It is set to be a fantastic weekend of wrestling starting this Friday night as WWE presents the UK Tournament live on the WWE Network followed by NXT TakeOver: Chicago on Saturday night and then the main event of Backlash on Sunday.
The build-up to the event has seen many stars like Randy Orton and Kevin Owens take part in Raw's Payback even two weeks ago, but it seems that WWE has managed to create watchable storylines for both stars despite the quick switch.
The biggest story heading into the event centers around Jinder Mahal, who has had a new lease on life since he won the chance to be the Number One Contender to Randy Orton's WWE Championship.
Along with The Singh Brothers, Jinder has made Orton his target over the past few months and even cost him the win in the House of Horrors match at Payback a few weeks ago. There is also the small matter of Shinsuke Nakamura's first main roster match against Dolph Ziggler and then Kevin Owens defending his United States Championship against AJ Styles. So even though this pay-per-view does seem slightly lacklustre, it does have all of the factors to allow it to steal the entire weekend.
Here are the ten boldest predictions heading into the event.
10. There Will Definitely Be CM Punk Chants
This year's Backlash emanates from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois and it has become well-known now ever since 2014 that whenever WWE are in Chicago, they are in front of a raucous crowd.
The last few weeks on Raw has shown that there are now CM Punk chants wherever WWE goes, even when they are in a different country. So one can only assume that in Punk's hometown, the heat will be turned up and it will be like the WWE Superstars are walking out into the lions' den. WWE will already be painfully aware of this and hopefully, have a plan to ensure that the crowd don't hijack the entire show.
9. Baron Corbin Will Continue To Be Pushed
Baron Corbin has looked red hot ever since the beginning of the year when WWE decided to include him in the Elimination Chamber match. Then during his feud with Dean Ambrose, it was Baron who stood out the most and even though he lost the title match at WrestleMania, he won the rematch under Street Fight rules a few days later.
Corbin was never given the second chance at the Intercontinental Championship that he deserved because Dean escaped to Raw, and in return, SmackDown gained Sami Zayn. The former NXT Champion has been used as a jobber on Raw for the past few months, because why is SmackDown any different? Continue Baron's push and allow Sami to be one of the men he defeats on his way to the top.
8. Tye Dillinger Will Brush Aside Aiden English
Tye Dillinger is one of the best things on SmackDown right now. He really is The Perfect 10 and he should take it as an insult that he has been relegated to the pre-show. But he still has show-stealing ability and he can easily get past the one remaining member of The Vaudevillians.
Since Simon Gotch was released from WWE a few months ago, it seems that Aiden has decided to go back to his solo singer gimmick. And even though it's original, it doesn't seem to be going anywhere. There's only one way his match at Backlash is going, and that is in Tye's favour.
7. Luke Harper Will Be The Dominant Brother
Luke Harper has always been the standout member of The Wyatt Family. And now that their father has jumped ship to Raw, it seems that the children are left to fight it out amongst themselves to decide who the real dominant brother is.
Harper can do things in the ring that a man his size shouldn't be able to do. The WWE Universe would happily accept Harper as World Championship material someday and hopefully, WWE will realize how much he deserves it. He needs to prove that he is the better brother and he needs to easily get past Erick Rowan, which I think he will on Sunday night. Harper is going on too much bigger and better things in the near future.
6. Kevin Owens Will Retain The United States Championship
'The New Face Of America' finally goes one-on-one with AJ Styles, the man who single-handedly managed to rebuild SmackDown Live. For many of the WWE Universe, this is a fantasy match and this can only end one way.
The United States Championship has been passed around at the past two pay-per-views and again on SmackDown a few weeks ago. The company have played hot potato with it too much, but if they play it right they could allow Kevin Owens to retain and potentially continue this rivalry through Money in the Bank and into SummerSlam.
5. NXT TakeOver Will Over Shadow The Entire Weekend
Every WWE fan this weekend is most looking forward to NXT Takeover: Chicago. There isn't a bad match on the card right now and it seems that the brand that is thought of as only developmental, could well steal the entire weekend once again.
The likes of Bobby Roode, Hideo Itami, Roderick Strong, and even the rumoured debut of indy star Adam Cole seem to have turned the WWE Universe's heads as the vast majority have overlooked Backlash because of the importance of NXT and their ability to upstage the main roster stars. I feel this will be the case once again in Chicago this weekend.
4. Shinsuke Nakamura Will Defeat Dolph Ziggler
It seems that Shinsuke Nakamura has been chosen as the new face of SmackDown Live in the absence of John Cena. WWE knew they had to find someone big enough to replace the biggest star in the company, and that is why they are making such a huge deal about his main roster debut against Dolph Ziggler.
Ziggler could make a broomstick look good in a WWE ring, so there is no telling just how good the match between these two stars is going to be. It has the potential to steal the show above the title matches, which could actually be quite an interesting turn about.
3. Charlotte Will Turn On Becky Lynch And Naomi
Let's be honest, WWE wanted to give Charlotte the SmackDown Women's Championship (just like they gave the Raw title to Alexa Bliss) as soon as she got there. Carmella, Natalya, and Tamina have all just prolonged the inevitable, because Naomi and Charlotte will never be on the same page while she has that belt around her waist.
As soon as Charlotte's team win and The Queen gets her revenge on the trio who welcomed her to SmackDown so humbly, she will turn her attention back to Naomi and show her that she is no match for someone who is genetically superior. It is just a filler match. It should have been a championship match between the women, but a Six-Woman Tag Team match never gets old.
2. Breezango Will Win The Tag Team Championship
Tyler Breeze and Fandango are the other brilliant thing about SmackDown right now. The Fashion Files have allowed the team to prove just how creative they can be when left to their own devices.
The Usos haven't had a lot of attention on them in recent weeks and it seems that even without the titles, Breezango are stealing all the headlines. It would be an incredible story if WWE finally allowed both men to lift their first titles in WWE this weekend, especially after how much they have been through over the past few years. Tyler had to dress like a woman a few months ago, so hopefully WWE offered him a chance at the titles as the reason for it, and he didn't just do it for fun.
1. Randy Orton Will Retain The WWE Championship
Jinder Mahal doesn't realize The Viper that he has unleashed just yet. There is a reason Randy Orton is a 13-time World Champion. He has faced some of the best wrestlers that WWE has ever seen and managed to walk out with the title, why is Jinder any different?
It's been a fun few weeks for a star who was basically eliminated from the Andre the Giant Battle Royal at WrestleMania by and NFL player, but that's all it will ever be for Jinder. Even though WWE could easily give him the nod with recent growth of their product in India, I still feel that Orton has been on the backfoot throughout this feud and on Sunday Jinder will finally realize that he's bitten off much more than he can chew.
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