Welcome to WNW’s Payback 2017 Predictions! Payback will be emanating from the SAP Center in San Jose, California. This time around, we have Kendra Bunyon, Zack Krasney, Elizabeth Sherwood, our newest writer, Myrtle Jacobs, and myself providing predictions. Let’s get to it!
Kickoff Tag Team Match
Enzo & Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson
As much as I think it's more than time for Enzo and Cass to win the Tag Team Championship, I think it's more realistic to see Cass go off on Enzo. While Cass might not completely turn on Enzo here, it's heading in that direction. And honestly, if the Hardys weren't the ones holding the Championship belts, I'd say it's time for Enzo and Cass to win them, but there's no way they will defeat the Hardys. I think this is going to be a royal mess for Cass when Enzo causes them this match. The issues are going to really start building for them, and because of that Anderson and Gallows will win this fairly easily.
Kendra's Predicted Winners: Gallows & Anderson
At this point I have to wonder if WWE is ever going to do anything with Enzo and Cass. Honestly, they belong in the spot Sheamus and Cesaro are in, while Sheamus and Cesaro should've been split in the Shake Up. Gallows and Anderson are also floating around in Purgatory, too. Which is odd considering they're the ONLY heel tag team on Raw right now. I couldn't care less about this match and it feels just as thrown together as any other pre-show match. So much wasted potential here. I will follow the rule I always go with for the pre-show, faces win to get the crowd hot.
Zack's Predicted Winners: Enzo & Big Cass
Who cares? Literally, does anybody care about this match? Enzo & Cass seriously need to go heel. Gallows & Anderson deserve to be challenging for the title.
Myrtle's Predicted Winners: Gallows & Anderson
CJ's Predicted Winners: Gallows & Anderson
Elizabeth's Predicted Winners: Gallows & Anderson
Cruiserweight Championship Match
Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
No question, A Double will be winning this match. There's no question that it's time to elevate this feud, and time to strap A Double. This feud has been decent, and while it would have been better if it had been on the actual roster, because the Cruiserweight Division has been screwed six ways to Sunday, but it's A Double, and Neville, and both are top notch. My only question is, will there be a banana involved in the finisher?
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Austin Aries
In an effort to stay honest with fans I'm going to shoot straight here. I don't get the Austin Aries hype. He's fine, but that's about it. His in-ring is no better than anyone else, I'd say average. His mic work is good, I'd give it a "B." Honestly, I think Neville is way better overall. I don't want to see Neville get de-throned by a guy that has hype, but isn't better. I'd prefer Neville retain, but there is a question that needs to be asked. What happens either way after this rivalry ends? There is NO ONE else in the division worth a damn. My vote is that Neville retains and Kalisto moves into the division and feuds with him.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Neville
Myrtle's Predicted Winner: Neville
CJ's Predicted Winner: Austin Aries
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Austin Aries
Raw Women's Championship Match
Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
I love Bayley. I adore Bayley. Bayley has won my heart, but her ring work since being called up to the WWE hasn't compared to the work she did in NXT. She is one tough chick, but too often Sasha has had to run to her rescue. After the match between Bliss and Banks on Raw, we need to see a HUGE feud between these two, and I see it happening over the Raw Women's Championship. I said in the RIB this week that I see Bliss and Banks taking the Raw Women's Division to whole new levels, possibly (I loathe to say things like this) even the next Lita and Trish, but something so much more. Bliss was unstoppable on SmackDown, and I think the only thing that will stop her now is Mickie James getting involved and causing a DQ. Fingers crossed that it won't happen, because I think Bliss could take the Women's Division to heights we haven't imagined yet.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss
I love Bayley and wanted her to get called up and become champion very badly. That's why it feels like a sin to say it, but I totally want Bliss to win. I am so high up on Bliss it's not even funny. Anyone who hangs out here at WNW for live events knows I think Alexa Bliss is absolutely stunning, but that really doesn't have anything to do with why she deserves to be the champion. If we're taking a hard look at our Raw Women's division, Bliss is the best. She is leagues ahead of the other women on the mic, she is solid in the ring and certainly on par with the other women, and she has fits in her gimmick perfectly. I gotta go with Bliss.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss
I love Bayley….. But her time as a champion will never be long. There is far more stock in her chase for the championship then there will ever be in her actual reigns. She just doesn’t have IT to hold on to the title for very long. This match feels like a rush to put Alex Bliss on top of the Raw division. I loved Bliss’ work on SmackDown, so hopefully, she keeps it up on Raw.
Myrtle's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss
CJ's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Alexa Bliss
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Sheamus & Cesaro
I'm so excited about this match! I've loved the build between the Hardys and Sheamus and Cesaro. These teams work really well together, and will give us a show stopping match that could be a MoTY. I hope this isn't the end of this feud, because I want to see more. It's great to see two generations come together in such great work! So much fun, and I hope this match doesn't end it, because they have so much charisma in the ring together, and could bring this to SummerSlam without any problem.
