In just a few short hours, WWE will emit the second annual Payback event LIVE from Chicago, IL. Below I will detail what I think of each match, where it could go from here, and what we could expect tonight along with my take on who we could see scoring the victory. Without wasting any more time, let’s dig into the card:
PRE-SHOW: El Torito vs. Hornswoggle (Mask vs. Hair)
This feud has really been entertaining for me. I’ve been a fan of Hornswoggle’s for some time now and he hasn’t been able to shine all that much in the 8 years that he has been with the company since his brief run as Cruiserweight Champion because of his size. Now, WWE has another smaller sized guy to complement Hornswoggle and I really like watching these men in the ring. It may seem comical because of the aforementioned size of the men compared to the height of most other, more traditional wrestlers. The “WeeLC” gimmick match didn’t help make it any less comical either, but the men are excellent competitors who know their way around the ring. I really enjoy watching them work and when they really get going, I’m not laughing, certainly not tonight when El Torito locks horns with Hornswoggle in a wager match. These two, along with their tag team partners Los Matadores and 3MB respectively, have crossed paths multiple times over the last couple of months, but never have the stakes been higher. Poor El Torito even got his tail ripped off last Monday, so now the bull will wager his mask against Hornswoggle’s hair. It was all fun and games at Extreme Rules, but I think play time is over and this match will see a lot of crazy action. In conclusion, I see Hornswoggle playing the role of the dutiful veteran heel, and he could get shaved. As a matter of fact, I want Hornswoggle to get shaved because I’m not a very big fan of his current hairstyle. It just doesn’t look like it fits him at all. It’ll be really entertaining to watch 3MB try to stop the shaving only to have Los Matadores interfere, and then bald Hornswoggle kicks and screams the entire time left crying in a lump of his own hair.
WINNER: El Torito
Rusev vs. Big E
With the way Rusev and Lana have been all about Russia lately, I really think that this match should be a Flag match (a type of match in which the way to win is to remove the flag of your country off of a pole attached to the turnbuckle that is your opponent’s corner), but a singles match would fine too. Big E lives up to the name. He’s massive, but so is Rusev. Rusev is brand new, but Big E was a strong Intercontinental Champion. Both men have huge momentum to ride. I think Rusev will win this though, if not I’ll be surely shocked. There’s not much else to say past that.
WWE DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP: Paige vs. Alicia Fox
It’s been quite some time since a diva has entertained me as much as Alicia Fox, much less one who is more entertaining the more she loses. With that said, I really think that Paige’s reign as Divas Champion is only just getting started. The current run of Alicia Fox is based on her losing. We will see another temper tantrum from Alicia and that’s exactly what the people want to see. I just found a video yesterday of Alicia Fox pouring soda on herself set to the titantron of Stone Cold Steve Austin. She has found a way to connect to the fans and give them entertainment without even having to win the match. I love Alicia Fox and character development in the divas division is a big deal. I love her character, but for the character to work she has to lose. Tonight at Payback, Alicia Fox will not become Divas Champion,but she has the best chance of anyone to steal the show.
WINNER and STILL WWE DIVAS CHAMPION: Paige
WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam
As much as I’d love to see RVD carrying gold again in WWE, the reaction that Bad News Barrett has gotten lately has been unreal for a man on his fourth reign. He has finally found a groove for his character and he is making the most of it. I really think those in power at WWE are seeing something in Barrett as well. I think his reign is just getting started and RVD is that high caliber stepping stone that a guy like Barrett needs to score a victory over while putting on a great show to truly establish this run as the one that we all should remember. We will likely see a Five Star Frog Splash, but it’ll be the Bull Hammer Elbow that will seal the deal in this one.
WINNER and STILL WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION: Bad News Barrett
WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP: Sheamus vs. Cesaro
Just like Barrett and Paige, this current United States title run of Sheamus’ has only just begun, but just like Hornswoggle and RVD, Sheamus has been around for a while. Sheamus is a former WWE Champion, a former World Heavyweight Champion, and a former United States Champion. He’s been around long enough to make a name for himself that ascends the strap which he currently holds in his possession. Cesaro, on the other hand, last held the United States Championship a little over two years ago when he lost it to Kofi Kingston on Raw. I firmly believe that Cesaro is destined for great things in the coming year. I stand by my claim that Cesaro will be in the WWE Championship title picture by Survivor Series. I could see him carrying the Money in the Bank briefcase as well. Why can’t he build momentum by beating Sheamus for the United States Championship tonight at Payback? Sheamus doesn’t need the United States Championship. Nevertheless Cesaro could just as easily lose to Sheamus tonight and turn around and become #1 Contender to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on Mondyay, but I just can’t see that happening. Cesaro is on the rise. He has a new theme song, nickname, and manager. He’s being groomed for greatness and he will be there soon enough, but for now groundwork must be laid. By returning to the United States Championship, Cesaro can get back on the push that he seemed to be on in 2011. He can bring prestige back to the United States Championship with a solid 6-7 month run or if my prediction hold true, he can cash in Money in the Bank at Survivor Series and be the first person to ever win the WWE World Heavyweight Champion while holding the United States Championship. This one may be the biggest swerve on the card, and I may just be siding with favorites here, but I think Chicago could see Cesaro walk out with new gold around his waist. If he goes past Survivor Series as Mr. Money in the Bank and United States Champion, I could even see Cesaro unifying the United States and Intercontinental Championships by next year’s Wrestlemania…as if Paul Heyman needed anything more to gloat about.
