WWE Payback 2017 Preview - Triple Threat POV | Smark Out Moment

WWE Payback 2017 Preview - Triple Threat POV

Posted by Jordan Chaffiotte Friday, April 28, 2017
Welcome to another edition of Triple Threat from Smark Out Moment, where three of us get together to discuss three questions based on one big topic going down in the week of professional wrestling.

This week, Jordan Chaffiotte, Cayden Parkhurst and Wes Keefer will be giving their opinions on WWE Payback 2017. The first pay-per-view post the Superstar Shake-Up is missing something very big—the Universal Championship—but at least the WWE Championship will be on the line! Nope, not that one either? Alright, so it's a strange card, with a House of Horrors non-title bout between Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt, a large Finn Balor sized hole, and several WrestleMania rematches. Can our team of Smark Out Moment writers stay optimistic about Sunday's show?

Question 1: Who will win the title on their respective brand first, Alexa Bliss or Charlotte Flair?

CHAFFIOTTE: I could be fantasy booking here, but wouldn't it be fantastic for Alexa to become the first to hold both belts? Her star is bright right now, not just holding her own in her segments with Sasha and Bayley, but honestly dominating the picture. While Sasha and Bayley simmer in a slow-burn, it might be wise to move the title away from them, that way when they meet at WrestleMania for it, the whole thing is elevated. Alexa is the perfect person to fill that gap. She always has someone there to help her cheat, first it was Blake and Murphy, then Mickie James, and now it looks like Nia might be her new #2. If WWE can play up how manipulative and intelligent she is, they can sell the story of her using Nia as a bodyguard. It gives Sasha an opportunity to walk away from Bayley, saying she doesn't want to deal with Nia again after the last time left her injured. Two-on-one attacks also restores Bayley's underdog status and allows her to drop the belt to Alexa without sacrificing too much strength. Following that, Sasha could seize her number one contendership and show her true colors while regaining the belt from Alexa and setting up for Mania against Bayley. As Charlotte vs. Sasha showed us, too much of one feud can damper the excitement, so adding Alexa into the mix gives it some time to breathe.

Charlotte Flair on the other hand, while fantastic, and clearly a future SmackDown Women's Champion, the first "Grand Slam Champ" if you will, should hold off. You can always put the belt back on Charlotte and it will always have credibility. But that doesn't mean you should. The teased feud with Nikki Bella is a far better place for her, perhaps for a number one contendership. Last time they met, Charlotte pulled out some of the best Nikki Bella I had ever seen. It's the old guard vs the new guard, and plays into the Cena-Bella mentality of "I'm not going anywhere." In fact, I'd let Nikki get one up on Charlotte, perhaps understanding you can't outpower Charlotte and going for one of Daniel Bryan's "animalistic" techniques that he showed them on Total Bellas. Then they can meet again for the title down the road and Charlotte can prove once and for all, she is the best.

PARKHURST: Yeah this is going to be Charlotte. My heart says Alexa, but my mind says Charlotte. To repeat what Jordan said, I would love to see Alexa be the first to hold both titles. She has been the MVP of both women's divisions since her surprising call-up to the main roster. She's come into her own as one of the stand-out heels next to Charlotte for the women but unfortunately, doesn't stand a chance this Sunday against Bayley. The writing's on the wall as to where they're going for the Raw women's division. Our next big stop is SummerSlam. A weekend that, thanks to NXT, was dominated by great women's matches at the respective Brooklyn TakeOvers both highlighted by a Bayley match. We will see a main roster repeat of NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn (1) when Sasha Banks goes one on one with Bayley. Right now, Alexa is nothing but a big heel for Bayley to get a big win over.

As for Charlotte, she had her title match already, but thanks to interference it ended in a DQ. That's just an easy way for the creative team to push this back until Backlash so she can get another PPV title win. Naomi's days as champ were numbered the minute that Charlotte switched brands.

KEEFER: Before this week's episode of Raw, I would have taken Charlotte, as she is clearly the face of the women's division. Her new "Queen" persona fits her well as she cements herself as the one to beat for all the other women on the roster. Alexa Bliss is on a hot streak herself, but she has not being at the top of the ladder for very long. In addition, look at their new rosters they must compete with. Alexa Bliss went to dominating SmackDown to being put up against a large pool of talent on Raw. All of this changed on Monday night when Charlotte failed to capture the title due to a new obstacle in her path...three to be exact. The seemingly new stable of Tamina, Carmella, and Natalya stormed in during the match and cost Charlotte her title match. The three second-generation stars seem poised to take out their frustration on another fellow second-gen. It is unsure how this new group will click, but Charlotte now has more to deal with than Alexa Bliss on her way to gold. Bliss may have to go through Nia Jax and Bayley, but at least she is not being ganged up on. I see Bliss winning gold before the end of summer and before Charlotte.

