Hello fellow WNW readers and welcome to the latest installment of WNW Predicts. Jesse Sherwood has very kindly asked me to fill in for him in posting the predicts this time around and I want to thank him for this awesome opportunity. Predicting the outcomes of the matches at Payback this month we have myself, Zack Krasney, CJ Blaze, Lee Herbert, and Paul Rathert on full picks while Kendra Bunyon, Jesse Sherwood, and Eric Staley (aka Moose) are heading up the quick picks. Let's head on into the predictions and see what everyone has to say about Payback!
Curtis Axel and Macho Mandow vs. The Ascension - Pre-show
Note - Not everyone had a prediction for this match but it's only a pre-show match
I had hope for Damien Sandow on his own, but WWE appears to be having second thoughts already. Instead of chasing the Intercontinental Championship, Sandow is teaming with directionless Curtis Axel to take on The Ascension on the Payback Kickoff. I shouldn't care about this match, but I do. The new Mega Powers has my attention. Could Macho Mandow and Axelmania shock us all and possible walk out of Elimination Chamber with the Tag Team Titles? The Ascension needs to lose and go away. If Sandow, and Axel for that matter, has any chance of staying relevant, they need this win. WWE should add a stipulation to this where the winner gets a spot in the Chamber in two weeks.
CJ's predicted winner: Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel
The forming of a new age Mega Powers took place recently between Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow, although if I’m honest I see this as more of a step backwards for Sandow, as Curtis Axel is very much in the midst of being very much a lost cause. However if one man can help turn around another stars failing career it’s Mizdow, who single handedly helped elevate the Miz to a whole new level last year. Maybe he can do the same with Axel, who is such a great talent who needs some direction. The Ascension have very much struggled since their transition from NXT to the main roster and have found connecting with the WWE Universe isn't quite so simple. Out of these two teams I can’t look past Axel and Macho Mandow picking up the victory here. I’d like to see them involved in the Elimination Chamber tag tam title match, should one be booked in two weeks time, as while they are not going to be genuine contenders they will be more than definitely one of the fan favorite teams headed into that one. I’m not expecting anything huge from this match at Payback, but I do expect Mandow and Axel to come out looking like a team with potential.
Jamie's predicted winner: Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel
Jesse's predicted winner: Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel
Kendra's predicted winner: Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel
Eric's predicted winner: Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel
Nikki Bella and Brie Bella vs. Naomi and Tamina
Here’s some logic for you! Naomi feels like she hasn't been given any opportunities in the Diva’s division. She wants her chance in the Diva’s division for the Diva’s title. She gets a Diva’s Championship match at Extreme Rules and loses because the Bella’s cheat. Instead of parlaying that into a rematch, she gets a tag team partner to challenge them for NOTHING. There is nothing on the line, there is no #1 contendership, there is no championship match. It is, again, terrible booking with no logic. Naomi and Tamina to go over because they need to make them look better, and Tamina is returning to the ring. I’m not even going to write more because, bleh.
Zack's predicted winner: Naomi and Tamina
Naomi should be challenging Nikki Bella for the Divas Championship again, but instead, she’s stuck in this tag team match. I can’t complain too much because WWE is allowing four divas to have a spot on the card. I've always liked Tamina, so here’s to hoping her being partnered with the highly-talented Naomi works out for the best. Fans are still confused on if The Bella’s are babyface or heel . It doesn't really matter to me, as I hope Naomi and Tamina win on Sunday.
CJ's predicted winner: Naomi and Tamina
The team of Naomi and Tamina is a unique pairing that I think have a bright future as two of the divisions most dominant Divas. Naomi doesn't really need any muscle but having Tamina there to back her up really makes her a force to be reckoned with and I believe it’s only a matter of time before Naomi captures the Divas Championship. This match has been slowly simmering on the back burner for a few weeks now and I believe this tag team match will be a set up for a Divas title match to take place at either Elimination Chamber, or Money in the Bank. As for what I expect between these two teams I expect a solid Divas match between four of the divisions top Divas. I think to set up for the Naomi and Nikki Bella match for the title I see a dodgy finish in this one that sees Naomi and Tamina steal a victory, most likely by pinning Brie. Hopefully these four will be given the time they deserve to show why we will want to see the follow up to this match in the coming weeks.
