WWE Backlash 2017 Preview and Predictions

Brian Damage, Earl Marx and Craig Wilson

Tonight, WWE Smackdown Live host Backlash 2017. Not only do we see Jinder Mahal challenge WWE Champion Randy Orton but we get the TV main roster debut of Shinsuke Nakamura. Today we preview the entire show and share our predictions.

Kick-off Show Match: Aiden English vs. Tye Dillinger

Brian: I like Aiden English a lot and I really do think he has potential down the road. For now, however, English is nothing more than a glorified jobber and much like his opponent use to be in Tye Dillinger. Look for the Perfect 10 to emerge victorious.

Winner: Tye Dillinger

Earl: Thoughts: I don’t know what it is, but this Aiden English has something to me. I am not going to say whether or not it’s good or bad, but it’s something unique. Seems like this is a feud I suppose. I don’t think Aiden ends up crying this time.

Winner: Aiden English

Craig: I think Aiden English if used properly, could amount to something. I’m not talking main eventer or world champion here, I mean a fairly interesting mid-carder. However, the WWE clearly have him marked, short-term at least, as a jobber. So, tonight he’ll job with Tye Dillinger getting the win.

Winner: Tye Dillinger

SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs. The Usos

Brian: As much as I love the whole Breezedango gimmick, I just don’t see the team defeating the much more credible Usos for the tag team titles. Here’s hoping that I am completely wrong.

Winners: The Usos

Earl: Man, I love Breezedango and I love The Usos. I read a nice piece where a fan liked Breeze and ‘Dango to Edge and Christian in how organically funny they are. I actually agree. With this in mind, I think the Breezeango train is in infancy and we need heel champs for The New Day to feud with. Champs retain.

Winners: The Usos

Craig: Like the others, I like Breezedango and find their shtick hugely entertaining, particularly the fashion police stuff. The WWE have taken a comedic act and added layers that have made them even more interesting. But whilst Smackdown Live is the land of opportunity, as is well documented, I am not convinced that stretches as far as having this pair going over the tag team champions. Strangers things have happened, but I do think The Usos will retain.

Winners: The Usos

Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper

Brian: Two former Wyatt family members battling it out. Could be decent if done properly. Luke Harper has the tools and the agility of a cruiserweight while the size of a heavyweight. Erik Rowan, while not as gifted, has a cool look.

Winner: Luke Harper

Earl: We’re still doing this match? There’s still interest for someone? Ugh.

Winner: Luke Harper

Craig: Like Brian, I think if done well this could be decent. I saw this pair match up on the recent Smackdown house show tour visit to Glasgow and I liked it a lot. These are two hard-hitting fellas and can tell a good enough story in the ring. This’ll never be a match of the year contender but should be alright.

Winner: Luke Harper

WWE United States Championship Match: AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens

Brian: This should be the match of the evening. Two great workers battling it out over the United States title. No offense to the US belt, but these two should be in the world title picture.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Earl: I expect this one to be the match of the night and they should give it 15-20 mins. The build-up has been solid. Owens has been booked to be a dangerous man and it doesn’t seem like AJ is backing down from the challenge. I think Money In The Bank is coming up soon for SD Live, not really a need to get the US title off Owens.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Craig: Yeah, neither of these guys should be tangling over the US title. But that aside, if this is given a decent amount of time then this could be a show stealer. Two guys that will know each other well from years of competing in indies across the US and the world, the pair will be able to tell an outstanding story. I’m very much looking forward to this. If Owens wins, as is expected, I do wonder what is next for AJ Styles and, indeed, Owens.

Winner: Kevin Owens.

Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin

Brian: Am I the only one who thinks Sami Zayn is being wasted in this match? Baron Corbin to me is dull and Zayn can wrestle with the best of them. It is the classic big guy vs little guy with “heart.”

Winner: Baron Corbin

Earl: Baron Corbin has been a nice pet project, Sami Zayn has been, well, Sami Zayn. If I take these two factors into consideration, I only see this match ending with another Sami Zayn loss. I’m beginning to love seeing the face he makes when he’s hurt. Ha. Nah – let me be serious for a minute. I’d like to see Sami win, but I think we keep Baron’s momentum going.

