WWE has the first post-Wrestlemania PPV tonight with Payback 2017 for the Raw brand. Here are the Pulse Wrestling crew’s full preview and predictions!
House of Horrors Match
WWE Championship Match
Randy Orton (C) vs. Bray Wyatt
Michael – What is a House of Horrors match? Who really cares? They aren’t going to move the World title to Raw, so the winner of this match is pretty much determined. Even if they give Wyatt the win and the belt to swerve everyone, this match still involves Randy “The Boredom Bringer” Orton. Yeah, I can probably come up with a better nickname for Orton, but he’s so boring that I can’t be bothered to do so.
Winner: Randy “Zzzzz” Orton (still champion)
Matthew Schuerman – Horrors for Randy Orton, or for the viewer? This could be even worse than their WM match as these two just have no chemistry whatsoever. I wonder what kind of visuals we’ll get this time around? Perhaps they’ll reincarnate Katie Vick for the match. Either way, it’ll suck
Winner – Randy Orton
Paltrowitz – Because life isn’t fair.
Winner: Randy Orton
Widro – They have been unclear as to whether this is for the WWE title or not, either way I think Randy picks it up.
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
The Hardy Boyz (Jeff Hardy and Not Yet Broken Matt Hardy) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
Michael – The WWE hasn’t let Matt or Jeff Hardy talk since coming back, probably due to the Broken Hardys legal entanglements. Regardless, the Hardys schtick is already wearing thin. And honestly, I would much rather watch Seamus and Cesaro kicking ass with the belts. But I don’t know if Vince feels the Hardys have been milked dry yet.
Winner: Broken Matt and Brother Nero (still champions)
Matthew Schuerman – The Hardy Boyz are still over, and I really hope this isn’t just about nostalgia. Jeff can still work, and Broken Matt, when allowed to be in the ‘E, will be fantastic. I love Cesaro, but I don’t see the Hardyz dropping the titles just yet.
Winners – Hardy Boyz
Paltrowitz – I suspect a failed heel turn and a “broken” turn will both happen from this match.
Winner: The Hardy Boyz
Widro – I think it’s not yet time to take titles off the Hardyz.
WWE United States Championship
Kevin Owens (C) vs. Chris Jericho
Michael – One thing I really hate about this PPV is the amount of rematches from WrestleMania. In my mind, WrestleMania is supposed to be the culmination of storylines. Therefore, this PPV seems to be simply a bunch of reruns. What’s worse is if the rerun turns out to be better than the match on the biggest stage. I mention all this because I am very afraid that is what will happen here. So we will watch the match, it may even steal the show, and all we will be able to think about is “Why didn’t they do this last month?”
Winner: Kevin Owens (still champion)
Matthew Schuerman – Unfortunately for the viewer, Jericho is leaving for a Fozzy tour soon after this, and he’s on Raw, so this match is pretty much a foregone conclusion. I just hope they give it time to be the match we all know it can be.
Winner – Kevin Owens
Paltrowitz – It’s pretty amazing how long Chris Jericho has been around, given that he had just initially signed a one-month contract.
Winner: Kevin Owens
Widro – With Jericho likely leaving for a while, doesn’t make sense to change the title back.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Neville (C) vs. Austin Aries
Michael – Another rematch. However, I think these two could pull off a whole new match with a very different feel. I am a little curious as to why do this match again so soon when they can have Aries chase for a while longer and build this match up to a main event level. But, maybe the WWE knows what they are doing. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
Winner: Austin Aries (new champion)
Matthew Schuerman – Another match, given time, that could be a classic. Their WM match was fantastic, and this time they actually make it onto the show! Imagine that. Good wrestling on a wrestling show. Fascinating concept. That said, Neville is cruising along since his return, and is one of the few cruisers that is actually over to any great degree. Aries is his only credible challenger at this point, and would be really hurt with a loss here.
Winner – Austin Aries
Paltrowitz – This should be an exciting match. Neither competitor truly needs the title to seem special.
Widro – Aries has not gotten over in WWE yet, despite my best wishes, and I don’t think he picks up the title here.