Jamie's predicted winner: Naomi and Tamina
Not a huge amount of thought goes into booking the Divas at times so I'm going to assume that Brie being beaten by Tamina on Raw and left in the ring being comforted by sister Nikki means that they are going to pick up the revenge win at Payback. It isn't going to be an easy ride though and I think The Bella's are going to be on the end of a beating as severe as they have ever received. I think there are much more exciting things to come for the division when Naomi gets the inevitable rematch for the title and Paige returns to the mix.
Lee's predicted winner: Nikki and Brie Bella
Naomi has fully embraced her heel turn and got massive heat on Smackdown by talking down on Daniel Bryan as a quitter when referring to Brie. I went back and watched some of Tamina’s earlier work and I think this character fits her best. She looks the part and given her size it’s easy to book her as a powerhouse against the more petite Divas. She’s talking very little, but when she does what she says has meaning and impact. If they continue this path with her and she maintains her health, even if she goes her own way, I can see her being a major player in the Divas division. The Bellas are…the Bellas. When Paige comes back I think she takes the belt and the Bellas move down a bit where they belong. They have grown in the ring, but it’s time for them to take a backseat to the better wrestlers, especially considering the talent knocking on the door in the NXT Women’s division. Paige has finished filming so maybe we see her make an appearance?
Paul's predicted winner: Nikki and Brie Bella
Jesse's predicted winner: Naomi and Tamina
Kendra's predicted winner: Naomi and Tamina
Eric's predicted winner: Naomi and Tamina
King Barrett vs. Neville
This is an interesting one because I don’t know who will go over. WWE is attempting to put Wade Barrett over, but they also don’t really give him any protection. I said it in on the Raw Live Coverage, his win/loss record is basically all losses except for the KOTR tournament, where he won twice, then all losses again. If Barrett does win, it’s usually due to interference or distraction to allow him a sneak win. He doesn't come across as a “tough guy” like they want him to. His booking has been mediocre at best. It seems like they really only gave him the King of the Ring win so that he could change his gimmick from Bad News Barrett to King Barrett. Neville on the other hand is rising up as if gravity forgot him! (See what I did there?) I really hope that Neville is able to pull out the victor over Barrett and move on and up to the next rivalry. Neville is a rising star and I’m excited to go along for the rise. I hope he makes i all the way to World Champion one day.
Zack's predicted winner: Neville
To me, this is a tough one to book. King Barrett and Neville each have a win over each other, and neither should lose on Sunday. Barrett is set to film a movie soon, so maybe Neville picks up the win and Barrett “disappears” in shame? The match will be good without a doubt. I’ll go with the young upstart to take the win here.
CJ's predicted winner: Neville
It’s a battle of the two Englishmen who faced off in the King of the Ring finals recently as well as giving us some very entertaining matches over the last few weeks. I've said many times that I feel like the King Barrett gimmick is almost like a last chance saloon for Wade Barrett, and I fully believe that if he could stay free of injury then he really could be one of the companies top stars. That being said it appears as if Neville is also be touted as one of the companies next top stars with the company looking to protect his character as much as possible. Given the effort these two have put into their matches against each other over the last few weeks I am expecting this one to be the pick of the bunch. This will be a hold on to your hats ride with some risks being taken that I believe will ultimately pay off for Neville, who will pick up a big win over King Barrett, so that both men can go on to challenge for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. This one has the potential to be one of the top matches on the card and I hope my fellow Brit’s won’t let us down.
Jamie's predicted winner: Neville
It's once again the battle of Britain as the newly crowned King of the Ring, "King" Barrett, takes on the fearless, high-flying Neville. These are both guys that I want to see do well in WWE but I think on this occasion it is Neville that will be picking up the win. "The man who gravity forgot" has been dazzling audiences since his debut and if first impressions are anything to go by he is on his way to the very top. As excited as I am about Neville I also hope to see Barrett's momentum continue as he has great charisma and deserves more time on the main broadcasts.
Lee's predicted winner: Neville
Can we talk for a second about how nonsensical it was to drop “Adrian” from his name, but then add “the new sensation” so that when he’s introduced it’s as “the man that gravity forgot, the new sensation, Neville”? Especially considering everyone in my generation probably starts singing the INXS song in their head. Beyond that Neville is being built the right way and if Daniel Bryan ends up being out an extended period of time Neville could find his way higher up the card. He’s entertaining as hell to watch and makes even casual fans ooo and aah. He possesses amazing body control and his move-set continues to evolve. Barrett is a great heel, but I miss the Bad News gimmick already. I think this match is where we see Neville take a step forward.
