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EditorialWWE Payback 2016: Matches Possibly Scheduled for PPV Card

WWE Payback 2016: Matches Possibly Scheduled for PPV Card



Several weeks from now on May 1, 2016, WWE presents the annual Payback event, which has been rearranged on the calendar to switch with Extreme Rules. It makes sense, seeing as how Backlash used to be the follow-up to WrestleMania to give those wrestlers a bit of a break instead of diving right into the gimmick matches that could beat them up even more after a long Road to WrestleMania.

Right now, no matches are officially announced, but WWE is clearly leaning in certain directions and starting new feuds that could carry over and be booked on the event. What matches might be taking place? Let’s take a look at some of the things WWE appears to be cooking up.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles

This one is pretty much a certainty that just needs to be confirmed on the website, but we all know it will be happening. Very rarely does a match as big as this just get wasted on Monday Night Raw or Thursday Night SmackDown when someone like an AJ Styles wins the right to challenge for the title.

What’s curious about this setup is that Roman Reigns was booked as a babyface for well over the past year, including his victory over Triple H at WrestleMania 32, yet the very first feud WWE puts him in after the fact is against someone that the company has to know for sure will be cheered over him. Is this an indication that Reigns will be transitioning to a heel character, turning into the skid so to speak when it comes to the audience reaction, or is this just WWE getting the match out of the way and having their favorite defeat someone the crowd can get behind to make a point? Is it really as petty as “See, your guy lost, cause Reigns is better, so shut up and cheer him” like some people think, or could this really be the start of a dramatic shift with a heel Reigns sitting atop the food chain? Very interesting…

Tag Team Championship: The Wyatt Family vs. The League of Nations vs. The New Day

After excommunicating Wade Barrett from the group, The League of Nations thought it would do nothing but strengthen their resolve and lead to a more tightly formed unit. Instead, it left them open to an attack from Bray Wyatt, Braun Strowman and Erick Rowan. Sadly, a 4-on-4 match isn’t in the cards not just because of Barrett’s potential exit from the company, but Luke Harper’s injury being nowhere near healed up enough to allow him to compete in the ring.

Are The Wyatt Family babyfaces now, despite having locked horns with The Rock and John Cena at WrestleMania? Did The Rock get his message through to Bray about how he can hold the people in his hand and should use that gift of gab for good, or is this just a matter of two clans starting a turf war for dominance? Perhaps this is the true Battle for Supremacy rather than the match at WrestleMania.

Keeping that in mind, it doesn’t appear quite yet as though there are new challengers waiting to take on The New Day. While it’s possible The Vaudevillains or the returning Primo and Epico get rushed to a title shot, I think it’s much more likely we’ll see Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston and Big E act as the third trio to match The Wyatt Family and The League of Nations. There are only so many spots on the card, and with many more matches left to talk about, it makes sense to just merge these together. Then again, this could be saved for Extreme Rules, so perhaps The New Day will do something else, such as cut a promo on the pre-show or merely miss the event entirely.

Women’s Championship: Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks

Natalya has had some words with Charlotte, but I’m not sold on the idea that she’ll be getting a title shot. Those two faced off at Roadblock and the momentum is clearly in Sasha Banks’ corner, so why would WWE just go ahead and revert back to pre-WrestleMania stalling?

The only reason I could see this happening with Natalya instead of Sasha Banks other than the rumors of her potentially being injured (which, don’t believe it until you see more proof of it) is if WWE does indeed want to stall because they would prefer to have the Sasha Banks match take place at Extreme Rules, where she possibly wins the title. Payback could be looked at more of as a special event on the WWE Network rather than a legitimate pay-per-view like previous years, and when those lesser specials take place, the card is always a little stranger than the normal 12 bigger shows—sometimes for the better, sometimes with worse consequences.

If Charlotte faces Natalya, it’s an easy win for her to continue looking dominant and it runs the risk of being something not many people really care about, while also pushing Sasha Banks away from the public consciousness and doing nothing but harm to her career. Then again, if Banks is booked against Charlotte and is scheduled to lose, fans may equally lose faith in this new direction for the division. It’s never fun to watch your favorite get passed over for someone else, and this is a tricky situation to navigate.

Intercontinental Championship

Zack Ryder already had his rematch on SmackDown, but it’s possible this feud has enough legs to be drawn out for some finality at Payback. If that’s the case, there’s no way The Miz doesn’t retain the championship, as having Maryse in his corner is going to be a resurgence to his persona, while Ryder’s title win was an experiment in shock value and a means to reward him for his efforts over the years.

