The Superstar Shake-Up has completely changed the game and currently, the Raw roster is entirely overstacked with talent. Somehow, both midcard champions are on the brand and even SmackDown’s WWE Championship is being defended on a Raw-exclusive event.
At least some of this insanity is bound to be fixed when the blue brand is able to steal some talent from Kurt Angle, but before that happens, let’s try to do our best to figure out the rest of the matches which will be scheduled for Raw’s Payback pay-per-view set for April 30th.
WWE Championship House of Horrors Match: Randy Orton (c) vs. Bray Wyatt
United States Championship Match: Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho
Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
Raw Tag Team Championship Match: The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
This feud is clearly not over, what with Braun Strowman sending Roman Reigns to the hospital. However, the card is filling up quickly and there’s a possibility this injury angle was done as a means to avoid having to do this match at Payback.
Of course, three weeks is a long time to go without Roman Reigns showing up on television, as you know WWE won’t want to keep him out of the mix that long.
Also, at this point, a stipulation has to be added to it such as a Stretcher Match or Last Man Standing gimmick. With the House of Horrors Match suddenly being at Payback, it doesn’t seem as likely WWE would want to have two things that are too similar overshadowing each other. Still, it’s such a high-profile feud that was earmarked for Payback already, you have to put it in the running to be considered for the card.
Raw Women’s Championship Match
This could go in any direction, but we do know that it’s highly unlikely we’ll see this pay-per-view go down without the Raw Women’s Championship being defended in some fashion.
Obviously, Bayley is in the match no matter who else is, since she’s the champion and it would be rather shocking for her to drop the belt on the next two weeks of Raw leading up to Payback. But who will challenge her?
Charlotte Flair needs to be taken out of the running. It’s been done to death. Sasha Banks tried putting her name in the hat, but she was cut off by Alexa Bliss and Mickie James and Nia Jax.
Then, there’s Emma, who really could have had a great match with Bayley, but it appears as though the creative team is more concerned with having her and Dana Brooke feud.
My guess is we’ll see some kind of No. 1 contender’s match on Raw next week to determine who gets a title shot at Payback and since I doubt the shake-up allows for people to switch right back, it seems like there’s a chance Sasha Banks or Nia Jax won’t even be on Raw anymore. Alexa Bliss probably will be the go-to woman to feud with Bayley next, and if that’s the case, I’m 100% sold.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. The Miz
It’s still astounding me that we have both midcard champions on Raw, and I can only hope that within 24 hours, we have an answer as to why and it isn’t either “because they know the Universal Championship will be missing for most of the year and if Raw or SmackDown has to take a hit, they want it to be SmackDown that gets screwed” or something along the lines of Raw keeping both titles and SmackDown creating another championship such as a TV title or whatever.
For some reason, though, Dean Ambrose has brought the Intercontinental Championship over to Raw and immediately in doing so, it looks like they’ve paired him up with The Miz again. There wasn’t any true carryover in the main event as far as Miz/Ambrose interactions go, but it’s hard to imagine they would let The Miz go from doing as well as he’s done on SmackDown to having nothing for him on Raw just one week after WrestleMania.
If the Intercontinental Championship is defended and it is with these two in the match, it seems odd that both SmackDown stars would just move themselves over to Raw, doesn’t it? Still, unless Baron Corbin also wrestles at Payback and they throw the brand-exclusivity out the window even more, who else looks ready to fight Ambrose?
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
If we’re to believe Kurt Angle, Seth Rollins is not being traded over to SmackDown. He didn’t same the same thing about Samoa Joe, but as Joe is a go-to person for Triple H and we know Stephanie McMahon will continue to have an influence on Raw even with Kurt Angle there, he shouldn’t be going anywhere.
These two have been at odds with each other for a few months with no resolution to their quarrels whatsoever, so it makes sense they would be able to actually wrestle a match at Payback. There isn’t much necessary to build to the feud as they’ve interacted enough since February to be able to just rest on the laurels of previous beatings and if there’s an easy way out, WWE will normally take it.
POTENTIAL OTHER MATCHES
Universal Championship Match
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA oh, that’s a good joke. We all know Brock Lesnar’s not defending that title until SummerSlam. Ridiculous.
The Revival vs. The New Day
Three major factors prevent this from being in the pile of “most likely going to happen.”
First off, Kofi Kingston’s injury isn’t a dealbreaker, but it definitely does hinder the flexibility of the feud. If he spends just a few weeks out dealing with complications of the injury, it rests on Big E and Xavier Woods to be the only ones competing.
Repetition kills these tag team feuds and by the time The New Day and two other people tag up to face The Revival and two other heels, or we get Big E vs. Scott Dawson and Xavier Woods vs. Dash Wilder, we’ll have seen every combination and nobody will care. That’s already happened to a certain extent, as the two teams have faced off on Raw both weeks The Revival have been on the main roster. There’s nothing left to the imagination.
Secondly, the shake-up might bring The New Day over to SmackDown where they are very desperately needed if Enzo Amore and Big Cass don’t make the jump. If The New Day do switch rosters, it will be less likely to see the two teams face off again as Payback is supposed to be a Raw-exclusive show (although that isn’t stopping Randy Orton from popping up…)