WWE Payback is here, and the event is set to be an action-packed one that wrestling fans will not want to miss. This will be the first Payback event since 2020 and will take place over Labor Day weekend live from the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The last major event to be held in ‘Steel City’ was Extreme Rules in 2018.
WWE Payback takes place on Saturday, September 2nd, and is available to watch on Peacock and on the WWE Network. The main card is set to start at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT with the pre-show set to begin at 7 pm ET/4 pm PT.
Payback will witness fallout from several rivalries that have been building up over the last few weeks, as the wrestlers seek payback against their opponents. This is all before the WWE Superstar Spectacle event, which is set to take place in India on September 8th.
At the time of writing, six fights have been confirmed for the Payback card, with four of them being title fights. In the aftermath of SummerSlam, these rivalries got fueled up and progressed quickly before it was agreed to be settled at this event. At least two of the matches on this card promise to put on high levels of violence.
WWE Payback 2023 Full Card:
- Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – World Heavyweight Championship Match
- Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Raquel Rodriguez – Women’s World Championship Match
- Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn (c) vs. Damian Priest & Finn Bálor – Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships Steel City Street Fight Match
- Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Austin Theory – WWE United States Championship Match
- Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus – Steel Cage Match
- LA Knight vs. The Miz – Singles Match
Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins and Shinsuke Nakamura Reach Their Breaking Point
Seth ‘Freakin’ Rollins has reigned as the World Heavyweight since the Night of Champions event earlier this year in May. He has proven himself to be the fighting champion that he promised WWE fans. At Payback, he faces a motivated Shinsuke Nakamura, who fully intends to target the champion’s weaknesses to get the victory.
‘The King of Strong Style’ has effectively gotten into the mind of Rollins over the last few weeks, bringing up his back problems. This is a sensitive topic for Rollins, as it is a genuine concern for him and he knows that it could very well be what leads to him losing the championship. Rollins and Nakamura have faced each other twice before in one-on-one competition, with the champion winning both those times. This time, the stakes are higher than ever as this match’s significance goes beyond the gold.
Rollins and Nakamura have had two similar yet different stories coming up in pro wrestling. They both were considered the workhorses of their promotions prior to joining the WWE and now they find themselves vying for the top spot in this promotion. This could set the scenario up for Rollins and Nakamura to put on an excellent showcase as the two will definitely try to do all they can to walk away with the championship and be one of the leaders of the roster.
Rhea Ripley Faces Her Biggest Threat Yet In Raquel Rodriguez
Perhaps no other match on this card speaks to the Payback name more than this feud. Rhea Ripley has been a dominant force in the WWE since her main roster debut and she now holds the Women’s World championship. In addition to that, she has The Judgement Day on her side, which has contributed to her dominance. With each passing match, Ripley’s star shines brighter than before and she faces a new challenger in Raquel Rodriguez at Payback.
Rodriguez has mainly been in the tag team division but she is ready to earn her first singles championship on the main roster. This will be quite the task as Ripley is one of the longest-reigning women’s champions and has been steamrolling through the division. Ripley and Rodriguez have taken issue with one another, questing the audacity of the other and now, the two finally get to meet in the ring just as their feud reaches fever-pitch.
Ripley has reigned as the Women’s World champion for over 150 days and, at Payback on Saturday, she faces her biggest threat yet in Raquel Rodriguez. Matched in size and strength, Rodriguez is on a level playing field and, over the last few weeks, has managed to shock the champion with vicious attacks of her own. Rodriguez is determined and motivated to get the women’s championship that Ripley currently wears, and she has a whole lot of momentum on her side but will it be enough to topple ‘Monday Night Mami’? That remains to be seen, and it will all go down at Payback.
Tag Team Gold Hangs In The Balance In Steel City Street Fight
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens have been the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Champions since WrestleMania 39 – Night 1 when they defeated The Usos in the main event of the evening. The duo has held the gold for more than 150 days but they have only recently entered into their first feud outside of The Bloodline. From one stable to another, Zayn and Owens find themselves at a crossroads with the dominant Judgement Day. Determined to adorn every member with gold, The Judgement Day’s Finn Bálor and Damian Priest will be challenging for the Undisputed Tag Team championships at Payback.
