Mike Miceli – Staff Writer
Welcome to another edition of Bell2Bell where you can find predictions and reviews of every WWE Raw and Smackdown pay-per-view event right here on TwoCentsTV!
Tonight is the Raw brand PPV WWE Payback and I think the majority of the WWE Universe is struggling to care. Here we have a PPV with hastily thrown together matches that had little-to-no build up for the most part. The matches that do have build up have remarkably low expectations (I’m looking at you Orton/Wyatt).
The PPV just seems like a card filled with missed opportunities, predictable outcomes, and half-baked ideas. Raw just acquired the Intercontinental Championship and holds it in SUCH high regard that WWE doesn’t even have it, or champion Dean Ambrose, on the show. Finn Balor suspiciously doesn’t even have a match, just a Miz TV segment (what is this? Raw?) And lets not forget that this is a PPV where neither the WWE title nor the Universal title are being defended. Hooray for part-time champions. So much for that “title must be defended every 30 days” rule.
So yeah… get excited, I guess…
Enzo Amore and Big Cass VS Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson
I don’t care.
I DO NOT CARE. Both of these teams have been booked like garbage for MONTHS. Because these two teams have been booked so poorly, the outcome of this match is unpredictable, but the result is something that I truly believe doesn’t matter. These two teams have been buried to the point of extreme mediocrity. It’s sad. It’s disappointing. And I have nothing invested in this at all.
WWE could use a strong heel team since The Revival (who had an amazing debut) is out with an injury. So having The Club win in dominant fashion would be a logical and smart idea… but this is WWE. WWE just announced that they’re going to have a PPV called “Great Balls of Fire”… so if they’ve proved anything, it’s that they seem to have a serious lack of logic and smart ideas.
I’m going to go with Enzo and Cass only because WWE traditionally has faces win on the pre-show.
WINNERS: Enzo and Cass
MizTV Segment with Finn Balor
Why? Why is this happening? Why isn’t this say a #1 contender’s match for the IC title? Why is Finn not in a match at all? Is Finn only cleared for minimal in-ring activity after his concussion? Simple questions…
This could have been a #1 contender’s match with Dean as a special guest referee. That would have been a great entertaining match. Even though it wouldn’t be the focus of the match, at least the IC title and it’s champion would be featured in some aspect.
Instead… we get this…
LOSERS: Everyone involved, including the audience
Neville (c) VS Austin Aries for the WWE Cruiserweight Championship
Their match at Wrestlemania was pretty good and I’m expecting this one will be as well. While I’m still yearning for the cruiserweights to wrestle like they did in the CWC, I guess I need to accept the fact that we are never going to get that on the main roster.
I don’t see Aries going over here. Would I like it? Sure. But I just don’t think it’s going to happen. I think TJ Perkins may get involved here to cost Aries the match.
WINNER and STILL WWE Cruiserweight Champion: Neville
The Hardy Boyz (c) VS Sheamus and Cesaro for the Raw Tag Team Championships
The outcome of this match, I think, hinges entirely on the legal status of Matt Hardy’s “Broken Universe” gimmick. Rumor has it that WWE secured the rights from TNA/Anthem/Impact Wrestling and if that’s the case, I can absolutely see the Hardy’s losing here so they can become #BROKEN.
But, this is all rumor and speculation at this point, so I’m still going to have The Hardys as the winners here. However, if they do lose and the Hardys (or just Matt) debut the #BROKEN gimmick in WWE, I’ll be very happy with that outcome as well.
WINNERS and STILL Raw Tag Team Champions: The Hardy Boyz
Bayley (c) VS Alexa Bliss for the Raw Women’s Championship
Barely as Champion has been a sadly underwhelming affair. WWE completely botched her title reign by giving it to her much too early and robbing both her and the WWE audience of what would have been a truly amazing Wrestlemania moment. Bayley’s defenses haven’t been all that memorable with the exception of the ‘Mania match.
