John Cena vs. Ryback (Courtesy of WWE.com)

Tonight night on pay-per-view, World Wrestling Entertainment presents the first ever Payback event. Start time for the main card is at 8:00 PM Eastern. I'm not sure why they went with Payback or why they couldn't bring back an old name like Backlash. Although history shows that June events aren't always the greatest, tonight's Payback show hopes to prove otherwise with a confident card that could easily entertain. Let's take a look at the card below, with odds and predictions for each match as well.


Sheamus (1/6) vs. Damien Sandow (7/2) (Payback Match Kickoff)

Since his arrival in the WWE last year, Damien Sandow has been on a quest. A quest to enlighten the WWE Universe; broaden their horizons beyond simple physicality and lead them on a path of more diverse pursuits. So when the Intellectual Savior of the Masses re-started his crusade in earnest a few weeks ago on Smackdown with the challenge of Gordian's knot, it was a little surprising to see the Irish brawler rise to the occasion. Kind of shocking to see a guy with as many trophies as Sheamus on the free pre-show, especially when at this time last year he was rumored to be a potential replacement for John Cena at the top of the company. Damien Sandow has drifted around the card, but the character actually hasn't been around that long. This angle has given him ample opportunity to do what he does best - entertainingly condescend the audience. He probably doesn't stand a chance at a victory at Payback, but this mini-feud has raised his profile. Prediction: Sheamus


Intercontinental Championship: Wade Barrett (7/1) vs. Curtis Axel (9/2) vs. The Miz (5/1)

A concussion to rising star Fandango clears an opening on the IC title's dance card. Enter the newest Paul Heyman guy, Curtis Axel, to tango with reigning champion Wade Barrett and the man he defeated for the belt, The Miz, in a triple threat! Barrett's IC Title reign has been poorly booked, much like Antonio Cesaro's U.S. title reign was. Why? Because he has lost far too many non-title matches while holding the IC Title.  Miz even managed to end Barrett's previous stint with the title on the pre-show to WrestleMania 29. But his own time as champ would prove to be excruciatingly short, when the leader of the Barrage took him out the following night on RawRepackaged after a horrendous run as Michael McGillicutty, Axel, the son of the late Mr. Perfect, has been impressive so far, even though most of his victories have been from count-outs. With Heyman and the Intercontinental Championship, the future seems bright for Axel, who is on the verge of super-stardom. Prediction: Curtis Axel


Divas Championship: Kaitlyn (4/1) vs. AJ Lee (1/7)

Way back when NXT was still a "reality" show competition, season three was dedicated to the ladies. Kaitlyn was a last minute addition to the roster of the show, and the former fitness model became fast friends with the diminutive AJ. These two were inseparable and their desire to be great pro wrestlers and complementary quirky personalities seemed like the perfect recipe for two divas to climb the ranks and rule the women's division for years to come. But cracks began to show when AJ became enamored of fellow NXT alumni Daniel Bryan. As he began collecting accomplishments - a Money in the Bank briefcase, the World Heavyweight Championship (WHC) - he became more and more distant from and emotional abusive toward Lee. Having settled into a stable commitment with current WHC Dolph Ziggler, the pint-sized princess has refocused on wrestling. Back in April, she won a battle royal which officially made her the #1 contender.There's a lot of history and bad blood between the Chickbusters. Has AJ gotten under her former friend's skin enough to deliver another blow, or will Kaitlyn claim a measure of retribution. This past week on Raw, AJ humiliated Kaitlyn and proved she could outsmart her former best friend. I think that scenario sets things up for Kaitlyn to come out focused and retain her title. Prediction: Kaitlyn


United States Championship: Dean Ambrose (1/12) vs. Kane (6/1) 

The Devil's Favorite Demon may have graduated from anger management, but the United States champion has beaten and bloodied not only Kane, but his brother and tag team partner as well. Kane and Dean Ambrose have been waging war on one another since the end of 2012. But one-on-one encounters have been rare. Thanks to Raw General Manager Vickie Guerrero, their latest bout will have Ambrose's US title on the line. The Shield's first match, first match on PPV and first victory all were against Kane atTLC. Since then, the group has always been one step ahead of him, Team Hell No partner Daniel Bryan and whomever they were allied. While Kane has seemingly mellowed in the last couple of years - he even hugged Guerrero when she booked this Sunday's match - Ambrose is fueled by a righteous fury. While his group's plans for justice have never been laid out in full, destroying legends is surely part of it, as he and his partners have never hesitated to take out any accomplished WWE veteran with whom they cross paths. Prediction: Dean Ambrose 


