WWE Payback 2017 preview – a déjà vu lineup in need of surprises

WWE Payback 2017 preview

by Scott Saffran

After an explosive WrestleMania and a fun Superstar Shakeup, the landscape of the WWE has changed quite a bit and new storylines have been unfolding across both brands. Unfortunately, Payback seems to be clinging to the shadows on February/March. Most of this card consists of rematches and storylines that should have tied up after ‘Mania, but instead have hung around like cobwebs. Still, much can come of a WWE PPV, so let’s hope for something unexpected. Here’s the WWE Payback 2017 preview.


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Enzo Amore and Big Cass vs.
Luke Gallows and Karl AndersonWWE Payback 2017 preview -Enzo and Cass vs The Club

Well, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen these teams go at it, and I doubt it will be the last. Enzo and Cass are effectively bury-proof in their over-ness with the crowd, so I really hope the Club can come away with a big win and somehow find a smooth track to success. While I don’t have anything against either team, this match is just one of the many rematches and retreads we’ve endured over the past few months, and I must say it’s starting to get to me. I hope we can get a nice punctuation mark on this. In terms of a winner, this match is mostly inconsequential, so it’s a good toss-up.

PICK: The Club

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Kevin Owens (c) vs. Chris Jericho
for the WWE United States ChampionshipWWE Payback 2017 preview - Kevin Owens vs Chris Jericho

Due to the Superstar Shakeup, this is an inter-brand match and the victor will take the championship to their respective brand. This entirely telegraphs the winner (Owens), but I pray something interesting comes of it and we see Chris Jericho escape with a victory, throwing off the championship balance between the brands. But, we all know the WWE, and thus we can safely assume Owens will win. It’ll be solid in terms of wrestling, at least.

PICK: Kevin Owens

The Hardy Boyz (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
for the WWE Raw Tag Team ChampionshipWWE Payback 2017 preview -Hardy Boyz vs Cesaro and Sheamus

The Hardy Boyz sent shockwaves through the Raw tag team division in their surprise appearance and victory at WrestleMania 33. Since then, they’ve engaged in a mini-feud with the division’s resident Odd Couple in a few fun contests on Raw. The Hardys have dished out some bona fide butt-kicking, so I’m not so sure who will emerge victorious come Sunday night. Another drubbing will leave Sheasaro looking quite worse for the wear, but a short derailing of the Hardy Boyz’ reign won’t sit well with many. I’d wager the match ends due to interference of some kind to keep both parties at fair strength.

PICK: The Hardy Boyz

Neville (c) vs. Austin Aries
for the WWE Cruiserweight ChampionshipWWE Payback 2017 preview -Austin Aries vs Neville

Ah yes, another rematch. I jest, but I am still pretty pumped for the opportunity to see these titans of 205 go at it yet again. With slightly more time allotted, I feel like this pair can put on an even better show than their match at ‘Mania. As much as I would cherish an Aries victory, I see it rather unlikely – the King of the Cruiserweights is still in his stride. That said I wouldn’t be shocked by a title change, especially as that seems few and far between on this card.

PICK: Neville.

Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman

It will be quite interesting to see Roman show up for this match having missed television for two weeks in a row; however, that doesn’t make me any less invested in this contest. I hope to see a truly vicious back-and-forth battle between the riding-high Strowman and the returning Reigns. I really need to see a victory out of Braun (especially after Kalisto’s fluke win) and Roman does not at all need another pin on Strowman. WWE needs to go with the hot hand, and there isn’t a hand hotter than Strowman.

PICK: Braun Strowman

Seth Rollins vs. Samoa JoeWWE Payback 2017 preview - Seth Rollins vs Samoa Joe

Story has been on the backburner for much of this ‘feud,’ having taken a backseat to Triple H around ‘Mania, but I am still extremely excited for when these two finally come to one-on-one, sanctioned blows. Both Joe and Seth have been kicking a lot of a$$ in the past several months and I am certain it’s gonna be a lot of fun when the irresistible force meets the immovable object on Sunday night. Rollins has been riding a hot streak (something he desperately needed), but I would hate to see the fearsome Joe pinned clean in only his second PPV. I do, though, feel much comfortable siding with Seth if this match proceeds sans-shenanigans.

PICK: Seth Rollins

Bayley (c) vs. Alexa Bliss for the WWE Raw Women’s ChampionshipWWE Payback 2017 preview - Bayley vs Alexa Bliss

Alexa Bliss has been nothing but a boon for Raw’s Women’s Division, and it’s come just at the right time. I am very excited to see Bayley defend her title against a fresh opponent, and one who had dominated the SmackDown division mostly up until her draft to Raw. I cannot see a Bayley loss coming so soon to a brand-new contender, but with her ‘Mania Moment cemented anything is now possible. There might be a case for more assistance from Sasha, building up the potential for a strong feud between the two at SummerSlam.

PICK: Bayley

 Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt in a House of Horrors matchWWE Payback 2017 preview -Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt

Oy vey. What do I even say about this match? Bray has to win. He absolutely has to win. The man has almost been entirely zapped of any credibility between the ropes. He either wins, or he loses and goes away for a while. Now that this isn’t a title match, I see a victory as much more likely – but it still irks me that he’s been passed over for Jinder Mahal’s feud. And the stipulation? Ugh. It’s a mess. I’m not looking forward to this at all.

PICK: Bray Wyatt

Well, there you have it. A really, really average card with a bunch of rematches and mostly inconsequential match ups. I hope we get a big surprise of some sort, because this is primed to be the most forgettable show of the year. If you’re interested, tune in on Sunday and find me back here next week as we recap the best and worst of Payback 2017.

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Photo Credit: WWE.com

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