WWE Payback preview: The booking-glass self

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Unless something of monumental stupidity happens this Friday night on Smackdown, WWE looks to have booked a solid pay-per-view (PPV) offering for this weekend in the "Windy City."

WWE gets a lot of heat from the Internet Wrestling Community (IWC) because it's no secret that passionate fans with keyboards and quick tempers have all the answers to every problem in the history of professional wrestling.

That said, the morning after a major show is usually a bloodbath.

I'm as quick as anyone to purse my lips and give them a tsk-tsk when the booking goes awry, but I also make sure I try to recognize WWE creative when they get it right.

This is one of those times.

Sunday night's (June 16, 2013) Payback pay-per-view (PPV), which emanates from the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, has plenty of familiar faces. In fact, it was less than a month ago when WWE asked fans to pony up 50 bucks for Extreme Rules, which also featured John Cena vs. Ryback.

As well as Team Hell No, The Shield, Chris Jericho, Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton.

Like it or not, that's the A-Team right now in WWE, along with a few other superstars like Dolph Ziggler and hometown hero CM Punk, who may or may not show up. If you tune in just to find out, then creative has successfully booked his match against Y2J.

But the real triumph is in the tag team division.

We've seen The Shield and Team Hell No go to war quite a few times now and it's way too soon to call it quits on this feud, largely because those guys can work. At the same time, Daniel Bryan and Kane, as a tag team, have run their course.

Now they don't have the straps.

But in one of the rare instances in WWE booking, we can have our cake and eat it too, because we still get to see all five men in action, embroiled in the same storyline, but under different circumstances. And what better way than by having Randy Orton get involved? As The General pointed out, it's refreshing to see him actually do something meaningful for a change.

Sometimes all you need is a fresh coat of paint and that old clunker is as good as new.

The same can be said for the three-way Intercontinental title match between Wade Barrett, The Miz and Curtis Axel, the last of whom replaces Fandango after Johnny Curtis suffered a concussion at the hands of Zack Ryder. Seems like just last month we were in the same boat.

Oh wait, we were.

Dolph Ziggler, who makes his return this weekend against Del Rio, was knocked out of his three way dance at Extreme Rules (pun intended) thanks to an errant boot from Jack Swagger. I called for creative to roll the dice and insert Big E. Langston to replace him, but those cries fell on deaf ears.

Not this time.

Axel, as mean and as green as he is, will step up and take over. True, the stakes are much lower and his opponents are more bland than grand, but it's still nice to see a rookie get the ball in a big spot. And anything that pisses off this guy is okay in my book.

Elsewhere on the card, AJ Lee and Kaitlyn will roll around on the floor while groping one another and I will be delighted because I'm a dirty old man, Sheamus will jerk the curtain against Damien Sandow and THREE STAGES OF HELL. If the pro wrestling gods are good to us, we'll even have the Wyatt family run in and clean house.

That's worth $50 in my book -- which is exactly two dollars less than what it cost me to take my family to see Iron Man 3 last weekend -- only this time I don't have to share the screen with 100 strangers.

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