Now that WWE has figured out a way to replicate the live fan experience for their product, they’re going full steam ahead with upcoming PPV’s.
Just one week after SummerSlam 2020 wrapped up, WWE is returning for a second August event that will emanate from the custom Amway Center ThunderDome. And it’s pretty evident that the fallout from the biggest wrestling party of the summer will lead right into the matches being booked for the return of Payback. On August 30, the WWE Universe viewing from home and the ones lucky enough to enter the ThunderDome via virtual crowd panels will be treated to another dose of Sunday night wrestling. And as expected, championships will be on the line and revenge will be at forefront of the many feuds erupting on this match card.
Here are our predictions for the announced matchups being presented at Payback 2020.
Big E vs. Sheamus
Predictions & Winner: The New Day’s hip-swiveling, muscle-bound tag team turned singles star has been enjoying a nice run on the Blue Brand thus far. Since Kofi Kingston gave him his blessing, Big E has racked up a number of impressive wins. One of his least impressive victories was against Sheamus since he caught him with a pretty lame rollup due to a distraction caused by an outside, multi-man brawl.
Hence why we’re getting this rematch. I think this is where Big E will get a definitive win over Sheamus this time. And I get the feeling that at Clash of Champions, Big E will step up to vie for the Intercontinental Championship (whoever that may be considering Jeff Hardy and Sami Zayn both lay claim to being the rightful titleholder).
Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin
Predictions & Winner: Sometimes you just gotta handle all the dirty work yourself, it seems. King Corbin put out a king’s bounty on Matt Riddle’s head, but no one’s been able to claim it thus far. So now Corbin has been forced to step up and attempt to hand Matt his first loss on the main roster. Let’s be real here, folks – there’s no way WWE is going to hand a loss to their latest main roster call-up so soon. Especially to someone as laughable as King Corbin of all people. Matt’s being set up to prevail here and move farther up the SmackDown card. “The Bro That Runs The Show” has this one in the bag.
Dominik Mysterio and Rey Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins and Murphy
Predictions & Winners: I gotta hand it to Rey Mysterio’s son – he looked pretty solid in the ring back at SummerSlam against Seth Rollins. I figured a whole lot of smoke and mirrors would be involved, but Dominik Mysterio worked hard to present himself as a child prodigy that should be taken seriously. The very next night on Raw, a dream scenario for Rey occurred – the legendary luchador partnered up with his son to wrestle in a tag team match for the very first time in WWE. The match was going pretty well and it looked as if Dominik was going to get the winning pin on Murphy…until Retribution ran in and produced their usual brand of anarchy.
So now the rematch has been set for Payback and I’m expecting it to be a fun time. I don’t see this feud ending anytime soon (even though it’s gone on for a while already), so I gotta give this one to The Mysterio’s. Seth got singles wins over both Rey and Dominik, which leads me to believe he’ll most likely take an L here to swing the pendulum back to his rivals. This will keep the beef going and most likely lead to a feud ender of some kind at Clash of Champions. At Payback, we’ll finally get to see the Mysterio father and son duo prevail over The Church of Rollins. Bet money that Murphy will be the one eating the pinfall loss here from Dominik.
Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) vs. Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax (WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: WWE’s not even shy about where they’re going with this Bayley and Sasha Banks storyline. Anyone with just an inkling of common sense can see that a breakup between the two besties is on the horizon. When Bayley needed Sasha during her SummerSlam bout against Asuka, “The Boss” pretty much sacrificed herself to help Bayley retain her title. But once the tables were turned, Bayley was unable to help her friend hold onto her respective women’s championship. With a bit of trouble in paradise brewing between the two, Bayley and Sasha have no choice but to iron out their issues and confront their biggest tag team threat yet – Shayna Baszler and Nia Jax.
Shayna and Nia clearly don’t get along, which plays into WWE’s fascination with unwilling partners being forced to work with each other to go after the tag team titles. It’s pretty evident that Bayley and Sasha are going to drop the straps here and get ever so closer to their big split. So here’s how I see this match coming to a close – at some point, Bayley will get thrown outside the ring. Sasha will wake up from her stupor and be forced to deal with her super intimidating opponents. She’ll call out to Bayley for assistance just like she did at SummerSlam, but Bayley will be frozen in fear at the sight of what’s happening in the ring. Shayna and Nia will then take advantage of this moment and destroy Sasha, which will lead to them capturing the belts and building a bigger rift between SmackDown’s top two ladies.
