clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE Payback 2015 predictions: Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., May 17, 2015) live from the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland with its Payback event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickofff show featuring The Meta Powers vs. The Ascension leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton for the WWE world heavyweight title, John Cena vs. Rusev for the US championship in an I Quit match, and so much more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let's get to it.



Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton

The General: I can't believe WWE built yet another pay-per-view with the idea that the main event will be decided by Kane and however he may or may not be feeling on that given night. It's mind bottling (you know, when things are so crazy it gets your thoughts all trapped, like in a bottle). I like the idea of an Ambrose heel turn here to further build sympathy for Reigns, and that means Rollins keeps the title. Pick: Rollins

Sean Rueter: When this was just a Triple Threat, I saw it as meaning that maybe they thought they'd done enough to build up Roman's smark cred and could go back to the plan from either days or minutes (depending on who you believe) before the WrestleMania main event. Orton's deal for playing babyface seems to be that he's not taking PPV pins, and jobbing out The Big Dog would both counteract some of the very good work they've done since the Rumble building him up and would make Rollins look too strong - something guys who used the MitB briefcase to win their first title aren't usually alllowed to be. Then came Dean, who gave them someone to take the pin, but also put a REALLY OVER babyface next to Reigns, showing the powers-that-be that they have more work to go to get the guy over with the majority of the crowd. Ambrose will take the fall, but , if they're smart, in a way that kickstarts last year's hottest feud, sending him chasing Money in the Bank for another shot at his traitorous nemesis. If they're not smart, aka, they're them, he'll take the fall before being bounced back down to Intercontinental title scene while Orton & Reigns claim they weren't pin and demand more matches for the belt. Pick: Seth Rollins

Keith Harris: Just like Extreme Rules three weeks ago, the Kane stipulation gives the game away. Inevitably, he will reluctantly interfere and help Seth Rollins retain the title again, likely pinning Dean Ambrose, whose insertion into the match seemed designed to protect the bigger stars Roman Reigns and Randy Orton from dropping a fall to the champion, allowing those feuds to continue into the summer. Pick: Seth Rollins

Cain A. Knight: This match should immediately start with The Shield triple power bombing Orton through a table since nobody really wants him here anyway. Just like last month, most of the action in this match won't matter until Kane gets involved, and so that is going to drag down the match at least a little bit. The booking of the finish seems pretty straightforward; Kane is going to help Rollins keep the championship. However they ran that exact finish last month, and it would be extremely lazy to repeat it right away. So even though every instinct I have as a wrestling fan tells me that Rollins will retain and Ambrose is probably turning heel soon, I am going to throw that logic out the window this time. Kane and Rollins bickering like bratty children while Daddy H has to keep them in line is the opposite of compelling television, and WWE desperately needs to throw a major twist into this storyline. Considering that WWE is running three major events over these next five Sundays, I think Rollins will indeed lose the title either at Payback or Elimination Chamber, only to win it back by Money In The Bank. Dean Ambrose is the perfect guy to hold the championship for a month because the main event scene needs someone fresh until Brock returns. Pick: Dean Ambrose

Joshua Gagnon: The build-up for this main event has been sub-par, but the match itself should be interesting. Slight chance of it being an overbooked mess, considering everyone involved. Much to everyone's chagrin Kane may get involved to help, or maybe turn face...oh who cares, it's Kane. Go away! Ambrose was a late addition and most likely will be the one who takes the pin. There are also rumors of a heel turn for the "Lunatic". Rollins has been a solid Champion, and I don't see any reason why he would come out on the losing end here. It would be surprising to see him drop the title before SummerSlam. Pick: Rollins

John Cena vs. Rusev

The General: It's the blow off match in a feud involving John Cena. It's also an "I Quit" match involving John Cena. You know what's going to happen here. Pick: John Cena

Sean Rueter: I've read and enjoyed all of the wishful thinking about Cena quitting to save Lana from an Accolade, with and without revealing that her recent babyface-ish antics were a ruse and that she's remained an cold-hearted, attention shunning Bolshevik all along. That sounds like a great story to me. It doesn't jive with what a decade's worth of watching Vince McMahon booking John Cena tells me to expect tonight. The Ravishing Russian will probably throw in the towel to further her turn while protecting Rusev, though. Pick: John Cena

