Payback made its debut last year, so unlike a lot of WWE PPV's, there isn't a whole lot of history or tradition for it to live up to. Last year's show was notable for having one very good match in CM Punk and Chris Jericho, and one very bad match, with John Cena facing off against Ryback in a match that culminated in Cena beating Ryback over the head with a foam alarm on top of an ambulance. Will this year's show be better or worse than the first Payback event? Let's take a look at the lineup.
Due to the injury to Daniel Bryan, the likely main event is going to be The Shield vs Evolution in a six man, no-holds barred elimination tag match. This will essentially be a rematch from their encounter at Extreme Rules, with the elimination stipulation adding a little more flair to a feud that recently produced one of WWE's best matches in 2014. Like their first match, this one is pretty difficult to predict, as several things are at stake. First, like before Extreme Rules, it is being rumored that this is Batista's last appearance for a little while as he leaves to promote his film. Secondly, the elimination stipulation allows for the finish of the match to be feature one man standing tall in the ring, surviving the storm and likely the odds to win the match for his respective team. All indicators are that the man who is going to get that honor is Roman Reigns, someone who WWE hasn't been shy about pegging as a future star for the company.
Those factors seem to make the match go against Evolution, but working in the veteran's favor is the idea that another member of Evolution could be revealed on the PPV. With Batista likely leaving, if WWE wants to keep Evolution as a viable entity, a new member will probably have to debut in the group. The person could basically be anybody, which adds to the intrigue of the match on Sunday.
The build-up to the match has been somewhat dry. After a sensational match at Extreme Rules, the two factions have spent the last month taking turns beating each other up. One week, Evolution will end the show standing tall, while the next, The Shield leave them beaten down in the ring. There hasn't been a lot of promos conducted beyond one group saying "We are going to beat you up," while the other faction retaliates by saying "Nuh-uh, WERE going to beat YOU up." WWE has been content to just say "Hey fans, these two groups are going to fight again, so get excited for Payback," and in reality, that is probably all they need to do. The match at Extreme Rules was so good that you wonder what they can do if they get the chance to lock horns again. Still, it would have been nice to see WWE put at least a little creative effort into making the feud more interesting.
Lastly, I have to talk about Evolution's T-Shirts. Normally, I think the design team does a very good job with most of their shirts. I think the Daniel Bryan "Yes" shirt parodying Che Guervea is brilliant, and Cesaro's new "King of Swing" shirt is very cool. However, the shirt they came up for Evolution, one of the most important facets of WWE, is terrible. It's looks like a bad hybrid of an amateur punk rock band and a Halloween shirt you would buy at a discount party store. What were they thinking? They have the skeletons in caskets, with HHH holding a hammer, Randy Orton being caressed by a snake, and Batista doing, well, I don't know, perhaps pelvic thrusting? The shirt is bad and whoever designed it should feel bad.
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