Preview: WWE BackLash

WWE’s BackLash Pay-Per-View is tomorrow, so we’re going to break down every match on the card, starting with headliner.

Edge v. Randy Orton

Edge. Orton. I think this story writes itself don’t you? 

In what’s being billed as the Greatest Wrestling Match Ever, Edge and Orton are looking to write the final chapter of their storied friendship-turned-rivalry. 

From Edge’s perspective, The Rated R Superstar has a lot of self-doubt to squash. As Orton has pointed out several times, Edge has not had a straight up wrestling match in over nine years. When Edge made his time-stopping return earlier this year, he participated in a Royal Rumble match. His next match was a Last Man Standing Match at WrestleMania. 

In both of these matches, Edge stood toe-to-toe with the Viper, eliminating Orton at the Royal Rumble, and defeating him at WrestleMania.  

But what does this match mean for Randy Orton?

The last big pay-per-view win on the Viper’s record is from a year ago, at SuperShowdown in Saudi Arabia, where he defeated Triple H in a singles match. 

Now, Orton has nothing to prove to anybody. He still delivers every time he’s in the ring. But, he could still use this match to get back to his winning ways. 

Think about it: Edge is a Legend. Randy Orton is the… Legend Killer…

Nobody will complain about a fired up Randy Orton. As for Edge, there are many dream matches to be booked. 

So maybe Randy was right when he said this story writes itself. 

My pick: Randy Orton

Drew McIntyre (c) v. Bobby Lashley

(WWE Championship Match)

Drew McIntyre is the chosen one. He slayed the Beast at WrestleMania, and has been dominating since. 

On Bobby Lashley’s side of the world, MVP has been seemingly forcing him into the title picture. Does MVP have something else to gain from Bobby Lashley becoming WWE Champion? 

Lashley’s wife, Lana, has also been putting some pressure on the Almighty One, while butting heads with MVP. As a result, Lashley has told Lana in recent weeks to stay backstage during his matches. In the last two weeks, Lashley has appeared to be furious, but about what? Is his marriage with Lana really getting to him? Maybe he should have listened to Rusev. 

So as easily as I can break it down, who do you think is coming out of BackLash as WWE Champion?

A dominant Scotsman with a devastating Claymore in Drew McIntyre?

Or a soon-to-be ex-husband with a knockoff Spear in Bobby Lashley?  

My pick: Drew McIntyre

Braun Strowman (c) v. Miz and Morrison 

(2-on-1 Handicap Match for the Universal Championship)

Two weeks ago, Miz and Morrison had a fun time playing pranks on The Monster Among Men, bringing the WWE Universe back to the DX days. 

But, Miz and Morrison’s fun ended when the Universal Champion single-handedly tipped over the van that was Miz and Morrison’s “hideout” for the night. 

Braun Strowman will have his back against the wall at BackLash, in a handicap match. But that isn’t any reason for him to worry. Yes, the last time Strowman held a championship, he lost it with the odds stacked against him. But this time is different. 

Most of the time, if you see a bear, you leave it alone. But when Miz and Morrison saw Strowman, they not only poked the bear, they shattered his windshield and doused him (and Kayla Braxton) in slime. 

So the question to answer now (looking at you, Miz and Morrison), what do you think happens when you poke the bear?

My pick: Braun Strowman

Asuka (c) v. Nia Jax

(RAW Women’s Championship Match)

This isn’t the first time the Irresistible Force has clashed with the Empress of Tomorrow. Dating back to their NXT days, Nia Jax has struggled when it comes to Asuka. 

Jax has certainly proved herself as a powerhouse in the women’s division, and she does seem more determined than ever since she’s come back to RAW. 

One thing I will say I admire about Jax is that she is not using her double knee surgery as an excuse for her past or her future. To her, she is still going to dominate any opponent on any brand. 

This match could be more meaningful for Asuka than meets the eye. Asuka dominated the women’s division in WWE for years. But since the Kabuki Warriors came together, Asuka has seemingly let herself go. She’s still one of the best in the business, but her new, silly persona translates to a lack of focus to me. 

