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This year’s edition of Backlash takes place in Bizzaro World as a former member of 3MB takes on the WWE Champion on pay per view. Sounds mental, right?
Not only that, Shinsuke Nakamura will have his first ever match on the main roster as he takes on Dolph Ziggler. I’ve got high hopes for that one, as well as the United States Championship clash between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles.
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English
Easy match to predict. More often than not it’s usually the babyface that goes over in the pre-show and I can’t see that changing here. I love how Aiden English is back to his singing gimmick. That was a guilty pleasure of mine, back in the early days of NXT. I don’t like how they’ve made him into somewhat of a cry-baby. I guess it fits in well with his ‘Drama King’ persona, but it’s not for me. Dillinger is mega over, and I expect the Perfect 10 to pick up the win here.
Winner: Tye Dillinger
Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
I was at a live event last week in Newcastle and these two were in a match against one another. Pretty good match, one of the best Erick Rowan matches I’ve seen, but I was really pissed off about a small section of the crowd chanting, “We want Cena”. If you were one of those pricks chanting, FUCK YOU! That so disrespectful. It also annoys me when people throw beachballs and shit like that!
Anyway, I’m going off topic, I’m going for a Harper victory since Rowan won on Smackdown (I was there) last week, plus Harper is the better performer and he really needs the win here. I’d welcome a solid Luke Harper push. I really would. He’s much better and more deserving than the guy challenging for the WWE Title on this show, for example.
Winner: Luke Harper
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn
I think Corbin is going to go on a hot streak after a win here against Sami Zayn. He’s the favourite to win the MITB Briefcase. Baron Corbin has been pretty good for a while, and I do appreciate that they are taking their time as they elevate him. It’s pretty refreshing to see them take their time with something and slowly prepare it until it’s ready to fill the spot they hope to elevate him to someday. He is consistently improving. I wish they allow him some freedom in his promos because the guy can be hilarious at times. Listen to him on Talking Smack. Dry as a bone, he is.
Sami Zayn, on the other hand, is still in the same position as he was when he was on Raw. He’s 4th in the pecking order of babyfaces and as everything stands right now, I don’t see any big programs for him coming up. They don’t need to go back to the Owens/Zayn well yet. So ultimately, I think he’s just going to keep coming up short in big matches. Sami is masterful at making heels look like absolute jerks and making crowds hate them and cheer for him. He’s also a great worker for Corbin to work with to elevate his own skills. I just think this a really great pairing and they should put on a pretty damn good match.
Winner: Baron Corbin
Naomi, Charlotte Flair, & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Carmella, & Tamina
I liked the build-up for this match. Smackdown only has six women on the roster which is something that people will frown upon, but you can’t deny that Smackdown utilises them unlike what Raw does with their women’s roster. Charlotte Flair joined Smackdown as part of the Roster Shakeup, last month. She was a heel, they turned her face and if you listen to the crowd, the turn worked. They may have turned her, but she still acts heelish because it suggests that she might not get along with Naomi. It’s because of that dissension within the ranks that may award the Welcoming Committee (what a dumb name) the win.
Will that happen? I don’t think so. Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina have had the advantage during most of the interactions, so that leads me towards a win for the babyfaces. I’m going for Charlotte to get the win for her team.
Winners: Naomi, Charlotte Flair, & Becky Lynch
WWE United States Championship
Kevin Owens © vs. AJ Styles
A solid contender for match of the night, along with Nakamura v Ziggler. AJ Styles on pay per view! He always brings his A-game. Kevin Owens always has good matches when he gets a lot of time as well and I fully expect them to get over 20 minutes in this match. There’s very little chance that this match will disappoint us. What could have been done better is the build to the match because Styles has barely said a word about wanting to win the US Title. It could have been built up better, that’s for sure.
I’m leaning towards Kevin Owens winning via cheating (feet on the ropes/ handful of tights). I think this is just a one PPV type of feud and that Styles will be a key name in the Money in the Bank match next month.
A title change is too soon. They will be reserved until SummerSlam.
Winner: Kevin Owens
WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
The Usos © vs. Breezango
Can I just say that I love The Fashion Files! There’s so much gold in those segments. “What is Day One Is H?” had me laughing far harder than it had any business to. It’s good to see these guys in a babyface role where they can let their charisma shine through. I think their roles on Southpaw Regional Wrestling really made management realise just how funny these guys truly are.
The Usos have been killing it with their promos recently. They’re right up there with The Miz on top promo guys. They have been cutting promos with an intensity and fire that is borderline goofy, but has allowed them to show more personality through speech than they ever had before. I’ve been enjoying the hell out of it.
With that being said, will the titles change hands? No. The Usos v New Day is the big summer feud and I have no problem with that because I’m enjoying heel Usos a lot.
Winners: The Usos
Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
We all know the outcome of this. Backlash has been built around Nakamura making his PPV debut, which is smart because he’s a big deal. I think they’ll have a great match because of all the live event matches they’ve had. Hopefully it’s in the 15-20 minute range rather than an easy 12-minute win for Nakamura. Give them more time to tell a story and that should help the match quality.
If Nakamura and Dolph go out there Sunday and tear the house down like they can, Shinsuke will officially have arrived on the main roster and captured the imaginations of every single person that doesn’t get it yet. The character is very much about setting an expectation and defying said expectation within minutes of an actual fight.
Ziggler has no chance of beating Nakamura in his first WWE PPV match, and that’s the simple state of affairs. This will be a real treat for the viewing audience, though, and so it really matters not. Both guys will do their job and put on a clinic that will rival anything on a Raw event.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
Randy Orton © vs. Jinder Mahal
Who would have thought that a former member of 3MB would one day be challenging for the WWE Championship? And who would have thought that member of 3MB would be Jinder Mahal?
It’s great that there’s someone new in the title picture, but WWE Creative have rushed this Jinder push. They should have planned this out better so that they were giving him some decent mid card wins in the last two or three months. Instead, they threw him into a #1 Contender match, had him win that and have basically hit us over the head as if to say “accept him” while we sit here wondering how a guy with one career PPV win (in a tag match) is getting a WWE Title shot at a PPV.
That fact that he had a boring match against AJ Styles recently on Smackdown doesn’t exactly fill me up with confidence either.
I could be wrong. They could pull something out of the hat that surprises us, but I can’t see that happening.
Surely this can’t be worse than the House of Horrors, right?
Winner: Randy Orton
Feel free to post your predictions in the comment section below and I’ll be back on Monday with my random thoughts on Backlash.