WWE Intercontinental Title Match
Bad News Barrett (c) vs. Rob Van Dam
Has Rob Van Dam passed his sell by date? Or can he give Barrett some of his own bad news medicine? Is this enough to get you excited for a bout that was put together less than a fortnight before the show with a highly predictable ending? Probably not...
The Road to Payback
Bad News Barrett capped off a remarkable post WrestleMania winning streak, which saw him become the number one contender to the WWE Intercontinental Championship thanks to winning a star studded eight man tournament, by Bullhammering his way to defeat Big E for the belt at Extreme Rules just four weeks ago. Now, the brawling Brit makes his first major title defense against Rob Van Dam, whom he beat in the finals of that very tournament, but the victory was tainted when Cesaro distracted RVD allowing Barrett a vital moment to recover as he laid prone on the mat primed for a Five Star Frog Splash. At Payback we should find out who truly is the better man.
Unlike many others, Barrett's victorious ways didn't change with the added pressure of the spotlight of being a champion. Indeed, he proved the win over Big E was no fluke by KOing him with the Bullhammer and pinning him for the one, two, three again on the May 5th Monday Night Raw:
Four days later on Smackdown, Barrett and RVD faced off again in a tag team match with their respective partners Cesaro and Big E. The heels had their hands raised when Barrett took care of Van Dam by throwing him into the guard rail, which allowed Cesaro to finish Big E off with the Neutralizer in the middle of the ring:
Regardless, RVD still earned his way to an IC title shot at Payback by winning a Beat The Clock challenge on the May 19th Raw via rolling up Alberto Del Rio in just under 4:20 (get it?) and through Dolph Ziggler coming just shy of beating that mark as time ran out just when he had Mark Henry covered for the pin after hitting the Zig Zag:
Unsurprisingly, Bad News Barrett immediately upset Van Dam's victory parade by clobbering the happy go lucky dude from behind with the Bullhammer elbow and followed up by telling his unconscious body that he wouldn't dare lose to a bloody Yank at Payback, as the London fans lapped his patriotic schtick up:
This week on Raw, Barrett was on hand as a special guest color commentator to scout his opponent for Payback who was facing regular rival Cesaro. Although RVD briefly took out the Bad News Brit with a superkick, a later distraction by Barrett cost him the match as Cesaro pinned him with a deadlift German suplex from behind:
Thus, Rob Van Dam isn't entering Payback with much momentum on his side.
What's at Stake?
RVD has the rather dubious record of failing to win a match by pinfall or submission on pay-per-view since he returned to WWE as a part-timer at Money In The Bank last July. He'll have to reverse that bad luck streak if is to hold the Intercontinental Championship for the first time since May 2006.
However, Bad News Barrett will want to maintain a vice like grip on the gold. A lengthy, dominant reign would make him the greatest IC title holder in recent memory and perfectly groom him for bigger things in the future, using the belt as a stepping stone for main event stardom like The Ultimate Warrior, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, The Rock, Triple H and Randy Orton did before him. A loss to RVD here would ensure that those aspirations would be torpedoed for a third and probably final time.
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