Some of the latest WWE rumors involve possible spoilers over championships held on Raw and SmackDown Live. Just this past week, fans witnessed the “superstar shake-up” that changed the rosters a bit for the respective brands. Among the top stars that the Monday night show acquired was Bray Wyatt who has a rematch with SmackDown‘s reigning World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton. The “blue brand” on Tuesday night received the WWE United States Champion Kevin Owens, and immediately a match was held to determine who will challenge him after WWE Payback. With that said, here’s a look at what could be going down with the titles at the pay-per-view to end this month and beyond that point.
As reported by the Heavy website, even though Kevin Owens has moved over to SmackDown, he’s still set to defend his championship in a rematch against the former champion, Chris Jericho from Raw. The expectation is that Owens will certainly keep this title after the PPV. Rumors for months now have suggested Chris Jericho is going to take time away from WWE again to tour with his rock band Fozzy. It also seems as if WWE literally gave away spoilers that Owens will keep his title when he showed up on SmackDown and then a current star on the roster, AJ Styles, won a triple-threat match to become the new No. 1 contender for the U.S. title.
With Owens expected to be the winner at Payback over Jericho, he is reportedly then going to defend the title again at the next pay-per-view, WWE Backlash on Sunday, May 21. Fans will be treated to an AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens match for something fresh that hasn’t been seen on the main roster just yet. At this point, it’s starting to look like even though Styles attacked Shane McMahon to get a match at WrestleMania, the “face that runs the place” is also going to become a “face” in his fight against Owens. Could Styles become the new U.S. Champion at Payback 2017? His fans are certainly hoping so.
Another championship match that is intriguing WWE fans is the “House of Horrors” match scheduled for Payback. That particular bout was suggested by former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Bray Wyatt. Randy Orton quickly accepted the rematch with his title on the line, even indicating he had no idea what that match was all about. Just this past week, Bray Wyatt showed up on Monday Night Raw as one of the newest members of the “red brand.” He delivered an on-screen promo to “The Demon” Finn Balor, which seems to suggest he’ll be in a feud with Balor after Orton.
It also seems very unlikely that Wyatt will capture the WWE championship from Orton to bring over to Raw. Right now, WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar is also part of the Raw roster even if it’s in a limited capacity. There have been few instances where both titles were on the same show, so it’s expected Orton is going to win this match he’s never been a part of before. As for what the “House of Horrors” match involves, there has been no official announcement yet. The match could be like the “Ambrose Asylum” match that Dean Ambrose and Chris Jericho had at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view where it’s set up in the ring, or it could take place at a location shown on camera far away from the arena. Either way, Orton should win.
The interesting part of Orton’s title run will be his next scheduled opponent. In this past Tuesday’s SmackDown Live triple threat match featuring Styles, Sami Zayn, and Baron Corbin, it was AJ getting the win. Corbin had been knocked out of the ring towards the close, with Zayn taking a Phenomenal Forearm and being pinned. According to F4WOnline, Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Newsletter has said that Baron Corbin will feud with Orton rather than recent NXT call-up Shinsuke Nakamura. While it would be cool to see Nakamura in a big title match right away, that’s not the WWE’s plan as Shinsuke will start off feuding with Dolph Ziggler.
So with that said, expect that neither the WWE World Heavyweight nor the United States Championship will change hands at Payback on April 30. While the “Superstar Shake-up” was interesting in that it will create some new feuds and title pictures, one still has to wonder why WWE would give away easy spoilers with regard to who wins the title matches for an upcoming pay-per-view.
[Featured Image by WWE]