The first PPV in the post – WrestleMania season is WWE Backlash, and to no one’s surprise, Brock Lesnar will not be featuring on the PPV. Instead, the WWE Championship will be defended in the main event, with AJ Styles taking on Shinsuke Nakamura. Styles and Nakamura’s rivalry has taken a new turn, with Shinsuke turning heel at WrestleMania. Both the Superstars will square off in a No Disqualifications match this Sunday.
The Intercontinental title and the United States Championship will be defended at Backlash as well, with The Miz taking on Seth Rollins, while Jeff Hardy puts his title on the line against Orton. The RAW and SmackDown Women’s Championships will be up for grabs, with Nia facing Bliss for the RAW title, while Charlotte Flair looks to win her title back against Carmella on the blue brand.
Daniel Bryan returns for his first PPV match in nearly three years, as he faces Big Cass. Roman Reigns takes on Samoa Joe in a highly anticipated bout, while Strowman and Lashley will team up to face Owens and Zayn.
Here are our predictions for the event.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
Daniel Bryan will make his first PPV appearance in nearly three years this Sunday, when he takes on Big Cass. The seven footer has been doing a good job on SmackDown Live, although his promo this past week wasn’t all that great. Cass is still finding his feet as a singles competitor, and isn’t as comfortable on the microphone as one would want.
Daniel Bryan will always be a megastar in the eyes of the fans. The bearded Superstar was pushed and willed to the top by the fans, and that will not change. No Superstar since Steve Austin has been able to elicit that kind of emotion from the WWE Universe, and because of that, it is difficult to see Cass beating Bryan at Backlash.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
It feels like Reigns’s momentum, or whatever was left of it after WrestleMania, is quickly fizzling out. Roman has been WWE’s pet – project, and was supposed to replace John Cena at the helm of the organization. However, the fans haven’t taken a liking to the Superstar the way Vince McMahon would’ve wanted, and WWE has been hesitant with pulling the trigger themselves.
Roman was supposed to win his match at WrestleMania, but now finds himself at crossroads. Reigns needs the win more than Joe, and Roman also needs to win the Universal title before the charm around him completely disappears. WWE needs to be firm in their decision, and if they don’t, they may risk Roman becoming a stale figure like most of the mid carders.
Winner: Roman Reigns
Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
Lashley’s return to WWE has seen him siding with Strowman and Reigns, and the former ECW Champion will return to WWE PPV this Sunday, as he teams up with Strowman to take on Zayn and Owens.
Sami and Kevin are in a peculiar spot on the roster. The fans know their value, but the WWE creative team haven’t used them properly on SmackDown Live, and aren’t doing a good job on RAW now. Sami and Kevin are two of the best heels in the company at the moment, and feeding them to monsters isn’t the right away to go about, to use their services.
On Sunday however, that is exactly what’s going to happen, unless Lashley and Strowman somehow turn on each other.
Winner: Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley
Carmella vs. Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
Charlotte Flair has had a long, meaningful run with the SmackDown Women’s title, and was also the first woman to hand Asuka defeat in the company. Charlotte’s status as the best women’s wrestler in the company was cemented at WrestleMania, as WWE initially wanted Ronda to break Asuka’s streak.
Going from winning against Asuka, to dropping the title to Carmella, Charlotte Flair has seen her fortunes change drastically. The Princess of Staten Island has done a decent job so far to her credit, and has played her character well.
Come Sunday, Carmella will find a way to grab on to the title, as her dropping the title to Charlotte Flair just weeks after winning it would take any meaning away from the switch.
Winner and still the SmackDown Women’s Champion: Carmella
Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss for the RAW Women’s Championship
Jax won the RAW Women’s title from Miss Bliss at WrestleMania, and will defend her title against the former champion at Backlash. The rivalry between Jax and Bliss was booked well, with Nia faltering at the final hurdle almost every time, but when Bliss showed her true colors, Nia finally was able to exorcise her demons, and realized her dreams.
WWE has been trying to make Bliss come up with excuses, to make Nia seem like the bad person. That however hasn’t been working, but it isn’t because of Bliss. The writing so far has been sloppy, and while you don’t need an exceptional storyline to create an air of animosity between the two, WWE still hasn’t delivered the goods for their feud.
Winner and still the RAW Women’s Champion: Nia Jax
Seth Rollins vs. The Miz for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Rollins has been dealing with Finn Balor on RAW, but will have to face an old foe in The Miz at Backlash. With The Miz now drafted to SmackDown Live, this will be the A – Lister’s last opportunity to get his hands on the Intercontinental title, something he has made relevant over the past year.
Rollins, in all likelihood, will win the match and retain the title, and The Miz will move on to different feuds on SmackDown Live. The fans have been longing for the feud between Bryan and The Miz to begin, which is rumored to take place before SummerSlam this year.
Winner and still the Intercontinental Champion: Seth Rollins
Jeff Hardy vs. Randy Orton for the WWE United States Championship
Jeff Hardy nicked the title away from Jinder Mahal, after Mahal won the title from Orton at WrestleMania. Hardy has been a breath of fresh air on SmackDown Live, and provides a new alternative in terms of rivalries for Randy Orton. While The Viper hasn’t done much over the past few months, putting him in a feud with someone like Jeff will undoubtedly freshen things up.
It’s a throwback to the times when Jeff and Orton competed for the WWE Championship, culminating in that memorable Swanton Bomb from the top of the railings. Hardy and Orton can put on good matches, but expect Jeff to retain the title at Backlash.
Winner and still the WWE United States Champion: Jeff Hardy
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE Championship in a No Disqualifications match
In the main event, AJ Styles and Nakamura will face each other in a No Disqualifications match at Backlash. For weeks, Nakamura has been assaulting Styles, dropping him to the mat wincing in pain due to the low – blows. Come Backlash however, everything will be legal, with Styles demanding that he face Nakamura in a No Disqualifications match.
Since turning heel, Nakamura has become more interesting, and a heel persona suits his cocky character better. While the Japanese Superstar has undoubtedly made a major impact since WrestleMania, WWE would likely book a feud between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship for the next couple of months.