• WWE Backlash Preview and Predictions

    Jinder Mahal is main eventing this show

    Giving their thoughts and predictions on what to expect from the PPV are members of the site @JoeyOnEarth, @TimWelcomed and @TomBlargh.

    Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English on the kick-off

    Joey:

    I like Aiden English a lot and would like to see him get a genuine push. Tye Dillinger already seems like “just a guy” at this point. Aside from liking the number 10, there is not too much to him as a character. I think this match will just be a basic pre-show bout to get the fans loud with the TEN chants.

    Interest Level: 4/10
    Prediction: Tye Dillinger wins.

    Tim:

    I enjoy the Aiden English character and I hope they continue on with it. Tye Dillinger is pretty one note as a character so hopefully they flesh him out more soon. I don’t really have any feelings towards this match and that is a big problem with a lot of main roster stuff right now.

    Interest Level: 0/10
    Prediction: Tye Dillinger wins.

    Tom:

    I like these guys, though I worry for both of them. Dillinger is in danger of slipping into the “nice young man with almost zero discernible personality traits” role that Apollo Crews had on Smackdown for about a year, whereas Aiden English has a weird gimmick that I love but seems like it might keep him off the card more often than not. I want them both to do well! Anyway, this should be a neat little thing. It’s interesting to see English get used to being a singles guy again.

    Interest Level: 7/10
    Prediction: Tye Dillinger wins.

    Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan

    Joey:

    I legitimately forgot Luke Harper was still on Smackdown and he was probably my favorite thing on the show just a few months ago. Erick Rowan usually does nothing for me, but I am fond of his new bit popping balloons and laughing. Maybe we’ll see some balloons here? I want Luke to win here obviously. I just don’t see it happening. My prediction is Vince saw the Rowan balloon segment and loved it.

    Interest Level: 6/10
    Prediction: Erick Rowan wins.

    Tim:

    Here’s a match with a story behind it! Unfortunately, I feel like it ran its course forever ago and that Luke Harper should be on to grander things. They have yet to make me feel anything about Erick Rowan. I don’t have high hopes for the actual match either. I bet Harper even loses here!

    Interest Level: 1/10
    Prediction: Erick Rowan wins.

    Tom:

    Poor Luke Harper, he just can’t get out of the Wyatts hole he’s stuck in. I always hope he’ll be allowed to move onto bigger and better things because he’s a unique performer and deserves to be showcased in more high profile matches, but he’s in a weird spot right now. I’d love to see him have a decent feud with the likes of Zayn, Owens or Nakamura, so hopefully this is a stepping stone to that.

    Interest Level: 5/10
    Prediction: Luke Harper wins.

    The Usos vs. Breezango for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

    Joey:

    Hot take: I don’t care much for Breezango.

    Common take: The Usos are good as heels.

    I don’t really have any thoughts on this match aside from realizing just how weak the Smackdown tag division is until New Day arrives.

    Interest Level: 3/10
    Prediction: The Usos win.

    Tim:

    The Fashion Police are a decently funny time by WWE’s standards but it’s not something that will keep my attention for long. They only stand out because the bar for humor on WWE TV is so low. I think Breeze can show signs of being a talented wrestler. The Usos heel turn made them interesting again for a little bit but I’m back to not caring about them. The tag division is in a real bad state but might as well put it on Breezango so them and The New Day can do some wacky LOL-worthy jokes when they come back and go for the titles.

    Interest Level: 2/10
    Prediction: Breezango win.

    Tom:

    YES. OKAY. LET’S DO THIS. I love The Fashion Police and I’ve enjoyed The Usos enormously since their heel turn. I’m very excited for this match as I think Fandango and Breeze are both very underrated as actual wrestlers who wrestle, in addition to being great characters, so I think it could be a lot of fun!

    Interest Level: 9/10
    Prediction: Breezango wins.

    Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn

    Joey:

    This match should be great. Baron Corbin is best playing the bully type heel. Sami Zayn is best playing the underdog standing up to the big jerk. I’m not sure if these two ever worked together but I have a feeling they’ll have great chemistry. I’m all in on this feud going a while and I’m making the strong statement that this match steals the show!

    Interest Level: 9/10
    Prediction: Sami Zayn wins but gets beat up.

    Tim:

    I’m into this match. Everything seems so thrown together right now but I enjoy Corbin for the most part and Zayn is always interesting to watch wrestle especially where he can be the underdog. The story hasn’t been worth much discussion but that’s post-Wrestlemania 33 Smackdown, baby.

    Interest Level: 6/10
    Prediction: Baron Corbin wins.

    Tom:

    ALSO INTO THIS. Corbs has been a stand-out for months now – he’s kind of a parallel universe Braun Strowman, in that he’s a big man who is good at destroying people but he’s also capable of doing more than that and he’s got a weirdly good character that just works for me. Like, there’s something very believable about how he behaves, like a sullen, angry teenager prone to massive mood swings and violent tantrums. He and Sami have clicked together very well, so I’m hoping this is another good ‘un.

    Interest Level: 8/10
    Prediction: Baron Corbin wins.

    Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Naomi vs. Carmella, Natalya and Tamina w/ James Ellsworth

    Joey:

    No Women’s Championship match on this show is very lame. I don’t care about this match but I do think they will turn Charlotte heel again. Charlotte leading the three heels will be her version of the Four Horsewomen. James Ellsworth will be this generation’s JJ Dillon in this situation. Makes you think.

