by Daniel Johnson, Kyle Childers and Dave Pendleton
Big E and Kofi Kingston (with Xavier Woods) vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (c) (with Natalya) for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Daniel Johnson: The in-ring work of the match should be entertaining. However, it is tough to get too excited for this one when there you’re almost positive the WWE Tag Team Championship will just be defended on the pre-show of WWE Payback 2015 next month. No one in this match is really getting elevated so we’ll just have to enjoy it for what it is. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd will retain over Big E and Kofi Kingston while Natalya and Xavier Woods, respectively do nothing.
Kyle Childers: Guys, this is like the fourth pay-per-view in a row where the tag titles are going to be defended! For huge tag fans like myself, this is quite good news, especially considering the match quality the tag champs have been delivering. With The New Day slow burn heel turn they have going on, it makes sense for the champs to retain.
Dave Pendleton: The New Day has absolutely backfired on the WWE and it seems they are scrambling to do some kind of heel turn with them. When these three first got together on WWE Main Event and WWE Superstars last year, they were not using the black gospel gimmick and I had hopes that being a stable would give them all a chance to really shine. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. I think the match will be good, Tyson and Cesaro are great and they can work well with anyone. I would love to see Xavier and Kofi be the team here and that is not a knock on Big E. I have been a fan of his for quite a while, but I would really love to see Xavier get a chance to show off. I see Kidd and Cesaro coming out of this still tag team champions.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus in a kiss me arse match
Daniel Johnson: It’s probably just nostalgia for the Attitude Era and all, but I’m digging the kiss me arse match stipulation. If there was no stipulation in this match I’d still be excited. Sheamus is going to be stiff as hell and Dolph Ziggler is going to sell like a pinball, but after being around for so long these two need a little oomph for an entertaining feud. A kiss me arse match is certainly an unexpected twist and something different among so much of the same old, same old in WWE. I’m thinking Sheamus wins, but I doubt Ziggler will actually pucker up. On a side note the build for this match got me to re-watch some old Father Ted episodes.
Kyle Childers: I hate the gimmick of this match, but love the idea of the match. Sheamus is at his best when he’s a big bully and Ziggler is at his best when he’s pitted against a big bully. These two could have a surprisingly great match together and I don’t expect them to follow through on the stip so I guess Sheamus wins then Ziggler gets out of the ass kissing.
Dave Pendleton: This is really a horrible gimmick that is just not necessary. The match will be good, maybe even great if Ziggler does his usual level selling by bouncing around like a superball. I feel like Vince McMahon decided to take over the writing on this story. Having the big guy pick on the little guys and then moving to a kiss me arse match is really reminiscent of a McMahon idea. I really cannot stand the idea of having to go through with this gimmick for either guy, but I especially hate the fact that I really see Sheamus winning this match and Ziggler having to pucker up.
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper in a Chicago street fight
Daniel Johnson: Dean Ambrose facing Luke Harper in a Chicago street fight has obvious match of the night potential. To maximize the potential of this bout I wouldn’t be surprised if it was as hardcore and stiff as anything shown on WWE television today. Ambrose and Harper made names for themselves wrestling in vicious matches on the independent wrestling scene. Now, it’s time for them to pull out all of the stops in a show stealer. Ambrose will probably win this one, but given how much Ambrose has lost since The Shield broke up, the WWE creative team could very well go with Harper. I’ll be optimistic and say Ambrose since he is connecting with fans better and has a more versatile skill set.
Kyle Childers: This match could possibly be awesome, Dean Ambrose is (when he feels like it or something) one of the most dynamic performers in the company and Luke Harper is one of the best big men in the business at the moment, if these two go for broke then this is potentially match of the night. I think Dean wins because I’m one of the few holding out hope for a surprise win at WWE Money in the Bank 2015.
Dave Pendleton: This will be a great, old fashioned brawl. This match has been built up really well and these two seem to have some great chemistry and if Dean wears that gray shirt they almost look alike. I fully expect Ambrose to jump off of things, get thrown through a table and take a few giant superkicks. Harper will do what he does best, mow through people. I feel like Ambrose will come out with the win on this one. The WWE really needs to keep him strong, especially with the possibility of Daniel Bryan being out of action again.
Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan (c) for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Daniel Johnson: I’m hoping this is at least a non-match rather than being pulled off the card completely with Daniel Bryan forfeiting the WWE Intercontinental Championship. Ideally Bad News Barrett gives the injured Bryan some kind of cheap shot and takes back the title.
Kyle Childers: Is this even going to happen? With Bryan’s recent health problems, it doesn’t seem likely and that’s pretty unfortunate. I guess Bad News Barrett technically wins?
Dave Pendleton: This match is completely up in the air. Bryan is hurt again and last I heard may not even be at Extreme Rules or Payback. If Bryan makes it to Extreme Rules I feel like it will be to lose to Barrett. If the WWE wants to build up the Intercontinental Championship the last thing they need to do is keep the belt on Bryan while he is out for five weeks. The title needs to be defended and Barrett can do that with Ambrose, Ziggler or whoever chasing him until Bryan is really ready to come back.
Rusev (with “The Ravishing Russian” Lana) vs. John Cena (c) in a Russian chain match for the WWE United States Championship
Daniel Johnson: Rusev and “The Ravishing Russian” Lana still have a lot to gain even after a loss at WWE WrestleMania 31. After all no matter what show it is on, a pay-per-view win over John Cena is still a pay-per-view win over John Cena. Cena will probably retain though by beating Rusev clean and ending this feud. Perhaps Rusev will put on a good enough performance to still be elevated. In a way it makes more sense to keep the WWE United States Championship on Cena. Rusev looks too dominant over lower tier workers and has so much to lose by looking weak against them in matches for the title. Meanwhile Cena is untouchable at this point. If Cena lost to Zack Ryder at Payback without any build he could still main event WWE Money in the Bank 2015.
