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 411mania » Wrestling » Columns

411's Roundtable Preview: WWE Payback 2014
Posted by Sean Garmer on 05.31.2014

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This year's edition of WWE Payback continues to see WWE's youth movement progress forward with Rusev having his first singles match on PPV against Big E and Paige making her second Divas Championship defense against Alicia Fox. The more important issue happening at this PPV, is that this will be the first time the WWE Championship will not be defended at a PPV since Tables Ladders & Chairs 2012. However, we are getting a segment on this show involving WWE Champion Daniel Bryan confronting The Authority about whether or not to surrender the title. So, without Bryan to lead the way, it will be up to John Cena and Bray Wyatt to perform in their Last Man Standing Match. The Shield look to continue their run of terrific matches as they once again take on Evolution in a No Holds Barred Elimination Match. Plus there's also the US Championship and Intercontinental Championship matches that could deliver on the promise of something good as well. This definitely seems to be one of those shows that could either surprise or turn out badly. Hopefully, you have already ordered the WWE Network so that you can watch Payback and future WWE PPV's for $10 a month. If you haven't, I guess there's always PPV or other means to watch the show as well. Regardless, it is time for me to quit babbling and get on with those match predictions.

The Staff

Mike Hammerlock, The Wrestling Zone 8-Ball

Justin Watry, Truth And Lies

Michael Weyer, Shining A Spotlight

Sean Garmer, WWE Roundtable Organizer, Games Top 5 Organizer

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Hair vs. Mask Match: El Torito w/ Los Matadores vs. Hornswoggle w/ 3MB
Pre-Show Kickoff Match

Mike Hammerlock: Some people crap all over this feud. To them I say, don't be a lemon. This is never going to be Shawn vs. Undertaker. It's a minis comedy feud. Torito running around, grabbing his ass after be de-tailed? Kind of humorous. My daughter thought it was adorable. The WeeLC Extreme Rules matchup was all kinds of fun. This encounter is straight out of Lucha Libre 101. Does the mask ever lose to the hair? With summer coming, Horny just might want to air out his dome. Anyway, I'm all for these two turning their feud into an epic that stretches all the way to WrestleMania 31.

Winner: El Torito

Justin Watry: Well, now we know why Hornswoggle has been growing out his hair! I wonder if he will get a new look for the upcoming Leprechaun movie. It was already filmed, but yeah. Who knows how that will carry over to WWE television? Either way, this is just not doing it for me. Comedy is great in wrestling, but the goal of a PPV is to make money. Even as a pre-show match, none of this will help the bottom line, just as it did nothing to help promote Extreme Rules last month. El Torito will win.

Winner: El Torito

Michael Weyer: I know some folks like this and the guys are putting their all into making it fun but frankly just a forgettable bit to start things up. For the winner, expect a bald Hornswoggle but more interested in the commentary than the bout itself.

Winner: El Torito

Sean Garmer: The feud going into Extreme Rules was actually fun and built to what became one of the most memorable parts of Extreme Rules. However, this feels thrown together just to have another match for no reason. That being said, Torito is not losing his mask. So, you know who is losing here.

Winner: El Torito

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Rusev w/ Lana vs. Big E
Singles Match

Mike Hammerlock: Interesting theory here by the WWE. Take your two most boring characters and put them in a match against each other. It might work because both guys have ring talent. They could make you forget that Rusev is the billionth Russian strongman in wrestling history (his de-Bulgarification is complete) and that Big E is apparently allergic to microphones. To that last point, why exactly did Big E pick a fight with Rusev? Patriotism I suppose, but that's gotten zero explanation. Both guys desperately need to be in a good match so that fans will pay them some attention. At the very least it should be a change from "Rusev crush!", which got old the second it started. Though we really need to bring up the potential optics problem with this match. Is Rusev going to roll through every black guy on the roster? Is his gimmick secretly that he's the Russian racist? IMO, it would make a lot more sense to use this match to bolster Big E, who has been drifting aimlessly since he won the Intercontinental title. Rusev also could stand a loss to put some kind of twist in a storyline we've otherwise seen done to death. Thing is, Rusev is Ivan Drago and Big E is Apollo Creed waving an American flag and we know how this fight ends.

