WWE Backlash 2016 Preview and Predictions

backlash-2016-poster

Brian Damage, Russ Morgan, Craig Wilson and John Carbery

Tonight Smackdown Live will host its first ever PPV – Backlash 2016. Ahead of that show, the team cast their eyes over the card and share their predictions as well as previewing the show. We’ll definitely see new tag team and women’s champions – but will we also see a new WWE champion?

Six Pack Challenge SmackDown Women’s Title Match: Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Nikki Bella vs. Carmella vs. Naomi vs. Becky Lynch

Brian: My heart is telling me Becky Lynch will win this match and be crowned the first ever Smackdown Women’s champion. My brain is telling me that with Nikki Bella back on the roster…that title is hers for the taking. I hope I am wrong but….

Winner: Nikki Bella

Russ: I can’t say I watch a lot of the women’s division, so I will pick a name out of a hat.

Winner: Becky Lynch

Craig: The booking towards this has only been marginally worse than that of the Smackdown tag division. It’s essentially been ‘throw them all in the ring and hope something sticks’. A real shame as you have two or three talented women competing here but the clusterfuck booking as ruled it all somewhat worthless. I got to agree with Brian’s heart and go with the ‘lass kicker’.

Winner: Becky Lynch

John: It’s a shame they didn’t run a mini tournament for this one leading to a singles match for the belt, a six pack challenge just makes it feel cheap to me. If everybody can challenge for the title surely that makes it a bit worthless and less elite? It also shows up how shallow the SD women’s division is. I really hope Becky Lynch wins it, but I have to say it makes more sense if Nikki Bella does even though I can’t stand the woman.

Winner : Nikki Bella

Second Chance Match For Spot in Tag Team Title Tournament Finals: The Usos vs. The Hype Bros

Brian: With the Usos turning heel and obviously headed for a big program with American Alpha…I see the Usos winning this match and reentering the tournament.

Winners: The Usos

Russ: Usos can be used better and I think they will get their chance to at least be in the finals.

Winners: Usos

Craig: We’ve been critical of Jimmy and Jey on this blog but the heel turn, and the very effective way it was done, bodes well for the duo. Let’s be frank, we can all see a programme between them and American Alpha in the coming weeks and months. A programme that screams good news for the Smackdown live tag team division.

Winners: The Usos

John: I’m not fond of either team truth be told and I’d prefer if the tournament final had two new teams, but neither the Hype Bros or Rhyno and Slater are the kind of duo you’d want being your inaugural champion. Sadly I think it’ll be the only tag team to add face paint to their look and become even more generic, the Usos

Winners : The Usos

WWE Intercontinental Title Match: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

Brian: They are really pushing the Miz as the cowardly heel and it is working very well. I see Miz continuing his role as IC champion. Dolph Ziggler will give a great match I think…but he will come up short again.

Winner: The Miz

Russ: Dolph is the perennial big name jobber and I’m enjoying the Miz right now.

Winner: The Miz

Craig: The Miz has been ace recently. There is absolutely no reason, no reason whatsoever, that they should have him lose the gold here. What that means for Ziggler is a chat for another time but long may the reign of Miz continue.

Winner: The Miz

John: Miz and Ziggler have both languished in the limbo that is the WWE mid card for years, the only difference is The Miz has found ways to re-invent himself, has improved on all aspects of his game and is genuinely doing something interesting with the Intercontinental Championship. Which is quite an achievement, I couldn’t tell you the last 5 IC champs before him. Let him continue to do his thing and move Ziggler on to whatever milquetoast guff you’ve got for him next…

Winner: The Miz

Finals of the SmackDown Tag Team Title Tournament: TBD (We all predicted The Usos) vs. Rhyno and Heath Slater

Brian: The easy pick would be to pick Heath Slater and Rhyno to win the belts and Heath get a Smackdown contract. I don’t think that’ll happen as I see the Usos beat Slater and Rhyno and become the first ever Smackdown tag team champions.

Winners: The Usos

Russ: Logic suggests that Slater and Rhyno will win to get Slater a contract. Not sure how much the Slater gimmick has legs, so they should win. I do like Heath chasing a contract though and there could be an upset in the offing.