With a win over Jax at BackLash, Asuka could be on her way back to the domination that she’s known for. 

Regardless of who comes out of BackLash as RAW Women’s Champion, the women’s division on Monday nights will need to continue to work hard to fill the gap that Becky Lynch left behind. 

I do wonder, though, what would be the point of Asuka winning the title at Money in the Bank only to lose it a month later?

My pick: Asuka 

Jeff Hardy v. Sheamus

The return of the Charismatic Enigma had the WWE Universe jumping out of their seats. That is, until the Celtic Warrior decided to Brogue Kick his way into Jeff Hardy’s business. 

This rivalry started kind of randomly, but quickly got personal when Sheamus brought up Hardy’s battles against addiction. 

Sheamus has been belittling Hardy in recent weeks, presumably running over Elias in Hardy’s rental car and framing him with a bottle of alcohol. 

This last week on SmackDown, Sheamus took another step over the line, making Hardy take a urine test on TV. After, Hardy brought Sheamus back to an old proverb, “it’s better to be pissed off than pissed on.” And Hardy doused Sheamus in his urine. 

Jeff Hardy doesn’t have anything to prove in wrestling. This match is all about him overcoming the last of his demons. 

My pick: Jeff Hardy 

Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) v. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross v. The IIconics

(Triple Threat Match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships)

I’m a big fan of Alexa Bliss, I think everything she does is great. But this match might be the one where I go get a snack.

Why? Well, the outcome of this match really doesn’t matter. The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships can be defended on any brand, so it doesn’t matter which brand take the titles home after BackLash.

The WWE Women’s Tag Team Division is comprised of Bliss and Cross, Bayley and Banks, the IIconics, and the Kabuki Warriors. And with Kairi Sane out of action, and Asuka leading the RAW Women’s division, the Kabuki Warriors are nearly defunct. So, with this match being a triple threat, including the three established women’s tag teams in WWE, we’re just going to see a rematch in a month. 

Unless Beth Phoenix wants to come back and win the titles with Natalya (which I would support 200%), the Women’s Tag Team Division in WWE will remain… boring. Fire and Desire was extinguished. The Riott Squad is rioting no longer. Maybe Kayla Braxton and Sarah Schreiber can team up and take the titles and bring them backstage, I don’t know. 

The IIconics need a win here, and they did defeat Bayley and Banks to become the champions once before. Bayley’s “double champ” gimmick is really just a recycled Becky Two Belts angle. But, I wouldn’t be surprised if the “role models” retained. 

As much as I am disappointed with the women’s tag division not being pushed as much as it deserves, I’ll try to be hopeful with my pick because I think they can get the division on the map with the right help.

My pick: The IIconics.  

Apollo Crews (c) v. Andrade

This match might be the most difficult to break down, because there are strong arguments for both sides. 

This angle started months ago when Andrade was defending his United States Championship against Apollo Crews. In that match, Apollo was injured and Andrade retained. 

In Apollo’s absence on RAW, Zelina Vega & Co. (which was founded on Andrade) more or less stole the show. When Apollo returned, he won the title from Andrade, his first championship in WWE. This past Monday, Andrade won a triple threat match against Kevin Owens and Angel Garza for the opportunity to face Apollo for the U.S. Title at BackLash. In the match, Andrade and Garza’s partnership looked like it was starting to break down, which makes me question the status of Vega & Co. moving forward. 

I see this going one of two ways. Apollo retains, causing Vega’s boys to split up. Andrade wins, causing Vega’s boys to refortify the partnership. 

But it’s not all about Zelina’s “associates.” 

Apollo proved to the WWE Universe that he has what it takes to be a champion in WWE. And I think he’s just getting started. I see Apollo making the United States Title a workhorse championship, just like the Intercontinental Title is supposed to be over on SmackDown. 

My pick: Apollo Crews

 

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