlam or just before, so that it sets up Bayley’s move to the main roster and WWE rekindling Bayley vs Sasha.
Sami Zayn vs Kevin Owens
Prediction: No Contest/Draw
WWE aired a brilliant video package on Monday Night Raw illustrating the feud of Zayn and Owens, but their feud shouldn’t end at Payback.
The two have so much to offer the WWE, so their first televised main roster match-up shouldn’t finish in either man picking up the clean victory over one another.
Still expect a quality 10-15 minutes of excellent wrestling, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see this match finish in a double count-out or in a spot where both men are no longer able to continue.
This then sets up a no disqualification match of sorts at Extreme Rules, which will be epic.
Chris Jericho vs Dean Ambrose
Prediction: Chris Jericho
As much as everyone wants to see Dean Ambrose go over somebody on PPV, it shouldn’t happen just yet. Jericho picked up a victory at WrestleMania over the number-one contender AJ Styles, but still needs a little more of a push to remind fans that he is the best in the world at what he does.
Looking at Extreme Rules, another match-up between the two would be likely. Both men are a custom to ‘jeans wrestling’, so a street fight would be the perfect way to settle the score. Ambrose on that occasion could go over. This way, both men have a victory over one another and look as good as one another.
You can then expect Jericho to transit into the Intercontinental Title picture and Dean to regain some main event status.
Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz vs Cesaro
Cesaro and The Miz have been locked in a feud where all they do is throw movie quotes at each other. WWE fans are craving for a true babyface champion and Cesaro would be the perfect guy to lead that way.
It would be a tough decision to take the championship so quickly off The Miz. He and his wife Maryse have created some seriously good heat as heels since winning the championship the night after WrestleMania, and he doesn’t deserve a short reign as punishment.
However, it’s probably what will happen, so post the event WWE need to make sure they don’t discredit the Miz’s work and find him another feud that he can shine in.
Cesaro is then set for a good lengthy mid-card run, and a feud with Chris Jericho over the Intercontinental Championship is the most logical way to kick-start an exciting reign.
THE DECISION: VINCE CHOOSES STEPH
The swerve WWE are teasing is that Vince will choose his son Shane to control Raw, but this should not happen.
In choosing Steph, Shane can become further disgruntled and estranged with his father. He wants to continue to fight against WWE's current day-to-to operations and seeks the assistance of whatever faction comes out of the main event to take them down in the long term.
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns vs AJ Styles
Prediction: Roman Reigns
In WWE history, there has never been a main event where there is so many possible endings that are sure to receive a positive reaction from the fans. If Roman turns heel and aligns himself with Anderson and Gallows, everyone is probably happy. If AJ does the same thing, everyone is happy. If Finn Balor shows up, everyone is happy.
The likely scenario is Roman is walking out as champion. Whether a bonafide heel turn is involved or not, Reigns is yet to have a decent length championship run or PPV title defence, so he needs one to be an established champion.
He will be booed and AJ will be cheered, so how does WWE save the show ending on a bad note. Enter Finn Balor.
You would expect Anderson and Gallows to get involved near the end of the match, what will probably happen however is they turn on AJ and allow Roman to pick up the victory. They could then tease an alliance between the three, only for them to deck him too. Finn Balor should then make an appearance and solidify the establishment of the Balor Club.
There’s so many different ways and theories WWE could capitalise on Payback, but particularly the main event, so let’s hope for their sake they listen to the fans and don’t stuff this one up.
What do you think will happen at Payback? Let us know in the comments section YOUR thoughts on the first PPV event since WrestleMania.