WWE Raw Women’s Championship
Bayley (C) vs. Alexa Bliss
Michael – Bliss has certainly added a spark of life into the Raw Women’s division. Do they go all the way and have her take the title? Bayley works as the plucky underdog, not the dominant champion. A title change here only makes sense.
Winner: Alexa Bliss (new champion)
Matthew Schuerman – Alexa has been really working hard to become a better worker, and is already more than passable as a talker. She has a ton of upside as the evil heel in the women’s division, if she’s not already there. The hugger is a great champ though, and my personal favorite due to her Ricky Steamboat-esque appeal. It’s too soon to give Alexa the belt, but it’s too soon for her to have a shot at it anyways. They’re both placeholders for Nia Jax anyway, but for this match, I’m all about that hug life.
Winner – Bayley
Paltrowitz – Bayley needs to keep the belt so Sasha Banks can turn heel…right?
Widro – Bliss has been great on the mic but her ring work is spotty, could Bayley bring a great match out of her? Seems like they are setting up an angle where Bayley wins and has a moment with her family broken up by someone after.
Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
Michael – I really, really, REALLY hate that the WWE is trying to use Reigns’ personal tragedy to get fans to not boo him. That is another level of lousy. But from a purely storyline point of view, this match is an abomination anyway. A few weeks ago Strowman destroyed Reigns. It was one of the most over-the-top beatdowns we have seen in WWE in a very long time. And it was fantastic. Yet, we are supposed to believe that Reigns, after being thrown all over the backstage area, having a storage trunk rammed into him, being tossed off a loading dock while being strapped to a gurney, and then being flipped over while inside an ambulance, is perfectly fine to wrestle a few weeks later? How annoying and a waste of an excellent monster beatdown. To make matters worse, you know who is going to win because you will like Roman Reigns damnit!
Winner: Roman Reigns
Matthew Schuerman – Please, Please, oh Pleasey-Please let Braun go over. It’s not happening.
Winner – Roman Reigns
Paltrowitz – Logically, Braun Strowman should win, so give this one to Roman.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Widro – I’m going against my better judgement and predicting Strowman picks it up with the excuse of Roman’s ambulance injury.
Who will win at WWE Payback 2017?
Roman Reigns (58%, 34 Votes)
Braun Strowman (42%, 25 Votes)
Total Voters: 59
Seth Rollins vs. Samoa Joe
Michael – The only question I have on this one is will the WWE let these two really let loose? Because if so, this could become a MOTY candidate. But this is a throwaway PPV. And Joe has been booked strong. And Rollins has regained some mojo lately. This is the perfect storm for the WWE to screw up.
Winner: No decision due to Triple H interference.
Matthew Schuerman – 2 months later, we finally get the grudge match. This of course stems from the WM build-up of Joe being HHH’s heavy. Unfortunately, Rollins knee injury robbed us of a match that would have had some major intrigue and heat. This is one where Rollin’s needs to continue his momentum, while Joe continues to tread water.
Winner – Seth Rollins
Paltrowitz – Gotta build Samoa Joe up a bit more, I’d think.
Winner: Samoa Joe
Widro – Rollins got a big win at Wrestlemania but Joe has been a monster, this is the toughest to call, going to go with Rollins.
Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs. Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Michael – Why is this match on the card? Who really cares? That could be the sub-title of this whole PPV – Who cares?
Winner: Enzo and Big Cass
Matthew Schuerman – The least interesting match on a lowball card to be sure. Gallows and Anderson were ruined long ago when their association with AJ Styles was ruined by the draft. Until they reunite, or Finn takes control, they’ll continue to be jobbers.
Winners – Enzo Amore and Big Cass
Paltrowitz – I’m not sure what’s at stake with this match, given how many times they’ve already competed. Wasted talent, to put it nicely.
Winner: Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
Widro – Faces usually win on the pre-show.
Winner: Enzo & Cass
Jonathan Widro is the owner and founder of Inside Pulse. Over a decade ago he burst onto the scene with a pro-WCW reporting style that earned him the nickname WCWidro. Check him out on Twitter for mostly inane non sequiturs