W2Mnet WWE Backlash 2016 Preview
This Sunday is the first single branded special event for WWE since the beginning of the new brand split. WWE’s Smackdown talent bring back the Backlash PPV, the first since 2009. Consequently, the last Backlash was also during the previous brand split. Much has changed since then, including WWE’s new model of using WWE Network subscriptions, which sort of facilitated this special happening. Another thing that has changed is WWE’s philosophy on acquiring talent. I don’t think anyone would have imagined that a main event of Dean Ambrose and AJ Styles would happen just a year ago. That’s not all, as two new champions are guaranteed to be crowned too.
An Introduction to the Article
As someone that has quite a bit of experience doing these roundtable type articles, I wanted to do this a bit differently than some others. Instead of having six people all give thoughts on each match, I felt it better to assign one match to each person. So, one of our staff members will answer a question pertaining to a match, then give their thoughts on the match itself, and finally predict a winner. This continues until the end of the article, when everyone gathers to give their overall thoughts on the event. So, let’s get to it, this is the W2Mnet WWE Backlash 2016 Preview.
Sean Garmer, Editor-in-Chief, Co-Host of Wrestling 2 the MAX
Paul Leazar, Wrestling Dept. Head, Co-Host of Wrestling 2 the MAX
Patrick Ketza, Host of Wrestling Unwrapped, W2Mnet Wrestling Contributor
Rick Beslin, W2Mnet Wrestling Article Writer
Brandon Biskobing, W2Mnet Wrestling & Football Contributor
Noah Mooney, W2Mnet Wrestling Contributor
Smackdown Championship Tournament Semi-Finals
The Usos vs. Hype Bros
The Usos turning heel gives them new life in the tag division?
The Usos turning heel was a very good move, and if this past Smackdown was any indication, they are motivated to get the act over as well. This totally revitalized a stale team. Therefore, I believe they will not only win this match, but also the Smackdown Tag Titles to set up an extended feud with American Alpha. I’m sure those matches will steal a few shows. This also allows for Heath Slater to continue his failures, which makes his eventual win to receive a roster spot even bigger. – Noah Mooney
Winners: The Usos
The Viper vs. The Eater of Worlds
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
It will really hurt Bray Wyatt if he loses to Randy Orton?
No I don’t think it hurts Bray Wyatt to lose to Randy Orton. Especially, since Orton is still considered a top guy in the company. I think Orton wins since it seems like WWE will continue to not give Bray wins. – Brandon Biskobing
Winner: Randy Orton
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Tournament Final
The Usos/Hype Bros vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
Heath Slater has easily been the best part of Smackdown these past few weeks?
Yes, Heath Slater has been the best part. His antics are hilarious. He’s thoroughly entertaining. Seeing his home and his family adds that much more to his character and gives the viewer a reason to care about him. It’s easy to pick Heath Slater because you assume the end game is him getting his contract but I do not believe he gets it here. The best part of Heath Slater is watching him fail and his reaction that proceeds it. Usos got themselves back into this tournament by going heel and taking out America Alpha. They didn’t completely change their dynamic just to lose in the finals. Usos win setting up AA’s chase to get the title once Chad Gable comes back. – Rick Beslin
Winners AND FIRST SMACKDOWN TAG CHAMPIONS: The Usos
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
(Champion) The Miz w/ Maryse vs. Dolph Ziggler
The Miz should not lose the belt unless WWE are ready to make a star?
This is how you think it would work, but this is WWE. They have long treated the Intercontinental Championship with little care for who holds it. The Miz has been great in his role as champion and I’d really hate to see him lose it. No matter how many times the company tries to reset Dolph Ziggler, nothing changes. He’s still the guy that loses. He’s the guy you can’t really believe in because of that as well. I mean certainly they could make Dolph a fighting champion or something, but they are more likely to do a hot shot title change and then have Dolph lose it on Smackdown. The Miz should continue to be champion until WWE wants to make a star. Not that they shouldn’t try to continue to do something with Ziggler, but at this point, focus on someone else. – Sean Garmer
Winner AND STILL CHAMPION: The Miz
Smackdown Women’s Championship Six Pack Challenge
Nikki Bella, Becky Lynch, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Naomi, Natalya
Who’s a better fit to be the first Smackdown Women’s Champion? Becky Lynch or Nikki Bella?