Question 2: Has the recent treatment of the WWE Title on SmackDown bothered you?

CHAFFIOTTE: Yes. Next question?

Okay, okay, here's the thing, Wyatt vs. Orton had so much potential. It had through-the-roof, bring the house down, burn the compound to the floor potential. Then it got goofy. It makes next to no sense what exactly Randy did to take down the Wyatts except to wait for them to implode, and much like when Daniel Bryan turned on them without much in the way of explanation, it left them both unmoved by the feud. Randy is exactly where he started just with the title, but when you're Randy Orton, you just don't get to tell me that this was the only path to get that title back. Instead of doing something reminiscent of the Wyatt compound (so basically the Broken Hardy style) or taking a leaf out of Lucha Underground's book in going somewhere really unique with it, they took the most predictable and boring avenue possible and now that belt means nothing to me.

It feels incredibly telegraphed that Randy will retain in this House of Horrors match. He's even being advertised to fight Jinder Mahal in a few weeks. And let's talk about Jinder. I like him a lot actually, and I'm excited about his push (though from everything I've seen the WWE is still working off of vaguely racist assumptions of Indian culture) but that's not the issue. The issue is how he got there. I'll admit I missed the actual 6-pack challenge but just the booking alone made it feel like they don't actually care about this title. Sure you have Sami, instantly credible, and Mojo who may be mid-push after WrestleMania. But then you have the two remaining Wyatts, which I think I covered their issue above, and Dolph Ziggler. It was a who's who of the upper mid-card. For the WWE CHAMPIONSHIP. Meanwhile, the United States Championship contender match was star-studded. That feels like the most important title on SmackDown right now, and given that the champion isn't even a part timer, that's a problem.

PARKHURST: Yes and no. I know, I know. That's a pretty big cop out to a good question, but allow me to explain myself.

Let's start with yes. Yes, because now it's in a feud where it doesn't even matter. This "House of Horrors" match (which I will shit all over in the next question) isn't even for the title, and my guess is that it won't even be there since Jinder Mahal took off with it last Tuesday. The thing is, it's obvious that they don't want the main SmackDown title on a Raw PPV. Hence the stealing of it by Jinder Mahal so I'm assuming it won't even be prevalent on the Raw PPV this Sunday. If that's the case, why in the world are you dragging out this Orton/Wyatt feud? This thing ran its course the second they started showing dumb pictures of worms and other supposedly creepy things in their subpar WrestleMania match. This feud should've ended the second Bray became a Raw guy. This had all the potential in the world, but is now a laughing stock until we get through Sunday.

Now to the no. No, because at least it's being shown on weekly television, unlike our Universal Championship. You should see the main belt EVERY SINGLE WEEK. That's just how it should be. We definitely get that with the WWE Championship. Also no because Jinder Mahal is going to shake things up big time. I love the new heel faction, I love that he is getting a push, and I love that they are doing something different.

So, in conclusion, the bad currently outweighs the good. But we definitely have some positive stuff going on.

KEEFER: It isn't so much of a no or a yes to this question for me. SmackDown is on the right track with the WWE Title on SmackDown. Some people seem to not like the recent booking on SmackDown, having pushed three jobbers into number one contenders for a championship. Jinder Mahal stunned the WWE Universe by winning the Six-Pack Challenge for a title shot. However, the title itself seems a little on the back burner. Orton and Wyatt are on the verge of competing in their mysterious House of Horrors match, which is not looking like to even be for the belt. This greatly hurts WWE overall, especially since Lesnar isn't even around to defend Raw's Universal title. Once we actually get through this gimmick match that is looking more and more like a bust, the WWE Title will be spotlighted once more and in the right way. Mahal may not seem like a serious contender, but SmackDown could be mixing things up and actually giving some of the lower ranked a push and freshen up the feuds. This makes WWE more entertaining, at least for me, as it is now less predictable on who we will see as the next title holder.

Question 3: Which was a dumber idea: the Extreme Rules 2016 Asylum match or this Sunday's House of Horrors match?

