Several WWE wrestlers on the roster find themselves under a great deal of pressure heading into the Payback pay-per-view next month.
Having just won the Intercontinental belt from Big E Langston at Extreme Rules, Wade Barrett has to prove that WWE’s renewed faith in him is justified.
One way to do this is to churn out a strong—and victorious—performance on June 1. There’s no word on which wrestler the English star will face at Payback, although a rematch with Langston seems the most likely possibility. If so, Barrett needs to defeat the former NXT wrestler once more to solidify his credibility.
WWE has stumbled onto something special with the wickedly entertaining “Bad News Barrett” gimmick. Hopefully the character can continue to go from strength to strength in the weeks and months ahead.
Another new midcard champion is Sheamus, who won Dean Ambrose’s United States belt on Raw last week.
You could call putting the long-forgotten title on him a demotion and maybe, in some respects, it is.
The former WWE champion is certainly not mixing it up in the main event scene anymore, is he?
But, really, Sheamus has been struggling so much to remain relevant since his return from injury at the Royal Rumble in January, anything that keeps him as a regular part of the show can only be considered a good thing.
Ideally he will use this reign—and his inevitable title defense at Payback—as a way to put himself back on the map. A sterling performance at the Allstate Arena will help turn around his dwindling career—and convince WWE he’s deserving of a more prominent spot on the card.
Payback could mark the point he starts to properly rebuild his credibility.
Recently reformed heel stable, Evolution, too, are under considerable pressure to deliver results.
Can Triple H, Randy Orton and Dave Batista avenge their loss at Extreme Rules? Or will the trio once again come up short when they take on The Shield? (The match was officially announced earlier this week.)
Assuming they do lose at Payback, you have to wonder just what the future of the group will be.
Having failed to stop Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for the second time in a row, will it be time for the guys to abandon their reunion and go their own separate ways?
While Payback may not exactly be a “must-see” pay-per-view—at least not right now—it will be interesting to observe how the mentioned wrestlers deal with the tests presented to them.
Emerging from the event, just what will their statuses be?