Paul's predicted winner: Neville
Jesse's predicted winner: King Barrett
Kendra's predicted winner: Neville
Eric's predicted winner: Nevile
Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
A large number of fans crapped on this match as soon as it was revealed, but I wanted to reserve judgement. I think the art of mid-card rivalries has been lost on this generation of wrestling fans. People either have to be in the main event or, in the fans eyes, it’s a complete waste. I wanted to give this rivalry a chance because it could be a good solid mid-card feud between two solid workers. That said, I gave it time, it has let me down. As much as I HATE to say it, Bray Wyatt is really starting to bore me. His character is still amazing, and when he’s not behind a camera in a smokey room, he’s great. They are just really over doing his cryptic promos lately. The problem with doing one to two of these promos per show is that they just start to feel watered down. To be honest, half the time I can’t even understand what he’s saying. There is no denying Bray Wyatt is a master of his craft on the mic, but sometimes there is only so much you can say. Especially when it comes to his style of cryptic messages. It seems like Ryback’s promos have been just as effective as Wyatts, and his are pretty much just “The Big Guy’s hungry! Feed Me More!” Bray is just more effective when he’s working in the ring, they need to put him in front of people, not in a room with a camera. I think that Bray goes over here, especially since he’s coming off the loss against the Undertaker.
Zack's predicted winner: Bray Wyatt
Both Ryback and Bray Wyatt were on the losing end at WrestleMania 31, and weren't featured on the Extreme Rules card, so it’s essential WWE uses them this summer. The fans are in love with their characters and gimmicks, let’s face it. What momentum is left needs to be utilized. Putting them together wasn't terrible idea at all, but WWE has failed to make the program captivating and meaningful. Why exactly did Wyatt target Ryback? Did Wyatt explain that in the “mysterious” promos he cuts every week? I may have missed something... Anyways, I’m not sure what their match will consist of. Recent live event reports haven’t been good, so here’s to hoping these strong workers surprise us. In the end, though, I think it’s Bray Wyatt who needs the win more to keep him relevant.
CJ's predicted winner: Bray Wyatt
This match is some what of a strange one in that the build has kind of come out of nowhere. Although Wyatt has been teasing us with his promo’s over the last few weeks I found it bizarre that he would chose to go after Ryback. I feel the build to this one had been lacking something until I saw Smackdown this week, and when Bray took out Ryback from out of nowhere before his match with Seth Rollins, I suddenly felt like I really wanted to see these two face off. I’m expecting these two heavy hitters to give it their all as they square off in an all out power battle. I’m expecting a disqualification victory for Ryback in this one as I believe we are going to see the reunion of the Wyatt Family, along with their newest member Bo Dallas, coming down to save Bray from an almost inevitable defeat. Even at the very least I somehow see Bo coming down to help out his brother and save him from defeat. This isn't going to be the last we see of Wyatt and Ryback facing off, and I would expect them to face off again at the Money in the Bank pay per view, if the two are not already involved in the Money in the Bank match itself. This match promises to bring us plenty of surprises by the end but don’t be too surprised when Bray receives a little help from his ‘family’.
Jamie's predicted winner: Ryback by DQ
Another person who is living proof that a Cena feud is bad for your health "The New Face Of Fear" Bray Wyatt returns to the PPV line up after missing out on Extreme Rules. Wyatt seems a long way away from the main event picture he should definitely be in and now really needs some momentum and big wins to rebuild his character. Ryback looked like he was getting a big push on his last return at the end of October but that hasn't been the case and he has slowly dropped down the pecking order. The truth is there is plenty of talent more deserving of the top spots and I think he is going to be used here to kick-start Wyatt's career again.
Lee's predicted winner: Bray Wyatt
The buildup for this match has left a lot to be desired and Payback could be the tipping point for Wyatt. I liken him to any potentially good character who’s given sub-par writing. He delivers excellent promos, but they are hollow and if you actually listen to what he’s saying the words just aren't meaningful enough. He’s the “new face of fear”, but who is scared of him? He needs more promos like we got before ‘Mania where he has props and there’s more going on. It’s not easy for any wrestler to stand in a dark room backstage and monologue his way through the majority of a storyline, especially when for the first half of it you don’t know who his target is. If it didn't seem like they were reuniting The Wyatt Family I’d suggest that he needs an enhancement storyline against someone who actually shows that they are afraid of him, even if it’s someone lower down the card. R-Truth would've been a good choice if they continued to build on his arachnophobia angle. Have Wyatt target what guys actually fear and translate it to viewers on-screen.
