Liam Hoofe predicts the results of Sunday’s WWE Payback event…
WrestleMania 33 is now in the rear view mirror and the fallout from the event has seen several major changes in the WWE landscape.
Superstars and championships have moved homes, NXT superstars have made their arrivals on the main roster, and most surprisingly of all, Jinder Mahal is now the number one contender for the WWE championship – what a time to be a wrestling fan.
The company returns to its brand specific pay per views this weekend, with their annual Payback event. The card features several big matches, despite the Universal title being absent from proceedings. Here are my match by match predictions for Sunday’s big show.
Pre-Show: Enzo and Cass Vs Gallows and Anderson
Finally, the match we’ve all been waiting to see. With both teams having no direction post-WrestleMania, they will go head to head on the Payback pre-show this Sunday night. Who will win? Does anyone care?
Neither team has any real momentum at the minute, and this is nothing more than a filler bout. I’m giving it to Enzo and Cass because faces tend to win on pre-shows.
Prediction: Enzo and Cass win
Samoa Joe Vs Seth Rollins
WWE have a strange situation on their hands with this one. Samoa Joe is unbeaten on WWE television but has lost some of the original momentum he arrived with, having had nothing of any substance to do over WrestleMania season.
Rollins, on the other hand, is finally started to get over as a face and pick up some form after his acclaimed match with Triple H with Wrestlemania. If the company decide to go with a clean finish here, they will effectively have to end one of the two stars’ momentum, and choosing who to do that to is tricky.
Because of that, I don’t see this bout having a distinctive finish. Joe has been booked as a monster since his arrival and having him get DQ’d, and destroying Rollins in the process would protect both men and prolong the feud even further. With Extreme Rules being the next Raw PPV, I expect the two to clash there in a stipulation that protects both men.
Prediction: Seth Rollins wins via DQ
The Hardy Boyz Vs Sheamus and Cesaro
The Hardy Boyz made an instant impact on their return to WWE, picking up the WWE tag team titles at WrestleMania and instantly rejuvenating a tired tag division.
Unfortunately for them, however, I see that reign being short lived. The Hardyz have been void of any character development since their return, presumably due to their legal dispute with Impact Wrestling over the use of their broken gimmick. With that dispute now reportedly settled, I fully expect the two to bring their broken persona to the big stage.
After weeks of shaking hands with their foes, I sense Sheamus and Cesaro may turn heel at Payback, winning the titles and sending Matt and Jeff into a spiral that will see the birth of their broken gimmick in the WWE, just in time for SummerSlam.
Prediction: Sheamus and Cesaro become two-time tag champs
Austin Aries Vs Neville
Austin Aries and Neville had one of the best matches at WrestleMania last month, and I fully expect them to have one of the best matches on the night Sunday as well.
Aries has been great since making his step up to the main roster, but for me, Neville’s title reign is still the best thing about the Cruiserweight division – Sunday night doesn’t feel like the right time to bring that to an end. Having TJ Perkins cost Aries the belt Sunday night will give him something to do while Neville works his way through the rest of the division before Aries finally gets one over on Neville in the coming months.
Prediction: Neville remains King of the Cruiserweights
Alexa Bliss Vs Bayley
The Raw women’s division is finally beginning to get some stability after the Charlotte/Sasha title switches at the back-end of last year, and Bayley’s reign is beginning to feel increasingly credible after her back to back PPV wins over the last 2 months.
Bayley will retain on Sunday night, despite a valiant effort from Bliss, who shouldn’t be damaged too much from a defeat here. WWE will continue to plant the seeds for a Sasha heel turn, and the two will finally come face to face at SummerSlam.
Prediction: Bayley retains
Kevin Owens Vs Chris Jericho
With the winner of this match set to become a permanent member of the SmackDown roster, the result on Sunday night seems a fairly obvious one. The two’s feud has fizzled out since Owens’ switch to Tuesday nights, and the match on Sunday night will bring an end to things. Owens is winning this one.
Result: Kevin Owens retains
Braun Strowman Vs Roman Reigns
WWE are doing one helluva job building Braun Strowman as a monster at the minute, and to have him lose to Reigns on Sunday night would be a bad decision. Brock Lesnar will need a big opponent at SummerSlam in August, and it would appear as if Braun is being primed exactly for that role.
Reigns will likely be the man to topple Lesnar, but he doesn’t need a win here, and the company can sell his injury as the reason for his defeat – setting up a future rematch between the two in the process.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see a stipulation of some sort added to this last minute – perhaps an Ambulance match, to protect Reigns and give Braun the victory.
Prediction: Braun continues his reign of dominance.
House of Horrors Match: Bray Wyatt Vs Randy Orton
Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt delivered the most disappointing match of this year’s WrestleMania, and their feud has been dead in the water for a very long time.
This Sunday the two will square off in the first-ever ‘House of Horrors’ match, though it rumours are to be believed the WWE title will not be on the line here, which just adds to the ridiculousness.
What exactly a House of Horrors match entails is anybody’s guess. Expect to see more silly visuals projected onto the ring, and a few of Bray’s usual tropes chucked in for good measure – do not, however, expect a good match. Bray has talked his usual inane nonsense in the build-up to the match, giving us no clear idea how things will play out, though if the internet is to be believed segments of the match are going to be pre-recorded.
As for the result, Randy is definitely winning this one. If the title is not on the line, it still makes no sense to have your current WWE champion lose to the man he beat at WrestleMania for the belt. Perhaps Finn Balor may interfere here, or maybe even Luke Harper. Whatever the end result of this match, it’s likely going to be very unsatisfying.
Prediction: Randy Orton wins
Who do you think is going to win on Sunday night? Let us know in the comments below, and let Liam know on Twitter…