While WWE may not officially have an off-season, many within the fanbase consider WrestleMania to be each year’s season finale, while the following night on RAW is technically episode one of the next season. A fresh start. A new beginning. With that in mind, Backlash has traditionally been the first PPV event of the new season – with a few exceptions. It’s a place to tie up any lingering loose ends as well as lay the foundations for new feuds. Backlash can be a bit of a sleeper show.
The expectations may not be as high – it’s difficult to hype the first show after WrestleMania – but it’s a show that can certainly deliver on the night. For example, 2002’s main event saw Hulk Hogan defeat Triple H to capture his sixth (and final) WWE Championship. 2003 saw the only ever match between The Rock and Goldberg. While last year’s closed out with Randy Orton vs Edge in “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.” Considering it was Edge’s first match in nine years, it was actually one hell of a showing.
In true Backlash form, three of the matches announced so far are variations of WrestleMania rematches. There are currently five Championship matches announced, two of which are new Champions, set for their first-ever PPV title defences. In those instances, the pressure will be on at a time that it matters the most. While we don’t know what will happen, this is what we think will happen. So have a read and then tune into WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday night to see if we were right. Also, remember to regularly check SteelChair for all the latest updates in the world of pro wrestling.
Note: Predictions are simply that, predictions. None of us has heard anything ahead of time, we promise. The card may be incomplete but we chose not to make you wait too long…
The Miz vs Damian Priest
For months, Priest and Miz have found themselves at odds. The A-Lister’s rivalry with Grammy-award winning artist Bad Bunny came in direct correlation with The Archer of Infamy’s emergence on Monday Night RAW to get his friend’s back. After both sides unleashed everything from sneak attacks to pranks to a slew of humiliation, Priest and Bad Bunny ended up battling Miz and John Morrison at WrestleMania.
The issues weren’t settled on The Grandest Stage of Them All, however. Although Bad Bunny moved on to undertake his sold-out tour, issues between Miz and Priest continued to intensify until a showdown at WrestleMania Backlash was announced, with Priest defeating Morrison for the second week in a row to earn the right to pick the stipulation for his matchup against the two-time former WWE Champion at the May 16 pay-per-view. To make sure he would finally get his hands on his adversary, Priest picked a Lumberjack Match.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Damian Priest.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Damian Priest – The stipulation could have been a bit spicier.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (c) vs Rey & Dominik Mysterio
Many WWE fans have seen Dominik Mysterio grow up before their very eyes. From episodes of SmackDown in the early 2000s, starting when he was just six years old. How many kids can say they were part of storylines involving Eddie Guerrero and CM Punk? By late 2019, we saw him again, now in his early 20’s, tattooed and delivering a 619 to Brock Lesnar at Survivor Series. It certainly seems that young Dominik was destined to follow in his father’s footsteps, finally making his official debut against Seth Rollins at the 2020 SummerSlam. On top of all that, Dominik even gets to wrestle with his father, Rey Mysterio.
In the history of WWE, the various Tag Team Championships have been won by brothers, cousins, uncle & nephew, but never by a father and son duo. Rey and Dominik will make history if they are successful at Backlash. Standing in their way are Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode, veterans of the industry in their own right. Since early January, having held the SmackDown Tag Titles, Roode and Ziggler have had a stranglehold on the division ever since. At WrestleMania SmackDown they successfully defended the Championships against the Street Profits, the Mysterios and the Alpha Academy in a Fatal Four Way. Can the Dirty Dawgs do it again at WrestleMania Backlash?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Rey & Dominik Mysterio – WWE just love to make history. The crowning of a father and son as Tag Team Champions will just be too big of a temptation for them to resist.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: The Mysterios, would have been a great Mania moment…
RAW Women’s Championship – Triple Threat Match
Rhea Ripley (c) vs Asuka vs Charlotte Flair
This year marked the first time that Charlotte Flair missed WrestleMania, since debuting on WWE’s main roster in 2015. Having been presented as a centrepiece of the Women’s roster, since that time, it did seem surprising for Flair to miss the company’s biggest event of the year. However, the situation has evolved into a storyline where Charlotte’s promo, on the RAW after WrestleMania, criticised WWE management for leaving her off the show. She criticised them for handing Rhea Ripley an “unearned” title opportunity. Unearned or not, Rhea Ripley was successful at WrestleMania and defeated Asuka to win her first RAW Women’s Championship, and a singles rematch was initially announced for WrestleMania Backlash.
Elsewhere, Sonya Deville has settled into her new role as assistant to WWE Official, Adam Pearce, however, she seems to have been overstepping the mark and undermining Pearce’s authority. First, there was the incident where she reinstated Charlotte Flair after Pearce had suspended her for attacking a referee. Then Deville added Flair to this title match, making it a triple threat, also against the wishes of Adam Pearce. Thirdly, Deville booked Asuka and Ripley in a singles match on the most recent episode of RAW. Does that give Flair the advantage on Sunday? Considering that she should be 100% while Ripley and Asuka could be a little softened up. Does Sonya Deville have a conflict of interest?