Paul's predicted winner: Ryback via DQ after Rowan and Harper interrupt the match, reuniting The Wyatt Family, as they decimate the big guy post-match.
Jesse's predicted winner: Bray Wyatt
Kendra's predicted winner: No winner as others (Bo Dallas/Rowan and Harper) get involved
Eric's predicted winner: Bray Wyatt
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
I have been fairly outspoken about the fact that it’s ridiculous to have had these two guys in a “Kiss Me Arse” match, that resulted in Ziggler going over, but still ended up having his face against the pasty white butt of Sheamus. Sheamus then had zero repercussions for his actions, which is ridiculous to me. I understand it was a way to get both guys over, but I saw it as weak lazy booking. This match is now a regular singles match, which to be fair, so was the Kiss Me Arse match, this time just doesn't have an added (pointless) stipulation attached to it. I honestly see Sheamus going over so that they can be tied 1-1, leading into a rubber match. Other than that I am fine with this rivalry. This is a really solid mid-card rivalry that I completely support. The whole bully vs. fan favorite thing works well, especially with Dolph Ziggler because he is more of an underdog character. The match they had at Payback was a quality performance, so I’m not against seeing an encore. Like I said, the win is going to go to Sheamus to keep the rivalry going and keep Sheamus from looking bad.
Zack's predicted winner: Sheamus
As soon as the feud began, I was hoping it would run through Extreme Rules and end at Payback. It’s been decent, but my expectations may have been a bit high. Their first match at Extreme Rules was a good one, and it really wouldn't surprise me to see them top it with another fast-paced, hard-hitting contest. I was shocked to see Ziggler score the win last month, so I’m confident Sheamus will score the win, allowing him to have his eyes set on the Intercontinental Championship at Elimination Chamber.
CJ's predicted winner: Sheamus
The Kiss Me Arse match these two had at Extreme Rules was a good watch that saw Dolph pick up a key victory but ended with Sheamus coming out on top by having Ziggler kiss his arse instead. While the gimmick of the match was a little dumb I felt the content of the match itself was well done. Both these men are excellent talents and it can easily be argued why either man should be in the main event picture in the near future to challenge for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. I’m expecting another solidly worked match from these two in this one with Ziggler going over Sheamus again and being able to humiliate the Irish Man in an alternative way to simply kissing his arse. These two are more than likely to also have some kind of involvement in the match for the vacant Intercontinental Championship, so don’t expect this match to be the last time we see these two face off. Both men have the potential to make this one of the nights better matches and I hope we will see more of them in the main event scene toward the end of 2015.
Jamie's predicted winner: Dolph Ziggler
Two men who are surely amongst the favorites to win the Intercontinental Title will face off for the second successive PPV. Sheamus has been a hit since his return as heel and Dolph Ziggler is one of the best wrestlers in WWE and is predictably extremely popular with the crowds at the moment so this match will generate plenty of heat. Both are hard workers who I've no doubt will put on an excellent match and I think it is the hard-hitting Sheamus that will this time be victorious against the much underrated Ziggler.
Lee's predicted winner: Sheamus
After being built up by beating smaller guys it was nice to see Sheamus wrestle someone closer to his size on Smackdown when he took on Ambrose. Ziggler always puts on a show and hopefully he and Neville are the top faces coming out of the IC title picture in Bryan’s absence. I’d like to see Ziggler snap on Sheamus in retaliation for his actions at Extreme Rules, even if it means he straddles the line towards heel.
