At Payback, the WWE’s newest pay-per-view, Bray Wyatt defeated WWE World Champion Randy Orton. So does that mean Bray Wyatt is the new World Champion?
Nope, that’s not what it means, as this was a non-title match.
That may not have always been the plan; when this match was originally promoted on the WWE website, a graphic was used showing Randy Orton holding the World Championship. Later, the WWE updated this promo graphic so that Orton no longer has the title on him. You can see the original graphic, followed by the new graphic, below:
In recent weeks on SmackDown Live, the commentators had been speaking as if it is an absolute certainty that Randy Orton will walk out of Payback as the champion. When Jinder Mahal became the number one contender, for example, it was said on SmackDown Live that he would go on to face Randy Orton. It was not said that he would go on to face the winner of the Payback match.
At first, it was unclear whether this was just a mistake on the commentators’ part, but as it turns out, they were speaking this way because the Payback match was not for the title after all.
This is a bit strange because within kayfabe, Bray Wyatt is entitled to a rematch after losing the World Championship at WrestleMania 33. But he presumably will no longer get one, as this is the last time that Wyatt and Orton will meet in the ring for a while considering that they are now performing on different brands.
Some fans had speculated that this meant that Bray Wyatt would be the winner of the match on Sunday. That is indeed what happened, and so the WWE probably wanted to have Wyatt win without the World Championship going to Raw in the process. For that reason, this had to be a non-title match.
Though this was not a title match, it was something called a “House of Horrors” match, in which things started off in a mysterious house and concluded in the ring in a more traditional match. Fans in the arena were not very happy with the first, pre-recorded part of the match, although they seemed to liven up a bit when things actually made their way to the ring.