WWE Payback 2015 predictions

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

Retribution is on the WWE roster’s mind as WWE Payback rapidly approaches. With the revenge-fueled extravaganza on the horizon, it’s time for WWE.com’s staff to break down the action-packed card.

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Will Seth Rollins be able to fight off three angry challengers and retain the WWE World Heavyweight Title? Can John Cena force the furious Rusev to utter the words “I Quit?” Will Dolph Ziggler get retribution for the humiliation Sheamus put him through at Extreme Rules?

Take a look at these predictions from WWE Hall of Famer Howard Finkel, ECW Original Joey Styles and WWE.com editors, then let us know who you think will get Payback in the comments below!

Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

@HowardFinkel:To say that there is bad blood between these two competitors is a gross understatement. In Ziggler’s eyes, Sheamus is a marked man, and I would suspect that Dolph intends to make his Irish foe “hit the target.” WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

James Wortman: This one’s not about kissing arses, it’s about kicking them, and Dolph Ziggler is going into WWE Payback for some serious retribution against The Celtic Warrior. Although both are fairly evenly matched, with The Celtic Warrior having proven he can counter The Showoff’s speed with brute force, Ziggler will take the Irish aggressor down a peg in this anticipated rematch. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

Jeff Laboon: Sheamus embarrassed Dolph Ziggler at Extreme Rules. Moments before The Showoff kissed Sheamus’ arse, though, he pinned him in the middle of the ring. And this time, Ziggler has retribution on his mind. WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

@JoeyStyles: Dolph Ziggler needs a win against Sheamus at Payback. Not only did Sheamus welch on his wager at Extreme Rules, but he has continued to torment Ziggler. The Zig Man needs not only to humble Sheamus by pinning him, he also humiliate The Celtic Warrior the same way he was humiliated at Extreme Rules. Ziggler should lock Sheamus in the sleeper for the win … and the opportunity to make Sheamus shampoo arse-sweat out of his facial hair. Now that’s payback! WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

Bobby Melok: There are no humiliating stipulations attached to this bout. Dolph Ziggler only has payback on his mind for the embarrassment he suffered at Extreme Rules. However, that fury fueling The Showoff could cost him. Look for Sheamus to take advantage of Ziggler’s rage and pummel him into submission. WINNER: Sheamus

Dolph Ziggler: 4, Sheamus: 1

The Bella Twins vs. Naomi & Tamina

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

@HowardFinkel: You change your attitude a tad, and more times than not you get noticed. This new outlook fits Naomi like a glove, and Tamina compliments her to a T. Nikki and Brie Bella are more than capable of holding their own, no matter what the situation is. But this Sunday, I’m going to have to give the nod to Naomi and Tamina to secure the win. WINNERS: Naomi & Tamina

James Wortman: The Bella Twins have remained atop WWE’s Divas division since Survivor Series, when Nikki captured the Divas Title, but Naomi is well on her way to dethroning Nikki & Brie after aligning with returning powerhouse Tamina. Since the imposing second-generation Diva’s return on the May 4 edition of Raw, Naomi and her muscled associate have dominated Nikki & Brie, and WWE Payback will be no different. Expect Naomi & Tamina to trample The Bella Twins — in light-up sneakers, no less. WINNERS: Naomi & Tamina

Jeff Laboon: It’s been a rough couple of weeks for The Bellas, thanks to Naomi and Tamina. Nikki and Brie have yet to figure out an answer to Naomi’s new attitude and Tamina’s eye-popping strength. That answer won’t come in time for Payback. WINNERS: Naomi & Tamina

@JoeyStyles: I think The Bellas win this match with a rollup or schoolgirl that comes “outta nowhere” and escape the ring as quickly as they can. Up until the three count, Nikki and Brie will be bounced around the ring by the dominant duo of Naomi and Tamina. To be honest, I’m not sure that the former Funkadactyl and Pacific Island princess aren’t willing to settle for the losers’ pay just to make a statement live on WWE Network. WINNERS: The Bella Twins

Bobby Melok: Naomi may be playing up the family bonds between herself and Tamina heading into Payback, but their ties can’t compare to the lifelong bond of twin sisters Nikki and Brie Bella. The Bellas are a well-oiled machine in the ring compared to their newly-paired opposition. Despite Tamina’s power, look for The Bellas to outsmart their rivals and walk out with the win. WINNERS: The Bella Twins