Apollo Crews (c) vs. Bobby Lashley (with MVP and Shelton Benjamin) (WWE United States Championship)
Predictions & Winner: This is pretty much the match we should have gotten at SummerSlam. While I appreciate MVP as a manager and a talk show host, the wear and tear on his body have kept him from delivering at a high level in the ring. That’s why I’d rather not see him continue his in-ring feud with United States Champion Apollo Crews. I figured he’d employ the services of Cedric Alexander at this point and pit him against Apollo, but that surprisingly hasn’t happened yet. For the moment though, one of MVP’s Hurt Business proteges is getting the next shot at the title. And it’s the world-destroyer known as Bobby Lashley.
Now Apollo has been reigning as the US Champion since May, which he definitely has to be commended for. Now while I love to see him hold the title for even longer, it’s looking like that reign is about to come to an end. Bobby Lashley has been built up to his old terrifying self once again and now’s the time for him to retain that stature he recently regained. There was a bump in the road for Lashley when he took a loss against WWE Champion Drew McIntyre at Backlash, but I don’t think he’ll trip up here. I predict a championship loss for Appolo that will lead to the Hurt Business getting their hands on a new title (Shelton Benjamin just lost the 24/7 Championship, so someone’s gotta pick up the slack). I just can’t see Apollo overcoming the threat of a far more dangerous Lashley at this point.
Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton
Predictions & Winner: NXT’s “Limitless” one has already made quite the splash on Monday Night Raw. After dropping the NXT Championship to Karrion Kross, Keith Lee made his way up to the main roster and has already picked a fight with the “Legend Killer” Randy Orton. In defense of his best bud Drew McIntyre, Lee has decided to make a statement and try his hand at overcoming one of Raw’s top heel superstars. While I’m no fan of the horribly generic theme song Lee’s been saddled with now and his gear switch-up, I know he’s still capable of performing at the high level NXT fans have become accustomed to. And with Randy as his latest dancing partner, Lee’s been given the best chance at proving his worth on the main PPV stage.
Since this is Lee’s big PPV debut match, I think it’s safe to say that he’s going over here. Orton’s at the stage in his career where he can take a loss here and there, but it won’t do anything to damage his credibility and make him lesser than in the eyes of the fans. He can use his superstar status to elevate any up and comers he feuds with, which is why he’s been slotted by the powers that be into Lee’s PPV opponent match slot. A loss to Lee won’t hurt Orton in any way here, especially if it comes after a hard-fought contest between the two. Lee’s mega push is going to kick off here with a major win over Orton that will most likely lead to a series of rematches between the two down the line.
“The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Roman Reigns (with Paul Heyman) vs. Braun Strowman (No Holds Barred Triple Threat Match for the WWE Universal Championship)
Predictions & Winner: So the tagline for SummerSlam 2020 was “you’ll never see it coming.” That phrase was certainly fitting considering how shocking Roman Reigns’ post-main event run-in was. Mere moments after “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt captured the Universal Championship from Bruan Strowman, The Big Dog ran in (with new veneers and all) and destroyed both beasts with ease. And I gotta give the man props for his comments towards both monsters as well (they certainly had an air of truth to them). Now we’re getting a rejuvenated Reigns vs. a heelish Strowman vs. a championship “Fiend.” It’s pretty wild that we’re getting this match just one week after the events of SummerSlam but WWE’s not too keen on holding off on this match, it seems.
Even though I’ve hated every bit of Braun and Bray’s feud thus far, I’m actually looking forward to this match for two reasons – the No Holds Barred stipulation and the addition of Reigns. With those elements put into place, the chances of this match actually being watchable and not a complete trainwreck are higher than usual. I’m really conflicted here cause Bray just regained the title, but Reigns just came back and it makes complete sense for him to get the belt that’s alluded him through 2020. I get the feeling that WWE is preparing for a major one-on-one clash between Bray and Reigns in the near future. This match has to be the first step to that matchup and we all know how much WWE loves booking the babyface as the one chasing after the heel’s championship prize. I’m predicting a “Fiend” victory here that will result in him pinning Strowman, which in effect keeps Reigns strong for their eventual PPV meeting in the coming months.