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Rhea Ripley – everything seems aligned for a Charlotte Flair victory, but things aren’t always that simple with a Triple Threat. Whatever happens, I’m sure this won’t be the end of this storyline and I expect we’ll see the Flair/Deville relationship continue to develop.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Charlotte Flair.
SmackDown Women’s Championship
Bianca Belair (c) vs Bayley
In the main event of the first night of WrestleMania, Belair Belair realized her dream when she conquered Sasha Banks and captured the SmackDown Women’s Title in epic fashion. However, there is no rest at the top of the mountain as the E-S-T of SmackDown will now put her coveted title on the line against Bayley at WrestleMania Backlash.
The longest-reigning SmackDown Women’s Champion in history is as dangerous as they come and already has an extremely turbulent history with Belair on the blue brand. After being embarrassed by WWE Hall of Famers Bella Twins on The Grandest Stage of Them All, The Role Model will surely be motivated to remind everyone of just how good she really is against the dynamic new titleholder.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Bianca Belair – after such a historic moment at WrestleMania, it feels way too soon to end Bianca’s first title run.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Bayley.
WWE Championship – Triple Threat Match
Lashley (c) vs Drew McIntyre vs Braun Strowman
At WrestleMania Backlash, WWE Champion Bobby Lashley will look to carry The All-Mighty Era forward but will have to overcome the presence of both Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman.
The ongoing chase for the WWE Title did not end at WrestleMania but rather grew more intense one night after The Showcase of the Immortals when three of RAW’s top competitors stepped into the spotlight to stake their claim as Lashley’s next opponent for the most prestigious title in WWE. In addition to a challenge from McIntyre, who was distracted by MVP at The Show of Shows, Strowman emerged in pursuit of the gold two nights after conquering Shane McMahon inside a Steel Cage Match. After emerging from the darkness with a victory over The Fiend, Orton was also ready to refocus on the WWE Title.
In a matchup established by WWE Official Adam Pearce, The Scottish Warrior overcame The Viper and The Monster Among Men in a Triple Threat Match to earn the right to once again go to war against The All-Mighty in an epic WrestleMania WWE Championship Rematch. Two weeks later, Strowman continued his pursuit of a title opportunity and won his clash with McIntyre to add a whole new dimension to the WWE Championship encounter.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Bobby Lashley – I think the triple threat is a way for Lashley to retain the title without McIntyre taking the pinfall. Having invested so much in Drew, it seems like WWE would prefer to keep McIntyre looking strong while also keeping him out of the title picture for a little bit. Perhaps he’s now set for a feud with the returning Jinder Mahal?
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Lashley.
WWE Universal Championship Match
Roman Reigns (c) vs Cesaro
The closing image of WrestleMania weekend was the Tribal Chief standing tall, still the Universal Champion. Considering Edge had been stacked on top of Daniel Bryan, and Roman had pinned them both, the image may have suggested that Reigns dominantly won the match. However, a single image doesn’t tell the full story. In fact, it had looked as though Edge was closing in on the win before he was attacked by Jey Uso, helping his cousin to retain. And that has been the recurring theme of this storyline. There are numerous title defences where Roman only retained thanks to the help of Jey.
After an impressive showing, defeating Seth Rollins in his first-ever singles match at WrestleMania, Cesaro seemed the natural fit to be the next challenger for the Universal Championship, but Roman refused the challenge, considering Cesaro to be unworthy. Instead, Roman gifted another title match to Daniel Bryan, albeit with Bryan’s SmackDown career on the line. Bryan lost and hasn’t been seen in WWE since. Cesaro went on to earn this Championship match, after defeating Seth Rollins, again, on a subsequent edition of SmackDown.
Elsewhere, we’ve also seen the return of Jimmy Uso, following a lengthy injury. If Roman was expecting Jimmy to fall in line, much like Jey, he was sorely mistaken. Jimmy seemed dismayed to find that his brother has become little more than Roman’s bitch, over the last six months or so. He’s keen for Jey to break away from the Tribal Chief, so they can pursue the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Roman may be relying on Jey’s help at Backlash. This may be where we find out if Jey’s loyalties are to his cousin or his brother.
Danny Cause’s Prediction: Roman Reigns – sadly, I was incorrect about Edge winning the title at ‘Mania. I may have got a little caught up in the romance of the occasion. But now normal service has been resumed. I think Roman’s gonna hold onto that belt for a little while yet.
Steph Franchomme’s Prediction: Cesaro.
WWE WrestleMania Backlash is streaming this Sunday at 7 PM EST (midnight BST) on the WWE Network. The Kickoff Show begins at 6 PM EST (11 PM GMT) on WWE Network and WWE social platforms.
All pics and videos courtesy of WWE