Welcome to WNW’s Backlash 2017 Predictions! Backlash will be emanating from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois. This time around, we have Brendan Wahl, Thomas Fenton, Big M, Zeppelin Mayers, and myself providing predictions. Let’s get to it!
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English
This was something I had called for right after their first match on SmackDown. I wouldn't really call this a feud, as it's really just rematches with the same result. I hope they get more than five minutes to show off their true talents together. Expect a Tye Breaker to finish this one, and anticipate Dillinger entering the Money in the Bank match as a dark horse.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Tye Dillinger
I mean... c'mon, right? They're not gonna do 50/50 booking for this non-feud, are they? Have Tye go over clean in a semi-competitive match and then Aiden goes nuts afterwards.
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Tye Dillinger
Big M's Predicted Winner: Tye Dillinger
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Tye Dillinger
Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
Erick Rowan's appearance on Talking Smack was needed for him. He could do a lot with his character, but obviously there's not enough time some weeks to showcase him. Meanwhile, Luke Harper continues to be underutilized since his mini-push, if you want to call it that, prior to WrestleMania. I'm not sure we'll see a show-stealer here, but I'm hopeful they surprise us. Harper going over would be great to set up his participation in Money in the Bank.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Luke Harper
I just don't see what the company sees in Rowan. He's okay but Harper is on a whole other level... plus he got robbed of his push and I wanna see him move up the ranks.
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Luke Harper
Harper over clean as for whatever reason this feud must go on.
Thomas' Predicted Winner: Luke Harper
Big M's Predicted Winner: Luke Harper
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Luke Harper
Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin
I'm excited to see what goes down here. The build hasn't exactly been what I was hoping for, but nevertheless we are getting a PPV match from them. I definitely anticipate these two being in the Money in the Bank Ladder match. As for who to put over, I'm going to go with Corbin. While I would love to see Corbin win MITB next month, my fingers are crossed for Zayn to get the big push later this year by winning the briefcase. Sorry, Sami, but you're going to meet your End of Days here.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Baron Corbin
As good and likeable as Zayn is, Corbin needs a big win here. He's been on the losing end far too much for a guy like him and he needs this to elevate him to a possible feud with Orton or whoever the champion is.
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Baron Corbin
Going with Corbin over Sami here. It's simple, they don't love Sami, but they love Corbin.
Thomas' Predicted Winner: Baron Corbin
Big M's Predicted Winner: Sami Zayn
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Baron Corbin
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler
WWE is doing something right in protecting Nakamura. Booking him in matches should be done as a "special" attraction at this point. With the brand extension, there's only so many opponents available for the King of Strong Style. I don't think we want to see him squashing Aiden English every other week. As for his opponent at Backlash, we all know he's going under. At this point in his career, I simply don't care about anything Ziggler does these days. His feud with The Miz in late 2016 was some of his best work before turning heel and being sent right back down to jobber status. Team Blue is in need of top heels, so why not take advantage of that? Anyways, expect a Kinshasa to end what I hope to be a show-stealing bout.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Nakamura
If WWE pulls a fast one here, I would be very surprised. Nakamura needs a definitive victory here and they should keep the match short to make him look strong.
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Nakamura
This will steal the show or will compete with AJ and Owens to steal the show, however is it really stealing if we expect it to? Nakamura goes over clean
Thomas' Predicted Winner: Nakamura
Big M's Predicted Winner: Nakamura
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Nakamura
Six-Woman Tag Team Match
Naomi, Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Carmella & Tamina
SmackDown had six-woman tag team matches at the most recent SummerSlam and Royal Rumble events, so I guess I can understand the complaints about this one. For me, though, this particular bout is different because there's actually a story behind it. Sure, the trio of Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina is quite random, but it's something for them to do. As for the other team, I'm more interested in what happens with them. We aren't sure where Naomi's title reign will go yet. Meanwhile, Charlotte is a tweener and I'm not totally convinced a face turn will work at this point. I don't hear fans clamoring for the company to turn her. And then there's the wildcard in Becky Lynch who could make or break this team. Will she stay loyal or turn her back? To keep the story interesting, I say The Welcoming Committee should go over to set up either Natalya or Carmella challenging Naomi. Tensions will be running high on both sides if they go this route.
