With Daniel Bryan surrendering the Intercontinental Title due to injury causing despair and the announcement of the Elimination Chamber as a WWE Network exclusive at the end of the month Payback has to be the least anticipated event of the year. Filled with rematches from RAW and Smackdown there is nothing original or eye catching on the event. Last year’s Payback was a cracking event with Evolution vs. The Shield in an elimination match being a particular highlight. What does this year’s event have in store?
The Ascension vs. Curtis Axel and Mandow
The pre show match is at least a fresh bout. From the top team in NXT to a joke on the main roster The Ascension are dead in the water already. Axel and Mandow’s comedy Mega Powers tribute has about two months in it before it gets boring. Axel and Mandow win, do the Mega Powers delayed handshake and move on to a mini feud with The New Day which they lose.
Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
An interesting match as both acts are in serious need of rehabilitation. The biggest fault with the WWE currently is that everyone trades wins so nobody is better than anyone else and everyone looks worse than they were before. Wyatt needs to win this feud and I believe he will win this match with the reunion of the Wyatt Family. I also think/hope that this match will be much better than expected.
Naomi & Tamina vs. The Bellas
Naomi has done a great job since her heel turn and I see her taking the fall here on Nikki to set up a future Divas title match.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
Another repeat. This should be an excellent match as both men are tremendously skilled but the result will mean nothing to either. Has there ever been a match between two former World Heavyweight Champions which has meant less? As Ziggler won at Extreme Rules I’d expect Sheamus to make it one all here.
Neville vs. King Barrett
Deja vu all over again. There have been so many variants of this duo and Sheamus and Ziggler that its already getting tiresome which is a real shame as all four are incredible talents. As the newly crowned King of the Ring this is a match Barrett should win. With the Intercontinental Title up for grabs at the Elimination Chamber event look for these four guys to be involved in that match along with possibly Ryback and Wyatt.
WWE Tag Team Title match
New Day (c) vs. Cesaro & Kidd (Best 2 out of 3)
This match may be the sleeper hit of the event. The New Day were a bust as babyfaces and the crowd let them know about it. Sensibly they were turned into oblivious heels and the results have been terrific. Kidd and Cesaro are among the best workers in the company so if this match is given time expect it to be a corker. New Day to retain.
WWE US Title Match
John Cena (c) vs. Rusev (I Quit)
For the fourth event in a row Cena and Rusev collide. While the matches between the two have been good to decent this series has done nothing for Rusev. Cena’s open challenge for the US Title has been one of the recent highlights of RAW with Cena looking good in the ring so this should be a decent contest. The main story arc here is Lana. Will she cost Rusev the match somehow or will Rusev threaten her meaning Cena will quit to save her getting a pummeling? This is the only thing of interest in this match. John Cena quitting is like Undertaker losing at Wrestlemania, possible but very unlikely. Cena to win but if shenanigans occur and Cena has to be chivalrous then Rusev (hedging my bets I know).
WWE World Championship Match Fatal Four Way
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose
To call the build up to this bout uninspiring is doing a disservice to the word uninspiring. The first time The Shield have been together in the same ring since their break up should be a huge story line. A marquee match at Wrestlemania. However attention here is focused on what will Kane do? Excuse my language but who gives a shit what Kane does? In the ring this has the potential to be a fun match. Ambrose being added was a knee jerk move after the last few weeks of RAW drew very low ratings. Dean has lost more than he’s won since The Shield split so he’s the one taking the fall here. Orton has as much chance of winning this match as I do. Reigns is quietly having a great year on PPV having been in the match of the night on the last three events. It’s a retention for Rollins with interference from J&J Security, Kane and possibly a returning Big Show.
After looking at the card and being thoroughly depressed with the amount of reruns and lack of imagination in the booking believe it or not I am actually looking forward to Payback. There shouldn’t be a bad match on the card and a few have chances to be excellent. As this is a free month on the WWE Network there are worse cards to watch.