Personally, I think the first champ SHOULD be Natalya, and she holds it until, like, WrestleMania, as a passing of the torch moment to Becky Lynch. If WWE really wants to treat the new title as a gateway to the future, they’d give it to Becky, the up and coming star in the company, who’s been shown to have awesome matches when need be. If they want fans to feel like business as usual, they’ll give it to the returning Nikki Bella, who, while she has improved, can’t touch the quality of the newer female stars. Given how they generally treat new things in the past, my hunch tells me Nikki takes it, but not for very long. – Patrick Ketza
Winner AND FIRST SMACKDOWN WOMEN”S CHAMPION: Nikki Bella
MAIN EVENT: WWE Championship Match
(Champion) Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles
WWE would be making a mistake by not going with AJ Styles to win at Backlash?
I don’t think there would be a problem of riding it out with Dean for a while longer. WWE does have a history of not striking the iron while it’s hot, and I could see why people would call it a mistake. I would call not giving the title to AJ here a missed opportunity, but I wouldn’t call it a mistake. This is such a tough one to call. I’m still on the fence about who to go with because either option has huge positives.
For AJ to win makes the most sense to me. He’s hot off the heels of beating John Cena clean as a whistle at Summerslam, and he’s arguably as over as he’s ever been in his entire career. He’s selling merchandise like crazy too. Dean sells merchandise like crazy too, he’s doing well as champion, and despite some shaky build throughout his 2016, he’s the top face on Smackdown. I just feel like it’s AJ’s time to hold the belt. He can keep feuding with Dean, and has other options waiting in the wings afterwards, chiefly Randy Orton. – Paul Leazar
Winner AND NEW WWE CHAMPION: AJ Styles
Overall Thoughts on WWE Backlash 2016 Part 1
Noah Mooney: Backlash intrigues me. Many of the matches help set up how the Smackdown division will be managed going forward. We will see if WWE make AJ Styles their top heel, if The Usos and American Alpha wind up in a program, if Bray Wyatt is formidable in the match, and who becomes the leader of the women’s division. While the match quality aside from the main event isn’t out this world, the anount of intrigue is high, and I’m excited to see how the event plays out.
Brandon Biskobing I think the event as a whole will be good and I think Smackdown really has to pull out all the stops to make it seem like there is real competition with Raw
Rick Beslin It appears to be a shorter card than usual so I’m expecting a few unannounced matches to be added. But in general, I’m excited for this. Part of it may be personal bias since I have a lot at stake due to my fantasy wrestling league. I own the Usos and them winning would put me on top, so I’ll be watching that match with added interest. AJ vs Ambrose looks like lot of fun, plus we all get to witness history as two new champions are crowned.
Overall Thoughts on WWE Backlash 2016 Part 2
Sean Garmer: I’m very intrigued by this event. AJ vs. Ambrose should be a fantastic main event. The story with the Usos and Heath Slater is going to be heart wrenching. Then, you have two guaranteed new champions with the Smackdown Tag and Women’s Titles. The decisions may seem obvious for many of the matches, but I think it is more about the journey with this show.
Patrick Ketza So far, each show having its own roster has worked out for both brands. However, this starts the real test for the brands. Can each show convince the fans that the split was the right idea? We start discovering this answer with Backlash, and continue looking when Clash of Champions happens in two weeks. At least, fans don’t have to worry about spending so much money a month. Having solo-branded events worked during the beginning of the previous brand split. Now, we find out if they can work again 14 years later.
Paul Leazar I’m relatively excited for the show. Smackdown has been an enjoyable watch every week, mostly just to see how they are going to turn a lot of these guys into something, when a good portion have not had a lot going their way. The World Title match should be great. I’m interested in both the tag titles and women’s title matches, and I think Dolph and The Miz surprises a lot of people with a great match.
Farewell for Now
Well, that’s it for our W2Mnet WWE Backlash 2016 Preview. Let us know your predictions for the show in the comments. In addition, join us later this month for WWE’s next PPV Clash of Champions. Sean should have a written review of the show and there’s also a Wrestling 2 the MAX EXTRA review on Monday morning as well. Not to mention, I’m sure there may be other podcasts covering the show too.
Sean, Gary, and Paul have their customary WWE special event preview on this week’s Wrestling 2 the MAX.