By Darren Gutteridge
Can Dot Net contributor Darren Gutteridge predict the outcomes of pay-per-view matches with more accuracy than the WWE '13 video game simulator? Let's find out.
While I appreciate the effort to get every title on the show, the first time since Hell in a Cell last October, this is the second PPV in a row I have little interest in ordering. While things are picking up after a Wrestlemania hangover on TV, thanks mainly to Daniel Bryan but also the Bray Wyatt videos and slowly improving overall match quality, I still feel WWE is in a holding pattern before they decided to pull the trigger on “new” things over the summer, the traditional area for experimentation, which should start with Money in the Bank next month. As you’ll see in my predictions, I’m expecting very little movement on the title front.
At Extreme Rules, I again came close to losing to the artificial intelligence of WWE ’13, eventually drawing 7-7. There is nothing for a draw in this sport (because I make the rules), so the score remains 3-1 to me.
Pre-show – Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow: If you had told me a month ago Sandow would be working a feud with Sheamus, I’d have been delighted. While I would have guessed he would lose, it’s great exposure for the character, and the start of a possible push. Having seen the way it’s played out, however, that excitement would have been for nought.
While Sandow’s eventual attack on Sheamus was good, it came at the end of a streak of ‘games’ wherein Sheamus always brought the segment down, and constantly got the better of Sandow. And it’s also on YouTube, so it will be forgotten about quickly. Lets all move along and at least hope for a solid match.
Prediction: Sheamus defeats Damien Sandow
WWE ’13: Sandow defeats Sheamus
Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee for the Divas Title: I can’t help but feel this should have meant more. The AJ/Kaitlyn thing has been boiling under nicely now for a while, but instead of having them pick it up a while away from a PPV match, they instead had the “secret admirer” angle lead to a last minute escalation of the feud on the go home Raw. I refer to the Summer Rae / Paige feud on NXT, which enjoyed a long build before culminating to a satisfying match, as an example of how this should have gone. WWE had chance to create a fresh Divas story with the two most over Divas, and decided to start and (possibly) end it within 7 days. Bizarre.
Prediction: AJ defeats Kaitlyn to win the Divas Title
WWE ’13: AJ defeats Kaitlyn
Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel in a Triple Threat match for the Intercontinental Title: It’s unfortunate for Fandango that he suffered a concussion before this match, as I think everyone would have predicted him to win the IC Title and get back on track with his push. But his exit may lead to a similar scenario, only with a different name. WWE now has an opportunity to take the foot off the gas with Axel’s main event push, and take him down a peg while it continues. It’s hard to see what plans WWE has for Miz and Barrett, so why not utilise the title to elevate a guy they are (rightly or wrongly) pushing? I wouldn’t hold out hope for a good match, as I still have question marks over both Miz and Axel in the ring, and Triple Threats require three skilled workers working seamlessly together to pull off well.
Prediction: Curtis Axel defeats The Miz and Wade Barrett to win the Intercontinental Title
WWE ’13: Axel pins Miz
Dean Ambrose vs. Kane for the United States Title: Kane has gone a long way to restoring the faith of the IWC in his ability to have good matches over the past few months. However, he and Ambrose couldn’t quite carry over the chemistry or excitement from the various Team Hell No vs. The Shield matches to their one on one encounters. The PPV aspect may result in a jump in quality, especially if they limit the time in the ring and make it all shock-and–awe from the get go. No real rest holds, no bogging down, just 5 minutes of quick control changes and a clean pin. The Shield has been shown to be vulnerable in singles matches, but Kane would gain nothing here from a win, so it’s Ambrose all the way.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose defeats Kane to retain the United States Title
WWE ’13: Kane defeats Ambrose
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton for the WWE Tag Team Titles: As I wrote in my One Shot this week, I’ve been worried WWE would eventually do something, albeit unintentionally, to derail whatever is going on with Bryan. This match may just be it. I explained in my One Shot the pitfalls of an Orton/Bryan win, with the predictable “reluctant team” storyline followed by breakup feud. I forgot to mention how the loss would harm the Shield’s appeal in the process, another big reason not to switch the titles. But it also occurs to me that a Shield win may still harm Bryan.
