Does anyone else feel like this is going to be a mess? – WWE Backlash Predictions – 5/6/2018

The WWE returns to the co-branded PPV format (thank the seven deities), and it really makes sense that this show is going to be in New Jersey, because this one just feels like a jumbled mess.  Don’t get me wrong, I understand that Greatest Royal Rumble came out of nowhere and threw a massive roadblock in the way of cohesive story, but when a Prince offers you hundreds of millions of oil money to put on a show, you put on the show.

Let’s see what they’ve haphazardly thrown together for the residents of the Garden State.

Kickoff Match – Bayley vs Ruby Riott

Matt:  Well, I don’t necessarily see the point, but if they just needed a decent match for the kickoff show, this isn’t so bad.  I’m a little confused by the lack of a Cruiserweight Championship match on this card, and half expected Cedric Alexander vs Buddy Murphy to end up in this slot.  In any event, they’re building Riott for something, so as much as Bayley needs momentum for this fizzling Sasha Banks feud to actually mean anything, I’m going with Riott.

Jeremy:  When I think of “matches that need to happen”, this is not one that comes to mind.  I hope these women put on a show though.  It’s better for Riott to win here to further erase images of all those montages from the indys of her losing to every competitor in the Mae Young Classic.  Bayley is actually better as an underdog, just can’t win character.  On another note, I’m actually sad they didn’t send Bayley to SmackDown.  She probably could have done well sparring against the Iconics and Carmella.  Anyway, Riott should win here.

United States Championship – Jeff Hardy (C) vs Randy Orton

Matt:  I’m of the opinion that this card is such a mess I don’t see any of the belts changing hands, save for one or both Women’s belts.  These are two seasoned vets, so they could work well in the ring together, and Orton has been electric when he gets to work with people he actually cares about having matches with, so this could be a good one.  While I could see a Whisper in the Wind to RKO going down, I think we’re more likely to get a Jeff Hardy win here.

Jeremy:  Yeah, there’s no way Jeff Hardy is dropping this unless he has a new injury that we don’t know about.  Don’t worry, I knocked on wood.  It’ll be a fine match but really should be the kickoff match.  It’ll get the crowd hyped, for sure.  I’m excited that Jeff Hardy can erase the stink of that .5 star match with Jinder from last week.  The only other time that happened was when he showed up high out of his mind on a TNA PPV.  Randy will hit a RKO counter from a Twist of Fate but Jeff will hit the Swanton for the win.

Raw Women’s Championship – Nia Jax (C) vs Alexa Bliss

Matt:  The confusing thing for me is that since her win at Wrestlemania, I don’t recall Nia Jax really having anything whatsoever going on on Raw.  Alexa tends to be on every broadcast.  I am going to assume that Mickie James tries to get involved here, only to be stopped by Rousey.  Given how long this card is just with championship matches, where the hell is Rousey vs Mickie James going to fit, but that’s where they need to get her to because she’s still going to benefit from being in the ring with someone the caliber of James.  Nia Jax retains.

Jeremy:  There’s no way Nia doesn’t retain.  She needs to be on top for a bit and appear unbeatable.  Alexa can have non-title feuds for a bit.  Although that hasn’t exactly been working for Sasha and Bayley…  Still, Nia retains.

Intercontinental Championship – Seth Rollins (C) vs The Miz

Matt:  Seth Rollins is going to retain this belt until Summerslam, where he will have another date with The Demon.  Rollins retains.

Jeremy:  Sunday Night Rollins!  Seth is riding a bit of a wave right now.  Miz can get enough heat on his own without the Intercontinental and honestly should be going for the WWE Championship now.  Seth is the right man for the IC for the next few months.  Rollins retains.

Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn

Matt:  This just seems stupid to me.  In any event, I hope three people here Get These Hands.  Braun Strowman should have multiple title belts already.

Jeremy:  I’m going to go out on a limb here.  Lashley says he’s here for the Big Matches.  What’s really bigger at the moment than Braun Strowman.  I think he breaks the lose alliance with Braun allowing Sami and KO to get the win here.  It sets up a match between Braun and Bobby at Money in the Bank for his first “big match” before he probably faces Roman or Brock at Summerslam.

Daniel Bryan vs Big Cass

Matt:  Daniel Bryan doesn’t need to conquer a giant to be viewed as a legitimate contender.  Who cares?  Next…..

Jeremy:  Big Cass beats Daniel Bryan for the cheap heat.

Smackdown Women’s Championship – Carmella (C) vs Charlotte

Matt:  Carmella has been fun as Champion, but you don’t upend Asuka and then drop the next PPV match to Carmella.  It doesn’t happen.  Expect the IIconics and Becky-Asuka to be on camera at some point, but The Queen takes back her throne.  She’ll also successfully defend in the rematch on Tuesday night.

Jeremy:  Mella is money.  Carmella is going to retain despite a distraught Becky Lynch at ringside.  

Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe

Matt:  Let’s just cut through the bullshit, the battle of Samoan Joes should be for the Universal Championship, and it should be one of those “holy shit” moments in this card where Samoa Joe gets his first belt by taking down “The Guy”.  Of course, that’s just wishful thinking.  Now, that being said, not having Roman’s title on the line means that Joe can get the win en route to a WWE Championship match against AJ Styles, who will not lose the title to The King of Low Blow Style.  Samoa Joe (the actual Samoa Joe) gets this one.  It’s time for a Roman rebuild.  Taking a third straight loss is a good start.

Jeremy:  The plus side with dual-brand PPVs and Brock barely showing up is the WWE Championship should actually main event more often.  The downside is that Matt owns a replica belt for something that’s barely on TV.  Pete Dunne shows up with the UK Championship, a belt without a home show, more often than Brock does.  I agree with Matt that this could have gone from a good match to a great one if there was a Universal Championship on the line.  How great would it be if Roman finally took the UC off of Brock just to lose it one week later to Samoa Joe.  I’m normally not a fan of passing around a championship like that, but that would have been one of the few exceptions.  I really have no idea what they’re doing with Roman at this point.  He’s in a weird spot.  I agree that it makes better sense for Samoa Joe to get the win here.  I’ll stick to that.

WWE Championship – AJ Styles (C) vs Shinsuke Nakamura

Matt:  Nak don’t want none.  AJ Styles Forever.

Jeremy:  There’s one guarantee in this match: Nak is going to spam low blows just like Brock spams Germans.  I’m actually going to go with Nak on this one for a brief first run at the top.  I think AJ will eventually get it back in a few months but I think now is the time to experiment with Nak as champion.