Winner: Rusev

Justin Watry: Rusev may make Big E submit. However, Lana will truly be the winner.

Winner: Lana

Michael Weyer: I actually like Big E and Rusev is getting over as a monster who crushes all in his path so this has promise. It should be a major power battle to be sure, both hitting each other hard and such but also a way to show each off well. Despite his IC reign, Big E can use a bit more push but Rusev seems set for the new monster guy the company could use now and promises some decent fun, not a bad way to kick a show off.

Winner: Rusev

Sean Garmer: I really hate that Big E has already gone into WWE wasteland and looks to take another loss for the second consecutive PPV, this time, to Vince's new Russian pet. I'm not gonna complain about getting to see Lana in a match, but I just feel like there is so much more for Big E. I'm expecting both men to hit each other hard and we will get plenty of standoffs and moments where both guys look strong. However, it seems rather inevitable what is going to happen here. What's worse is that there is a pretty good chance the crowd is going to crap all over this.

Winner: Rusev

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(Champion) Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam
Intercontinental Championship Match

Mike Hammerlock: This is the photo negative of the Daniel Bryan-Kane feud, with the face/heel dynamic switched around. Veteran "name" wrestler emerges as the top challenger to give the new champ a competitive, but comfortable first win in his reign. We know who's winning here. The real challenge is can Van Dam give him a quality match? These two are more or less in competition with Sheamus and Cesaro to establish temporary predominance for their respective belts.

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Justin Watry: This is how you portray a legend like Rob Van Dam. He gets regular television time but not too much. He gets rare promo time but not a lot. He wins some matches but never the 'payoff' matches. Yet, the man delivers solid to great performances and stays fresh with a limited schedule. Exact playbook to follow for using veterans in 2014. Bad News Barrett just won the IC Championship, so he is the easy pick.

Winner: Bad News Barrett

Michael Weyer: Barrett's new attitude seems to be helping him get back on track, the guy always had potential for stardom, nice to see it seem to pay off. RVD is pretty much just around to put guys over now, not seeing him with the title, especially after a switch so soon. It should be a good battle, clashing styles and RVD doing his best but Barrett manages to retain to push himself and give the IC belt a bit more shine.

Winner and STILL IC Champion: Bad News Barrett

Sean Garmer: RVD is the perfect opponent for Barrett's first PPV title defense. RVD is going to sell Barrett's hard hitting offense like a champ and together they will probably have a pretty good match. I think it is rather evident who is going to win since Barrett just won the belt. Here's hoping they get time to put on a good match and that the crowd keeps making Barrett like a superstar by a popping huge for him.


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(Champion) Paige vs. Alicia Fox
WWE Divas Championship Match

Mike Hammerlock: I'm not quite sure why Alicia Fox feels the compulsion to pour soda down her cleavage, but she apparently can't be stopped. Fox isn't much in the ring, but her antics of late have been entertaining. Paige proved she is good in the ring in NXT (haven't really seen it in the WWE yet), but she's been a snooze since her shock win over AJ. Best case scenario, Paige carries them to a respectable match while Foxy injects some personality. Worst case scenario, slow motion borefest. I'd have Fox win here so she can continue her trip to Crazytown, forcing Paige to show some character in an attempt to win back the belt. Big E was in the exact same position as Paige back at TLC, where a loss might have given him a hot rivalry and some dimension to his character. Instead he won ... and yawn. Most likely, Paige is biding her time until AJ returns. Hey, isn't AJ engaged to some guy who lives in Chicago?

Winner: Paige

Justin Watry: Eh, I could go either way. After initial buzz, the Paige craze has already died down. WWE seems more focused on Alicia Fox at the moment. Being one of my original three "it girls," that is perfectly okay in my book. However, Paige just won the Divas Championship. Instead of just moving on a few weeks later, give her a chance. I assume AJ Lee will be back eventually, and the obvious route is her getting a rematch for the title against Paige. As much as I am a fan of Fox, you have to go with Paige, right?

