WWE Payback 2016 Predictions
Just about one month removed from one of the most poorly booked and received (at least to the IWC) Wrestlemanias ever, WWE returns with Payback. I’m actually excited about this PPV because of the new talent, new match ups, some uncertainty, and the STORYTELLING leading up to the damn thing. Let’s break down the matches and see if this card will be good and who will (or should) come out on top!
Ryback vs. Kalisto (Champ) for the US Championship
There hasn’t been much build up to this match on Raw. Maybe there has been on Smackdown, but I never watch it anymore due to the contestant recaps, repeat matches, and lack of progression of story lines (I read the spoilers but that’s it). The pre-Wrestlemania match these two had was a typical Raw-type match and I’m guessing this will be the same considering it has been announced for the Kick-Off show and not officially on the card. I don’t see Kalisto leaving as champ as they need someone to run with this title who actually talks on the mic. Winner: Ryback.
Cesaro vs. The Miz (Champ) for the Intercontinental Championship
The Cesaro Section will be pumped up for this match. Miz has been great as a heel (as usual) for the lead up to this match. I think WWE is finally going to pull the trigger on Cesaro and have him run with the title. The only thing is that if Miz leaves with the belt, I can see this feud staying interesting. Miz has had this belt and dropped it so many times now it really doesn’t affect him anymore. This one is hard to call, but I hope WWE gives the crowd a feel good moment and embraces this “new era” they’re talking about with a title change. Winner: Cesaro.
Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho
The verbal lashing these two have given each other over the past few weeks has been good (especially last Monday night), and that’s what giving this feud the fuel it needs. I cannot possibly see WWE booking Jericho to win here. It would make no sense (just like his win at Wrestlemania). I think this match will go about 12 minutes with some back and forth action and Ambrose countering a move of Jericho’s for a win. Winner: Dean Ambrose.
Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens
FINALLY! WWE and their writing team put together a vignette having these two explain their history and why this match is happening. The audience has something to dig their teeth into. It doesn’t matter if you want Owens to win or Zayn to win as they’re building this up as a personal rivalry where both men want to win for bragging rights and to prove they’re the better person. Owens is over with the crowd (you either love or hate Owens – you don’t just sit there silently), so I think Zayn would benefit the most coming out of this as the winner with Owens just snapping at the end, furthering the feud and leading to a best of three with stipulations. Winner: Zayne
Natalya (w/Bret Hart in her corner) vs. Charlotte (Champ w/Ric Flair in her corner) for the Women’s Championship
I’m glad that Natalya is having her day in the sun. These two hopefully will top their match they had in NXT a year and a half ago. I’m sure there will be some wonky finish because of Bret Hart and Ric Flair being at ringside. With Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch waiting in the background, I just don’t see Natalya winning, but the feel good moment will come with Bret doing something physical to Flair and hopefully leaving Charlotte to start carrying the title and her heel tactics by hereself. Winner: Charlotte.
*Note – I said this is my Raw column a few days ago: I have NO IDEA why WWE writers don’t have more than one story line going with the Women on the roster. There are so many talents that can be utilized. Get us to know MORE about the women as people so we can invest in them, their goals, and their story lines. Some revolution….
Enzo and Cass vs. The Vaudevillains (#1 Contenders match for a shot for the Tag Team Championship)
It boggles my mind why they didn’t have this match on Raw and have the winner of this match face The New Day on this show. Anyway, The Vaudevillains won’t win here, and I don’t see them being around within a year (if so, they’ll be like The Ascension). The crowd is red hot for Enzo and Cass and they need a team to be able to go against The New Day’s verbal lashings. Winner: Enzo and Cass.
*Actually, I sat on this prediction for a day and I’m thinking the Dudleys may get involved somehow. If they get involved, The Vaudevillians will win. I guess that would make sense positioning The New Days as faces. I’d like to keep the above prediction as it is, but my spidey-sense is telling me I’m already wrong.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin
I like how these two have been attacking each other and the match has more of a “this is personal” feel. Ziggler will do what he does best: make other wrestlers look good. They need Corbin to win here to get him over as a threat to the roster and a genuine monster – that’s building a new star. There’s just no other option. Corbin would benefit from a quick victory here, but hopefully it goes longer than a squash match so the main WWE audience can see if Corbin can stand with on of WWE’s best talents (that they never know what to do with). Winner: Corbin.
Vince McMahon’s Decision Segment
I know that there are rumblings from some people online and on a certain recap TV program that there may be a brand/roster split because of Shane and The Authority wanting control of Raw. I don’t want that – there’s no need for a roster split because the writers can’t even make 3 hours on Monday night compelling. The ratings tell you that and the lead up to Wrestlemania proved that. People will not flock back to Smackdown. I read the spoilers and have not watched the show in at least three years and have never missed a thing. There will be no roster/brand split from this story line.
I see this segment marking the return of Triple H to get in Shane’s face and/or it will set up a match between Shane and Triple H down the road for control of Raw. That’s what will happen here. I don’t think we’ll have something set in stone by the end of this segment. Where will it go? I can see a power trip angle playing out over the next few weeks until the next PPV, and even Vince announcing an “intern” GM or something until the struggle is resolved. Maybe I’m wrong and have lost all faith in their creative team, but then again, I still watch every week and swear at the TV.
AJ Styles vs. Roman Reigns (Champ) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
I haven’t been this excited for a main event in a long time – and not because of the wrestling. I like how WWE brought in Anderson and Gallows and established their ties with AJ Styles right away (see? The writers CAN do something good!) For the last two weeks, we’ve had uncertainty: is AJ in cahoots with Anderson and Gallows’ attacks on Reigns or is AJ getting upset with his buddies interfering? Are the Usos going to come to Reigns’ aid at the PPV? Is Reigns going to drop the belt? Will Gallows and Anderson shock everyone and cost AJ the match? Will Randy Orton return? Will Seth Rollins return? There’s just so much that COULD happen here.
I don’t want to see a DQ due to interference, but I can see this match ending with that or with an all-out brawl. Another option is WWE could turn Reigns and the Usos full blown heel here and have Reigns cheat to win (due to interference or a cheap shot). I don’t think this feud will end at the PPV and WWE can’t have AJ just can’t lose clean here (unless Uncle Vince does his “I didn’t create this talent and now I’m gonna bury him” BS he always does). I’m guessing Reigns will win, but because of one of the scenarios mentioned above. Winner: Roman Reigns (and I hope I’m wrong).
I’ll hopefully have my review up of the show on Monday!