WWE Payback: Champions Most in Danger of Losing Their Titles at the Pay-Per-View

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJune 13, 2013

Photo from WWE.com
Photo from WWE.com

Heading into WWE Payback on Sunday, it's Wade Barrett and Kaitlyn who have the most tenuous holds on their championships.

The Intercontinental champ and the Divas titleholder go into Payback the favorites to lose their belts to challengers with more momentum and more confidence from WWE's decision-makers.

Title changes are exciting and happen often at pay-per-views. Barrett's and Kaitlyn's titles are of the less significant variety, and the company won't hesitate as much in changing champions as it might when it comes to the WWE title.

Every championship is on the line on June 16, but John Cena, The Shield and Dolph Ziggler fans needn't worry. It appears their reigns will all continue.


The Champs Are Still Here

After keeping the World Heavyweight Championship on Dolph Ziggler as he recovered from his concussion, it seems silly for WWE to then just have him lose in his first pay-per-view defense.

Not stripping the title was a vote of confidence. It was an act that said that WWE at least believes in Ziggler enough to give him a real shot at being champ. Who knows how long that faith will last, but one has to think it will take Ziggler beyond Payback at the very least.

Dean Ambrose is by no means an unbeatable United States champ, but WWE going with Kane as his successor seems like an odd, unlikely move.

After he has held the world title, the WWE title and the tag team championships, putting the U.S. belt on Kane would be a step down. Usually one takes the route of Daniel Bryan or The Miz and uses that midcard title to launch oneself into the major title picture.

Expect Kane to give Ambrose hell but be unable to dethrone him. Ambrose is a star on the rise, and his championship is a symbol of his current momentum.

His fellow members of The Shield have not done a whole lot of losing since debuting, and don't expect it to start on Sunday.

The story going into Payback will be how Bryan and Randy Orton interact and work together. Chances are one of them turns and they begin a feud with each other. RK-No or The Goat-Face Vipers look to be a temporary pairing who will provide Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins with a tough challenge but ultimately fail.

As for the WWE Championship, betting against Cena is never wise.

He has held that title for a total of over 1,000 days during his many reigns. Ryback has improved and is doing well, but this Three Stages of Hell match looks to be more about making Cena look even more powerful and resilient than letting this newer guy get a run.

It's Dolph Ziggler's more attractive sidekick and the newest Paul Heyman guy who have the best shots at becoming new champions.


Curtis Axel Begins His Own Barrage

In terms of momentum, Curtis Axel is a charging freight train and Barrett is a shopping cart with a bad wheel.

Axel's victories have all been cheap, but beating Cena, Triple H and Chris Jericho in recent weeks signals major confidence from WWE. The company looks to be giving Axel every opportunity to succeed by pairing with him with Heyman and having him face the top guys.

It's too early to have his run sputter out.

If WWE wants to make Axel look like the legitimate contender that it has tried to mold him into so far, look for him to come away with the IC title.

With his father being one of the greatest IC champions ever, that gives WWE plenty to play up in terms of legacy and following in his father's footsteps.

As for Barrett, he's been a jobber in a champion's clothing.

Take a look at the 2013 results on TheHistoryofWWE.com. Barrett has lost to Miz a number of times, including a submission in a match just over three minutes on June 3. He also has losses to Fandango, Sheamus, Kofi Kingston, R-Truth and Jericho.

Barrett has the potential to be one of the company's top heels and one of its best brawlers, but he is too often asked to lie down for someone else. That is the likely scenario once again for Barrett at Payback as he plays the springboard for Axel.


AJ Lee's Time is Now

AJ Lee is too popular and too big a part of WWE storylines to not hold the Divas title at some point. Each time Kaitlyn has to go up against her, the current champ has to wonder if she's going to be asked to be the former champ for the sake of her former partner.

On the go-home episode of WWE Raw, AJ revealed that Kaitlyn's secret admirer was just a ruse, just a way to embarrass her ex-friend on TV.

Kaitlyn should be so full of rage going into their match that she is distracted and liable to make a big mistake. AJ will have no problem taking advantage and fulfilling her dream of being champ.

A win for AJ makes her and Ziggler an instant power couple and creates potential jealousy issues for Big E. Langston. Those storylines are too tempting to pass up. That means AJ will close in on the Divas title, if not this time then the next.

Payback features a number of uncertainties and unanswered questions. Whether Kaitlyn and Barrett can hold onto their titles will be among the most intriguing among them.

Those two will go into Sunday's pay-per-view adorned with gold, but should be fearful of it being snatched away from them.