Keith Harris: Hopefully these two men can rise to the occasion and have the best match of their series in what should be the blowoff to their feud. It seems likely that American patriot John Cena will destroy Rusev and stand tall in the end, but that it won't be The Russian Tank who is humbled into saying "I quit!" Instead, Lana showing a more sympathetic side to her character will be the one to say those two words, leading to the inevitable breakup in her relationship with The Bulgarian Brute. Pick: John Cena

Cain A. Knight: We all know that John Cena will never lose this type of match. The only way that WWE can even tease a victory for Rusev is if he handcuffs Cena to the ropes and then threatens to put Lana in his submission hold. It would be a similar scenario to the time John Cena was forced to bring back The Authority because Rollins held Edge hostage. That scenario has to play out again at Payback, with Cena forced to choose between Lana's well-being versus his credo of never giving up. And while it would be great for Cena to quit and then have Lana immediately hug Rusev and ridicule Cena for being so naive, I don't expect that to happen. John Cena is going to use his LOLCenaWins superpowers to save Lana before administering a heavy dose of bad punches, goofy faces, and awful-looking STFU's. The Bulgarian Brute will be forced to quit, Lana will abandon her Russian roots, and John Cena will celebrate this real American victory by playing bass guitar with Metallica all night long. Pick: John Cena

Joshua Gagnon: As much as I want Rusev to finish off this feud with a win, it's just not in the cards. The Intercontinental Title is suddenly available, so hopefully Rusev can move right over to that story post-Cena. It's possible there could be a swerve, but with Lana shifting to the good side, her separation from Rusev is likely, and its possible Cena will be the one to complete her face turn. I'll give you a moment to stew over that horrible scenario. On the plus side, Cena's "Open Competition" has been awesome, so I'm sure WWE will want to continue that for awhile longer. Need another reason why Cena will be victorious? His merchandise says "never give up", is he really going to "quit" on Sunday? I think not... Pick: Cena

Bray Wyatt vs. Ryback

The General: This match-up is interesting to me if only because both guys represent something WWE wants and will always at least attempt to push periodically but never enough to actually get them over as truly top level talent. So who do they like more? I'll say the heel here. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Sean Rueter: I might actually care more if the was Husky Harris vs. Skip Sheffield. Neither guy can really afford a loss, but they have to see more money in Bray than in The Big Guy, right? Pick: Bray Wyatt

Keith Harris: As WWE so often does, they've booked a feud where both guys would benefit a lot from winning and be hurt if they don't come out on top. Ryback is much more over than his lackluster push and the fans are hungry for him to see greater success. But Bray Wyatt was already fed to The Undertaker at WrestleMania and his image needs rehabilitating so he doesn't fall into the trap of being seen as someone who always loses the money match. Given that WWE management are clearly higher on Wyatt than Ryback, I'd expect the former to get the nod here. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Cain A. Knight: The reason why Bray has been floundering for so long is because his words never have any meaningful consequences. WWE wasn't bold enough to take a risk and have Wyatt's message ruin the purity of any of the heroes who he has crossed paths with over the last year. That needs to change starting with Ryback, because Ryback is the kind of brainless meat head who should easily succumb to Wyatt's depraved charisma. Wyatt needs to get in Ryback's head and corrupt the Big Guy's soul. I don't think that will happen in their first match, but somewhere along the way Wyatt needs to actually give meaning to the claim that he is the new face of fear. Pick: Bray Wyatt

Joshua Gagnon: Say it with me; from the Undertaker to Ryback. My dislike for Ryback is well-known so it's tough to be unbiased here. The only positive I can get out of this feud is at least Wyatt will win it. Right? I mean there is no way he can lose to Undertaker, and then follow it up with a loss to Ryback. We talk about how WWE needs some more top tier heels, and they have one peering at them from behind a creepy lantern. Give Wyatt a couple wins and get him back in the main-event scene. Pick: Wyatt

The New Day vs. Brass Ring Club

The General: This is going to be so much fun, and I don't care at all who wins because every scenario is a victory. Pick: New Day

Sean Rueter: Cesaro will perform ridiculous feats of strength, but DAT NUMBERS GAME and the fact that they're one of the hottest acts in the company right now will allow New Day to win, two falls to one. The big questions are: will WWE official allow three men to a pod at Elimination Chamber for the tag titles, and do The Swinging Cats continue to chase tag gold or agree to pursue the IC strap as friendly competitors? Pick: The New Day

