The Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, VA hosts WWE Backlash live on PPV and WWE Network on Sunday night. Backlash is the first Smackdown Live only PPV/Network Special since the roster extension, and the first Backlash event since 2009.
With only six advertised matches and three hours of TV time to fill I hope WWE gives each match time to develop and tell a compelling story. Instead, I fear we’re going to get a glorified edition of Smackdown Live. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them add Baron Corbin vs. Kane and Apollo Crews against someone like Tyler Breeze.
Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles for the WWE World Championship
In my opinion AJ Styles is the best act, not only in WWE, but all of professional wrestling. Is WWE crazy enough to risk losing all the momentum Styles has going for himself after beating John Cena clean in the middle of the ring in the best match of the night at SummerSlam? Styles can have four-star matches with a broom stick he’s that damn good.
I don't know about you, but I just don't think Dean Ambrose’s character is WWE Champion material. No matter how hard I try, I can't get the image of Brock Lesnar throwing him around like a rag doll at WrestleMania out of my head. His feud and match with Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam left a lot to be desired as well. I’d like to see Dean go back to the no-nonsense character he had during his run with the Shield.
Winner: AJ Styles
The Usos vs. Hype Bros in a Smackdown Tag Team Finals Qualifying Match
With the Usos turning heel and taking out American Alpha by injuring Chad Gable’s knee makes this is an easy one to predict. The Usos executed their turn flawlessly and in doing so breathed new life into their act. Now, the Usos become the top heel tag team on the show. If only WWE would make the same decision with Roman Reigns….
Winner: The Usos
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. the winners of the Qualifying Match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos should be the team taking on the unlikely duo of Heath Slater and Rhyno. WWE is doing a fantastic job of laying this story out. A loss by Slater and Rhyno halts their momentum, but a loss by the newly turned Usos doesn't; especially if that loss is due to a Jason Jordan run-in. The crowds are behind Slater and Rhyno so they will win the tag team titles assuring Slater gets a contract. Meanwhile, the Usos will move on to a feud with American Alpha.
Winner: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
This is a hard match to predict because both men are in desperate need of a win. After the brutal beating Orton suffered against Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam he needs a strong win here in order to stay relevant in the fan’s eyes. On the other hand, with the rosters now split and thin on talent it would make sense for WWE to finally go all in on Wyatt. The problem is I've thought this way for the past two years when it comes to WWE and Bray. In fact, Wyatt’s last PPV win was in 2015 at Battleground. I don't think the story ends after Backlash so I'm going with Orton by DQ due to interference from Luke Harper, but ultimately Wyatt wins the feud.
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship
The Miz turned in the promo of his career on Talking Smack; which like the Usos turning heel, breathed new life into his character. I'm not sold on this elevating Miz back to main event status, but I also don't see WWE taking the belt off of him while he rides the buzz generated from Talking Smack. Besides, I like the story WWE is telling with Ziggler. A loss here by Ziggler makes sense in continuing his downward spiral until he snaps and turns heel. Although these two have faced each other numerous times in the past, I expect them to have their best match yet.
Winner: The Miz
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi vs Becky Lynch vs. Natalya in a Six-Pack Match for the Smackdown Women's Championship
Becky Lynch is the most over woman on the Smackdown Live roster which will make her the popular pick, but she will she finally get over the hump and win the big one? Nikki Bella and Carmella will continue their feud after Backlash so I don’t see either of them winning. Alexa Bliss could be the dark horse, but she’s not ready yet. That leaves Natalya. I'd love to see Natalya win the title at Backlash, hold it until WrestleMania where she drops it to Becky Lynch. Will WWE go this route? I highly doubt it. Although I think it’s a mistake, I fully expect them to put the title on Becky.
My Winner: Natalya
Enjoy the show!
The Fighting Champion
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