WWE Payback 2014 will be a night of rematches, rivalries coming to a close and champions holding tight to their titles.
The second-ever edition of the pay-per-view must follow NXT Takeover, a terrific live event from WWE developmental. The match card shows the potential to do that and to be more than just a filler show between more famous events.
The Shield look to repeat their success against Evolution. John Cena and Bray Wyatt promise to leave each other unable to stand. Three titles will be on the line.
The WWE World Heavyweight Championship isn't one of them. The fate of that title will be decided, however. Per Stephanie McMahon's ultimatum, Daniel Bryan has to either vacate the title or McMahon will fire his wife, Brie Bella.
- Date: Sunday, June, 1
- Start Time: 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT
- Location: Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois
- Official Theme Song: "Ticking Bomb" by Aloe Blacc
Catch all the title bouts and grudge matches on the WWE Network. The pre-show (including the El Torito vs. Hornswoggle) will be exclusive to that streaming service.
Getting the pay-per-view through one's local cable company is still an option. It won't be on DirecTV or Dish Network, though. They have decided to drop WWE pay-per-views.
For a list of WWE Network-compatible devices and cable companies carrying the show, visit WWE.com's "how to watch" section.
- El Torito vs. Hornswoggle (Mask vs. Hair)
- Rusev vs. Big E
- Cesaro vs. Sheamus (United States Championship)
- Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam (Intercontinental Championship)
- Alicia Fox vs. Paige (Divas Championship)
- The Shield vs. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination match)
- John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt (Last Man Standing match)
The early betting odds from Paddy Power, via OddsCheckers, has Paige as a huge favorite.
According to those numbers, Sheamus, Barrett and El Torito are heavily favored as well. Cena and Evolution have only slightly better odds to win than their opponents.
The staff predictions from WWE.com peg the same favorites in the Divas and IC title bouts. Elsewhere, opinion differs. A total of five WWE employees, including Joey Styles, voted for who they believed would come out the victor in each showdown.
The tally is as follows:
- El Torito (4-1)
- Fox (3-2)
- Cesaro (3-2)
- Wyatt (3-2)
- Barrett (4-1)
- The Shield (3-2)
What To Expect From Each Match
El Torito vs. Hornswoggle
Their meeting at Extreme Rules was the right blend of comedy and action. Look for the former to be more of a factor here.
Hornswoggle and El Torito won't have the advantage of ladders and chairs to help them create big moments. Instead, it's likely going to involve plenty of interference from 3MB and Los Matadores as has been the case with so many of their matches on TV.
El Torito is not about to lose his mask. His real name is not even public.
Count on an overload of short jokes and Hornswoggle getting a haircut, even if he doesn't think so.
Rusev vs. Big E
How this match plays out answers the question of who WWE values more.
Rusev is undefeated and has barely been tested. Big E is going to be the most resistant victim the big brute has seen or a rival on his level.
Big E is too promising a prospect to just be fodder. Even if he loses, expect a hellacious fight.
Cesaro vs. Sheamus
The safe bet for Match of the Night is The Shield vs. Evolution, but this U.S. title bout has show-stealing potential aplenty.
Cesaro and Sheamus' hard-hitting styles mesh well together. They showed that off in an outstanding meeting on the Main Event from May 13.
WWE doesn't ask Sheamus to lose often, and Cesaro is getting a big push these days alongside Paul Heyman. Expect both to look strong. Victory won't come easy for either man.
Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam
This promises to be a Barrett showcase.
Van Dam hasn't been built up as a legitimate threat to the title. Barrett, on the other hand, has run off win after win since returning to action this year.
"Mr. Monday Night" will push him, but WWE's recent focus on the champ suggests that he will hold on to the title for a significant amount of time and knock a number of men flat on their backs in the process. This is likely to be the shortest title match on the card.
Alicia Fox vs. Paige
While not as good as Paige vs. Tamina Snuka, this will be better than the average Divas match. WWE will give the women more time than usual too.
Fox's recent meltdowns have made her far more interesting. They are also a sign that there will be some story in this meeting, not just a few moves and the champion going home with her belt.
Even with as much spotlight as Fox has garnered, Paige will be the star. WWE has to continue to introduce her to the audience while building her up as a viable titleholder and eventually a worthy rival for AJ Lee.
The Shield vs. Evolution
It's going to be hard to top their Extreme Rules match, and in terms of in-ring action, they won't. The more story-heavy second round will be more about creating narrative reverberations.
With Batista set to leave after the post-Payback Raw and a Triple H and Roman Reigns collision possibly planned for SummerSlam, there's little doubt that this rivalry is about to change directions in a major way. One of the groups splitting is a likely scenario.
Look for WWE to tease the Reigns vs. Triple H match and for a heel to turn face or vice versa.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
Cena and Wyatt's first two fights have largely been about story. Expect WWE to let them go at it more this time, creating a more physical bout.
The finality of this rubber match and the Last Man Standing gimmick point to this being a violent last chapter.
The Usos have been consistent allies for Cena, and that should continue at Payback. The tag team champs will be there to even things out, keeping Luke Harper and Erick Rowan out of the fray.
This promises to be a chaotic and memorable end to this feud.
F4WOnline, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, reported the backstage talk is about Payback having to top NXT Takeover. Wyatt and Cena, The Shield, Cesaro and Sheamus are WWE's keys to accomplishing that.
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