It’s actually quite difficult to predict just who will come out on top when The Shield takes on Evolution in a six-man tag match at this Sunday’s Payback pay-per-view.
The Shield emerged victorious at Extreme Rules when it took on Dave Batista, Triple H and Randy Orton. “Even Stevens” booking has long been a cornerstone of WWE’s booking style, so you would think the heels would be winning on June 1, just to re-address the balance.
However, reports indicate that Batista isn’t sticking around much longer. The star will be taking time off soon to fulfill his movie obligations—most notably, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which is due out in August. As PWInsider mentions, this Monday’s Raw is likely going to be his last appearance for quite a while.
Due to this, Evolution’s future is currently up in the air. It remains to be seen whether it will even continue in any form after Batista leaves.
With this in mind, having Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns win clean at Payback would be the more likely option. There’s simply no point in giving Evolution the victory if it's going to be disbanding soon after the show.
Besides, it would give The Shield renewed momentum as it heads into the summer, which it may need if it's going to carry Raw as the top babyface in Daniel Bryan’s absence. How couldn’t fans get behind The Shield once it has dismantled one of the most famous heel stables in WWE history?
Of course, Evolution continuing past the event—only with one or two new members joining—is also an option for WWE.
Who will win at Payback?
Certainly, as I’ve noted recently, there are a few options on the roster if WWE wants to add someone new to the group. The Shield vs. Evolution continuing—with another wrestler replacing Batista—isn’t out of the question either.
Honestly, it’s not like the company has terribly many options right now, and there’s still some mileage left in this program. It hasn't quite run its course just yet.
I would be very happy to see another Evolution vs. The Shield bout on pay-per-view. That’s how good their matches usually are.
If this is the case, expect Evolution to win, likely through a screw job or some outside shenanigans in order to continue the angle.
Payback is hardly the most appealing WWE show of the year—truthfully, on paper, it looks rather mediocre. (Alas, that seems to be true of most of the company’s "B" shows these days.)
But the result of the Evolution vs. Shield bout will be worth watching. Not only because it will be a stellar match—which it surely will be—but because the end result will give us a very strong indication of just where WWE’s booking is going as it heads into the summer months.