It feels like the biggest party of the summer was just happening yesterday and in the blink of an eye we’re already at another WWE pay-per-view. Well, that’s because it was almost exactly one week ago today that WWE held their annual SummerSlam pay-per-view and now, for reasons we’ll probably never understand, the company is holding another pay-per-view, Payback, a week later.
I guess that’s WWE for you. Regardless of the perplexing scheduling, we’ve got ourselves a fairly loaded card. Apollo Crews puts his United States Championship on the line for the second time in a week, Bayley and Sasha’s tag team titles, and perhaps their friendship, are up for grabs, and THE BIG DOG is back to claim what is rightfully his: the WWE Universal Championship match. Our team of seasoned wrestling nerds are here to walk you through these matches and more as we the final countdown to Payback ticks away.
You can watch WWE’s Payback pay-per-view this Sunday, August 30 at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT on the WWE network. Get a head start on the action by checking out the full card and our predictions below.
Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin
JJ: This match is about Matt Riddle and Baron Corbin but all I can think about the horrible injustice that is Shorty G. Imagine if his name was still Chad Gable? Imagine if he wasn’t a minion for Corbin? I can’t help but think about the incredible amount of wasted potential every time they parade out the poor guy in yet another awful segment where the joke is, and you’ll never guess, he’s short! TL;DR – Who cares about this match?
Winner: Matt Riddle
Patrick: Of all the things that SmackDown has been doing right lately, their handling of Matt Riddle isn’t one of them. The King of Bros has felt a little lost in the shuffle as of late, and all of our worst nightmares came true when we realized that, of course, his first major feud is against King Corbin. Riddle needs to easily vanquish the King and move onto a bigger program.
Winner: Matt Riddle
Dominik & Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins & Murphy
JJ: Dominik impressed me at SummerSlam. I didn’t expect him to do as well as he did and I think he’s earned the respect of a lot of people. That being said, I still don’t care about this feud. It feels like a huge waste to have Seth Freaking Rollins, one of the best heels in the company, involved in this story. Maybe we’ll get more silly RETRIBUTION nonsense. Can’t say I care much either way. The good guys will win because that’s how WWE works in stories such as these.
Winners: Dominik & Rey Mysterio
Patrick: This feels like it’s sort of just there to flesh out a pay-per-view that is for some reason happening one week after the last one, as it’s mostly just the one-on-one match we got last week with the competitors’ respective managers in the match. Still, it’s got to be really cool for Rey Mysterio to be able to have a PPV match tagging with his son. I think Rey and Dominik give the Monday Night Messiah his comeuppance here.
Winners: Dominik and Rey Mysterio
Apollo Crews (c) vs. Bobby Lashley (United States Championship match)
JJ: I’ve become a legitimate fan of Apollo Crews within the last six months. I think he’s got a lot of potential long term and he’s pulled out a personality and character where there was nothing but a blank slate before. But he needs to lose here. Are we really going to have Crews run through the entire Hurt Business? What’s the point of this faction if that happens? MVP has been incredible and elevates everyone around him. The Hurt Business should win no question, it will provide some much needed legitimacy.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Patrick: I know we’re all in hell in 2020, but I didn’t realize there was a layer of the underworld that just played some configuration of Apollo Crews vs. a Hurt Business member for eternity. The sad thing is that I really like Apollo, and I really like the Hurt Business, but I think they both just need to move on. I think Bobby would look great with that new United States Championship, and I don’t know why this story would still be happening if it didn’t eventually mean a Hurt Business victory.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton
JJ: I can’t be the only person that cares more about Keith Lee’s music than they do the outcome of this match. Don’t get me wrong, I think this will be a great match and I’m legitimately looking forward to it, but we all know this isn’t setting up any sort of program or story long term. I think we’re going to witness one hell of a match that’s ultimately broken up by a Claymore Kick served to Randy Orton via a very pissed off Drew McIntyre.
Winner: Randy Orton via DQ
Patrick: By all accounts, Keith Lee is really well liked backstage, and penciled in for the next great “face of the company” character. If he’s really going to reach those heights, however, he really needs an emphatic victory to establish his spot in the pecking order, especially after his main roster debut was marred by bizarre decisions. A decisive victory over the winner of “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” — as well as that rumored new theme song not sucking — would go a long way here.
Winner: Keith Lee
Bayley & Sasha Banks (c) vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax (Women’s Tag Team Championship match)
JJ: If you watched SmackDown this week then you know how this match is going to end. The party is officially over and the Golden Role Models’ reign at the top of the card is coming to a close. Bayley was less than kind to Sasha during their in-ring promo and it’s clear that Banks is feeling some serious resentment. The only question I have is whether we see these two get physical with one another, or if that’s saved for Raw/SmackDown this coming week. Whatever happens, it’s clear that Sasha vs. Bayley for the SmackDown title is on the horizon.
Winner: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
Patrick: The wheels are off of the Golden Role Models’ tour bus, and it’s all downhill from here. Bayley couldn’t help but feel superior to Sasha for retaining her SmackDown Women’s Championship at SummerSlam while Sasha lost her Raw title to the same, weakened competitor later on in the evening. Look for some miscommunication and raised tension in this match, leading to the breakup that’s been teased for well over a year now. As for Shayna and Nia…uhh…sure, I guess?
Winners: Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. “The Monster” Braun Strowman (No Holds Barred Triple Threat Universal Championship match)
JJ: This is the hardest match for me to predict. It’s clear that Braun isn’t going to walk out with the title, but I’m seriously torn between The Fiend and Roman on this one. The smart thing to do would be for Reigns to continue to chase The Fiend (with or without Braun, whatever) and work a long term program. But the age old rule in WWE is rarely wrong: Never bet against the Big Dog. Now that Reigns has Heyman on his side, I feel like I’m battling against cosmic forces if I don’t pick Reigns.
My sincerest hope is that Alexa Bliss turns heel, goes full on Harley Quinn to Bray Wyatt’s Joker, and helps The Fiend win back the title from Reigns at a later date. Can’t wait to see what happens.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Patrick: The Big Dog has hired a brand new Advocate, and if history is any indication, when Paul Heyman delivers a spoiler, you normally better heed his warning. However, I can’t help but think that there’s big money in a heel Roman Reigns chasing a tweener Fiend, so I hope Reigns doesn’t win the Universal Championship so quickly. I think The Fiend escapes with the title here, and Roman chases it through Survivor Series.
Winner: The Fiend
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