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WWE Backlash is set for May 21, and with the card we have, many fans feel SmackDown Live is letting us down.
Jinder Mahal seemingly came out of nowhere to become the new No. 1 contender to Randy Orton’s WWE Championship after being an enhancement talent most of his run.
Instead of having a women’s title match, WWE has booked a six-woman tag bout with no stakes. On top of that, Charlotte Flair has been wavering between heel and babyface since she debuted on the blue brand in April.
Two bright spots on the card are Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler and AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens for the United States Championship.
Let’s take a look at each of the top matches and make some predictions.
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Nakamura has been on the SmackDown roster since April 4, but you wouldn’t know it by the number of matches he’s had.
WWE opted to delay his wrestling debut until Backlash, but at least the company gave him a competent opponent for his first performance on the main roster.
Ziggler is one of the most reliable workers in WWE, and he will help Nakamura produce a fantastic and memorable match.
As far as the winner is concerned, it’s almost a guarantee The King of Strong Style will have his hand raised at the end of the night.
WWE spent a lot of time building Nakamura up in NXT, and having him lose his first pay-per-view bout just wouldn’t be logical.
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Not having a women’s title match on a card with a weak main event feels like a step backward, but the level of talent involved could salvage the situation.
Charlotte, Lynch, Natalya and Naomi are proven commodities, Carmella is finding her groove and Tamina Snuka is one good performance away from being taken seriously again.
This feud feels slightly forced, in part due to the strange booking of Charlotte. She has been aligning with the babyfaces recently, but she still acts like a heel.
This feels like a chance for WWE to build this new heel faction into a threat, which is why The Welcoming Committee will defeat Lynch, Charlotte and Naomi at Backlash.
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Owens and Styles were two of the most entertaining stars on Raw and SmackDown respectively after the brand split, and putting them into a feud as soon as they were on the same show was one of WWE’s better decisions in recent memory.
Both men spent over a decade honing their skills in other promotions before finally getting their foot in the WWE door, and both have been overachievers since their first matches.
Owens’ Face of America shtick is working beautifully, and taking the U.S. title off him would kill the momentum he has built since the Superstar Shake-up.
Styles will come close several times, but the U.S. champ is going to find an underhanded way to retain his belt.
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The WWE Championship match at Backlash has created an interesting rift between WWE fans. Some feel building a new star is the right move, while others think Mahal isn’t ready for the push he is being given.
The Maharajah has worked hard to get himself into the best shape of his life and improve his character. He has made big strides, but his sudden winning streak still feels forced.
Pairing him with the Singh Brothers has given him some momentum, and with a few more months, Mahal might be ready to challenge for the belt.
The smart money would be on Orton retaining the title, but it’s not beyond the realms of possibility for WWE to give Mahal a test run as champion.
What are your predictions for WWE Backlash?