Our James Klonowski delivers you his WWE Payback 2017 predictions. The Raw exclusive pay-per-view comes your way this Sunday!
WWE Raw Tag Team Championship Match.
The Hardy Boys vs. Cesaro & Sheamus.
When Matt and Jeff Hardy returned to WWE at WrestleMania and won the Raw Tag Team Championship following a near-decade absence, many believed it was just for nostalgic purposes, pretty much how The Dudleys were used last year. But fortunately, that hasn’t been the case at all. They are here on merit, and in Cesaro and Sheamus they have the perfect foil to create a tremendous battle this Sunday. Both teams are on the babyface side of proceedings, but there has been a teasing of a potential switch from the challengers in recent weeks. I don’t know about you but I’d like to see a heel Cesaro. There are also rumours that WWE have purchased the “Broken Matt” gimmick from TNA. This will allow Matt Hardy to portray his most-over character, while Jeff Hardy will be used as a main event superstar moving forward. That can only be good news for all involved. But that’s all in the future. For now, there is no reason to rush anything and take the titles from The Hardys just yet. They win a close one on Sunday to further add fuel to the fire of a Sheamus and Cesaro heel turn.
Winners: The Hardy Boyz.
WWE United States Championship Match.
Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho.
I’m not really sure why this rematch is happening considering Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho rather conclusively at WrestleMania, and now neither man is even on the same brand. It would make a little more sense had Jericho actually retained the United States Championship at Mania, or if this rematch was a gimmick of some sorts. But this is just a regular one-on-one match between two former best friends. If Jericho wins, he will be drafted to SmackDown. However, considering he is leaving WWE to go on tour with his band Fozzy, I can’t see him picking up the win on Sunday.
Winner: Kevin Owens.
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match.
Neville vs. Austin Aries
Neville has been carrying WWE’s Cruiserweight division on his back since returning from injury last December, but sadly the rest of the roster isn’t up to scratch. Austin Aries is well equipped in the ring, but is miscast as the all-conquering babyface. These two battled one another on the WrestleMania kickoff show in a decent encounter, but I expect more from them this time around at Payback. Could we see a new champion be crowned? There is a strong possibility, but I just can’t see Neville dropping the title just yet. With that being said, Neville retains.
House Of Horrors Match.
Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton.
Apparently, this is no longer for the WWE Championship. That should be the clearest indication yet that Bray Wyatt will leave the House of Horrors match victorious. The New Face of Fear didn’t exactly set the world alight when he was WWE Champion, not that it’s in much better hands now with The Viper. But he is the safer option. However, another high-profile loss for Wyatt would completely end his run on Raw before it even begins. A non-title loss for Orton will do nothing for him, considering he only has to prepare for Jinder Mahal at Backlash. Wyatt’s win here will have him looking to strong in his upcoming feud with Finn Balor, which he will ultimately lose of course.
Winner: Bray Wyatt.
Samoa Joe vs. Seth Rollins
A one-legged Seth Rollins managed to beat Triple H at WrestleMania. That should tell you there is no way in hell that Samoa Joe comes out on top here against a fresh Architect. Joe has been biding his time since arriving on the main roster, and he may ultimately win this rivalry, but Payback belongs to Seth Rollins. Will it be a good match? There’s no reason it shouldn’t be, but time will tell on that front.
Winner: Seth Rollins.
Raw Women’s Championship Match: Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
I’m glad that Alexa Bliss has been shoehorned into the title picture straight away after arriving on Raw from SmackDown. I think it’s too soon to have her become Champion, but she’s already solidified herself as the dominant heel on the show. That is until Sasha Banks finally decides to join the dark side. Alexa and Bayley should have a great match filled with emotion, especially considering Payback is in the champion’s hometown. I think Bayley comes out on top thanks to some shenanigans from The Boss.
Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
Considering we haven’t seen Roman Reigns since Braun Strowman attempted to murder him on Raw, I think it’s safe to say that The Big Dog will valiantly lose this one to the Monster Among Men. Roman’s injuries have already been talked about, and the announce team will discuss this further during the match, calling Reigns brave for even stepping into the ring at all. The winner of this will likely compete against Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship at Extreme Rules. It’s Strowman’s time to get that shot. Roman’s title match with The Beast Incarnate can wait.
Winner: Braun Strowman