Before we get to Backlash, I have to talk about the addition of more “Network Events” or pay-per-views as they are more commonly called.
As a kid, I enjoyed watching the big four, which then turned into five with the addition of King of the Ring. The Thanksgiving special of Survivor Series (which would broadcast live on Thanksgiving), SummerSlam, Royal Rumble, and of course, WrestleMania. Having these unique, well built and hyped events were special. Then came the “In Your House” concept, which gave fans smaller pay-per-views, which inevitably led to the dissolving of the concept by giving their own brand names to each monthly event. Soon, the novelty wore off, by the mid-to-late 90’s, we have more pay-per-views than ever when you couple WCW and ECW events.
Following the acquisition of WCW and ECW into WWE, the eventual brand extension gave us monthly events, some with two. It became too much. The novelty of a mega-event was long gone, thankfully WWE has rekindled that feeling somewhat with the original Big Four, or the Four Corners as some call them. Once again, with a new brand split, we find ourselves with an overabundance of pay-per-views, and quite honestly, I nearly forgot about Backlash.
It wasn’t due to a lack of hype. This is the SmackDown exclusive event. It was hyped for the past few weeks, although I feel many would agree it was pretty rushed in its booking. I forgot about it because there is just too much wrestling to dedicate time to watch. I know, I must be nuts. Right? Between RAW, SmackDown, NXT, CWC, and now more PPVs, I just don’t have all the time in the world to watch every program. Thank Primus for DVR for regular TV, and use of the WWE Network to catch up on NXT and CWC whenever I want. But still, I would think most of us have lives, and rushing home to watch wrestling is not always on top of the priority list. I like watching other shows, and I like spending time with my wife and kids, and working.
Some of you will likely think I am off my rocker, but it has come to a point where these monthly specials… Aren’t so special anymore.
With that wonderfully uplifting intro, let’s get to WWE Backlash!
The matches might not appear to be anything special, but there is significance to them. New championships are on the line, and the outcomes of matches will flow into future feuds.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Much like his match with Brock Lesnar, Orton will neither gain or lose. With that in mind, it makes the most sense for Wyatt to win. He hasn’t done a whole lot due to injury and a win might be helpful to boost him back in favor of the fans. My pick is Bray Wyatt.
Editor’s Note: This match has been officially scratched from the show as Randy Orton has not been medically cleared to wrestle.
SmackDown Tag Team Championships: The Usos vs. Hype Bros., winners face Rhyno & Slater
I don’t care who wins the first match, Rhyno and Heath Slater will win the titles. They will probably lose it a week later to the new heel Usos, but the Slater Family Story is too funny to let us all down with. I do feel it is a bit of a letdown to take American Alpha out of the title hunt, but I admit, it is a smart move. Fans want American Alpha at the top so badly, by doing so will instantly take away the novelty and what makes them special. Let them chase a fresh heel team for the titles, and then you get your dramatic victory. See what they did in NXT, chasing The Revival and then finally winning them, watching the live crowd go wild, and the fans at home hitting Facebook and Twitter going bonkers.
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch, Carmella, Nikki Bella, Alexa Bliss, Naomi, Natalya
I believe most are counting on Nikki Bella to win since she is the “Cena” of the women’s wrestling. Her sudden feud with Carmella may lead some to believe one of them will win, then feud, I do not believe this to be the case. I’m going for Becky Lynch. Granted, she probably won’t and it’ll go to Bliss or Naomi just to throw us all off. The shame is Natalya won’t win, despite her chasing the title for a year.
Intercontinental Championship Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz
The only way Miz gets dethroned is by some sort of shenanigans. It’s a tease whether the verbal feud between Daniel Bryan and The Miz will continue. As of now, it seems to have lost its traction. A recent backstage segment saw the Miz gloat about being better than Ziggler, but Bryan stood there, mostly silent. So, maybe it’s been shelved and will be revisited soon? In the meantime, as much as I would like Ziggler to gain a title again, it’s just not happening tonight. The Miz will retain.
The final announced match for tonight is the WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose.
This is a tough one to call. With AJ’s rise to the top, his clean win over John Cena, and obvious fan base, a title win would be huge. That being said, a major championship win might be saved for a bigger venue, like Survivor Series, or the Royal Rumble. As much as SmackDown Live touts itself as the show with the “WWE World Champion” I still feel RAW is still promoted as the “main show” or the “flagship of WWE” as Michael Cole constantly reminds us. For a time, the World Heavyweight Championship was treated with more significance than the company’s own championship. It’s a tough call, but for tonight, I’m going with Dean Ambrose to retain.