It’s the first dual-brand PPV of the new era, as both RAW and Smackdown Live’s rosters will be in Newark, New Jersey for WWE Backlash in what is technically the first pay-per-view after April’s WrestleMania. However, a number of events have taken place since the Show of Shows; not only have we seen the second Superstar Shakeup take place, but we’ve also seen the first 50-man rumble match at last month’s Greatest Royal Rumble. While it’s been an exciting few weeks for the WWE, it’s been mostly meaningless, and it’ll be nice to see them get back to meaningful storylines after Sunday’s event.
At the time of this writing, nine matches are set to take place on Sunday, including another edition of Styles/Nakamura for the WWE Championship. You watching?
- Pre Show: Bayley vs Ruby Riott
- Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
- Daniel Bryan vs Big Cass
- Carmella (C) vs Charlotte Flair(SmackDown Women’s Championship)
- Nia Jax (C) vs Alexa Bliss(RAW Women’s Championship)
- Jeff Hardy (C) vs Randy Orton(United States Championship)
- Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe
- Seth Rollins (C) vs The Miz (WWE Intercontinental Championship)
- AJ Styles (C) vs Shinsuke Nakamura (No DQ match for the WWE Championship)
Pre Show: Bayley vs Ruby Riott
Spencer: I’m writing these predictions next-to-last of everyone here, and everyone else has picked Ruby Riott so far. Just to keep it interesting, I’m going with the Hugger here. Prediction: Bayley
Pedro: Call me crazy but I feel this will be a meaningless match. Not much will happen other than a match to hopefully warm up the crowd a little bit. Prediction: Ruby Riott wins
Dylan: I’m really losing interest in Bayley. Please WWE give me a reason to care. Unfortunately, I feel like this will just be a match with no significant storyline progression. Prediction: Ruby Riott wins
Parker: Hopefully we see some development towards Sasha-Bayley for Summerslam. Realistically, Brooklyn would probably be the best place to pull this match off. Have Sasha cost Bayley the match, either intentionally or not. Either way, it’s nearing the time to pull the trigger or risk having people lose interest. Prediction: Ruby Riott steals one after Sasha costs Bayley.
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Spencer: I have absolutely no reason to care about Bobby Lashley, and I could see him costing Braun a win to kickstart a program between the two. Going on that huch, I’m giving this one to the Canadians! Prediction: Owens and Zayn
Pedro: This one is a very strange match. For starters a guy like Strowman should be at the main event instead of the opening match of the main card. Not only that, once again we will see Strowman destroy everything on his path given the fact that despite not getting a decent title shot he still goes over everything. The directionless push will not die at Backlash. Prediction: Strowman and Lashley
Dylan: This one could be interesting but I would care a lot more if Lashley was not involved. Do they pull the trigger on the Lashley heel turn? I think they should. Prediction: Team Kami
Parker: Ugh. Barring a heel turn here for Lashley, I can’t see Braun taking a loss here. Man, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn could do so much more. Prediction: Strowman & Lashley.
Daniel Bryan vs Big Cass
Spencer: In all the time I spent talking about potential matches for Daniel Bryan if he returned, I don’t think I once mentioned Big Cass as a opponent. However, that’s the situation we find ourselves in as the 7-footer has targeted Bryan since returning during the Superstar Shakeup. I think that this feud will continue on past this match, and I don’t think that either man can afford to take a clean loss here; I think that Bryan will win, but that WWE will keep Cass looking strong. Prediction: Daniel Bryan via DQ.
Pedro: This looks to be a nice match. The match gives Big Cass time in the spotlight. Not only that, but he will face Daniel Bryan in his first singles match since his return; that alone makes the match worth watching. However, I do not see Cass wining here, and the YES train will keep rolling for a little longer. Prediction: Daniel Bryan
Dylan: People are gonna be really upset with the result of this match, but this is Big Cass time to shine. This feud is going to continue into the summer so why not give Cass a win over arguably WWE’s most loved star? Prediction: Big Cass wins.
