Several months after the brand split we get our first official WWE brand exclusive Pay-Per-View, the revived Backlash.
It’s interesting to see how WWE presents these new types of PPVs and if they decide to shorten the length of brand exclusive events, or keep on steamrolling fans with three plus hour shows (not including the pre-show).
Despite splitting the roster, the WWE still seems to have trouble focusing on building up storylines properly (at least the video editing department will always be there to salvage the build and make us care about the matches right before they actually start). With the usual mix of trepidation and vague hope as most Pay-Per-Views, Spaceman Frank is here to predict Backlash 2016.
The Usos vs. The Hype Bros (Qualifying match for SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals)
While the WWE Universe may not have Roman Reigns turning heel, at least we finally get The Usos turning into bad guys and attacking American Alpha. The tag team tournament may be the best booked part of Smackdown, and the WWE has made sure that the fans have a reason to care about three out of the four teams that were in the semifinals of the tournament. The lone exception being The Hype Bros, who will be losing to the hot Usos team so they can advance to the obvious finale of them vs. Slater and Rhyno. Speaking of that match…
Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. The Usos (SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)
Heath Slater may be the 2016 version of Damien Sandow in that he turned crap into gold. His “free agent” gimmick has worked well, and the crowd is actually behind his antics with his perfect foil Rhyno. I went from having zero confidence WWE could pull this off to rooting for Slater to actually get the belts with his new buddy. It would be amazing if all of the Slater clan is at ringside for this match (please do this WWE). That being said, I see The Usos winning the tournament to set up the obvious Usos vs. American Alpha rematch for the belts down the line.
The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship Match)
The Miz is an interesting case in the WWE. The guy has nailed his character and has recently been pure fire on the mic. However, WWE has dropped the ball with giving him feuds people actually care about. After Apollo Crews lost at SummerSlam, we have another big disappointment from the show in Ziggler as his next opponent. I like Ziggler (I even named my Fantasy Football team Team Zigglypuff), but his big chance to break out on SmackDown has fallen flat. The Miz needs somebody he can actually play off of who can carry his half of the build (Heath Slater vs. The Miz anyone???) Anyway, The Miz wins because that seems to be the default option for The Miz in these types of feuds.
Nikki Bella vs. Carmella vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch (Six-Pack Challenge for SmackDown Women’s Championship)
This match is interesting in that it will reveal who the WWE brass has faith in going forward. Carmella has been targeting Nikki Bella, which makes me think the former champ takes down the rookie quickly. Alexa Bliss and Naomi have been background characters, and while they are decent in the ring it seems as though they’re there just to make up the numbers. Natalya may be the dark horse here, but she and Becky Lynch will take each other out because of their history. That leaves Nikki Bella as the last women standing, as she can help establish the belt and give the veteran something to do moving forward.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
Another month, another meaningless Bray Wyatt feud. The poor guy cannot get any traction, and now he gets fed yet again to somebody coming off a major match. At this point I’m desperate for him to actually go for the title, because this gateway to the main event place he is in for years is wasting a great talent (maybe we’ll get Luke Harper making his return?). Orton wins to regain his momentum and Wyatt just farts around as he does.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship Match)
This is the saving grace of Backlash. I can’t see this match being poor in any way. Sure the build has been pretty bad, especially with Dean Ambrose acting like an apathetic teenager the whole time (We saw you cry when you won the title at Money in the Bank Dean, we know you care!). AJ Styles on the other hand is having one of the best years anyone has had in wrestling, and considering how hot he is I see him winning the championship in an awesome match. This will setup both rematches with Ambrose as well as John Cena, as I see him and Styles going at it again, but with gold on the line.