WWE Backlash Predictions

The Greatest Royal Rumble has absolutely ruined the build up for this PPV, and that’s a damn shame given what it could have been.

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It’s the first PPV of WWE’s new co-branded era, or at least that’s what that god awful music video keeps telling me on a seemingly daily basis. Seriously, who’s idea was that? Because they seriously need to reconsider their line of work.

If you haven’t seen it already then please, grab some popcorn and enjoy the below video, because it’s pure comedy gold but for all the wrong reasons.

Anyway, with that monstrosity behind us let’s get on with some predictions.

Pre-Show Match: US Championship
Singles Match: Jeff Hardy (C) vs. Randy Orton
It’s amazing what a few weeks can do for a division. A Hardy and Orton feud is infinitely more interesting than the Roode/Mahal/Orton feud we had to suffer through for weeks prior to Wrestlemania. With that being said, this feud doesn’t have enough build to be anything other than pre-show fodder, but good pre-show fodder. It’s too early to take the title off Hardy, unless they want to go for an Orton heel turn.
Prediction: Jeff Hardy

Match 1: Smackdown Women’s Championship
Singles Match: Carmella (C) vs. Charlotte Flair
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Surprisingly the women’s division on Smackdown has been a breath of fresh air since the arrival of the Iconic Duo and Carmella’s cash in. After having a division built around Natalya and Charlotte Flair for so long, Carmella as champion is offering something completely different and with the Iconic Duo being thrown into the mix I’m really interested to see where they can take it. The one thing I’m worried about is that they’ll put Asuka in a losing streak, which if it turns her heel could be a good thing, but otherwise it’s a dangerous road to take for one of the WWE’s best female attractions.
Prediction: Carmella

Match 2: Raw Women’s Championship
Singles match: Nia Jax (C) vs. Alexa Bliss
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I don’t think there’s much to this match, the build up with Alexa’s “Moments of Bliss” PSA’s have been good, but the contractual rematch has dragged on a feud that should have ended at Wrestlemania. Hopefully it’s pretty quick and really there should only be one viable winner.
Prediction: Nia Jax

Match 3: Tag Team Match
Tag Team match: Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
20180430_BackLash_Braun_Bobby_KO_Sami--8ada15f586bdf9225dbd08a3054132f3I have a few things to say about this. Firstly, it’s hilarious how Braun’s new GRR Championship has just been photoshopped onto his shoulder, because let’s face it, we’re not seeing that title in person for another year. Secondly, why is this match happening again, let alone on a PPV? And thirdly, I’m concerned that should Kami lose, then they’ve been squashed pretty bad since arriving on Raw. With that being said, I think there’s one clear answer to those questions – That this match is leading towards a Bobby Lashley heel turn, costing Braun the match. Lashley has done nothing since coming back, he’s not said a word on Raw and he’s very quickly just become another body. WWE need to remedy that, so a heel turn and a name change to just Lashley doesn’t seem out of the realm of possibility. He could then feud with Braun and that seems like a decent feud to me.
Prediction: Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

Match 4: Daniel Bryan’s PPV Singles Match return
Singles Match: Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
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Logic would dictate that Bryan goes over in this match, but this is the WWE we’re talking about and Vince is well known for having an affinity for big guys; enter Big Cass to ruin the party. Whilst I don’t think he will go over clean, there are definitely signs there that Cass could walk out the victor here. Even if he doesn’t and my prediction is wrong, then I fully expect Cass to beat up Bryan after the match to ensure their feud carries on and that Cass doesn’t lose too much heat.
Prediction: Big Cass

Match 5: Intercontinental Championship Match
Singles match: Seth Rollins (C) vs. The Miz
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Again it’s the culmination of a feud that should have finished at Wrestlemania. It’s good to see The Miz in the IC title picture one last time, but with no US title match currently announced he has roughly a 0% chance of winning the belt and taking it with him to Smackdown. Hopefully from here Seth can go on to have some real work-horse one on one feuds on Raw with the likes of Finn Balor, Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns. Which probably means he’ll be feuding with Jinder Mahal within a week.
Prediction: Seth Rollins

Match 6: Singles Match
Singles Match: Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
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I really don’t understand why this match is happening. I don’t understand how the feud started and I don’t understand what they’re fighting over. It just reeks of the WWE changing their minds back and forth about who was going to be swapping brands and who was going to be Universal Champion by this point. As Roman is on somewhat of a losing streak they may as well go all the way with it and give Joe a big win to take him across to Smackdown where he can beat up Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton for the US title, before moving on to the winner of the Nakamura/Styles feud.
Prediction: Samoa Joe

Match 7: WWE Championship
Singles Match: AJ Styles (C) vs. Nakamura
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This feud has been crying out for a No DQ stip, so I’m pleased that we were given just that with Paige’s announcement on Smackdown Live. With that being said I don’t think the stip will make any difference to the outcome. Either Nakamura wins here or they run the risk of killing him off for good. Another loss and his heel character will have failed in the exact same way as his face persona. Nakamura has to win the title here, it’s simple. It would also mean that the show has at least one title change if my predictions are right, and given the house show feel that the Greatest Royal Rumble suffered from it’s about time we saw a title change.
Prediction: Nakamura

So there we have it, my predictions for the second PPV in the space of just over a week. Let’s hope that it proves to be a better show than the Greatest Royal Rumble was. If I had any overall thoughts on this show it’s that the card looks like it could be really strong in terms of wrestling quality. The build itself may have been non-existent, but I fully expect this show to deliver on the night.