Naomi & Tamina: 3, The Bella Twins: 2

The Meta Powers vs. The Ascension (Kickoff Match)

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

@HowardFinkel: I am looking forward to this Kickoff match. The ”merger” of Axel and Mandow last Monday on Raw can be credited to The Ascension. And the aggression that Konnor and Viktor demonstrated against Axel and Mandow backfired, as it united the two veteran campaigners into a very capable and entertaining duo. However, I feel that The Ascension will get the last laugh and dispose of their opponents. WINNERS: The Ascension

James Wortman: The Mega Powers, Hulk Hogan & “Macho Man” Randy Savage, were one of the most celebrated tag teams in the history of WWE. The pairing of “Macho Mandow” & Curtis Axel is … well, something different altogether. Nevertheless, the masters of mimicry will benefit by channeling Hulkamania and Macho Madness against the snarling Ascension, a duo that has yet to match their verbal ferocity with in-ring accolades since joining the WWE roster. Plus, theatrics aside, Mandow (Damien Sandow) and Axel are separately former WWE Tag Team Champions. Assuming these pseudo “Mega Powers” don’t explode during the WWE Payback Kickoff, expect the cream to rise to the top … brother. WINNERS: The Meta Powers

Jeff Laboon: Sure, Curtis Axel & “Macho Mandow” have lost their minds. They haven’t lost their in-ring skills, though. Behind the ripped T-shirts and tassels, Axel & “Mandow” are still the more experienced competitors. WINNERS: The Meta Powers

@JoeyStyles: I understand Macho Mandow and Curtis Axel. They’re two accomplished young competitors emulating two of history’s biggest sports-entertainment icons in order to entertain fans and differentiate themselves from everyone else. I don’t understand The Ascension. Konnor and Viktor seem like the only ones not in on the joke that they have been since they spoke their first words on WWE television. Their comical impression of dominant face-painted tag teams of the 80’s like The Road Warriors, Demolition and Powers of Pain is as entertaining, maybe more, as what Sandow and Axel are doing. However, nobody is sure if The Ascension is serious. As such, nobody takes them seriously. WINNERS: The Meta Powers

Bobby Melok: Though the WWE Universe may have been infected with the nostalgia-fueled engery of Axelmania and Mandow Madness, there will be little the 80s-inspired duo can do to stop Konnor & Viktor. The Ascension is desperate to carve out their place in WWE’s tag team division. Look for the longest-reigning NXT Tag Team Champions to demolish their opposition. WINNERS: The Ascension

The Meta Powers: 3, The Ascension: 2

United States Champion John Cena vs. Rusev (“I Quit” Match)

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

@HowardFinkel:If this is the final chapter of this intense rivalry, then I believe we’re going to have a dogfight on our hands! I have never wavered from picking Rusev since he and Cena began their battles, and I’m not going to change now. I feel that Lana’s back on track with her protégé, and her guidance will lead Rusev to make Cena say “I quit,” and in the process regain the United States Championship. WINNER: Rusev

James Wortman: John Cena has never lost an “I Quit” Match, and he’s not about to start now. Although The Champ fell to The Super Athlete in their first one-on-one encounter at WWE Fastlane, he now holds two straight victories over Rusev. That trend doesn’t seem likely to change at WWE Payback, where the Cenation leader will halt The Russian Tank once and for all. Whether Lana will be there to console Rusev in defeat remains to be seen. WINNER: John Cena

Jeff Laboon: John Cena does not say “I quit.” He didn’t against Batista. He didn’t against The Miz and Alex Riley. He didn’t against Randy Orton. This match stipulation represents everything John Cena stands for. It’s a must-win for him. WINNER: John Cena

@JoeyStyles: John Cena has never lost an “I Quit” match. John Cena has never quit. His motto is “Never Give Up.” There is no way that the Cenation leader is going to lose the United States Championship by surrendering. That said, I’m not sure Rusev’s loss will be his own fault. Disrespecting a woman like Lana is a mistake. The Ravishing Russian has proven herself to be a strategist, and Payback may be the perfect opportunity to tear down her alliance with Rusev. WINNER: John Cena

