For a variety of reasons, it doesn’t seem like there’s as much hype for Payback in Pittsburgh tonight (Sept. 2) as there’s been for most of WWE’s recent premium live events. But if the addition of host John Cena doesn’t have you fired up the show, maybe the possibilities presented by the presence of these stars will get you there.
On the subscription-required Elite section of their website, PWInsider is reporting that NXT Women’s champion Tiffany Stratton is in town for Payback. The site also says Jey Uso is on hand for the show tonight. And last but not least, while Insider notes they haven’t confirmed why he’s there, Keiji Mutoh — aka The Great Muta — arrived in Pittsburgh from Japan recently and is there today.
It’s not hard to imagine what Stratton could do on the show. Seeds have been planted for a program with Becky Lynch, and the rumor mill says Lynch vs. Stratton is in the cards. But while it seems safe to assume The Man will soon be aiding in Tiff’s development and popping a Tuesday night rating or two in the process, there are multiple ways to use Stratton at Payback to get there. Will she interfere in Becky’s Steel Cage match with Trish Status? Appear after a Lynch win for a staredown? Attack Bex backstage?
Main Event Jey is an even bigger mystery. In storyline, he’s no longer a member of the WWE roster. He “quit” after his twin brother cost him his SummerSlam match with Roman Reigns, but neither the Tribal Chief nor Jimmy (or Jimmmy) Uso is on the Payback card. Did SmackDown’s scenes of Jimmy and Cena, or Jimmy and Solo Sikoa & Paul Heyman, inspire Jey to jump back into The Bloodline saga?
If Muta were to appear on the show, it would figure to have something to do with Shinsuke Nakamura’s match with World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins. WWE allowed Nakamura to return to Japan for a New Year’s Day match with Muta on the Japanese legend’s retirement tour. They also inducted Muta into their Hall of Famer with the class of 2023. Considering how many promotions worked together to make Muta’s send off a special one, it’s unlikely he’s coming out of retirement. Just cornering Nak would make for a nice moment, though. And would mist-ing Rollins in the face really count as a return?
Of course, they could also just be in Western Pennsylvania visiting friends, or for an appointment at WWE’s Pittsburgh medical offices. But where’s the fun in that? Those options don’t give you any angles to mull over between now and tonight’s opening bell.
So get busy doing that in the comments. Then join us for our Payback coverage tonight and we’ll see what, if anything, Mutoh, Uso & Stratton get up to on the show.