Payback time is here! It’s finally here! Can you believe it? But seriously, it’s really time for another pay-per-view? Didn’t we just have one like three hours ago? Didn’t you all just stop laughing at all my clever witticisms from the Extreme Rules preview? I bet you are probably still amazed that I absolutely nailed that pick of The New Day winning the tag team championships when all the talking heads on PTB thought I was smoking with RVD! Well like it or not, it’s time for another secondary PPV preview by yours truly. Thank you WWE for planning these things so close together. I mean what am I, a machine? If you were pumped for WrestleMania and tepidly interested in Extreme Rules, I would be led to believe you are downright comatose for Payback.
On Sunday, we’ll be treated to a steady stream of rematches from earlier in the month and a multi-man main event that promises to be entertaining if tragically overbooked. That being said, if we all set our expectations to low right now, we may surprise ourselves walking out of Payback with smiles on our faces when it over delivers the goods on Sunday night. Just remember that as I attempt the put over all these matches over the next several paragraphs. (Remember, keep those expectations low!) If WrestleMania was the finest cut piece of filet mignon at the 5-Star resort you spent your honeymoon at, then Payback is the leftover ham sandwich you ate three weeks after Easter Sunday.
So let’s dive right in shall we?
CURTIS AXEL & “MACHO MANDOW” VS. THE ASCENSION (KICKOFF MATCH)
I’ll say this about our kickoff tag match, we all will be talking about it come Monday. The nostalgia driven duo of Macho Mandow and Axelmania team up to form The Meta Powers in an homage to two of the biggest names in sports entertainment history. They took a low-card, meaningless Smackdown feud and organically formed this tremendous pairing that will be must-see come Sunday. I doubt it has any staying power at all after this week, but it will be fun to watch these two mimick The Mega Powers while paying tribute to two hall of famers. While billed as a comedy act, the real jokes of this match are their opponents. With all due respect to the biggest Ascension fan on the planet, Scott Criscuolo, these guys are complete rubbish. They were supposed to be the “next big thing” in the tag division back in January, but have looked like absolute buffoons ever since. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I see an elbow from the top rope followed by an atomic legdrop for the win and let the pose down begin! And whatcha gonna do, when the Mania and the Madness run wild on you Brother? MCGINN’S PICK: MACHO MANDOW & AXELMANIA
RYBACK VS. BRAY WYATT
Ryback/Wyatt… Main Event anywhere in the country! So why am I writing about it second? I guess because there are more interesting matches than this one. I mean, look at this picture above. WWE didn’t even take the time to put a Payback logo in the corner! One thing you can say about this bout is that they have given us plenty of segments of buildup heading into Payback. Bray would go on one of his tediously slow and boring promos targeting an unnamed superstar. For weeks the announcers would speculate who Bray’s next prey would be. Even though he used similar tactics in March only to lose to Undertaker, we still need to view this maniac as a threat to something. Ryback draws the short straw this month it seems. Both have reason to want the winner’s purse as both might be one signature win away from taking that next step. A victory could catapault either as the favorite in either the upcoming Elimination Chamber special event, or even the Money in The Bank come July. Or this could just be time filler on a middle-of-the-road pay-per-view. This is the very definition of a toss-up and since it seems the company is getting behind Bray and Ryback can take a loss and still be okay, I say Wyatt triumphs and we move on. Bonus points if Harper and Rowan get involved somehow. MCGINN’S PICK: BRAY WYATT
KING BARRETT VS. NEVILLE
You hear that siren? That’s the “possible show-stealer” alert system! The Man That Gravity Forgot goes one-on-one with The King of WWE. This match has all the makings of an instant classic. The young upstart who has done nothing but put on entertaining matches with everyone from the top (John Cena) to the bottom (Curtis Axel) of the roster. He takes on steady-as-they-come, not afraid to break a nose or two, bare-knuckle boxing champion who finds himself in a gimmick he was born to play. Not for nothing, these two can work a match. I love their chemistry. It has been a treat whether it was the Extreme Rules Kickoff match, to the finals of the King of The Ring Network exclusive tournament. I also have been a fan of the return of the “king” moniker. Barrett plays the elitist monarch role to perfection and doesn’t suffer fools lightly. And on that note, you would be foolish to think Neville’s early defeats once he was called up was anything close to a burial. The kid has paid his dues and he is here to stay. This match could go either way. Having the crown doesn’t guarantee anything. Just ask King Sheamus in 2011! I do think, however, that Barrett wins in a squeaker though it’s Neville who eventually earns the last laugh on the phony King of England. MCGINN’S PICK: KING BARRETT
NAOMI & TAMINA VS. THE BELLA TWINS
Our national nightmare continues as the reign of Bellas on pay-per-view continues. The only things of interest in this match are what colors Naomi’s shoes will alternate changing whenever she takes a step and hearing her new ghetto fabulous ring entrance music.