Parker: The fact that Big Cass’ first feud back will be against the returning Daniel Bryan shows how much the company believes in him. Now, if anyone can make Cass look great, it’s Bryan. For one, Bryan will be the most over face in the company for years. Secondly, he’s damn near bulletproof. However, Cass has never been the most polished worker between the ropes. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, he has improved on the mic since his injury. Here’s to hoping he’s gotten a bit more crisp in-ring, cause unfortunately for all of us… Prediction: Big Cass defeats Daniel Bryan.
Smackdown Women’s Championship - Carmella vs Charlotte Flair
Spencer: While it wouldn’t surprise me to see Charlotte become a 2-time Smackdown Women’s Champion, I think they’ll save that for a bigger moment. Besides, Carmella’s been great as a champion so far, and I don’t see any reason to hurt her recent momentum with a loss. Prediction: Carmella
Pedro: Backlash has never been a very meaningful Pay Per View, and more so now after The Greatest Royal Rumble. Not many titles have changed hands during Backlash’s recent history. Having said that, I think WWE will save this match for a bigger show. Prediction: Carmella retains via DQ due to IIconic’s interference
Dylan: I’m with pretty much everyone else. The IIconic’s have been an integral part of this feud so far and I feel like this will be the same. With Carmella playing that annoying heel, I feel some sort of interference from the IIconic’s or some other screwy finish is a must. Prediction: Carmella retains via DQ
Parker: Carmella successfully cashed in MITB against Charlotte, in a fairly decent shock. Now, she won’t have the advantage of Charlotte being down at the start of this match. I think IIconic’s make a run in, leading to perhaps a stipulation match at the next PPV. Prediction: Carmella retains, by hook or by crook.
RAW Women’s Championship - Nia Jax vs Alexa Bliss
Spencer: Excited for Nia to move on to bigger and better things. Prediction: Nia Jax
Pedro: Why would Jax drop he belt this soon? This one is a no-brainer. Prediction: Nia Jax retains
Dylan: Alexa’s recent anti-bullying PSA’s have been amazing but I feel like Nia just has a lot more to do as Champion. Prediction: Nia Jax retains.
Parker: It just makes zero sense for Alexa to win the title back. Keep it on Nia for a while and give me another reason to cheer for Nia. Prediction: Nia Jax retains.
Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe
Spencer: Samoa Joe is a monster. Roman Reigns lately has been a big fat loser. Do we see Joe built up to challenge for AJ Styles WWE Championship? Does Reigns continue to fail? While I’m never surprised to see WWE give Roman a win, I think it’s a far more interesting direction to go having the Samoan Submission Machine walk out of Backlash a winner. Prediction: Samoa Joe
Pedro: Ahh, WWE’s logic will strike again. Samoa Joe needs a win since he is returning to PPV action since his injury. He seems like a candidate to win the match right? Not so much. As good as winning this match could be Samoa Joe, it seems that we will now returns to the usual ways of Reigns being over everyone in the company but Brock Lesnar. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Dylan: This one is really a toss up for me. This matches decision could hinder on where they put it on the card. If it’s main event (I don’t think this is likely but who knows with Vince in charge), Samoa Joe has absolutely no chance. If it’s earlier in the night, Joe’s chances continue to go up. I feel like Samoa Joe definitely needs this win more. Unfortunately, I don’t see Vince having Roman lose again. Prediction: Roman Reigns
Parker: This one is tough to call. On one hand, Samoa Joe is returning from injury, and could use a big PPV win here to keep him at the top of the card. He hasn’t won a Pay Per View match since Extreme Rules 2017 (I am not counting the survivor series win here). On the other hand, Roman Reigns has spent the last few months getting his ass kicked by Brock Lesnar - completely eliminating any interest in his character. So, it’s a coin flip. Joe needs the push into the main event scene on Smackdown, so… Prediction: Samoa Joe (really going with my heart here)
United States Championship - Jeff Hardy vs Randy Orton
Spencer: It’s far too soon to have Hardy drop the title, and especially to a guy like Randy Orton. There’s nothing to gain by having these two feud for a long while, unless the long-term plan is for this to lead to an Orton heel turn. I’ll even toss in a bonus prediction: Hardy enters to his old theme music! Prediction: Jeff Hardy.
Pedro: Nia’s case applies to this match as well. There is no reason for Hardy to drop a belt he just won a couple of weeks ago. Prediction: Jeff Hardy retains
Dylan: I’m done with Randy Orton. Prediction: Jeff Hardy retains.
