So as much as some of you may not be aware there is indeed a PROPER WWE ppv this Sunday. And although maybe not as star studded as recent events it is shaping up to be an intriguing one. As mentioned this will be the first regular ppv that is co-branded for some time, so it’ll be interesting to see who they give the big moments and spotlights too. So lets run down the card then…
Intercontinental Championship: Seth Rollins ( C ) v The Miz
Seth Rollins I feel is having the time of his life. He’s probably the 3rd top guy on Raw right now on the good guy side (behind Braun and I guess you have to count Roman), so he’s one of the main players but without the pressure of having to carry the company as world champion as he did do in 2015. He’s producing some of his finest in-ring work to date over the last 6 months or so, ever since The Shield mini-reunion he’s really looked like ‘Monday Night Rollins’. This ongoing feud with The Miz and his former whipping boys is now looking like it will reach it’s end at Backlash (with Miz now on Smackdown), and with Finn Balor and the likes of Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin all as potential future IC title challengers the future for both Seth and his championship looks bright indeed.
Prediction: Seth Rollins to retain
Raw Women’s Championship: Nia Jax ( C ) v Alexa Bliss
The feud before Mania was good, but the storyline and the fat-shaming I was uncomfortable with. I just felt it unnecessary to use that as an issue when they could’ve just used that these two were best friends, Alexa was the champion, Nia wanted to be the champion, and there you have it. But I must say to see Nia win the title at Wrestlemania and her as champion now is GREAT, and the ‘Public Service Announcement’ promos Bliss has run the past two weeks (were she acts as the babyface and gets all emotional whilst recalling stories of when Nia was a bully etc.) have been great also. So still the tone is uncomfortable a little for me, but it is entertaining I must admit. The last match was fine, I can’t see this being much different. As Great as Alexa is (and yes I use a capital G on great for a reason) it is WAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYYYY to early for Nia Jax to lose her title. Nor should she for a long long time. And she shouldn’t ever lose it to anyone that isn’t called Ronda Rousey.
Prediction: Nia Jax to retain
Daniel Bryan v Big Cass
A classic big man versus little man match up. This match will quality wise be all about Big Cass, it’s pretty obvious that Daniel Bryan will be his typical excellent self, and this is probably the biggest match of his career arguably in terms of a singles match for Cass. The build up has been a bit short, and a bit of nothingness at times, but hey lets be happy we have Bryan in a big singles match on a ppv once again, and if Cass performs well it will only speed up the figurative rocket he has behind him at the moment. Wouldn’t be surprised if Cass gets the big win here, but I personally wouldn’t have Daniel Bryan eat a loss for a LONG time yet, or to anyone else that wasn’t the or as part of a WWE Championship match. Hopefully.
Prediction: Daniel Bryan
Smackdown Women’s Championship: Carmella ( C ) v Charlotte Flair
Carmella as champion has been exactly as I thought she’d be, sneaky, brash and arrogant. Great stuff. But similar to the dynamic with the Raw Women’s title match on this card, the champion needs to be keeping her title reign going for WAAAAYYYYYY longer than she has up to this point, despite the obvious talents of the challenger. I feel all the big money matches on the Smackdown Women’s side involve Charlotte and not Carmella, and with the first nod being made this past week towards Charlotte being 1 title reign away from tying the great Trish Stratus as a 7 time champion maybe they could spring a surprise here (feels odd to call a win for Charlotte Flair, the greatest WWE female in-ring performer of all time, a surprise)… but I doubt it.
Prediction: Carmella JUST to retain (for now…)
United States Championship: Jeff Hardy ( C ) v Randy Orton
Two of the most universally popular superstars on the roster feuding for the mid-card title of the blue brand says a lot about the quality of the roster of particularly Smackdown at the moment. Jeff and Randy can both still go, and a full decade since they were feuding for the WWE Championship here they both are again squaring off with one another. This incarnation of the feud has seen both men show mutual respect whilst still trying to one-up one another. And of course we had Randy hit Jeff with an RKO on the go-home show this past week. The match will be fine, the feud has been fine, it’ll probably continue and we get one or two more matches between these two with Miz and Shelton getting involved along the way and going forward… result wise, this feud still has plenty of legs in it, and with Orton hitting Jeff with his finisher already I don’t see him doing the same on Sunday.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy to retain
Samoa Joe v Roman Reigns
Everything within me wants Samoa Joe to win this match, but lets look at the facts; in 2018 Roman Reigns didn’t win the Royal Rumble, he DID win the Elimination Chamber but was dominated before and after by Braun Strowman, he lost at Wrestlemania and he just ‘lost’ for a 2nd time to Brock Lesnar. For someone who is “THE guy” that’s not the best of starts to the year. With wrestling logic in mind, that the guy who’s leaving always ‘does the job’ on the way out, I fear it’ll be Joe doing the honours before he starts his time on the Smackdown Live roster. I should also mention that Samoa Joe this past week signified his intention to go after whoever is WWE Champion after Backlash. So MAYBE they will give him a huge win here as a launch pad into a Styles or Nakamura feud…. MAYBE…. maybe not….
Prediction: Roman Reigns
Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn v Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman
Not much actual story to this, just two bad guys against 2 good guys. But if the recent weeks’ interactions between these two teams are anything to go by, it should be a tremendously fun and enjoyable match to watch. All 4 men are of between great to good levels of in-ring performers, and are equally as good storytellers too. A definite dark horse for match of the night if it gets the time to be. But there is only one real result surely? The right one to further build the REAL guy… (although I wouldn’t rule out a turn from Lashley to set up a feud with Strowman going forward).
Prediction: Braun Strowman, Running Powerslam, 1-2-3.
WWE Championship: AJ Styles ( C ) v Shinsuke Nakamura – No Disqualifications Match
So now it’s NO DQ this is going to be a tale of who is going to low blow who surely? And will AJ wear a protective guard to fend off any (now signature) low blow strikes from Nakamura? In my opinion this match will follow the build up and be all about the Shinsuke low blow. As for the match itself the first WWE one was ok, the 2nd was better so this 3rd one, with no rules now and (presumably) a main event spot on a ppv and hopefully a lot of time this COULD be spectacular. Nakamura in this heel role is about 10 times as cool as he was before (and even before he was cool still), and now with this added edge to this match rather than 2 respectful peers it should be very physical and very VERY good. Using the logic that Nakamura has dominated the build up, and with Samoa Joe calling out the winner of this match, along with the impending arrival to Smackdown of Andrade Almas, everything for me points to the babyface win. The past 2 encounters have been let down by the finish (one was way too quick and the finish to the second match… just… sucked) and this one will no doubt be judged on its ending once again.
Prediction: AJ Styles to retain
And so Backlash actually has a pretty good card I feel. It could be a real good show, hopefully it is closer to 3 hours than 4 else it could affect some of the later matches on the show heavily, and not well. The first dual branded non big 4 ppv for some years now should be really good, lets hope we have a lot more positives to speak of than negatives because big WWE shows recently haven’t exactly been brilliant overall. And just be grateful because Backlash 2017 ended with JINDER MAHAL winning the WWE Championship, so Backlash 2018 will just by existing be better than last year’s show. The matches on this show have potential to give big moments to some people, who they chose to put the spotlight on is the interesting question. I’ll actually get the chance to watch this show live as it airs, so I’m very much looking forward to watching a WWE show that is less than 5 hours long for once. I am blessed!