Winners: The Usos

Craig: I’ve written before that the Heath Slater stuff has been one of the most entertaining aspects of the WWE post brand split. Frankly, as a ginger guy I’m only upset about the fact I wasn’t near Smackdown Live last week as I’d have probably been able to play the role of one of Slater’s kids… Anyway, as fun as its been the WWE aren’t going to have him win the tag titles. Are they? The WWE won’t finally make The Usos relevant and then have them lose to Slater and Ryhno, as much as I’d like to see that…

Winners: The Usos

John: I love Rhyno, but I can’t see a comedy act like Slater being the first tag team champion.

Winners: The Usos

Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt

Brian: I love Bray Wyatt, I find him extremely interesting and entertaining. I just have zero confidence that Bray can win the “big match.” Not because of anything other than the WWE has never given him that big win yet.

Winner: Bray Wyatt

Russ: Dare we say another big match loss for Bray?? I think there maybe interference.

Winner: Randy Orton by DQ

Craig: A match featuring two guys I really don’t care one way or another about. Due to their booking, both really need to win this. However, due to the way that the WWE have booked both, and in particular Bray Wyatt, I see a Randy Orton win. Sure, it makes zero sense really but that’s how Bray has been booked.

Winner: Randy Orton

John: I guess this is the battle of the two guys they have nothing else for? Randy can be talented when he’s bothered to be and Bray has come on a lot over the years so it should be a decent match, I just have the feeling Randy will be phoning this one in. He does need the win though after being opened like a tin of beans by Lesnar at Summerslam.

Winner: Randy Orton

WWE Title Match: AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose

Brian: Call me crazy, but I really do see a title switch here. I love Dean Ambrose’s work as WWE champion, but AJ Styles has really come into his own the last couple of months. It should be solid match too.

Winner: AJ Styles

Russ: For me I really, really want AJ to come out on top. I’m high on Ambrose and his push is fully deserved, but AJ has been a top act since his debut. Might see Ambrose retain via DQ with AJ having to wait have to wait for another day.

Winner: Dean Ambrose by DQ

Craig: I am a huge fan of Dean Ambrose. However, since becoming WWE Smackdown I think he’s been booked poorly. Come to think of it, prior to becoming champ he was booked poorly… Anyway, this programme has been alright and I think there’s more to it. AJ Styles will undoubtedly become WWE champion, just not yet. By hook or crook, Ambrose will retain at Clash of the Champions. He will drop it eventually but he’ll keep it tonight.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

John: This should be another stellar outing for AJ Styles in the main event scene regardless of how the result comes out. He can have great matches with anybody of any skill level and with someone like Ambrose he should tear the house down. For my money Ambrose hasn’t done much to justify his title run and AJ has been WWE’s best big match player in 2016 by a long margin and a WWE Championship run would legitimise him as a main eventer so I’m hoping the company makes a logical choice here.

Winner: AJ Styles

Overall:

Brian: This entire card is a big eh for me. Nothing stands out as “must see” although one or two matches maybe pretty decent. For my money, Raw has been the must see live program since the brand split and Smackdown has been pretty average. I think this show will be much of the same.

Russ: Yep, this card basically shows the lack of depth on Smackdown after the draw. The wrestling overall should be good, but star power is lacking a bit. I will probably catch it at some point. Title match should be a barnstormer.

Craig: I’m disappointed with the card. It’s all very predictable really but it is the first show. I disagree with my comrades though, for me Smackdown Live has been the better show since the brand split. Maybe, as a result, I hoped for a better PPV. Still, some alright stuff here that is more of a starting point for Smackdown Live than the end point.

John: I think it should be a solid show. I’ve absolute faith in AJ Styles to deliver a killer main event and the rest of the matches should be at least serviceable. For Smackdown’s first post-draft PPV it sadly has a stink of B-show off it, but that’s probably to do with how the brand has been treated so far. If American Alpha were facing Rhyno/Slater for the titles the mid card would have a lot more credibility for me, but these things can’t be helped. I only hope that they can come back soon and make the blue brand’s tag scene their own.

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One thought on “WWE Backlash 2016 Preview and Predictions

  1. Pingback: This Week in Wrestling 2016 week 38 | Ring the Damn Bell

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