Keith Harris: It's clearly far too soon to take the tag team titles from The New Day, who are growing in stature and confidence as WWE's newest heel stable. But equally, The Brass Ring Club need to be kept strong going into the first ever tag team Elimination Chamber bout. Thus, I expect an inconclusive finish here, likely another disqualification victory for the Can-Swiss Connection. Pick: Cesaro & Tyson Kidd

Cain A. Knight: This is going to be the best match on the card and a reminder of how much fun it can be to watch good tag team pro wrestling. I'll stick with New Day as the winners because they lost all of their matches on Raw and Smackdown this week to Cesaro and Kidd. The only way this match can be ruined is if all those other tag teams (Prime Time Players, Lucha Dragons, Harper and Rowan) run in and cause a no-contest in the third fall, setting up a future Elimination Chamber match. But that seems more like a Raw angle than a PPV finish. Pick: New Day

Joshua Gagnon: It's kind of weird to be this excited for a tag match. Really looking forward to this one, and hope WWE gives them plenty of time to work. For me, this feud has become one of the best in the WWE, if you need proof; they already booked a tag team Elimination Chamber match. We have already seen these guys work together, and their matches never disappoint, so no worries there. New Day's recent heel turn has made them some much more fun to watch. I really don't care who wins, because both teams as deserving champions. I guess to avoid a title hot-potato storyline Kofi, Big E, and Xavier should go over here. Pick: New Day

Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus

The General: Considering the way this has played out up to this point, and the fact that both will likely be involved in the Elimination Chamber match for the vacant Intercontinental title in two weeks, this feels like a win for the heel on the way to what would have been a rubber match. Pick: Sheamus

Sean Rueter: Even though the mohawked bully got the last laugh at Extreme Rules when we all had to look at Sheamus' butt cheek while Vince roared with laughter at Gorilla, he didn't win the match. Sheamus gets his win back, and maybe Dolph gets some measure of revenge in the aftermath? Nah, probably just Sheamus gets his win back. Pick: Sheamus

Keith Harris: Another WWE booking tradition that I expect to be upheld here is pass the parcel victory trading in midcard feuds. As Ziggler got the upset win at Extreme Rules, he'll return the favour here by looking up at the lights for the Irish bully. Pick: Sheamus

Cain A. Knight: I think Sheamus needs to win this match because WWE needs credible heels in the worst way, as evidenced by the fact that Kane and Big Show have been two of the top heels in 2015. But considering that Ziggler needs some payback for last month's humiliating ass-kissing, I think he will attack Sheamus after the match and then rub his ass all over the Celtic Warrior's face in an exhausting showcase that will be too athletic for any mere mortal to handle. And then please let's ditch this ass-kissing storyline for at least 15 years. Pick: Sheamus

Joshua Gagnon: I like these guys, but can Creative stop pushing the narrative that Sheamus hasn't kissed Ziggler's ass yet? Just leave it alone! These guys are awesome together, yet that back story just so mind-numbingly stupid. At Extreme Rules, Ziggler was able to get the win, so in typical booking fashion, I fully expect Sheamus to get that win back. To achieve some more heel heat, it wouldn't surprise me if he makes Ziggler kiss that ass one more time, ew. Pick: Sheamus

Neville vs. King Barrett

The General: This is where we see exactly how much they think they have in Neville. They may like the "King" gimmick for Barrett but Neville can't lose another big match. At some point he needs to start scoring pinfalls with that gorgeous Red Arrow. Pick: Neville

Sean Rueter: If I'm picking the other King of the Ring fallout match on the principle of 50/50 booking, I'm picking this one on the principle of "Wade Barrett loses a lot". That crown he's wearing is just so Creative can feel like wins over him mean something. Pick: Neville

Keith Harris: This one is hard to call, as it's a meaningless match thrown together at the last minute. I'm leaning towards Neville eking out an upset victory, but being laid out with the Bull Hammer after the match, in booking that keeps both men firmly stuck in the WWE midcard. Pick: Neville

