“Payback” is rather an apt title for the upcoming PPV considering Vince McMahon’s current financial woes.
The “self-made billionaire” is no longer able to describe himself as the ‘b’ word having seen his company’s net worth decrease in value by over $850 million in recent days – down to a paltry $700 million.
Whilst it’s safe to assume that Vince won’t be fighting hobos in viral videos with the promise of whiskey as payment any time soon, he’s still got to be mighty concerned by the massive kick in the cash-bags his empire has taken, and it all seems to be purely the fault of the WWE Network.
On paper, the Network seemed like a fine idea to me, and at a very agreeable price point. But I guess WWE (as well as myself) well over-estimated the size of its loyal fan-base in comparison to its casual fan-base and it’s simply not meeting performance targets. The company now faces the decision of scrapping the Network altogether, or rushing the service out in additional global markets in an attempt to claw some “payback” for its investments in the service.
It’s truly a testing time for the company and thus they will surely be seeking to execute quality PPVs – and indeed up the quality of its TV output – in the coming weeks as it strives to settle the nerves of investors and attract more subscribers. It would be absolutely catastrophic is something as meteoric as, say, their World Champion suffering a serious neck injury and having to take time off for surgery occurred right now.
There’s no World Champion on the show, so WWE will be pulling out all the stops to deliver in the absence of their current number one guy. It’s a fairly busy card (although no Adam Rose match yet! Don’t be a lemon, WWE!) and here lie-eth my predicitions…
HAIR vs MASK PRE-SHOW MATCH:
El Torito vs Hornswoggle
Oh joy! The feud rages on!
Honestly, I have no real issue with these two guys feuding. Any WWE card is gonna feature some “comedy” elements whether we like it or not… But at least in this instance it’s coming from two guys who genuinely have a passion for the wrestling industry. And only the most meanest of bastards wouldn’t admit that their WeeLC match last month was pretty damn fun.
What I do have an issue with is talented guys like Jinder Mahal and Drew McIntyre losing cleanly to El Torito! The latter being pinned after no more than a weak ass rope crotch this week! It’s retarded booking and serves no purpose other than to bury potential stars of tomorrow. Whatever Drew Mcintyre achieves in his future with WWE, he’ll forver have that loss on his record now, and it will be immortalised on YouTube, and there’s nothing WWE can ever do about it. Dumb. Incredibly dumb.
Anyway, I’ll pick El Torito to score the victory here just because he’s the one with more to lose. Taking his mask from him would pretty much kil his gimmick. It’s also worth nothing that Hornswoggle’s hair is rubbish. Just look at that picture.
Pick: El Torito
US TITLE MATCH:
Sheamus v Cesaro
Following a few semi-surprising losses earlier in the year, Sheamus is back on firm ground with clean victories over big boy players such as Wade Barrett, Alberto Del Rio and Dean Ambrose in recent weeks.
Similarly, The King of Swing is also on a rampage since becoming a Paul Heyman guy, so these two guys meet at a time when both of their career trajectories are positively pointing upwards.
Consequently, I’m not expecting either chap to suffer from a pinfall loss here. I’m eager to believe that Cesaro is being groomed for a main event run later in the year, and thus the US title would seem counter-productive in pushing him at this juncture. So I’m definitely picking Sheamus to retain… And I’ll predict that a Cesaro DQ will be the finish. Heels can be so heelish sometimes.
Pick: Sheamus wins by DQ
DIVAS TITLE MATCH:
Paige vs Alicia Fox
Alicia is on a losing streak of late, so of course it makes perfect sense that she’s the number one contender at the moment.
Paige wins, Alicia throws a tantrum and takes a dump in JBL’s hat and everyone watching at home is super glad they forked out their hard earned dollars to watch the PPV.
Pick: Paige retains
IC TITLE MATCH:
Bad News Barrett vs Rob Van Dam
I’m amazed at how over Rob Van Dam remains despite having the exact same act as he did 15 years ago. I guess wrestlings fans are just a sucker for a killer undercut.
I don’t perceive Mr Monday Night as a serious contender to the IC Title, and surely his main duty in WWE now is to put over the next generation of talent, i.e. guys like Bad News Barrett.
I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for RVD. He’ll be on light-staring duties this Sunday.
Pick: Barrett retains
LAST MAN STANDING MATCH:
John Cena v Bray Wyatt
Seeing as The Usos v Harper and Rowan hasn’t (yet) made the Payback card, you’d fully expect them to get involved here and have a say in how the action unfolds. What a bunch of scallywags they are
I hope with all my being that Bray Wyatt emerges the victor (and I don’t care how creative the finish is – even if Wyatt has to park a jumbo jet full of sumo wrestlers and their pet hippos on top of Cena to keep him down for the 10 count), but sadly I don’t see it happening.
This has to be the feud ending match, and we all know by now that Cena always emerges victorious when anyone dares to threaten his PG policies. Thus I have to pick him to win. It’s the same old shit we’ve seen year after year after year, and frankly I got sick of it a looooong time ago.
Pick: Super Cena
WORLD TITLE SITUATION
Daniel Bryan v Stephanie McMahon
A segment involving the world title situation has been booked for Payback, which I guess is a nice way to give Daniel Bryan some PPV exposure whilst he heals from his neck surgery.
I think having Brie Bella involved here is a bad move as wrestling audiences are generally incredibly indifferent to her and the only time anyone has ever paid her any real attention is when her boob fell out on RAW. It just seems to make it more of an effort to get behind the Daniel Bryan character when he has bimbo wife beside him whose acting abilities wouldn’t rival those of a racoon.
But I digress… The point of this segment is to determine whether or not Daniel Bryan will be giving up his title(s) whilst he heels. And I’m saying he won’t for the simple fact that if he was going to relinquish the belts, he would have done so by now. The fact that he’s back on TV at all would suggest the surgery has gone very well and he’ll be back and ready to perform on schedule at the MITB PPV in a few weeks.
Maybe as an added bonus Brie Bella will be “fired” here and we won’t have to witness her embarrassing attempts to connect with wrestling audiences for the next few weeks.
Pick: Daniel Bryan will NOT forfeit the WWE Title
6 MAN ELIMINATION MATCH:
The Shield v Evolution
I was initially going against the flow with this one and fully siding with Evolution for the win – but then I watched this week’s RAW and that all changed.
My reason for firstly picking Evolution were that The Shield had won round 1 and Batista doesn’t want 3 consecutive PPV losses on his record as he prepares to use his badassedness to promote The Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Which would have been fair enough I guess.
But with the general theme of the opposing group’s promos on RAW being “your gang is gonna be finished forever” I’m now fully in the camp for a Shield victory and an immediate disbandment of Evolution.
Pretty much anything involving The Shield now exists to put Roman Reigns over a little bit more, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ambrose and Rollins eliminated first and second here, leaving Reigns to defy the odds and defeat all three members of Evolution on his lonesome. What a guy.
Pick: The Shield
At the time of writing this, Adam Rose v Jack Swagger and Big E v Rusev matches have not been announced for the event, but if they are squeezed in it’s a fairly elementary task to pick the winner of each bout (hint: it’ll be the new guys).
It’s an interesting time for WWE as they try to recover from their alarming trading collapse. As I babbled above, you’d expect them to be pulling out the stops from here on out to deliver a pristine product and give audiences what they want, so Vince will be demanding a mathematically impossible 110% from everyone involved on the card here.
It’s not a bad card, but I certainly wouldn’t pay for it given the choice. As the Payback PPV is free in the UK though (for Sky Sports subscribers) I shall indeed be watching it and hoping that the company delivers a spiffing spectacle.
Over and out.