Still, there’s a possibility Ryder is pushed out of the title hunt before Payback comes to pass and someone else from the two matches below takes his place.

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

If Ryder has a singles match with The Miz for the Intercontinental Championship, then Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn pretty much have to be fighting in some capacity at Payback. The way Owens took Zayn out of the #1 contender’s match isn’t going to just be written off as “one of those days” with Zayn moving on to matches with Stardust, Tyler Breeze and others who have nothing to do.

There’s a possibility that these two feuds get merged together as a Fatal 4-Way between The Miz, Zack Ryder, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, seeing as how Owens spoke of Zayn being the reason he lost the title at WrestleMania. This would spice things up a bit for both pairings, separating people just enough but allowing them to also keep their feuds going. It also works as a means to have Owens use his obligatory rematch, which he didn’t receive on Monday Night Raw.

Either way, Zayn should be looking to get back at Owens for what he did, and Owens should continue to be upset with his former best friend. This feud is not over, and could go on for years if need be.

Chris Jericho vs. Cesaro

This one is a bit of a stretch to an extent, but not a crazy one. Y2J and Cesaro were two of the four men who participated in the #1 contender’s match that AJ Styles eventually won. With Cesaro returning in rare form to actually appear to be a big deal that could be pushed going forward and Jericho moving on from his feud with Styles, these two could be paired up rather easily.

Jericho has made it quite clear from the way he’s been booked the past few years that there is a lot of flexibility to not only his opponents, but also his wrestling schedule. For all we know, he’s gone and not appearing for many months, or he’s sticking around until something like Money in the Bank or SummerSlam. When he does appear, though, he tends to be wrestling people who he wants to have great in-ring matches with and who he thinks deserves some extra spotlight, judging by him facing off against Kevin Owens, Neville, and expressing his interest in the Bray Wyatt feud before it even began.

Cesaro fits as a perfect example of someone that Jericho would want to work with, tear the house down, and boost the credibility of on his way out to take some time off from wrestling.

The Dudley Boyz vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady

With Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady making their main roster debuts and immediately being thrown into a feud with The Dudley Boyz, my anticipation for this match is quite high. The promo from this week’s Raw was one of my favorite moments of the night, and to see these two teams duke it out on the mic alone will be entertaining as all hell, with a match likely being on par or at least enjoyable to justify putting it on the card.

Keep in mind that Apollo Crews appears to be on the main roster, too, but he won’t be showing up on this list. While he will stay off Payback in my mind, there’s more of a chance that Enzo and Cass will make it to the show, despite how they have a track record of being skipped over for TakeOver events from the past. It’s hard to believe that WWE would put them on the main roster just to have them fade into obscurity, so I can see this taking place on the pre-show. Then again, I wouldn’t be utterly floored with surprise if this feud takes place solely on television and not on the pay-per-view.

Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

Just as the match above, this could definitely be something that exists purely on Monday Night Raw, but I’m hesitant to believe WWE would want to give Baron Corbin such an important win at WrestleMania and then keep him off Payback.

Dolph Ziggler is a big enough name to be wrestling on the card as is, and when you pair him up with the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, it just makes sense for this to be something that buffers two bigger matches (possibly going on before the main event or even as the first match to kick the show off).

If these two do battle again at Payback, bet your money on Corbin coming out on top. He’s the guy WWE will prioritize pushing, since Ziggler is the veteran who doesn’t need the rub as much. Plus, the size difference gives him the advantage in the eyes of the fans, unless WWE goes the route of having Corbin’s inexperience get the better of him with Ziggler scoring a fluke roll-up similar to what Austin Aries did at TakeOver: Dallas. Mind over matter and brains over brawn, but at the same time, young and fresh star in the midst of a push over perennial upper midcarder who sells losing to people extremely well and puts them over better than most others on the roster.

United States Championship: Kalisto (c) vs. Ryback

I almost forgot that this was even a thing, because WWE seems to have forgotten about it as well. Kalisto has had a terrible reign with the United States title, going into WrestleMania with very little credibility, wrestling at the start of the pre-show in a mediocre match and then being relegated to Superstars duty this week instead of appearing on Monday Night Raw. Ouch.

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if these two aren’t on the card in any capacity, or if WWE slaps this on the pre-show or something similar. Even if it does take place, it just goes to show how little creativity is put into the championship when it’s around Kalisto’s waist, as it would just be a generic rematch that requires no effort to plan out.

What matches do you think will be on the card for Payback? Who are you rooting for if the matches above take place? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!

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