Final Picks for Reigns vs. Wyatt vs. Strowman and WWE Payback 2020 Card

Anthony Mango@@ToeKneeManGoFeatured ColumnistAugust 30, 2020

Final Picks for Reigns vs. Wyatt vs. Strowman and WWE Payback 2020 Card

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    If SummerSlam 2020 was The Biggest Party of the Summer, the afterparty is WWE Payback.

    This card mostly comprises the leftovers from SummerSlam, some fallout from the Raw and SmackDown afterward and a few things that didn't make the card for the August 23 show.

    Despite the fact that it could have been a mess, it doesn't look half bad!

    Former NXT champion Keith Lee is set to battle Randy Orton, Bobby Lashley has his shot at the United States Championship, Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler may become tag team champions and The Big Dog is back in the title hunt in a Triple Threat match.

    Before the show takes place Sunday, let's run down the card and toss out one last round of picks predicting who will win at Payback 2020.

Kickoff Match: The Riott Squad vs. The IIconics

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    The IIconics have been picking on Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan for weeks with few lessons learned. More often than not, when they step in the ring, Peyton Royce and Billie Kay come out on top.

    Still, the newly reformed Riott Squad have become a more united front against them over time, even after these losses.

    It's a shame this feud hasn't carried over into the tag title situation and two singles Superstars have been paired up to fight The Golden Role Models instead. That would have made this match matter significantly more.

    Nevertheless, a win for The Riott Squad should be enough for them to move into title contention heading into Clash of Champions.


    Prediction: The Riott Squad wins.

Women's Tag Team Champions The Golden Role Models vs. Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler

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    For the past few years, WWE has done everything possible to stall having Bayley and Sasha Banks split up. It's been teased constantly, yet when push comes to shove, the pair always revert to being on good terms.

    Lately, it seems they may finally follow through with this angle after The Boss lost her Raw Women's Championship to Asuka at SummerSlam. If she and Bayley drop the tag team titles at Payback too, it could be the final straw.

    Given Nia Jax's size and Shayna Baszler's ruthless fighting skills, this should be too great a challenge for The Golden Role Models to overcome.

    Considering WWE loves oddball teams and frequently pairs two singles stars together as champions to set up a story of them not getting along before they break up, that could be the direction for Jax and Baszler.

    If not, then this is just WWE's latest attempt to dangle a carrot in front of everyone who has wanted to see Banks vs. Bayley, only to yank it away once more.


    Prediction: Baszler and Jax win the titles.

Big E vs. Sheamus

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    Big E recently defeated Sheamus on SmackDown. He then scored another victory over him when he teamed with Heavy Machinery to beat The Celtic Warrior, John Morrison and The Miz on Friday.

    In typical WWE fashion as of late, Sheamus and Big E are fighting again. There's no rhyme or reason to it. Nor are there any bonus stipulations, extra gimmicks, stakes or consequences that should come out of this.

    It's just another match to keep the feud going, so it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things.

    Still, with Sheamus having lost twice in a row, it would make sense for him to get the win. There's no reason to revisit this if it's going to continue being a one-sided rivalry.


    Prediction: Sheamus wins.

Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton

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    It didn't take long for Keith Lee to shift his momentum after losing the NXT Championship at TakeOver XXX. Two nights later, he was facing Randy Orton as the newest member of the Monday Night Raw roster.

    This feud has a foundation because Lee is Drew McIntyre's friend and is fighting on his behalf after The Scottish Terminator was attacked by The Legend Killer. While he's on the shelf, Lee has stepped up to dish out the payback.

    Lee and Orton already had a match on Raw, but it was interrupted. This time, it should come have an actual winner. That is, of course, unless this is all just a repeat set up to have McIntyre interfere again and cost Orton the match.

    That's likely, but let's assume a pinfall takes place without shenanigans. We may all agree that it would be more beneficial for Lee to win and start his Raw career strong, but that doesn't mean WWE will do what makes sense.

    Frequently, in these scenarios, the Superstar who could benefit the most from a win doesn't get it. It's almost as if WWE books them to lose to humble them or to get heat on the winner for beating the guy everyone wanted to win.

    That tactic rarely works, but WWE keeps trying it, even if someone like Orton doesn't need any more of a boost to his credibility.

