TJRWrestling WWE Payback 2023 Preview

wwe payback 2023 preview tjrwrestling

It’s time for WWE Payback with four championship matches including Seth Rollins defending the World Heavyweight Title against Shinsuke Nakamura.

John: Payback is the WWE PLE that follows SummerSlam this year and it’s clearly not that big of a deal compared to what SummerSlam was. There’s a lot less star power while some of the stories for the matches are weaker, but there are some long-term rivalries on this card too. It’s not a bad show overall. However, I do understand it when fans say Payback is a skippable show or something that doesn’t matter that much in the grand scheme of things. I think some of the other “B” PPVs this year like Elimination Chamber and Backlash had stronger lineups and felt like a bigger deal.

Joining me for the preview are TJRWrestling writers Joel McIntyre, Matthew Fowler, Kelly Dishnow, Marcus Madison, Alex Podgorski and Kristian Thompson.

Marc: On Saturday, September 2nd, the WWE presents Payback. On the heels of SummerSlam, the company has a smaller scheduled event that doesn’t appear to be all that exciting. Unless twists or turns happen to keep viewers glued to the event, we would be hard-pressed to think that there is all that much to look forward to.

Will there be payback at Payback? We’ll see.

Kristian: The hype for this event would have to be amongst the lowest in recent memory, for any wrestling promotion. It’s a small card with some very uninspiring matchups that would probably not even main event the weekly shows. However, we are in the period between SummerSlam and Survivor Series, which is generally pretty quiet and with no Bloodline on the card, we are short of a really big storyline or angle. My interest in this show is quite low, but I think there are some matches that could reach the 4-star level. Nakamura vs. Rollins is not a match worthy of headlining a PPV, in my opinion.

NOTE: On the September 1st edition of Smackdown, WWE legend John Cena was announced as the host of Payback. It doesn’t change anything on the card, but it let’s the audience know that John Cena will be there.


Grayson Waller Effect talk show with Cody Rhodes as the guest

Joel: I imagine John Cena gets involved here. Maybe even an impromptu tag match.

Matthew: The biggest star on the show currently is not in a match, with him instead being the guest on Grayson Waller’s talk show. I have a strong feeling that will change however, with Rhodes and Waller having a match out of this segment. When and if that occurs, the winner is obvious. Rhodes gets an easy victory over Waller to continue his momentum.

Winner: Cody Rhodes

Kelly: What does Cody Rhodes want to talk about? Maybe he will beat up Waller. I think this is just an excuse to get him in Pittsburgh to lend a hand in the Steel City Street Fight.

Marc: A hero is only as good as his biggest threat or adversary. After Cody defeated Brock, ending their rivalry, he’s been in a bit of limbo with whom he has battled. Dominik Mysterio and the Miz hardly scream a threat to end Cody’s story. So when Grayson Waller has Cody on his talk show as a guest, it could set up something of a match, but it isn’t likely. What it could do is usher back the return of someone from Cody’s past with whom he could feud with.

That threat is a feud with Randy Orton. Upon Orton’s return (whenever that may be), having him come out and turn and attack Rhodes in the process would be exactly what Cody needs. If that is the case, Orton would be focused on cementing HIS Legacy while spitting on the Rhodes one. If that doesn’t happen, the Grayson Waller Effect could eventually lead to blows with Rhodes standing tall, but a match doesn’t serve any purpose to have.

Alex: With Cody now finished with Brock Lesnar and Dominik Mysterio involved with other matters, I think it’s safe to say that Cody will be able to refocus on “finishing his story”. Since he’s not wrestling here we can safely assume that he’s going to try and make some big announcement.

My guess is that he’s going to set his eyes on the man that screwed him out of his win at WrestleMania, that being Solo Sikoa. But since Solo has his own problems to deal with now, Cody will use Waller as fodder to make a big statement.

With Survivor Series in November, I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the matches for that show ends up being Cody vs Solo in Solo’s first big match on his own and Cody’s first change at revenge. So expect Waller to make some serious digs at Cody’s failures, only for Cody to leave him lying after a dominant performance.