Kendra's Predicted Winners: Hardy Boyz
This is a tough one to guess on. Personally, I'd leave the belts on the Hardy Boyz. They only just won the championship and taking it off them so quickly would be an injustice to their old gimmick, even if losing does lead them towards the Broken Hardy gimmick. I'd like to see them hold onto the titles just a little while longer, maybe start to "break" little bits here and there before dropping the titles and having a full on break. On the other hand, I feel like Sheamus and Cesaro have a good groove going, but I still would rather see them split and go back to singles competition. The fact Cesaro didn't go to Smackdown is a crime. The fact that Jinder Mahal has a WWE Championship match and Cesaro is in the Tag Team division blows my mind.
Zack's Predicted Winners: Hardy Boyz
This match greatly intrigues me. I see two teams destined to split at two different rates. I know everyone wants Broken Matt Hardy in WWE yesterday, but there are issues surrounding that. One, of course, being the current legal battles between TNA and Matt Hardy over the entire gimmick. Until that is resolved, we won’t see anything but Tables, Ladders, and Chairs be broken by the Hardys. The second issue being in how they approach the gimmick. I don’t want to see what they did on Impact over again. It’ll be a challenge they’ll have to tackle once everything clears up. As for what will happen at Payback, I’d love to see Sheamus finally turn on Cesaro and lead to a one and done match between the two. The Hardy’s can hold the tag division down with Gallows and Anderson until The Revival get back.
Myrtle's Predicted Winners: Hardy Boyz (Sheamus turns on Cesaro)
CJ's Predicted Winners: Hardy Boyz (someone turns heel)
Elizabeth's Predicted Winners: Hardy Boyz
United States Championship Match
Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho
I don't see Jericho moving to SmackDown at this point. Further, I'm a bit surprised he's still around in the WWE right now, I thought he had other engagements he had to tend to. Whether Jericho stays or goes, I don't see him leaving Raw any time soon, and I surely don't see KO returning to Raw with the US Title while the IC Title is on Raw. I think this is an obvious one, but when they're this obvious, the WWE likes to screw with our heads.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
I think this one is basically a done deal isn't it? They moved Owens to Smackdown then pulled back at the last second and said, "Oh but if Jericho wins then HE goes to Smackdown." It's possible, but it just feels like someone realized they were tipping their hand and they made a quick change. Don't even get me started on the WWE Championship (maybe?) match. This Shake Up was half-assed and this is the result. The hype has been boring, they kept the feud going, but aren't on the same show so there has been no interaction. I can't believe there hasn't been a single "invasion" of either show. This just seems lazy.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
This feud is a slow burn at it’s finest. What I mean by that, is we all knew this was coming. Owens was one day going to turn on Jericho and we were going to get an amazing match! I almost feel like their Mania match should have been the end to their feud, but I have no doubt they’ll steal the show once again. The only difference being, in this match I look for Owens to put Jericho on the shelf for a bit.
Myrtle's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
CJ's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
I have a gut feeling that someone is going to get involved in this match. This isn't a big PPV, and I don't see this feud ending this quickly, and I don't see one going over the other clean at this point. I don't know if it will be Trip, or someone else that Trip has courted, or possibly bring up from NXT. There's a whole gamut of heels who could get involved in this one. I am excited for this match and to see what they pull out of their bag of tricks.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: DQ/No Contest
Worst hyped match on the card? It's possible. WWE did build this up, but only because Triple H wrestled at Mania and didn't want to wrestle again so they needed someone to fill in. And don't get me wrong, I'm SUPER hyped about this match. It's a dream match in my opinion, but WWE is making it feel very "meh." However, this will be the match of the night, hands down. WWE has kind of backed themselves into a corner here. Rollins is coming off one of the biggest wins of his career, but Samoa Joe hasn't had a big match since debuting and needs to look strong. I'd look for this one to end weird.