What are your predictions for the show? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting us @WeAreNiche.

How the WWE can save Daniel Bryan’s return match

With the news that Shane McMahon has been taken to hospital with acute diverticulitis and an umbilical hernia, his hotly anticipated tag team match against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens at Wrestlemania could be in jeopardy.

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Presuming that this isn’t all some kind of work then the WWE are going to need to change gears and fast as we enter the final two weeks worth of build going into Wrestlemania.

It will be a real shame if it does turn out to be a legitimate hospitalisation as it’s very rare that we see such a long term blood-feud that actually culminates at Wrestlemania and doesn’t involve the world title.

But, with that being said the WWE aren’t stuck up the creek without a paddle just yet, there are still a few ways that they could go to try and salvage what was a very hot angle for the Smackdown Live brand.

Number 1: Find a replacement for Shane

It’s a bummer if Shane does have to miss out on Daniel Bryan’s return match, especially considering he has been at the very center of the feud since day 1. But fortunately Smackdown does currently have enough lost souls who don’t currently have a place on the Wrestlemania card who could slot into the Commissioner’s role.

Dolph Ziggler is the name which immediately jumps to mind and makes the best sense storyline-wise. He has already been minimally involved in the feud during the lead up to Fastlane, and his brief encounter with Daniel Bryan backstage on Smackdown could be the start of a longer feud. Perhaps Ziggler offers to help Bryan in return for him getting a match against him come Backlash?

The other name who could be slotted into the match is Rusev. Whilst it would make no sense from a storyline perspective, it would certainly be something that the fans could get behind and could you imagine the reception a team of Daniel Bryan and Rusev would get at Wrestlemania?

Number 2: Make it a Triple Threat Match

Another one that doesn’t really make sense from the dynamics of the story they’re trying to build, but seeing Daniel Bryan vs. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens would not only be a great match for Wrestlemania, but it is something that still isn’t out of reach if the right story is told over the next two weeks.

My biggest issue with this actually comes from the fact that it’s yet another Triple Threat match on a Mania card that already has 3 of them. It already feels like triple threat overkill, so adding a fourth into the mix would only be harmful to the reception of each.

It would still feel very last minute and forced, but that’s a sorry situation that the WWE have no way around at the minute.

Number 3: Take it off the card entirely

This would be the biggest shame, but it’s arguably the one that makes the most sense. To have a Daniel Bryan return match at Wrestlemania teased, only to be taken away less than a week later is borderline torture. But it makes sense that if Shane can’t compete then the best way to do justice to the story is to simply leave it for now.

In kayfabe Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have been fired, there’s no logical reason for them to have a match at Wrestlemania anyway outside of Bryan and Shane wanting revenge. If Shane is going to be good to go in time for Backlash then save the match, sell the attack on Bryan by keeping him off TV until post-Mania. Or have Sami and Kevin try to hijack Wrestlemania itself, only to have Daniel Bryan return to chase them off, culminating in a Backlash match, with Shane returning somewhere in between the two PPVs.

No matter what route the WWE take with this storyline the heat is going to be severely impacted by the lack of Shane McMahon, but as we’ve shown it’s not a dead-end quite yet.

But let’s just keep our fingers crossed that Shane can make it back just in case.

WWE: Debunking the dual branded PPV rumour

A recent post by WrestleVotes on Twitter has stated that starting with the Backlash PPV, all WWE PPV’s will once again be dual branded. This information is not correct, and here’s why…

The tweet by WrestleVotes (Who previously broke the news that Neville had quit last year) states that Raw and Smackdown will have matches on every PPV going forward after Backlash and that the move is a result of “so-so ticket sales” and “repetitive matches”. The report was backed up by Brad Shepard of bodyslam.net who cited a picture sent in by a ticket holder for Backlash which states that the show will feature superstars from both Raw and Smackdown.

This is where the debunking can begin though. Last year the PPV following Wrestlemania 33 was WWE Payback and was billed as a Raw brand event. However, as a result of the Draft following Wrestlemania, the PPV ended up featuring superstars from both brands. With Kevin Owens (SD) facing Chris Jericho (Raw), and the infamous House of Horrors match between Bray Wyatt (Raw) and Randy Orton (Smackdown).

The same is happening this year, whereby a draft will take place following Wrestlemania and superstars from both brands will be required on the show in order to culminate feuds between superstars who are parting ways. This will not extend beyond WWE Backlash, and WWE Payback emanating from Baltimore, Maryland on May 27th shall be a Smackdown only event.

This will be an evolving story as we draw closer to Wrestlemania and beyond, but as of right now we can categorically say that the current reports are untrue and that whilst the issues with the product/sales highlighted by WrestleVotes are true, it is not resulting in dual branded PPVs.