    As disappointing as it might be, don't be shocked if WWE's priority is making Orton look strong for a McIntyre rematch and using Lee as a sacrificial lamb to do that rather than cementing a new major player on the red brand.


    Prediction: Orton wins.

United States Champion Apollo Crews vs. Bobby Lashley

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    Apollo Crews defeated MVP, only to have to do it again a few weeks later at SummerSlam.

    Nothing at all came about from that match, and it served no purpose other than to waste time. It was an unnecessary sequel.

    Now, Crews is up against the opponent who should have fought him at SummerSlam—and likely would have had WWE not scheduled Payback so soon afterward—Bobby Lashley.

    For well over a month, the angle has been that Lashley is the most dominant member of The Hurt Business and the man responsible for taking Crews out of action for Extreme Rules. He's the biggest obstacle for the United States champion out of that trio.

    Either WWE wants the story to be that Crews triumphs over all and retains the title, ready to move on to a new feud, or this is where it all comes to an end.

    Both are possible. Lashley's been built up strong either to be the next champion or to make Crews look great when he comes up short.

    But since Keith Lee, Cedric Alexander, Ricochet, Mustafa Ali and others are available to challenge a heel champion, while Crews has run out of viable contenders, it may be time to crown a new champion.


    Prediction: Lashley wins.

Dominik and Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy

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    On Raw, Retribution interfered in the tag team match between the Mysterio family and Seth Rollins and Murphy.

    More than likely, there was no reason for this attack other than a means for WWE to book a non-finish so this seemingly never-ending feud could be dragged out for yet another week.

    Since it's already been advertised Rollins and Rey will fight again Monday night, that means this match also has no true purpose to it.

    There are no stakes or consequences. This is just here to eat up time.

    Neither team winning matters, but since Dominik and Rey have lost virtually every single fight in this story, big or small, WWE should throw them a bone. Even if it's a minor shift in momentum, that's at least more interesting than sticking to the status quo.


    Prediction: Flip a coin. It doesn't matter. Let's just say the Mysterios win.

King Corbin vs. Matt Riddle

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    Finally, after skipping several pay-per-views for which this could have been booked, Matt Riddle and King Corbin will lock horns.

    Corbin has tried to enlist help from the SmackDown roster to take Riddle out of the equation with the king's ransom, but only Shorty G has tried to take advantage of that. He continues to fail, so The Original Bro has remained a thorn in the king's side.

    From the start, Riddle's been booked as the better of the two. Unless there are plans to push Corbin to a title shot soon, that shouldn't be any different here, either.

    With storylines like this, it's gone on long enough that this feels like it should be the conclusion of the tale. Riddle needs to be victorious and put away Corbin for good so both can move on to something else.

    Otherwise, what we have seen since Riddle's SmackDown debut in June will keep repeating itself and there won't likely be any resolution before it simply fades away once other pay-per-views like Clash of Champions and Survivor Series take over the narrative.


    Prediction: Riddle wins.

No Holds Barred Triple Threat Match for the Universal Championship

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    Roman Reigns shocked the WWE Universe when he returned at SummerSlam and stole the spotlight from Bray Wyatt, who had just defeated Braun Strowman to become the new universal champion.

    In any normal situation, this match would have a fairly obvious finish in mind. Clearly, Strowman would be here to take the fall so Reigns didn't lose, allowing Wyatt to retain and stretch out his run a little longer.

    Then, Wyatt vs. Reigns would dominate the next few events with Clash of Champions and a Hell in a Cell match before The Big Dog held the title high to represent SmackDown against the WWE and NXT champion at Survivor Series.

    What's changed this, though, is that during the final moments of SmackDown, Paul Heyman was revealed to be advising Reigns while he signed his contract.

    That brings an unanticipated dynamic to this feud. It implies Reigns will be a heel going forward rather than the tried-and-true babyface he's been for years.

    More often than not, when WWE has something like this up its sleeve, the company is far too eager to run with that as the main story. Even if it is at the expense of Strowman and Wyatt, Reigns will be the focal point.

    There's still a chance Retribution interferes and Wyatt retains through that group's shenanigans or something else unpredictable goes down. But if you're placing a bet, you would be foolish not to put it all on Reigns capturing the title.


    Prediction: Reigns wins the championship.


    Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.