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Backlash 2018 Preview and Match Predictions

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Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

This was really only put on the card to give a reason for all four people to be on the card. These two teams actually had a pretty fun tag team match a couple of weeks ago on Raw, and I don’t have an issue with them running it back this week. That said, since we already saw the match and know how it ended, it’s hard to expect a different outcome other than Bobby Lashley playing the face in peril for the majority of the match, just for Braun Strowman to get the hot tag and run over Kevin Owens like a locomotive on the outside. I have no reason to believe why Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley would lose here, but no man in this match has anything to gain or lose in this match, so the only thing I’m looking for is some fun action. But Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley have this.

Winner: Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

They’ve been playing up the little guy vs. big guy trope storyline here, but I think this is a good match for both men for Backlash. This gives something to occupy Daniel Bryan’s time before the feud with The Miz that is eventually coming. As for the returning Big Cass, he gets an opponent that will force him to work a smarter and different style of wrestling. There’s only so much he can do when working with The Big Show or Enzo Amore. Now he’s in the ring with one of the top in-ring talents in the world. Not sure if anyone anticipated Big Cass being Daniel Bryan’s first in-ring singles opponent on PPV for his return, but I’ve been digging the feud. I have Daniel Bryan winning with a roll-up pin of some sort as a means to protect Big Cass. You really don’t want any guy here to be looking weak, but I’m really interested to see if Daniel Bryan can get a quality match out of Big Cass. If he can, it would be a huge victory. While Daniel Bryan isn’t quite the underdog he was at WrestleMania 30, he’s still a perfect underdog in this context, and I think he will come out on top here.

Winner: Daniel Bryan

Carmella (C) vs. Charlotte – Smackdown Women’s Championship

After nearly 300 days of Carmella holding onto the Money in the Bank briefcase, Carmella successfully cashed in on Charlotte Flair to become the SmackDown Women’s Champion, which goes a long way for the women who was the very last draft choice in the original brand split back in 2016. Now, the question is if Carmella is the champion of the future or just a transitional one. The talent gap between Carmella and Charlotte Flair is about that of the distance of Seattle to Miami. They are world’s apart in skill, and if this is a straight up match with no shenanigans, Charlotte Flair should win quite handily. The only question is whether or not WWE feels comfortable with giving Carmella the championship for an extended period of time. I ultimately think that the feud of the future is the Charlotte Flair/Asuka rematch that should be coming soon. I think Carmella should get a little longer to at least show what she can do. However, I think this Sunday, Carmella will get herself disqualified or counted out. It’s too soon to take the title off of her. Having Charlotte Flair just take the title back from her after a 3-week sting feels kind of cheap.

Winner: Charlotte Flair by DQ or Count Out

Nia Jax (C) vs. Alexa Bliss – Raw Women’s Championship

Just form a matchup basis, I don’t know what Alexa intends to do to take the title off of Nia Jax. Alexa Bliss is kind of in the same boat as Carmella, but just a little more aware and proficient in her work. Nia Jax is just a huge monster, and Alexa Bliss doesn’t have any real offense that can down Nia Jax. It would work better for her if she had some sort of stipulation working in her favor. I’m expecting something similar to their match at WrestleMania (and I thought their WrestleMania match should have been a squash). Nia Jax seems to be the future of the Raw Women’s Championship, and I can think of no better option thus far. Can’t see Alexa Bliss regaining the title any time soon.

Winner: Nia Jax

Jeff Hardy (C) vs. Randy Orton – United States Championship

The feud here really isn’t a feud. It’s just two men that are mad that the other interrupted their entrances. Randy Orton beat Rusev and Bobby Roode in a triple threat match to earn a rematch for the United States Championship when he wasn’t involved in the decision at WrestleMania, and Jeff Hardy just happened to beat the man Randy Orton lost it to, Jinder Mahal. Can you imagine if we got Randy Orton/Jinder Mahal at Backlash for two straight years? I don’t think my heart would be able to take it. Kind of feels weird that instead of elevating the United States championship with a younger guy that needs it, we are using it as a prop for a mini-feud between two guys that were fighting over the WWE Championship two years ago. Randy Orton is 36 and Jeff Hardy turns 41 later this summer. I’m sure they can go out there and put on a passable match, but it’s not something I’m looking forward to in all honesty. I’m not sure what you get out of Randy Orton winning the title back, so Jeff Hardy is my guy.