Winner: Paige

Michael Weyer: Paige is okay as champ although Alicia is getting a bit more heat. However, not seeing any title change here, let's hope it's at least entertaining enough for the crowd but not expecting anything really good here.

Winner and STILL Diva's Champion: Paige

Sean Garmer: Paige has mellowed since winning the belt the night after Wrestlemania. I understand needing to build up Paige's challengers, especially those that are not in the Total Divas contingent. However, if Paige is supposed to be your next big Diva, I don't know why you can't let her look dominant against other divas, while Alicia goes crazy after losing. I just hate this gimmick that they have Paige doing where she beats people at the last possible minute, almost as if she is the underdog. I wonder sometimes if WWE changes creative teams every couple weeks or something, didn't The Shield and Wyatts get over because they were dominant? AJ is gone for now, Paige should have been able to step into that role. Maybe this is WWE being cautious as to not piss off the other divas by giving Paige too much too soon, but I hope the crowd cheers for Paige and the two divas can have a passable match. Because I'm really worried WWE will start to lose faith in Paige if things don't get better.


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(Champion) Sheamus vs. Cesaro w/ Paul Heyman
United States Championship Match

Mike Hammerlock: These two have steal the show potential. Sheamus has been a workhorse since he returned at the Rumble. Every match he's in is a good match. He's one of the most reliable guys on the roster. Meanwhile Cesaro is must-watch TV. If they give these two 10-15 minutes, they could set the building on fire. I also get the distinct impression from their recent encounters they've been holding back a bit so that this meeting really pops. The danger there is that sometimes the crowd is slow to recognize "this is awesome" when they weren't necessarily expecting awesome from you. As for the outcome, it really doesn't matter. I suspect they don't want Sheamus to be seen a transitional champ and Cesaro has already held the U.S. title, so maybe a DQ or double count out finish makes sense here. If they leave each other laying wasted outside the ring, it would set them up nicely for Money in the Bank, where they should play prominent roles.

Winner: Sheamus

Justin Watry: With only a few matches on the pay-per-view, this is the match I hope to see get extended time. Maybe 20 minutes, maybe more? The event takes place from Chicago, so you know THAT live audience will love it. With Cesaro, I am still not sold on his pairing with Paul Heyman. The King of Swing was doing just fine in February and March Just fine at WWE WrestleMania XXX in April. Just fine! Then we just HAD to get the predictable "Heyman Guy" announcement in front of Smarktown USA - the night after WM. Now he is back to being a talented heel, when he was on the rise as a face. Oh well, Cesaro will make the main event scene eventually. Because of that, I am hoping he does NOT win the United States Title. Keep that on Sheamus for awhile.

Winner: Sheamus

Michael Weyer: After so long forgotten, nice to see the US title get some attention again. Sheamus isn't bad as a champ and if he and Cesaro get more time, it should be a highlight of the show. It's tempting to say Cesaro but still too early in the feud, I see Sheamus managing to retain here to continue things on and hopefully both guys show their stuff to make the belt mean something again.

Winner and STILL US Champion: Sheamus

Sean Garmer: I'm glad to see the US Title get some love from the WWE creative team. Sheamus I think is a good champion for the time being. Cesaro though has already held the title and even though I'd like to see Heyman managing another champion, I think this probably ends in a double count out or no contest. I can't WWE just taking the belt away from Sheamus that quick. Regardless, this should be a fantastic match that could steal the show. I hope WWE gives these guys 15 to 20 minutes to wow the crowd in Chicago.