Tag Team Championships: The Shield (Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns) (1/10) vs. Daniel Bryan & Randy Orton (11/2)

This one could be a lot of fun. Daniel Bryan might be the most popular performer in WWE right now, and in my opinion he's the best all around talent they have. It seems like Randy Orton is very motivated again after coasting a bit towards the end of last year and early this year. I think being a part of this angle with The Shield has helped keep him fresh. The viper is no stranger to the rogue trio. Randy Orton was taken out by after several attacks by the faction toward the end of 2012. He also formed an uneasy alliance with Sheamus and Big Show to stop the group at WrestleMania 29, but internal issues proved too much and dissension in the ranks of the babyfaces lead to yet another victory on PPV for Reigns, Rollins and Dean Ambrose. Bryan and Orton's previous attempt at defeating the champs as a duo did not end well. The smaller man's full-on assault ended up also striking the third generation superstar with a drop kick. After a disqualification finish, Randy repaid the master of the No lock with his own finisher the RKO.The two seemed to have made peace, however, and were able to give The Shield their first loss as a unit when they and Kane were victorious on the June 14th edition of SmackdownAs far as the match goes, I don't see the tag titles changing hands. There's no reason to do that. I think the best way to finish the match is to have some kind of miscommunication between Orton and Bryan. Prediction: Rollins & Reigns


World Heavyweight Championship: Dolph Ziggler (2/7) vs. Alberto Del Rio (5/2)

This is Ziggler's first World Title defense on pay-per-view since he won the title the night after WrestleMania, and he was out of Extreme Rules with a concussion. He only returned to television in a physical capacity this week, so there hasn't been much build for this matchup. When Alberto Del Rio was World Heavyweight Champion earlier this year, Dolph Ziggler was his most frequent television opponent, defeating him by submission cleanly four times in a row. However, Ziggler's luck would change on the post Wrestlemania 29 Raw episode. Taking advantage of Alberto Del Rio's ankle being softened up in a handicap match with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter, Dolph cashed in his Money In The Bank briefcase and worked over the Mexican hero's injured limb before quickly pinning him with the Zig Zag in one of the best received World title switches in years. Dolph Ziggler needs to retain the title. It's as simple as that. There's no steam behind Alberto Del Rio at the moment, and Ziggler cannot afford to drop his championship after the concussion problems. It will kill any chance that Ziggler has at a future in the main event, and the end result won't even benefit Del Rio or the company. Prediction: Dolph Ziggler


CM Punk (1/9) vs. Chris Jericho (5/1)

The original undisputed champion returned to WWE last January after a series of apocalyptic promos. After weeks of silence and almost capturing a title shot in the Royal Rumble, Chris Jericho decided he didn't like then WWE champion CM Punk declaring himself the Best in the World. Y2J had long been partial to his version of Wolverine's Best There is at What He Does motto. And while it may have seemed a petty or silly basis for a feud - hey, this is pro wrestling we're talking about. Jericho would drift off to pursue his many other ventures, while Punk would turn heel and finish his record breaking run as holder of the most prestigious belt in the game with nine months of peerless performances. Even a marketing-dictated loss to the Rock couldn't really slow him down, and his work with the Undertaker leading up to and atWrestleMania 29 continued to back his claims of greatness. But the loss on the Grandest Stage of Them All and the burden of the expectations he had created left the straight-edge superstar with an empty tank. Following 'Mania, Punk left without an explanation - for the fans or his manager Paul Heyman. This could be the match of the night and while Punk winning in front of his hometown is pretty predictable I will actually go the other way. Prediction: Chris Jericho


WWE Championship: John Cena (1/14) vs. Ryback (14/2) in a Three Stages of Hell Match (Stage 1: Lumberjack match. Stage 2: Tables match. Stage 3: Ambulance match).

Ryback has somehow become a textbook example of WWE booking done right and WWE booking done so very, very wrong. They built him up enough to have him pop a buyrate in a headlining match on PPV and then destroyed all his credibility in the ensuing six months. This feud between Cena and Ryback has been mediocre at best, so I'm not exactly sure why the Three Stages of Hell stipulation is necessary. While each of the three stages are ways to protect the competitors without having them look weak, none of them are all that intriguing. Though performing competently, Ryback hasn't been knocking them dead as a heel and also the right time for him to win the WWE title, if there ever was one, would have been last month at Extreme Rules. WWE also seems to be back in the business of wanting to put all their eggs in the John Cena basket, so a title change here seems highly unlikely. Ryback should win the first stage, putting Cena in the whole, but the champp will rise up and take the next two stages. Prediction: John Cena



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