Winner: Jeff Hardy

Seth Rollins (C) vs. The Miz – Intercontinental Championship

For those who haven’t been keeping tabs on the man, Seth Rollins has been on absolute fire in 2018, and I expect him to continue his run with a victory over The Miz. It’s been rumored that The Miz could potentially win the Intercontinental Title back and go back to Raw, but that wouldn’t make much sense to me. Seth Rollins is the guy to hold the Intercontinental Title and one could say this is the best stretch of his career, including his WWE Title reign two years ago. I’m expecting a quality match between two of WWE’s top workers, and while the brand split may have spoiled the outcome for this match, I am still hoping that we get a quality match, regardless. These two have the potential to burn it down (pun intended), and if they are given a solid 12-15 minutes, we should get a quality outing. That said, with the United States Championship on SmackDown LIVE, the Intercontinental Title is staying on Raw, and I see no reason why Seth Rollins is losing this Sunday.

Winner: Seth Rollins

Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

WWE has a big decision to make, and that’s to decide who to give a must-win victory to in this matchup. You have Roman Reigns, who failed on two more occasions to take away the Universal Championship from Brock Lesnar, and he really can’t afford to keep losing big, high profile matches unless a heel turn is around the corner. On the other hand, you have Samoa Joe who has returned to shit talk Roman Reigns and tells him that he’s going to finish the job that Brock Lesnar started. The Superstar Shake-Up sort of makes this complicated, because the two have only had a couple of face-to-face confrontations in which Samoa Joe said the same thing. Roman Reigns can’t get the job done, he makes excuses and he’s going to put him to sleep. I’m not sure who stands to gain or lose more in this match, because I still think these two are being experimented on, but I’m going with Roman here. Samoa Joe can take a loss to Roman Reigns since they aren’t on the same brand, and Samoa Joe can still make an impact and challenge for the WWE Title with a loss.

Winner: Roman Reigns

AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – WWE Championship (No Disqualification)

Shinsuke Nakamura’s heel turn has been a breath of fresh air and has created the interesting dynamic that this match desperately needs. Before WrestleMania, there was really no build to the match. It was just the typical “mind games” trope and it resulted in a match that wasn’t nearly as great as we were expecting. Then, Shinsuke Nakamura low blowed AJ Styles and now that we have a clear face and heel in this feud, this match has the potential that WrestleMania may not. They faced off at a glorified house show at the Greatest Royal Rumble event, and what we got was the first 10 or so minutes of a good match before the stupid, abrupt finish. Now, with the No Disqualification stipulation added, we are guaranteed a finish, and since Shinsuke Nakamura has been crotching AJ to the point where his granchildren’s children won’t be able to procreate, the No DQ stip makes perfect sense.

This match is hard to predict because of how this feud has gone. AJ Styles already beat Shinsuke Nakamura clean, and since then, Shinsuke Nakamura has been attacking AJ Styles to oblivion. Usually, the law of reverse momentum says that when you look strong on TV, you take the loss on PPV. AJ Styles has been carrying the WWE Title since the fall of last year, and every part of me wants to believe Shinsuke Nakamura completes his heel turn with a WWE Title victory. That’s how I felt until Samoa Joe inserted himself into the conversation and declared himself the next #1 contender for the WWE Title. I think it’s likely that AJ Styles retains and moves on to a feud with Samoa Joe that goes into the summer. In any other scenario, I’d pick Shinsuke Nakamura, but I’m not sure if they would do a three-way dance between the three, in which case, I’d be for Shinsuke Nakamura winning. However, I tend to trust my mind over my heart when it comes to WWE, and my mind tells me that The Phenomenal One lives to fight another day with the title.

Winner: AJ Styles