Kyle Childers: These two have had two pretty solid matches against each other in the last few months and I expect this to be more of the same. I hope that the Russian chain stipulation wasn’t just to keep Cena from being pinned because a win like that would really bolster Rusev as a guy that will be main event level soon, it still allows hope for a win for the Bulgarian Brute.
Dave Pendleton: This will be a great match, but it would have been so much better in 1998 or even 1988. A Russian chain match has always been a brutal match. Ivan Koloff, Dusty Rhodes, Roddy Piper and Greg Valentine can attest to how brutal a chain match can be. Jim Ross noted on his podcast that he believed the concept of Extreme Rules is almost passe in the current PG landscape and I have to agree. This match and the cage match should both be bloody, brutal affairs, but in this day and time they will both be perfectly fine matches, but could just as easily be a normal match. I fully expect Cena to win this match and continue to do the championship challenge until some young guy comes in and does to him exactly what he did to Kurt Angle thirteen years ago when he was an unknown and took Angle to the limit during his Olympic challenge.
Roman Reigns vs. The Big Show in a last man standing match
Daniel Johnson: So I guess this match is another one entirely based around showcasing the strength of The Big Show’s opponent. I’d like to be excited for something Roman Reigns does as a singles performer. I really would. His work in The Shield was great even if it did hinge a lot on his weaknesses being hidden. However, putting Reigns against Show again is no way get fans excited. My prediction is that Reigns does a power move or two, beats Show, Vince McMahon finishes all over himself, and the Reigns backlash continues.
Kyle Childers: I really don’t care. This match just sounds horribly boring on paper and likely won’t be much better in practice. Why are WWE so convinced that feuding with Big Show is going to put anyone on a main event level? It won’t, stop making us watch this. Reigns wins because of course he does.
Dave Pendleton: I am not excited about this one at all. I have seen Roman vs. Show for months and I really do not think this match has anything else interesting or new to offer the fans. Reigns absolutely must win this match to keep any momentum he may have after getting passed over at WrestleMania. I feel like Reigns will do something pretty impressive to beat Show that will further cement the mystique of Reigns being a super powered animal. Hopefully, Reigns will be able to move on to a better program after this.
Naomi vs. Nikki Bella (c) (with Brie Bella) for the WWE Divas Championship
Daniel Johnson: This match has some odd build to it with Nikki Bella and Naomi both technically being heels. I’m hoping for Naomi to win because as much as Nikki and Brie Bella have improved, Naomi is still the superior worker. If some WWE NXT performers are called up Naomi could be an entertaining holder of the WWE Divas Championship for them to work with. So by WWE logic, Nikki retains.
Kyle Childers: Who are we supposed to be cheering for here? Naomi just turned heel a few weeks ago and the Bellas are the Bellas. I’ll just go out on a limb and guess that Nikki wins because she’s more experienced in being shady than Naomi.
Dave Pendleton: I really cannot stand Naomi. The rearview is a horrible move and the little wiggle drop she does is just as bad. I feel like she is an example of everything that is wrong with the diva’s division. Her attitude and demeanor is so stereotypical of the drama queen, whiney girl and that does nothing to elevate the diva’s division. I feel like Nikki will win this match and with Paige out of action and AJ Lee gone, I do not see a lot of hope for a good diva’s match for quite a while.
Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (c) in a cage match where Kane is the gatekeeper and Orton is banned from using the RKO for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Johnson: There is an interesting premise for this match with so much working against Randy Orton. Of course, Kane on the outside and RKO banned or not there is no way Seth Rollins is losing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in his first pay-per-view defense. There will probably be a ton of shenanigans that could make the match entertaining in an Attitude Era way, but dirty or not, Rollins retains.
Kyle Childers: Rollins had what will come to be considered an all time great WrestleMania moment a month ago, but since then he has been made to look like crap all over again. Hopefully this match allows him to show off some of that fiery potential we all know he has and doesn’t just serve to stub his title reign out in the early goings.
Dave Pendleton: A wonderful PG cage match with the opportunity for a completely screwy finish. I cannot wait. Kane being on the outside of the cage sets the finish of this match up perfectly to me. I feel like Kane will act like he is going to screw Rollins throughout the match and the end will more than likely come with Kane not letting Rollins out the door, Orton eliminating Rollins in some way and then Kane slamming the door in Orton’s face to let Rollins sneak out and retain the title. This will be a great match, but I feel like it is very limited by not allowing Orton to use the RKO. I would have loved to have seen Rollins come off the top of the cage and get caught in the RKO, maybe someday.
Editor’s Note: Kyle Childers/Hawk Jefferson is a cornerstone of the WWE Pay-Per-View Roundtable series and the man behind the Hawkeye’s Hangout series on The Johnson Transcript. Childers also co-hosts the Ruthless Aggression Podcast, which can be found on iTunes, Sticher and Podbean here, here and here, respectively. On Twitter find Childers @hawkjefferson. Dave Pendleton is a writer for The Johnson Transcript who first contributed to the site through this interview with independent wrestler Victor Andrews.
Photos 1-3, 5, 7: en.wikipedia.org
Photos 4, 6, 8: Daniel Johnson / Johnsontranscript.com
Categories: Smooth Runs