Result: Cody beats the tar out of Waller and sets his eyes on Solo Sikoa

Kristian: This is a simple way to take up time on a PPV as well as getting Rhodes on without having to provide an opponent for him. He has been wrestling on TV most weeks so I’m not sure why WWE couldn’t just give him an opponent here. Perhaps he will get attacked by someone which will set up a new feud. I’m interested but not enthralled here.

John: I think announcing Cody for an interview segment is a miss by WWE. They should have planned this out better. They could have picked some midcard heel on the Raw brand like a Bronson Reed or even a face like Tommaso Ciampa and had them start a mini-program with Cody leading to a match here. Reed could have done a cheap attack. Ciampa could have done it as a respect thing and wanting to prove himself. Instead, Raw’s Cody Rhodes has a talk show with Smackdown’s Grayson Waller. Maybe it will lead to something for this show or for the next PLE, but I just think Cody should have had a better creative direction for this event.

As for my prediction, I think Waller will insult Cody and eat a Cross Rhodes. They might do a short match too.

United States Championship: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory

Joel: I’m not sure why Rey was given the title unless it was to drop it to Santos Escobar. Both are great wrestlers. I think Mysterio will win this because if not, what was the point of him winning in the first place?

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Matthew: Rey Mysterio being the United States Champion right now seems odd, especially since most thought it would be Santos Escobar in that spot instead. As for Austin Theory, he is a guy who always seems on the cusp of being a main eventer but just can’t break through. I think that Escobar will be the one to take this belt off of Mysterio, after turning on his mentor. Therefore, I will go with Mysterio keeping the belt here, to set up that storyline in the future.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Kelly: Austin Theory’s run with the title was utterly wasted after he beat Cena at WrestleMania. I think Theory is a case of someone Vince really likes that Triple H isn’t a fan of. Mysterio should put Theory away here and retain the title to move on to bigger and better things. Yeah.

Winner:Rey Mysterio

Marc: In speaking with a friend, the belief is that Santos Escobar will eventually turn on Rey Mysterio. With Grayson Waller teasing dissension and jealousy on the part of Escobar, fans have to remember how good of a heel he was as the leader of Legado Del Fantasma. On a dime, Escobar could want the spotlight and ‘use’ his mentor for his own well-being. That said, until it happens, we have the past meeting the future in this US title rematch. Only now, with the former champion in pursuit of the current one. Does Theory gain a measure of Payback? Maybe it was an accidental distraction at the hands of Escobar? I mean, no would be the wiser, would they?

Winner: AND NEW United States Champion, Austin Theory

Alex: This feud hasn’t been that interesting to me, despite having Rey Mysterio in it. Theory isn’t my cup of tea and never was so I really don’t care about this. But since this is the US title, which doesn’t get anywhere near the attention and respect as its RAW equivalent, then anything could happen here. For brevity’s sake, though, I’ll go with my usual prediction for matches I don’t care much about, which is ten minutes max of wrestling with a coin flip conclusion.

Winner and STILL United States Champion: Rey Mysterio

Kristian: Austin Theory gets his rematch but that’s all it will be. Rey is new as the champion and it should remain that way. There are rumours of Escobar turning on Rey, but I only see that if Rey grants him a title match and perhaps he cheats to win.

Winner AND STILL US Champion: Rey Mysterio

John: I was hoping that Austin Theory would have a better, more interesting US Title reign over the last nine months, but it really wasn’t much. The most high-profile match was a win over John Cena at WrestleMania 39, which was a match with an obvious outcome. Rey Mysterio is still an outstanding wrestler at nearly 50 years old and I have no problem with him holding this title, but I was thinking LA Knight would have been a better option to beat Theory.

This story seems to be building to Escobar turning heel on Rey out of jealousy and because Rey took his spot when Theory “injured” Escobar prior to their match. It’s just a matter of when Escobar turns on Rey. It probably won’t be here, but it should be in the coming weeks. I’ll go with Rey finding a way to retain while hoping there are interesting plans for Theory moving forward.

