Exactly one week after SummerSlam, WWE strike again with another PPV, Payback. Many of us thought it was a mistake in the WWE PPVs’ schedule or a day kept for a special event like Evolution. Well, no. Payback was taken off of WWE’s PPV lineup as all events after WrestleMania 34 became dual-branded in 2018. Three years after its last edition, Payback so is back.
Despite this small gap of time between the two PPVs, only a few matches are rematches or followups of SummerSlam. With Roman Reigns’ comeback and Drew McIntyre’s injury, some new players are entering the game and seeing their names and feuds on the PPV card. Just like SummerSlam, Payback will come at you live from the WWE ThunderDonme inside the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, tonight at 7 PM EST (midnight BST), with a kickoff show one hour before.
Note: Predictions are purely that, predictions. None of us has heard of anything before, we promise.
Big E vs Sheamus
Big E is focused on achieving his biggest WWE dreams, and that makes him a perfect target for Sheamus. Earlier yesterday, it was confirmed on Talking Smack that Big E would face off with The Celtic Warrior at WWE Payback.
The New Day powerhouse defeated Sheamus earlier this month on the blue brand, as Big E has continued to build momentum at the start of his Singles run. Sheamus has built his WWE career by crushing the dreams of the most optimistic Superstars.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Big E – With Xavier and Kofi on the shelf, Big E has finally been given permission to pursue a singles run of his own. It’s difficult to see how longterm this would go, but I at least see him picking up a big win over Sheamus here.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Big E – On his own, he has been absolutely impressive since Kofi’s injury.
Matt Riddle vs King Corbin
Matt Riddle wants to be “The Bro That Runs The Show,” but King Corbin doesn’t think he even deserves a role. After weeks of back-and-forth, the two rivals will meet in the ring at WWE Payback.
Corbin put a “King’s Ransom” out for any Superstar who could prove Riddle didn’t belong on SmackDown. Shorty G made repeated efforts to take down the bounty, but The Original Bro thwarted every attempt. Riddle opened the latest SmackDown with a challenge for Corbin, but the royal Superstar offered Shorty G to do his bidding once again.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Matt Riddle – Riddle’s the shiny new toy on SmackDown, while King Corbin’s the gatekeeper who loses to new talent. While Shorty G could play a factor here, I still expect the King of Bros to pick up a win.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: King Corbin – I’m absolutely not a fan of Corbin’s King attitude but please, King, make Riddle eat one of his flip-flops…
Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs Seth Rollins & Murphy
Though they were robbed of a chance to beat Seth Rollins & Murphy, Dominik & Rey Mysterio will get another opportunity to topple their foes at WWE Payback. After months of attacks and ridicule against his father and his family’s name, Dominik finally stepped into the ring against Rollins at SummerSlam. Dominik not only made his father proud, but he earned the respect of the WWE Universe in one of the most impressive in-ring debuts in recent memory. But he came up short in a valiant effort against the four-time World Champion.
The Mysterios were primed to make the most of their matchup against The Monday Night Messiah and his disciple this past Monday night, and Dominik again impressed, showcasing a spectacular tornado DDT and springboard plancha among other manoeuvres, as well as teaming up with his father for a double-619 on Murphy. With Dominik poised to hit a top-rope frog splash that may have put Murphy away, the ring was seized by RETRIBUTION for an all-out mugging of the Mysterios. Meanwhile, Rollins and Murphy high-tailed it away from ringside to safely watch from a distance with a grin as their adversaries were left lying.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Rey & Dominik Mysterio – Dominik serious outshone any expectations in his debut match last week, but the outcome that night was the right one. It’s a different situation in a tag match. It’s not as damaging if Murphy (for example) takes a pin here.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Murphy & Rollins – Even if Dominik proved he is a talented wrestler, right in his first match, the lack of stipulation and the shadow of RETRIBUTION are not made to give the win to the Mysterios.
Keith Lee vs Randy Orton
The former NXT and NXT North American Champion Keith Lee isn’t exactly sticking his toe into the pool now that he has arrived on the Red brand. Instead, he’s jumping right into the deep end for a heavyweight collision with 13-time World Champion Randy Orton, who was narrowly edged by Drew McIntyre in a vicious slugfest for the WWE Title at SummerSlam.
When The Legend Killer viciously ambushed McIntyre in the backstage area and went to the ring to address that very title bout the next night on RAW, Lee interrupted Orton and immediately challenged him to an impromptu singles clash. Before a winner could be determined, however, McIntyre interfered to get another piece of Orton, resulting in the match being thrown out.
