Payback has the potential to be a pretty eventful PPV, with the WWE ushering in what they are labeling their “New Era”. I’m not sold that its going to be much different than their previous era but it’s enough to get my hopes up. Wrestling is always better when its fun, and if WWE is trying to shake things up to make wrestling more fun then I’m all for it.
Even though the storyline to get to this point hasn’t really made a whole lot of sense, I’m really excited to see what Mr. McMahon has in store for his “big announcement” tonight. Granted, after Shane lost his fight at WrestleMania to The Undertaker there should be no reason he is even in consideration to control RAW but if you can look past that then this has some potential to be a big deal. Doesn’t this announcement have to be the beginning of another brand split?
If you were going off logic only, then Shane would have been out of the picture for good after his loss to The Undertaker. But he was kept around for a month to run RAW, conveniently until the next PPV. And now there is an announcement of who gets control of RAW. There shouldn’t be any announcement based off the WrestleMania results. Vince and/or The Authority should still be in charge, which I think they will be by the end of the night.
So unless this is just a ploy from Vince to ultimately embarrass Shane and send him packing (which it could be), I think the announcement is that Stephanie gets control of RAW and Shane gets control of SmackDown. I don’t know if that necessarily leads to a draft and a brand split but I can see that being in play. Regardless, this is the match/event that I’m most looking forward to tonight.
The build to this has been really good, as it looks like WWE is embracing Reigns as a tweener-heel type champion and running with it. And it also looks like they are intent on making AJ Styles into a real player for the company and not just a middle of the card guy, at least for now. But the big question heading into this match-up, that even the WWE itself has been asking, is could we get the reformation of The Bullet Club?
I don’t think its going to happen but the possibility of it occurring still gets me excited for the match. The announcers on RAW and JBL especially have really been playing up that Styles, Anderson, and Gallows are all working together….which has to make you think they don’t actually end up together. Do Gallows and Anderson actually help AJ Styles win the championship? Or do the side with Reigns and form a new stable? Or do they just turn on AJ and feud with him, possibly until Finn Balor makes his way to the main roster as their leader? I’m not a New Japan guy so whatever WWE decides to do with the Bullet Club will be my first real experience with them.
I’m hoping for a long drawn out feud between this two, ideally starting and stopping throughout the summer and culminating at SummerSlam. I know long feuds between a pair of wrestlers is hard to complete in this era but I hope we get something along those lines with Zayn and Owens. And if the brand split does take place, these guys can be placed on different brands and only have their interactions take place on pay-per-views.
But with the history between these two and the excitement they both provide the crowd I have really high hopes for these guys. The video package they put together and showed on Monday was outstanding. I really wish the WWE would do more of that type of packaging and editing for matches because it is one of WWE’s strongest attributes.
Oh man I just thought of this too. Imagine if Owens and Zayn would get separated by a hypothetical brand split and this is there only encounter for months, but they always interact with each other at PPVs. But every so often, a skinny, generic masked man would appear on Owens show just to screw with him. Owens goes crazy that Zayn is allowed to mess with him since they are on different brands. Owens is at his best when he is pissed off and obsessed about something and Zayn is allowed to play off his El Generico background. None of this will probably actually happen but it is fun to think about.
I know this exact match has already occurred on NXT but I’m still looking forward to it. Charlotte has been a great champion and it’s nice to see Natalya getting some time in the spotlight. But damn it will be a moment to see Bret Hart on the screen again after his cancer diagnosis. It’s a big enough moment that I’m picking Natalya to win tonight even though I don’t think she probably will. But that emotional moment of the Hitman’s return has me jumping on the Natalya bandwagon tonight. I’m not sure that bandwagon has enough juice to get all the way to the championship but I’m sure as hell going to enjoy the ride.
I’m going to try something new out for the post-WrestleMania PPV season. Over that past two years, more and more websites have begun putting out betting lines for WWE PPVs. So if you are going to take two things I love, Gambling and Professional Wrestling, then I’m going to be all in.
But, I am cheap and working on a teacher’s salary so it’s not like I’m going to be placing real money down or making actual bets. I’m going to start with $1000 of imaginary money and put fake bets down on some of these matches based off the line I see on the Saturday before the event. And then take the money remaining from the event tonight and take that into the next PPV. Then we’ll see how much money I have left at the end of the year….or more likely, how many times I have to reload my fake $1000 entry.
So for tonight I’m putting $300 on The Miz (-110), $300 on Kevin Owens (+105), $200 on Roman Reigns (-475), $100 on Natalya (+$300), and $100 on Chris Jericho (+435).
*Big night for the NXT guys
Cass and Enzo. The Vaudevillains. Baron Corbin. These guys are all getting a prominent spot on a PPV card. I’m looking forward to how they are presented on the main roster.
*Cesaro’s first big match back
Also intriqued on what the plans for Cesaro are. As crazy as this may sound, I think a Intercontinental Title run is actually a little bit disappointing for Cesaro.
If you loved wrestling as a kid you probably also loved cartoons. I don’t care if I’m 30 years old, I love the idea of merging the two together. Wrestling is better when it’s fun. I’m hoping this show can produce some fun, similar to the way The Edge and Christian Show does.
7- Kevin Owens
6- The Miz
5- Roman Reigns
3- Dolph Ziggler
2- Chris Jericho