Winner: Rey Mysterio

Steel Cage Match: Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

Joel: This feud has had its ups and downs but I’m glad they’re getting this moment. Trish Stratus has said she wanted to be a heel and wrestle in a cage match and she’s getting both here. I’m happy to see that. I think this is the end of this angle so I’m pretty sure Becky is walking out with this one.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Matthew: These two have seemingly been feuding forever, with this match feeling like it should have happened months ago. Nevertheless, these are two of the biggest names in women’s wrestling ever, with them having a chance to have a show stealing match on this show. As for who wins, I can’t imagine Stratus sticking around full time for much longer. I will go with Lynch getting the win to end the feud.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Kelly: Becky Lynch got a decisive win on Raw over Zoey Stark in a falls count anywhere match. I would expect the same outcome here against Stratus. It would have been cool to see this match at SummerSlam, but placing it here in a prominent spot suits it just fine. Lynch is looking for her payback, so to speak. This will end the feud and maybe Stratus’s run in WWE. Lynch should be ready to move on to Rhea Ripley, unless they want to save that for the Rumble.

Winner:Becky Lynch

Marc: If any feud has suffered on either brand or division, it has been this one. Stratus was the face of the women’s division, and being brought back meant it could have been an excellent program for her and Lynch. That didn’t materialize likely for several reasons. Whether it’s a case of them being cut from events, matches being cut time, chemistry, or whether or not crowds were flat for it, it’s taken forever to get to this point. To have their blowoff match be on a secondary pay-per-view is also disappointing. The argument of it not being on SummerSlam will continue, but it will eventually happen. This could be what finally pulls this feud all together as the man finally comes around.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Alex: This ought to be interesting. Stratus has been causing Lynch grief for months and now it’s time for this feud to end. Though I doubt this’ll be as bloody or legendary as previous steel cage matches, I can see these two at least trying something new and unexpected. They might pull off some crazy stunts or do something extra dangerous since they’re both probably thinking that this match is for them as much as it is for the audience. So I think all of us should go into this match expecting something wild…and hopefully we all end up pleasantly surprised with the end result.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Kristian: Mercifully, this feud ends here. It has been underwhelming to say the least. Trish has been okay on the mic, but they just haven’t clicked as I’d hoped. I think it’s a win for Lynch to end the feud.

Winner: Becky Lynch

John: This is only their third match together on television after feuding for nearly five months. Trish won because of Zoey Stark at Night of Champions and then they had a non-finish on Raw to set up this match. Trish has never had a Steel Cage Match, so I’m happy for her getting an opportunity to be in a match like this.

It’s time to end the rivalry. Trish is my all-time favorite woman in WWE as a fellow Canadian-Greek woman, but I think Becky needs to win here. I think they’ll work hard and have an entertaining match because they have had so much time to prepare for this blowoff match. I’m sure there’s a Ripley-Lynch feud coming although I can see WWE holding off on it until WrestleMania next year. Just a hunch on my part.

Winner: Becky Lynch

LA Knight vs. The Miz

Joel: This is the third straight PLE that LA Knight has appeared on. That should be a common theme going forward. I’ve been surprisingly entertained by this feud. The Miz is always entertaining on the mic but you can tell they have chemistry. LA Knight should be given the win here and continue his rise.

Winner: LA Knight

Matthew: This is easily the easiest match to predict on this show. LA Knight is possibly the most over man in all of wrestling, with him seemingly headed for a main event spot very soon. The Miz is being used as a reliable stepping stone to help continue Knight on that journey, and will be taking the pin fall here.

Winner: LA Knight

Kelly: It would appear that LA Knight’s push has finally started. A win here over The Miz would be a very good stepping stone towards his next likely stop, the United States Championship. Yeah.

Winner:LA Knight (yeah)

Marc: Let him talk to you! This is a nice feud for Knight to be in, and it gives him a guy who will gladly put him over in the process. While the Miz is being booked to look like a laughing stock, he’s been very convincing in the process of doing so. From Knight’s poignant and moving promo after the passing of Bray Wyatt, it’s clear that the trajectory with everybody saying L. A. Knight is who is going over. It may not be very quick, but it will certainly be enough to help move him forward. It’s a nice packaged feud with Knight getting a push in the right direction, and it starts with him finishing off The Miz.