Paul's predicted winner: Sheamus via shenanigans
Jesse's predicted winner: Sheamus
Kendra's predicted winner: Sheamus
Eric's predicted winner: Sheamus
The New Day vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd - 2 out of 3 falls match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
New Day summed up in one word is simply, awesome. They got over as heels organically and are finally getting to take their gimmick that should have started as a heel gimmick and really run with it. I said during the Smackdown Live Results that Big E’s promo about how Cesaro and Kidd were bad people because they “Double Dipped chips” and “Buy one movie ticket and sneak into two movies!” Was one of the best heel promos I have heard in a while. I legitimately was laughing at his promo. Which is the point, they’re just corny, cheesy heels who are there to make you hate them for their stupidity. Kidd and Cesaro have done a good job of embracing their new positions as face, as well. To be honest, Cesaro should have been in a face role since last year’s WrestleMania. Honestly, the match that these two teams had at Extreme Rules blew me away. I was not expecting much with that match and both teams absolutely killed it. With this match being a 2 out of 3 falls match I can only expect them to hit another home run. I know it is unlikely, but I hope they do legitimate 2 out of 3 falls with clean victories, too. I hate when there is a dirty finish to one of the first pinfalls. They can have a dirty finish, but let the match have some real time without cutting it short with cheap victories early on. I expect New Day to retain with some “questionable” tactics, then go on to defend the titles inside an Elimination Chamber match in the first ever tag team Elimination Chamber.
Zack's predicted winner: New Day
How exciting! Two-out-of-three falls matches are usually always good, if not, great. Not to mention, we are seeing two incredible tag teams facing off once again! Tyson Kidd, Cesaro, and The New Day absolutely stole the show at Extreme Rules, and they will do the same at Payback. I would love to see Kidd and Cesaro pick up the titles, but it seems too soon to take the belts off of The New Day already. Cheating or no cheating, I foresee The New Day walking out of Payback with the Tag Team Titles following a stellar match.
CJ's predicted winner: New Day
These two teams are without doubt bringing some much needed fresh life to an otherwise stale looking tag team division. With The Uso’s being out of the equation for the foreseeable future the company needs a team to stand up and take the initiative. Both the New Day and Tyson Kidd and Cesaro are giving some of the most entertaining tag matches seen for some time and I am expecting this match to be along those same lines. It’s going to end up being one of those 2-1 fall affairs no doubt with Kidd and Cesaro most likely picking up the first fall but losing two falls back to back giving the New Day another two weeks as champions before defending the titles again at Elimination Chamber. I’m expecting a high flying and fast paced battle between these two teams that will leave the WWE Universe begging to see more action from these two teams. I hope Kidd and Cesaro get another run with the titles in the near future but right now New Day are riding a huge wave of momentum that it would feel wrong to derail at this point. All I know here is this is going to be a match where you don’t want to blink because if you do you will miss something.
Jamie's predicted winner: New Day
The Tag Team division is hotting up right now, so much so I'm writing a whole separate article on the subject. There is no way I expected this turnaround 6 months ago and am happy to see more time being dedicated to the division. Kidd and Cesaro (when are these guys going to get a team name?) are hard workers and been involved in some great matches.They have clearly been working on becoming a solid double-act and I don't think it will be too long before they are rewarded by getting the belts back. However at Payback I think it will be The New Day who will be victorious. I don't know how this has come about but they are starting to grow on me hugely and I think WWE have really stumbled upon something special. This could very well be the match of the night.
Lee's predicted winner: New Day
These two groups have given us some great matches over the course of their feud and with this many players there are enough match possibilities that it doesn't have to end just yet. I still want to see Natty get in the ring! It will be interesting to see how The Freebird Rules play into this one for New Day. It gives them a distinct advantage if Natty isn't being considered a third member for The Uppercats. The Tag Division is improving, but I’m not sure who else has made their way into the title conversation yet. This feud may not end until Elimination Chamber.
Paul's predicted winner: New Day via cheating the ref doesn't see
Jesse's predicted winner: New Day via DQ on third fall
Kendra's predicted winner: New Day
Eric's predicted winner: New Day
John Cena vs. Rusev - I Quit match for the WWE United States Championship
From what I've seen most people are expecting Cena to go over in this match, and I can’t disagree more. People are arguing John Cena would never say I quit. Not in the “I believe in John Cena!” way, but more in the “Ha! Like Cena would ever put someone over by saying ‘I quit’” way. I actually see this one going in Rusev’s favor. Cena has held the title for a little while now, long enough to restore some of the prestige to the title. He has certainly defended it enough times, even if we pretty much knew the outcome. We have seen Cena cave when he brought back The Authority, when Edge was in grave danger. WWE has planted the seeds with Lana starting to turn face. All it takes is Rusev threatening to attack her if Cena doesn't quit, and Rusev has this one in the bag. I hope we see some more hardcore action, too, since an I Quit match is no DQ, but we’ll have to see how things play out. I am giving this one Rusev with him getting Cena to quit because of his honor, not because he gave up. WWE tipped their hand with this one a little too, Cena saying this will be their last match no matter what happens. This leaves Rusev to defend the more prestigious United States title, and let’s Cena float back towards the main event picture.