Parker: It’s just too early for Hardy to drop the belt. I personally don’t want to see Orton in the title scene, at least as a face, for a while. Prediction: Jeff Hardy retains
Intercontinental Championship - Seth Rollins vs The Miz
Spencer: Seth Rollins has been the best part of RAW since claiming the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania. He’s quickly turning into the most popular man on the brand, and is poised for a huge run with the championship. The Miz, meanwhile, is heading to Smackdown Live and a potential dream feud with Daniel Bryan. I don’t think the title needs to be involved between the two; besides, with the Miz’s next I.C. Championship tying him with Jericho for the most of all time, he’ll win it back at a bigger moment. Right now, it’s Rollins time. Prediction: Seth Rollins
Pedro: First things first: it is too soon for The Miz to get back in the title picture. Not only that but, I find highly unlikely that a single brand takes the entire mid card title picture for themselves. Being as talented as he is, getting into the title picture for the U.S title over at Raw will not be much a challenge for The Miz. Prediction: Seth Rollins retains.
Dylan: I’m gonna go into fantasy land here. I really want the Miz to win this match and head back to Raw to delay the DB feud. Daniel Bryan vs The Miz screams WrestleMania to me. I’m just gonna go with my heart here even if I’m probably wrong. Prediction: The Miz wins!!!
Parker: By process of elimination, I don’t think that Smackdown will take both midcard titles, and I can’t see Miz winning here & going back to RAW when he’s got a ready made feud with DB. Plus, the build to the 9th title reign for the Miz needs some build. Keep him from then IC Scene for a bit, see if he can make some magic in the US Championship scene with Jeff Hardy, and come back later on. Prediction: Seth Rollins retains.
WWE Championship - AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Spencer: Since WrestleMania, this feud has stepped up in a big way, and mostly due to the work of a freshly-heel Shinsuke Nakamura. He’s been absolutely terrific since turning over to the dark side, and arguably is hotter than he’s ever been throughout his entire WWE run. He’s got badass new music, and seems primed for a run with the WWE Championship - and I’d be primed to agree with you, if it wasn’t for the debut of one of WWE’s most ruthless killers on Smackdown Live. Samoa Joe is primed to make a huge impact on the blue brand, and after he targeted AJ Styles last week, I think the two are primed to feud over Smackdown’s top title. In order for that to happen, Styles has to retain. Prediction: AJ Styles
Pedro: Remember how I said not many titles change hands at Backlash? Well, this title will change hands since it’s too good of an opportunity to do so. Not only does Nakamura deserve the belt, but this could also lead to much a bigger things in a feud with two world class wrestlers such as him and AJ Styles. Prediction: Nakamura wins the title.
Dylan: This is one of those matches where I want to sit back and enjoy the masterpiece that they will be painting for us. I would not be upset with either outcome. Nakamura as a heel has been one of my favorite things about WWE television lately. With Samoa Joe entering the fray in this feud, I feel like this is gonna continue with Styles as the champion. Give me a Nakamura, Styles, Joe Triple Threat and it could rival the Unbreakable Three Way with Styles, Daniels, and Joe. Am I crazy? You bet! Prediction: Styles retains.
Parker: Full disclosure, I was pissed when they turned Nakamura. How wrong was I? Very! Nakamura has been great as a heel, with his focus on punching people in the dick and “No speak English” catchphrase. Now, while Styles has done great work with the belt - I think he can focus on some dream matches. Seeing Styles match up with Joe, Almas, Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy, Cesaro (a man can dream), Killian Dain, and so on - he just is legit without the belt. Shinsuke Nakamura needs a signature win here, and has gotten tons of momentum via his heel turn. Plus, no DQ = unlimited low blows. He’s got this in the bag. Call me crazy too, but I want to see Styles vs Joe vs Nakamura for the strap at MITB. Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura punches AJ Styles in the balls enough to become WWE Champion.
WWE: Last Five
- Spoiler-Free NXT Preview and Predictions
- Smackdown Live Preview: May 1st
- Monday Night Hayden: Predictions for the 30/04/18
- Fry and the Guy: Sammy Guevara Interview
- Greatest Royal Rumble: Match Card and Predictions