wrestling / Columns

WWE Backlash 2017: What It All Means

May 17, 2017 | Posted by Justin Watry

“I have been reading your stuff on 411mania and nodq.com for the longest time now and I have never felt inclined to email in. The general consensus of you not being most popular is harsh at times but also can be well-founded too. But I still read your stuff because I do enjoy your articles and find your perspective interesting most of the time.

That said, your article about your friend Megan and trip to Wrestlemnaia was the greatest thing you have ever wrote. Forget about the predictions you brag about getting right. This is your crowning piece. Maybe it is because I can relate as going to Wrestlemania is my ultimate dream and it will be happening next year. But I genuinely loved your article.

Thank you for the great stuff.”

– wrestling fan


This Sunday is WWE Backlash 2017, presented by Smackdown LIVE. Might as well take a look at the card and every wrestler competing in Chicago this Sunday, right?

WWE Backlash: What It All Means

Becky Lynch, Charlotte, and Naomi vs. Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella

I would include James Ellsworth in the preview, but even me just typing out his name right there is too much attention.

Becky – I agree with the sentiment that she could be doing more on Tuesdays for the blue brand. However, I also agree with the notion that she is pretty much set for now and can afford to step back and lose matches. Does not always have to be the center of the division and holding the championship. She’ll be fine either way.

Charlotte – I loved her move to Smackdown before the Superstar Shakeup and loved it even more when it actually happened. Biggest flip in my opinion during the little reset within the company last month. WWE has done a great job in sending that message to the viewing audience. Moving to a face role may seem a tad rushed, but let’s see where this story goes. Maybe it is all a set up, from a set up to another set up? I don’t know.

Naomi – Current Smackdown Women’s Champion and needs to watch out for Ms. Flair. It feels like any moment a title change could occur. Not a whole lot from Naomi since her injury/comeback story was paid off in Orlando at WrestleMania 33. Perhaps a Becky/Charlotte turn isn’t such a bad idea…

Natalya – Just the veteran hand for Smackdown LIVE with Mickie James no longer on the show. Kinda stuck in this role until fans care more or more of a personality suddenly shows up after ten years.

Tamina – The enforcer of the Welcoming Committee and the silent muscle of the stable. No real complaints. Like Nattie, her role is set for now.

Carmella – Besides being dragged down by her clown, her career is not taking off as I suspected after the big heel turn last year. It was a brilliant decision to have her separating from Big Cass and Enzo AND be a heel. Since that and the Nikki Bella feud…nothing really has gone well for her. Too bad. Lots of potential.

Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The Usos vs. Tyler Breeze and Fandango

The Usos – Never been a major supported of The Usos. I can admit that their mic skills have been excellent during the past year and are a highlight on Talking Smack (when I tune in). That being said, nothing gets to me more these days than the underuse of American Alpha. Whatever is going on with them needs to change. Seriously, The Usos are interesting again, and that is wonderful…but where are Jason Jordan and Chad Gable? Another misfire in not freshening up them during the Superstar ShakeUp, sending them to Raw.

Tyler Breeze and Fandango – I am including as a pair because this is more than a random pairing that will break up in a week. They are together, and that is a good thing in 2017. On their own, it was never going to happen for either beyond a certain point on the card. As a tag team, they are shining an actually get television time. Comedy duo is NOT their ceiling, so I wonder if a win at Backlash can earn them more than the titles – things like respect, credibility, and a real fan response? Would be cool.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

Shinsuke Nakamura – From the moment he arrived on the blue brand, I said he should not wrestle until Backlash. It made sense on a bunch of levels, and I am glad WWE Is treating him as a special attraction rather than a normal competitor. If RAW can have Brock Lesnar, Smackdown can have “The Shin.” Obviously, this is just a way to get him a ‘debut’ victory and put him in the high profile spot to introduce his in-ring skills to non-NXT viewers. Nothing wrong with that. Sucks for Dolph Ziggler…but he knows his role nowadays…

Dolph Ziggler – Yeah. Steal the show. More your opponent look like a million bucks and lose. Zig Zag is the perfect man for the job here. While I liked the idea of The Miz vs. Nakamura (which was teased), this matchup is much better. Easy choice to steal the show and with no clear cut bout set to main event, this may close the evening. Depends on the finishes planned for the next two matches.

United States Title: Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles

Kevin Owens – The new face of America. After getting past Chris Jericho, he is (once again) holding gold in WWE. That guy sure seems like a hand picked favorite of Triple H’s behind the scenes since signing, huh? Oh, oops! Internet darling, not allowed to say that. Sorry. Back to the match: I hope Jericho stays away for awhile. With him now being on Smackdown, I sense it is only a matter of time until he returns to cost Mr. KO the U.S. Championship. Will that happen on Sunday? Likely not. AJ Styles does not need any help. If he is going to win, he’s going to do it on his own.

AJ Styles – On Talking Smack recently, he all but guaranteed he would win the championship at Backlash and swore it would happen. Usually when a face is that adamant about a victory, it happens. Still, that was Talking Smack, not exactly the most prominent show on the weekly WWE schedule. I am writing this before Tuesday’s Smackdown (and Raw actually), so I am curious to see if he makes the same promise again. Gut says Owens retains; head says AJ is getting lots of cheers now and should get this moment to rally even more support.

WWE Title: Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal

Randy Orton – What is the endgame here? Rumor has it Baron Corbin (who is probably facing and beating Sami Zayn this Sunday) is being slated to take the title off Mr. RKO later in the year. No offense, but I somehow doubt we are getting another lengthy run at the top for Orton. I could be wrong about that, but it seems his entire WWE Title run was built around Bray Wyatt, Royal Rumble, and Mania. After that? Eh, not a whole lot left besides maaaaaaaaybe Styles and well, Owens I suppose? John Cena for the millionth time or Nakamura? Neither of those really fit. While it would seem ludicrous to suggest a title change on Sunday, I am not completely ruling it out.

Jinder Mahal – Okay, when Jinder Mahal first become the new number one contender, I defended the decision and run a big column explaining why. Adding the Bollywood Boyz was just an added bonus, but really, this all comes down to one man: Jinder. Chicago is surely amped up and ready to voice their opinion for this main event; there is no need to dissect the incoming chants. The real question is will WWE pull a Bradshow/JBL from 2004 and take a chance, stick to it, and completely commit? Sheamus from late 2009 is another example. That worked pretty well, as he has proven himself to be worthy of such a huge gamble. As did JBL. Will Mahal prove the doubters wrong and show he is more than just a mid-card loser? I don’t know. Time will tell. What I do know is after defending the his main event opportunity, ratings and viewership have crashed…and the show has gotten worse in the past month. Not ALL his fault mind you. Nothing is ever truly all on one person. Just saying – early returns are not good. Certainly more than enough time to turn it around. The true test comes at Backlash. Jinder Mahal as WWE Champ? Never say never folks…

Cheap Plugs

Follow on Twitter: @JustinWatry

Email feedback: [email protected]


article topics :

WWE, WWE Backlash, Justin Watry