WWE Payback 2014: Matches with Biggest Historical Implications

Erik BeastonFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2014

Credit: WWE.com

Any match on any World Wrestling Entertainment pay-per-view card has the ability and potential to make history. A great match, an injury, an infamous botch or a surprising outcome can result in an enduring legacy.

It remains to be seen if any of Sunday's matches wind up meaning anything more than a new chapter in an old story by night's end, but there are three matches that certainly have the potential.

What are they? Why do they have potential to make history when others may not?

Let's take a look.


Credit: WWE.com

John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt

The entire four-month program between Cena and Wyatt could hinge on the quality of Sunday's match.

The creative team has held up its end of the bargain, constructing a program that has fans completely invested in what they are watching unfold every week on Raw and SmackDown. Wyatt's promo work has been outstanding, while the twists and turns—complete with a creepy children's choir—has made for a truly epic story. 

To this point, however, the ring work simply has not lived up to the hype, the pomp nor the circumstance surrounding the feud. The WrestleMania XXX bout was fine for what it was, but the steel cage match at Extreme Rules proved to be a major blunder thanks to disjointed action and an over-the-top finish.

The Last Man Standing match at Payback may be the culmination of the feud. If that is the case, the pressure on the performers to deliver a defining spectacle increases tenfold.

If Payback concludes with fans feeling disappointed by the Cena-Wyatt war for the third consecutive show, the entire program could be remembered as one with, as the legendary Jim Ross would put it, plenty of sizzle but very little steak.


Credit: WWE.com

Big E vs. Rusev

It is clear that Rusev is going to play a big role in World Wrestling Entertainment's future. Thus, every match he wrestles at this point in his career will be watched carefully and heavily scrutinized by fans and management alike.

Big E is a very talented big man who moves far better than his size suggests. He has had strong matches against some of the best workers in the industry, but somewhere between the beginning and end of his Intercontinental Championship reign he fell out of favor with the creative team and was left to wallow in irrelevancy.

If he can get a good match out of Rusev, not only will it endear him to those in power and potentially earn him a renewed push, it would validate the Bulgarian Brute and the push he has behind him.

A bad match could lead to both descending down the card, their stars greatly diminished and potential never fully being reached.


Credit: WWE.com

Paige vs. Alicia Fox

It is rare that WWE's creative team takes the initiative to create a character for one of its female performers. AJ Lee benefited tremendously from character development and—as fans have witnessed over the last month—so has Alicia Fox.

The former Divas Champion was underrated and underutilized for far too long before her latest push rejuvenated her career. Now hotter than she has ever been from a crowd interest perspective, she has the opportunity to pay-off her unsuspected rise with the second Divas Championship reign of her career when she meets Paige Sunday night.

The outcome of that match will determine if Fox can continue to build momentum or if she will slink back into obscurity, the creative team opting not to create a new star in favor of staying the course and having young Paige continue to tear through the competition with little in the way of care from the audience.