On Sunday, September 11, WWE will air Backlash, the first Smackdown Live exclusive pay-per-view since the brand split. The pre-show begins at 7 pm eastern time, with the full PPV beginning at 8, all on the WWE Network.
There is a lot riding on this show, as it is Smackdown Live’s first shot at an exclusive PPV event. As of now, there are only six matches for the card, which is fewer than most people anticipated. For comparison, Summerslam had 11 matches. With a limited number of matches, it will be interesting to see how the show will pan out. There is a lot of potential for this to be a great event, as fans are already excited for the revival of the Backlash PPV name. That being said, there is plenty of room for error in terms of booking decisions. With only six matches planned for the night, it is up to the creative team to make sure that the fans will be entertained for the entire show.
Here are the predictions for Smackdown Live’s first exclusive pay-per-view, Backlash.
The Hype-Bros vs The Usos
After The Usos were quickly defeated by American Alpha this past week on Smackdown, Jimmy and Jey did not waste any time in taking all of their rage out on Jason Jordan and Chad Gable, injuring the up-and-coming team in the process. With American Alpha being ruled out for this Sunday’s final match in the tag team tournament, Commissioner Shane McMahon made the decision to have The Usos face off against The Hype-Bros, which is the electric team of Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder.
The Usos’ heel turn is a refreshing change of pace for the veteran tag team, and fans will be interested in seeing how this new face turn progresses. In order to capitalize on this new turn, and to get the most out of this new-found momentum, the Usos should come out of this match victorious, and continue on to the final of the tag team tournament.
Winners: The Usos
Heath Slater and Rhyno vs TDB (Tag Team Tournament Final)
Ever since Heath Slater went undrafted the night of the WWE Draft, his underdog storyline has been one of the more entertaining in the WWE. Slater has a ton of talent on the mic, and his ability to entertain and make people laugh is never in question. However, he has been horribly underused these past few years, as he simply has too much talent to be just a jobber. The recent segment showing Slater at home with his family was one of the more entertaining segments in recent memory. It also is important to note that the fans have been behind him every step of the way, cheering him on as he consistently goes up against the odds.
The team of Heath Slater and Rhyno should be going up against The Usos for the first-ever Smackdown Tag Team Titles, and for Heath slater, a victory also means a contract with Smackdown Live. As stated before, Slater has been riding a huge wave of momentum leading up to this PPV, and many fans would be disappointed to see him make it this far just to be tossed aside again. The Usos are a great team, and their heel turn is certainly something to take note of, but right now is Heath Slater’s time, and he should leave Backlash with both a Tag Team Championship, and a Smackdown Live contract.
Winners: Heath Slater and Rhyno
Women’s 6-Pack Match (Smackdown Women’s Championship)
The introduction of a Smackdown Women’s Championship Belt was a great move by the WWE, as there is a plethora of female talent currently on the roster. To find out which woman will be the inaugural champion, there will be a 6-pack challenge match to see who the last woman standing is. The women in this match will be: Becky Lynch, Naomi, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss.
There has been some interesting storylines involving this group so far, with one being the recent return of Total Divas star Nikki Bella. Her recent run-ins with Carmella have shown the potential of the new superstar, as Carmella definitely has the skills to compete at this level. However, the clear top wrestler in the Women’s division of Smackdown is Becky Lynch. Lynch was Smackdown’s first female draft pick, and what better to show for that than being the first women’s champion. She put on a stellar performance at WrestleMania this past spring, and is one of the best wrestlers on the roster, male or female. No one is more deserving of this championship than she is.
Winner: Becky Lynch
Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt
Predicting this match is more difficult than the other ones, as both wrestlers have not come off of any big victories, and both seem to be in need of a win. Randy Orton was thoroughly beaten down by Brock Lesnar at Summerslam last month, and it wasn’t even close. Getting beaten to the point of your head getting busted open is not a good look for any wrestler, even if they are as decorated as Orton.
Wyatt, on the other hand, has been struggling to gain significant momentum for a while now. It seems as if his only way of feuding with anyone is to randomly call out a superstar and attack them during a match. That whole shtick has gotten stale, but with this feud being against one of the most recognized wrestlers in history, Wyatt has a chance to really bring himself up on the wrestling totem pole. In the end, it seems that Bray Wyatt needs this victory more than Orton does. Orton definitely has the ability to come back from a loss like this, and even go on to put himself back in the championship picture. Wyatt needs this win to keep his gimmick from permanently becoming stale.
Winner: Bray Wyatt
The Miz. vs Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Title)
One of the most talked about issues in wrestling recently, The Miz’s outburst towards Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan a few weeks ago on an episode of Talking Smack has the potential to turn into one of the best storylines of the year. Instead of facing him face-to-face in the ring, Dolph Ziggler came out to attack The Miz and proceeded to call him a “cowardly” wrestler. This has brought out the best in The Miz, as he works best as a heel. His ability to get at people’s emotions and get a strong reaction from the crowd make him one of the best mic workers in the WWE.
Dolph Ziggler, one of the more liked superstars on the roster, is a great fit to go up against The Miz. While a fan favorite, this feud is not about Ziggler vs The Miz – it’s about Daniel Bryan vs The Miz. Ziggler certainly deserves a championship belt, but in order to fully take advantage of the very unique storyline opportunity, The Miz will defeat Ziggler, only to then turn his attention back to Daniel Bryan.
Winner: The Miz
Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles (WWE Championship)
Dean Ambrose is one of the coolest superstars in the WWE. His character, quirkiness, and unique personality make him one of the top guys in the company, and the fans adore him. His hilarious promos coupled with his impressive wrestling ability are just a couple of the reasons why he is currently the top-dog for Smackdown Live.
Then there is AJ Styles. There are few people in the entire world that are better wrestlers than Styles, and he knows it. His last promo before this PPV showed that cockiness that got him to where he is today. His beating John Cena clean, which is something only a handful of people can say, made the few remaining non-believers suddenly believe in the Phenomenal One. Dean Ambrose is one of the best in the business, but with this massive wave of momentum that AJ Styles is now riding, it only seems fitting that he walks out of Backlash as the new WWE World Champion.
Winner: AJ Styles
This Sunday should be full of great matches, and is a time where Smackdown Live can show how talented its roster is. Barring any ridiculous booking decisions, the WWE Universe should be in for a very entertaining show.
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