Winner: No Contest (Sheamus STILL US CHAMPION)

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John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
Last Man Standing Match

Mike Hammerlock: I have a major problem with Bray Wyatt. At the end of this year I'm going to need to pick the best promos of the year and his promos are so consistently great I can't separate them. He's really putting me in a bind here. It's a crying shame the Wyatts didn't annihilate Jerry Lawler on Monday. That would have put that whole segment into the stratosphere for me. Anyway, there's another guy in this match too, goes by the name of John Cena. Supposedly Vince has big plans for him. First thing that should be said about this match is it's probably going to be radically overbooked. That's a shame because Wyatt and Cena can flat out go in the ring. Yet I expect they'll try to "top" the overbooking we saw in their cage match. Second, how many times have we seen Cena run this program? If this follows the standard script, Cena now will get back his loss five times over. It really shouldn't follow that script. The Wyatt Family should be building to something beyond its feud with Cena, and Cena doing the same thing he always does only gives more fodder to the folks who are sick and tired of lather, rinse, prevail. So I'm being optimistic and picking a fresher story arc here rather than giving into the cynicism gnawing at my gut. On the upside, this doesn't look anything like a final chapter, so Wyatt might keep Cena otherwise occupied while the WWE title situation gets sorted out.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Justin Watry: Tough match to predict. Just like Mania, I plan of flip flopping on this prediction for the next few days. Just a heads on that! Ultimately, it comes down to whether this feud will continue or not. Really, Bray Wyatt and John Cena COULD face off one more time in four weeks at Money in the Bank. Neither man needs to be in the ladder match anyways, so why not have a final gimmick match? Under the assumption this feud gets stretched to one last battle, I will go with Cena winning. May be wrong though. Again, by far the toughest match of the show to predict. No problem with Bray Wyatt winning here though, no problem at all...

Winner: John Cena

Michael Weyer: This feud has been damn wild, Wyatt really rising up more and over now as a huge heel for fans. I'm tempted to say he wins here as with Bryan uncertain for the future, we need a hot face in the main event too. But this is Cena's style of match and just like him to face huge odds but manage to come out on top in the end. I think still one more battle left in here before SummerSlam so Cena manages to win but hurt to push the Wyatts up more, a bit of a win-win to set up a final battle down the road. Either way, Cena excels at these matches so this should be a great affair.

Winner: John Cena

Sean Garmer: This feud has been well booked all throughout and has been largely carried by the fantastic promo work from Bray Wyatt and Cena taking things seriously for the most part, which has helped make this a feud worth watching. I really hope we go back to the Wrestlemania XXX match and go from there. I would hate to see another overbooked mess like the Cage match was. I really believe we are going to have one more match at Money in the Bank, so the result for this may be up in the air. I expect to see Wyatt Family and The Usos get involved and make this an insane scene with everyone being down and out at one point. I think with all of that extra stuff going on, it provides another opportunity for Wyatt to get a win, while Cena still looks strong because he was beat down by three guys.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

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Evolution vs. The Shield
No Holds Barred Elimination Match

Mike Hammerlock: This time they get to close the show. It's going to be hard to top their Extreme Rules classic. Seeing that HHH broke out Sledgie on Monday night, this one promises to be more plunder oriented. Technically this should allow them to show off a new aspect of Dean Ambrose, who has that CZW background. And how does Seth Rollins top his spot from their last meeting? Will he jump off the Sears Tower? Oh yeah, they'll be in Chicago (insert CM Punk speculation here). Roman Reigns can be relied upon to send bodies flying. On the Evolution side of things, Randy Orton reminded us how ridiculously good he sometimes is on Monday night (that first RKO on Cody Rhodes was spectacular). He's the most dangerous member of his faction, the one guaranteed to be in the middle of the action at MITB. If HHH knows what's best for business, then a major subplot here will be him having a generalship war with Rollins. Speaking of business, Batista is heading out to promote Guardians of the Galaxy after this, which makes me think it will be an Evolution loss here. He can return for SummerSlam looking to settle whatever score emerges during this match. In the meantime, Evolution will need to evolve if it wants to eradicate the Shield. Then again, maybe this is where a Shield member turns on his brothers in arms (Ambrose being the leading candidate).

