Well, August is finally over and I am officially worn out from the constant content from the WWE in just this month alone. Hopefully we can wait longer than seven days for the next big wrestling event…
Winner: The Riott Squad by pin fall
I find it amusing that this match made it onto the kick-off show as I was just talking about the Riott Squad in my predictions. The Riott Squad have been through a bit of weirdness in recent months as Ruby Riott returned and turned on Liv Morgan but that storyline kind of fizzled out and went nowhere; Ruby lost, like, every single match and then they just…came back together and now we have this match. Which they obviously won. I dunno, the WWE’s booking confuses me. Hopefully, this is the first step towards rebuilding the Riott Squad and pushing them towards the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships.
My prediction: Apollo Crews by pin fall, championship retained
Actual winner: Bobby Lashley by submission, new champion crowned
Well, I wasn’t expecting this. It’s like the WWE mixed up their notes in recent months or someone accidentally used ‘Replace All’ to switch Bobby Lashley’s name with MVP’s in the scripts for their recent storylines and they only just noticed so scrambled to get the belt onto Lashley.
I’m not really a fan of hot-shotting the belt around like this, especially as I’m not sure where Apollo Crews goes from here since he’s beaten and lost to each member of the Hurt Business so often, and won and dropped the belt so many times, that he’s kind of losing his credibility. At least Lashley has a championship, at last, but he’ll probably drop it next month, or even tonight on Raw, just because.
Winner: Big E by pin fall
I’m quite glad that this match got shoe-horned into Payback as I was wondering why Big E had been left off of this show, and SummerSlam, considering that he’s at the start of his first big singles push in what feels like decades. For some reason, the WWE are purposely ignoring the fact that Big E has been a singles guy before and are instead pushing the narrative that this is his first solo outing, which is weird given that he’s a former Intercontinental Champion. Anyway, yeah, beating Sheamus doesn’t mean much of anything these days but one of the things I would have loved to see a few years ago was Big E and Rusev in big hoss matches for the WWE Championship so seeing Big E muscle a guy like Sheamus is a good first step towards whatever goal the WWE have in mind for him. Probably a nonsensical heel turn.
My prediction: Matt Riddle by submission
Actual winner: Matt Riddle by pin fall
So, this was pretty much a foregone conclusion, really. There’s no way King Corbin should have lost this match considering that the WWE is testing the waters with a strong Matt Riddle push on Friday Night Smack Down. I’m a bit sick of seeing Corbin being such a prominent figure, though; he really needs to just go away for a bit, especially as him and Sheamus basically have the same “asshole bully” gimmick going on. Maybe they could tag team? Unfortunately, it seems like this feud isn’t over as, despite winning in decisive fashion, Riddle got beaten up by Corbin after the match. We’ve sent his before when some one (I think it was Finn Bálor) continuously beat Corbin over and over and over again and yet the feud kept going on and on. Maybe we’ll see Riddle and Big E team up against Sheamus and Corbin? That would be so much better than Shorty G’s random, nonsensical alignment with Corbin.
My prediction: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler by submission, new champions crowned
Actual winner: Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler by submission, new champions crowned
I mean, obviously, right? But still…how fucked up is this new team of Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler? Nia had a perfect tag team partner in Tamina; they were two large, clumsy women who could legitimately wreck opponents and lumping them together halved the chance for anyone to get injured, gave them something to do, and kept them away from the singles Women’s Championships.
Obviously, this was all to tie into the long-burning, ongoing narrative between Bayley and Sasha Banks but, as I said before, why not just use the Riott Squad? The problem with the WWE’s women’s division is that the Tag Team Championships cross over with the singles championships way too much. They should be separate and rarely cross over but, instead, we regularly see the Tag Team Champions either forgotten or involved in the singles championships scene. It’s almost as if the WWE struggles to book multiple women-centric storylines and like the women should just have their own show.
My prediction: Keith Lee by pin fall
Actual winner: Keith Lee by pin fall
The WWE had precisely one night to build towards this match, awkwardly debuting Keith Lee on the Raw after SummerSlam and having him interject himself into the ongoing issues between Randy Orton and Drew McIntyre. Somehow, they managed to make it work but it still makes me scratch my head that they would sidetrack one storyline in favour of another. Plus, the fact that Lee got the clean win over Orton here (as he should have) surely now puts him in the talk for contendership for the WWE Championship. Still, maybe that’s the plan; maybe we’ll see McIntyre having to transition to fending off both Lee and Orton in the next few weeks as a litmus test for Lee’s main roster push and, maybe, we’ll even see Lee capture the belt as a result. How awesome would that be?
My prediction: Seth Rollins and Murphy by pin fall (Dominik turns on Rey)
Actual winners: Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio by pin fall (Dominik did not turn on Rey)
Well, this didn’t go exactly as I expected. Instead of Dominik Mysterio turning on his Dad, Seth Rollins ultimately went down because Murphy accidentally kicked him in the head, which allowed Dom to get the Frog Splash for the win. I suppose there’s some leeway here for Rollins chewing Murphy out, maybe even kicking him out of the group, and pulling a twist on when Rollins joined the Authority back in the day and have Dom replace Murphy tonight on Raw but I’d be equally happy for this to be the end of the feud between the Mysterios and the Rollinses, though I’m not sure where Dom goes from here; maybe towards the United States Championship?
My prediction: The Fiend, Bray Wyatt by pin fall, championship retained
Actual winner: Roman reigns by pin fall, new champion crowned
Wow..,I was not expecting this. I feel bad for the Fiend, Bray Wyatt; what was the point of having him win the Universal Championship at SummerSlam only to drop the belt a week later at Payback? They should have just had Roman Reigns interfere in the SummerSlam match and cause a disqualification finish by taking out both men rather than hot-shotting the belt around like this. The only good thing about it is that it adds to Wyatt’s championship tally but it doesn’t mean much when he loses it so quickly.
On the plus side, this was a massively over the top bout that saw the return of Wyatt’s comically large giant mallet and even the rare “collapse the ring” spot that the WWE uses so surprisingly sparingly that it still has a lot of impact behind it. In the end, Braun Strowman was the fall guy, as I expected, but, in my mind, for the wrong guy. Reigns should have wrecked the SummerSlam match and then gone on a tear after aligning himself with Paul Heyman and demanded and intimidated his way into this match over a few weeks. Instead, because of the WWE rushing Payback out for no reason, we’ve suddenly rushed ahead to this point. hopefully, Reigns works as a heel; I am sure, though, that people will now start cheering him because we’re all stupid.
What were your thoughts on Payback? Did your predictions come true? Were you surprised by the winners and losers from the night? How do you think Reigns’ heel turn will go and what do you think will happen to Strowman and Wyatt after getting shafted like this? Whatever your thoughts, leave a comment below.