“I’m amaaazing, I’ma I’ma I’ma Amaaazing!”
It’s stuck in your head now isn’t it? Pretty aggravating huh? That’s how I feel everytime I have to write about the Bellas on a pay-per-view. I will say this, the Naomi character change was fresh and desperately needed to stir the pot. She is doing a wonderful job too because somehow she managed to make Nikki and Brie sympathetic in just three short weeks. Add in the returning Tamina, and you have one of the most devastating Divas teams in recent memory. If this were a title bout, I could see Nikki holding on by string of a bikini. But this gives the heels a chance to beat the champ without the belt changing hands to set up a title match next month so you almost have to go Naomi/Tamina here. Sounds like a plan to me! MCGINN’S PICK: NAOMI/TAMINA
DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. SHEAMUS
Woohoo another rematch! They should just call this show Extreme Rules 2: This time it’s even less extreme! Last time, these two fought for the prize of having the loser kiss the winner’s sweaty backside in front of thousands of people. Dolph won but was bushwhacked by the heinous Irishman and had his face planted on Sheamus’ pale bum cheeks. Now Ziggler is out for revenge or dare I say it, PAYBACK! No there is no “lips to asses” stipulations this time around, but the Show Off is looking to atone for the embarrassment he suffered in Chicago. Sheamus, despite getting his heat back hoping to get his win back and prove to everyone that small guys just can’t hack in the WWE. I look for both these guys to really step up the violence. Make us believe you truly hate one another and forget about all the goofy, comedic stuff. Sheamus is amazing as a heel and it’s almost more entertaining to hear him trash talk a guy while fighting than it is to watch him actually fighting, if that makes sense. The Celtic Warrior will go on to prove that size does in fact matter and he evens the score come Sunday. MCGINN’S PICK: SHEAMUS
WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP 2-OUT-OF-3 FALLS MATCH
The New Day (C) vs. Tyson Kidd & Cesaro
Sorry, I’m a little out of breath for this paragraph. I was too busy taking my victory lap for picking The New Day at Extreme Rules. The Main Event podcast guys didn’t do it. Kevin Kelly and his sidekick didn’t go there either. Graham and Stutts from History of Wrestling? No chance! I bet even the “brainbusters” on the reaction shows didn’t have the stones to go against the status quo and pick against Kidd and Cesaro. Oh but this guy did! I was clapping along with the new champs from my one bedroom palace. NEW… DAY ROCKS! NEW… DAY ROCKS! How sweet it is! Don’t be sour, feel the power!