Bayley is a face that NEEDS to be the underdog. The minute she’s on top, she immediately becomes less interesting. So now that Bayley has had her initial title reign it’s time to take the belt and put it on some new blood that can inject a little life into the Raw Women’s Division.
It’s also worth noting that Bayley will be in her home town of San Jose, California and WWE traditionally has wrestlers lose in their home towns because, apparently, that’s how Vinny Mac gets his jollies.
WINNER and NEW Raw Women’s Champion: Alexa Bliss
Seth Rollins VS Samoa Joe
This has the potential to be match of the night. While the storyline is sub-par and the wrestler’s motivations have been paper-thin at best, these two guys have the potential to put on an amazing match. I have extremely high expectations for this. I hope I’m not disappointed.
I think Joe will go over here to continue his heel dominance on Raw. Hopefully he moves on to a program with Dean Ambrose so we can get the IC belt on someone who will bring it some prestige.
WINNER: Samoa Joe
Kevin Owens (c) VS Chris Jericho for the WWE United States Championship
Owens. Owens, Owens, Owens… Kevin Owens.
This feud has been great and one of the most entertaining things on WWE programming for the last few months. Sadly, this one is very predictable if you’re familiar with the backstage dealings at WWE. Jericho’s current contract is up tomorrow. He’s touring with Fozzy this summer to promote their new album. There’s no way KO doesn’t retain and keep his spot on Smackdown. Look for KO to beat the snot out of Y2J post-match to write him off TV for the next few months.
WINNER and STILL WWE United States Champion: Kevin Owens
Randy Orton VS Bray Wyatt – House of Horrors Match
So… we still don’t even know what exactly this “House of Horrors” match is… Never a good sign.
Will this be a hardcore match? A backstage funhouse situation? Some kind of hell in a cell variation? Or are we looking at some kind of pre-taped Final Deletion-like segment similar to the Wyatt Compound fight with the New Day?
I have extremely low expectations for this match and a sneaking suspicion that this is going to be an absolute train wreck. But maybe they learned their lesson after their truly atrocious Wrestlemania match. Probably not, but as long as they keep those stupid projections of bugs out of the ring (or wherever they are), I’ll consider it a marked improvement.
That said, this match is no longer advertised for the WWE Championship (and the belt itself was stolen by Jinder Mahal on this week’s Smackdown). This no longer being a title match flips the odds heavily in Bray Wyatt’s favor. And it makes sense that they’d wanted to give Bray a big win as he heads over to Raw.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
Roman Reigns VS Braun Strowman
Ugh. I didn’t need to see this again. I really didn’t. But here we are.
Braun has been destroying Roman over the last few weeks, attacking him mercilessly on numerous occasions. In his last attack, Braun supposedly caused Reigns to suffer cracked ribs and a separated shoulder. So what does all this add up to? Reigns is probably wining.
Vince likes nothing better than to make Reigns look like a super-hero that overcomes impossible odds to get the win. It’s boring. It’s predictable. And it’s one of the reasons a lot of fans have had it with Reigns and the way he’s booked. People still haven’t recovered from the fact that Reigns beat Undertaker clean at ‘Mania and they didn’t even take the opportunity to turn him heel. At least I am. I’m still furious about it whenever the thought creeps into my mind.
My thoughts on Reigns aside, Strowman has been killing it over the last few weeks. Despite his loss to Reigns before Wrestlemania and then getting unceremoniously dumped from the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Braun has managed to regain some of the momentum he lost. Just in time to lose to Roman for a second time it seems…
… maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised with a Braun win… doubtful.
WINNER and STILL hated by 90% of the fans: Roman Reigns
So those are my predictions for another underwhelming (at least on paper) WWE PPV. Maybe WWE will shut me up and knock this one out of the park. Hey, I’d love that. I’d love to be proven wrong and actually watch a high quality, well written, well booked WWE PPV. But I’m starting to wonder if those even exist anymore…