For the first time in a year and a half, the WWE title won’t be defended at a pay-per-view. Payback 2014 is set for Sunday night in Chicago, and WWE World Heavyweight champion Daniel Bryan is not scheduled to compete.
Bryan recently underwent neck surgery, and will miss an undetermined amount of time. On the most recent edition of “Monday Night Raw,” Stephanie McMahon announced that Bryan would appear on the PPV, and he’ll have to decide if he’s going to hand over his championship. If he does not, Brie Bella will be fired.
While WWE has not given a timetable for Bryan’s return, the latest rumors suggest that he could be ready for Money in the Bank in July. If that’s the case, Bryan likely won’t be stripped of the title.
CM Punk usually gets the biggest reaction from fans when WWE makes its way to his hometown of Chicago, but the former WWE champion isn’t on the match card. While CM Punk chants could dominate portions of the event, the wrestler isn’t expected to return, after walking out on the company in January.
Six matches have been made official for Payback, and a few more could be added this week on SmackDown.
The Shield vs. Evolution (No Holds Barred Elimination Match)
The feud between the two factions could be ending, with Batista reportedly set to go on hiatus to promote “Guardians of the Galaxy.” If there is no more six-man tag team action planned for the next PPV, Roman Reigns will likely get the final pinfall. However, if rumors are true that another WWE superstar could replace Batista, The Shield might get the victory.
Prediction: The Shield
John Cena vs Bray Wyatt (Last Man Standing Match)
As the two superstars follow up their cage match with a last man standing match, it could be the last time they go head-to-head in the near future. They split the first two matches, and Wyatt has gotten a good rub from working with WWE’s top star for a few months. However, Cena isn’t likely turning heel, and the babyface should get the third victory in their rubber match.
Prediction: John Cena
Bad News Barrett vs. Rob Van Dam (Intercontinental Championship)
Barrett has a lot of momentum, after taking the title from Big E at Extreme Rules. RVD could be gone from the company in a few months, so he isn’t likely to hold any titles.
Prediction: Bad News Barrett
Sheamus vs. Cesaro (United States Championship)
Cesaro is in line for a major push in 2014, ahead of WrestleMania 31. Even though he’s the heel, it’s not likely that he’ll lose clean. Sheamus could steal the victory, giving Cesaro another title shot at the next PPV.
Paige vs. Alicia Fox (Divas Championship)
Paige isn’t likely to lose the title, but Fox has been entertaining on “Monday Night Raw” and the two could have a rematch at Battleground.
Hornswoggle vs. El Torito (Hair vs. Mask Match)
The pre-show match between the two at Extreme Rules was one of the best matches on the PPV, so they’ve been given a rematch on Sunday. Once again, look for the babyface to come out on top, especially since Hornswoggle got the better of El Torito on Monday.
Prediction: El Torito
Big E vs. Rusev (Not Official)
WWE has made Rusev look unbeatable, since joining the main roster. Now, he’s finally set to face a formidable opponent. Big E has lost a lot of momentum over the last few months, and that could continue with another PPV loss.
Adam Rose vs. Jack Swagger (Not Official)
Rose’s debut has been met with mixed reviews. If WWE wants him to get over, they won’t have him lose at his first PPV.
Prediction: Adam Rose