Bobby Melok: John Cena has been through grueling matches against hungry Superstars like Neville and NXT’s Sami Zayn as part of his weekly open challenge. I expect the toll of those taxing bouts, and a punishing 10-year run on top of WWE, to catch up with him. Time waits for no man, including 15-time WWE World Champions. Rusev’s ascent to greatness begins at Payback with a huge coup – making John Cena utter the words “I Quit.” WINNER: Rusev

John Cena: 3, Rusev: 2

Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

@HowardFinkel: When Bray Wyatt sets his sights on his intended target, he normally hits the bulls eye. However, in Ryback, Wyatt could be in for a surprise. The man from Sin City is focused like never before, and knows how important a match this is for him. Will he succeed? I don’t think so. Although Ryback will give Wyatt a run for his money, the master of mind games will secure the win. WINNER: Bray Wyatt

James Wortman: In a battle of strength, there’s no question that Ryback will always be an odds-on favorite, but the clash between The Big Guy and Bray Wyatt is of a wholly psychological sort. The Eater of Worlds intends to scar Ryback psychologically, forcing the behemoth to question his own resolve before introducing Ryback to Sister Abigail. At WWE Payback, the buzzards will feast. WINNER: Bray Wyatt

Jeff Laboon: This will be a fun showdown to watch. Both of these Superstars love to hurt their opponents. Both of these Superstars are a little bit … different. But Bray Wyatt’s mind games will be the deciding factor. WINNER: Bray Wyatt

@JoeyStyles: If this was a straight-up man-on-man matchup, I’d pick The Human Wrecking Ball, Ryback. However, with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan now reunited, one has to wonder if they will also revert into becoming Wyatt disciples. I am predicting that the swamp monsters will again be by The New Face of Fear’s side and attack Ryback at Payback. Ryback will officially win the match by disqualification, but will be gator bait at the end of the night. WINNER: Ryback

Bobby Melok: Bray Wyatt can play all the mind games he wants heading into Payback. However, once the bell rings on Sunday, The New Face of Fear may not be able to counter the pure power of Ryback. The Human Wrecking Ball has detailed his unbelievable journey from severe injury back to the ring for the WWE Universe, making it clear that Wyatt’s scare tactics won’t work on him. WINNER: Ryback

Bray Wyatt: 3, Ryback: 2

Neville vs. King Barrett

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

@HowardFinkel: With every match that Neville has, the more impressed I’ve become with his overall abilities inside the squared circle. King Barrett is seeking to avenge a loss at the hands of Neville from the Extreme Rules Kickoff Match, but I look for the energetic dynamo to prevail. WINNER: Neville

James Wortman: Neville is a lot of things. He’s The Man That Gravity Forgot, he’s WWE’s New Sensation and he’s one of the most spectacular high-flyers in recent memory. But is he also a kingslayer? Unfortunately, as seen in the final round of the 2015 King of the Ring Tournament, Barrett knows how to ground the exciting aerialist, and the Bull Hammer will find its mark once again at WWE Payback. WINNER: King Barrett

Jeff Laboon: King Barrett’s reign of terror is only just beginning. Barrett is big and he’s bad. Neville may be one of the most unique Superstars in recent memory, but it’ll take a lot to kick the new King off his throne. WINNER: King Barrett

@JoeyStyles: I’m a huge fan on Neville. His aerial offense is like nothing ever seen before. Fans who once marveled at the 450 Splash and Shooting Star Press now see them as commonplace because of the Red Arrow. That said, King Barrett is a five-time Intercontinental Champion, and there are few offensive weapons more punishing than Barrett’s Bull Hammer. It doesn’t require his royal highness taking the time to ascend turnbuckles or even leave his feet. It is the suddenness of that weapon that gives Barrett the advantage. WINNER: King Barrett

Bobby Melok: King Barrett may be royalty, but there’s no way a monarch can prepare for something out of this world. There has never been a Superstar as dynamic as The Man That Gravity Forgot. Barrett was thrown off by The New Sensation during last month’s Extreme Rules Kickoff, and the addition of a crown and scepter to his wardrobe shouldn’t make things different at Payback. WINNER: Neville

