It’s the first pay-per-view of the dual-branded era, and it should be a good one. It will hopefully be the last time we see cross-branded match ups for brand specific championships, because those are super annoying. I’m keeping this introduction short and sweet because I have a plane to catch and my car got stolen this morning. I won’t even be able to watch Backlash this Sunday but I hope I get at least a few of these correct!
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
This match was created on the go-home show for this pay-per-view… that’s never a good sign. This match is clearly going to be one to get the crowd fired up by having Strowman and Lashley bulldoze their way through the Canadian duo. Owens and Zayn would need a miracle to pull out a victory in this one; therefore my pick is Strowman and Lashley.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
This wasn’t necessarily the rivalry fans were anticipating after the Superstar Shake Up. With The Miz heading over to Smackdown Live, fans thought for sure we were all going to be blessed with that magnificently anticipated feud. Instead, the payoff to that beef was a couple house show matches, and that’s it. Now we have Bryan taking on a returning Big Cass for reasons I’m not quite sure of. Because Daniel Bryan is smaller than Cass? I don’t know, it seems lazy to me. Regardless, my hope and pick for this match is that Daniel Bryan takes home the win.
United States Championship Match
Jeff Hardy will be looking to defend the United States Championship against the Viper, Randy Orton, in another match that hasn’t had a tremendous amount of build up to it. This feud is happening because Hardy interrupted Orton once, and then Orton interrupted Hardy once, and then the match was made. At least we got an RKO outta nowhere on the go-home show. My pick for this one is Jeff Hardy.
Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Oh look, our first match on the card with actual backstory. Carmella was able to acquire the Smackdown Women’s Championship by finally cashing in her Money in the Bank briefcase against Charlotte Flair on the Smackdown episode after WrestleMania. It was also due to the fact that the debuting IIconics of Peyton Royce and Billie Kay had laid the Smack down on Charlotte before the cash-in. So naturally, Carmella has aligned herself with the IIconics, and more than likely, this will play a factor in this match on Sunday. Expect the duo to interfere in this match leading to Carmella retaining the belt. But I’m going to take Charlotte Flair winning by disqualification.
Raw Women’s Championship Match
Alexa Bliss lost her Raw Women’s Championship on the grandest stage of them all a few weeks ago to current champ and opponent this Sunday, Nia Jax. I don’t think Bliss stands a chance. If it’s anything like their match at WrestleMania, then we can expect another brief beat down. My pick for this match is the Irresistible Force, Nia Jax.
Intercontinental Championship Match
This is that pesky cross-branded championship match I was talking about in the intro. I’m sure these two guys will put on a fantastic showing, but it’s the most predictable outcome on this card. Unless Monday Night Raw plans on not having a secondary title, this match shouldn’t be happening. But it is, and I have to lock in my official prediction. So my pick for this match is Seth Rollins.
WWE Championship Match
This match is actually really tough to predict. It seems like this is going to be Shinsuke Nakamura’s final chance for a while to win the WWE Championship; but at the same time, Samoa Joe called out AJ Styles for the WWE Championship this past week on Smackdown. And as cool as Joe vs. Nakamura would be, it wouldn’t work now because they’re both really solid heels. I’m going to go with my gut on this one and pick AJ Styles to retain in what hopefully will be the dream match between these two we’ve all been waiting for. I can then see Nakamura feuding with Jeff Hardy for the United States title.
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
I’m on board for cross-branded pay-per-view matches, just not for brand specific titles. Thank God this match isn’t for the Universal Championship. There is genuine intrigue in this matchup. Reigns seriously needs a bounce back win, and Joe could use a strong victory. I think a loss will hurt Joe more though, and especially if he wants to take on Styles for the WWE Championship, he needs a big win. So my pick for this match is Samoa Joe.
By: Patrick Gallagher