Zack's Predicted Winner: No Contest
Myrtle's Predicted Winner: Samoa Joe
CJ's Predicted Winner: Seth Rollins by DQ
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: No Contest
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
I know most people think Reigns will win this match, but I'm all for Strowman. It makes the most sense, and what the fans really want. It would be nice for the WWE to continue to listen to the fans and push Strowman. I know the WWE wants him to be heel and Reigns to be face, but Strowman can be a cross between Stone Cold Steve Austin and Undertaker, being a hard and edgy tweener who is a beloved monster. I know that's throwing around a lot of words, but I think that's exactly what he is, and the fans are loving it. Think about what would have happened to the WWE if McMahon hadn't let Stone Cold be himself dialed up to 12. And what would have happened if he hadn't let Paul and Shawn step up and pull their hijinks in front of the camera, not just backstage. It's time for McMahon to step back a bit and let things flow organically, and that attack on Reigns was a most beautiful start. Now it's time to continue in this vein. That being said, I would be cool with Reigns winning (the way Kane beat SCSA at KoTR 1998) if they don't make Strowman look weak (Taker cause SCSA to bleed and lose the First Blood Match), and on Raw Strowman comes back stronger than ever. It would piss off the fans to no end to see Reigns win this, but to be honest, if they follow through the way I said, this could really pull the fans into the storyline/feud long-term. I think, in writing this, I changed my own mind. Yes, I did, I'm going with Reigns.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Roman Reigns
Braun friggin Strowman. This dude has been on fire the last year or so, and has been red hot since WrestleMania. I love that he's a destroyer, I love that he doesn't have to talk much but still comes off well on the mic, I love that he is a big man who can move like a Cruiserweight. There is nothing about this guy that doesn't scream success in my book. Roman Reigns beat him clean last time they had a singles match. I PRAY that doesn't happen again. It'd be bad for Braun AND bad for Roman. Honestly, I hope Braun destroys Roman but I don't think it'll be that one-sided. In the end I have to go with Braun.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
There has not been a better build for an actual monster in a long time. I enjoy watching Braun Strowman, in spite of the fact that he’s REALLY green. WWE has a bad habit of building monsters, then turning them into jokes. (i.e. The Great Khali, Tensai, Brodus Clay, Mark Henry, The Big Show, etc.) I sincerely hope they don’t do this to Strowman, and this destructive build continues. A rub from Reigns would do tremendous things for Braun’s push and quell fans who have been unruly about the booking of Reigns. I’m also a little curious if we’ll see an interference from Brock Lesnar. The Universal Title picture is a little weird to me at the moment. I’m not excited about the idea of either Strowman or Reigns challenging Lesnar, but I think my choice is pretty clear.
Myrtle's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
CJ's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Braun Strowman
House of Horrors Match
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
So, last I knew, they still hadn't finalized plans for this match. Now, I've had two ideas for this one, and while I doubt they will actually do anything like my ideas, here they are.
The first being my hubby Stacy's idea – see, I'm turning him into a thinking fan, nothing about casual wrestling in that man. Possibly an old fashioned fun house, but made into a true house of horrors (outside the arena). They have to make their way through parts of it to get to each other. I'd love to see them fight in one of those big rolling drums, and THAT wouldn't be nearly as dangerous as throwing a dumpster off a stage. Anyway, they work their way through all this, but then have to make their way to the ring to fight and finish the match.
Now, my thought on the match was to bring back the old blue cage, but make it into a cell with many implements of pain and destruction hanging on and in the cell. That's not a big deal, but with the addition of the contraption they used for the Inferno Match. There's been so much talk of fire from Wyatt, and Orton burnt down Sister Abigail's resting place, it only seems fitting that the Inferno Match contraption be used here.
After all that, I think they should use both ideas and make it into all sort of craziness! It's been a long while since a match started outside the arena, and I think we need it, all that grit I've been wanting. Either way, I don't see Orton winning clean, or Wyatt losing clean. This feud should be left open ended so that when they're on the same brand again, they can start right up again as if there wasn't any time lost. No clue how they're going to manage enough screwiness that it will end dirty, but it's the only clear ending I can see at this point.
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
No lie, I thought this was a Smackdown PPV match. I didn't realize it was on the card for Payback. Again, how do you have NO "invasion" angle?! This Shake Up was so thrown together last minute that they couldn't even decide if the WWE Championship was on the line or not. Why not do the same thing they did with Owens/Jericho where the winner stays on Smackdown? Instead, the match was for the WWE Championship and then they silently took that part out. Now it's just a "personal" match, which is absurd. I'm just blown away by the lack of thought and effort that went into this PPV and Shake Up. Honestly, if I performed at this level at my job I'd be fired. If Wyatt wins and the title isn't on the line people will go, "well shouldn't he be champion then?" And if Wyatt loses he looks like crap. Lose/lose.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Wyatt if the title isn't on the line, Orton if it is
We still don’t even know what this match is. The booking doesn’t make any sense and is seemingly no longer for the WWE Championship. What’s the point?
Myrtle's Predicted Winner: Bray Wyatt
CJ's Predicted Winner: Bray Wyatt (screwiness with Balor or Mahal/Singh Bros)
Elizabeth's Predicted Winner: Bray Wyatt
Thanks everyone for reading our predictions this round! Feel free to post yours in the comments below, and don’t forget to join us tonight at 7 PM EST for our live coverage and Open Thread Party for Payback!