Payback has shaped up to be one of the most predictable Pay-Per-Views this year. Usually, when making final picks, I’ll always find it difficult to call at least a couple of the matches on the card. This wasn’t the case with Payback.
The problem is that all storylines are all over the place at the moment. Ziggler vs Sheamus and Neville vs. Barrett have been built practically as the same rivalry. Technically speaking, the matches between any combinations of these four can’t be faulted. On the contrary, they’ve delivered some of the best wrestling I’ve seen recently. However, there is no feud. There’s nothing to make these four men dislike each other so much. The only distant form of an explanation we were offered is that Sheamus thinks that size matters and Barrett seems to agree. And that was something we were told before Extreme Rules. Nothing was added to the already sparse narrative. The outcome here would boil down to future prospects. Sheamus is one of the best heels in the company at the moment and Neville is the newest hype, so everyone expects them to come on top in their matches. But even if they don’t, it won’t be a shocker that will keep people talking. It will all just pass because there’s no rivalry to be invested in.
Then one we all know will win is Cena. John Cena will never ever say I QUIT. That is as close to a fact as a wrestling prediction can be. But even if Cena does quit one day, it will definitely not be to a crumbling character like Rusev. The Bulgarian Brute has lost everything and is probably headed to obscurity, despite his talent. It was so obvious that Rusev had no chance that the WWE didn’t really bother building up the match. Rusev’s occasional attempts at anti-Cena promos were overshadowed by Lana’s approaching face turn and Cena’s US Title Open Challenge. The fans can easily take a coffee break during the Cena vs. Rusev match. We all know how it’s going to end.
The lower card is lacking suspense too. Neither the Divas Division, nor the Tag Team Division will bring any tension to the table. Naomi, much like the New Day, is benefitting from a very successful heel turn. She’s the one true dominant heel female character. She’s not losing to the Bella Twins, especially while she’s on the hunt for the title. And neither are the New Day. With the loud crowd response they get, the tag team champs might as well be the most popular tag team at the moment. Don’t get me wrong. Cesaro and Kidd are well-loved but the New Day are on a roll and they’re just picking up steam. It would be stupid to put an end to their reign now.
I don’t suppose anyone would question the fact that Wyatt is an easy pick over Ryback. The New Face of Fear is in need of big wins to build a strong image. Ryback is not exactly the biggest fish in the pond but he will suffice for a start. The Big Guy is just another midcarder with low prospects for development and will be fed to Bray. Wyatt can create much more in the future. I’m rooting for a storyline with Bo Dallas where the two brothers would rule the WWE as the Prophets of Fear. Then no one would be safe from his own lies and fears. But that is just in my imagination. Now, even Bray Wyatt’s eloquence couldn’t save his current rivalry from being pointless and predictable. Ryback’s promo about eating negativity and turning it into positivity definitely didn’t help. The only thing the fans want to know about Wyatt vs. Ryback is who will replace Ryback as Bray’s new target.
The only match on the Payback card that has the potential to surprise is the main event. However, it suffered from a chaotic build-up too. Seth Rollins has been feuding more vigorously with Kane over petty power games, rather than with anyone who’s targeting his championship. Reigns and Ambrose are slowly but surely moving towards their inevitable dissension. That will be the most interesting and emotionally-vested part of the PPV but it will cost them both the title. And Orton, Orton is just the unneeded addition to a full-fledged inter-Shield war. As great as the Viper is, he has no place in the future development of the Shield-centered storyline that is coming up.
All sorts of twists were possible during the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match, until Elimination Chamber was announced. With another PPV booked for two weeks from now, Payback won’t produce a new champion. Seth Rollins will weasel his way out of this. He’ll get Ambrose and Reigns to take each other out and will involve Kane to defeat Orton. That way, all three contenders will have the right to claim that they deserve a rematch. I’d love to get the same four men plus Kane and maybe Brock to enter the chamber in the end of the month. The Beast inside the steel chamber with the former Hounds of Justice and the Viper Randy Orton – imagine the possibilities! Knowing that the PPV will be available only on the Network makes think that unfortunately action of this magnitude won’t happen. The more realistic option would be to have Reigns win in a one-on-one match against Rollins and then have Ambrose hunt him down with the MITB from June onwards.
And yet, all that is in the future. All the excitement is planned for after Payback. Payback is just a predictable and not really necessary step to getting towards something more entertaining. The superstars can’t be blamed for this, though. I expect great matches on Sunday. What’s missing is the thrill of a good storyline. This is wrestling. Rivalries sell the product. The WWE should consider reducing the number of PPVs if the quality of the storytelling is going to suffer from the overcrowded calendar. I’m sure that the WWE fans will pick quality over quantity any day.
What do you think? Comment below with your thoughts, opinions, feedback and anything else that was raised.