WWE Payback
May 17, 2015
WWE Network
Royal Farms Arena
Baltimore, MD

Welcome to WWE Payback, the most anticipated WWE Network special event of May… or at least Top 3. Maybe. In this corner, the WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins! In the opposite corner, the job of the Big Red Machine and the Devil’s Favorite Demon and the Director of Operations and the Demon Kane! Yes, will Kane lose his job if Seth loses his championship? Can Dean Ambrose convert a loss at WrestleMania, a loss to John Cena on Raw, and a loss in the King of the Ring tournament into a World Heavyweight Title win? Can Randy Orton RKO fools for twenty minutes? Will WWE #KeepRomanStrong? So many questions going in to WWE Payback, and the over/under how how many answers we truly receive is currently set at 1.5.

Curtis Axel & Damien Sandow vs. The Ascension

Rob McCarron (@ShakeThemRopes): Here’s hoping for an Axel & Sandow win, then they explode and break up, then they’re back together on Raw and the cycle continues!

Prediction: Axel & Sandow

Sean Flynn (@spiffie6123): This match has the potential to serve as the beginning of something wonderful. There’s no reason to stop the trend of jobbers dressing up and pretending to be better wrestlers from the past. Throw a bunch more in there and make it the WWE Nostalgia Division. Hire Shark Boy to be Austin. Get Juventud back as Rock. Eventually you can turn Smackdown into the all impostors show. It would probably get better ratings than Raw.

Prediction: Axel & Sandow

Bryan Rose (@br26): They seemed to be going in a new direction with Damien Sandow about a week after the whole Miz deal ended once and for all. I didn’t think it would get him anywhere, but it was nice. Then the very next week, he’s back impersonating people. I think back to the times when Charlie Haas dressed up as people and when Kiwi down in WWE developmental did a Hulk Hogan gimmick and let’s face it, it never works out. Ever. This is all just filler designed to not make you care about a single person in this match. They’re all cartoon characters and should be treated as such. I guess the new Mega Jobber team is going to win, but it’s kind of a shame after what looked to be a new direction for the character, creative has nothing for Mizdow other than to do what he was doing before, just less over now. Actually, that’s the story with every WWE creative move these days, isn’t it?

Prediction: Axel & Sandow

King Barrett vs. Neville

Rob McCarron: Each match in their series has been really good, and this is likely to be the most emphasized match in the series even with their last match being the King of the Ring final. Just because it seems Neville is in the period where he loses, while looking great, and Barrett has a new moniker they are working with, it makes sense for Barrett to win.

Prediction: King Barrett

Sean Flynn: Wade Barrett now has a crown and a cape and a new catchphrase. Oh he isn’t getting pushed any more than usual, but now he gets to say “All Hail King Barrett” as he treads water endlessly in the midcard. Neville on the other hand is actually getting protected even against John Cena, the Eater of Pushes. Whatever the final result, the person who is coming out of this with any hope of moving up is Neville.

Prediction: Neville

Bryan Rose: This was a good match last month. Hope they get the time needed to have a better match. Like above, they had Barrett win KOTR with the idea he’d get a big push, but realistically he’s still in the same place he’s been in for months, having no real win/loss record to speak of. It kind of highlights my arguement creative just gives people new gimmicks to keep things interesting rather than implement new ideas that might enable a person to climb higher in the ranks. I’m assuming Neville wins here.

Prediction: Neville

Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus

Rob McCarron: Dolph Ziggler won the last match, even though Sheamus got his music playing on the way out and looked like the victor. This time, we could see the exact opposite. I expect the match to be good, and the two to try and do a different match than they’ve done 100 times in the past.

Prediction: Sheamus

Sean Flynn: I skipped over this match the first time I was filling this out. I wish I could skip over it a second time. It’s not going to be a bad match, these guys can have a decent to good match against each other in their sleep. But it is still guys feuding over the breaching of an agreement regarding the kissing of buttocks. Men kissing the posteriors of other men must rank somewhere between dancing fat men and hillbillies at the top of the “Things That Make Vince Laugh” list.

Prediction: Sheamus

Bryan Rose: This is a big bag full of who cares. A month after having a stipulation match (that had a nonsensical ending to plus they blew off the stipulation), the blow off match (I hope) is a straight up singles match. I have no idea how anyone could care about this. Ziggler won their match last month. If the idea is still to make Sheamus one of the top heels in the company, he should win here.

Prediction: Sheamus

WWE Tag Team Championship – Best of 3 Falls
The New Day © vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro

Rob McCarron: What many people will consider the match of the night going in, the tag title match hopefully gets more than twelve minutes. I expect the New Day gimmick will be using a different two-man team for each fall, which is clever, albeit predictable. That gimmick also makes for a unique way to win for the New Day, as they’ll seemingly have a fresh man at the end. This feud will continue, and I’m not disappointed by that at all. Add in Harper & Rowan at the Chamber, and the tag division might just be my favorite thing on Raw for the next few weeks.