Winner: LA Knight

Alex: There is no justifiable reason why Knight should lose here. Despite Miz cutting some very strong promos and making some comments that may hit too close to home, Knight is still making incredible progress as a star. If he wins here he continues his upward momentum. If he loses, especially to a guy that doesn’t even appear regularly, then it would undercut that same momentum. Miz doesn’t need this win whereas Knight does. I wouldn’t be surprised if this goes around fifteen minutes with lots of cheating from the Miz, only for all his efforts to blow up in his face towards the end.

Winner: LA Knight

Kristian: This feels like the most obvious match to predict on the card. LA Knight has exploded in popularity over the last couple of months and it’s great to see. I’ve followed him since his Impact days so it’s pleasing to see him get over with really large crowds. They’ll tease a Miz win via cheating, but LA Knight will overcome. YEAH!

Winner: LA Knight

John: It’s weird to think about how The Miz is only a few years older than LA Knight, yet Miz is coming up on 20 years of being in WWE soon while Knight has only been on the main roster for about a year. That’s just a reminder of how so many wrestlers take different paths to get where they are in their careers. The Miz rarely wins matches, but he always gets promo time to talk about his past. This should be a comfortable win for LA Knight and if it’s not then I’ll be very surprised. If The Miz does win it would be very cheap and lead to another match with Knight winning, but I think it’s smarter to have Knight win decisively.

Winner: LA Knight…yeah

Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez

Joel: This is a feud that has gone on since NXT. They always have great chemistry. It’s nice to see Rhea have an actual match and not a squash. I don’t think it is Raquel’s time. I think Rhea Ripley holds the title all the way until WrestleMania 40.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Matthew: This is Ripley’s biggest challenge so far as champion, with Rodriguez being a future champion for sure with the WWE. With Judgement Day seemingly about to implode, could this be Rodriguez’s chance to reach that next level? I don’t think so. I expect Ripley to continue her dominance here, putting more pressure on the rest of The Judgement Day to claim gold as well.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Kelly: Raquel Rodriguez is about the only woman right now that can match Rhea Ripley’s strength. Rodriguez is looking for payback (I see a theme here) for Ripley injuring both her and her tag team partner, Liv Morgan. Either of them can win, depending on the direction they want to go in. Most likely Ripley retains to keep the strife going within Judgment Day. I would not be opposed to a surprise Rodriguez win either.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Marc: While some will argue the booking of this match, I wouldn’t. Physically, Rodriguez is the only active female on the roster that matches up with Ripley. We have seen her dismantle women half or even a quarter of her size. She needed to battle someone who wouldn’t be easily tossed around like a Zelina Vega. Rodriguez may not win, but her motivation isn’t just about her capturing the title. It’s also about defending the honor of her battered friend and tag team partner, Liv Morgan, or even Natalya. Ripley walks out on top, as dominant as ever.

Winner: AND STILL Women’s World Heavyweight Champion, Rhea Ripley

Alex: Rhea Ripley is on a warpath and I don’t see it stopping anytime soon. There’s no one in WWE right now that has the credibility to stop her besides maybe Lynch or Charlotte and those matches are probably being saved for bigger shows. Expect a twelve-minute match with Ripley looking dominant once again as she marches on towards a much more dangerous foe.

Winner and STILL Women’s World Champion: Rhea Ripley

Kristian: This feels like another match where the outcome is very predictable and Ripley has just been fed an opponent to get on the show. Rodriguez is impressive at times but hasn’t really connected with the audience. Rhea’s dominance over the division will continue.

Winner AND STILL Women’s World Heavyweight Champion: Rhea Ripley

John: It has been built up well in the sense that Raquel Rodriguez has been seeking revenge against Rhea Ripley for cheap attacks and also taking out Liv Morgan. I think Raquel could have used some singles match wins to build her up as more of a contender and to have her “earn” this title match instead of just giving it to her.

They are legitimate best friends based on comments from Ripley a few months back, so I’m sure they’re excited about working together on a bigger stage after being in NXT together in the past. I think we’ll see some kind of cheap ending here either with Ripley winning because of Dominik holding Raquel’s leg on the pin or maybe using a title belt shot. They’ll probably have more matches in the future. A DQ finish is possible while telling the story that Ripley can’t beat Raquel so she gets disqualified on purpose, but I think a cheap win for Ripley works better. I would be surprised if Ripley won clean.

