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The Superstars of Monday Night Raw take centre stage tonight at Payback. Live from San Jose, California, Payback will see eight matches (one of which will be on the pre-show), four of which are title matches.
I do wish the Universal title was on the line. I just don’t like the idea of a part-timer holding it.
Anyway, let’s have a mosey at my predictions….
Enzo & Big Cass vs. Gallows & Anderson
These two teams have squared off countless times already in 2017, with The Club coming out victorious. Based on that alone, I’m going with Enzo & Cass. A win for them allows the heels to build some momentum for themselves, especially coming off a loss to The Hardy Boyz at WrestleMania. Plus, WWE Creative always likes to put the faces over on the pre-show.
Winners: Enzo & Big Cass
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville © vs. Austin Aries
Neville is my favourite heel in WWE right now. He has completely reinvented himself and is so far removed from the Adrian Neville we all know and love.
Neville has the opportunity to go 2-0 over The Greatest Man That Ever Lived. On the April 25 episode of 205 Live, Aries sent one last message to Neville, trapping him in the Last Chancery and forcing a submission. WWE logic suggests Neville gets his heat back Sunday night and scores the victory, but that is not necessarily the right outcome.
Where does Neville go from here? No one else in the Cruiserweight division has the credibility that Aries does. Perhaps Brian Kendrick or Akira Tozawa, but both guys are already locked in a programme. That’s why a successful title defence is the only outcome here.
Winner and STILL WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Neville
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
As a well-respected Oklahoman once said, “This is gonna be a slobberknocker”! This match is also one where I’m not 100% confident about my prediction. I really have gone back and forth on this one.
Rollins is a legitimate main event talent, a Superstar whose accomplishments since 2015 are many and whose time as WWE champion has not been forgotten by fans.
Samoa Joe has made an impact since his main-roster debut. Will he continue his winning ways, cementing him as a lead villain on RAW, or will the temptation of maintaining Rollins’ momentum since WrestleMania be too strong to deny?
I’m going with the latter, although a double disqualification is not unlikely.
Winner: Seth Rollins
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
The Hardy Boyz © vs. Cesaro & Sheamus
I’ve got a confession; I never expected The Hardy Boyz to return at WrestleMania. Never really been a fan of these if I’m being honest with you. I never rated Matt (I guess the ‘Broken’ gimmick is okay, I guess), and I’ve always thought that Jeff was over-rated. However, to balance the argument out, they are talented guys, and it is nice to see them back ‘home’ in WWE. I guess you could say, it’s DELIGHTFUL!
Sheamus and Cesaro are a team that are beginning to grow on me. They’ve rebounded from that disappointing night in Orlando, by defeating the popular Amore and Cass to become the No. 1 contenders and earn a shot at the titles they once called their own. It’s worth noting that they’ve both lost to the Hardy Boys in singles competition and have expressed frustration in defeat. A heel turn in the works, perhaps?
It’s a question that will be answered during Sunday’s clash.
Winners and STILL WWE Raw Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz
WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Bayley © vs. Alexa Bliss
What better way for Alexa Bliss to establish herself as the lead villain in a rebuilding of the Raw Women’s division by defeating the most beloved female performer of the past decade, in front of her hometown crowd?
Bayley defended her title at WrestleMania against Charlotte, Sasha Banks, and Nia Jax. Losing her title on a B-level pay per view would be viewed as a let-down. Throughout her title run, Bayley hasn’t had the opportunity to really garner any sort of momentum.
A win here would allow Bayley a chance to string together two high-profile wins to build her credibility as champion, something that has not always been readily apparent.
Winner and STILL WWE Raw Women’s Champion: Bayley
WWE United States Championship
Kevin Owens © vs. Chris Jericho
The biggest foregone conclusion of the night. With Jericho poised to take time off to tour with his band, Fozzy, and Owens already building a rivalry with AJ Styles over the U.S. title, all signs point to Owens retaining his title. Anything other than a Kevin Owens victory would be a upset.
I don’t know what else I can say about this one. What I do know is that Jericho will go above and beyond to make his former best friend look strong before he locks horns with AJ Styles.
Winner and STILL WWE United States Champion: Kevin Owens
House of Horrors Match
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
This was originally slated for the WWE Championship. That is now no longer that case. It makes the outcome less obvious then it was before.
Orton will have his hands full against Jinder Mahal (I know, that does sound ridiculous. Not as much as calling a pay per view ‘Great Balls of Fire’), meaning that his focus will be elsewhere. Considering Wyatt will be in need of a high-profile victory as he embarks on another run with the flagship brand and that Orton can recover relatively easily with a single RKO, this is The Reaper of Souls’ match to win.
I have no idea what a ‘House of Horrors’ match will involve. Will it be like WCW’s Chamber of Horrors with the Electric Chair and all that silliness? Not a clue. The lack of information regarding the match’s rules and stipulation creates an air of mystery. It’s also that mystery that creates the possibility that Wyatt can score a much-needed win without devaluing Orton’s status as the champion of SmackDown Live.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Yet another colossal showdown between Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman.
The Superstars have been at each other’s throats since the turn of the year. Reigns got one over on Strowman at Fastlane, dealing The Monster Among Men a rare loss. Coming off of a disappointing performance in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33, Strowman took out his frustrations on Reigns by brutally attacking him backstage in one of the most memorable beatdowns in recent memory.
This needs to end with Braun Strowman as the man getting his arm raised.
Reigns has the built-in excuse of an injury to explain away defeat. Therefore, a loss would not damage him in the slightest.
Winner: Braun Strowman
Feel free to post your predictions in the comment section below, and I’ll be back on Monday with my Random Thoughts on Payback.