Prediction: The New Day

Sean Flynn: I’m thinking this ends up being the most fun match of the night. If the rumored Elimination Chamber match of New Day/Swing Cats/HarpeRowan is going to happen I think it is likely things stay where they are. How good this match is will depend on which New Day pairing gets to work. If it’s Big E and Kofi this has potential to be match of the night caliber. I’m hoping they get 25 minutes to just cut loose and go crazy.

Prediction: The New Day

Bryan Rose: This should be a pretty good match. They had a great match last month, and the New Day have really embraced their roles as the happy sarcastic heels. With the roles reversed, this match looks a lot better on paper than it did last month, and should be great. Hopefully WWE ignores what they do with every 2/3 fall match and not have the first two falls in the first five minutes of the match. I think the New Day retains here as there are other face teams in the pipeline they can face (Lucha Dragons?).

Prediction: The New Day

Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt

Rob McCarron: Ryback eats meat and sits on a throne because he’s a man. Bray Wyatt is a guy who talks on the jumbotron and appears every once in a while to randomly attack dudes, and this time, he choo-choo-chooses the Ryback. Like picking Cena to win on every show, I seem to pick Bray losing on every show. But this just has to be different. Bray has to win, right?

Prediction: Bray Wyatt

Sean Flynn: Keep. This. Short. Less than 10 minutes of hoss fighting and this might be decent. If they go for the 20 minute lots of Bray Wyatt doing Bray Wyatt spooky things route it will not be pleasant for anyone. It’s going to end up being the latter isn’t it? It’s going to be the sort of long drawn out story line sort of match that is so not what this feud needs.

Prediction: Bray Wyatt

Bryan Rose: I largely had zero interest in this match until Raw where Wyatt cut a pretty good promo. I know it was better than usual because I actually paid attention to it for once. Now, I’m not expecting this to be a good match at all. Ryback’s record isn’t good, and Wyatt’s is maybe slightly better than Ryback. This isn’t a match designed to be great, and something tells me they’ll spend most of the summer feuding, which isn’t good at all. But they gotta do something with these two in the meantime, so I guess there’s not much of a choice. I’m guessing Wyatt wins here. It makes sense, which means I shouldn’t pick him, but I’m stuck in my old ways.

Prediction: Bray Wyatt

WWE United States Championship – I Quit Match
John Cena © vs. Rusev

Rob McCarron: Can’t pick against John Cena. Cena quitting on America? Psh. Laughable. He just can’t lose. He can’t stop, won’t stop the party. The real question of this match isn’t who will win, but how will Lana affect the result.

Prediction: John Cena

Sean Flynn: The feud can’t end until Cena has vanquished every last bit of Rusev’s dignity. At least now all Rusev has to do is to verbally submit to Cena and lose his faithful companion to the joys of American Americans being American. Then, and only then, will Cena allow Rusev to die.

Prediction: John Cena

Bryan Rose: This really should have ended last month. No idea why there needs to be a fourth match here. I don’t see anything else other than a Cena win. Lana will probably do the turn here (I hope, anyway, WWE loves to drag this kind of shit out until it’s worthless these days) and might give Cena the advantage to win. As for the match itself…it has to be better than last month’s match, right?

Prediction: John Cena

WWE World Heavyweight Championship – Fatal 4Way
Seth Rollins © vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton

Rob McCarron: What I feel will be the best match on the show, this bout has four guys who really do go all out on Pay Per Views. Yes, Orton has been on fire on Pay Per Views, and Roman has had the best match on every show he’s been on PPV wise as far as singles bouts go. This will be great, and despite Kane being a focal point, I’m looking forward to this match, result, and fallout more than anything else on the show.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Sean Flynn: With the three top faces and the top heel in the company, all eyes are focused exactly where they should be. On the 48 year old guy with the hitched up dress pants and a made up title. That sums up WWE pretty well I’d say. Seth Rollins has been doing his damndest to stay relevant as champ, but his reign has been subsumed by the endless Authority struggle. There are 4 guys in this match. But the winner will be HHH. He’s always the winner. And Dean Ambrose is always the loser. It’s just a law of nature.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Bryan Rose: Not feeling this. Again, the big question of the match isn’t about who will walk out the WWE champion, it’s about how Kane is going to interfere. And it will probably lead to a Kane/Rollins feud, something I am so sad to see witness in 2015. Kane has actually secretly been great here as Rollin’s sorta adversary in the last month, but that’s usually because he’s been kept out of matches. Kane, as a worker, should not be headlining main events in 2015. But what are you gonna do, as long as they exist on the roster Kane, Big Show and Mark Henry are going to headline shows off an on until they stop signing contracts. As far as this match goes, it should be pretty good, though fatal four ways don’t always work out as good as triple threat matches. I predict Seth pins Ambrose via questionable methods.

Prediction: Seth Rollins