CJ's Predicted Winners: Natalya, Carmella & Tamina
I think it's time for the heels to fall down a peg. It's one of the worst stable I think I have ever seen too. Like... really? Tamina?
Brendan's Predicted Winners: Naomi, Charlotte & Lynch
The faces should win, and then Charlotte turns on her team afterwards.
Thomas' Predicted Winners: Naomi, Charlotte & Lynch
Big M's Predicted Winners: Natalya, Carmella & Tamina
Zeppelin's Predicted Winners: Natalya, Carmella & Tamina
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match
The Usos (c) vs. Breezango
I do recall The Usos and Breezango having a really good tag match on the Battleground Kickoff last year. They only received five minutes then, so imagine what they can do with ten to fifteen? I'm still not sure why The Usos won the titles unless they were meant to be transitional all along? I'm totally down for Breezango receiving a title run. Not only are they funny, but their actually talented in the ring. If any underdog wins a title on this night, it should be Breezango. I'll pick them to win despite the dreadful feeling that Jimmy and Jey will retain.
CJ's Predicted Winners: Breezango
As much as I'd like to see Breezango with the belts and I've enjoyed their push immensely, I can't see them winning here. Should be a fun match though.
Brendan's Predicted Winners: The Usos
Breezango has been a breath of fresh air on SmackDown and very entertaining. Kudos to Breeze and Fandango for running with this. Fandango's best work has been outside of the old Fandango character, I however don't see them going over as I see a New Day/Uso feud coming. Usos retain, people boo.
Thomas' Predicted Winners: The Usos
Big M's Predicted Winners: The Usos
Zeppelin's Predicted Winners: The Usos
United States Championship Match
Kevin Owens (c) vs. AJ Styles
If there's one match guaranteed to steal the show, it'll be this one. Owens and Styles had a great match on SmackDown back in early 2016, so my expectations are high for this PPV title match. Logic says Owens retains as his run is just getting started, but I'm not totally convinced that'll be the case. While I do want to see Styles back in the WWE Title picture, I can't help but feel he could be receiving a US Title run this summer. He'd be excellent in the role regardless. While I'll be cheering for The Phenomenal One, I'm going with KO to retain.
CJ's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
They painted themselves into a bit of a corner here with having to book a winner but I still say Owens retains in what could be a match of the year candidate.
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
This match should be fantastic and the real winners are the fans. Match will get 20 minutes plus, and my thoughts are AJ going over isn't necessary, however I feel they will send the crowd home happy. Either way I see this feud continuing. AJ wins the belt.
Thomas' Predicted Winner: AJ Styles
Big M's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Kevin Owens
WWE Championship Match
Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal
Oh boy. Perhaps the most talked about person since WrestleMania is the number one contender to the WWE Title - Jinder Mahal. Yes, it's cool that WWE went the (most) unexpected route and set up a fresh feud. Yes, it's great that SmackDown is the land of opportunity for several guys who wouldn't have such a chance on Raw. I'm all for that. But I'm not all for Mahal being the one in this spot. On the other hand, Orton has always been one of my favorites, but he doesn't even feel like the top champion in the company right now. I worry about this match, the outcome, and the crowd reaction. It could be a disaster, or it could be all right. Hopefully WWE does the right thing...
CJ's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
C'mon. You know it. I think AND want this to happen. It would be hilarious just to see the reactions from people for one and secondly, it would be nice to see a total surprise like this.
Brendan's Predicted Winner: Jinder Mahal
Who cares... I mean, when was the last time we have seen such a low-profiled title match? It has been meaningful for years, Orton's not over, the character he plays is stale. No one buys Jinder's push- I'll go screwy/DQ finish and the Chicago crowd will shred this match to pieces. I expect Punk chants, Adam Cole chants, Fire JBL chants and Delete chants to win.
Thomas' Predicted Winner: DQ/screwy finish
Big M's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Zeppelin's Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
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!