Intercontinental Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. AJ Styles
Last Friday on SmackDown, AJ Styles defended his Intercontinental Championship against Jeff Hardy. Earlier in the night, during the commotion as several SmackDown superstars tried to defend the ring from an ambush by RETRIBUTION, AJ Styles took a moment to kick Hardy in the back of the knee and put him at a severe disadvantage heading into their title match.
Unfortunately, it backfired as Hardy’s heavy knee brace ultimately knocked Styles senseless and opened Jeff Hardy up for a Swanton Bomb to become the new Intercontinental Champion. We’re sure to see Styles bring that up this Friday and look for a championship rematch at WWE Payback, and I think he’ll take the win here and get back his title with a little ringside assistance from Joseph Park.
Prediction: AJ Styles is the new Intercontinental Champion
Raw Women’s Championship Open Challenge: Asuka (c) vs. Bianca Belair
Just being direct, there is absolutely no reason for WWE not to have two women’s matches at WWE Payback. SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley will be tied up defending the WWE Women’s Tag Team Titles, but Asuka’s win on WWE Raw means it’s time for her to move on to some new competition.
Always the fighting champion, Asuka should lay down an open challenge for the Raw Women’s Championship at WWE Payback, which should ultimately be answered by Bianca Belair. “The Empress of Tomorrow” and “The EST of WWE” would have a spectacular match, and even a loss to Asuka would go a long way towards making Bianca Belair a championship contender.
Prediction: Asuka retains the Raw Women’s Championship
Keith Lee vs. Randy Orton
Drew McIntyre beat Randy Orton, appropriately, out of nowhere with a backslide at SummerSlam. Unable to accept that, Randy Orton viciously attacked McIntyre during WWE Raw and delivered two punts to him. McIntyre looked for revenge later that night, as he interrupted a match where Keith Lee made his WWE Raw debut against Randy Orton.
While McIntyre got the upperhand in that confrontation, a second attack later that night by Orton saw a third punt that ultimately sent the WWE Champion to a local medical facility. It’s confirmed that Keith Lee now has a chance to make his pay-per-view debut at WWE Payback against a legend in Randy Orton and pick up a massive victory, while also getting some revenge for the actions Orton took against Lee’s good friend Drew McIntyre.
Prediction: Keith Lee def. Randy Orton