Welcome to WNW’s Backlash 2016 Predictions! Backlash will be emanating from the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Virginia. This time around, we have myself, Zack Krasney, and Big M providing full predicts, while Kendra Bunyon, Brendan Wahl, Zeppelin Mayers, and Moose are doing quick picks. Let’s get to it!
Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
When I predicted Dolph Ziggler to lose to Dean Ambrose at SummerSlam, I was worried The Show-Off would simply drop into the Intercontinental Championship picture. It's not necessarily a bad thing, but Miz vs. Ziggler from two years ago exactly is still very fresh in all of our minds. That feud resulted in the title going from Miz to Ziggler to Miz and finally back to Ziggler for another month. We also saw Damien Sandow become Mizdow, while R-Truth had a short stint as R-Ziggler. (I tend to remember the littlest of details...) Two years later, and not much has changed for either guy. We barely have a build to this, which irks me to write almost every month. I don't see The Miz dropping the title yet, but I hope the company gets things together for the Intercontinental Title picture.
CJ's Predicted Winner: The Miz
As much as I love Miz and think he's doing a great job as a heel champion, not to mention his recent success on Talking Smack, I think it's time to give Ziggler a win. Ziggler has been on fire since he has switched to SmackDown. Coming up short on wins against Ambrose and Styles and he can't lose again or it kills his momentum. I have to figure Ziggler goes over here.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Dolph Ziggler
I couldn’t care less about this match, I mean up until recently Ziggler was a glorified jobber for two years. And even though his mic game has been very strong lately (not that his mic game was ever weak) Miz’s matches tend to bore me to death. It saddens me to see the once prestigious Intercontinental Championship fall so very far. And with WWE higher ups booking matches like this for it, I don’t see it regaining its former prestige anytime soon. Gun to my head…Miz for the win due to outside interference from Maryse.
Big M's Predicted Winner: The Miz
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Dolph Ziggler (Maryse involved in Miz losing)
Brendan's Predicted Winner: The Miz
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: The Miz
Moose's Predicted Winner: Dolph Ziggler
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
I've really liked the idea of this feud happening since Orton returned as a babyface in 2015. Now that Orton and Wyatt are on the same show, it seems like the perfect time to do so since they don't have anything else going on. The first problem that comes to mind, though, is who gets put over here? Orton is fresh off a loss to Brock Lesnar, and it doesn't seem like the best idea to have him go under again. As for Bray, the poor guy has struggled and struggled to keep relevant and win something meaningful. Remember, Wyatt hasn't even won a title yet! (Which, fingers are crossed for that to change soon.) I would take a page out of the Ambrose/Wyatt feud from late 2014, and have Bray's first encounter with Orton have a non-finish. Book Bray Wyatt to go crazy on Orton, causing a DQ and setting up a rematch, possibly with a stipulation, for the next PPV.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton by DQ
I think it's pretty much a given at this point that Randy Orton is going to win. Bray Wyatt has had the worst character booking in recent memory. He has a fantastic character, but he never wins. How am I supposed to take him seriously as the eater of worlds or the bringer of the apocalypse if he hasn't won a feud in nearly 2 years? It would be fantastic if Bray went over here, but I think we all know that's very unlikely. Maybe will see if swerve, but I doubt it.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Anybody else tired of see WWE’s most unique character being constantly jobbed out?…because I am!!! Bray Wyatt should be main eventing shows instead of being the world's first “Superstar Jobber”. However, I will lament that unlike the vast majority of people Wyatt is booked into programs with, Orton does honestly need the win. Coming off an injury that required him to miss a lot of ring time, only to put over Brock Lesner in a truly awful match finish that has Vince McMahon written all over it…he sadly needs the win to remain relevant.
Big M's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Bray Wyatt
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Bray Wyatt
Moose's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Semi-Finals Tag Team Match
The Hype Bros vs. The Usos
Let me start by saying I'm not happy at all that American Alpha isn't being featured on this show. I know what WWE is doing by allowing a "bigger picture" to play out with The Usos' heel turn. Still, Jordan and Gable should be the first SmackDown Tag Champions... My question now is, how do we book the rest of this tournament? Heath Slater and Rhyno might as well be babyfaces at this point, so it makes sense for The Usos to beat Zack Ryder and Mojo Rawley after a back-and-forth battle.
CJ's Predicted Winners: The Usos
The Usos turning heel was the right move on creative part, not because they keep getting heat by association due to their cousin Roman Reigns, but because Slater and Rhyno needed a strong heel team to go up against (More on that later). No offence to the Hype Bros, but there is not a bloody chance they are winning this one.
Big M's Predicted Winner: The Usos
Zack's Predicted Winners: The Usos
Kendra's Predicted Winners: The Usos
Brendan's Predicted Winners: The Usos
Zeppelin's Predicted Winners: The Usos
Moose's Predicted Winners: The Hype Bros
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos/Hype Bros vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
Rhyno and Slater vs. The Usos was not the match I had in mind for crowning the first SmackDown Tag Team Champions, but I guess it'll do, right? I don't really want to see The Usos get the belts, even though it would be a perfect set up for their feud with American Alpha. WWE has a great opportunity to allow Heath Slater to fulfill his quest of getting a contract and adding some gold (well, technically silver) around his waist. Plus, Rhyno also wants to accomplish winning tag titles in WWE. I have no idea what direction the division or the new champions would go, but I say let the ultimate underdogs win it all.
