Oh Lordy… this is a show built on a concept that it simply can’t or won’t deliver on, and a number of matches where the result can will be either painfully obvious or so odd it can’t be described. Let’s get into it then, eh?
The Greatest Ever Wrestling Match
Edge vs Randy Orton
I’m gonna start with this… this will not be the GREATEST EVER WRESTLING MATCH. No-one expects it to be. I very much doubt even Orton or Edge do (at least I hope they don’t). It may not even be the greatest match of the night. It probably won’t be the WWE match of the year.
At best, it may well be the “GREATEST MATCH BETWEEN EDGE AND RANDY ORTON ON PPV IN 2020”. I really hope it is after Wrestlemania…
When this was first announced, my initial reaction was that it was clearly just an angle. A fun sub-plot to advance either an Edge / Orton feud or – more likely – a Rated RKO reunion who could then go after the Tag Belts. That could have been fun.
The more time goes on though, the more it looks like they’re going to have an actual match which makes the whole thing harder on them. It wasn’t “the greatest match of all time” because it was never a match. But now it won’t be the “greatest match of all time” because… well… it won’t
This could still be something fun. Perhaps they literally re-do (for example) Savage / Steamboat hold for hold? For pure banter re-do Okada / Omega hold for hold! Maybe they have a “cinematic match” where they do the high spots for 20 or so great matches?
I’m less worried that they’ll just have a straight match. I really hope that they don’t. My bigger worry is that the Mania match suggested they’ll be given a lot of time and I’m really not sure we need another 50 minute “epic” from either man at this stage in their careers.
Edge won at Mania so WWE logic says Orton wins here… but I really think the result is going to be the last thing discussed when all of this is over
PREDICTION Randy Orton WINS
WWE Universal Championship
Braun Strowman © vs The Miz & John Morrison
Why can’t WWE ever give new Champions exciting first challengers? I like Miz & Morrison – especially as a Tag Team – but they’re not winning here. More importantly, who does a handicap match like this benefit? I’ve said this every time WWE does a Handicap match on PPV… If BRAUN wins, he’s beaten two people incapable of winning a match 2 on 1 (so no gain), and an obvious loss for Miz / Morrison. If Miz / Morrison win… well… they’re not going to… so it doesn’t matter.
I wouldn’t have minded bringing Morrison back – have him do well at Mania (which he did) – maybe get a couple of wins (displaying a more vicious side to his personality) and then have him challenge Braun 1 on 1. The outside interference of Miz would have kept it interesting, the loss isn’t as bad because it’s 1 on 1 and (because he’s been gone so long) Morrison is essentially a “new” character.
Instead, Morrison quickly returns to *exactly* who he was when he left, quickly removing any “freshness” to him as a performer and then Miz / Morrison are displayed as performers who are incapable of beating the WWE Universal Champion – despite MIZ BEING A FORMER WWE CHAMPION.
Not sure what is next for Braun after this… maybe Owens who is seemingly treading water post Mania. If Andrade is kept strong after his match with Apollo, he could be an interesting opponent too (I’ve already forgotten who is on what brand btw). The dream would be have Matt Riddle batter him – I’m oddly ok with BRAUN being totally sacrificed to “make” The Original Bro. But we’ll be definitely talking about BRAUN’s new opponent next month… not the title decider between Co-Champs Miz & Morrison
PREDICTION BRAUN Strowman WINS
Drew McIntyre © vs Bobby Lashley
Although I have said that I have issues with how WWE books their new champions, I don’t *hate* Bobby Lashley as one of Drew’s first “Big Bads” out of the gate. I don’t love it, but they’re doing an ok job. I think there’s more that could be done with the whole Lashley / MVP relationship, but this could be a fun match.
I think both performers feel that they have something to prove and if this match is kept short, but impactful and hard hitting it has the potential to be fun.
The better Lashley matches have been against larger opponents and I get the impression these two will enjoy battering one another. I don’t think the audience has been made to ‘care’ enough about Lashley or his perceived threat to Drew’s title reign. I’ll give WWE a pass on this one though as with a champion like Drew who is dominant and took so long to reach his potential, it’s very unlikely they’ll end the reign so soon.
I’d be happy for this to continue beyond backlash to build up the animosity further. Hopefully we get that and these two lay it in thick – ideal for an “empty arena”. Because of all of this, I’m putting down my prediction as McIntyre “retains” not McIntyre wins. A DQ finish or count-out from either man wouldn’t shock me at all, so avoid placing money on a match which really should seem obvious.
