The fifth WWE Pay-Per-View event of 2013 is set to get underway this this Sunday in Chicago, Illinois. It’s a relatively quick turnaround between PPV’s, taking place just four weeks after Extreme Rules. After WrestleMania 29, there was a six-week gap between PPV’s.
The buildup to Payback has been unlike any of the recent WWE PPV’s. For the last few weeks, it has appeared that Triple H would face Curtis Axel in his PPV debut. A disagreement between the COO and CEO Vince McMahon on “Monday Night Raw,” however, has put plans for that match on hold. CM Punk is scheduled to make his return in his hometown of Chicago, but there is skepticism that he’ll actually have a match, since he hasn’t been on television in two months.
Below are all the matches for Payback, as well as predictions for Sunday. Superstars Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Fandango, Mark Henry and Brock Lesnar are not on the match card after appearing at Extreme Rules in May.
WWE Champion John Cena vs. Ryback (Three Stages of Hell Match)
Ryback’s heel turn doesn’t seem to be working, and being featured in the main event has highlighted his weakness on the microphone. He’ll finally get one PPV win, whether it is during the Lumberjack match, Tables match or ambulance match. It appears, though, that Cena could be in for a long reign as WWE champion.
Prediction: John Cena
World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler vs. Alberto Del Rio
This match has gotten almost no build, with Ziggler being medically unable to perform for a month. Now that Ziggler is fully healthy and doesn’t need Big E. Langston fighting his battles for him, he might be able to knock Del Rio out of the World Heavyweight title picture for the first time in 2013.
Prediction: Dolph Ziggler
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
There had been rumors that Punk wouldn’t return until SummerSlam, but the WWE is building up this match like the former WWE champion will be at the PPV. It’s an odd way for the self-proclaimed “Best in the World” to come back, so look for the result of the match to be a secondary story. Don’t be surprised if the match ends with a feud between Punk and Paul Heyman, turning the Chicago native into a babyface.
Prediction: Chris Jericho
WWE Tag Team Champions Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan
In the absence of Punk and Ziggler in the last month, Bryan has been the most compelling wrestler in the WWE. He appears to be ready for a big singles run, so giving him and Orton the titles wouldn’t make much sense.
Prediction: Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns
Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett vs. The Miz vs. Curtis Axel
Before Fandango suffered the concussion that kept him off the match card, he seemed ready to win his first belt in the WWE. With Barrett and The Miz not heading into Payback with much steam, Axel is the favorite to win the title. It’s only fitting that Axel’s first belt is the Intercontinental Title, which his father, Mr. Perfect, held for 280 days in his career.
Prediction: Curtis Axel
United States Champion Dean Ambrose vs. Kane
It could be a while before any member of The Shield loses on a PPV. Kane doesn’t need the U.S. title, and Ambrose is regarded as one of the future stars in the WWE.
Prediction: Dean Ambrose
Divas Champion Kaitlyn vs. AJ Lee
AJ is the most popular Diva on the roster, so it only makes sense to give her the belt. She and Kaitlyn could develop a decent feud, which is something the Divas division desperately needs.
Prediction: AJ Lee
Sheamus vs. Damien Sandow (special Kickoff to Payback Match)
Babyfaces usually come out on top on the pre-show and this Sunday should be no different. Sandow has a bright future ahead of him, but Sheamus won’t lose to him in a PPV match.