Photo courtesy of WWE.com
Heading into Monday night's edition of Raw, there were a lot of question marks regarding the Payback card. A handful of matches such as John Cena vs. Ryback for the WWE Championship and CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho has already been announced well ahead of time, but the supporting matches were unclear.
That changed on Raw as several bouts were announced in what seemed like rapid-fire succession. The pay-per-view is suddenly stuffed to the rafters with eight contests, though, and all signs point toward that resulting in a fantastic show.
Here is the full Payback match card, complete with stipulations, according to WWE.com:
|Match ||Stipulation ||Title
|John Cena vs. Ryback ||Three Stages of Hell ||WWE Championship
|CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho ||N/A ||N/A
|Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio ||N/A ||World Heavyweight Championship
|Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
||N/A ||United States Championship
|Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton
||N/A ||Tag Team Championships
|Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel ||Triple Threat ||Intercontinental Championship
|Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee ||N/A ||Divas Championship
|Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow ||Kickoff Match ||N/A
Dolph Ziggler made his return to WWE programming on Monday after missing five weeks with a concussion. He didn't compete on Raw, but he did accompany Big E Langston to the ring for a match against Chris Jericho and he was then attacked by World Heavyweight Championship No. 1 contender Alberto Del Rio.
Del Rio earned the No. 1 contender spot at Extreme Rules by defeating Jack Swagger in an "I Quit" match and he has since been feuding with Langston. Now that The Showoff is back in the fold, however, Del Rio can refocus his attention on the world title.
The ongoing feud between The Shield and the dysfunctional unit of Kane, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton was also sorted out on Monday. Rather than giving Team Hell No another shot at Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns' Tag Team Championships, general manager Vickie Guerrero had other ideas.
Vickie decided to pit Bryan and Orton against Rollins and Reigns, which should make for some interesting moments, particularly after The Viper hit Bryan with an RKO on SmackDown.
Kane wasn't left out of the equation either as he will take on Dean Ambrose for the United States Championship. It seems like things are now completely jumbled when it comes to this angle, but it should make for two entertaining matches regardless.
A triple-threat match for the Intercontinental Championship between Wade Barrett, The Miz and Fandango was originally scheduled, but things changed as Fandango is the latest WWE superstar felled by a concussion, according to WWE.com.
Rather than simply sticking with a singles match between Barrett and Miz, however, Paul Heyman announced that his new client, Curtis Axel, had been inserted into the match as well. Axel has to be the favorite to capture the title that his father, Mr. Perfect, carried so well during the early 1990s.
AJ Lee earned the No. 1 contendership for Kaitlyn's Divas Championship several weeks ago, and the match is finally going to happen at Payback. Langston revealed himself to be Kaitlyn's secret admirer, but it was all a ruse as he broke her heart and AJ cut one of the best diva promos in recent memory.
It isn't easy to be interested in divas feuds these days, but AJ did a fantastic job of selling this match and making people care.
Finally, it was announced that Sheamus and Damien Sandow's feud will continue at Payback as they face each other in a special kickoff pre-show match. It's a bit surprising that Sheamus will be on the pre-show since he is one of the company's biggest stars, but it should help drum up some last-minute interest before the event.
Perhaps the Payback card didn't play out the way many expected it to, but it should be a solid B-level pay-per-view nonetheless.
*Updated by Mike Chiari on Tuesday, June 11 at 7:55 a.m. ET