There are just 6 days until yet another new PPV concept from WWE and there are only 3 matches on the card. I say this every month, but will they get around to adding more matches or just keep teasing them? Will HHH-Axel actually happen or will they kick it onto the PPV? Will Vince and Stephanie show up again? Why haven’t we heard from The Shield lately? Will they defend their titles at Payback? Will there be another super creepy video from Bray Wyatt? Will Dolph be in the ring to finally set up his WHC bout with Del Rio? Can The Ryback continue to lose PPV matches and still be taken seriously? Will The Flying Goat ever get the respect he deserves?
Kick Off: You figured there was no way HHH was actually going to wrestle an actual match with Axel. However, the way they pulled it off was hilarious. The match actually starting before Vince coming out and ‘telling’ Justin Roberts to announce a DQ win for Axel was inventive, but then H orders Roberts to announce a restart only to have Vince come back out and announce Curtis as the winner via forfeit. Not be outdone H orders Roberts again this time to declare the match a 60 man Iron Man Match! So Vince comes back out yet again and takes Roberts’ mic as well as the ring bell! That just might be one of the more entertaining openings to RAW lately.
Family Reunion: With Stephanie and Vince reappearing and the crowd booing them keeping HHH out of action, as well as the opening segment, could this lead to a Vince heel turn? Hopefully it’ll actually happen as his Mr McMahon character is arguably one of the greatest heels of all time. He was at his best when he was manipulating and taking no prisoners to show that he was The Boss. Or there could be a heel Vince vs face HHH feud where the roster aligns itself with one or the other? Perhaps Vince feeling threatened by H’s presumed role as heir of his company? How Stephanie fits into this is another layer. If they do go forward with that angle, it would add a much needed jolt and bring the level of drama the product has been lacking lately.
Punk/Jericho: While the contract signing last week was awkward in places, the match at Payback should not be at all. One of the things that makes this the most anticipated match on the card is the number of ways it could turn out. Punk could not even show up at all, which would require WWE to take a huge chance since the PPV is in Punk’s hometown. Punk could have Heyman in his corner, only to have him side with Jericho, thus leading to a double turn. Punk could turn face given that Heyman has been accepting matches on Punk’s behalf and he technically (in storyline) hasn’t signed the match contract. Then again Jericho and Punk could both stay face and heel respectively. Of course Punk will be greeted as a face in Chicago regardless of the role he plays. Oh yeah and the wrestling will be great, just like tonight when Bryan Danielson beat Tyler Black. I mean when Daniel Bryan beat Seth Rollins.
Axel: Yeah he’s beaten top guys like HHH, Cena and Jericho but there’s always been a caveat. Hunter had his injury, Ryback distracted Cena and Jericho got sidetracked, so it’s not like his wins are legit. Then again he is a heel with Heyman as his manager so it makes some sense he woudln’t win clean. However, it’s not really doing much for him and you can’t really take him seriously. It seems like Creative is giving him the requisite hyper to build him up, but at the same having a sort of fall back in case he doesn’t pan out. However, with the news that Fandango is out of the IC match due to a concussion and Axel is taking his place certainly throws a wrench into things.
Product Placement: First it started with Domino’s and the latest product they’re shoving in our faces is Hardee’s new Super Bacon Double with Cheese and Pickles. It even was the sponsor of the Sandow-Truth match later in the show. I know this kind of thing is here to stay, but you figure these companies are paying alot of money for WWE to shamelessly promote their products. However, does the company really need the extra cash? Don’t they already make hundreds of millions in annual revenue?
Kaitlyn’s Secret Admirer: Who really cares who it is? This whole angles has ran out of steam and it’s not the first time Creative has dropped a story that had some legs. Already awkward before it even started, it gets even more so when the admirer is revealed to be Big E Langston. Continuing the theme he awkwardly expresses his feelings for Kaitlyn before AJ shows up to reveal it was all a hoax. As good as AJ’s mic work was during that segment and how it effectively sold the (finally) Kaitlyn-AJ Divas Title match on Sunday, the beginning was just too much like something out of a high school drama or something.