CHAFFIOTTE: Let's take it bit by bit: Asylum was a cage match with some toys hung about the structure meant to invoke One Flew Over the CooCoo's Nest, the WWE needed to send out a survey because they had no idea what the House of Horrors would be. Point House of Horrors. Aslyum was a blow-off to a lukewarm feud, House of Horrors will not feature the WWE Championship, but at least it has the WWE Champion so marginally, point to Asylum. Asylum came from the mind of Dean Ambrose, House of Horrors came from the mind of Bray Wyatt, point Asylum because Baron Corbin out-lunatic'd him in his last feud. Asylum was the name of a season of American Horror Story, which is pretty cool, and House of Horrors comes up just short of being a Murder House, so point House of Horrors for having no pop culture reference. Chris Jericho took thumbtacks to the back and was defeated by Ambrose's insanity. Bray Wyatt will probably take an RKO and be defeated by one singular RKO, point House of Horrors for sure. House of Horrors will include props such as tables, ladders, chairs, kendo sticks, and projection of maggots, Asylum included props such as tables, ladders, chairs, kendo sticks, and Mitch the potted plant, that one's a tie. House of Horrors is happening because Randy Orton desecrated the grave of a religious figure and burned the entire Wyatt compound to the ground. Asylum happened because there's not enough Day Time Talk to go around. Point Aslyum.

That leaves us in a 4-4 stalemate because honestly, it's all pretty stupid. WWE can have gimmick matches or they can overbook but when they try to do both they can't seem to keep all their balls in the air. I'm just hoping it's as painless as possible at this point.

Parkhurst: I would take 90 Asylum matches over whatever this shit show is bound to be with this House of Horrors nonsense. Yes, I know it hasn't even happened yet, but let's not act like this isn't painfully clear. This match is going to suck.

The Asylum match has a lot ahead of this HoH match, and I didn't even like the Asylum match all that much. The thing is, Jericho and Dean are willing to take risks. They were willing to show the "dangers" of the hanging weapons even though they used maybe two of them. These guys can put on a big match and are proven to do so. Jericho is the best of the best, and can make a bad match watchable. Dean is proving to have good matches, has had good matches, and is knowingly fine with taking risks for a big payoff.

Now let's look at Randy and Bray. This feud was cool for a while since Bray was the champ, but honestly who cares now? They crapped the bed at WrestleMania putting on one of the worst matches of the night, and now they add what is supposedly a dark hardcore gimmick match to what is PG WWE? It's no secret that since his recent bout of injuries, Randy Orton has been known to play it safe in his matches. He is no longer a risk taker, and doesn't want to do anything that could seriously hurt himself or his career. I get that. More power to him. He has a family and two kids, and he can't risk a serious injury. I respect that, but why is WWE putting him in a spot where that is going to show like a black eye? I'm slowly losing faith in Bray Wyatt. We've waited and waited for his breakout five-star match, but have yet to see it. We thought that maybe when he gets a taste of gold, he'd show up, but his title run was sub par. So why take two guys, one who isn't taking the necessary risks and one who just may not be able to get over that 3-star match to make this match great, and put them in a hardcore match that will be hindered by WWE's PG moniker? This is all the recipe for a total crapshoot. Not to mention, they are starting in the "House of Horrors" and finishing the match in the ring... So the "House of Horrors" is basically just the backstage arena? I don't know, but I don't have much faith.

KEEFER: Either way this plays out, it seems the House of Horrors match will be one of WWE's dumbest ideas as of late. Let's just point out the fact that we literally know nothing of what this match will include, except for the fact that it will NOT be for the WWE Championship, which I also think is dumb. As I mentioned before, the WWE Universal title is not even on air, with Lesnar MIA still. WWE needs to have preferably both of its top titles showcased every week and on all major events. The fact that we know nothing about this match at least means that we cannot be let down too much from it. It does seem like it may be similar to when The Wyatt Family battled The New Day in a pre-taped match at their compound at WWE Battlefield. WWE has quite a challenge ahead of them with this match. With the Asylum Match at Extreme Rules, we knew what it was going into it. It was also a live match in the arena, not at an off-site location. The biggest issue I see with the House of Horrors match is that it would be much better off on a non-PG program. This match could be done correctly back in the Attitude Era where there were no restrictions and Wyatt could literally torture Orton. In the New Era/PG Era, this match will be lackluster and not live up to all this hype.

Those are our thoughts on the issue, but where do you stand?
Let us know your answers to these questions in the comments below!

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THIS POST WAS WRITTEN BY JORDAN CHAFFIOTTE

Jordan Chaffiotte is a writer and blogger on a variety of channels and is an alum of Her Campus. Her long-term love of writing has been matched recently by a new love for professional wrestling. You can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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