Previewing WWE Payback 2013: Does CM Punk's Return Make Payback Worth Buying?

Mike Shannon@@DLman91Featured ColumnistJune 16, 2013

CM Punk will make his return tonight on pay-per-view to take on Chris Jericho as WWE presents its first Payback show.  To say that Punk has been missed on WWE television would be a tremendous understatement, since there has been a main event hole on the show that has yet to be filled by another worker.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho will obviously be a good match (if it takes place—more on that later), but is it enough to justify purchasing the pay-per-view?  Probably not.

The rest of the Payback card is dull and rather predictable.  The token women's title match should be an absolute borefest with Kaitlyn blowing her usual three spots during the match.  AJ should win the title just to at least do something different with the Tramp Stamp Title.

Dean Ambrose takes on Kane for the US title in a special Foregone Conclusion Match since no one with any sense thinks that Kane has a chance against the Shield's breakout star.  Ambrose is going to be a big deal in professional wrestling, and a win over Kane should be just another stepping stone.

The other two-thirds of the Shield (Rollins and Reigns) will take on Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan in a match that will probably have the crowd out of their seats early. 

People who read my stuff regularly know that I can't stand Randy Orton as a worker or a person, but he does get good crowd reactions and that's what this match will be all about.  Obviously, Daniel Bryan is the next in line for a shot at the world title, so expect him to get all the big spots in the match and be the featured player. 

I'm actually not sure which side will get the victory, but the match has a chance to be the sleeper hit of the show.

Curtis Axel will get his first shot at a title under his new name when he takes on Wade Barrett and the Miz in a Triple Threat match for the Intercontinental title. 

Forget for a second that the IC title is so useless that Vince McMahon might as well be using it as a doorstop, and think about this thing logically.  The creative team wants us to buy Curtis Axel as a main event player, and it thinks that him "beating" Triple H and John Cena in various ways will accomplish that.  The next step will be to give Axel the Intercontinental title. 

However, the IC title has been an absolute death sentence to anyone who is unlucky enough to win the belt.  It seems the past handful of people who have held the title have been jobbed out, embarrassed and left on the trash heap of B-level house shows.  However, Vince and Triple H pretty much called Axel a joke on live television two weeks ago, so maybe his push isn't as assured as we may think.

Dolph Ziggler returns from his concussion issues to take on Alberto Del Rio in the feud that just will not end.  Del Rio has been in such a free fall since turning babyface that he's going to need a parachute.  There is no way that WWE is dumb enough to take the World Heavyweight title off of Ziggler this early, but I've underestimated their stupidity many, many times before.

Speaking of returns, CM Punk's match with Jericho has been pushed as the main drawing card of this event.  But does WWE actually have the guts to pull a bait-and-switch at the event?  Couldn't you see them putting this match on third or fourth and having Punk no-show?  That would piss off the paying customer to no end, but honestly, WWE doesn't seem to care too much about that.

Finally, in the main event that no one cares about, John Cena will squash Ryback to kill his character once and for all because he Rises Above Ambulances and Hustle, Loyalty, Respect, blah blah blah.  Quite honestly, Ryback might as well switch back to Skip Sheffield after tonight because the Ryback character will be deader than Saturday Morning Slam.

My honest opinion is to skip this show.  Even if CM Punk makes his return, the match with Jericho isn't going to be worth the dollars spent, and the main event is going to be a huge disappointment.  Save your cash and play Candy Crush with your dad tonight.