Winner: Rhea Ripley

Steel City Street Fight for the WWE Tag Team Championships: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens vs. Damian Priest & Finn Balor

Joel: This should be the end of this feud. Some combination of this has main evented Raw more times than I can remember. This match will be good. I think Owens and Sami will retain here after a miscommunication between Balor and Priest. JD McDonough could also play a role but I think Kevin and Sami retain here.

Winner: Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn

Matthew: On Raw this past Monday, Rhea Ripley said if Priest & Balor don’t win gold here then they might need to make changes. I believe that is exactly what will happen with this match, with Priest and Balor failing to get the job done. Ripley, Dominik Mysterio, Finn Balor and JD McDonagh will then turn on Priest, kicking him out of the group. This will turn Priest babyface in the process, with him still having the MITB briefcase to cash in at a later date.

Winners: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

Kelly: I think this will be the last championship match between these two teams. I do not believe that this will be the final match between these two teams. I have a feeling that the Saudis will pony up the cash for a Owens/Zayn/Rhodes/Rollins v. Judgment Day WarGames match. If that match is going to happen, the Judgment Day split will hold off until after it. I expect McDonaugh and Rhodes to turn up during the match to lend a hand. Another thing to consider is Priest still has his Money in the Bank briefcase and he could still walk out of Payback a champion regardless. There are three possible outcomes for this match:

Owens/Zayn retain. This is the most likely outcome as I think there is still some good mileage left in continuing their tag team title run. I’ll give this a 60% chance of happening.

Judgment Day capture the tag team championship. Ripley told Priest and Balor on Raw that they needed to win the titles for Judgment Day or there would have to be some changes made. I would give this a 30% chance of happening.

Both teams walk out as tag team champions. The tag titles have not been merged into a single belt yet, so we could get a screwy double pin finish where Adam Pearce would have to split and rename the tag team championships. I don’t think that this is the direction that WWE wants to go but its likelihood is still a non-zero number. I’d give it a 10% chance of happening.

Winners: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

Marc: A street fight is precisely what this feud needs, and it couldn’t happen between two more fitting teams. We have seen Owens and Zayn battered and bruised coming into this match. We have also seen dissension in the ranks of Judgment Day. Priest and Balor have been arguing constantly since Priest won the Money in the Bank briefcase. JD McDonagh has been actively coming to the aid of Balor and, in some ways, is considered someone who is getting involved when he isn’t a part of the team. Does that change after this match? It may be too obvious that Priest would be the one kicked out of the faction. So, with that said, changes may not mean someone is removed and replaced. It could simply mean someone is added to build the group’s strength in numbers. But I still see Zayn and Owens retaining and moving forward as the champions.

Winners: AND STILL WWE Tag Team Champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

Alex: WWE can add any combination of words to the words “street fight” to try and make it sound special; to me this will always scream “clusterf**k”.

This will be a chaotic match not unlike the wild brawls we see in AEW on a regular basis. Weapons will be thrown, tables will be broken, barricades will be smashed, and some themed items either backstage or as part of the entrance set will be demolished as part of this match. I expect a wild match that will go between 20 and 25 minutes and it will have the crowd roaring the whole time.

But despite all the chaos and the guaranteed interference from the likes of Dominik Mysterio, Riddle, and anyone else that has been sucked into the Judgment Day’s shenanigans, the champions will retain. They still have plenty of positive momentum right now and changing the titles now doesn’t necessarily do anyone any favors…especially with what I have predicted for the final match of the evening.

Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Championships: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

Kristian: It feels as though there have been combinations of KO/Zayn vs the Judgment Day going over for a long time now. Zayn and Owens have lost a lot of steam since Mania. It feels like they hit the peak and then Creative didn’t know what to do next. The Owens injury didn’t help. I feel this could go either way but a loss for the Judgment Day and then the aftermath of that feels more interesting.

Winners AND STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

John: This might be the best match on the show in terms of match ratings if you’re into that sort of thing, which I certainly am. It’s also a match we have seen a few times on television in different forms where it’s these four guys or six-man tags. That’s why it’s a good thing that they changed this to a Steel City Street Fight because it will allow them to brawl around the arena and have a fun match with weapons.