Cain A. Knight: It's not at all clear to me why the Bad News gimmick was replaced with a scepter and crown. The end result seems to be the same as it always is with Wade Barrett; he's mid card for life. Meanwhile Neville was given a huge slice of credibility this past week on Raw when he was on the verge of a clean victory over John Cena. Even though WWE probably wants to give a strong start to Barrett's reign as king, I think it's way more important to establish Neville as a must-watch superstar going forward. Considering that Neville had Cena beat clean, it would be an illogical step backwards to have him immediately lose to a guy like Barrett. Pick: Neville

Joshua Gagnon: Due to Bryan's neck injury, this feud came out of nowhere. The matches have been really entertaining, mostly due to Neville's insane in-ring abilities. They are currently 2-2 in televised matches, so this might be the one that decides the true winner. Barrett is looking to get back to his Intercontinental title, and a win here would help him get there. He's slowly leaving the "Bad News" behind, and a push would help get him over with the crowds. Not to mention he won King of the Ring, if he keeps losing, that only tarnishes the tournament's reputation. Long live the King! Pick: Barrett

Tamina & Naomi vs. Bella Twins

The General: You know what would be really great here? If Naomi and Tamina went full Brock Lesnar and absolutely brutalized Nikki and Brie, stomping a mudhole in their asses and walking it dry. Just viciously beat them nearly to death, score a pin, and turn the Divas division totally on its head. I expect a roll up win for the Bellas, though. Pick: Bella Twins

Sean Rueter: Making the heels look like a credible threat while Nikki's belt isn't on the line seems like as good a way as any to stall until Paige gets back and this division can pretend to be interesting again. Pick: Naomi & Tamina Snuka

Keith Harris: It's hard to bet against The Bellas who are the dynastic duo in the WWE Divas division. They'll only be knocked off their perch when younger, more athletic women from NXT get called up from the main roster. Tamina Snuka certainly isn't the future, whilst Naomi seems to be pegged at a level below both twins. Pick: The Bella Twins

Cain A. Knight: WWE is quickly trying to establish Naomi and Tamina as a dominant force within the divas division, and so they pretty much have to win this match. Naomi will pin Nikki, setting up yet another championship match between them in the near future. Pick: Naomi and Tamina

Joshua Gagnon: I wasn't big on Tamina getting teamed up with Naomi, but thanks to AJ Lee leaving, Naomi inherited her. The two have worked well together, and it has been wonderful seeing them take out the Bellas over the past couple weeks. Side-note: a Naomi-led heel stable would be kind of awesome, just sayin'. At Extreme Rules, Nikki was able to defeat Naomi, so I'm hoping Naomi -- and her awesome light-up sneakers -- can get some revenge this time around. It's a great spot to make the heels look strong and establish a new team in the division. Pick: Naomi/Tamina

The Meta Powers vs. The Ascension

The General: The Meta Powers are a joke, sure, but at least they're a joke that makes you laugh. Pick: Meta Powers

Sean Rueter: Take your vitamins and snap into delusional impersonators on the pre-show, brotherdudejack! Dig it? Pick: Macho Mandow & Curtis Axel

Keith Harris: Even though they're a comedy act, it would be pretty silly for the parody Mega Powers to lose their first match together as a unit. The Ascension are dead in the water already, so it's not like a loss here would really harm them. Pick: Curtis Axel and Macho Mandow

Cain A. Knight: The Macho Mandow gimmick isn't doing any favors for Sandow, and it's probably in his best interests to find another character as soon as possible. But I don't really see the point in having The Ascension win another match ever again, so I expect this one to end with a flying elbow, an atomic leg drop, and lots of posing. I bet this story eventually leads to The Great Khali returning at SummerSlam to play the role of Zeus. Pick: Macho Mandow and AxelMania

Joshua Gagnon: All I can say is poor Sandow. We had concern for him post-Miz, and it's been pretty rough. Not only did he go right back to impersonations, but they stuck him with "AxelMania". To compound things, Creative thought it would be a fantastic idea to put them up against The Ascension. They are still around? Unfortunately, yes they are. Since it's the Kick-Off Show match, I'm going to assume WWE wants the crowd pumped up so it only makes sense to have Axel/Sandow go over here. Nobody cares about The Ascension, and giving them a win only takes away from what Sandow has built. Pick: Axel/Sandow


Those are our predictions, Cagesiders. What are yours?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats