WWE Backlash- the first brand-exclusive PPV since the brand split- is this Sunday, so I’ll take a stab at what you can expect to see in Smackdown’s big night. AJ Styles- fresh off his victory over John Cena at SummerSlam- will look to end Dean Ambrose’s WWE Championship reign in the main event. On the undercard, the first SmackDown inaugural women’s and tag team champions will be crowned.
Here’s a full preview with predictions and analysis of every match on the Backlash card.
Dean Ambrose (C) vs. AJ Styles for the WWE World Championship
AJ Styles is now proclaiming himself as the “Face That Runs The Place” after his epic SummerSlam match, and will hope to keep his momentum going and leave Richmond, Virginia as the WWE World Champion. Contrarily, Dean Ambrose’s defense of the title against Dolph Ziggler at SummerSlam was highly lackluster, and his reign as champion has been overall underwhelming.
Ambrose has only been champion for a few months but losing the title would help reinvigorate Ambrose’s character by forcing him to regain his edge.
With SmackDown still needing to establish itself as a viable brand, putting AJ Styles on top is the sensible move. I predict that former TNA stalwart will pin 1-2-3 to win the WWE World Championship.
Prediction: AJ Styles pins Dean Ambrose to win the WWE World Championship
Becky Lynch vs. Nikki Bella vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella in a Six-Pack Challenge for the SmackDown Women’s Title
Smackdown’s women’s division will crown its first champion in a six-pack challenge. Since SummerSlam Carmella has turned heel and targeted Nikki Bella, so I expect the queen of Staten Island will keep Nikki from winning this one to foster their feud. While Alexa Bliss is a great part of this roster, she’s still to new to win a title shot. And I don’t see why Naomi would get the title over fellow babyface Becky Lynch.
So that leaves just Becky and Natalya. If WWE wants a heel champion for Naomi, Nikki and Becky to chase than Natalya is the most likely candidate. But with all the touting of the new era, I think Becky Lynch will win to become the first SmackDown women’s champion.
Prediction: Becky Lynch wins to become the SmackDown Women’s Champion
The Usos/Hype Bros. vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno for the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament Final
The Usos should handle business against the Hype Bros, setting up a title match against Rhyno & Slater. If Rhyno & Slater win then not only will the duo get the belts, but Slater will earn a SmackDown Live contract. I don’t see that happening, and expect the Usos to win the titles and to continue their feud with American Alpha to determine SmackDown’s preeminent tag team. It’ll be intriguing to see what happens to Slater next if he loses this one.
Prediction: The Usos defeat Heath Slater & Rhyno to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
SummerSlam was a tough night for both Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt. Orton was TKO’d after Brock Lesnar busted his head in and Wyatt somehow didn’t appear on the 13-match card. So both of these marquee SmackDown superstars could use a win to reinvigorate themselves, which leads me to believe that this match will have a schmozz finish to set up another match. I’ll predict Bray Wyatt to win this match via some weird Wyatt mysticism to set up a Sister Abigail, and then Randy Orton to avenge that loss at the next PPV.
Prediction: Bray Wyatt pins Randy Orton after chaotic finish
The Miz (C) vs. Dolph Ziggler for the Intercontinental Championship
The Miz delivered the promo of his life while berating Daniel Bryan on Talking Smack. Unfortunately, Bryan is barred from wrestling due to concussions, so instead we’ll get another rendition of The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler’s stock has been falling since he couldn’t get the job done vs. Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam, and I expect that to continue at Backlash. With an assist from the devious Maryse, The Miz will defeat Dolph Ziggler to retain.