King Barrett: 3, Neville: 2

WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day vs. Cesaro & Tyson Kidd (2-out-of-3 Falls Match)

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

@HowardFinkel: The idea of this being the best 2-out-of-3 Falls Match works for me, although I hope that only TWO members of The New Day compete in the entire match; no switch-ups allowed. Nonetheless, I look for the challengers to once again become champions once the dust settles. WINNERS: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd

James Wortman: 2-out-of-3 Falls Matches are all about stamina, and if there’s any team that can conquer the “positive energy” The New Day has thrived on recently, it’s Tyson Kidd & Cesaro. The indomitable former champions have relentlessly pursued Kofi Kingston, Xavier Woods & Big E since their defeat at Extreme Rules, and The King of Swing’s tendon strength, coupled with Kidd’s Hart Dungeon training, will ultimately prevail in this test of endurance. We’re not sure what the arena will be chanting when this one’s over, but it certainly won’t be “New Day rocks!” WINNERS: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd

Jeff Laboon: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd are the best tag team in sports-entertainment. Now they just need to regain the WWE Tag Team Championship to prove it. WINNERS: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd

@JoeyStyles: The real winners of this match will be us, the WWE Universe because it will be the best match of the night. Every time The New Day and Cesaro and Kidd have crossed paths in singles matches, tag team matches or Fatal 4-Way matches, the result has been pure entertainment. The New Day are at an advantage because any combination of the three of them can defend the WWE Tag Team Championships, a la The Fabulous Freebirds and Demolition. WINNERS: The New Day

Bobby Melok: Underneath the happy veneer of their upbeat attitudes, The New Day have wholeheartedly embraced the rulebreaking that won them the WWE Tag Team Championship. While Tyson Kidd & Cesaro may be the more technically proficient team, The New Day will do anything and everything to keep the titles. They might snap if they lose them. WINNERS: The New Day

Cesaro & Tyson Kidd: 3, The New Day: 2

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns (Fatal 4-Way Match)

WWE Payback 2015 predictions

@HowardFinkel:I am really looking forward to this contest. I truly believe that despite all four superstars’ propensity for battling it out until the bitter end, “Mr. Perpetual Motion,” aka Dean Ambrose, will outlast the pack and become the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Oh, one other thing: Thanks for your service, soon-to-be ex-Director of Operations Kane! WINNER: Dean Ambrose

James Wortman: Dean Ambrose might not be the ideal “face of WWE” in The Authority’s eyes, but no Superstar will thrive amidst the chaos of a Fatal 4-Way Match quite like The Lunatic Fringe. Ambrose ultimately failed in his mission to prevent Seth Rollins from cashing in his Money in the Bank contract — a feat The Architect accomplished successfully at WrestleMania — so the unstable Superstar will stop at nothing to wrench the smarmy titleholder’s most prized possession from his grasp. Ambrose will pick up the victory, and Kane will be handed his walking papers. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

Jeff Laboon: It would be so easy for Seth Rollins to lose the championship in the chaos of the Fatal 4-Way Match at WWE Payback. Fatal 4-Way Matches thrive on chaos. Anything goes in those types of bouts, and the champion doesn’t even need to be pinned to lose. Of the four competitors, Dean Ambrose thrives on disorder the most. WINNER: Dean Ambrose

@JoeyStyles: Despite watching Rollins get mauled last Monday on Raw, Kane does not want to be firedas Director of Operations. If he did, he would have quit by now. Though a Fatal 4-Way is a huge disadvantage to a defending champion, who does not have to be pinned or submitted to lose the title, the match is also No Disqualification. That wrinkle in the rules means that anyone can interfere on Rollins’ behalf and help him retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. WINNER: Seth Rollins

Bobby Melok: In the midst of Randy Orton’s RKO rampage, Dean Ambrose’s insanity and Seth Rollins’ underhanded machinations, one participant in this Fatal 4-Way has been patiently biding his time, waiting for the right moment to strike: Roman Reigns. Don’t be surprised if The Big Dog finally gets his hands on the WWE World Heavyweight Title at Payback. WINNER: Roman Reigns

Dean Ambrose: 2, Seth Rollins: 1, Roman Reigns: 1

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