Everyone thought Orton turned heel on Smackdown by RKO’ing Bryan after their match, but it has been glossed over as just one of Orton’s tics. If it happened again, however, Orton would be heel, and a feud would need to start. And if WWE turns Orton after such a long time as a babyface, do you really think he’ll lose his first PPV match back to Bryan? No. Orton’s back heel, he’ll more than likely go back to feuding with Cena, and Bryan’s fan-generated push falters and maybe ends. I’m being pessimistic, but we’ve been here before, and you should never underestimate WWE’s ability to revert to “same old, same old”. I hope I am wrong.
Prediction: Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns defeat Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles
WWE ’13: Orton pins Reigns
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk: If there is one match that could have spiked my interest in the show, it would have been this one. Punk coming back (although it has only been a matter of weeks, and not months) is a big deal. Unfortunately, WWE hasn’t done a consistently good job of pushing how big the return is. While Jericho and Paul Heyman have had some good verbal exchanges, they have suffered from tonal problems from creative. Jericho is sometimes intense, sometimes jovial. I know that’s Jericho’s thing, but if Heyman had spent the whole month antagonising Jericho, or trying to prevent the match, and Jericho had responded in kind, the match may have felt just that little bit bigger. I’m sure the Chicago crowd will make it feel like the Second Coming, but the rest of the world may not feel that way going in, meaning lost PPV buys.
Ultimately, despite all the storyline ideas flying around, I see this as a (very good) Punk re-establishment match, pure and simple. Punk wins, Jericho shrugs the loss off, and we put the cat back among the pigeons again when Raw starts with a Punk promo.
Prediction: CM Punk defeats Chris Jericho
WWE ’13: Punk defeats Jericho
Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio for the World Heavyweight Championship: For once, the feud’s short, uneventful build up was no ones fault. Ziggler being out until the go-home show meant there was little time to give this title match any real fire, but hopefully they use that to motivate themselves to make the match that little bit better, to make up for lost time. Del Rio seems to be on the way back down the card, so Ziggler’s win seems nailed on.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler defeats Alberto Del Rio to retain the World Heavyweight Title
WWE ’13: Ziggler defeats Del Rio
John Cena vs. Ryback in a Three Stages of Hell match for the WWE Title:The added two matches to the already announced Ambulance match seems overkill here. The problem with all 2 out of 3 fall matches is, except in very rare cases, they always go the distance. So what added benefit will viewers get from the Lumberjack and Tables matches? Both usually lead to cheap decisions anyway, so it’s not like fans of Ryback or Cena can say their guy beat the other clean twice in one night. Maybe they’ll surprise us by proving three unique matches, but my prediction will work under the assumption it won’t be anything out of the ordinary.
The first match I see descending into chaos, with mass brawls breaking out between the lumberjacks, leading to Ryback hitting Cena with something (are there DQ’s in a Lumberjack match?) and getting the first pin. Cena will find a fluky way to put Ryback through a table, to make up for all the times Ryback put Cena and others through one, and eventually Cena will “overcome the odds” to put Ryback in the ambulance. I wouldn’t be surprised if Cena used a gimmicky way to keep Ryback in the ambulance, such as having Bryan run in to hold the door closed, or duct taping Ryback to a stretcher ala how he beat Batista in a Last Man Standing Match at Extreme Rules 2010.
Prediction: Ryback win the Lumberjack match, John Cena wins the tables match, and Cena wins the Ambulance match to retain the WWE Title
WWE ’13: Ryback wins the 1st match (Singles match), Cena wins the 2nd match (tables), and the 3rd match (Last Man Standing)
Thanks for reading. If you had any comments or thoughts on the show or this preview, add me on Twitter via @Dazatheg
Gutteridge's "Man vs. Machine" WWE Payback Predictions: Will Bryan's hot streak continue? Will we see a major title shake up? Will Chicago explode when CM Punk returns?
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