But enough about me. Let’s talk this latest rematch! This could be the hottest match on the card minus the main event. The fans dig this pairing whether it’s way back at the Royal Rumble, to the latest tussle on Extreme Rules. The audience clamors to see New Day get beaten savagely and they equally adore Kidd and Cesaro to deliver said beating. It’s the recipe for an exciting opening bout. I said it here and Jim Ross later agreed with me on his podcast when he said that the newly minted babyface team of Kidd and Cesaro will draw money by chasing the straps. This has been an outstanding rivalry and I might be selfish when I say that I hope it never ends. New Day with those ridiculous smiles and their cheating tactics in matches is incredible! I say it’s too soon to take the belts away here so they win by nefarious means on Sunday. It will only make it more satisfying for the Brass Ring Boys when they finally do get their titles back. MCGINN’S PICK: NEW DAY
UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP “I QUIT” MATCH
John Cena (C) vs. Rusev
These guys again? Seriously? Stop it! Stop it! Rusev is already dead! We had a real nice thing after Fastlane. Rusev made the incomparable Cena pass out in his own submission hold. Then you give him the greatest entrance in WrestleMania, if not Professional Wrestling history in March only to have him do the job on the biggest stage of them all. So you think, okay, he had his run of hating on America and finally Superman came to the rescue and delivered us from evil. But no, we needed another rematch at Extreme Rules, only this time it’s in the least violent Russian Chain match in human history! Naturally Cena wins which sets up an “I Quit” match at Payback. If you watched WWE in in the past decade, you know Cena’s many mantras is “Never Give Up.” He carries a towel to the ring baring that same message. His whole character is built around that small, simple phrase. Because of this, you also know that he NEVER loses in “I Quit” matches. They are his signature contests. This weekend will be no different.
Somehow, they will involve Lana who will cost Rusev another triumph. Maybe she can come to the ring wearing one of those American flag bikinis that Sable and Torrie Wilson wore at Great American Bash 2004 to solidify her face turn. Rusev will suffer an unnessary third straight loss and will be in need of some serious rebuilding during the summer. Meanwhile, Cena can continue to make the US Title more relevant with each passing week. This open challenge has provided some of the best matches week in and week out so I say they should keep that train rolling! MCGINN’S PICK: JOHN CENA
WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP FATAL 4-WAY MATCH*
Seth Rollins (C) vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns
*If Rollins does not retain, Kane is fired
Our main event will be an entertaining train wreck of a match with a plethora of possibilities to ponder. One such example is that if they were somehow able to add Triple H and Batista to the match, we’d have a repeat of last year’s Payback main event. Okay, that’s probably not one of them but it’s still pretty funny to remember the Blue-Tista era isn’t it? But seriously, this match just kept growing and growing and it will be a thrill ride to say the least. All the challenges have a reason to get their hands on the champion. Reigns was screwed at WrestleMania thanks to Rollins cashing in the MITB briefcase hence losing his chance to beat Brock Lesnar in San Fran. Orton had his opportunity blown in the cage match at Extreme Rules thanks in large part to the efforts of Kane and Rollins’ security team. Plus, the Viper has no love lost to Seth’s role in booting Randy from The Authority last fall. Finally, no one knows betrayal like the Lunatic Fringe Dean Ambrose. This psycho has been on a collision course with Rollins since the golden child smacked him with a chair the night after last year’s Payback.
And then there is Rollins. Our beatable champion continues to use his wits and brains to come out a step ahead of his many foes. He even is fighting within his own family as Kane has stopped at nothing to try to add obstacles to our new champs path to greatness. Now the Director of Operations job is on the line should Rollins not retain his title come Sunday. Yikes! Since it’s always been my rule that either Kane or Big Show ruins something every month, I see him working his role with the company to perfection. Rollins, against all odds, holds onto the strap, the faces turn on one another and Kane gets to keep his department store suit for another day. I’d be interested to see who gets the next singles crack at the gold from this group. Will Reigns look good enough in this ensemble to merit another chance? Will Ambrose come from no man’s land in the midcard to #1 contender? Will Orton turn heel again and no one will notice? Don’t ask me! I’m only right about New Day! But I do love this multiple challengers scenario. It keeps things less predictable since anyone on the roster has the ability to defeat a guy like Rollins on any given day. You just didn’t have that when Brock was running the yard. Anyway, Rollins retains and we all see what happens next! MCGINN’S PICK: SETH ROLLINS
So that’s a wrap! Be sure to follow all the action of Payback this weekend at Place to Be Nation. Don’t miss a minute of the action by following us on Twitter for live updates and commentary throughout the show. You can also catch the PTBN Reaction Podcast dropping next week! Enjoy the show!
Wait, what do you mean I have to write an Elimination Chamber pay-per-view preview? It’s a Network exclusive! It doesn’t count! I’m not a machine!!