Winner: Baron Corbin

Craig: The outcome isn’t even in doubt here, is it? As much of a fan of Zayn as I am, there’s absolutely no chance of him coming out on top here. I hope Zayn gets a change of fortune soon but that’s another story for another day. This is all about continuing the momentum with Baron Corbin.

Winner: Baron Corbin.

Naomi, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch vs. Tamina Snuka, Carmella and Natalya

Brian: Meh. nothing really special about this match unless someone turns heel in my opinion. I could be okay, but nothing I would jump to watch.

Winners: Naomi, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch

Earl: The Welcoming Committee has been interesting to me. There is a large part of me that is not a fan of it, but I am interested in where it’s going. Seems like Nattie is bound to be the star, but I have got my eye on Carmella being the breakout from the group. The faces, however, have got a legit purpose to unite against a larger enemy and their banding together is temporary. Let’s go with the faces here. Besides – we need to keep Becky Lynch from fading into obscurity.

Winner: Naomi, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch

Craig: This screams filler. ‘Just check ‘em in a match’ type booking. The story ahead of this has been dissension in the ranks from the babyfaces and I think either that or a heel turn will cost the faces here, with the heels, presumably Carmella, picking up the pinfall.

Winners: The Welcoming Committee.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

Brian: We all know that Nakamura is a very special star who will quickly become a superstar in the WWE. Dolph Ziggler is a great worker who can really sell someone’s offense. Should be good but it all depends on how hard Ziggler works.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura

Earl: So, I had this weird dream of Dolph Ziggler feuding with Sami Zayn. Then I thought – well can two superstars LOSE at the same time? No, I don’t mean they both win, I mean they BOTH LOSE. No, that won’t be interesting to fans, I suppose. They are literally the same character except one is a heel (and has been around longer) and the other a face. Should be an easy one to predict here. Dolph’s jaw will welcome Naka’s knee to SD Live.

Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura (I WILL NOT CALL HIM THE ARTIST)

Craig: Another match with a very obvious outcome. No one, even those in Ziggler’s household, see him grabbing the win here. No one. The WWE have shown a remarkable amount of constraint so far when it comes to the use of Nakamura. They’ve done well to hype this event on the back of that. He will win. It won’t be a squash but it won’t be far off of it. Nakamura needs to make short work of Ziggler.

Winner: Nakamura

WWE Championship Match: Jinder Mahal vs. Randy Orton

Brian: Jinder Mahal has surprisingly taken the reigns (no pun intended) and ran with the #1 contendership. He has quickly established himself as a legitimate threat to the WWE world title. Look for a ton of outside interference from the Bollywood Boys.

Winner: Jinder Mahal

Earl: Hmm. This could be a sleeper here. Jinder is a heel. Remember – heels cheat to win. I have gone back and forth about this feud and there is a large part of my heart that wants the Jinder win. There’s just this, Rusev threat looming. I don’t think Rusev will go babyface to challenge a heel Mahal. I do think we could get a Triple Threat in the form of Randy, Rusev, and Mahal. As much as it pains me to type this, Randy Orton overcomes the adversity and pulls it out. How will Chicago receive Jinder? Hmm..

Winner: Randy Orton (and might I add…Dive….)

Craig: This does literally nothing for me. I’ve never been much of a fan of Orton and Mahal has been a jobber for too long to care much about now. Credit where it is due for making sure that Mahal doesn’t look too out of place in the main event scene. There’s also a strong chance that Mahal will leave with the title, albeit it I expect plenty of interference for that to be the case. I’m totally torn here. *flips coin*.

Winner: Jinder Mahal.


Brian: Smackdown Live usually puts on the better pay per view shows. I expect that this will be a strong show for the blue brand. I look forward to it.

Earl: Wow. Overall – I can’t say that I am thoroughly excited to see the show, but this is a good thing. My expectations are low, so getting a few good matches will surpass the lack of star power on this show. I think I am expecting a C+ to a B show. C’mon WWE, please prove me wrong and give me something good! Oh yeah – dive…

Craig: This doesn’t do much at all for me. This barely feels like C-show let alone a B one. Sometimes it’s the ones you least expect but I don’t have high expectations at all here.


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