Because of C2E2 falling the same weekend (and in the same city) as Extreme Rules, I totally missed out on posting my predictions. I ended up 5-2 on the night, choosing incorrectly on the Tag Title and Kiss Me Arse matches. How will I end up with this month’s Payback predictions? Hit the jump below to find out and follow me on Twitter to read my reactions throughout the event!
THE META POWERS vs THE ASCENSION
I am totally torn on this match and, more specifically, the current gimmicks of Curtis Axel and Damien Sandow aka Axel-Mania and Macho Mandow. Both are supremely talented wrestlers and I’m glad to see them with gimmicks that are over with the crowds, I just feel like both wrestlers deserve more than to be comedy acts. On the flipside, the Ascension have been an utter failure in their rise (no pun intended) to the main roster. Konner and Viktor were totally awesome on NXT, but have been a bit of a joke with their tweaked gimmick. This could be a really exciting match as all four men are great in the ring and it’s the perfect mini-feud for the preshow (way better than putting an actual title match before the pay-per-view). Axel and Sandow are both hot right now and their rise up the tag-team-rankings could lead to a fun feud well down the road, so I’m excited to see how this works out (now who is going to play their Elizabeth?).
Prediction: AXEL and SANDOW
DOLPH ZIGGLER vs SHEAMUS
Last month’s absurd gimmick match was a nice appetizer for this match, which I think will feature Sheamus picking up the win that he missed last month. For the most part, in the last month Ziggler has gotten the better of Sheamus on Raw and Smackdown, so in order to solidify his push as a monster, he needs to beat down Ziggler here. That would logically lead to their feud remaining tied to the Barrett/Neville feud, with all men competing later this month in the Elimination Chamber for the Intercontinental Championship. I see Sheamus as the build-up favorite (though I think we’ll see a swerve win by someone like Neville) and that all starts here with the Celtic Warrior getting vicious against Ziggler on Sunday.
KING BARRETT vs NEVILLE
I am so glad that we are not only seeing Neville on a PPV, but also in a high profile feud against the 2015 King of the Ring, Wade Barrett. These two have put on some solid matches so far, but Neville is going to really kick it into high-gear. After losing to the Man that Gravity Forgot last month on the pre-show, I am fairly certain that Barrett will win here. However, I think that Neville is going to absolutely steal the show with his high-flying antics. Neville is so hot right now that he doesn’t really need the win as long as he can hit some cool moves—the crowd will remain behind him. Much like the Ziggler/Sheamus match, this is going to lead directly into the Intercontinental Championship match at Elimination Chamber, where the big guys will be the odds-on favorite (and I really hope to see Neville pick up the shock win).
Prediction: KING BARRETT
NAOMI and TAMINA vs THE BELLA TWINS
There is a lot I love about the booking of this match, but I have to say that in general I’m not a huge fan of this being a tag team match. Much like the Divas match at WrestleMania, this should be a Raw or Smackdown match, not a pay-per-view bout. The Divas Championship should absolutely be on the line every single month at a big event—not every several months. The current booking makes it completely meaningless. That being said, heel Naomi is the most interesting that she has ever been and I always love seeing Tamina. While the Bella Twins have been improving in the ring every single month, I do not understand why they are so inconsistently written. A few months ago they were heels, but now simply because Naomi is a heel, they are supposed to be faces? It’s stupid. Giving the Diva longer matches and more segments on the TV show is great, but it doesn’t mean much if the writers will continue to be super lazy about how they develop the characters. Personally, I would have booked this match as heel vs heel, with both teams being super dirty and aggressive, which would allow for a face to come in as a breath of fresh air to restore honor and integrity to the division—a role perfectly suited for Natalya or the why-hasn’t-she-debuted-yet Charlotte. But since that isn’t happening, Naomi and Tamina will win because if they lose, Naomi has absolutely no steam and her entire turn becomes pointless.
Prediction: NAOMI and TAMINA
RYBACK vs BRAY WYATT
I can’t say that this match makes a ton of sense to me. Post-WrestleMania, Wyatt had some awesome mysterious promos that weren’t directed at anyone, but has me super excited about his next feud. Once it was revealed that he was talking about Ryback, it fell flat. There is no connection between the two and I can’t see any reason that Wyatt would target the Big Guy. That being said, Ryback has been super hot with the crowd and doesn’t need to win to be over, so a feud between the two (with a bit better writing) can be very beneficial to Wyatt, who desperately needs some big wins to get back on track. This feud could go on for a few months and as long as Ryback can stay connected with the fans, Wyatt getting a few big wins (possibly first with the help of the now reunited Harper and Roawn). Wyatt will pick up a big win as the opening shot this weekend.
Prediction: BRAY WYATT
RUSEV vs JOHN CENA ©
United States Championship
“I Quit” Match
UGH. This is so stupid. Rusev has now lost two matches in a row against Cena after going undefeated for nearly a full year. If he loses this match, which he most likely will, it will completely kill all momentum that he was building. His entire run will simply be fuel to put Cena over, which is completely unnecessary. Cena doesn’t need it. I get that they will use this match to break up Rusev and Lana, as they clearly want her to be a major face of the company, but it shouldn’t come at the detriment to Rusev’s push. If he loses here, where does he go? Did they not learn anything from how continual loses completely derailed Bray Wyatt last year? Cena has done a great job of making the midcard look great in his US Championship matches each week (especially when he nearly lost to Neville on Monday). Even though he has won all of those matches, he’s made other wrestlers look great—but there is a big difference between losing a close match to Cena on Raw and losing three straight pay-per-view matches to him. Ugh.
Prediction: JOHN CENA
KIDD and CESARO vs THE NEW DAY ©
WWE Tag Team Championship
2-out-of-3 Falls Match
While there are going to be quite a few great matches on the card, this is the match that I am looking forward to most. Cesaro and Kidd are absolutely on fire lately and the villainous New Day are one of the most interesting things in WWE these days. Since all five men involved in this match (because we know there will be some Freebird-style shenanigans) are completely incredible in the ring, a two-out-of-three falls match is the perfect way to showcase their talents. Cesaro and Kidd can pick up a win in the match, but could still lose the match overall, which protects both teams and allows the New Day to keep the belts—something I hope they do for a very long time. This is without a doubt going to be the match of the night and I hope they give it at least 25 minutes.
Prediction: THE NEW DAY
DEAN AMBROSE vs ROMAN REIGNS vs RANDY ORTON vs SETH ROLLINS ©
WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The three top faces in the company against the weasel heel champion? This is the perfect way to really elevate Rollins. There is no better way to squeak out a win than against three mega-stars that have been feuding with him since last summer. While I wouldn’t mind seeing any of these guys as champion (and hope we see Ambrose as champion sooner rather than later), a Rollins win here is absolutely perfect booking. This will be a pretty wild match that should keep fans on the edge of their seat and I think that everyone will have a chance to shine. It will start was 3-on-1 as everyone goes after Rollins, but by manipulating the others into turning against each other to get the win, Rollins will keep his belt in dastardly fashion. I’m looking forward to it.
Prediction: SETH ROLLINS
What are your thoughts? Share them here or tweet them to me at @RyanSchrodt!