WWE Payback: 7 Burning Questions Heading into the Pay-Per-View
WWE puts on its first edition of Payback this Sunday and questions aplenty surround the matches, stars and events of the pay-per-view.
The event will tell us what Curtis Axel's next steps will be. Payback will show us what The Show-Off can do post-concussion. Championships will be decided and rivalries will carry on.
A turbulent tag team partnership creates uncertainty as well.
Looking at who will win, how the matches will play out and which relationships will crumble, here are the questions fans want answered come June 16.
How Will Layoff Affect Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk?
CM Punk hasn't wrestled since WrestleMania 29. Dolph Ziggler has been recovering from a concussion he suffered on May 10.
Both men now head into Payback with big matches without the benefit of momentum. Will ring rust hurt their performances, or will they both shine despite their respective layoffs?
Punk should come back refreshed after being given a chance to let his body heal and having some fun outside of the WWE grind.
Ziggler should be hungry to justify WWE's faith in him as world champ. The company kept the title on him despite being out for over a month and a great performance on Sunday would make that decision look like a wise one.
Both Ziggler and Punk are going up against opponents who can help them shine despite the time off.
Will AJ Lee and Kaitlyn Get Enough Time?
Kaitlyn defends her Divas title in the biggest match of her career. AJ Lee looks to build on the cruelty and callousness she displayed when she revealed that Kaitlyn's secret admirer was just an instance of "catfishing."
This match, featuring two of the company's top Divas, has the potential to tell an exciting story, but WWE may not give them more than a few minutes to tell it.
With Ryback and John Cena's match sure to take up a huge chunk of the pay-per-view and with several other clashes on the card, will the women get the thinnest slice of the airtime pie?
Should WWE allow them to have a non-hurried match with decent time, Kaitlyn and AJ can put on a memorable performance. Should they just be asked to go on for three minutes or less, all the emotion of this feud will be wasted.
What New Champions Will Be Crowned?
With six championships on the line at Payback, at least one challenger is bound to come out of the Allstate Arena with a freshly won title.
Kane tries to dethrone Dean Ambrose. Curtis Axel and Miz will make Wade Barrett work hard to remain Intercontinental champ. The WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, Divas and Tag titles are all on the line as well.
Betting on John Cena losing the belt he won from The Rock at WrestleMania 29 isn't wise, but perhaps WWE goes the unexpected route there. More likely, one of the lesser championships changes hands on Sunday.
Could this be the beginning of an AJ Lee title reign? Can Axel or Kane come away with a midcard title, or is the unlikely duo of Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan set to shock the world?
How Will Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan Partnership Play Out?
Daniel Bryan trades one tumultuous tag team partnership for another. He teams with Randy Orton to challenge Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins for the Tag Team titles despite the two partners' strong dislike for each other.
Either Orton or Bryan could turn heel here, setting up a feud between the two going forward.
Otherwise, the team could implode or ride their hatred to a surprise win. WWE is revisiting the tense chemistry that Kane and Bryan once had, but this time Dr. Shelby isn't around to smooth things out.
Chances are, someone is getting RKO'd on Sunday. The question is whether it will a member of The Shield or Orton's own partner.
Can Ryback and John Cena Entertain Despite Predictability?
The smart money is for the Three Stages of Hell match to go the full three falls and for John Cena to win a brutal match.
If this is the case, if WWE goes the expected route, can this main event deliver without the benefit of surprise?
The story leading up to this battle has been intriguing, with Ryback becoming obsessed with destruction by way of table and with stuffing his victims into ambulances. Their Extreme Rules match was engrossing thanks to its physicality and this match should follow suit.
Can Ryback and Cena live up to their billing as the main event, though? How their story unfolds and how the various stipulations are used will help determine that.
Will CM Punk No-Show Pay-Per-View?
Fans have been wondering if WWE will go with the gutsy and risky move of having CM Punk no-show for his match against Chris Jericho.
With him gone, some fans have begun to wonder if he'll actually come back at Payback. Fans have been speculating in Facebook posts like this one about if the buildup to this match is just a ruse.
Could Punk be in line for more time off? Could Paul Heyman replace Punk with Brock Lesnar?
The only certainty here is that if Punk doesn't compete, his hometown is going to go nuts.
Is This Curtis Axel's Moment?
Fandango's replacement may turn out to be the star of the Triple Threat match and could do as his father once did and win the Intercontinental title.
In spite of the asterisks that accompany them, Curtis Axel boasts multiple victories over Triple H and wins over John Cena and Chris Jericho. Is his next step a title reign?
WWE has shined the spotlight on Axel and his first pay-per-view match as his repackaged self could be the genesis of something big for him.
Does Axel flourish on Sunday, or will he disappoint? His story will be one of many WWE fans follow during the first ever Payback.