WWE Backlash 2018: Complete Card, Predictions, Analysis

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WWE Backlash 2018 — arguably the greatest Backlash — airs this Sunday, May 6, live on WWE Network. The co-branded pay-per-view (they’re doing that now) features a no disqualification match for the WWE Championship, as well as Daniel Bryan’s first singles match since his return and more. Here’s the complete Backlash card as we know it.

WWE Backlash 2018 Card:

1. No Disqualification Match for the WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

2. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

3. Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

4. Raw Women’s Championship Match: Nia Jax (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

5. United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Randy Orton

6. Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz

7. Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

8. Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

A kickoff match — probably Cedric Alexander vs. Buddy Murphy for the Cruiserweight Championship — will probably be added after we put together our predictions, because that happens. Below is a complete rundown of the show and what we think will happen, so check it out and let us know what we got right and what we got wrong in our comments section below.

Programming note: We’ve had a lot of unexpected turnover at UPROXX this week, so our normal staff picks are being handled by the wrestling fans over at UPROXX Sports proper. They’re also kinda short because, come on, it’s Backlash. Pardon our dust.

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

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What Should Happen: Cass gets kicked in the head so hard he’s suddenly good at promos.

What Will Happen: Ostensibly we’ve only got three options here.

  • Daniel Bryan wins, because he’s Daniel Bryan and Big Cass has the wrestling ability of a head of lettuce
  • Miz helps Cass win, revealing they’ve been in cahoots all along
  • Cass wins clean, because Bryan is an eternal underdog and Cass is a new monster they’re trying to push

I’d be okay with either of the first two — especially if The Miz wins the Intercontinental Championship and rides it back to Raw, effectively avoiding Bryan on Smackdown completely and bailing again — but I’m worried about the third one. This is Cass’ first match back and Bryan is kinda sorta bulletproof, so in my head, WWE’s thinking, “eh we can put Cass over him, he’s giant and Bryan is little, people like Bryan, it’ll be fine.”

Honestly? The last thing we need is another example of Daniel Bryan looking weak. He had to retire, and then when he comes back he gets immediately taken out of the WrestleMania tag match and makes Shane work most of it. Then when he shows up for matches on Smackdown he either gets hit in the nuts, or is found “laid out” backstage so he can’t appear. It’s dumb. Daniel Bryan rules, and we wanna see him kicking ass. It’s an easy equation.

Staff Picks

Raj Prashad – This is a really great spot for WWE to try to push Cass into the main event scene. He’s done damage against Bryan to make himself a viable opponent, but I’m picking the former WWE champ to go over. Hopefully Bryan is just waiting out the push to SummerSlam, where he’s in a more high-profile rivalry.

Martin Rickman – Daniel Bryan’s road back has certainly been filled with its share of trials and tribulations, so it’s only fitting he’s got another big boulder blocking his path. As Cass builds and builds his own star by hell or high water, he’s got Bryan to get through. While I think he’ll shine in this one, Daniel will ultimately get a fitting solo PPV win to celebrate. Oh, yes.

Bill DiFilippo – The entire list of things that Daniel Bryan should lose to Big Cass in are a dunk contest and a competition to see who can hail a cab in Manhattan better. For that reason, Cass wins this and I flip over the loveseat in my living room.

Konata Edwards – Cass needs to establish himself as something other than a seven foot create a wrestler. There’s no better wrestler to bring it out of him than Daniel Bryan as we meander towards a eventual dynamite match between him and the Miz.

Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

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What Should Happen: Somebody books a better match than this? I’m not really even sure why this is happening beyond vague General Manager punishment (which I thought Sami and Kevin had finally switched shows to avoid) or “we should put Bobby Lashley on the show but he’s only been around for a few weeks and he’s not really interesting or doing anything, so … tag match?”

What Will Happen: Really the only thing I can see happening here (other than Strowman and Lashley just mauling the French-Canadian babyfaces and winning easily) is face miscommunication, setting up something between Strowman and Lashley. Throwing Lashley into a feud with a guy who is taller, bigger, stronger, considerably more liked and way better at wrestling wouldn’t do wonders for his image, though, so unless Sami Zayn can pull out a damn miracle, the hoss faces win. Are there any Canadian giants out there that could help these poor guys out?

Staff Picks

Raj Prashad – I love Strowman and Lashley individually, but their tag team is pretty meh. Going to go Owens-Zayn here, only because I hope Lashley turns on Strowman and somehow costs them the match.

Martin Rickman – As is my way I will always and forever pick Braun just like I always and forever pick Bama in college football scenarios. I’d rather be on the wrong side of this than anger the Gods.

