Quick. Name something that ends in "YBACK" that no one cares about. If you said Ryback...I'll accept it. But more appropriate is WWE's latest "special event", Payback. Formerly known as pay-per-views, the term now outdated because of the brand new WWE Network (9.99 per month, special events included). Yes, even I think it sounds a little odd. Sunday's show is full of...well....nothing. I legitimately meant it when I told friends I looked forward to Thursday's "NXT: Takeover" more than I wanted to watch Payback. This would be more fitting if it was an actual pay-per-view, as WWE would have to reimburse all those who suffered through it. Daniel Bryan being hurt does take the sails out of the show...but in a supposed match against Kane? We won't be missing much.
Feuds that won't die are the main cause of all the anticlimactic nature of this show. Hopefully there's a giant reset button they'll hit right after so the WWE Universe can get back on track.
I'll run down the card for Sunday complete with anticipation ratings out of 10 (10 being the highest), but you may want to have you DVR ready instead.
Hair vs Mask: Hornswaggle vs. El Torito on the Preshow at 7:30
Anticipation: 0 out of 10.
-I really could not care less if i miss this or not. I'll be too busy creating my pizza online.
It should be pretty telling that Los Matadors have been around for months and they still have yet to surpass the popularity of their "bull". Each week we see all three announcers (Cole, JBL and Lawler) go apeshit whenever Torito steps foot in the arena. It's like they lose all wherewithal and forget how to logically describe what's happening. At some point you'll get JBL cry "LOOK MAGGLE...HE'S TWERKING, MAGGLE!" Cole will fawn over the "little guy" and Lawler will talk about the company's first ever bull, like it's real. If anyone was supposed to think that and suspend their disbelief, the fact a bull has a mask is a little confusing. The fact that that mask is on the line- even more perplexing. It'll be a throwaway affair, as WWE has plenty more money to squeeze out of Torito than 'Swaggle. Torito wins with some sort of bull-shit. Pun intended.
Intercontinental Title Match: RVD vs. Bad News Barrett (C)
Anticipation: 3 out of 10
- Now with food in my stomach, I'll be able to have my mind on wrestling, well sort of. This is another throwaway and should be a showcase for BNB.
Because so many people were clamoring for RVD to challenge for the IC title- not. RVD is still stuck in 1996 with his moveset, yet his body continues to age as he looks worse every time out. His strongest point might be selling an asskicking, and even that is subpar. Barrett is on an absolute roll right now and looks to only be getting started as IC champ. Before we know it, he'll be a face as the crowd is very open to liking him, regardless of his insults. the 3 hinges on knowing Barrett will win and watching RVD lose. The 7 other points it failed to garner are solely because I have to witness another RVD match.
Like Clue, it'll be Barrett with the Bullhammer in the center of the ring for the uno, dos, tres.
*Also, if BNB's latest "news" isn't "CM Punk is retired and all you 'second city' losers wearing his shirt are hopeless delusionists"....then I riot.
Divas Title Match: Alicia Fox vs. Paige (C)
Anticipation: 4 out of 10
-It took WWE years, but they finally gave Alicia Fox a character to sink her teeth into. Too bad it's at the wrong time with Paige as a newly minted Divas champion.
This is the first match at Payback I'll expect an actual entertaining back-and-forth affair. The reason it's a five is how predictable a Paige win here is. There's no need to cut her off at the knees so soon, even though Fox has been at her best these last few weeks. Her wrestling has always been sharp, but the WWE gave us no reason to care about her aside from her attire. Nautical Alicia Fox, Fox-cloak Alicia Fox...now it's Batshit Crazy Alicia Fox. Interesting to see where she goes after tonight, as the division is certainly lacking without AJ. Paige will win with her lame finisher and all of England will celebrate going 2-0 on the night and proceed to not go to the dentist.
Big E vs. Rusev (with Lana)
Anticipation: 5 out of 10
This will be the first time Rusev gets actual competition. Too bad Big E has stagnated and Rusev has been put on a groundhog loop like every other wrestler outside of the Shield and Evolution.
