Powell's WWE Payback Preview and Predictions: Bold prediction for C.M. Punk vs. Chris Jericho, will WWE deliver an actual finish to the Three Stages of Hell match, will Randy Orton turn on Daniel Bryan?
By Jason Powell
Check back tonight Jason Powell and Chris Shore's live coverage reviews of the WWE Payback event beginning with the Payback Kickoff match at 6:30 p.m. CT. Dot Net Members can look forward to an exclusive audio review with Jason and Chris after the show. Join us on the ad-free version of the website by signing up now via the Prowrestling.net/amember/signup.php.
John Cena vs. Ryback in a Three Stages of Hell Match for the WWE Championship: Those of you who want your Daniel Bryan WWE Championship reign and insist that it occur as soon as possible should probably be hoping for Ryback to win and become a transitional champion. When in doubt, we've all learned to pick Cena. WWE gave us a screwy finish last month to set up the need for a rematch. What if the ambulance doors open and Mark Henry is there to beat the holy hell out of both men and the show ends with him stuffing both men inside the ambulance? Cena would retain, Ryback wouldn't lose, and WWE would have a Triple Threat main event for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.
John Cena retains the WWE Championship.
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk: It would be a risky move for WWE to advertise Punk for a pay-per-view held in his hometown and then not have him show up. Thus, I believe he will show up and he will wrestle or at least take part in a big angle. In fact, I believe this could be a game changer for Punk. I expect something to happen where Punk comes out of this show as a babyface to more than just his hometown fans. I've been saying for nearly two weeks that I could see a double turn taking place and that's my official prediction. I can't rule out Brock Lesnar making an unadvertised appearance and attacking Punk. As great as Punk is as a heel, WWE has a surplus of good heel talent and a shortage of top babyfaces. I'm going with the double turn because Jericho was really over the top as a happy babyface on Monday's Raw, and it might explain why his segments with Paul Heyman didn't pack more of a punch. Plus, is there a better place to turn Punk than in front of his hometown fans?
Chris Jericho beats C.M. Punk in a double turn.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship: Where's the outrage from the same fans who were so distraught at the idea of The Rock winning the WWE Championship and not defending the strap for 30 days due to his Hollywood schedule? Yes, I realize Ziggler was injured and I'm all for keeping the title on him, but I can't help but needle the fans who worked up mock outrage over the 30-day rule when Rock won the strap simply because they wanted any reason to complain about their favorite wrestler not getting (or keeping) it instead. WWE could have taken the title away from Ziggler via this rule if they really wanted to and they did not. Thus, Dolph retains here, though I suspect in a way that keeps the feud going for another month before Ziggler gets a new challenger at SummerSlam. I sense that interest is very low in this match and I can't say it's high on my most anticipated list after the forgettable buildup this week. However, we all know Ziggler sets out to steal the show and he has an opponent who will work hard to help that cause.
Dolph Ziggler retains the World Heavyweight Championship.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for the WWE Tag Team Championship: This could be the night when Orton turns on Bryan, though it does seem a bit premature since they haven't established much of a relationship. I know many people want Bryan to win the WWE Championship asap. I want to enjoy the ride and the long term payoff. A feud with Orton could be really good. I'm just not sure they launch it here with a full fledged Orton turn here since I already have two turns in Punk vs. Jericho. If neither of those turns occur, then it makes room for the pay-per-view poster boy to turn. Either way, though, it's hard to bet against The Shield even though WWE has a history of loving combative tag partners holding the tag straps.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane for the United States Championship: This match can't be as slow as their Raw match was, nor should it have the same cheap finish with The Shield interfering. I don't know how they get there, but I would be shocked if the match resulted in Kane winning the gold.
Dean Ambrose retains the United States Championship.
Kaitlyn vs. A.J. Lee for the Divas Championship: It was actually refreshing to see creative give the Divas an angle that consisted of more than the Bella twins being catty. I'm torn on this one. Kaitlyn winning clean would feel like a waste of a good angle, yet I'm not sure she drops the title here. I could see Kaitlyn flipping out and getting disqualified again. If there is an actual pin or submission, then I see Lee going over, giving her and Dolph a chance to be totally obnoxious once they both have gold.
A.J. Lee wins the WWE Divas Championship.
Wade Barrett vs. Curtis Axel vs. The Miz in a Triple Threat Match for the Intercontinental Championship: My pick would have been Fandango winning had he not been forced to drop out of the match due to a concussion. I can't see Axel losing. For that matter, I can't really see him not winning even though the possibility is there in a Triple Threat that he won't factor into the finish. The only way I see Axel failing to win this match is if Triple H makes an unadvertised appearance and costs him the match to set up their match that may or not be happening on Raw.
Curtis Axel wins the Intercontinental Championship.
Damien Sandow vs. Sheamus in the WWE Payback Kickoff Match: WWE has given a nice boost to Sandow over the last couple weeks. As much as I would love to see it continue, I'm not going against the "babyface goes over on the pre-show" formula until they provide me with a reason to do so.
Sheamus pins Damien Sandow.
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