With WWE’s 5th annual Payback pay-per-view event now under 24 hours away, it’s time to join our very own Josh Allen as he gives us his thoughts and predictions for the RAW branded (with a little dash of Smackdown) event out of San Jose.
WWE Payback (RAW)
Pre-Show – 7 p.m. ET; Main Card – 8 p.m. ET
San Jose, California
-Preshow Kickoff –
Enzo & Cass vs Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
This is match is a match that we’ve seen quite a few times already. Which is nothing more than an ultimate exposure of the lack of teams and diversity within the Raw tag division. These two did put on a decent outing a couple of weeks ago and seem to have at least garnered some chemistry together in the ring.
As much as I would like to see Enzo and Cass be the team in peril and Balor come down to what defend them only for him to join in on the onslaught and bring the club together, I don’t think that’s what we’re going to get.
It seems to me that they are getting closer to pushing Enzo aside to either be Cass’ manager or breaking him away from him completely.
We’ll see a 7-10 minute match with Enzo in peril, getting the hot tag and having the near fall of the Rocket Launcher. Eventually, Enzo will fail and Cass gets the pin for the good guys.
Winners: Enzo and Cass
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Neville (c) vs Austin Aries
These two put on what was in my opinion, the second best match at Wrestlemania here. I don’t think we see anything different here as far as caliber of match. I could easily see this one taking match of the night. This feud has actually gained a lot of ground in the last month with the addition of heel TJ Perkins by Neville’s side. I’m torn as to who I see winning this one. On one hand, I see the work they’ve put into Aries. Aries has went above and beyond in everything they’ve asked him to do. He’s gotten over doing commentary, being a slightly comedic babyface, and putting in the work in the ring.
My only thought with him winning the title is where do they go from there? There are no top heel contenders other than TJ Perkins if you want to call that a “top contender.”
If Neville retains the title then you’ve sustained that he is the top guy in the division, but with Aries defeat that leaves no credible contenders left to fill the gap.
Going back and forth on it, I think they keep the title on Neville with as much as they have invested in him right now.
Tag Team Championship Match
The Hardys (c) vs Sheamus & Cesaro
A month out from the Hardy’s debut and tag team title claim. We see them face Sheamus and Cesaro.
With the recent updates on lawsuit claims, I think we are sooner rather than later going to see a split of the Hardy’s with Matt taking the ‘Broken’ gimmick while Jeff stays as the Charismatic Enigma possibly with Jeff jumping ship to Smackdown. With all of that being said, I think they will hold off and build the story of the broken gimmick and keep the titles on the Hardys here.
We’ll see what this does as far as Sheamus and Cesaro go. I think a lot of people see them breaking back up to return to singles competition, but with as weak as the division is without the Revival, I don’t see that happening just yet. I think Cesaro and Sheamus turn full on heel after the loss to take the spot of the Revival as the top heel tag team.
Winners: The Hardys
‘House of Horrors’ Match
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
In what was originally supposed to be a WWE Championship match, the House of Horrors is a now nothing more than a strange gimmick match that no one really cares about. Personally, I haven’t cared for Orton since he was the Legend Killer. I think a win does more for Bray here than it does for Orton even though Orton is the champ.
So I’m gonna go with Bray since this is his gimmick match and could help him gain some traction going into that feud with Finn Balor.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Seth Rollins vs Samoa Joe
I think this is by far the most unpredictable match on the card. There is plenty of heat between these two. Enough that I think they could prolong this feud with Joe taking the win here.
My hope is that these two go above the already high bar they’ve set with this feud and put on a definitive and memorable match.
All in all, I think with Rollins coming off finally putting down Triple H that they’ve gotta go with him here in order to keep his momentum. I could see him getting the win via DQ. A loss wouldn’t really hurt Rollins and Joe could use the steam going forward, but I think they have Rollins go over clean here.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Women’s Championship Match
Bayley vs Alexa Bliss
As strong as Bayley is as a character, they’ve really brought her down since coming to the main roster. Her promos are the same week to week with the same cheesy plot.
I feel that they are trying to recreate the underdog story she once was in NXT and retell that story even though she’s already proven herself so I don’t think it works and that’s been proved evident, but WWE will continue to do what they want. I think Alexa has a ways to go as far as being a great in ring worker, but her facial expressions and promo work are some of the best on the entire WWE roster. She’s built up a lot of heat over the last few months and I think they see something in her taking the title here. I think Alexa goes over for her to eventually feud with and drop the title to Sasha Banks. From there, I think they set up the Sasha heel turn on Bayley.
Winner: Alexa Bliss
United States Championship Match
Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho
This has by far been the best booked storyline in the WWE over the last year. This would have been the main event of the evening if the brand split hadn’t killed some of the steam they had coming off of their Wrestlemania match. There’s no doubt that Owens is retaining the title here to go on as ‘The Face of America’ on Smackdown and feuding with AJ Styles.
My question is how to they go about doing that at Payback? I feel that they should have Owens be a monster here and tear Jericho limb from limb, but I think WWE has something up their sleeve with a dirty finish here to save face for a guy that’s leaving for a few months.
Winner: Chris Jericho via DQ
Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns
No matter what their original motive was with this feud recently picking back up, they’ve gotten over Strowman more than I ever thought that they truly could. Whether they want to admit it or not, he’s the biggest babyface on the entire Raw roster. He’s inflicted sheer chaos throughout Raw and to Roman Reigns. And with doing that, the guy is over a babyface due to nothing more than it’s truly been a long time since we’ve seen a total badass on the roster who is also a full-time talent.
With Reigns being sidelined the past two weeks due to the Strowman attack and the WWE then bringing in the death of his brother into the storyline, I don’t see how Reigns doesn’t punch his ticket with revenge on Strowman to finish this feud off.
I think a loss to Strowman again on a big stage hurts him pretty significantly from a booking standpoint, but with Reigns being the storied babyface here, there’s no way he doesn’t come back from injury and take the victory.
Winner: Roman Reigns
article via @HeelTurnPro
image credit – WWE.com