Bill DiFilippo – The team with Braun Strowman wins because the team with Braun Strowman should always win. Maybe Lashley turns on him after the match but Braun wins by literally throwing Sami Zayn straight up and out of the arena.

Konata Edwards – Braun is a wrecking ball and possibly the most over wrestler in the company. Sami and Kevin have one job and one job only, to make Bobby Lahley look good.

Intercontinental Championship Match: Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz

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What Should Happen: As I mentioned above, part of me really wants The Miz to win the Intercontinental Championship here and ride it back to Raw, where he can say he’s only honoring his commitments and not running in fear from a punch to the face from Daniel Bryan.

What Will Happen: That said, Seth Rollins is all of the money in the world right now and having all the show’s best matches, so you’d be pretty stupid to take the belt off of him right now. Especially if Miz is on Smackdown. Rollins wins, strong, and moves on to (hopefully) a full-on feud with a full-on heel Finn Bálor.

Staff Picks

Raj Prashad – Seth Rollins is on fire right now, and he’ll pick up where Miz left off in building up the Intercontinental belt. Rollins should roll over Miz in a really solid match.

Martin Rickman – Lowkey think this’ll be the best match of the night, and for Cleveland, and LeBron, and a few other reasons I’ve got to give it to The Miz. The Miztake By The Lake deserves it.

Bill DiFilippo – Motivated, not bored Seth Rollins is on the short list for the most fun guys in WWE, and basically everything he’s done over the last few months has been delightful. The Miz deserves nothing but incredibly good things but Seth is on fire right now and will win.

Konata Edwards – This will probably be the match of the night by a wide margin. Rollins is currently in that zone where he’ll get a great match out of anyone, and if he doesn’t, it’s likely not his fault. Raw needs one of the mid-card belts to be on Raw, and there’s no one better to have great matches on TV with than Rollins at the moment.

United States Championship Match: Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Randy Orton

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What Should Happen: You know what? Give it to Orton. Jeff Hardy’s all well and good, but he also loses almost the entirety of his character and context without Matt around, so if you’re only going to do one title change on the show, this should be it. Orton as the lazy John Cena would be pretty funny anyway.

What Will Happen:

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Staff Picks

Raj Prashad – Don’t really know what to say about this one. After WWE cast aside Bobby Roode in his brief U.S title run, I wouldn’t think they’d do the same with Jeff Hardy. Going Hardy here expecting WWE to give him a few months with the belt.

Martin Rickman – Until further notice I’m (once again) a gigantic Jeff Hardy stan. If you need me, I’ll be listening to a whole bunch of Tool, growing my hair out and refusing to have my picture taken for four straight years like I did from 1998-2002.

Bill DiFilippo – The last singles match they had against one another was Jan. 27, 2008. Randy Orton won that one. I think Jeff Hardy getting a decade to prepare for a chance to get revenge is enough and he wins.

Konata Edwards – Jeff Hardy at damn near 40 doing the things he does is one of the biggest reasons to watch the Blue Brand. Consequently, Randall Keith Orton is not. Randy doesn’t need the belt to stay relevant and is likely due for some time off shortly. While one can hope that Orton’s subsequent defeat and departure opens the door for a potential Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas and Jeff Hardy feud.

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Nia Jax (c) vs. Alexa Bliss

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What Should Happen: Nia Jax should get a big stunt spot where the first move is her Samoan Dropping Alexa Bliss so hard the middle of the ring collapses, and that’s the entire match. Alexa Bliss on offense against Nia Jax is one of the most ridiculous things they do, so keep the belt on Jax for the forseeable future and please … drop the fat joke stuff. It ran its course. Even if the Moment of Bliss promos are funny, that story should’ve ended full stop at WrestleMania.

What Will Happen: Nia retains, sure, but it’ll end up being more back-and-forth than I like. I’m imagining Mickie James interference until Ember Moon shows up and cuts her off. Whole lot of ballyhoo happening in this one.

Staff Picks

Raj Prashad – Jax giving Bliss her comeuppance at ‘Mania apparently wasn’t enough, so having her toss the former Women’s champ around again should be fun. Jax should run away with this one.

Martin Rickman – The title is going to change hands! It is! I can feel it! It’s Bliss time.

Bill DiFilippo – Nia doesn’t just win, she wins by Samoan dropping Alexa and Mickie James at the same time and pinning them both. The more cool “Nia is wonderfully strong” spots we get, the better.

Konata Edwards – Nia needs to keep this belt and look dominant as possible on the way to an eventual Summerslam showdown with Ronda Rousey. Period. That and Alexa doesn’t need the belt to be over anymore.

