wrestling / Columns

DeMarco’s Bold Predictions For WWE Backlash 2017

May 21, 2017 | Posted by Greg De Marco

On Sunday, May 21st, The WWE sends out the Smackdown Live brand to present the thirteenth edition of Backlash, and the second time the event is broadcast from The Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois (although I’m sure they’ll put Chicago on the graphic!). As you already know, Takeover: Chicago emanates from the same building the night before.

There’s plenty of Backlash history out there, but I think this is a great opportunity to bring back Joey Styles’ heartfelt “worked-shoot” promo, where he referenced Backlash in an amazing way. Promo starts at the 3:18 mark.

In my opinion, Backlash features a largely underrated lineup. There’s a lot to get be excited about, including something new (Jinder Mahal as #1 Contender), something consistent (AJ Styles and Kevin Owens doing their thing). You also have the WWE main roster televised in-ring debut of Shinsuke Nakamura (against a game Dolph Ziggler) as well as Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn doing battle in a match that could easily steal the show.

But precisely what is going to happen at WWE Backlash? Hell if I know! I leave that to our team here at 411Mania to figure out!

Because contained below are bold predictions for the event. Not likely to happen, these are indeed B.O.L.D.: Bullheaded, Outlandish, Lascivious, and Deplorable. But if—I mean when!—one hits, I can promise you’ll never hear the end of it!

Upset Of The Century?

Easily forgotten in the build to Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler is the work done on the heel side of the equation. Dolph has done an amazing job compensating for the language barrier that exists for “The Artist,” and has really been the MVP of this program.

The WWE knows they have something special in Nakamura, so much so that they held on to his in-ring debut on main roster television for a PPV/Network event. You don’t see this anymore, not since the days of Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, and The Ultimate Warrior as WWF Champion and Ric Flair and Dusty Rhodes in the old National Wrestling Alliance/early WCW.

Yet here we are, with Nakamura’s debut slated as something special. But what if the company is also behind Dolph Ziggler once again? What if they see an opportunity to finally cash in on the years they’ve invested in the guy, and all that he’s invested in himself? He’s a two-time world champion, and we know he always delivers in the ring.

SO here is the BOLD Prediction I am proposing: Dolph wins. Not clean, of course. But be it with a handful of tights, help from a new associate or other nefarious means, Dolph Ziggler ruins the party for Shinsuke Nakamura

Becky Kicks Charlotte’s (L)ass

Charlotte is a face, and it seems to have caused an imbalance in the force for the Smackdown women. While we have The Welcoming Committee doing a bang-up job as heels on the blue brand, outside of Natalya there really isn’t a top foil for Charlotte. So what if Natalya becomes the new opposition for Naomi while Charlotte and Becky feud? Sounds like a plan to me!

How do you do this? Well Becky Lynch has to turn heel of course! Outside of the three members of the breakthrough WrestleMania 32 Women’s Championship match, only Becky hasn’t spent time on the dark side. She herself has noted she wants to do it (read more here), and pretty much is what all of the big stars do, right?

Personally I am all for it. She’s the quintessential face and the last one casual fans would expect to see turn heel. There has been a slight tease, but if you go all the way with it, it can be great.

Randy Orton…….DIVES?

Randy Orton created some controversy with his comments on social media this week, comments that aren’t even his own. They didn’t even start with Rip Rogers like many have stated (even I got that part wrong at first), they started with Daniel D-Man Parker, and it grew like wildfire.

Well there’s one way for Randy Orton to put it to rest.

I posted it on social media but I will paraphrase it here:

During the WWE Championship match, Randy Orton hits his trademark RKO…outta nowhere. The ref counts 1… 2… and right before 3 the Singh Brothers pull Jinder out, saving the match. Randy Orton is arguing with the referee while the Brothers help Jinder get to his feet. Orton realizes that arguing with the referee will get him nowhere, and he sees Jinder is almost fully up. Randy looks to the opposite ropes, and to the Chicago crowd who has already been chanting “DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!” at times during the match.

Randy shrugs, hits the opposite ropes, charges his opposition and DIVES! The crowd goes nuts, and this discussion is done forever.

(Well, not really, because IWC.)

I’ve had some people tell me Randy doesn’t have the dive in him. A Tope con Hilo is fully possible for Randy, even if he uses the ropes foe assistance. He could do a plancha too, but that wouldn’t be nearly as impactful…

…but Randy Orton hitting a dive would be! (Credit to Steve Cook for the inspiration!)

There’s Money In The Chase

I keep hearing people say that Jinder needs to chase before winning the championship, but that makes no sense. He’s the heel.

You know who needs to chase? AJ Styles. There’s money in the babyface chasing the heel champion.

Since the brand split, the WWE has put a larger focus on the Intercontinental and United States Championships, to the point that casual fans see them as more important and the internet fans see it as a demotion when AJ Styles is fighting for it. It’s not—not at all. Recent Untied States Champions have included John Cena, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and of course Kevin Owens… all former world champions.

Long gone are the days where you won a “secondary” championship first, then moved up. While I miss those days, it’s not worth the energy to bitch about it. These days the championships are near equals, and the champion (usually) makes the belt, not the other way around.

On the flip side you have Kevin Owens, one of the best heels the company has (especially now that he’s largely stopped pandering to the crowd).

So it comes down to this: Kevin Owens wins. Close to clean, but in a way that allows AJ Styles to continue his chase, eventually winning the title at SummerSlam.


The internet exploded on April 18 when Jinder Mahal won Smackdown’s Six Pack Challenge to become #1 contender to Randy Orton’s WWE Championship. This same match added The Singh Brothers to his side, a surprising role for the former Bollywood Boys.

Some were mad because I guess they preferred to see Mojo Rawley to get the title match.

Others, like myself, were elated. You see, I called a big push for Jinder the moment he put Rob Gronkowski over at WrestleMania 33. He went all in, he bet on himself, and I can’t wait to hear the story of how Vince McMahon said he needed someone to put Gronk over huge and Jinder immediately stepped up. (Need proof that I called it, listen to my appearance on the DWI Podcast, here! My appearance starts around the 26 minute mark, and my comments on Jinder start hit around 37-minutes.) Yes, I predicted he will be the surprise of 2017.

So here’s the deal. You don’t have Jinder Mahal become the #1 contender, give him associates that are doing dirty work on his behalf, and go all-in on him (including a run-in during a “RAW exclusive” PPV/Network Special) if you aren’t going to go all the way. He has the look, he has the talent, and he has the heat.

This is JBL and Sheamus all over again. Jinder wins and it’s absolutely the right call to make.

What craziness do YOU expect to go down at WWE Backlash 2017?
Share in the comments below!

Hit up Greg DeMarco on Social Media!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gregdemarco411
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gregdemarco411