Countdown to WWE Payback
JON WALDMAN -- SLAM! Wrestling
WWE has angled itself into an interesting scenario tonight for Payback. With the John Cena/Ryback feud tanking and the World Heavyweight Championship match barely promotable with Dolph Ziggler's concussion, the main build for tonight instead focuses on The Shield and their respective opponents for the Tag Team and United States titles.
The result is still having two solid bouts that should carry this card, with an undercard that still has some intrigue. Here's what we've got on our plates tonight.
John Cena (c) vs. Ryback – WWE Championship Three Stages of Hell match
Matthew Asher: There seems to be no way that Cena will lose this match since he has a long history of winning these gruelling type of matches. If Ryback wins it will be from some underhanded tactic. There's a possibility the Shield will interfere on Ryback's behalf.
Jon Waldman: I've never been less excited for a Three Stages of Hell match. I'd sooner call it Three Stages of Heck since the stips attached to each are pretty light in comparison to others. Cena wins.
CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho – Singles match
Matthew: If Y2J is willing to put over Curtis Axel, there's no reason he won't put over CM Punk. Heyman or one of his "guys" might interfere, but CM will leave Chicago a winner.
Jon: With Punk being the babyface here, we've got an interesting dynamic. I half expect Punk to actually not show up just to piss off Chicago, but WWE isn't ready to kill this huge market. I'll take a screwy finish, maybe with Punk indeed coming out but refusing to wrestle based on the fact that he never actually signed the contract.
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio – World Heavyweight Championship match
Matthew: Since the WWE didn't strip Ziggler of his belt upon receiving the concussion, he will win this match. Expect interference from both Ricardo and Big E and possibly AJ.
Jon: I really don't see any point to having this match on the card. Ziggles is ready to go but the build has been bad. Heck, have the last of Best of Howevermanymatches between Del Rio and Langston here instead. Dolph wins.
Wade Barrett (c) vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel – Intercontinental Championship match
Matthew: WWE is definitely intent on pushing Axel. If he's been given wins over Triple H, John Cena and Y2J, he will beat Wade and Miz. Heyman or one of his "guys" might interfere to give Axel the win.
Jon: Axel has been booked horribly thus far; maybe the turnaround happens here with him winning the same title his father had and going on a lengthy run with it. At this point, Miz needs something more credible and Barrett... I'm honestly very disappointed with his performance lately.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Kane – United States Championship match
Matthew: If this match is before the Tag Team match, expect Rollins and Reigns to help out their fellow Shield member. If this match is after, Ambrose will find a way to pick up a tainted victory by himself.
Jon: Ambrose is climbing the ladder quickly in WWE and I don't use that term without a pun. He wins here and does go on next PPV to capture one of the two MITB briefcases.
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns (c) vs. Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton – Tag Team Championship match
Matthew: Expect Team RK-No to be on the verge of winning until either Ambrose interferes or they lose their focus. Orton snaps after, RKO's Bryan and FINALLY turns heel again.
Jon: Bryan's ready to go on his own and there's still the rumour of him going up against Cena next PPV. I actually like the idea of the weak link storyline continuing and Bryan getting pinned here, saying he'll prove once and for all he's not the weak link by beating Cena. Then, he does, only to lose to one of the MITB briefcase holders later that night.
Kaitlyn (c) vs. AJ Lee – Divas Championship match
Matthew: While this match might have just been booked, AJ's going to win. Big E will probably show up and distract Kaityln.
Jon: If given enough time, these women could have a very strong match. I actually expect WWE to give them room to do so just to try to one-up TNA's amazing match between Taryn and Gail Kim. AJ wins.
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow
Matthew: The only way Sandow wins this match is if Cody Rhodes interferes..
Jon: Sandow wins nefariously.
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Check back to SLAM! Wrestling later tonight for our review of WWE Payback