The two sides have been feuding since mid-July often finding themselves in singles, tag team, and even six-man tag team competitions. Over the course of that time, this feud has been growing and it will finally reach its resolve at Payback. The persistent problem is whether Bálor and Priest will be able to work together to achieve their goal, as the two have had visible friction since Priest won the 2023 Men’s Money in the Bank contract. ‘Señor Money in the Bank’ has made it clear that he is determined to walk out of Payback a champion, regardless of Bálor as he still does hold the briefcase that he could cash in on any of the champions competing in the night, which adds a new level of complexity to their partnership.
Bálor and Priest will need to find a way to work together if they would like to walk out of the PPG Paints Arena with gold because the tag team of Owens and Zayn is a multi-layered one that has a strong foundation built on years of friendship and rivalry. Owens and Zayn are on a mission to set the tag team division straight, and they could look to make an example of The Judgement Day. Adding in an element of violence, this match was confirmed to be a Steel City Street Fight. This type of match will be advantageous to any of the teams that are willing to push the fold and deliver high levels of violence. The more violence you inflict on your opponents, the better but also, do so whilst absorbing as little punishment as possible. This seems like it is right up The Judgement Day’s alley but Owens and Zayn have also been known to be hardcore when it’s needed so it really is anyone’s match.
Austin Theory Looks To Reclaim US Gold From Rey Mysterio
Rey Mysterio is currently in his third reign as the US Champion, having defeated Austin Theory on the August 11 edition of SmackDown. Theory has held the gold since November 2022 and, up until that SmackDown came along, he had managed to hold onto the championship amidst several challengers. Mysterio spoilt the fun for Theory and, on Saturday night, Theory gets a chance to reclaim the US title he so dearly loves.
Austin Theory is a wrestler who understands well enough how having the US championship distinguishes him from the rest. After all, Theory believes he is better than the rest but he cannot quite say that without the gold. Theory’s reign was one that showed the lengths that he would go to just to remain with gold, as he often had at least one trick up his sleeve to get away with the win. Except this time, Theory does not have the champions’ advantage – Mysterio does. So, Theory will have to work extra hard to regain the gold and, should he does attempt anything, Santos Escobar and the rest of the Latino World Order won’t be too far to step in.
If there is a wrestler who has the experience to finally silence Theory, it would be Rey Mysterio. With over three decades of in-ring experience, Mysterio is one of the most respected wrestlers in the world. Mysterio has managed to overcome even the greatest of challenges since the very beginning of his career and, over the course of time, he has held various championships across different promotions. Over the years, Mysterio has learned to not underestimate his opponents and he surely will not make that mistake on Saturday.
Becky Lynch And Trish Stratus Square Up Inside Steel Cage
Becky Lynch and Trish Stratus’ feud goes all the way back to Night of Champions earlier this year and, since then, the two have been focused on each other. Zoey Stark has thrown herself into this rivalry, becoming Stratus’ protégé and another problem for Lynch to look out for. Lynch and Stratus have clashed before but this time, they get to do so without involvement from Stark, leveling the playing field for Lynch.
Lynch and Stratus will clash in a Steel Cage match-up, confining them to the ring and the surrounding vicinity only. Lynch has been involved in steel cage matches before and this gives her an advantage over adversary, as Stratus has never competed inside the steel structure. The rivalry between Lynch and Stratus is a perfect crossover between generations and, at Payback, they get to showcase that whilst also looking to add a final chapter to their story.
A Battle Of The Egos As LA Knight And The Miz Clash
LA Knight and The Miz have had one of the most captivating feuds in recent weeks, as this is an inter-brand feud. With Knight being on SmackDown and The Miz on Raw, the two have gone to lengths to appear on each other’s brands and make their presence felt whilst also hijacking the spotlight from the other. The Miz has taken issue with the amount of attention and adoration that LA Knight has gotten from the WWE Universe, so he looks to extinguish that at Payback.
LA Knight has been riding a wave of momentum over the last few months and is undeniably one of the most beloved wrestlers in the WWE currently. That is a position that The Miz undoubtedly feels he deserves so, on Saturday night at Payback, he gets the chance to bring the LA Knight hype train to an abrupt stop. This will be a heated match as the victor of this bout will not only win the actual match but also bragging rights over their adversary.
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