Zack's predicted winner: Rusev
Thank the Wrestling Gods this is the final chapter. Look, Cena and Rusev have put on entertaining matches for three pay-per-views in a row, however, four matches in a row is plain overkill. I think the three matches in a row Cena and Bray Wyatt had a year ago was part of the problem with Wyatt falling down the card. Cena lost, then won the title, and then won the rubber match to retain. There’s no reason for Cena to lose the title, and there’s no reason for Rusev to win already. It’s time to move on. Rusev says the two magic words, and Lana ends up on her own somehow.
CJ's predicted winner:John Cena
The third, and what I expect to be the final meeting between John Cena and Rusev takes place in a match where the stakes could not be higher. Neither of these two men have uttered the words I Quit during their WWE careers, and this is going to be a big match that shapes the future of all involved. I've enjoyed the matches these two had at Wrestlemania and Extreme Rules, but my biggest problem with both matches was the way the endings just felt rushed and made Rusev look weak. This time I’m not expecting the same to happen but I am expecting the potential split of Rusev and Lana as an on screen pairing. How that will happen I can’t quite work out yet but I expect that Lana will be involved in costing Rusev the match, be it intentionally or accidentally. I expect that despite losing this match Rusev will come out of the match looking stronger than when he came in and hopefully he will go on to push himself toward the top of the card. I’m really enjoying Cena doing the open challenge for the US Title, and want to see him continue doing this after he is done with Rusev, giving other stars the chance to establish themselves for the future. These two brutes are going to go to war on Sunday, and I fully expect Cena to come out victorious again although I don’t expect it to be easy for the champ to win so convincingly this time around.
Jamie's predicted winner: John Cena
I have nothing good to say about this match other than if it is the last match of their feud I will be happy. I can't see anything other than a Cena win and Lana leaving Rusev before he disappears from PPVs, then Raw, then Smackdown and then fades into obscurity. An unbeatable monster for over a year made irrelevant in a couple of months.
Lee's predicted winner: John Cena
In my opinion it’s time for the “John Cena suuuuucks” singing to go away when his music hits. Even if you wanted a heel turn from Cena because you’re sick of his current character he’s using his prestige to get guys over like never before and elevating the US Title. His promos have been on-point, he’s working the crowds like no one else on the current roster can, and he’s consistently participating in good, entertaining matches. Give the WWE credit with bookings because they've been doing the right thing with the John Cena US Open Challenge. Rusev doesn’t need the belt and if they are going to split him and Lana up this is the time to do it. I will be frustrated if it ends the way I predict only because she already threw the towel in for Rusev once. I’d like to see him move on to his next opponent, already. One quick note-I’m curious what people would think of a heel Euro faction with Rusev, Sheamus, and Barrett.
Paul's predicted winner: John Cena, via Lana quitting for Rusev
Jesse's predicted winner: Rusev after forcing Cena to say I quit to save Lana
Kendra's predicted winner: John Cena, after Lana throws in the towel costing Rusev the match, and turning herself face
Eric's predicted winner: John Cena
Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (c) - Fatal Four Way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. If Seth Rollins does not retain then Kane will be fired
Finally the WWE Championship match has some zest! It’s amazing to see how the state of the WWE Championship has changed in the last few months. We went from Brock Lesnar defending the title once every 2-3 months, with maybe 1-2 appearances on Raw to build the rare title matches that occurred, to having it fought in a Fatal Four Way with 4 of the company’s top-tier workers. Seth Rollins has done a great job of taking over as a slimy heel champion, Roman Reigns has come out of WrestleMania looking surprisingly strong, Randy Orton came out of WrestleMania looking strong and continued that pace with his cage match, that leaves Dean Ambrose. Ambrose has been practically directionless for months now. Since at least his feud with Bray Wyatt last summer. That is a LONG time for a guy who is so talented. It is good to see Ambrose starting to get on pace with the rest of these guys, because he deserves to be a top name. The match has some excellent potential, too. A few people have talked about reuniting The Shield and I think that’s actually a mistake. I love The Shield, heck my ringtone is The Shield entrance music, but it’s too soon after they broke up, and each guy is really only just starting to gain momentum and come into their own as top tier singles workers. I would, however, be a big fan of seeing them use the triple powerbomb during the match. It would accomplish a mark out moment, but it’s short enough that people won’t immediately question the return of The Shield. Who walks away with the title in the end? Seth Rollins. It’s too early into his championship reign, and not enough heels to chase the title, to take it off of Rollins. Who do I WANT to win the title? Ambrose, Reigns, Rollins, Orton. In that order.
