There are quite a few matches on this card – some predictable and some that could go either way. Here’s what we think we ultimately end up going down at WWE Payback:
Kalisto vs. Ryback (U.S Championship Match)
This match is especially difficult to predict who will walk out of as champ because neither participant seems to have any build for them. Both Kalisto and Ryback seemed to have been forgotten about despite the fact that Kalisto is the United States Champion. WWE seems indecisive as to whether they are pushing the Lucha Dragon or not as he is often paired with this tag team partner Sin Cara instead of fighting in singles matches. On the other hand, Ryback has been neglected by the company and this match feels as though management remembered they needed to have a U.S title match. It’s hard to be invested in this match when the company clearly isn’t either. In all honesty, I can see this going either way.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
Possibly the easiest match to foresee the outcome of on this entire card, this match is to put the new guy Baron Corbin over. Dolph is WWE’s go to guy to make someone look good as the man sells like no one else. Corbin needs to look dominant in this outing in order to achieve long term success. It won’t necessarily be a squash match but I don’t see Ziggler getting much offense in in an effort to make Baron look like the next great killer in the company.
Prediction: Baron Corbin
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. The Vaudevillains (No. 1 Contenders for Tag Team Titles)
Enzo and Cass continually get the biggest crowd reactions each and every week as they teach crowds around the world how to spell things out. And that is precisely why they are going to lose to the Vaudevillains at Payback. At this time, both The New Day and Enzo and Cass are extremely popular so it would be an odd choice for WWE to book the two top faces in the tag team division against each other. Make no mistake, Enzo and Cass will someday hold the bronze penny belts but not yet. They have unfinished business with the Dudleys so expect D-Von and Bubba to interfere leading to a Vaudevillain win.
Prediction: The Vaudevillains
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
As Sami Zayn stated in his interview with Chris Jericho on Talk is Jericho, he and Kevin Owens are destined to do this forever. Zayn and Owens have such a natural chemistry in the ring and we can look forward to seeing them duke it out for years to come. Owens is arguably the top heel in the business right now and Zayn is rapidly rising in popularity as the mainstream wrestling fans get more exposed to him and his style. The future seems bright for both men which is why Kevin will win on Sunday. For the sake of continuing this feud and adding more fuel to the fight, Kevin will win, possibly by dirty means. This could lead to a match at Extreme Rules maybe even an I Quit or submission match.
Prediction: Kevin Owens
Dean vs. Chris Jericho
Dean desperately needs to win here, which is a sentiment that seems to be echoed every pay per view. After scoring a shock victory over AJ Styles at Wrestlemania, expect Chris Jericho to lose here. The buildup for this match has been incredibly one sided as Jericho has nearly always had the upperhand. Following that logic, Ambrose should walk away with his hand raised this Sunday. However, the company has been known to surprise before.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Cesaro vs. The Miz (Intercontinental Championship)
It’s nice to see Cesaro be put in something of significance. Hopefully, this spells good things for the future of the Swiss Superman. WWE may finally be realizing the potential of the man, as illustrated by the pop he received upon his return the night after Wrestlemania. All that being said, look for The Miz to retain as champ at least for the time being. The Miz never needs any added heat as the man knows how to get booed. WWE seemed to want to reestablish him as a heel as illustrated by the reintroduction of his wife Maryse. It was a smart move as it gives Miz something new or different to him. Make no mistake, Cesaro will absolutely take the belt from Miz in the future but Payback is not the place it’ll happen as it would give added heat to Miz.
Prediction: The Miz
Charlotte w. Ric Flair vs. Natalya w. Bret Hart (Women’s Championship)
Bret Hart’s appearance adds a bit of intrigue to this match but his roles has to be incredibly limited. He really can’t take any bumps but it would be nice to see him put Ric Flair in a sharpshooter. Natalya is capable of putting on a great match with anyone so long as they are given a fair amount of time to do so. Charlotte excels as the heel fans love to hate. It would be wise for WWE to begin to sow the seeds for a split between Charlotte and her father however. She is more than capable of excelling on her own and that seems to be the trajectory of her story. The current rumor is for Charlotte to lose the title to Sasha at Summerslam in Brooklyn so expect her to retain but don’t be surprised to see the upset.
Mr. McMahon decides control of Raw
Shane McMahon has been running Raw for the past few weeks and the product does have an air of freshness to it that the company so desperately needed. However, how Shane has been running it has been a bit odd seeing as he lost to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania 32. WWE seems to have said screw it and made him GM anyway. So, in an effort to clear this confusion up, at Payback Vince McMahon will decide who will run Raw, Shane or Stephanie McMahon. Rumors have been circulating for months about a potential return of a brand split in the near future so expect those seeds to be planted Sunday. Vince could end up giving Shane control of Monday Night Raw and give Steph control of Thursday Night Smackdown which could be the prominent story throughout the summer, maybe even leading to a match between Shane and Triple H for control.
Prediction: The Brand Split Returns
Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles (WWE Heavyweight Championship)
Adding Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows adds a lot of intrigue and story-telling possibilities to this title match Sunday. Could Anderson and Gallows help Styles win the championship? Will they turn on AJ? Will Finn Balor debut and take control of Bullet Club to cheat AJ out of the title setting up a feud there? There’s many different questions this raises and it adds some excitement to the match. However, one thing is all but guaranteed: Reigns will still be champion. Despite the fan backlash and the event taking place in Chicago, Vince seems to be sticking to THE guy Roman Reigns. For better or worse, Reigns is the one Vince wants to be the face of the company and I just don’t see a man who has yet to lose in months lose to an Indy darling. Vince will always prefer his handpicked guys over those that have served in other promotions. That’s just the way it is. Styles could eventually win the championship, but not at Roman’s expense. However, with such a hostile crowd as Chicago, this could open the door for the elusive Reigns heel turn.
Prediction: Roman Reigns
Agree or disagree with our predictions? Sound off below!