On Sunday June 16th, 2013 WWE will host its first Payback pay-per-view live from the Allstate Arena in Chicago. Although prior to Raw there were only three matches announced, we now know of eight scheduled matches.
Here I will break down each match and give my prediction for the winner. WWE has been somewhat predictable since I began writing these predictions nearly a year ago. It will be interesting to see if the trend continues.
[adinserter block=”1″]Pre-Show: Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow
Of all the pre-shows we have seen recently, Sheamus and Damien Sandow have actually built up their match the most. Throughout Damien Sandow’s segments, Sheamus has interrupted and caused a scene. This is an interesting feud for WWE as these two superstars seem to be heading in different directions. Sheamus is usually on the winning end, while Sandow hasn’t won a match in a long time.
Sandow is a great character who is among the most misused superstars on the roster. I would love to see him win this one, but I would be shocked if it actually happened.
Divas Championship: Kaitlyn © vs. AJ Lee
In one of the most anticipated divas matches since the days of Trish Stratus and Lita, Kaitlyn will finally defend the divas title against AJ Lee. The former best friends have been in a heated rivalry for some time now. With AJ winning a battle royal to become number one contender, I questioned why WWE waited so long to have the match. Then, I came to the realization that this match is happening at WWE Payback, the perfect title for the divas’ feud. The outcome is obvious though. AJ should have been divas champion months ago. Now that Dolph Ziggler is back, the two can share their love with their title belts.
Prediction: New divas champion AJ Lee
United States Championship: Dean Ambrose © vs. Kane
Surprisingly, WWE broke up Team Hell No and gave Kane the United States title match at Payback. I was expecting to see Daniel Bryan in this situation, but he is still due for bigger things in the future. In any case, Kane will get an opportunity to win the U.S. title, but will fail. He will excel at providing a quality match with Dean Ambrose. Kane is a seasoned veteran who will help Ambrose improve. However, the outcome is not in question as Ambrose is not ready to lose the title and when he does, it won’t be against Kane.
Prediction: Still United States Champion Dean Ambrose
Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett © vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel
In a match where Fandango was supposed to be involved and in my opinion win the match, WWE had to make a change due to Fandango’s concussion. So what did they do? Exchange one young future star for another. WWE is clearly moving the Intercontinental title off of Wade Barrett and onto a different young heel. I am curious to see if this means a push for Barrett (maybe Money in the Bank?) or back to the bottom. Either way, look for Curtis Axel to win the title that made his father famous.
Prediction: New Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel
WWE Tag Team Championship: The Shield vs. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan
Once again, I stress how strange it is that WWE booked Bryan in a new dysfunctional tag team as opposed to on his own. Bryan and Randy Orton will challenge Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns for the tag team titles. Just like Ambrose and the United States title, I don’t expect the Shield to lose their titles so soon. It will be interesting to see who finally does defeat Rollins and Reigns for the gold, but it shouldn’t happen anytime soon.
The most intriguing part of this match will actually be whether or not Bryan or Orton turn heel. We have seen both display signs that either one could turn. Will it happen?
Prediction: Still Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns of the Shield
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
CM Punk will make his return at Payback to face Chris Jericho in a match that I originally wasn’t expecting to actually happen. When this match was booked, I expected Curtis Axel to replace Punk and end up fighting Jericho. With Axel now inserted into the Intercontinental title match, I think Punk does make it to his hometown of Chicago to face Jericho.
I am not such a fan of this match as I go into detail about that here. At the same time, Jericho is a good transitional opponent for Punk. Brock Lesnar is the only one left to face Punk, but WWE is most likely saving his dates for bigger pay-per-views. The outcome of this match is somewhat predictable as Punk will be in his hometown. That is, unless Paul Heyman turns on Punk.
Prediction: CM Punk *
*One alternative outcome is Heyman turning on Punk
World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler © vs. Alberto Del Rio
Dolph Ziggler also makes his return to action after suffering a concussion prior to the Extreme Rules pay-per-view. Unfortunately, due to his injury, this match hasn’t been built as well as it could have. We witnessed too many matches between Alberto Del Rio and Big E Langston. Now that Ziggler is back, this should be the end of Del Rio’s chase for the title.
There are many young new superstars who deserve a chance and of course Daniel Bryan should be getting a push towards one of the world titles at some point. Imagine Bryan and John Cena as the two world champions. I know the Bella Twins would love that.
Prediction: Still World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler
WWE Championship: John Cena © vs. Ryback
Once again John Cena will defend the WWE title against Ryback, but this time in a three stages of hell match. The first match will be a lumberjack match, which I expect Cena to win. Next is a tables match, which Ryback will win. Ryback has shown dominance with tables as of late so this would be a logical move. Finally, the two will square off in an ambulance match. Ryback has been entering the ringside area from an ambulance as of late, but don’t let that fool you.
[adinserter block=”2″]If WWE was going to give the title to Ryback, they would have done so already. They clearly don’t see Ryback as good enough to be WWE champion. I think the only reason he is in this situation is the lack of top heels that can go up against Cena. Ryback was very popular as a face, but needs to improve greatly as a heel. He needs a Paul Heyman or another manager to help him.
Without any help, Cena will remain WWE Champion as it is going to take another big name (Daniel Bryan?) to end Cena’s reign.
Prediction: Still WWE Champion John Cena
What are your predictions for WWE Payback 2013? Do you agree or disagree with mine? Please share your thoughts and predictions in the comment section below.
Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out guttwrenchpowerblog.com. You can also like GWP on Facebook here.
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