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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

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Eyes On WWE: WWE Payback 2017 Preview

By @TrueGodImmortal 

As the brand split continues on, and the Superstar Shakeup is over, we reach the first PPV following Wrestlemania. The first PPV after Mania, Payback is an all RAW (well technically) PPV, and it will be interesting. There's not much on the card that's really enticing, but we're here to take a look at each match and what could be brought to the table, and what might happen at this event. The show will feature Finn Balor on the kickoff show on MizTV, which already is an issue, plus there's no Dean Ambrose match, as he's also a new RAW star after being sent over in the Shakeup. So far, we're off to an interesting yet odd start for the night. Let's get into the rest of the event.

*Kickoff Match 
Enzo and Cass vs Gallows and Anderson 

-Gallows and Anderson were just tag team champions and everyone suspected that Enzo and Cass would be the champions before the Hardys returned, but here we are. This match has been done to death and this will be no different than the other 45 times that it has happened. I expect Enzo and Cass to get the win and likely feud with the winners of the tag title match next.

*US Championship Match 
Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho 

-This match is confusing. Whoever wins goes to Smackdown. Jericho is nearing the end of his year plus run and Owens is currently getting into a feud with AJ Styles. With that being said, this is likely a match of the night candidate, and the best way to finish off a feud that carried RAW for the majority of the new year. Jericho and Owens could go 20 minutes and steal the show with Owens getting the win to send Jericho away for however long this time.

*Tag Team Title Match 
The Hardy Boyz vs Cesaro & Sheamus 

-This match could be really good. With Broken Matt Hardy clearly on the way, this could actually be a match that the Hardys lose. The new Hardy Boyz gear is just getting out there, but it could be time to let the nostalgia trip end so we can move on to the next step in the Hardy journey. WWE sees potential in Jeff as a singles participant for the future, and with feuds against Seth, Samoa Joe, Finn Balor, Bray Wyatt, and more, and the inevitable Matt and Bray clash destined to happen, one has to wonder if Cesaro and Sheamus will pick up the win after they've lost each of the singles matches respectively against the brothers. There is a tease of a heel turn for Cesaro and Sheamus and I could see them turning heel to win the match and the titles and moving on to face Enzo and Cass next. I can also see the Hardys retaining and then Cesaro and Sheamus turning heel to continue the feud. Knowing WWE, the latter is more likely.

*WWE RAW Women's Championship Match
Bayley vs Alexa Bliss

-The WWE is dragging their feet to have a Bayley vs Sasha feud. Truthfully, WWE doesn't know what they're doing. They built up Nia Jax and it's done nothing, and Sasha hasn't been relevant as much since losing to Charlotte the final time. Alexa Bliss is here and I think she might actually be the one to defeat Bayley. Alexa is already engaging the audience and filling that super heel role very well for RAW without Charlotte there. Alexa will either win, or just lose this match by a roll up, leaving the door open for another match, in which I think Alexa will win. WWE could go the right route and let Alexa defeat the bland Bayley, but knowing WWE, Bayley retains and the feud continues because Extreme Rules is coming soon within the next 5 weeks or so.

*Cruiserweight Championship Match
Austin Aries vs Neville

-As great as Neville has been as the champion, it's time to move on and give the belt to Austin Aries. Aries is the most over guy in the division, and he's poised to be champion soon. There's an angle now being built around TJ Perkins and Neville as a team, and Aries teaming up with Jack Gallagher, and that could play a role here. Could TJP help Neville retain? Or will that interference backfire and cost Neville the title? That's a question that we will find out the answer to Sunday, but I think it's time to give Aries the title. He's helped make the division seem bigger since he joined, and this feud could continue on for another month or so. The only way to really do that however is to let Aries win the title. This is another match of the night candidate.

*House Of Horrors Match 
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt 

-I have no idea what to expect from this. Truthfully, my expectations are extremely low. As they should be. With Bray now on RAW and Jinder Mahal (terrible) going against Orton, this feud is just there to be there. It makes no sense and they killed it after their horrible Mania bout. I expect that without the title on the line, the WWE somehow gives the win to Bray as he enters into his late spring-summer feud with Finn Balor, as a win here gives him his usual bit of momentum before it is killed. Bray stood tall at the end of RAW and if they have big plans for him, then there's only one way to go about this, and that's have Bray go over and send Orton back to Smackdown to feud with...... Jinder.... Mahal... for the WWE Title. I can't believe I just wrote that. Wow.

*Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins

-This match has no momentum behind it. It feels like a mid card battle and has the importance of one. The issue with Brock Lesnar being champion is that the other matches don't seem to feel big because there's no title implications involved. Joe vs Rollins is a main event level match, and I expect Rollins to somehow get the victory in this one. Joe will come up short, and likely attack Rollins after the match, or it is possible that we see Triple H return or Stephanie return to help cost Seth the match (it would make no sense though since the feud seemingly ended at Mania). Seth vs Joe could really be a match of the night candidate as well, but I don't expect it to get much more than 15-17 minutes, and it will likely end in some sort of screwed finish to make this feud continue on to Extreme Rules.

*Roman Reigns vs Braun Strowman

-In many ways, I think this is a No. 1 contender's match. At least it should be. All signs point to Braun needing a victory here. Reigns sucks and is getting forced so much that the WWE really is ruining their product to keep him face. The awful video package to force him as face again shows how idiotic Vince and the top brass are, and I expect the crowd to be behind Braun, as PPV crowds usually are against Reigns completely. Regardless, the narrative of Reigns getting brutally injured then coming back to defend Braun cleanly in a one on one match will only fuel more hatred (rightfully so) against Reigns and throw away all the hard work that has gone into making Braun into a star and getting him over big time. Knowing this, and knowing how dumb the WWE is, Reigns will win with like 3 spears in a row and we fall back into that painful, soul crushing status quo that WWE has dwelled in for the last 7 years off and on.

Will Payback be a great event? Probably not. Will it be a good event? There's a chance. I say it ends up as a middle of the road PPV, with some bad results that kills momentum as the show rolls on. So basically, I predict this will be like any other WWE PPV. The same old shit. Unfortunately.



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