WWE’s 2013 Payback pay-per-view is scheduled for Sunday night, and wrestling fans from across the world are ready for all the last-minute projections and predictions the sport’s best prognosticators can muster.
Here are the definitive final predictions for every match on the Payback card.
When: Sunday, June 16, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Ill.
Watch: PPV (order details)
Live Stream: WWE.com
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Ryback (Three Stages of Hell Match)
In the main event of the evening, John Cena will defend his WWE Championship against Ryback in a Three Stages of Hell match. While Cena looks like the favorite to retain his title, this is a great chance for the WWE to make Ryback look strong.
The company will want to continue pushing Cena as the top star and retaining the title is what needs to happen if that’s the mindset. Just because Ryback has to lose, though, doesn’t mean he has to look weak in a 2-out-of-3 falls match.
Ryback could steal a clean pinfall victory in the lumberjack match—which would give the muscle-bound star a bragging point forever—accidentally lose the tables match and then lose the ambulance bout by running at Cena and being directed into the vehicle.
The WWE has a done a great job building Ryback up as a main-event star over the last year, and making him look strong in defeat is an art the company has mastered.
Predicted Winner: John Cena wins 2-1 to retain WWE Championship.
World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
In his first PPV match since recovering from a concussion that kept him out almost six weeks, World Heavyweight champion Dolph Ziggler will defend his title against Alberto Del Rio in a match that was months in the making.
While the WWE loves Del Rio as a top-tier face, the fact that the company didn’t hint at or indicate in any way that there would be plans to strip Ziggler of the title proves that there are no long-term plans to take the title off The Showoff.
It will be great to see Ziggler back on PPV and back defending his title.
Predicted Winner: Ziggler wins via roll-up pin.
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
There is a contingent of the WWE Universe that believes Punk will return as a face and turn his back on Paul Heyman and an even smaller minority of fans that believe CM Punk will not even show up at all Sunday. This all couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Punk is a heel and will need to be portrayed that way to fight against the top faces in the company over the next year. Chris Jericho is just the perfect face that will help Punk return, and this match will simply be a great in-ring battle.
No heel turns; no face turns.
Predicted Winner: Punk via clean pin.
WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan
In arguably the most intriguing match of the entire PPV, The Shield’s Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns will defend their WWE Tag Team Championships against the unlikely bedfellow team of Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan.
While it feels like a foregone conclusion that Rollins and Reigns will keep their championship belts, the possibility that either Bryan or Orton could turn heel has the intrigue surrounding this match through the roof.
Let’s hope it’s Orton that turns heel, not Bryan.
Predicted Winner: Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns retain the tag team titles.
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel
As much as Wade Barrett is likely the most talented and most promising of all the wrestlers in this three-way battle, it will be The Miz that walks out of Payback as the new Intercontinental champion.
The WWE will use Paul Heyman to weasel Axel out of the decision—likely by voluntarily walking away from the match when it is deemed below him—and The Miz will win because the company needs a face to go against eventual champion, Fandango.
As soon Fandango is cleared from his concussion, he will challenge for and win the IC strap.
Predicted Winner: The Miz via submission over Wade Barrett.
United States Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
While this match was thrown together at the last minute on the go-home edition of Raw, the fact that the WWE Universe has seen this bout before ensures that it will be an interesting matchup that will make both superstars look strong.
Kane is already a legend in and out of the ring, but this match will be all about Dean Ambrose. As he is the United States champion and the main member of The Shield, Kane’s job will be to make Ambrose look as strong as possible Sunday.
Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose via roll-up pin.
Divas Champion Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee
After winning a battle royal in April to earn a title shot, AJ Lee will finally get her chance to fight for the Divas Championship against her former best friend and current title holder, Kaitlyn.
This storyline has been put on hold for weeks, but with the secret admirer storyline coming full circle and AJ cutting one of the best promos from the women’s division in years on last Monday’s Raw, it’s clear that the challenger will steal Kaitlyn’s championship.
Predicted Winner: AJ Lee wins Divas Championship via submission (using Black Widow).
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow (Payback Kickoff Match)
In what should be one of the more interesting pre-shows in history, the battle between Sheamus and Damien Sandow in the YouTube and Yahoo! Sports kickoff match has been built as well as almost any other bout on the Payback card.
This will be the WWE’s first time working with Yahoo! Sports on a pre-show, and with a marquee name like Sheamus booked to get the casual fans excited, there is little doubt that this will be a glorified squash match.
Predicted Winner: Sheamus wins via clean pin.
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