But the undercard looks pretty sharp. What might be the most understated story of the night is CM Punk’s return in his home city. He’s going to get an amazing welcome from that fanbase which should make the crowd hot overall.
I’m going to look at the card and see if I can figure out where things are going.
Here’s my WWE Payback Preview:
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow
I think we know where this is going. It also shows that they really have nothing for Sheamus. This is no more than your normal Smackdown match. Sheamus will win and move on to wherever he’s going.
Prediction: Sheamus in a squash
AJ Lee vs. Kaitlyn
So now both are crazy chicks? I think AJ will eventually win the Divas title. I’m not sure it’s here, but the only two titles I see changing on this show would be this one and possibly the Intercontinental title. AJ’s character is head and shoulders above Kaitlyn’s and I think AJ just being in more segments because of Dolph with the title will do more for the Divas title than anything Kaitlyn could do for it.
Prediction: AJ by pinfall after Big E shenanigans
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
If they cut time from a match on this show, I hope it’s here. Ambrose is amazing and should stay strong, but it should be a 5 minute slobber knocker. I can also see Kane winning by DQ thanks to a Shield run-in to set up the tag team title match. In fact, that’s what I’m going to predict.
Prediction: Kane by DQ
Tag Team Championship
The Shield Vs. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton
It seems like the goal is to create a feud between Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton which is fine by me. But the question is, who will turn heel? The Randy Orton heel turn has seemingly been teased forever, but he’s over as a unique babyface. But Daniel Bryan is massively over. So it would seem that if the goal is to turn one, you’d turn Orton, unless Vince Russo was booking.
The match should be fantastic. Bryan, Orton, and Kane beat The Shield in a 6-man on Smackdown, so I expect the Shield to defend their title and win the match.
Prediction: The Shield (Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) by pinfall after Orton turns on Bryan
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel
The only interest for me here is whether or not they give Axel the IC strap. His father was one of (if not the) greatest IC champions in WWE history. Barrett and Miz has been an alarmingly bad feud both because of how badly Barrett has been booked and also because WWE is simply missing the boat with Miz. He needs to go back heel. And the figure four has never been less over in history. Even Tito Santana used to get the people to pop for the figure four.
Prediction: Axel by pinfall (stealing the pin on Barrett after Miz hits The Skull Crushing Finale)
World Heavyweight Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del RioWhat was supposed to be a three-way at the previous PPV is now a one-on-one match between Ziggler and Del Rio. If Ziggler is going to be taken seriously, it’s a must-win match for him. Del Rio hasn’t succeeded in his new role and really, Ricardo Rodriguez is a much better babyface than he is. I think Del Rio is a bit stuck based on where he is. Ziggler should win and I think he’ll try to do a few spectacular things since he’s been gone for several weeks because of his concussion. I expect Ziggler to win, but they’re probably wrestling again.
Prediction: Ziggler by pinfall
Best In The World Match
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
This is the match I’m most interested in on the show. Before they went with Punk vs. The Undertaker at WrestleMania, I thought they could’ve done the reverse feud from WrestleMania 28, with Jericho as the face and Punk as the heel.
That’s what they sort of have right now, but they haven’t had Punk’s input because he’s been on television. So the match is literally just about who is the better wrestler, which can work as well. I don’t think they beat Punk in his hometown and in his first match back and Jericho loses more than most top guys, so I think that’s what we’ll have. I hope they give them at least 20 minutes to put on a show (and maybe even a match of the year possibility).
Prediction: CM Punk by pinfall
Three Stages Of Hell For The WWE Championship
John Cena vs. Ryback
After their last match, I’m not looking too much forward to this one, though I still think it has a chance to be a decent brawl. This has nothing to do with Cena either. I’m just less of a fan of Ryback by the minute. This is where size is everything. Without it, Ryback isn’t even in developmental. He can’t talk well. He doesn’t wrestle well. And his personality is a zero. It’s John Cena vs. a broomstick.
There’s no three stages without them splitting the first two falls (talk about giving that way) so Ryback has to win once of the falls. My guess is that he wins the Lumberjack match, Cena wins the Tables match, and then finally, Cena wins the Ambulance match. I sure as heck hope this isn’t 45 minutes long.
Prediction: John Cena