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WWE Payback 2023 predictions

WWE Payback is all set to take place tonight (Sat., Sept. 2, 2023) from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It begins at 7 pm ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 pm ET on Peacock in the U.S., WWE Network everywhere else, or your local cable pay-per-view provider.

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.

World Heavyweight Championship: Seth Rollins (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Geno Mrosko: Triple H is big on longer title reigns making belts meaningful, and Rollins really hasn’t been champion long enough to lose the strap just yet. Then again, I think there’s a good story to tell with Damian Priest winning the world heavyweight title and it furthering The Judgment Day’s issues. So I’m going to go out on a limb here. Pick: Seth Rollins, but Priest cashes in right after

Sean Rueter: Had juuuust about talked myself into a Nak win, maybe just as a quick transitional run to get to Damian Priest. But I can’t see WWE doing a change until Seth goes at least a few weeks with that new sideplate on his belt. Pick: Seth Rollins

Kyle Decker: This has been a good story. Simple but effective. Perfect for a B PPV. But I feel that Damian Priest has a better chance of walking out of Payback with the world title than Nak does. Pick: Seth Freakin’

Claire Elizabeth: Um, y’all. Seth Rollins’ back is literally broken in two places. Man doesn’t stand a chance! Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Cain A. Knight: I’m really enjoying Nak’s work in this story, but I don’t see him as a serious threat to beat Rollins. Pick: Seth Rollins

Marcus Benjamin: I dig all of this. Nakamura showing how dangerous he is when he wants gold. Seth showing vulnerability and cutting through that seemingly impenetrable Joker facade. While I don't see Nak winning, I do think this match lays the ground for Seth’s eventual defeat. This has potential for some cool longform storytelling if done right. Pick: Seth Rollins

Steel Cage Match: Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

Geno Mrosko: There’s a very clear winner here, and it’s time to move on from this now. Pick: Becky Lynch

Sean Rueter: Thank you, Trish. But this match — like the whole feud leading up to it — will prove it’s The Man’s world, and you’re just living in it. Pick: Becky Lynch

Kyle Decker: It’s a shame that this feud never really clicked. But the Falls Count Anywhere match was fun and this should be too. Maybe we’ll see Lita help neutralize Zoey Stark (because no doubt a cage isn’t keeping her away) to bring this story full circle. Hopefully, this is the end of this book and if it is, Lynch is most certainly winning. Pick: Becky Lynch

Claire Elizabeth: The longer this goes, the more Becky wants it to just be over, and a steel cage sure feels like over. Pick: Becky Lynch

Cain A. Knight: There’s no way the feud went this long just for Becky to lose the big match at the end. Pick: Becky Lynch

Marcus Benjamin: I really wish they did this match before now. This feud had so much promise that it never lived up to for various reasons. Mercifully, it ends. Since I have no idea when we’ll see her again, thank you, Trish. Pick: Becky Lynch

United States Championship: Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Austin Theory

Geno Mrosko: I’m still going with the assumption that Mysterio will put Santos Escobar over at a later date, and endorse him in a big way. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Sean Rueter: His more charismatic Australian replacement body double will be busy talking to Cody, so can’t see the lucha legend taking the fall. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Kyle Decker: The outcome is in little doubt for me. The bigger question is if they decide to turn Santos heel or if they keep the LWO intact and he eventually defeats Rey in a match where they show respect to each other in the end. (Also, I would have swapped this match for the Intercontinental title match which feels vastly more interesting.) Pick: Rey Mysterio

Claire Elizabeth: Rey Mysterio is the greatest of all time and Austin Theory is a chump I should have been meaner to in my Evolve recaps. Easy peasy. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Cain A. Knight: Austin Theory’s reign as champ was rather forgettable. There’s just no good reason to go back to it. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Marcus Benjamin: Austin Theory....yup, that’s a story. Pick: Rey Mysterio

Women’s World Championship: Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez

Geno Mrosko: They had a way better story they could have told with their history together, but they’ve been so caught up on other Judgment Day business that I hope they just skip past this and come back and do it proper sometime down the line. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Sean Rueter: ... oh, you’re serious? You need me to type it out? Okay... Pick: Rhea Ripley

Kyle Decker: Raquel Rodriquez is one of the few women on the roster who I could see eventually defeating Mami. But now is not that time. And that time is not any time soon. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Claire Elizabeth: This is all weirdly tedious, which is strange because Rhea is a compelling character, but against the backdrop of the hot potatoing of the women’s tag titles... eh. Not so much. Let’s get it over with and find something more exciting. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Cain A. Knight: Rhea Ripley is not losing this title before she wrestles against Becky Lynch. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Marcus Benjamin: This setup got weird between these two. The story never gelled and Raquel never truly felt like a part of Rhea’s life. Unfortunately for Rhea, the Judgment Day stuff, and Rhea’s relationship with Dom supersedes everything. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Tag Team Championship: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) vs. The Judgment Day

Geno Mrosko: They won’t do a change here, and it will lead to my previously mentioned main event change. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Sean Rueter: These guys can’t even slide a briefcase to one another and we’re supposed to believe they can be Tag champs? As if. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Kyle Decker: This should be where the Judgment Day breakup really starts. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Claire Elizabeth: There’s a world where I can see Judgment Day winning here, but honestly it’s not the world where they let Kevin Owens miss a month due to injury without just doing the change via bureaucracy or a handicap or substitute partner situation. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Cain A. Knight: I’m willing to believe rumors about some changes coming to The Judgment Day, and those changes are more likely to happen if they continue to fail in spots like this. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Marcus Benjamin: They. Chose. Violence. I love a good street fight on a Saturday night. But this really isn’t about the tag champs; it’s about Finn & Damian. Rhea laid down the ultimatum and I fear for both men when they show up on Monday empty-handed. Pick: Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

LA Knight vs. The Miz

Geno Mrosko: It’s been fun watching these two go back-and-forth and a great reminder of how good The Miz can be when he’s given something that gets him inspired. But it’s one man’s show. Pick: LA Knight

Sean Rueter: Mike’s a crafty veteran, and this doesn’t strike me as a one show feud. It will be the very opposite of clean, but... Pick: The Miz

Kyle Decker: I for one am stoked for this 2.5 star classic. And while I really don’t expect a great wrestling match, I’m always excited to see the Megastar, who is definitely winning here because no way does the Miz need a win over him. Pick: with everybody sayin’... L. A. Knight

Claire Elizabeth: Miz already used up his one surprisingly great match for 2023 on TV against Seth Rollins, so yeah, Deck’s 2.5’er is about right and my money is that Knight walks away the victor. Pick: LA Knight

Cain A. Knight: The Miz couldn’t even beat Akira Tozawa. Pick: LA Knight

Marcus Benjamin: With everybody saying..Pick: LA Knight

That’s how we see the card playing out.

How about you?

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