And when McIntyre was being interviewed backstage shortly thereafter, Orton struck again and levelled McIntyre with a punt kick for the second time in one night. A seething Lee then vowed justice for his friend.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Randy Orton – the Internet wrestling world wasn’t best pleased with Keith Lee’s RAW debut. It seems to be par for the course when NXT games get called up to the main roster. Keith Lee can still be a big player on the main roster, but I don’t see him winning here.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Keith Lee – he is not a Legend, so Orton has no reason to kill him. I expect McIntyre to appear, in a way or another, to reignite his feud with Orton.
WWE United States Championship Match
Apollo Crews (c) vs Lashley w/ Shelton Benjamin & MVP
Apollo Crew may have prevailed over MVP, but that doesn’t mean he’s seen the last of The Hurt Business. Crews will have to go through The Hurt Business’ All Mighty when defends his United States Championship against Bobby Lashley at WWE Payback.
Warring with MVP for months, Crews has become the primary target of his loquacious rival’s newly formed battalion. The fast-rising champion turned aside MVP’s best at SummerSlam, but Lashley represents an entirely different challenge with his unparalleled strength.
And few know of Lashley’s brute power better than Crews, who was out of action for weeks after being injured by The All Mighty’s Full Nelson.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Bobby Lashley – The Hurt Business need to regain momentum after a tough few weeks. Lashley is the toughest guy in the group so if he can’t perform when it matters most, the group is as good as finished.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Bobby Lashley – If, at SummerSlam, Benjamin and Lashley were banned from ringside, this time they are not. In a three-on-one situation, Crews can’t win.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship Match
Bayley & Sasha Banks (c) vs Nia Jax & Shayna Baszler
For “The Golden Role Models,” SummerSlam was a tale of two matches, as Sasha Banks assisted Bayley in retaining the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Asuka, though Bayley was unable to return the favour when Banks lost the RAW Women’s Title to The Empress of Tomorrow later in the evening. The Boss was dejected after losing one on her championships, but she and the former Hugger will need to regroup quickly, as they’ll put the tandem gold on the line against Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax at Payback. Meanwhile, Jax and Baszler make for quite the intriguing tandem.
Calling them “reluctant partners” would be quite the understatement, as Baszler and Jax have shown nothing but disdain for one another while getting into multiple melees over the past few weeks. Still, it might behove The Irresistible Force and The Queen of Spades to work together, as a win would net Jax her first championship in more than two years, while Baszler would be a titleholder for the first time since losing the NXT Women’s Championship to Rhea Ripley in December. Baszler and Jax appear to have been drawn together by common enemies, as they halted their latest one-on-one brawl to chase the Women’s Tag Team Champions from the ring on RAW.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Sasha Banks & Bayley – The Golden Role Models seem to be hanging by a thread. Sasha lost her title last week, now it seems that Sasha doesn’t trust Bayley. It would be all too simple for them to lose the tag titles here, but that seems too obvious.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Sasha Banks & Bayley – they will probably have no need to cheat as Baszler and Jax will cost themselves the win. Two egos like theirs are made to confront, not to team up.
WWE Universal Championship Match – No Holds Barred Match
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns w/ Paul Heyman
The Big Dog left no room for interpretation when he made his shocking return at SummerSlam: He wants the Universal Championship. But to get it, Roman Reigns will have to go through two of the most powerful and demented forces in all of WWE as he challenges new champion “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt and “The Monster” Braun Strowman in a massive No Holds Barred Triple Threat Match.
Locked in a bizarre and heated conflict for weeks, Wyatt and Strowman saw their issues catalyzed by Strowman’s descent into madness, completing his change into “The Monster.” But when their bitter rivalry came to a cataclysmic head at SummerSlam, not even Strowman’s transformation was enough to overcome “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt in a barbaric Falls Count Anywhere Match. Wyatt needed not one, but two Sister Abigails on the ring’s exposed wooden boards to keep “The Monster” down.
Reigns wasted no time after the titanic title tilt to Spear his way right into the Universal Championship picture, leaving both men lying after an intense assault and hoisting the Universal Title high. This Friday on SmackDown, Reigns caught everyone by surprise when he revealed Reigns turned to Paul Heyman to help him improve his terms.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Roman Reigns – It seems to me that the entire point of Payback being a week after SSlam was to get the Universal title back on Roman as soon as possible. But I am excited for badass Roman paired with Heyman.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Roman Reigns – WWE have been waiting for his comeback since the beginning of the pandemic to give him the belt back. There is no doubt in my mind he would have won at WrestleMania if he hadn’t decided to put his family and health first.
All pics courtesy of WWE