Welcome to the official Enuffa.com predictions column for WWE Payback. This Sunday's PPV is gonna be a tough sell without Daniel Bryan wrestling on the card, but he is slated to be there for his "We He or Won't He Drop the Belt" angle. I'll include a prediction for that segment as well. Let's get to it.
Pre-Show Match: El Torito vs. Hornswaggle - Mask vs. Hair
Yeah, don't care about this at all. Hornswaggle's gettin' a trim.
Justin's pick: El Torito
Dan's pick: El Torito
Rusev vs. Big E
This will be the big Russian's (or whatever he is) first real match. Could be a decent, if short, power display, and Big E is certainly a game talent. I'm not sure why his stock dropped so suddenly, but he'll give Rusev some solid offense before losing.
Justin's pick: Rusev
Dan's pick: Rusev
Divas Title Match: Paige vs. Alicia Fox
Not terribly interested in this one either. I like Paige but they've done a poor job of building her up, mostly giving her weak challengers and having her get dominated before just pulling out a win. I certainly don't see Fox as the one to dethrone her.
Justin's pick: Paige
Dan's pick: Paige
Intercontinental Title Match: Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam
This should be okay. RVD's looked a step or two off most of the time lately, but hopefully he'll bring it on Sunday. Barrett is super over right now so he's obviously retaining.
Justin's pick: Barrett
Dan's pick: Barrett
US Title Match: Sheamus vs. Cesaro
This should be pretty great. I'm betting this'll be the second-best match of the night. Sheamus kinda gets heel reactions right now while Cesaro is largely getting cheered. Really odd dynamic and I'm wondering if a double-switch will eventually happen. I think Payback is too soon, and I'd like to see this feud continue for a few months to elevate both guys and the US Title. I imagine Sheamus retains here, either with a narrow victory or by a DQ/countout loss.
Justin's pick: Sheamus
Dan's pick: Cesaro
World Tag Team Title Match: Usos vs. Harper & Rowan (if announced)
This one's not official yet, but if it happens I'm going with the Wyatt clan.
Justin's pick: Harper & Rowan
Dan's pick: Usos
Last Man Standing Match: John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt
This feud's kinda lost me. I'm just not interested in it anymore, and I really don't like LSM matches. Their structure inherently lends itself to dull counting spots. Big move, ref count, wrestler gets up, repeat. Wyatt's been really good this whole feud but Cena's promos have been hit or miss at best. I'm guessing Cena finally vanquishes Bray and moves back into the Title hunt.
Justin's pick: John Cena
Dan's pick: Bray Wyatt
Daniel Bryan Segment
Bryan's neck surgery came at such an inopportune time. He's only had one official Title defense since winning at 'Mania. It sucks to see his run interrupted so suddenly. That being said, all signs point to him being able to return as early as Money in the Bank, so I'm guessing he keeps the Title, maybe at the urging of Brie (who Stephanie McMahon has threatened to fire if Bryan doesn't vacate the belt). Then Kane shows up to set up their rematch at MITB. I'm not exactly thrilled about that match happening again, but hopefully the buildup will at least be better than "Kane chases Brie, Bryan runs like a coward trying to protect Brie even though Bryan's already beaten Kane decisively." Bryan really needs a good mat wrestler to have some classic matches with, and Kane is most certainly not that.
Justin's pick: Bryan keeps the belt
Dan's pick: Ditto
No-DQ Elimination Match: Evolution vs. The Shield
This has the potential to be a serious Match of the Year candidate. I love elimination tag matches, and these two teams have already torn it up once before on PPV. I'm expecting this to be even better than their previous bout. I'm pretty sure Batista is still set to leave for a few months to promote his movie, so I think The Shield kinda has to win here. Roman Reigns will likely be the sole survivor. Then Hunter will spend a few months trying to turn them against each other, starting with putting them all in the MITB match. But we'll see. Either way, WWE can't afford not to elevate more talent, so The Shield needs this win.
Justin's pick: The Shield (Reigns survives)
Dan's pick: The Shield
There you have it. This isn't exactly a stacked card, but a few of the matches should be good. Hopefully things will be back on track by Money in the Bank.