WWE Payback 2015: Full Card Predictions After Extreme Rules
The animosity and controversy that Extreme Rules created will make it easy for WWE Payback 2015 to live up to its name.
Rusev, Dolph Ziggler and Randy Orton will be in search of retribution when WWE's next pay-per-view arrives. Rusev already has an I Quit match set up. Ziggler and Orton are safe bets to join him on the card and get another crack at their enemies.
At Extreme Rules, each of those men left Chicago enraged. For Ziggler, it was a post-match embarrassment courtesy of Sheamus that has him seething. Orton's issues will be with his title match ending in chaotic fashion and with his own move being the final blow.
Payback also promises to have Bray Wyatt seeking out the man he's been alluding to in his recent rants.
And what of the new tag team champs, Naomi and Dean Ambrose? Picking apart what went down at Extreme Rules and projecting current storylines provides a clairvoyant glimpse of what the Payback lineup will look like.
Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
Bray Wyatt has been calling someone out in a series of cryptic speeches. He has talked about love, adoration from fans and strength. While at first it seemed as if Wyatt was referring to Daniel Bryan, it has looked more and more like he has been alluding to Ryback.
While Ryback is a step down from battling The Undertaker and John Cena, WWE has done its best to build The Big Guy up.
In his last eight one-on-one matches, per CageMatch.net, Ryback is undefeated. That seems to be an attempt to push him toward a high-profile feud. In addition, the powerhouse cut Bo Dallas' speech at Extreme Rules short and manhandled the heel.
It's not likely that the company leaves Wyatt and Ryback out of in-ring action for a second straight pay-per-view. Wyatt's speeches and Ryback's streak point to them meeting at Payback.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler
When a babyface ends a match unconscious and with his face forcibly pressed against another man's bare buttocks, he most certainly doesn't just let that moment slide. Expect Dolph Ziggler to be seeing red in the next few weeks as he goes on the hunt for Sheamus.
The fact that The Showoff actually defeated Sheamus at Extreme Rules adds more reason to think there's a rematch brewing.
The Celtic Warrior will want to prove that result a fluke. Ziggler's anger will propel this story forward and assure Sheamus a second chance at him.
The New Day vs. The Lucha Dragons (Tag Team Championship)
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd fell to The New Day at Extreme Rules. That duo will definitely get its chance to regain the titles, but it's not likely to enter a full-fledged feud with the new champs.
The Chicago crowd may have treated Cesaro and Kidd like the babyfaces, but they have yet to actually make the move toward that alignment. If WWE sticks with keeping them heels, it's more probable that a babyface duo clashes with Kofi Kingston and company long-term.
The New Day defeated The Lucha Dragons to get their title shot. Sin Cara and Kalisto, though, have plenty of wins on their resume that have them in title contention.
A more traditional heel-face dynamic then plays out at Payback, leaving Cesaro and Kidd out of the spotlight for now.
Naomi vs. Brie and Nikki Bella
Despite dominating Nikki Bella at Extreme Rules, Naomi failed to win the Divas Championship. A kick from Brie Bella made sure of that.
Naomi was already plenty angry before that cheap shot. Count on her going headhunting for Bellas in the coming weeks.
If Paige comes back in time from shooting the latest WWE Studios movie, this could easily turn into a tag team match. For now, though, the narrative is pointing to Naomi taking on both sisters. She has issues with both women, and the sneaky Bellas will have no issue ganging up on her.
WWE has made the heel-face lines in the Divas division blurrier than with the men. That makes this clash more likely even with Naomi's recent turn toward villainy.
Dean Ambrose vs. Big Show
Dean Ambrose finally added to the "W" column after not winning a pay-per-view bout since leaving The Shield. After knocking off Luke Harper, he talked in a backstage interview about getting his career back on track.
If the story is then that The Lunatic Fringe is moving upward, facing Big Show represents that move. Ambrose taking on someone like Stardust or Curtis Axel would be more of a sideways journey for him.
Many of the higher-ranking heels will be busy at Payback. Sheamus is sure to be facing Dolph Ziggler. Bad News Barrett has a title match on tap.
That leaves Ambrose to tackle an even bigger challenge than Harper. A feud where Ambrose eventually topples the giant is a plausible way to slide him toward the company's top tier.
Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett (Intercontinental Championship)
Injury prevented this match from happening at Extreme Rules. The fact that WWE waited until the day of the pay-per-view to call the bout off suggests that Daniel Bryan isn't seriously injured.
If he had a broken foot, for example, there wouldn't have been that same hesitation to pull the match from the card.
Even though Bad News Barrett lost at Extreme Rules to Neville, he's owed a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship. He will get it here, with Neville looming. Count on The Man Who Gravity Forget playing into this feud and eventually becoming a contender himself.
For now, fans get to see what shape Bryan is in and if WWE wants to take the belt off him to let him heal further.
Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton (WWE World Championship)
Seth Rollins escaped Extreme Rules as champion.
It took Kane, the match's "gatekeeper," attacking the competitors and Rollins using Randy Orton's RKO to achieve that result. All the drama that surrounded the end of that match hints at this story being unresolved.
Orton will gripe about a banned move being his downfall. He'll take issue with Kane's involvement, too.
Meanwhile, Roman Reigns just earned a momentum-creating win against Big Show. He outlasted the giant at Extreme Rules in what certainly felt like a launchpad for Reigns. Expect him to seek out Rollins, the man who cost him title shot at WrestleMania, and find himself in a crowded title picture.
Kane, at this stage in his career, is likely to be more of an add-on, not a featured performer.
That leaves Reigns to take center stage here and take on two old rivals. The Triple Threat format adds to the ways that Rollins can craft another victory in the midst of chaos.