I’ll go with Zayn & Owens to win. While I am fine with them losing at any point and becoming singles guys again, I’d rather see them lose to a legit tag team instead of two singles guys like Priest & Balor. With that said, there’s a part of me that thinks Balor calls on his buddy JD McDonagh to show up at ringside and help Balor win the titles because it’s a Street Fight, so anything goes. I’m just throwing it out there as a possibility. I think there will be some miscommunication spot between Priest & Balor to set up Zayn & Owens hitting their finishes to win. This should get around 20 minutes and be a great match.

Winner: Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens

World Heavyweight Championship: Seth “Freakin” Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Joel: I have loved the reintroduction of Shinsuke in recent weeks. This has been a well built match with the emphasis on Seth’s back. It adds vulnerability to Seth’s character and I think he needs that. I think it is too soon to take the title off Seth. Have him keep it until at least Survivor Series but I’m glad they’ve built Shinsuke back up.

Winner: Seth Rollins

Matthew: They have done a great job of building this match, and both of these guys will likely have a great match. Nevertheless I don’t see much of a chance of Nakamura actually winning the title here, with it feeling like a secondary PLE main event title match. Rollins should win here, before moving on to bigger challenge at a more important PLE

Winner Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Kelly: Bringing Seth Rollins’s back issues into the feud was definitely a different route to take. Nakamura is a credible challenger for Rollins here. I could have passed on the heel turn and just had this set up as a straight up challenge by Nakamura as Rollins being the fighting champion. It’ll be a great match for sure. I think part of the back issue angle is to add another reason to Priest cashing in successfully. I think it’ll happen here for that reason. The outcome of the Steel City Street Fight might give us a little insight into where things will go with a cash in attempt. The Judgment Day story is about to turn the page and I think it’ll need Priest as champ to move along.

Winner:Seth “Freakin” Rollins

Winner x2: Damian Priest successfully cashes in to become New World Heavyweight Champion

Marc: Kudos to how the company has worked to re-establish Nakamura’s frightening nature over the last few weeks. His last heel run began with him having a fascination over kicking AJ Styles in the nuts, and now it’s straightforward focused on an injured Seth Rollins. The roster lacks a few credible threats for the championship, so a one-and-done here doesn’t really help Nakamura. I don’t see him winning, but for the benefit of the booking, I’d like to see Nakamura as a threat going into the next pay-per-view after Payback. We will have Rollins walk out the winner, but after seeing his condition, it would be hard to believe that he was the winner of the match.

Winner: AND STILL World Heavyweight Champion, Seth ‘Freaking’ Rollins

Alex: Rhea Ripley was very specific with what she said on RAW: they might need to make changes if they don’t win gold. She didn’t specify that they needed to win tag team gold.

This would be the perfect opportunity for WWE to kill two birds with one stone. Rollins and Nakamura can have a brutal match and the company can book a title change without anyone looking weak. Given Rollins’ documented back problems and Nakamura’s stiff and high-impact style, it would be completely reasonable for this match to either end with Rollins barely surviving after 20 minutes of punishing action or with a referee stoppage due to Rollins being unable to continue any further, only for Priest to then come in and cash in his MITB briefcase on a valiant and defiant Rollins who refuses to run away from a challenge.

This way Rollins and Nakamura can extend their feud (and have more solid matches as a result), the Judgment Day adds more gold to their collection and adds more drama to the Priest-Balor situation, and Owens and Zayn retain their tag titles. It’s a win-win-win situation.

Winner via barely surviving: Seth Rollins

Winner: Damian Priest successfully cashes in his MITB Briefcase to become the NEW World Heavyweight Champion

Kristian: I’m glad Nakamura is getting a chance to shine. He was set up for a match with Roman Reigns a while back and then that just disappeared. However, this doesn’t feel like a match or feud worthy of headlining a PPV. And I feel there’s no reason for Rollins to drop the belt now. Kudos to Creative for trying something different and I hope these two click where perhaps Nakamura vs Styles and some of his other matches billed as high-profile didn’t hit the heights they could’ve.