Winner: The Shield

Justin Watry: Batista is a big poopy head who refuses to lose on pay-per-view, and Triple H loves to bury talent. Oh, and Randy Orton is boring! Have I covered everything there? Okay, back to reality now. The Shield have an amazing win-loss record on PPV since their debut in late 2012. I seems I say that every single month, but it is the truth. With the stipulations being No Holds Barred and with elimination rules, nothing changes. The Shield will end up defeating Evolution (and ending the feud). Easy to see Roman Reigns overcoming a three on one situation, but the clean sweep may be the way to go. Regardless, this should be match of the night and a great brawl with everybody putting on a top notch performance.

Winner: The Shield

Michael Weyer: I know people are picking the Shield here and it's tempting to say the same. But just feel we're long overdue for those guys getting broken up as Evolution has more heat to them right now backing the Authority up. We could see a member defecting (Ambrose my pick) and if rumors of Batista putting over Reigns are true, can help launch him more. But I just can't see Evolution really putting Shield over and splitting up so they get the win but should be a pretty hard hitting match.

Winners: Evolution

Sean Garmer: It looks like Batista is getting ready to go on the promotional tour before we hit Money in the Bank, so I think this is the end of the feud here, unless they have someone join Evolution. That being said, because this is elimination I can see a scenario where it winds up 3 on 1 against Roman Reigns. Reigns finds a way to eliminate Batista and Orton. Then it is 1 on 1 between HHH and Reigns. HHH uses his best friend the Sledgehammer and down goes Reigns for Evolution to get the win.

Winners: Evolution:

Overall Thoughts & PPV Interest Level (from 1 being the worst to 5 being the best)

Mike Hammerlock: My Interest for This PPV is 3 It's a solid card with a main event that's as close to a sure thing as you can get. The talent on display is outstanding. If Barrett and Van Dam click, if Sheamus and Cesaro get a good chunk of time, if Wyatt and Cena don't get absurdly overbooked, this could be a dynamite show. You have to assume they'll set up a WWE title MITB match, which might add some constructive chaos to Sunday's proceedings. Maybe Paul Heyman's flown Brock Lesnar in to make sure he's on the short list. Maybe Hulk Hogan interrupts the show at some point with his good buddy from Chicago, Sting. Anyway, Payback really depends on how much the WWE wants to push the envelope. It should be good at a minimum.

Justin Watry: My interest level for Payback is sitting at 2 but will probably inch closer to 3 by Sunday night. That is usually how it ends up. During the week, I just kind of keep an eye on the pay-per-view card but do not get very excited unless there is a huge match or something. Then when the weekend rolls around, ANY WWE PPV event gets me at least somewhat jacked up. Obviously, the "big four" more than others. Even for Payback, there is interest. I bet it is the same for others as well. Otherwise, they would just not watch...but they will. A decent card featuring an interesting segment with Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella planned should make for a solid three hours. Having the WWE Network, it is no sweat off my back (or wallet).

Michael Weyer: My interest level for Payback is 2 for me: A bit of a miss show in many ways. The Shield/Evolution fight should be good and the US title bout has promise but otherwise, not much to really pull you in. The drama of whether or not Bryan forfeits the belt might get more attention but overall, not a really big show, just a placeholder on the road to SummerSlam so not sure if worth the money, probably skippable in many ways.

Sean Garmer: My interest level for Payback is a solid 3 This PPV has plenty of potential to be a good one if WWE decides to give the matches time and not spend 30 minutes on a talking segment, unless someone is going to make a surprise debut or return. Sheamus vs. Cesaro, Barrett vs. RVD, Cena vs. Wyatt, and the main event should all be worth watching, with probably some great matches in there too. Rusev vs. Big E and the Divas Title match could surprise and be solid as well. So, I'm very interested in watching this PPV for sure.

Well, that's all the time we have today. Let us know what you thought of our predictions in the comment section and don't forget to share your picks for the PPV as well. See you all again later this month for Money in the Bank.

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