WWE Payback 2017: Taking WWE Title Out of Randy Orton-Bray Wyatt Match is Right Call


Rarely does removing the WWE Championship from a pay-per-view make sense, but in the case of Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt’s House of Horrors match at Payback, it was the right call.

As a member of Monday Night Raw following the Superstar Shakeup, Wyatt no longer has the opportunity to regain the championship he lost at WrestleMania 33, the WWE subtly and silently removing it from the contest.

WWE.com’s preview for the rematch makes little mention of the title. Further evidence of it becoming a non-title match arose when Jinder Mahal won a Six-Pack Challenge to become the new No. 1 contender. The commentary team made clear Mahal would challenge Orton, and not simply the winner of the Payback showdown.

Removing the WWE Championship from this match had to happen. Wyatt’s hopes of regaining the title evaporated the moment he switched to Raw, and everybody knew it. By taking it out of the match completely, the outcome becomes less predictable.

Wyatt should win the House of Horrors match. It’s his creation. He has the home-field advantage. For the same reason The Undertaker rarely lost clean in Casket or Buried Alive matches, Wyatt enters the House of Horrors with the upper hand. The match is on his terms.

By taking the WWE Championship away from the match, we can now believe there’s at least a chance Wyatt emerges victorious in his own creation. If the title had remained on the line, any aura surrounding the stipulation would be gone. Fans know Orton isn’t losing the title, so the House of Horrors gimmick would lose all steam.

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Sure, the WWE should have dealt with the situation better. Planning the Superstar Shakeup prior to WrestleMania would’ve allowed them to avoid a rematch altogether. The fact the match was originally for the championship suggests Wyatt’s move to Monday nights was a last-minute decision.

Some clarification on either Raw or SmackDown this past week should have happened. Either Kurt Angle or Shane McMahon could have announced the match was no longer for the title as Bray Wyatt isn’t permitted to take SmackDown’s premier title to the other brand. It’s a logical story to follow.

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Maybe the commissioners agreed the WWE Championship couldn’t swap shows when they made the trade for Wyatt. This could easily be factored into the storyline, and acts as an easy explanation for the title no longer being on the line. Silently removing it only adds to the confusion following the shakeup.

The WWE doesn’t want to bring attention to it, which is understandable, rather deciding to brush it under the carpet and pretend the title never was to be defended.

Regardless of the manner in which we got to this point, making the Orton-Wyatt rematch a non-title affair is the lesser of two evils. Either Wyatt should have stayed on SmackDown or the match never been made, but the WWE has at least corrected the championship situation.

Now a true case can be put forward for either Superstar winning the match. Either Wyatt builds some momentum entering a feud with Finn Balor on Raw, or Orton further solidifies his reign as championship prior to a program with Jinder Mahal.

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Orton likely wins, but it’s no longer a foregone conclusion. The entire build to this match has felt awkward since the shakeup, but taking away the championship helps reestablish intrigue to the first ever House of Horrors match.