By Carson Koschik
After what was a pretty damn good Extreme Rules PPV, WWE is going to have to try once again to avoid the WrestleMania hangover. While the Chicago crowd will definitely be loud and ravenous and usual, it is up to WWE to provide quality matches and story-lines. Although we can certainly get an idea on what the card may look like, it's usually pretty to hard to predict what a PPV card will look like (especially since nothing in WWE is set in stone). Well, I'm going to try to take a crack at it and construct the Payback card using logical thinking and hopeful dreams. Here we go!
Kofi Kingston vs. Cody Rhodes (Pre-Show)
The WWE pre-show is basically 25 minutes of video packages and 5 minutes of a meaningless match. The tradition will continue at Payback, where former United States Champion Kofi Kingston will face Cody Rhodes. Is there any logic behind this match? Nope. Has there been any logic in any other pre-show match? Not really.
The Miz vs. Jack Swagger
Jack Swagger is most definitely out of the World Heavyweight Championship picture for a while, and he is most certainly not facing Alberto Del Rio again. The Miz just came back from filming what I'm sure will be an Oscar-quality film for ABC, and recently cut a promo at Extreme Rules about how he's sick of being in the pre-show. Well, why not pair the two together? Colter and Swagger can target Miz for being a superficial hollywood type ("not a real American"), and the Miz can, you know, defend himself. I wouldn't expect the most intense feud, but it'll give these two guys something to do.
Sheamus vs. Mark Henry
I have absolutely no idea what WWE is going to do with Sheamus, and I assume WWE doesn't know either. What do you do in that situation? REMATCH! Henry and Sheamus had a pretty good strap match at Extreme Rules where Sheamus picked up the victory, but I'm sure they can do better in an actual singles match.
Chris Jericho vs. Fandango
Fandango won at WrestleMania, and Jericho won at Extreme Rules. That makes them 1-1. Even though these two will most likely have their rubber match on Raw or Smackdown, don't be surprised to see them face off once again at Payback. Seeing as their last two matches were singles matches, it would be nice to see a stipulation added. Two out of three falls maybe?
The Shield (c) vs. Team Hell No - WWE Tag Team Championships
In a feud that has been getting so much attention, it's almost a given that the former champions Team Hell No will get their rematch. They will lose (of course), setting up the impending Kane vs. Bryan feud. Shield get to continue their extreme rise to the top, and Team Hell No finally comes to an end. Hopefully we get to see Kane turn heel. It's about time we got to see Kane become the Big Red Monster again.
Kaitlyn (c) vs. AJ Lee - Divas Championship
Why this match didn't happen at Extreme Rules is a mystery, but squandering this match on Raw would be one hell of a waste. This feud has the potential to be awesome if WWE actually puts time and effort into it, and if given time, the match can be awesome too. Don't screw this up, WWE!
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. Christian - United States Championship
Remember when I said I would be using hopeful dreams to construct this card? Well, this is where the dreams are. Every time I do one of these articles, I always book Christian in a match. Why? Because Christian is awesome, and it's about damn time he returned. But why would I put a returning Christian in a midcard title match he's bound to lose? Because I just want to see Christian and Dean Ambrose in a match together. Maybe you could have Ambrose win dirty, and then have Christian move on to win both Money In The Bank matches and cash-in to become Champion of the Universe. Is that too much to ask?
Wade Barrett (c) vs. Sin Cara - Intercontinental Championship
It's kind of a sad time for wrestling when booking the Intercontinental Champion in a match is considered a stretch. Wade Barrett hasn't appeared on a PPV in months, unless you count a pre-show as a PPV. Yep, the way WWE treats the once prestigious Intercontinental Championship is pretty bad, but I would hate myself if I kept him off my card too. So, Wade vs. Sin Cara, because Sin Cara beat him on Main Event last week. Might as well throw R-Truth, Sheamus, and Randy Orton in there too.
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Randy Orton - World Heavyweight Championship
Yes, I know. Del Rio made Swagger say "I quit" at Extreme Rules to become the #1 contender to Dolph's World Championship. But, there have been reports saying that WWE wants to have Ziggler start a program with someone else at Payback. So, expect Del Rio to get his title shot on Raw. But who'll face Ziggler at Payback? Well, you should know already because you read the sub title. Randy Orton! Orton got a nice win over Big Show in his hometown on Sunday (with a punt nonetheless), and the ol' Viper has begun cutting promos on how be wants to become top dog again in the WWE. What better way to do that is to challenge Ziggler? I wouldn't really want him to win, but you know these two could pull off some great matches. Anyone else want to see them face off in a ladder match?
John Cena (c) vs. Ryback - WWE Championship
If you thought these two weren't going to face off again, you are pretty stupid. After Ryback caused a no-contest after smashing Cena through the stage set, Cena got stretchered off while Ryback (kind of) walked off. This feud got a lot more interesting, and I expect their next bout to be a little more unpredictable. I think the bigger question is what type of match they'll face each other in. They're definitely not settling this feud in a singles match.
Now, if you didn't notice, Del Rio and Big Show were left off the card. Do I think that these two guys would realistically be left off of a PPV? Of course not, but I have no idea what they would do. So, expect them to be in the PPV in some way.
Agree? Disagree? Tell me why in the comments or on Twitter @SmarkInProgress.