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte Flair

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What Should Happen: If we’re talking about what really should happen, Charlotte Flair should just chokeslam her as the opening move and pin her. A lot of on-paper mismatches on this show. That’s not going to happen, though, because …

What Will Happen: Mella Is Money®, her title reign just began, the IIconics are hanging out somewhere, and Charlotte Flair of all the women in the company doesn’t need a championship to be a thing. She’s a Flair. She should always be in the hunt for the gold, yeah, but we can let someone else be on top for a while. Becky Lynch, I’m looking in your increasingly dire direction.

Staff Picks

Raj Prashad – I’m ready to see what Carmella can do in a main event spot. Predicting the women’s champ to overcome Charlotte with some help from her friends before she really kicks off her title reign. It’s also wild to think Charlotte could go from ending Asuka’s streak to losing to Carmella in back-to-back pay-per-views.

Martin Rickman – Carmella is going to hold onto this title for awhile, although I do see Charlotte putting up a good fight.

Bill DiFilippo – Charlotte should win the title, but instead, she wins by DQ after Billie Kay and Peyton Royce come to the ring and raise hell and do all the fun IIconics stuff that they’ve done lately.

Konata Edwards – It’s way too soon for a title switch on Carmella and while she’s not a heat magnet on the level on Alexa Bliss, it’s almost there. Moreover, the IIconics have nothing to do at this show which is a shame. Thankfully they’ll be interfering in this match, likely costing Charlotte and starting a feud that hopefully elevates all 3. As for Carmella, Asuka is always around.

Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

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What Should Happen: Can we hurry up and reunite The Bloodline and do a WWE Samoan Family vs. pissed off ASMR ass-kicker Samoa Joe? I’d be into that.

Outside of random fantasy booking that won’t and couldn’t ever happen, you know what the “what should happen” here is. Do I even need to type it?

What Will Happen: The Roman Reigns losing streak continues. Their latest idea (it seems, at least) is to have Roman lose a bunch of high-profile matches in a row to make it seem like he’s not getting the incessant Roman Reigns push we’ve been living through for the past four years, and losing to Joe here is no harm no foul. They aren’t even on the same shows, and Joe’s been absolutely gutting him in the promo department. If this was an e-fed based on how good you did in the build to the pay-per-view, Joe would be the easiest winner of the night. (Let’s hope he is.)

Staff Picks

Raj Prashad – Reigns needs a win and Joe just coming back from injury sets it up to get the Big Dog back in the win column. Get humbled, Samoan Submission Machine.

Martin Rickman – I want Samoa Joe to win, but Samoa Joe isn’t going to win. Hopefully this one kind of makes up for the Roman vs. Brock fight at the Greatest Royal Rumble and gives us all sorts of exhaustive but equally spectacular action and an impressive win for Reigns to keep pushing forward. Maybe a one step forward, two step back scenario over the past few weeks for him, but at least it’s building drama.

Bill DiFilippo – Roman isn’t going to lose on three PPVs/televised events in Saudi Arabia in a row, right? It just feels weird to have him catch a loss to someone who isn’t Brock Lesnar, which is unfortunate, because Samoa Joe’s last month or so of popping up and telling Roman why he’s trash has been a delight.

Konata Edwards – I want to believe that Joe can and will beat Roman, it’s just a matter of whether creative believes it as well. Moreover, if Roman loses, where does he go next? Hopefully, it doesn’t involve Brock for a 4th time.

No Disqualification Match for the WWE Championship: AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

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What Should Happen: Man, I don’t care what they do as long as they have a match on the level we know they can have, and don’t sandbag the shit out of it like they did at WrestleMania and the Greatest Royal Rumble. Just give me Styles vs. evil heel Nakamura, balls to the wall. I’d like to see this version of Nakamura walk away as champion, but I honestly am starting to think that won’t happen. Yes, I typed that in an effort to jinx myself.

What Will Happen:

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Staff Picks

Raj Prashad – This one really could go either way. Shinsuke’s been red-hot since turning heel, so I’m going with Nak to finally take the belt from Styles. No matter what happens, fully expected Nakamura and Styles to keep this rivalry going all summer.

Martin Rickman – For Shinsuke to be a truly great heel, he’s got to win and hold onto the title for a bit. This feels like the right time for him to do so in an extremely petty and ridiculous way, and to keep this battle with Styles going well past Backlash.

Bill DiFilippo – Morally, I am unable to pick the person who has spent the last month or so uppercutting someone’s junk. AJ Styles wins, probably by, uh, uppercutting Nakamura’s junk.

Konata Edwards – The No-DQ stipulation has all the leanings of a Nakamura victory. That said, it’s fair to wonder how much faith they have in Shinsuke to carry the belt for a while. As Brandon has mentioned before, it’s only a matter of time before AJ decides to wear a cup to one of these matches, I think this is the match.