Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman and Most Anticipated WWE Payback 2017 Matches
Roman Reigns is looking for payback against the monster who destroyed him.
That will come on Sunday at the WWE event of the same name. Payback is a chance for The Big Dog to get his hands on Braun Strowman, and this match promises to be good. Fans are likely not expecting a clinic, however; this will be more of a fight than a wrestling match.
But Strowman is red-hot, and he's taking that momentum to bear on WWE's top guy. The company has done an excellent job of promoting Strowman as the next big thing, and the WWE Universe has bought in.
Strowman is as over as he can be, and that's a good thing for WWE.
Reigns needs a great heel to work against, mostly because of the poor response fans typically give him. While WWE has put forth the notion that any reaction is a good thing, many fans do not believe that to be the case.
If the company was truly not concerned about Reigns' negative crowd response, then why is he almost always getting booked against heels?
Strowman has no redeemable qualities, other than the ability to smash Reigns in the face. Reigns' critics love that fact, but they're only encouraging that segment of the audience to rally behind The Big Dog when it counts the most.
This is surely what WWE wants, and it's likely what will happen at Payback. However, this match is important for not only Reigns but Strowman as well.
Strowman is in the driver's seat and has the world at his fingertips. The company has trusted him a little bit more every week, and The Monster Among Men has validated that trust. He never takes a night off, he's always ready to deliver and he's only getting better.
He's perhaps the best big man fans have seen since Kane, and that admiration could eventually rank him much higher.
But in order for that to happen, Strowman needs to maintain his roll. He's exactly where WWE wants him to be, and he must continue getting over by working the best talents on the roster. Right now it doesn't get any better than Reigns, who retired The Undertaker, and has taken his place on top.
This match at Payback is the biggest one of Strowman's career thus far, and many fans are surely anxious to see what will happen. Win or lose, he has come a long way and will hopefully continue on his current run.
Reigns vs. Strowman will not be the only match on Sunday.
Fans are looking at a stacked card, full of stars and possibilities for big moments. WWE has an opportunity to give a top-notch night, and fans are hoping that will materialize. When it comes to which bouts are must-see TV, four others stand out from the rest.
The Hardy Boyz vs. Cesaro and Sheamus, Raw Tag Team Championships Match
The Hardy Boyz deleted Sheamus and Cesaro's tag team titles aspirations at WrestleMania 33, and the two teams will clash once again Sunday.
Unlike some of the other matches at Payback, this one is not about hatred or revenge. This is about having fun. Matt and Jeff Hardy shocked the world when they returned at The Showcase of the Immortals, and that shock continued when they won the Raw Tag Team Championships.
Sheamus and Cesaro didn't have a reason to take it personally, and that's been the theme of this match thus far.
All four men have played nice, and that will likely continue at Payback. Fans want to see The Hardy Boyz do what they do. That's not to say that tempers won't flare or that attitudes won't change.
Sheamus could heel out on Matt and Jeff and then decide to take Cesaro out in the process. But regardless of how this match plays out, fans are anticipating the moment when Matt becomes "broken" once again.
WWE has presented only brief glimpses of Matt's alter ego, but that could change soon. Fans know Broken Matt Hardy, and that's the man they want on their TVs. It's only a matter of time until he embraces his other side, and then The Hardy Boyz will be even hotter than they already are.
That's the main reason fans are looking forward to this match at Payback. By the time this one is over, Cesaro and Sheamus may indeed be rendered obsolete.
Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho, WWE United States Championship Match
Chemistry is the most important quality two opposing pro wrestlers can have, and these two former best friends have an abundance of it.
Kevin Owens took Chris Jericho's United States Championship at WrestleMania 33 and has since dubbed himself The Face of America. Owens' braggadocio is typical of his character, and he has rediscovered his edge since turning on Y2J in February.
Jericho has been left for dead at Owens' hands more than once, and he wants redemption.
This match could be the best of the night, and that's due to the aforementioned chemistry, as well as both men's ability in the ring. Owens and Jericho understand what it takes to deliver a five-star match, and that could well happen on Sunday.
This bout could also be the last of Jericho's run, which makes it even more important.
Jericho is heading back on tour with his band, Fozzy, soon, so he could leave WWE after Payback. Owens would retain his title and then head back to SmackDown Live to renew a rivalry with AJ Styles. While that feud has the potential to be huge, it's Owens' match on Sunday that deserves the spotlight.
KO and Jericho will leave it all in the ring, as they usually do. Fans know that regardless of how the match ends or who goes over that the competitors will have given everything they have.
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
The Destroyer is ready to do what he does best.
Samoa Joe will face Seth Rollins at Payback in a match that could steal the show. This one has it all: revenge, revival and rebirth. It's the story of a broken man who refused to stay broken and a killer who cannot be killed.
Joe and Rollins are straight out of an Expendables film, and they have yet to go to war.
That war will happen on Sunday, and it's a match that could be a sleeper on the card. Fans surely know they're going to get a good showing from both men, but they may not know just how far Joe and Rollins will go in order to win.
Rollins may have taken down Triple H at WrestleMania 33, but he's yet to take down The Game's enforcer. Joe has never been more intense or more despicable than he is now, and it's obvious WWE believes in him.
He was immediately thrust into a top storyline from the moment he debuted on Monday Night Raw in January, and he's been there ever since.
Rollins is a top guy who should be the top guy, but he's forced to play second fiddle to Roman Reigns. The Big Dog and Braun Strowman may be fighting in the main event of Payback, but it is Rollins and Joe fans should keep their eyes on.
These two have something to prove, and they will do just that at Payback. Fans know they will see a good match, but they may witness one of the year's best.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt, House of Horrors Match
That excitement stems from the House of Horrors concept, an idea that has left fans more than curious. WWE has remained silent about what to expect at Payback, so fans have been left to their own imaginations.
Is this a cage match? What sort of weapons will be included? Will this gimmick even work?
No matter what happens, it's an important night for Wyatt, who could win in the end. Since Orton's title is not at stake, he can drop the pin to Wyatt, leaving The Eater of Worlds as the winner of their feud.
Wyatt needs a good night at Payback. He has to shine throughout the entire match, and common sense dictates that he goes over. That may not happen, though, as WWE may feel Orton would be negatively affected by a loss.
Orton also needs a good night, mostly because of his standing with fans.
Some of those fans were not happy with The Viper's win over Wyatt at WrestleMania 33. They believed Wyatt should have kept the belt and that their feud should've heated up after the night was over.
There's no doubting these two can put on a good match, but it may not be one of the best at Payback. However, with the House of Horrors stipulation, anything could happen. Fans may get much more than they expect from these two men on Sunday.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online at boinkstudios.com.