    Interest Level: 5/10
    Prediction: The heels win.

    Tim:

    I haven’t been pulled into this whole story at all but at least it’s something? I’m not trying to be negative here! The state of main roster creative is just very disinteresting to me and a bit insulting. The match itself is full of talent and I am sure it will be fine. I thinkCharlotte will continue on her path to being a face even though I don’t think that is the best call.

    Interest Level: 4/10
    Prediction: The Welcoming Committee wins (That’s what they’ve been calling theirselves, right?)

    Tom:

    I really don’t like the combo of Nattie, Carmella and Tamina, they feel horribly thrown together in a way that I think makes all of them less interesting. Charlotte as a face is a tough enough proposition that having a weak trio of heels to be her main opposition isn’t really helping. Bit of a shame that this is the only women’s match on the show, especially given how strong the Smackdown women’s division used to be.

    Interest Level: 4/10
    Prediction: Carmella, Natalya and Tamina win.

    Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

    Joey:

    The marketing of this match has been weird. I read on one of the wrestling sheets that WWE is hoping to have similar results to the Shinsuke Nakamura NXT debut match against Sami Zayn last year. That would be impressive if he wasn’t facing Dolph Ziggler. The match should end up being solid and Chicago will provide a great environment for Nakamura’s main roster debut match.

    Interest Level: 7/10
    Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura wins.

    Tim:

    I should be excited for this but the build has been full of Dolph Ziggler and the match will be full of Dolph Ziggler. They have Nakamura all over the ads and are trying to make him a big deal. That’s cool! Ziggler is a boring choice for his first main roster opponent. I hope it’s just Dolph doing over-the-top sells for him.

    Interest Level: 5/10
    Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura wins.

    Tom:

    Fucking Ziggler, man. I hate that he’s the first feud for so many debuting wrestlers. He almost killed “The Big Breakfast” by having a series of dull matches with Corbin, and he’s done the same with numerous other NXT chaps. I’m not so worried that it’ll happen to Shinsuke, but it’s absolutely the least interesting first feud I could have imagined for Nakamura. At least the crowd should be hot for it!

    Interest Level: 6/10
    Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura wins.

    Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles for the United States Championship

    Joey:

    I kind of hate the build to this match. The addition of patriotism being a part of the story is so lame. I cringed badly when AJ Styles did his “AMERICA!” speech on Tuesday against Kevin Owens and Jinder Mahal. It seems like every heel on Smackdown is anti-American at this point.

    Match wise, it should be wonderful. You can’t ask for a better combination on the Smackdown roster. I wish WWE built this better to the point where it could have been the main event. I also have a fear of Chris Jericho already returning to cost KO the match. Hopefully all these negatives are erased and they just get to have a MOTYC.

    Interest Level: 9/10
    Prediction: Kevin Owens wins.

    Tim:

    So this can go for these final two matches here: I cannot stand when WWE dips its ugly ass toes into “USA! Bullshit.” It’s fucking awful and it immediately makes me check out of the whole story. Kevin Owens and AJ Styles are having a match but I hated the build. KO doing the “Face of America” bit is fine but it leads to situations like this. I should be more excited for Owens on Smackdown in general but something is missing. Anyway, I am excited for the match and it is my most anticipated bout on the card. I just wish the build could have added something to it. I think Kevin Owens will win and Styles will be able to move back into the world title scene here soon.

    Interest Level: 8/10
    Prediction: Kevin Owens wins.

    Tom:

    I’m with Joey that being expected to side with Styles and his faux-patriotic spiel is gross, especially given the current political climate, but I still have high expectations for the match. As good as their TV matches have been, I think they’ll do something even more special for the PPV.

    The lingering threat of Jericho returning is something that’s been on my mind a bit too – KO has sorely deserved his own in-ring talk show segment for the past two years, but just using a version of the Highlight Reel has me very suspicious that the Jericho feud isn’t over, and I’d rather Owens move on from that. Still, never mind that, match should be excellent.

    Interest Level: 9/10
    Prediction: Kevin Owens wins.

    Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship

    Joey:

    I really wanted to give this a chance. I don’t like Jinder Mahal much, but I enjoy the charm of a nobody getting a random push. Sadly, Jinder has done nothing to show he’s ready for the main event picture. Randy Orton is also pretty unwatchable lately and I’ll be stunned if this is average or better. This could get ugly.

    UPDATE: I have listened to about ten minutes of Jinder’s Talk is Jericho episode and it has been confirmed that Vince loves him. It’s happening.

    Interest Level: 3/10
    Prediction: Jinder Mahal wins.

    Tim:

    I am all for pushing new people but maybe at least try giving them a good storyline to make me care or maybe even pick someone who isn’t kind of a bore. Maybe Mahal will prove me wrong but I am not into his style so far. Orton barely has interesting matches with elite wrestlers nowadays so I just do not see this going well. I think Mahal will win and lose it at Money In The Bank. GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER, WWE.

    Interest Level: 0/10
    Prediction: Jinder Mahal wins.

    Tom:

    Jinder had a boring match with AJ Styles on TV and Orton hasn’t done much for me lately so I can’t really say I’m at all interested in this, especially if it goes last after some matches which should be much hotter. Sorry, Jinder pals, hopefully you find a new guy to ironically love soon.

    Interest Level: 2/10
    Prediction: Randy Orton wins.