Zack's predicted winner: Seth Rollins
What a treat this will be! Four hungry and highly-talented performers clash in one match that is sure to be the highlight of the night. Seth Rollins has done a fantastic job as being “the man.” Roman Reigns has worked hard to get to his spot, so it’s rewarding for me as well to see him get another title shot. Randy Orton wants payback, so that’s why he’s at it again. Dean Ambrose wants what everyone else wants: a chance to win the big one. There’s so much back-story involved, too. You have all three of the former Shield members against each other for the first time ever. Orton and Reigns seem to have unfinished business from last summer. Rollins and Ambrose also go back to last summer’s series of matches. Orton and Rollins aren't done yet either. So many possibilities! Kane is once again involved, which is kind of annoying really. WWE has the opportunity to crown a new champion, but I think Seth Rollins will walk away victorious again.
CJ's predicted winner: Seth Rollins
The main event of the show sees a slight twist in that we now have the addition of Dean Ambrose to the mix. I felt the triple threat at Extreme Rules with Rollins, Orton, and Reigns was a good watch but that it needed something different to make me want to see them all in the same match again. We all know Ambrose is a crazy wildcard in this one and while I don’t see him winning the match I do see him having some kind of big effect on the outcome. Rumors have been running that the Shield are due to reform, with a possible tease at Payback this Sunday. There’s no question for me that Seth is going to retain his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in this one but it will be the manner of how he does it that most interests me. The danger of reforming the Shield is it could be seen by many as a step backward for Ambrose, Rollins, and Reigns for the now separate identities they have carved out for themselves but I wouldn't be surprised to see Orton being the man who takes the pin in this one after a combination of a Spear from Reigns and Dirty Deeds from Ambrose. Kane is also an added back up for Seth to take the win should Ambrose and Reigns not help him but I believe the finish will leave us asking plenty of questions. Will we see the Shield reunite? Only time will tell but I’m expecting the finish of this one to at least drop us a hint as to the future of all three men. As for the match itself I think we are in for a solidly worked main event between four of WWE’s top stars. This is going to be another of those matches where you won’t want to look away because you will miss so much if you do.
Jamie's predicted winner: Seth Rollins
This has the potential to be an amazing main event with the best (non-injured) wrestler in WWE Randy Orton up against the guys all wanting to follow in his footsteps. There is no way I can see The Viper winning this one though. Roman Reigns is back in the main event picture again after working hard to recapture the momentum he had prior to his injury last year, but I don't think it is his time just yet. Dean Ambrose was promoted from direction-less mid-carder to title challenger out of the blue but nobody would argue that it isn't where he should be. As much as it would be a huge feel-good moment I don't think they will put the belt on him yet as it was a last minute decision to put him in. I just hope he is kept at the top of the card, actually winning matches and is given a decent storyline or two. Rollins is still settling into his role as champion and I think he will win. Will a Shield reunion happen and will we find out they were all friends all along? Stranger things have happened.
Lee's predicted winner: Seth Rollins
This match is a fantasy booking dream. As far as where the WWE will actually go with it-I can’t see Rollins walking out without the title. There will likely be the obligatory Shield spot where Orton gets triple powerbombed followed by Ambrose and Reigns immediately turning on Seth. Ambrose was a great addition to this match and he’s finally getting some direction, it seems. Reigns looked really good with the gold on his shoulder as Smackdown ended. When his time comes he’s going to be an entertaining champion. Orton is so over he can do no wrong at this point. I think Kane does what’s best for business and works his way into the Elimination Chamber Title match.
Paul's predicted winner: Seth Rollins, with the help of Kane
Jesse's predicted winner: Seth Rollins
Kendra's predicted winner: Dean Ambrose
Eric's predicted winner: Seth Rollins by some dirty/screwy finish seeing him pin Ambrose (sadly)
Thanks everyone for reading our predictions for the Payback pay per view. Please feel free to post yours in the comments below, and don't forget to join us tomorrow at 6:00 PM EST for our live coverage and Open Thread Party for WWE Payback!