Predictions: Braun Strowman beats Roman Reigns at WWE Payback as Alexa Bliss wins Women’s Raw title

Strowman sets himself up as the next challenger to Brock Lesnar, while Hardy Boyz, Kevin Owens and Neville all retain their respective titles in San Jose.
Victory for Braun Strowman, left, over Roman Reigns at WWE Payback, should set him up to challenge Brock Lesnar, right, for the WWE Universal Championship later in the summer. Courtesy: WWE
Victory for Braun Strowman, left, over Roman Reigns at WWE Payback, should set him up to challenge Brock Lesnar, right, for the WWE Universal Championship later in the summer. Courtesy: WWE

The WWE’s latest Network special, Payback, takes place on Sunday at the SAP Center in San Jose, California. Ahead of the event here are some predictions on what to expect from the night’s action.

Braun Strowman to beat Roman Reigns

Strowman has been one of the most well booked WWE Superstars in recent months, WrestleMania and his forgettable part in the Andre the Giant Battle Royal apart, and he has real momentum.

Now normally Reigns is unbeatable when it comes to booking, and he remains the WWE’s main man, but him losing here makes more sense.

Reigns returning and losing heroically, but cleanly, as his injuries from Strowman’s brutal attack on him on Raw a few weeks ago, may garner him some sympathy with parts of the crowd that remain hostile to him.

Reigns loses nothing in defeat, but a dominant win for Strowman will elevate him considerably, and sets him on a collision course with Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship later in the year.

Plus it keeps Reigns and Lesnar away from each other, with the long-term aim surely for their next match to be at WrestleMania 34.

Hopefully this is about building Strowman as well and not simply making him credible enough to be an opponent for Lesnar to take down.

Read more: WrestleMania 33 talking points – Goodbye to the Undertaker and Rob Gronkowski swaps NFL for WWE

Read more: Alexa Bliss on a dream match with Trish Stratus

Bray Wyatt to beat Randy Orton in a House of Horrors match

There is a reason this match sounds vague, and that is because the WWE are probably still working out what exactly a House of Horrors match is.

The fact that Orton is not defending the WWE World Heavyweight title he won from Wyatt at WrestleMania telegraphs the result with Wyatt going over.

It gives Wyatt a semblance of vengeance and makes him look strong as he starts life on Raw, while keeping the title with Orton.

Expect Wyatt to win with an assist from Jinder Mahal, the No 1 contender to Orton’s title on SmackDown, thus adding to their feud while giving Wyatt a victory he desperately needs.

Kevin Owens to retain the United States title against Chris Jericho

Another match that the result is telegraphed for, with Jericho set to depart WWE programming to tour with his band Fozzy over the summer.

This feud has been booked well. It has got Jericho and his list over hugely with the crowd, while still keeping Owens, as the younger athlete, strong as he wins the matches that matter.

That should happen again here and Owens will head off into a feud with AJ Styles for the US title that should be electric.

Alexa Bliss to win the WWE Raw Women’s title from Bayley

Bliss has been superb since coming over from SmackDown and has a lot of momentum behind her.

Bayley has struggled badly as champion since winning the belt in February, largely because of the weak booking of her character and weak promos.

One wonders what would have happened if they had kept the title away from her until WrestleMania and given the underdog her big moment there.

Instead Bliss should get the title simply to change things up and give the WWE a chance to revitalise Bayley’s character in her bid to win the gold back.

Seth Rollins to beat Samoa Joe

This should be a hard-hitting affair. A real hard one to call as this could be the start of a long feud, but Rollins fresh from going over Triple H at WrestleMania should triumph to at least highlight his role as a genuine contender to Lesnar’s Universal title. Joe can get his heat back with a post-match attack or on Raw if needs be, but Rollins should be the match victor.

The Hardy Boyz to retain the Raw Tag Team Championship against Sheamus and Cesaro

This should be a lot of fun, and is another hard match to call given the booking that has seen both sides be respectful to each other so far.

The Hardy brothers have only just returned to WWE so I don’t see them losing this early in their return, but this match could be used to further character development as they win in nefarious, possibly accidental, circumstances that hint further at their Broken personas arriving with which they had so much success in TNA.

Neville to retain the WWE Cruiserweight title against Austin Aries

They had a great match at WrestleMania and the sequel should be no different.

Neville is doing great work as champion and the title should remain around his waist again, with assistance from TJ Perkins ensuring that Aries is frustrated again.

Enzo Amore and Big Cass to beat Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson

Both tag teams need a victory after losing at WrestleMania, but this seems set for Enzo and Cass to get revenge on Gallows and Anderson for the beatdown on Monday on Raw that took Enzo out.

This should be a good match, but Enzo and Cass prevail and become No 1 contenders to face the Hardy Boyz.

Payback is available on the WWE Network, which is available through OSN, on Monday morning in the UAE from 3am.

gcaygill@thenational.ae

Updated: July 21, 2017 06:49 PM

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