WINNER and NEW UNITED STATES CHAMPION: Cesaro
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (Last Man Standing)
A lot can be said about this feud, but this is the third meeting on pay-per-view between the leader of the Cenation and the leader of the Wyatt Family. Each of these guys have used the other to write a new chapter in their careers. That can be said more of John Cena, who has ten years on Bray in WWE and countless titles to go along with it. This feud has really hit something of a reset on Cena and he’s has been closer to the mid-card and even appeared on Smackdown more in the last few months than he has in the last 5 years. This has been a lot of fun, but this is the rubber match between the two men. I could easily see John Cena winning, but I think it would fit the feud more for these two men to go into a double countout. Nethier men can rise before the count of ten. They can go all over the arena. Bray can get laid out by Cena and Harper and Rowan could knock Cena down at the same time causing neither man to answer the ref’s count. It would throw a wrench into the storyline and leave the score even at 1-1 going into Money in the Bank where Cena, Wyatt, or both could end up in a WWE Championship match or the Money in the Bank ladder match preoccupying both of them until SummerSlam where they can finally settle the score once and for all, or even start of Best of 7 series as a way to end their final encounter. Fall number 3 wouldn’t be decided until well through the Summer or even Fall. If I was running the show that’s exactly what I would do. Payback is the perfect setting right in the middle of “less than major” pay-per-view events to allow the story to drag a bit, and with the WWE Title picture up in the air following Daniel Bryan’s surgery, having these men involved in something that would distract them from their main dispute would stretch the tale even further to give the men a grander stage in which to finish their business. If I knew for sure that Payback would end that way, I’d be beyond excited for tonight’s event, more than I already am. Whether the Cesaro thing happens or not, I really think things aren’t over between Cena and Wyatt and what better way to keep it going than to leave us without a true winner when the dust settles in Chicago.
RESULT: No Contest
Daniel Bryan’s Decision
Long story short on this one. Stephanie says that if Bryan doesn’t relinquish the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, then she’ll fire Brie Bella. I could see this going both ways. Brie has talked candidly in the past about not being ready to hang up the boots, but wanting to start a family soon. The part about not being ready to walk away could just be a distraction from the storyline. This could be one of the best ways to write her out while she’s still young enough to raise her family. On that front, I really hope Bryan keeps the title. Everyone deserves to have a family, especially if they really want one. Those who know me know that I’ve never been one to put a career above anything, especially family. If that’s what Brie Bella is wanting to do, and the WWE is supporting that then this could be working toward that and I can respect that. If not, I really want Bryan to drop that title if not simply to shake things up again. The whole Daniel Bryan Story at Wrestlemania built toward him beating the odds and winning two matches in the same night and walking out WWE World Heavyweight Champion on April 6, and the Authority have been trying to take the titles off of him ever since. I would love if Bryan gave up the titles to save his wife’s job and eventually won them back in a few weeks after the landscape has changed yet again. No one really knows how serious his injury is except him and a few others backstage. If it’s really bad, I don’t want to see him end up like so many others who destroy their bodies for the sake of the fans. If the man with whom I share a birthday disappears to keep himself from turning into Edge, that’s fine with me. Longevity should be key here and he needs to think about himself. One direction it could take is that Brie could tell Bryan in a backstage segment that she understands what has to be done and basically accept the fact that she is ready to be fired so that he husband can keep spreading the Yes Movement only to have Bryan make the decision to give up the titles to save her. Then Stephanie can just fire Brie anyway. That would be hilarious and awesome! I’m a big fan of Stephanie McMahon especially when she gets that evil crinkle in her nose. That would be truly diabolical and shake things up tremendously along the way. I’m already looking forward to Money in the Bank as the road to SummerSlam is really heating up…
Evolution vs. Shield (No Holds Barred Elimination)
I REALLY don’t know who to pick here. Logically, Shield won last month, so Evolution should win this one just to even the score and carry us into Money in the Bank with an even score, but with Batista rumored to be leaving soon for his movie promotions and the fact that whether Bryan relinquishes the title or not, Orton is the very next person in line to get anything close to a title shot. Things with the Shield need to come to a close sooner rather than later so that Orton can return to the title picture. I’ve enjoyed the return of Evolution and I could really see something screwy happen tonight that would put Evolution over Shield in this match, but I can’t decide which way to lean here for sure. This is the ultimate in toss ups. I could really see the Shield coming out on top in this one. One thing I know for sure is that it will be a war for the ages just like the first one.
Please feel free to leave your predictions in the comments below or join me at http://www.predictwweppv.weebly.com to add your predictions to the pool of others in a yearly game to see who knows WWE best. Tonight looks to be a fun night, if NXT Takeover had anything to say about it. I can’t make any promises, but some time within the week, I may try to return with the official results, how well I did, and what this means for Money in the Bank.
For now, this is Entertainment Escape. We hope you enjoy the show.