WWE delivered a great PPV with SummerSlam last Sunday, and now, just a week later, the company prepares for yet another PPV. This week’s RAW and SmackDown served the unique distinction of being fallout shows and go-home episodes for the next PPV at the same time, giving WWE very little time to get proper matches on the card.
Payback last aired on the WWE Network, and was removed from the PPV schedule until its return this year. There have been various speculations as to why WWE is doing two PPVs in a row, but most of them have to been taken with a grain of salt.
With WWE having less time to build the PPV, one can expect the company to keep on adding matches until the last moment. We run down the WWE Payback 2020 match card so far and give our thoughts and predictions for the PPV.
Kickoff Match: Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott vs. The IIconics
The IIconics and the two former members of the Riott Squad have been clashing in backstage segments and in the ring as well. The bad blood between them began when the IIconics began taunting Riott, who was estranged from Morgan, about not having any friends.
Morgan returned shortly after the IIconics began taunting Riott and the two began having singles matches and tag matches with the IIconics. The Payback match could be the decisive match of this storyline.
Prediction: Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott wins
Big E vs. Sheamus
The match was announced on Talking Smack, and the build-up has been going on ever since Big E went solo a few weeks ago. Big E’s singles run is looking extremely promising, with WWE willing to make him a legit top babyface on SmackDown. Braun Strowman and Roman Reigns have turned heel in the last few weeks, and while Bray Wyatt is a babyface, he isn’t the traditional definition of a face.
Big E has to come out as the top babyface on the blue brand, and it will start at Payback, hopefully with a win over Sheamus. Sheamus has done a good job as a heel, but with Reigns, Strowman, Corbin, Styles, etc, ahead of him in the pecking order, he is looking a bit lost in the shuffle.
Prediction: Big E wins
Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin
WWE is doing a fine job with the non-title feuds on SmackDown as Riddle, Corbin, Shorty G, Big E, Sheamus, etc, have got good TV time. Riddle vs Corbin has been in works for several weeks now, as Corbin went straight after Riddle after the latter’s debut on SmackDown.
Similar to the Big E vs Sheamus matchup, this one will possibly be a way to establish Riddle as a top face on the brand, as WWE is reportedly high on the Original Bro.
The involvement of a conflicted Shorty G in this feud has been a good decision, but unfortunately, WWE has relegated Gable to a mere punching bag. It is unlikely that G doesn’t get involved in the match in some capacity, and it will be good to see him stand up to Corbin.
Prediction: Matt Riddle wins
Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy
The rematch from RAW will take place at Payback, as the father-son duo continues to seek redemption against the tyranny imposed by the Monday Night Messiah. Mysterio and Rollins are scheduled to compete in the main event of RAW the very next night, which should be the final match in the rivalry.
The feud has been stellar so far, with the rise of Dominik making for great story-telling. Even Vince McMahon had great praise for the 23-year old after his SummerSlam match, which clearly sets him up for big things in the coming years.
RETRIBUTION interrupted their tag team match last week on RAW and beat down the faces, but the duo should pick up the win at Payback comfortably. Murphy will most likely take the pin in the match.
Prediction: Rey and Dominik win
Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton
Keith Lee gets to make his PPV debut against one of the very best in business, which speaks volumes about how highly WWE thinks about the former NXT Champion. Lee went from a dual champion in NXT to without a title a month later, and his main-roster debut was highly criticized. However, a major push is in the card for the superstar.
Orton has arguably been the best wrestler in the world in 2020, with his character work being unparalleled, and he has delivered tremendous matches with Edge and Drew McIntyre.
It is difficult to pick a winner in this match, as Orton is in a strong position on the card, while a defeat for Lee doesn’t look good on his CV. Orton-McIntyre is still on the cards, which should give Orton a hard-fought victory over here.
Prediction: Randy Orton wins
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship | Sasha Banks and Bayley(c) vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax
The unlikely duo of Baszler and Jax teamed up on RAW to stand out as next challengers for the Golden Role Models, as WWE continues to build the eventual fall-out between Banks and Bayley.
The cracks in the relationship are already beginning to show after Bayley refused to help Banks at SummerSlam, and this match will advance the storyline between the duo.
Baszler and Jax are a unique and dynamic duo but they shouldn’t be winning the titles. This match has only one purpose, introduce more cracks in the partnership of Bayley and Sasha.
Prediction: Sasha Banks and Bayley retain.
WWE United States Championship | Apollo Crews(c) vs. Bobby Lashley
After taking down MVP and turning down several advances from him to join the Hurt Business, Crews will move on to the biggest threat from the heel faction. Lashley has shone brightly with MVP by his side, and has done great work on the red brand. Crews had a decent run with the title and proved that he is more than just a smiling face, but it will be tough for him to take down Lashley.
Crews showed on RAW that he is not afraid to use under-the-table techniques to take down the much larger frame of Lashley, and he could replicate the same on Sunday to retain his title. A clean loss for Lashley is impossible, so Crews will definitely open up his bag of tricks to emerge victorious.
Prediction: Apollo Crews retains.
No Holds Barred Match for the Universal Championship | The Fiend (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Roman Reigns
Roman Reigns is back, and he will once again go for the championship he never lost after relinquishing it in 2018. Reigns was scheduled to win the title at WrestleMania 36 earlier this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced him to stay away from WWE programming for several months.
Reigns will face off against two psychopaths, whose rivalry has been absolutely bizarre so far. Fiend should have a long run with the title on his shoulders, while Reigns can win it back a few months later.
WWE will definitely crown Reigns as the top guy soon but now is not the time. Strowman will most likely take the pin in this triple threat matchup.
Prediction: The Fiend retains.