WWE’s Backlash On Sunday Is Flying Under The Radar As A Potentially Awesome Show

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I have to start my Backlash preview by stating that it just feels wrong. This whole thing. Not because the two best wrestlers on the roster are feuding for a midcard title. Not because Jinder went from jobber to main eventer in a month. Not because Shinsuke’s first match isn’t against someone bigger. Nope. It feels wrong because “Backlash” is a RAW pay per view, and always will be. It should have this logo:

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It should have these swinging hooks:

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…and it should be RAW’s first pay per view after WrestleMania. BUT, much like RAW’s first PPV after ‘Mania, Payback, I think we’re in for a real good show. There seems to be a disconnect between talent and booking recently, where the booking is preparing fans for the worst, and the talent is determined to prove it’s not their fault, which is great.

Randy Orton (c) vs Jinder Mahal for the WWE Championship

I’m not going to repeat myself on Jinder and how awful he is, because I know that I’m starting to sound like a broken record. I’m just going to clarify what I originally said. I have very little issue with pushing Jinder Mahal. I don’t think he deserves a push over someone like, say, Sami Zayn, based on the fact that he cannot wrestle or talk, but whatever. That’s the least of my worries. My issue is that they hotshotted a guy that was getting squashed in under 2 minutes one week to the main event of a pay per view for a WWE Championship the next. There needs to be a build in some capacity. It can be a one week build, but show me progression. When you factor in the fact that he can’t wrestle or talk, and the person he’s feuding with can do both of those things but is suddenly choosing not to, I have no excitement whatsoever towards this match. I’ll be very interested to see how the crowd reacts (or doesn’t) if this goes on last in Chicago.

Prediction: Randy Orton wins, nobody cares and some people chant for Phil Brooks, UFC fighter.

Kevin Owens (c) vs AJ Styles for the United States Championship

This should fucking rule. It’ll be the third one on one encounter between them in the WWE, I believe. One on RAW over a year ago, one at Madison Square Garden on a house show I was at, and one on Sunday. The MSG match was fantastic, and I think you’re looking at the two best active workers in the company in this match, so it should be worth the price of the Network alone. Check out this match they had on the indies a few years back to get hyped:

Prediction: Kevin Owens goes over dirty.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler

Shinsuke Nakamura’s NXT debut against Sami Zayn was one of my favorite moments in my almost 16 years of watching wrestling. He’s my favorite wrestler in NJPW history, and seeing the crowd take to him so well, followed by him putting on a five star classic with Sami to retire him from developmental, all of it was perfect. He’s been criticized since then for “phoning it in”, and some claims are legitimate, but you have to remember that Nak’s no Spring chicken, and has to save his body for the main roster. I think he’s going to be wrestling with something to prove on Sunday, and the same goes for Dolph. In his feud with The Miz last year, Ziggler showed that he’s more than capable of having some Match of the Year contenders, and if they mesh well, we could be in for another debut classic.

Prediction: Shinsuke Nakamura with the KINSSSSSSSAAAAAAAASSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAA.

The Usos (c) vs Breezango for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships

Been saying this in every one of my weekly SmackDown blogs…the time to pull the trigger on the Fashion Police is right now. I get that the Usos are really good right now. They’ve been killer on the mic recently. We can’t squander Breezango before they get going though. Pull the trigger immediately, and it’ll make them stars. The only way I can see Usos retaining is if someone’s concerned about having two comedy tag teams once The New Day comes back.

Prediction: Breezango for the love of god.

Naomi, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch vs The Welcoming Committee (Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella)

Having some rough flashbacks to the days of the Submission Sorority, Team B.A.D., and Team Bella going through faction warfare. There’s no easier way to make a 6 woman roster seem like a 6 woman roster than doing six woman tags. I hope this stops soon.

Prediction: Welcoming Committee? I guess?

Other matches on this pay per view include Baron Corbin vs Sami Zayn, Luke Harper vs Erick Rowan, and Tye Dillenger vs Aiden English. I’m thinking the winning trio there will be Baron Corbin due to the recent love to minimize Zayn’s momentum, Erick Rowan to throw us a curveball (and because he’s doing a weird joker thing now), and Tye Dillenger to elevate him past job territory. I’d love to see Aiden beat Tye somehow, though. I think that gimmick is money and should work as an upper mid card heel gimmick. Overall, I gotta say I’m way more excited for this card than WWE’s given me reason to be, and I feel like you should be too. Shinsuke’s Chicago entrance will be cool, if nothing else.

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