It may surprise you to note that WWE has a Pay Per View event this weekend – it’s called ‘Payback’. This event has largely slipped under the radar as WWE struggles to get out of its now almost traditional post-Wrestlemania slump, and features three rematches from last month’s Extreme Rules show (It would have been four had Daniel Bryan not gone down with a neck injury). While on the surface it seems that there is not too much to get excited about, there are enough quality match ups to suggest that it could be a sleeper success. Here’s what to look out for:
Will Bryan give up the title?
Ever since the news broke that Daniel Bryan had to undergo surgery on his neck and would be out of action for anything up to three months, there has been plenty of discussion around the status of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. This should be resolved come Sunday, where Stephanie McMahon has issued Bryan an ultimatum – surrender the title or his wife, Brie Bella, will be fired. Building more and more heat with each passing week, Stephanie McMahon deserves great credit for her performances, in particular her crowd baiting master class from the Raw show in London a fortnight ago. With Stephanie on a tyrannical rage, could it be that another McMahon will be the man to save Bryan’s title reign?
Shield + Evolution = Great Match
It’s hard to quantify just how much The Shield have brought to the WWE since their debut, and kudos to WWE for keeping them together for so long, especially in the face of mounting expectation that Roman Reigns would break away from the group to become WWE’s next big singles star. While Reigns has yet to go his own way (and it will be huge when he does), the standing of the trio has never been as high as it is now with their feud with the Evolution stable of HHH, Batista and Randy Orton taking top billing over all other storylines, including those of Daniel Bryan and John Cena, the company’s two top stars. Sunday should sadly see the end of this particular feud, but expect it to go out with a bang as the match will be contested under elimination rules with no disqualifications. It’s hard to imagine them topping last month’s Match of the Year candidate, but with the added stipulations this might just succeed. Potentially worth your cash for this match alone, expect Reigns, Rollins and Ambrose to continue to prove their worth.
Last Man Standing could save Cena/Wyatt feud:
Following last month’s underwhelming cage match, the pressure is on for John Cena and Bray Wyatt to put on a strong showing, and the Last Man Standing stipulation should go a long way to help them achieve exactly that. Cena has very good history in such matches, as the rules allow for around the arena brawling, weapon shots and other such diversions to add drama to the contest. Let’s just hope it does not involve another child singing through a voice distorter.
An Irishman versus a Swiss for the United States Championship:
It sounds like the start of a terrible joke but Sheamus vs Cesaro is a match that should deliver in spades. Since his return at the Royal Rumble, Sheamus has yet to reach the heights that he had previously scaled, with his stuttering push not helping matters. Cesaro, on the other hand, has been in the form of his life up until WrestleMania, where he won the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal, but has since been treading water, despite the addition of Paul Heyman as his manager. If given time, these two men can have a real all action battle, which if not on the same card as The Shield vs Evolution, could be expected to take home Match of the Night honours. Expect plenty of forearms, European uppercuts and ridiculous feats of strength.
The Chicago crowd:
Famous in their own right, wrestling fans from the ‘Second City’ are known to be knowledgeable and extremely loud. Given that their favourite son CM Punk walked out on the WWE in January and has not yet returned, expect the natives to be restless, and there is a chance that this could turn into ‘Occupy Payback’, especially if the WWE decides to poke the proverbial hornet’s nest by making mention of ‘The Straight Edge Superstar’. Perhaps a certain Bad News Barrett could tell the crowd that his bad news for the evening is that Punk is never coming back? It would make for quite the reaction
How can I watch it?
Payback airs on Sky Box Office at 1am on Monday morning for UK fans. US fans are luckier as they can tune in via the WWE Network.
Full card so far:
Hornswoggle vs. El Torito (Hair vs. Mask Match)
Paige vs. Alicia Fox (Divas Championship)
Sheamus vs. Cesaro (United States Championship)
Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam (Intercontinental Championship)
John Cena vs Bray Wyatt (Last Man Standing Match)
The Shield vs. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)