A lot of that 5 is for Lana, as she is a tremendous beauty with a great (fake) accent. And the rest of the 5 is because....well, hold on. Just admire:
Now, where was I? O right. The match itself will be between two big, powerful hosses that should provide some pretty cool moves, but a rather short (6-7 minute) match. E will valiantly try to beat the big, bad Russian...but Rusev's star is brighter. If a postmatch beatdown leads to R-Truth, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods coming out to exact revenge and form a 2014 Nation, then I'm all for it. A beatdown that would finally make sense from them.
Rusev wins with an Accolade, holds it on too long and E's buddies help him.
United States Championship: Cesaro vs. Sheamus (C)
Anticipation: 6 out of 10
Two of the better big man ring generals go one-on-one. So much promise, yet still a chance for WWE to screw it up.
Anything with Cesaro has my attention. His star has cooled off a little, but a brutal 10-15 minute match with Sheamus might be able to wake the Chicago crowd up. I could see the two starting a legitimate feud here. Cesaro can only get better, while Sheamus can help make him and others look better. Sheamus might have been WWE's "Irish Cena" for a while, but his days in the main event and as champion now that it's only one belt look to be behind him. Unless, that is, he turns heel.
Either Cesaro loses by the skin of his teeth in an intense match, or he wins with the Neutralizer and Swing. If Sheamus wins in dominant fashion after 8 minutes with the Brogue Kick, I'm turning off my X-Box.
Last Man Standing: Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena
"I've got the whollllle world in my-" Shut up, Bray.
"You want some? Come get-" Shut up, John.
Anticipation: 7 out of 10
This feud has been done ass backwards. Wyatt should have won at 'Mania and furthered the doubt in Cena. Cena would get his win back last month and this one would be the rubber match for all the marbles. Instead, Cena won because "Cena". Then at Extreme Rules Wyatt won because "small child with microphone distortion".
It also has to be said that the damn "Whole World in My Hands" song is getting a little played out. It was great the RAW after Mania, but since then it's only been a crutch for a performer who is way better than to use said crutch. Wyatt was to be a new, refreshing character. His win at Mania would have gone a whole lot farther mileage-wise than Cena's did for him.Wyatt was supposed to be a breath of fresh air. He would be elevated by working with Cena, and Cena would get better by being motivated again with such a promising talent. Wyatt wasn't supposed to be "just another bad guy"- yet WWE seems heartset on Cena winning because, well- he's John Cena.
My head says Cena AA's all three through the stage for the win. My heart says Bray Wyatt actually watches film and scouts Cena and pulls out a gutsy (and much needed) victory.
Damn you, head.
Talky Talky Time: Daniel Bryan's Decision
This should be interesting. But not because he'll keep it.
Anticipation: 8 out of 10
It's Bryan's on-screen decision that will symbolize what direction WWE will be going in for the near future. Will there be a tournament to crown a new champion? (Would be perfect timing to have King of the Ring next month). Will Bryan say no and have Brie get axed? (She has asked for time off, as well.)
Stephanie plays her heel part perfectly, and fans will have to face the music, Bryan is hurt and can't defend the belt. The only thing that worries me is rumors of him facing Kane upon his return. NO. NO. NO.
They'll milk this segment for all it's worth and hopefully not drag it out too long. You have my interest, WWE. But how long can you keep my attention?
Perish or Adapt: Evolution vs. The Shield
It's a one match show. And THIS is the match to watch.
Anticipation: 9.5 out of 10
The .5 is simply because the odds are in favor of the Shield. What does Evolution with a departing Batista and part-time HHH stand to gain? The Shield got the win last month (before WWE knew of Bryan's neck problems and Batista's unwillingness to job to Bryan again). Logic says the "Hounds of Justice" will get the win here. But don't mistake that info for any reason not to watch. HHH has been at his best as of late in building new talent whether through NXT or in the ring. Batista showed against Ziggler he still can put on a good match. Orton....is Orton.
The Shield have made the six man tag an art form this past year and a half, and look to add to that impressive collection with a win tomorrow night. It'll be intense. It'll be physical. And maybe, just maybe, WWE gives the green light on something red: blood. While they stay away from it, this would be the time to use it in such a heated rivalry.
Batista will likely take a huge bump to put him on the figurative shelf, and Orton and HHH will be taken to the limit as well. Ambrose, Reigns and Rollin will add to their mantle of impressive wins and move on to something bigger and better following Payback- hopefully.
Like it? Love it? Hate it? Let me know @SeanNeutron