The recent loss of Daniel Bryan for what appears to be at least six to eight weeks following neck surgery has put a bit of a damper on WWE's upcoming June 1 pay-per-view entitled Payback.
With that said, World Wrestling Entertainment will be facing increased pressure to deliver an exciting show that entices fans who subscribe to the WWE Network to renew their subscriptions come August and those who purchase pay-per-view events to continue doing so.
Exciting fans will also help carry over some of the momentum they have garnered since WrestleMania.
How can WWE go about creating excitement around Payback?
Here's a look.
Produce Strong, Compelling Storylines
Thus far, it appears as though Payback will be built on the backs of two very strong storylines: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt and The Shield vs. Evolution.
Those two stories will produce two matches that will be the marquee bouts on the Payback card. Fans are completely sold on those stories, and those contests will benefit from strong responses as a result. But those two stories are the main event programs.
What about those further down the line?
WWE has a tendency to book the undercard based on several matches and rematches between talent before they even arrive to the pay-per-view broadcast. Doing so oftentimes results in an irrelevant undercard that produces solid in-ring support to the night's top-billed bouts but is largely inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
If the creative team were to focus on developing interesting storylines for midcard talents such as Cesaro, Big E, Dolph Ziggler and Rob Van Dam rather than programming them together in hopes of them delivering a fine match that elevates the show from "good" to "great," fans would have even more reason to be excited about the broadcast than they otherwise would be.
Fans can see some of the effects in recent angles involving Alicia Fox and Damien Sandow. If they could simply give the majority of the roster something to do, it would make for a much better product and a significantly more exciting event.
Create Intriguing Matches
Pay-per-views are meant to be events that feature matches and match types that fans are not exposed to when watching Raw, SmackDown or Main Event.
With The Shield vs. Evolution and John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt already having happened in the past, it will be more important than ever for WWE to produce interesting and intriguing variations of those matchups if they want fans to be excited for Payback.
Simply trotting out the same contests because they believe fans will be excited for and, as a result, pay for something because Cena, Triple H or Randy Orton is involved is a mistake.
The creative team must give fans a reason to care about watching those same matches for a second or third straight time. It hinted that it will do just that on Monday night when Wyatt implied that he was challenging Cena to a Last Man Standing match on June 1.
With The Shield vs. Evolution being positioned as the main event of the show, it too will have to be enhanced with a special stipulation if it is to efficiently advance the story and pique the audience's interest.