Winner AND STILL World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins

John: Shinsuke Nakamura has gone from barely being on WWE PLE shows this year at all to potentially main eventing this show. I’m all for Nakamura being used this way because he’s such a unique character that can still go in the ring and he has a lot of credibility too. I expect Seth Rollins to put on a terrific performance where he sells the back injury a lot since that’s the story going into the match. Rollins is a great seller unlike some wrestlers of today, so that should lead to a dramatic story with Nakamura kicking his ass throughout the match. I expect Rollins to find a way to win, perhaps with an inside cradle or something like that instead of a finishing move to put over how close of a win it was.

I think the Damian Priest cash in possibility is certainly there. If Priest & Balor lose then the story will be pushed that Ripley told them they need to bring some gold to the group. I’m thinking Priest tries again and fails because of Balor rather than Priest winning. However, if Priest does win the World Heavyweight Title then I certainly wouldn’t mind it all. Priest has had a really good year.

Winner: Seth “Freakin” Rollins



The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most

Joel: Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

Matthew: Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

Kelly: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest.

Marc: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest.

Alex: Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

Kristian: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest.

John: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest.


The Match I Care About The Least

Joel: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory.

Matthew: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory.

Kelly: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory.

Marc: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory.

Alex: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory.

Kristian: There’s a few. Probably Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez.

John: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory. I like both guys and Rey is an all-time favorite but it doesn’t feel that interesting to me.


Longest Match

Joel: Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus – Steel Cage Match.

Matthew: Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

Kelly: Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

Marc: Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

Alex: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Judgment Day (20-25 minutes).

Kristian: Seth Rollins vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.

John: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn vs. The Judgment Day – Finn Balor & Damian Priest.


Shortest Match

Joel: LA Knight vs. The Miz.

Matthew: LA Knight vs. The Miz.

Kelly: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory.

Marc: Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus.

Alex: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory (10 minutes).

Kristian: Rey Mysterio vs. Austin Theory.

John: LA Knight vs. The Miz around 10 minutes.


Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)

Joel: 6. It doesn’t have the greatest build. It’s got your typical “B PPV” build which we haven’t seen in awhile but I think the show will deliver. There are at least 3 matches on here that can be four stars or better if given time. Hopefully that leads to an entertaining night of television.

Matthew: 4. I honestly forgot this show was this weekend until John Canton reminded me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this card, and the matches should be solid. Regardless though, this feels like a secondary show that is just not that important.

Kelly: 7. We have a solid card with several intriguing match ups. I think there’s going to be a surprise or two.

Marc: 7 – There are a few things that could ultimately surprise us, but going into the event, I’m not terribly excited about any of the matches. I’m more keen on what the fallout of the show will be.

Alex: 6.5 – This is really a solid show and I think it’ll be alright. I’m not expecting anything truly exceptional aside from Rollins versus Nakamura, but even that might fall short of expectations because I expect some chicanery. This will be an interesting show but I don’t expect to be like Clash at the Castle, which was a much better show from this same time last year.

Kristian: 5. Some of the matches will probably be great but there’s nothing must-see here and if you missed the show then it’s not going to matter that much. I don’t see anything ground-breaking here.

John: 7. I have a hard time going lower than that for a WWE PLE with Triple H running the show. We have seen over the last year how many great PLE events there have been, especially in some cases where there are low expectations. Storyline-wise, I think the show is solid although it’s lacking in terms of some big names and some of the major titles. With that said, I think we’ll see a few matches around four stars or higher (that means excellent matches) and that’s always a positive thing to me. The in-ring action will probably carry the event. If there are surprises like an MITB cash-in or something else then that would help too. To summarize, I’m not THAT excited overall, but I think the match quality will prevent it from being anything close to a bad show. With that said, I hope in the future WWE does a better job in building PLE shows because this one is obviously a bit weaker than what we saw at SummerSlam last month as well as other “B” show PPVs this year.


In Closing

John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE Payback on TJRWrestling.net on Saturday night, so check that out live or any time after it’s over. You can also tweet me @johnreport as well.

If you want to send an email, send it to me at mrjohncanton@gmail.com. Thanks for reading.