michael dworkis previews tonight’s ppv …
Did you know there is a pay-per-view this Sunday? It is WWE Payback! What? Never heard of this before? It is a brand new event name. Perhaps with the flood of stipulation-type PPVs, WWE wanted to reign it in, dial it back, or whatever downplaying cliché you can think of. This is a feud-based PPV. Sounds strange, I know. One would think, these days, every pay-per-view would be feud-based just on the way creative booking has been the norm for the past ten years.
There was once a time where contenders for titles were just announced, and the two combatants would only have brief interactions before their highlighted match. That was back in the 1980’s and 90’s. By the time the Attitude Era was in full swing, it was all about grudges and challenges.
Before I go on yet another nostalgic tangent, back to WWE Payback.
John Cena vs. Ryback in a Three Stages of Hell for the WWE Championship
If Cena wins, WWE creative had better come up with something good for Ryback. He better lost by interference or something. If he does not win the title, after all this hype, and only to serve as main event fodder for Cena, then his career might as well be over. Trade spots with Wade Barrett. Ryback is a beast. As a face, we wanted him to maul people, we wanted him to be champion. As a heel, we still want him to maul people and I especially want him to beat Cena for the WWE belt. This will be long, and possibly a painful match for everyone.
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
This should just be the main event right here. The last two encounters were nothing short of spectacular. With Punk hot off his match with The Undertaker at WrestleMania, his career has never been stronger and you can see it in the ring, how he performs like it is his last match. Chas V’Shalom. Jericho is on his what, fifth run in WWE now? There seems to be new life after the Fandango feud, possibly Jericho plans on turning it up also to impress management to start putting him back in title hunts. In either case, Punk vs. Jericho is a win-win for everyone. ‘Nuff Said.
Beardy & The Viper vs. The Shield – WWE Tag Team Championships
Kane vs. Dean Ambrose – United States Championship
Whatever their team name winds up voted on, Randy Orton better thank whatever god he prays to for being paired with the best mat-based technical submission specialist WWE has on its current roster. Orton, stagnating for the last two years finds himself in the uncomfortable situation of having to develop a personality and not rely on using the same fourth-grade level vocabulary he has grown accustomed to. I am not knocking Orton… Well, not that much, but the Kane/Bryan team was a lot more than just in the ring, but their verbal partnership was so well regarded and unbelievably over, it became a focal point in remaining together as Team Hell No for as long as they did. Orton, likely not used to that. Get used to it pal. Orton is definitely the odd-man-out in this trio of comedic genius. Will Bryan and Orton defeat Rollins and Reigns for the titles? We all know it would be very interesting to see that happen. The Shield has a short losing streak going against the trio, with Bryan beating Rollins clean on Raw and Kane with a DQ win over Ambrose. Then, on SmackDown, we got the huge surprise finish with Kane, Bryan, and Orton scoring the clean win over the Sheild, thanks to Bryan forcing Rollins to tap out. With all the craziness going on, it would not surprise me, if Orton turned on Bryan, and aligning himself with The Shield, or even pulling a “I walk alone” heel character again. I am not expecting a title change, but I am expecting a solid match between Kane and Dean Ambrose. If Kane does win the title, I expect Ambrose to win it back at SummerSlam. Aside from what has already been said above, I do expect this triangle between Kane, Bryan, and Orton to continue up until SummerSlam.
AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn – Diva Title
I have never seen a weaker Diva Champion in my life. Unless some major swerve is in the works, I will have little care for the result of this match.
The Miz vs. Curtis Axel vs. Wade Barrett for the Intercontinental Championship
BYE TITLE! BYEEEEEEE!!! Bye bye IC Strap!! Nice knowing you! It will likely be a good match as there are three solid ring-veterans (yes, Axel IS a ring vet, unless you have the memory of a traffic signal and forgot that he has been wrestling for a few years already) competing for the title. I expect Axel to win the belt, further his push as a serious wrestler among the “Paul Heyman Guy” stable.
The wild card, not in this match is the recently injured Fandango. Having originally scheduled to be included (and likely win) the match, Fandango was sidelined with a bigtime concussion. Being replaced by Axel may stall his run as Intercontinental Champion. Fandango built a feud between both The Miz and Wade Barrett which was the clear sign he would win the title. I expect Curtis Axel to win, because it will get him over a serious wrestler, rather than a guy who can only win cleanly over Sin Cara. Both Barrett and Miz have nothing to gain by holding the title, and with Fandango out for 3-to-4 weeks, Axel is the most logical choice of champion.
Then again, when does WWE Creative do anything logical?
Speaking of concussions, anyone noticing a bad trend lately? First Ziggles, now Dangoles? Time to dial back the intensity of the matches folks. Bring it back down to the mat with submission based wrestling and put the brainbusters away for a while, shall we?
Alberto del Rio vs. Dolph Ziggler – World Heavyweight Championship
Swagger is out with a so-called injury. Zeb Colter, during commentary on RAW made it sound like the injury is a cover-up-conspiracy by WWE. So, I am guessing Swagger is being told to take time off, finaly fulfilling his sentence for incidents a few months ago. It makes sense for Colter to begin scouting new talent, possibly recruiting Antonio Cesaro. Or maybe Colter was just there to start a pointless feud with Sin Cara, who I should add, botched a boatload of moves on Wednesday Main Event. Anyway, to the actual match, Ziggler is back from a concussion and Del Rio is ready to roll for another title-run. Now, if Ziggler is still suffering lingering injuries, then no surprise to see him drop the title back to Del Rio. I certainly hope that is not the case. Ziggler is a phenomenal star, much in the way Edge continued to main event even after multiple sidelining injuries. My concerns are obvious. Ziggler winning the World Heavyweight Championship was huge. Once he finally did it, the push stopped, the teasing over, and the hype all gone. All of a sudden, the World Title became an afterthought. Swagger and Del Rio are great as top contenders, and Ziggler is champion material. Then he got injured, no Ziggy wrestling on TV now. We need a big performance by Ziggler at Payback to remind WWE Creative just how incredible he is and why he should be main eventing Raw and SmackDown.
WWE Payback looks to be quite decent. The crazy thing is the Cena/Ryback trio of matches appears to be the weakest out of everything, including the Diva Title match. There are a lot of potential show-stealers here. Hell, even the Pre-show match of Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow looks better than Cena/Ryback. Maybe a switch needs to happen, put Three Stages of Hell on the pre-show!