Bada-Boom, Realest Guys In The Room, HOW YOU DOIN’?!

Welcome to SiriusXM’s preview of WWE Payback 2016! We’ll get you ready for the first pay-per-view after WrestleMania by dissecting each match, and we’ll also have some analysis and predictions from Dave LaGreca of Busted Open Radio. We’ll skip the boring pre-show match of Ryback vs. Kalisto and jump right into the main card.

For full disclosure, the buildup to WrestleMania 32 had us feeling like this:

Whereas the buildup to Payback has us feeling like this:

Yeah, we’re excited. Without further ado, “It’s Showtime, folks!”

THE CARD

Baron Corbin vs. Dolph Ziggler

Baron Corbin is a recent call-up from NXT. Dolph Ziggler is a veteran and former world heavyweight champion. Corbin won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 32 and is quickly establishing himself as a quintessential heel. Despite Ziggler’s role with the company diminishing, he’s still a top worker and this should be a solid match.

DL: I think Corbin’s gonna go over and Corbin’s the guy they’re gonna push. Ziggler’s the perfect guy for this because he still has a little bit of credibility, so Corbin going over him means something. Ziggler’s in that spot where he’s just getting guys over, and it’s a shame. He’s never gonna be anywhere near the top of the card again. Corbin’s definitely winning this match.

Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady vs The Vaudevillains, #1 contender’s match for WWE Tag Team Championship

This match signifies a huge shift in the WWE’s direction as two of the most recent NXT call-ups are vying for a chance to face the New Day for the tag team titles. Enzo & Big Cass have been absolutely electric since being brought up to the main brand. The Vaudevillains (Simon Gotch and Aiden English) haven’t made as big a splash, but they’re the heels in this equation so fans aren’t supposed to like them anyway.

DL: I think the fans are into the Dudley’s and Enzo & Cass, I think that’s magic. I think the Dudley Boyz are gonna get involved in this match, they’re gonna cost Enzo & Cass the match and then you’ll have the Vaudevillains against the New Day. I don’t know if it’s the right decision, but they have to start showcasing the Vaudevillains. They brought them to the main roster for a reason, and maybe it hasn’t gotten over like they probably had hoped. But that’s OK because they’re not a face team, they’re a heel team, so maybe they can do something against the New Day that would get the fans to start forming an opinion about them. I think this would be beneficial to both teams.

Women’s Championship: Charlotte (c) vs. Natalya

Natalya has been one of the strongest workers in the Divas division for years and she’s finally getting another shot at the title after going through injuries and the stagnation that has periodically plagued WWE Divas. Charlotte is steadily growing into her role as a heel and is a fantastic in-ring performer. With Natalya as the sympathetic figure who had to scratch and claw her way back to a title shot, fans will definitely be behind her. It also helps that she’ll have her uncle Bret Hart in her corner to counteract the antics of Charlotte’s dad Ric Flair.

DL: I’m gonna be in the complete minority on this one because a lot of people think that this is a showcase for Natalya, like a “thank you” for all the years of having to put up with the Divas B.S. But I think it’s more than that, I think that Natalya has a really good chance of getting this title. Charlotte’s gonna be here for years and she’s gonna have a lot of opportunity. But I really think that Natalya has a good chance of being the new women’s champion. This is one of the best scientific women wrestlers that we’ve seen in the last 10 years, I would love it if they gave her an opportunity to hold on to that title. I think she deserves it.

Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens

This is probably the best rivalry the WWE has going right now. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have a red-hot rivalry dating back to their days in NXT, and they’ve actually known and competed against each other for years before joining the company. That familiarity creates an incredible chemistry and being that this is their first match together on the main brand, these two will likely put on a show.

DL: I think this is gonna be a show-stealer, I think this is really gonna focus in on how right now the WWE Universe is behind Sami Zayn and he can potentially be one of the top faces in the company if given the opportunity. It’s the perfect place for Kevin Owens because he’s been getting cheered as a heel, but if he’s in the ring with Sami Zayn he’s not gonna get cheered, so I think this solidifies him as a heel. I think Kevin Owens needs to win, and I know a lot of people would disagree because they love Sami Zayn. But it’s always good for the heel to win, the chase is better than the catch. If you want this to be a long-term feud, which I think it can be, I really think the heel needs to get the first win.

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

Dean Ambrose is one of the most popular wrestlers in the WWE, but he lost a ton of momentum after an underwhelming match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 32. This rivalry with Chris Jericho is a questionable one, considering it raises questions as to where Ambrose goes after it’s over. It wasn’t that long ago that Ambrose looked to be skyrocketing towards the top of the company, and now this booking decision has him floating in the middle of the pack.

DL: I like Dean Ambrose, but I just don’t like what they’ve done with his character. He’s too shtick-y, he’s trying to be funny and quirky. We need Dean Ambrose to be a little bit more edgy. This is a make-or-break feud for him and Chris Jericho is the perfect guy to be in a program with him. He’s been great as a heel, but Dean Ambrose has got to show an edgier side to his character. I think he’s gonna lose and I think he should lose because this needs to be a program that builds and builds and I think the only way we get an edgier Dean Ambrose is if he loses to Chris Jericho.

Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) vs. Cesaro

Cesaro recently returned from injury and is thrust straight into a title picture, and rightfully-so. Cesaro is one of the most entertaining in-ring performers and has been sorely missed while he recovered from shoulder surgery. The Miz has done well on the mic and in the ring during his run as Intercontinental Champion, but this match hasn’t been promoted well at all.

DL: This match is kind of getting lost in the shuffle. With Cesaro, for somebody that’s returning and somebody that the fans love, I think what’s gonna help him in the long-run is that they changed his character. This is a different Cesaro with the whole 007 look and I think it works for him, but it’s a different Cesaro than the one that left. So I think the fans are still adapting to him and his new character, and I think that’s hurt the build to this match. I think The Miz takes this one because they gave him the title for a reason, and I think he’s done a good job with the title. I don’t know if right now is the best time to take that title away from him. Let him keep it a little while longer and see where it goes.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Roman Reigns (c) vs. AJ Styles

The funny thing about this main event is that the champion Roman Reigns is almost an afterthought in his first title defense. The storyline surrounding AJ Styles and new WWE signees Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson is incredibly compelling. The three were part of the Bullet Club during their time in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the WWE for once hasn’t ignored the history between these new competitors. There’s rampant speculation surrounding this match, but the expectation is that Gallows and Anderson will somehow be involved. How they will affect the outcome is the question, and the myriad of booking options makes this the most intriguing match of Payback.

DL: There’s a lot of questions about the Bullet Club. Are Anderson and Gallows with AJ? Does AJ really not know what’s going on? Is (former NXT Champion and Bullet Club alum) Finn Balor gonna appear? I think they’re all intriguing questions and I love the fact that Bullet Club is here. And I think it would be a big mistake to align AJ with the Bullet Club, by the way, because AJ is the top face in the company. I think at the end of the day he’s not gonna be aligned with the Bullet Club, but it’s intriguing just to figure it out and I think that’s a big reason to watch Payback.

What that’s doing is taking the pressure off Roman Reigns. Roman is like the third party here, he’s on the outside looking in. It’s about the Bullet Club and AJ Styles and I think that’s gonna help Roman Reigns in the long-run. I don’t know what the future holds for Roman Reigns, but I think they need to keep the title on him just to see this through. If they strip him of the title, there’s no reason to care about him. I think for the first time in a long time, Roman Reigns is intriguing.

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