WWE Payback 2017: Predictability Hurts PPV’s Anticipation


WWE Payback could become a worthless show and may be a real “road block” in scheduling.

For a while, it looked like WWE Payback 2017 would be a Raw pay-per-view. It only made sense with commentary hyping it up as this — until the Superstar Shakeup happened.

On the Raw portion of this two-night event, multiple SmackDown Live Superstars made their way over. In particular, Bray Wyatt showed up on the screen to send a warning to Finn Balor. It makes for an interesting feud for the spring, and a possible “dream match” for many. However, something stuck out here — what about that House of Horrors match he challenged Randy Orton to?

Well, during Wyatt’s promo to Balor, he revealed this bout would take place in “three weeks.” That just so happens to be when Payback will go live. So … doesn’t that make this show co-branded?

That’s not even the main issue here, as just like with another match on the card, we know who’s going to win without a spoiler report or “smart money” betting odds. Orton’s not going to drop SmackDown’s WWE Championship to someone leaving the brand, as well as the Universal Championship already being on Raw, despite Brock Lesnar’s likely absences throughout this reign. If he did lose it, it would suddenly make the United States Championship the No. 1 title on SmackDown, but that would be difficult to comprehend happening.

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The Eater of Worlds is also on a path to lose the match he created, which seems like as much of a head-scratcher as any. It would mark yet another big-match loss for him, even with the Elimination Chamber win on his résumé. That gave the former Wyatt Family leader the most momentum he’s had since his rookie year, but it dissipated.

A match facing a similar problem is Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho for the United States Championship. We already know Jericho is leaving for a Fozzy tour, so that makes the chances of him regaining this title slim to none.

However, Daniel Bryan added a stipulation to this match: whoever wins joins SmackDown. Why put Owens on the show in the first place, only to yank him back to Raw? If it happens, it’s an indefensible decision, but again, with Y2J leaving, this isn’t happening. So, expect KO to stay on Tuesday nights.

To a lesser degree, there’s the Raw Tag Team Championship match. The Hardy Boyz returned at WrestleMania 33, immediately claimed these titles, and have looked strong in both showings on Raw. While WWE is certainly getting the nostalgia act out of Matt and Jeff, they’re clearly not sitting idle like how the Dudley Boyz were booked, and will be players in the Raw Tag Team Division for a while.

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This makes the WWE Payback match against Cesaro and Sheamus feel predictable, too. WWE will get the most out of the Hardy Brothers, especially during their return title run, so why have them drop the belts to an exciting but less intriguing team just 28 days later?

The icing on the cake may be the WWE Cruiserweight Championship match. After losing via an eye gouge at WrestleMania, Austin Aries is getting a chance at redemption on Apr. 30. Losing back-to-back title bouts would only hurt his stock in the Cruiserweight division, which he’s been incredibly valuable to since debuting in March.

Then, there’s TJ Perkins, who created a feud with Aries with his heel turn. If A-Double can get the title off Neville at Payback, there will be a ready-made program for him.

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There are still more matches to be made for WWE Payback, so those could offset what we’re already getting. As of this writing, however, this PPV doesn’t seem enticing to tune in to.