CJ's Predicted Winners: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Since The Usos have turned heel, I think they're likely to go over in the tournament to make it to the finals. I actually see Rhyno and Heath Slater taking home the gold, or silver in this case. I think they're going to use this momentum and really ride Heath Slater into a successful spot. It would be interesting to see, though, if they use it to have him come up just short and continue his free agent gimmick. In the end I think they see their success with him and strap him.
Zack's Predicted Winners: Heath Slater & Rhyno
If you had told me two months ago that one of the most entertaining programs on WWE TV would be centered around Heath Slater I would have thought you were completely out of your mind…and yet two months later here we are. As much as I am a fan of American Alpha, them facing off against Slater and Rhyno simply wouldn’t have fit the story that's being told with Heath. So it's only natural that he and Rhyno face off against a heel team, thus The Usos were turned and given a second chance to be the first Smackdown Tag Champs. Logically speaking Heath and Rhyno have to win this one due to the stipulation of Heath has to win the Titles in order to receive a contract. But we all know WWE logic is “unique” to put it politely so if the Usos win here, Heath will probably get a contract some other way. But honestly, after the great story that's been told here, I hope Heath and Rhyno get the win, with Heath scoring the pinfall.
Big M's Predicted Winners: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Kendra's Predicted Winners: The Usos (after Rhyno turns on Slater in much messiness of the Usos going uber heel)
Brendan's Predicted Winners: The Usos
Zeppelin's Predicted Winners: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Moose's Predicted Winners: Heath Slater & Rhyno
Six-Pack Elimination Challenge for the SmackDown Women's Championship
Nikki Bella vs. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss
I've enjoyed the build this women's division has received since after the Draft. I think we were all kinda surprised by Carmella's heel turn, but I would consider her to be the least likely to win. Actually, I almost think she has more of a chance than Natalya. Anyways, it's hard to decided which route they should take. Personally, I'm a big Naomi fan and I've been waiting a couple years for her to have that big title win. Something tells me that won't happen here, unfortunately. We could see Becky Lynch win it as she's basically the top face of the blue brand. It would be really cool to see Alexa Bliss come out as the dark horse victor. Or we're doomed to see Nikki Bella take the win. My problem with that is we have several new names who haven't had that big chance yet, while someone like Nikki seems bound to take the spotlight. That spotlight is where she spent late 2014 and most of 2015. I want to see something surprising here, so that's why I'm sticking with Naomi.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Naomi
So it seems like all directions might be pointing to Nikki on this one. I'm still holding out hope that WWE makes the right choice and put the belt on either Becky or Naomi. Personally I want Becky to go over. The match itself will be interesting, the last time all six were in the ring together it was sloppy and unappealing. Hopefully this time we can see a better match, but I have my doubts. It will be interesting to see if WWE goes with the decision they want to go with, or the decision the fans want them to go with.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Naomi
The Smackdown Women’s division has been full of highs and lows for me. The highs have undoubtedly been Becky Lynch, Naomi and Carmella. The lows without a doubt have been Natalya’s dismal heel turn and of course Eva Marie (I’m just not a fan of Kim Kardashian reality show types that simply can’t wrestle, so sue me). But with Eva’s suspension, we can be thankful that the first ever Smackdown Women’s Champion actually belongs in a Wrestling ring, instead of the Las Vegas strip (Yes I went there…and I’m not taking it back). I feel very strongly that someone like Becky or Naomi should be the first Smackdown Woman’s Champ…but we sadly all know that another Kim K wannabe is winning this one. But at least Nikki Bella can actually wrestle.
Big M's Predicted Winner: Nikki Bella
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Becky Lynch
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Nikki Bella
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Nikki Bella
Moose's Predicted Winner: Nikki Bella
WWE World Championship Match
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles
When writing my predictions for SummerSlam, I was booking with the idea that AJ Styles would soon return to the main event picture as John Cena was taking time off. Those plans seemed to have played out, setting up a great main event for this show. I'm under the impression that Styles is taking the title for the very first time. That kind of sucks for Dean Ambrose, though, as it doesn't really feel like we've gotten much out of his reign just yet. I'm calling for AJ to win the title, setting up a rematch for the next event.
CJ's Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
This is a tough situation because Dean hasn't been champion that long, but AJ Styles is on a total roll right now. The question is which one do you kill the momentum on? It seems WWE might be leaning towards AJ, and I can't exactly disagree with that decision. It seems like Dean might get the short end of the stick. I would prefer to see Dean win, and have them carry this feud over to another paper view. That way Dean still looks strong but AJ can still win the title down the line.
Zack's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose
Dean Ambrose vs AJ Styles main eventing SmackDown shows, Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins main eventing raw shows…I AM IN PRO WRESTLING HEAVEN. AJ is coming off the huge win against Cena at SummerSlam, and is arguably one of the most over people to ever come into WWE in the modern era, all this and he hasn’t even been in WWE a whole year yet. And I don’t care what anyone says, I’ve LOVED Dean Ambrose’s Title Reign (apart from the Ziggler program). This match should be a real corker, the ring styles, the promo game, the fact both are being given the opportunity to carry a show are all things fans should be excited about. No way this is only going to be a one match deal, this is going to be a month's long program (HAPPY HAPPY, JOY JOY) and because of this I see Dean winning this one. But I foresee AJ Styles winning the rematch.
Big M's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose
Kendra's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose (but only barely with AJ becoming even more pissed.)
Brendan's Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
Moose's Predicted Winner: Dean Ambrose
Thanks everyone for reading our predictions this round! Feel free to post yours in the comments below, and don’t forget to join us tonight at 7 PM EST for our live coverage and Open Thread Party for Backlash!