Just one week after SummerSlam, WWE is returning to pay-per-view with its Payback event. The show goes down on Sunday night, and it’s looking like another stacked summer event from inside the ThunderDome at Orlando’s Amway Center. With little time to build to a new pay-per-view, WWE used Raw to set up half of the card while SmackDown on Friday should be poised to fill out the rest of the event.
Payback will begin at 7 p.m. ET with the show expected to last approximately three hours, not counting the kickoff show, which starts one hour prior to the main card at 6 p.m. CBS Sports will be with you the entire way on Sunday with live results, highlights and analysis.
Let’s take a closer look at who our CBS Sports experts predict will come out on top at WWE Payback. Check out their picks and explanations for WWE’s second PPV in as many weeks below.
2020 WWE Payback predictions
Riott Squad vs. The IIconics (Kickoff Show)
The IIconcs have won consecutive singles matches over Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott, but after having so many chances in the women’s tag team division, it is clear to me that The IIconics are here to put over the rehashed Riott Squad, who should be elevated to No. 1 contender status for the titles. Considering I am of the belief that Bayley and Sasha Banks will surprise many by retaining later in the show, I am going with the Riott Squad winning here and taking the titles from the Golden Role Models in short order — perhaps as early as Raw on Monday night. Pick: Riott Squad wins
Big E vs. Sheamus
Big E is getting the long-awaited run as a singles with the rest of New Day sidelined. There seems to be a real willingness by WWE to let Big E actually succeed in the role and Sheamus is a wonderful first big challenge on his journey. The two showed good chemistry in a Big E “big meaty men slapping meat” showdown on SmackDown, and hopefully they’re given time to expand on the potential shown there before Big E gets the win to continue his march toward bigger and better things. Pick: Big E wins — Brent Brookhouse (also Adam Silverstein)
Matt Riddle vs. King Corbin
WWE seems committed to Riddle as a top-tier player. And if that’s the case, then you don’t have him lose his first big pay-per-view match. There could be plans to extend their feud through shenanigans by Corbin, but I just don’t see it happening. An angry Corbin trying to continue to pay off people to take out Riddle after a loss just makes more sense. Pick: Matt Riddle wins — Brookhouse (also Silverstein)
United States Championship: Apollo Crews (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
Credit to WWE for booking Crews strong during most of his U.S. title run. But if he’s just going to run through the entire Hurt Business, what’s the point of the group? Crews outsmarted Lashley in the arm wrestling contest, beat MVP twice clean and now faces the man who nearly took down Drew McIntyre for the WWE title a couple of months ago. Crews’ reign ends here. Pick: Bobby Lashley wins the title. — Silverstein (also Brookhouse)
Women’s Tag Team Championship: Bayley & Sasha Banks (c) vs. Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax
While I initially expected this to be the spot where the Golden Role Models lost their straps, I also expected to see Ruby Riott and Liv Morgan as the ones contending at Payback. Why WWE would throw Baszler and Jax together for this when Baszler already made crystal clear her intentions to be Asuka’s No. 1 contender makes no sense to me. The only way I can see Baszler and Jax winning is if WWE’s goal is to have a “stronger” team be the ones to defeat Bayley and Banks only for Baszler and Jax to implode in a week or two and drop the titles. But that’s bad booking because the goal of a more established team beating Bayley and Banks would be to put them over in the first place. So I’ll err on the side of retention here. Pick: Bayley & Sasha Banks retain the titles — Silverstein
I don’t love the idea of Baszler and Jax winning the titles, especially when there are other, established tag teams who should be getting the shot. But it’s clear that we’re heading to Bayley vs. Banks, and leaving Bayley with the only title after their team held all the gold sets that up well. Meanwhile, Baszler sharing the titles with Jax will only play into their feud. I can certainly see Bayley and Banks retaining while still building to bigger issues as the teamwork between Baszler and Jax falls apart. But it just feels like the trigger is getting pulled here on the title change. Pick: Shayna Baszler & Nia Jax win the titles — Brookhouse
Rey & Dominik Mysterio vs. Seth Rollins & Murphy
There’s a point where the Mysterios need to pick up a win to keep this moving forward. Rollins has tormented Rey in every way imaginable, including removing his eyeball and brutalizing his son as Rey sat by helpless and handcuffed to the ropes. Then, the Mysterios were left to be attacked by Retribution. There has to be a moment where the Mysterios get a victory, or else there’s nowhere else for this story to go. Pick: Rey & Dominik Mysterio win — Brookhouse (also Silverstein)
Randy Orton vs. Keith Lee
There are few worse possible decisions than having Lee lose here. If he’s going to be a player on the main roster, he shouldn’t be dropping matches yet — even against Orton. There’s an easy path to victory here with Drew McIntyre helping Lee steal the win. That is an issue in its own right, with Lee “needing help,” but it’s the best route to go to protect everyone involved and continue building toward the Orton/McIntyre rematch. Pick: Keith Lee wins — Brookhouse (also Silverstein)
Universal Championship: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt (c) vs. Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman (No Holds Barred)
WWE had a huge opportunity to rethink and retool the Reigns character when he courageously returned from his battle with leukemia. Not just in terms of how it booked him but also the look of his character (the vest, the entrance music, etc.). While it did find some restraint by not booking Reigns in the title picture for months, the goal was ultimately to put him over at WrestleMania. With Reigns pulling out amid COVID-19 and now back, WWE could feel the need to book him back into the position they planned him to take four months ago. Let’s hope they show similar restraint considering Wyatt just won the title one week ago, this is a triple threat match (meaning Reigns does not have to be involved in the finish to lose) and it would behoove WWE from a booking perspective to build a longer, drawn-out feud with Reigns chasing Wyatt. Pick: “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt retains the title — Silverstein (also Brookhouse)