WWE Payback 2014 Matches: Full Predictions for Each Match on the Card
WWE Payback feels like a transitional pay-per-view as WWE struggles with ratings (from PWTorch via WrestlingInc) and stock turmoil during a post-WrestleMania lull.
Despite seeming a bit forced, Payback is an appropriate name for this pay-per-view. Every match currently booked on the card is a rematch of a recent contest.
Some feuds, like Paige-Alicia Fox and Cesaro-Sheamus, seem to be hitting their respective strides. With a little time, they could each be mutually beneficial.
And while other rivalries linger, they are surrounded by a sense of finality. Bray Wyatt and John Cena will face for the third, and likely final, time in a Last Man Standing match. It's hard to imagine this feud having legs after one man has beaten the other to the point where he cannot answer a 10 count.
While not openly billed as a Loser Leaves Town match, the tagline of the Shield-Evolution elimination is "survive or perish." Both Shield and Evolution have vowed to end one another's existence.
The conclusion of multiple long-term feuds will be the major selling point of Payback. Sure, we've seen these movies before, but what's important is we haven't seen the ending.
El Torito vs. Hornswoggle
The on-paper matchup between El Torito and Hornswoggle will draw laughs from some and guffaws from others. Lost in all the comedic hijinks of WeeLC—and now a Hair vs. Mask mach—are two miniature overachievers.
The WeeLC match was very fun to watch, and entertained a cynical audience from bell to bell. The use of miniature and large tables, ladders and chairs made for quite the spectacle.
Now, with Hornswoggle's hair or El Torito's tail on the line, expect another wrestling match that transcends sketchy storyline material.
WWE will make good use of 3MB and Los Matadores, who are locks to get involved so the match could be taken more seriously. Hornswoggle and El Torito have strong chemistry, with El Torito the accomplished Lucha Libre and Hornswoggle a willing brawler.
The unmasking of El Torito would not only cost him his gimmick, it would make Los Matadores less relevant. El Tortio should be strongly favored.
Prediction: El Torito defeats Hornswoggle by pinfall
Sheamus vs. Cesaro
Sheamus and Cesaro is a forced feud born of a non-championship victory by Cesaro. What's alluring about this matchup is that it could go either way.
Both Sheamus and Cesaro are on an uptick, with Sheamus recently capturing the United States championship, and Cesaro aligning with superstar-whisperer Paul Heyman.
Cesaro has gotten the better of Sheamus on television in the last few weeks, which should make Sheamus a favorite by default wrestling rules.
Cesaro has been protected since winning the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, so a clean loss would come as a bit of a shock.
This match is a top candidate to end in some kind of disqualification, thereby extending one of the few feuds on this card that can stand to go longer.
Expect Sheamus to hold on to the United States championship, however this doesn't necessarily mean he will win the match.
Prediction: Cesaro defeats Sheamus by disqualification
Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam
As a cool heel, Bad News Barrett is a favorite among hardcore wrestling fans. The Allstate Arena will be eating out of Barrett's hand, but by the same token they will show respect to ECW original Rob Van Dam.
Since his return, Van Dam has picked up right where he left off—saying his initials, Rolling Thunder, jump kick off the apron and a Five Star Frog Splash.
It almost seems as if Van Dam was brought back specifically to lose a match like this. Barrett, a rising star, will greatly benefit from a victory over a legend like Van Dam, as will the Intercontinental championship which is quickly surging in value.
The smash-mouth, bare-knuckle style of Barrett against the reckless abandon of Van Dam's kickboxing attack will fit Chicago's blue-collar sensibilities.
A Bad News Barrett loss would be counter productive. Van Dam is only a part-timer at this point in his career, and a subsequent Intercontinental title reign would be short-lived.
Prediction: Bad News Barrett defeats Rob Van Dam by pinfall
Big E vs. Rusev
Big E will be the most legitimate challenger Rusev has faced to date. This match should be kept short, since both monsters in Rusev and Big E are still quite green.
A quick victory for Rusev over Big E would be impressive for Rusev. Sooner or later, however, Rusev will need to begin wrestling in meaningful feuds.
Rusev's matches thus far have been indistinguishable. In front of a restless and irreverent crowd, Rusev-Big E will be a strong candidate to be tuned out with chants of "JBL" and "CM Punk."
Big E was presented as a worthy challenger Monday on Raw when he knocked Rusev out of the ring, triumphantly waving the United States Flag shortly after. After losing the Intercontinental championship at Extreme Rules, Big E seems to be trending down.
Anything other than a Rusev victory should be considered an upset.
Prediction: Rusev defeats Big E by submission
Paige vs. Alicia Fox
Alicia Fox is a crazy person, and that's a good thing. In a few short weeks, Fox has rejuvenated her career, and potentially Paige's WWE career, through her bizarre post-match behavior.
Fox is easily the most interesting diva in a division where Emma has been flat, Paige peaked too early and AJ Lee is MIA.
Fox's comeback hasn't only been about her antics outside the ring. The veteran diva has a unique, yet believable move set. That has proven to mesh with Paige's similarly unique arsenal.
Paige will have a tough time connecting with fans if she soldiers on with halfhearted title defenses against one-dimensional characters. A win for Fox will actually help Paige, as she will be able to chase an intriguing champion, thus drawing support from fans.
Fox's antics have been so zany, her potential post-match celebration should she win the Divas champion may be worth the price of admission alone.
Expect a strong match that ends with Fox backing her way into a Divas championship. Then the fun begins.
Prediction: Alicia Fox wins by pinfall
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
John Cena and Bray Wyatt are (hopefully) entering the final chapter of an epic battle. The Cena-Wyatt feud has been hit-or-miss, but with more positives than negatives. The majority of promo exchanges between these two polar opposites have been captivating.
Cena and Wyatt did a tremendous job this past Monday on Raw establishing Wyatt as a heel and Cena as a babyface.
Before this week's angle, where Wyatt threatened to do harm to hometown hero Jerry Lawler, Wyatt had been cheered as a babyface. Not only did Wyatt receive babyface reactions, he embraced the role by enticing fans to sing with him.
And while meta-fans were pleased with seeing Wyatt defeat Cena at Extreme Rules, their Steel Cage match was disappointing. Excessive run-ins from the Wyatt Family were to blame for hurting this match.
With Cena and Wyatt set to once again face off in a match with no pinfall or disqualification, expect more heavy involvement from the Wyatts, which doesn't bode well for match quality.
Wyatt could use a clean victory over John Cena, which is unlikely but not unthinkable.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt defeats John Cena
Evolution vs. the Shield
The elimination stipulation seems to be a way for WWE to set up a future feud between alpha dogs Roman Reigns and Triple H.
Reigns should be the odds on favorite to outlast his teammates just as he did during Survivor Series. From there, he'll be a safe bet to face an unfair two-or-three-on-one advantage for Evolution.
The elimination format will build to a stronger conclusion, and if played correctly, fans will be at their hottest for the conclusion of this match.
Despite the Shield's ongoing momentum, whispers of a potential breakup have resumed. In an interview with WWE Magazine (via WrestlingInc), Dean Ambrose referred to Reigns and Seth Rollins as his "former partners." The fact that a comment like that made it to WWE Magazine is peculiar, but could also be a foreshadowing of things to come.
There may not be a better time for the Shield to break up than now. After feuds against top stables in the Wyatt Family and Evolution, there is nowhere to go as a unit but down. At Payback, the Shield perishes.
Prediction: Evolution defeats the Shield after Triple H pins Roman Reigns