WWE Payback: A test for The Judgment Day

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It is likely to be Labor Day weekend, however there might be loads of work to do for The Judgment Day at Payback.

The seventh version of Payback takes place Saturday on the PPG Paints Enviornment in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (8 p.m. ET, Peacock). 4 title fights are on the cardboard, together with two involving the star-studded faction.

Within the probably major occasion, Judgment Day’s Finn Balor and Damian Priest will attempt to put their current variations apart and produce extra titles to the faction. To take action, they’re going to must dethrone Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a “Metal Metropolis Avenue Battle” for the undisputed WWE tag group championship. One subplot of this match might be how Balor’s buddy, JD McDonagh, continues squeezing himself into the faction’s enterprise. Will McDonagh be extra assist or hindrance? Does anybody apart from Balor even need him round?

Judgment Day’s evening within the vibrant lights additionally contains the ladies’s World champion, as Rhea Ripley will defend her belt in opposition to a rising star in Raquel Rodriguez. Rodriguez has been constructing confidence and getting the very best of Ripley for a couple of weeks now, however is it time for her to take the title?

Different non-Judgment Day matches embody a Metal Cage match between Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus, Seth “Freakin'” Rollins defending his World Heavyweight title in opposition to Shinsuke Nakamura, and Austin Concept trying to reclaim his United States title from Rey Mysterio.

Let’s break down every match, predict the victors and provide up what may come subsequent for the wrestlers.

Rising star LA Knight continues to get extra probabilities on the marquee, as Saturday will pit him in opposition to The Miz. The verbal exchanges between the 2 have been enjoyable and attention-grabbing, however one in all Miz’s actual superpowers is his mic work. On this present rivalry, Miz went full cosplay on the newest episode of Monday Evening Uncooked and rocked Knight’s whole look. It did not cease there as a result of then Miz broke out an entire impersonation.

Since Knight carried out a Miz-esque impersonation the week earlier than, it wasn’t a shock to see this coming. And but, Miz reminded why he is such a singular asset to the promotion by questioning the character of his opponent whereas making him look nice on the similar time. Miz seemingly challenged the viewers to ponder whether or not they need to like Knight, whereas the followers hit on all of Knight’s signature callouts.

This match makes me want there have been extra on the road as a result of this might have legs as an ongoing storyline. For now, the Megastar will proceed his climb.

Prediction: LA Knight def. The Miz by pinfall

Metal Cage match: Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus

A metal cage match between two rivals is a becoming finish to a long-running feud between Lynch and Stratus. Zoey Stark’s continued interference on this rivalry feels inevitable once more, however it feels pointless for these two. Lynch and Stratus are icons within the sport — let these two go at it and settle this as soon as and for all.

As a aspect be aware, two issues have to be talked about concerning this matchup.

One, Stratus will flip 48 in three months, and he or she’s transferring round inside and out of doors the ring like somebody 20 years her junior. Can we induct her into the Corridor of Fame once more? There is no purpose after this run that she will’t relaxation up a bit and arrange one other feud to enter WrestleMania 40.

Two, Lynch stays probably the greatest on the mic in all {of professional} wrestling.

Prediction: Becky Lynch def. Trish Stratus by escaping the cage

I am right here for Nakamura going to the darkside as soon as once more and making it a bit private with Rollins. Throughout the previous few weeks, we have seen clips of Nakamura understanding to arrange for the title match, blended in with extremely pointed assaults on Rollins and his household.

Rollins has been doing yeoman’s work as a brand new belt holder of this rendition of the Heavyweight title. He is been the loud, obnoxious, over-the-top, unbelievable wrestler we have all come to like. And but, Nakamura’s capacity to make him look human makes them each look higher, and it has us extra invested. I do not assume this feud will finish quickly, and I am right here for it.

One different tangent that might be in play: Does the pettiness of Damian Priest come into play on a cash-in for the title?

Prediction: Rollins def. Nakamura by pinfall

Earlier this 12 months, we spotlighted the ladies’s “powerhouses” in WWE — these wrestlers who bodily and athletically stand out amongst their friends — Ripley, Bianca Belair and Charlotte Aptitude. One of many names mentioned to affix this trio sooner or later was Rodriguez, a former school basketball participant at Sam Houston State College, who ticks the powerhouse packing containers that WWE’s expertise advisors search for.

Pairing her with Ripley has been enjoyable to witness, as seeing somebody who can match the stature of “The Eradicator” has made for intrigue. Admittedly, the haphazard brawling and damage administration has made for a little bit of a wonky watch. Nevertheless, this seems like an extended construct between the 2. For Rodriguez, that is all about getting reps for an even bigger alternative sooner or later.

Prediction: Ripley def. Rodriguez by pinfall

Concept did what was required to reclaim the USA title from Mysterio by taking down fan favourite LA Knight (due to The Miz) in a No. 1 contender’s match on SmackDown a couple of weeks in the past. Mysterio, arguably probably the most adorned luchador in wrestling historical past, added one other accolade to his resume with the win. Nevertheless, the setup of this match makes it really feel like Concept — and WWE — acknowledge that the previous champ may want the belt far more than the present champ.

Watching these two wrestle at a excessive degree with athleticism and acrobatics on full show normally makes for a very good time. May Priest contemplate a MITB cash-in right here? Perhaps, however the prize does not really feel worthy right here. That is Concept’s return to the highlight.

Prediction: Concept def. Mysterio by pinfall

Sure, Owens and Zayn are the tag group champions. And but, this match feels prefer it’s all about Balor vs. Priest … errrr, Balor and Priest, together with the affect of what a “Metal Metropolis Avenue Battle” can carry. Balor brings his non-Judgment Day backup of JD McDonagh, whereas Priest will at all times have his MITB briefcase close by. Two alpha males, preventing for energy not solely inside their very own faction, but additionally inside WWE.

Sadly, neither of them is the true chief of Judgment Day. It is grow to be clear that title belongs to Ripley, and with Dominik Mysterio by her aspect, these two have already made it clear that heads will roll if Balor and Priest cannot get their act collectively. What’s lovely right here is Ripley’s insinuation that the duo’s incapacity to function to a sure normal now makes her look unhealthy. Chef’s kiss.

Owens and Zayn might need earned a brand new position within the promotion. First, it was The Bloodline. Now, it is likely to be Judgment Day. Perhaps the duo wants a brand new tag group title: The Faction Killers.

Prediction: Owens and Zayn def. Bálor and Priest by pinfall

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