PREDICTION Drew McIntyre RETAINS
WWE Raw Women’s Champion
Asuka © vs Nia Jax
There is a possibility that WWE have planned a long term story line which they remain committed to that – for reasons – would have seen Nia Jax dethrone Becky Lynch. This mythical, industry changing storyline also would – for reasons – need to have Jax beating “someone” for the belt rather than being gifted it in MITB. And finally, this would lead to Nia Jax beating Asuka for the title at Backlash on Sunday.
This is the only reason that Jax would beat Asuka and – unless my dripping sarcasm hasn’t permeated through the page – this scenario is pretty bloody unlikely.
With all the criticism that Jax has received recently, this could actually be a nice opportunity to further develop Asuka as a fighting champion and have her confidently beating Nia. But the WWE has consistently had Nia Jax’s back (for right or wrong) so whilst I don’t expect a title change here, I think Nia will still be kept very strong with Asuka sneaking out a win
On a positive note, Asuka will at least “Asuka” all over the place here so that’ll be fun
PREDICTION Asuka WINS
Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus
Thinking back over the years, I can’t begin to tell you the number of incredible matches and angles that have come from pseudo worked/shoot feuds featuring a performer’s real-life addictions.
I can’t tell you, because there’s been sod all. Not a one.
Oh, people have tried it. They’ve really tried it. Hawk. Hall. Flair. Jake Roberts. I’ll give you this… Punk vs Raven was good. But that may be it – and Jeff Hardy / Sheamus (you’ll be SHOCKED to learn) is not going to be Punk / Raven.
Jeff’s a total superstar and Sheamus is one of the more underrated performers (amongst the fans, not management) in the WWE which often happens for a “bigger” lad – especially one whose been around for a while now. They certainly have the potential for a fun match and may well do, but the toxic bad taste of which this angle has been put together is going to drag the match down several notches. It may even up being one of matches which actually is “better” because the fans aren’t there as it’s hard to imagine a 2020 crown being anything but utterly apathetic to a badly done alcohol abuse story line.
There’s a theory at the moment that some footballers will be better behind closed doors when the Premier League restarts because their performers are thrown off by crowd abuse. With no fans, the pressure is off and they come better performers. In this analogy, Sheamus is Filipe Anderson.
I think the story line goes on from here (kinda has to now) so expect Sheamus to win by nefarious means.
PREDICTION Sheamus WINS
WWE Women’s Tag Team Title
Bayley & Sasha Banks © vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross vs The IIconics (Billie Kay & Peyton Royce)
There were rumours a Wrestlemania or so ago that Sasha Banks almost quit WWE entirely after they had her and Bayley drop the Women’s Tag Title to the IIconics. It would be pure Vince Banter to have Banks / Bayley win the belts back… only to immediately drop them back to the IIconics.
I’m all for two big singles stars focusing on the tag belts. It makes the Tag Belts look better for it – providing that the “regular” teams are shown to be on par (or ideally stronger) than the makeshift team as it presents Tag Team Wrestling as a separate discipline – different, but equally challenging.
Of course though, if WWE completely subscribed to that philosophy, I’d imagine that Dax and Cash would still be Scott and Dash.
With Bayley still holding the Smackdown Women’s Title (and doing a great job of it) I have a feeling that BayBanks Tag Title reign is going to be a short one – but not one that ends here.
As funny as it would be them dropping the belts to the IIconics for the reasons mentioned above, I think that they keep the belts here (beating Peyton & Billie) and then drop them later on. Surely this is all eventually leading to Banks vs Bayley for the Smackdown Title, but I think we get the rarer longer burn for this.
PREDICTION – Bayley & Banks Retain
WWE US Title
Apollo Crews © vs Andrade
Of everything on the show, this is the one I’m most looking forward to. I’ve been a fan of Apollo since he was kicking around the UK independent scene as Uhaa Nation and great to see that he’s getting a notable push on WWE TV. I’ve also mentioned on here before the massive upside that I see with Andrade and if these two are given time and some freedom, then they have a potentially very good match in them.
Admittedly, I was surprised to see Andrade drop the US title – I think there was more to be had in his reign, and also with Los Ingobernables de Performance Centre. But the faction seems to be splitting up far too soon and at least the belt went to someone who would benefit from it.
It could well go either way – this might have always just been a brief reign to boost Apollo before the belt quickly returned to Andrade, but I don’t think so and I’m predicting that Crews wins here. Hopefully this gives Andrade an opportunity to start moving even further up the roster, but I’m not convinced WWE sees this in him… yet. Hopefully they do in the future. Whatever happens here, I’d like to see more of both men.
PREDICTION Apollo Crews WINS
Those are our predictions, what are yours? Please leave them in the comments below!