Well, it’s been a few days since The Greatest Royal Rumble so of course that means there’s a PPV this Sunday! Finally!
Sarcasm aside, this should be entertaining, but I don’t know how significant it will be after it’s over (but we’ll get to that with my picks). This is the first of the new “co-branded” PPVs, which I don’t like, because we already have a 7 match card and there’s a lot of people left on the outside looking in on this show. I get that WWE only wanted to do about 12 PPVs a year, so why didn’t they alternate months of Raw PPVs and SD PPVs? Seriously, it’s okay if we go a month without seeing one brand on PPV. In fact, having more time between PPVs helps feuds build more thoroughly and it makes the weekly show more important.
But what do I know? Actually… let’s find out! In what is becoming a bit of a trend, I’m here to sift through the card and make some predictions.
Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
I’d like to sit here and come up with some fantasy booking situation that makes this match anything other than a last minute throwing together of guys, but I cannot. There’s no sense in trying to do any mental gymnastics here, as I’m sure WWE just wanted to find something for these guys to do, since they are on the periphery of the top of the card.
My pick is Lashley and Braun, since they’re the face team and usually when matches like this are thrown together, it’s the heels that take the loss. I’m curious to see where WWE goes with Lashley and Braun moving forward. I’ve been incredibly underwhelmed with the man WWE has dubbed “The Dominator” since his return. He’s looked clumsy quite a bit in the few matches we’ve seen with him and I’m curious how much WWE will put on him if that continues to be the case. As for Braun, he’s still crazy over and now has the GRR win under his belt (and an actual belt as well) so maybe they’ll finally pull the trigger on him (they won’t, because they never do the things that make sense).
Winner: Bobby Lashley and Braun Stroman
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
This is an interesting match-up, which I didn’t think I’d say about these two. Cass has looked awesome since returning to the main roster and has given himself a much needed shot in the arm so to speak with his career. He’ll be in the ring with an amazing worker, so I think this could end up being the sleeper match on this show to steal it.
My pick is Big Cass. Yeah, I didn’t think I’d be writing that this time three weeks ago either. But, here we are. I think there might be some shenanigans from Miz that will assist in Cass’ win, but I think having Cass win is the right call. It seems too fast to have Bryan get his revenge on Cass’ attacks. As I mentioned in my Greatest Royal Rumble predictions piece, I’d like to see Miz and Cass form an alliance, maybe even with a third person and have the whole group go against Bryan. This would essentially give Bryan the summer to go through Cass and this third man (maybe Hogan! But whose side is he on? Sorry, I couldn’t resist) before finally getting his hands on Miz at SummerSlam.
Winner: Big Cass
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
I don’t understand Roman Reigns anymore. Is he supposed to be a face or a heel? He’s been awfully whiney for a face lately. This past Monday he basically chastised the fans for “doubting” him which is not a face move at all. But he’s facing Joe, who’s clearly a heel, but he’s also the one saying things that make more sense. I’m also not sure what difference this match makes, since it’s a Raw guy against a SmackDown guy, with absolutely nothing at stake. Except for pride of course. Can’t forget that. Go ahead an insert an eye roll emoji here, kind readers.
I’m picking Roman Reigns, because no one wants him to win so that’s what WWE will do. I wish I didn’t sound so smarky with this pick, but you and I both know Joe’s not winning here. And for the record, I like Roman. I think he’s a really good worker, not as bad of a promo as people make him out to be, and someone who can get a reaction out of the crowd. But I just don’t understand his booking. He should’ve won the title at Mania and at GRR, but now he’s in a meaningless match at Backlash for nothing. There is a chance I’m wrong here, as I could see Joe winning and using his win to propel him to the top of the SmackDown card, where I expect he’ll be for the foreseeable future.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Intercontinental Championship – Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz
I really thought Miz was going to win this title at GRR and bring it to SmackDown (with the US Title going back to Raw) but that didn’t happen now did it? So, I don’t know how that could happen now and I’m not sure if Miz won the title he’d even stay on SmackDown (they’ve been so vague about that). I thought Miz having the IC Title would be a nice touch to his inevitable Daniel Bryan feud, but I guess not.
My pick is Seth Rollins because it doesn’t make any sense to have any other result. What else can I really say here? These guys are different brands so I don’t see any non-finish happening and I don’t see any mess with the IC Title coming from Miz winning, so there you go.
