SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
After going on hiatus for a few years, the Payback PPV returns with a bang, with a Paul Heyman managed Roman Reigns headlining with The Fiend and Braun Strowman. There is also the looming specter of Retribution, which is another word for Payback, possibly explaining why the PPV name has returned and why Payback is coming up only one week after Summerslam. With that in mind, I skip ahead to my first prediction.
Retribution Watch: It is time to move forward with Retribution. I can understand WWE not wanting to sully the venerable Summerslam PPV with a big Retribution angle, but the Payback PPV is a different kettle of fish. If you want Retribution to make a big splash, their reveal can happen at Payback. With recent developments on Smackdown, look for Retribution to be led by either Reigns and Heyman in order to help Reigns win the title (it is a No Holds Barred Match), or Sami Zayne (which explains what he’s been doing for the last few months).
The Fiend (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reign – WWE Universal Championship No Holds Barred match
Story in a nutshell: After defeating Braun Strowman and recapturing the Universal Championship, The Fiend and Strowman were attacked by a returning Roman Reigns and now all three men face each other at Payback.
At the conclusion of Summerslam, Roman Reigns made his emphatic return by attacking The Fiend and Braun Strowman after the match. The three are now scheduled for a triple threat match at Payback. To finalize things, Adam Pierce was sent to capture the signatures of all three competitors. When he finally got to Roman Reigns, Paul Heyman was at is side.
Spoiler: Roman wins. Braun takes the pin.
Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton
Story in a nutshell: After possibly ending Drew McIntyre’s career by punting him in the head three times, Randy Orton is challenged by a debuting Keith Lee on behalf of Drew.
After successfully defending his championship against Randy Orton at Summerslam, Drew McIntyre challenged Randy to a rematch at Payback since he knew neither were satisfied with the first match’s finish. Randy waylaid Drew, punting him twice. Randy went to the ring to explain his actions and a debuting Keith Lee (complete with new generic music and attire covering himself up) challenged Randy to a fight. Later, during their match, Drew attacked Randy causing Keith Lee to lose by disqualification. Randy punted Drew again, putting Drew’s future in question. At Payback, Keith and Randy will have their rematch.
Prediction: Keith Lee can’t lose again right? He wins but there will probably be a distraction by Drew McIntyre.
Dominik Mysterio & Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins & Murphy
Story in a nutshell: After Seth Rollins decisively defeated Dominik Mysterio in front of Dominik’s father Rey Mysterio, the father and son duo unite to maybe, finally, exact some revenge.
On Raw, father and son, Rey and Dominick Mysterio tagged for the first time to try and get ever elusive revenge against Seth Rollins and his disciple Murphy. Unfortunately, their match was interrupted by Retribution. They now have a rematch scheduled for Payback.
Prediction: Dominik is joining Seth, might as well happen tonight. Rollins & Murphy win.
Apollo Crews (c) vs. Bobby Lashley – WWE United States Championship match
Story in a nutshell: Apollo Crews continues his feud with the Hurt Business, his challenger this time is the dangerous Bobby Lashley.
MVP continues to try and punish Apollo Crews for refusing to join the Hurt Business, while also trying to recruit Cedric Alexander. Now Crews needs to defend against Bobby Lashley and somehow that involved an arm-wrestling match on Monday.
Prediction: I think you have got to keep riding Apollo Crews as champion and beating Lashley would be big.
Bayley & Sasha Banks (c) vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax – WWE Women’s Tag Championship
Story in a nutshell: With their relationship already fraying thanks to Sasha Banks losing the Raw Women’s Championship, will a loss to their challengers finally unravel Sasha and Bayley’s friendship.
Bayley & Sasha Banks were schedule to defend their tag championship at Payback. With no obvious challengers, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler decided to set aside the month-long enmity between them that has threatened to tear apart everything around them, and instead team up to fight for the championship while trading infantile barbs. Meanwhile, Bayley and Sasha continue to lace everything they say with a thin layer of passive aggressiveness that continues to put stress on their relationship.
Prediction: Baszler and Jax win thanks to miscommunication between Bayley and Sasha and Bayley and Sasha continue on their path to inevitability.
Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin
Storyline in a nutshell: King Corbin does not believe Matt Riddle belongs in the WWE and wants to prove it by beating him.
King Corbin doesn’t believe that Matt Riddle belongs in the WWE and to prove it he placed a bounty on Riddle. Riddle made short work of Shorty G (I really did not mean that as a pun) who attempted to cash in and now must face Corbin.
Prediction: Riddle wins. If he destroys Corbin, Riddle is meant for big things. If they go fifty-fifty, I don’t like Riddle’s future prospects of ever becoming a breakthrough star.
You’ll never see it coming (We’re only a week past Summerslam, let me have this): Retribution helps Roman Reigns win. Retribution is the new Shield. They’ve helped both Seth Rollins, by attacking Rey and Dominik Mysterio, and Reigns by attacking The Fiend and Strowman.