Winner: Seth Rollins
United States Championship – Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Randy Orton
Both of these guys are coming off of hot feuds, with Randy Orton coming out on top of his feud with Shawn Michaels and Jeff Hardy beating Triple H at Armageddon… OH, WAIT… My bad, I forgot it wasn’t 2008.
This rematch from Royal Rumble 2008 seems like a total after-thought. So much so that my original draft of this article didn’t even include it (I like to get my work done early. Don’t hate on me, slackers!). I was curious if WWE was going to remember that they had Orton win a match to face then US Champ Jinder Mahal prior to the shake-up. They did, but it was on the SmackDown just before Backlash. I have nothing really to go on here, but I think that actually makes my prediction a little easier.
My pick is Jeff Hardy to retain. With such little build-up I think it would be silly (that’s right, SILLY I say!) to have Orton win the title here. Although I must say I wouldn’t be all that surprised if they did just randomly put the title on Orton, since that’s kind of what they did when he beat Bobby Roode for the title in March. I’m curious to see if the New Jersey crowd just pisses all over this match or if Orton/Hardy have something planned to keep that from happening.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
SmackDown Women’s Championship – Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte
This is a tough one to pick. Charlotte has such a big track record with winning at PPVs. Plus, she just ended Asuka’s streak (does anyone remember that streak? Me neither). But I don’t know why Carmella would win the title a few weeks ago just to lose it to Charlotte in her first defense. Although… that’s exactly what happened with Edge when he cashed in the first ever Money in the Bank briefcase. Hmm…
I’m going to go with Carmella. The heel dynamic created with Carmella and The Iconics is working really well right now on SmackDown and I think it’s too soon to mess with that right now by having Charlotte already best the champ. I’m digging the work these two have put into this feud and I want to see the program stretch out for little while longer, maybe even to SummerSlam.
Raw Women’s Championship – Nia Jax (c) vs. Alexa Bliss
Nia and Alexa have had to take a backseat to Ronda Rousey on Raw, so this match doesn’t feel as hot as it should. I think their match at Mania was better than Charlotte/Asuka (come at me) and I really felt like they had the better storyline going into the event. But now that Nia has the title, I feel like the angle should be over. Plus, besides a few videos from Alexa, what has she done to get any heat back? This seems like an obligatory WrestleMania leftover match.
I’m picking Nia to retain, because I see no sense in Alexa winning the title back. I think Nia might have a lengthy reign, but I don’t think it’ll be a memorable one, with Rousey around.
Winner: Nia Jax
WWE Championship | No Disqualification Match – AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Nakamura’s heel turn has been great. It’s also given a fresh feel to this match-up. Going into Mania, there was no real issue between AJ and Nakamura to settle. The build up to the match was essentially, “Hey, internet, you really want to see this match, yeah?” But now Nakamura keeps punching AJ in the dick and somehow that has made this feud a million times better. With their GRR match (which I liked more than their Mania match) going to a no-contest, this feels like the final encounter between the two and I’m so torn about who to pick to win this one.
The thing that makes this such a tough pick is Samoa Joe. With him on SmackDown, I feel like WWE is ready to put him in a title feud (and maybe even put the title on him) but he’s not going to challenge a heel Nakamura and I don’t see him turning face for the feud either. So that would put him in a title feud with AJ. At the same time though, I don’t know how they can have Nakamura ultimately lose this feud after turning heel. Having him lose and AJ move on to someone else could really hurt Nakamura moving forward. But I think I might have a solution to this conundrum…
I’m picking AJ to retain the title. With the addition of the No DQ stipulation, I could see AJ hitting a low blow of his own to get the win here. I think the solution to my aforementioned conundrum is to have AJ move into a feud with Joe from here. At Money in the Bank, give Nakamura the briefcase. Then, have Nakamura eventually cash in on a vulnerable AJ Styles somewhere down the line, possibly at SummerSlam after a grueling match with Joe (and maybe a dick punch or two). That way you get to have a title feud with Joe (no title run just yet) without turning him face or having him face a heel and you ultimately put the title on Nakamura in a very heel-ish fashion. Gosh, I’m so daggone smart. Why aren’t more people asking me to book for them? I mean, I’m some guy on the internet so what other qualifications do I even need?
Winner: AJ Styles
And that’s that for Backlash. Or is it spelled BackLash now? Regardless, I’m not sure how memorable this show will be in terms of results, but I think everyone involved will put on an entertaining show. Disagree? Agree? Let me know on twitter. And let the whole gang here at TWM know as well. They love reading angry tweets over there!
And of course, until next time, make good decisions.