WWE’s Backlash PPV was once used as an event themed around WrestleMania rematches and brand new feuds following the company’s grandest show of the year.
For 2020, Backlash’s timing has been pushed a bit farther into the WWE’s PPV calendar year. After this year’s installment of Money in the Bank took its place, Backlash has reappeared and taken over the June PPV position. And judging by the current global pandemic we’re smack dab in the middle of, chances are this show is going to emanate from the WWE Performance Center. The biggest matchup announced for this event is a rematch between Edge and Randy Orton, but plenty of other major matchups are planned to fill out the card. How will the new Raw Women’s Champion Asuka fare against her newfound competition? Will Otis still be in possession of his MITB briefcase once this show rolls around? And who will make it the Intercontinental Championship tournament finals?
Only time will tell. While we await this year’s installment of Backlash, let’s go over the card and pick the winners we see in our crystal ball.
Apollo Crews (c) vs. Andrade (with Zelina Vega) (WWE United States Championship)
Predictions & Winner: I’m happy to see Apollo Crews finally fulfilling his potential on the main stage. For a while now, he simply existed to put over the bigger stars and not really make much of an impact on both main brands. But his latest move to Monday Night’s has seemingly reinvigorated him and pushed him further up the pecking order. So much so that he ended up defeating Andrade for the US Championship and placing himself in a more prominent position. Crews is looking better than ever now that he’s on a show that’s filled with quality opponents who have the ability to push him to an even higher level. His first title challenger is the very same man he defeated for the championship, Andrade.
We all know this match is going to be even better than its predecessor since it’s getting prime PPV time. And it’s also easy to see that Crews isn’t going to drop the title so soon after winning it mere weeks before this rematch. For some reason, I can’t see Crews sticking to his babyface ways after he wins this bout. I think he’s being prepped to go full heel mode and kickstart a heated feud with Kevin Owens that will further solidify his newfound status as a main player on Raw.
Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce) (Triple Threat Match for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship)
Predictions & Winners: Imagine my surprise when I witnessed Bayley and Sasha Banks wrestle the WWE Women’s Tag Team titles away from Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. I figured the IIconics would get them back at this point, but that prediction has now fallen by the wayside. The SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley and her best friend in the whole wide world Sasha Banks are now able to defend their titles across WWE’s three main brands once again. But at Backlash 2020, they truly have their work cut out for them since they’ll have to defend the titles in a Triple Threat Match.
Now it’s clear to me and everyone else that Bayley and Banks are on the way to a major title match between each other in the near future. We’ve already seen instances of dissension between the two as Bayley has taken advantage of her friendship with Banks and used it to further her own goals. This women’s tag team title run will continue here as I think there’s still time to properly add a bit more heat to this ongoing storyline. Bayley and Banks will prevail here, but I think we’ll see another instance of Bayley not exactly doing right by her BFF. When Banks finally gets the courage to walk out on Bayley, that’s when I think we’ll see either of the other two teams in this match get the titles back. But for now, Bayley and Banks will hold onto the titles here.
Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax (WWE Raw Women’s Championship)
Predictions & Winner: Unlike most Nia Jax matches, I actually have a keen interest in this one. It’s been scientifically proven that Nia is capable of putting on a good match with only two women – Ronda Rousey (who’s not active at the moment, sadly) and Asuka. Just rewatch Nia vs. Asuka from NXT TakeOver: The End to see what I’m talking about. Now that Nia is back in the #1 contender spot for the Raw Women’s Championship, we’re going to see both women lock up and hopefully deliver the same type of magic they’ve produced in the past.
While I was sad to see Becky Lynch relinquish the title after the news concerning her rumored pregnancy became official, I was more than pleased when Asuka became the one to take the #1 women’s spot on Raw. It made a lot of sense for Asuka and Shayna Baszler to start beefing over the title first, but I get the feeling that that major matchup is being saved for the bigger stage at SummerSlam. As for this title meeting between Nia and Asuka, my money’s on Asuka retaining. Since she just got her hands on the belt and is most likely being kept hot for an eventual meeting with Baszler, Asuka winning here is pretty much a foregone conclusion.
Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
Predictions & Winner: I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of WWE bringing Jeff Hardy’s real-life alcoholic issues into this storyline. It sucked when WCW went down the same road with Scott Hall way back when and it was just as bad when WWE brought Road Warrior Hawk’s inner demons onto TV. This bout was being built up in a simple and concise manner during the Intercontinental Championship tourney, but WWE went ahead and overcomplicated things by using a supposed car accident as storyline fodder. At least the match itself will be watchable – Jeff competed in a pretty good Kickoff Show matchup against Cesaro a month prior, so it’s likely that we’ll get the same type of quality from this grudge match.
Since WWE has gotten behind Jeff once again and is pushing him to the top of the card for another big run, it’s pretty easy to see who’s walking away with the win here. WWE pulled out the sympathy card in an attempt to get even more fans behind him and it looks like that goal has been reached (even though Jeff’s fanbase is already massive enough already). Sheamus will get his licks in and probably get much of the offense during this match, but I foresee Jeff overcoming his much stronger and larger foe in the end. This major victory should push Jeff towards a future IC Championship opportunity, which makes sense since he was forced out of the title tournament due to his previous “accident.”
Edge vs. Randy Orton
Predictions & Winner: If you read my WrestleMania 36: Night Two review, you know I was severely disappointed in the Last Man Standing brawl that took place between these two in-ring greats. The entirely too long runtime, slower-paced action, and uninspired offense all did a bang-up job of making one of my most anticipated matches of ‘Mania 36 weekend a complete bore. You’d think after winning in such a decisive manner that Edge would come back to take on someone else who’s willing to join his comeback tour. But no…Randy Orton has resurfaced and made the oddest of requests. Instead of requesting a rematch with a different stipulation put in place, Orton has challenged Edge to a straight-up single’s match that’s being billed as “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.”
Now that tagline is quite the lofty one. And even though I enjoy both men’s work, this match between them will come nowhere near that five-star rating scale. While the match won’t be terrible by any means (I especially enjoyed their Monday Night Raw meeting in 2007), I just can’t see it surpassing the mat classics delivered by men such as Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Kenta Kobashi, and several other in-ring perfectionists. I get the feeling that Orton will find a way to out grapple Edge and still reach into his bag of dirty tricks to incapacitate Edge when the ref’s focus has been tampered with. Orton’s victory here will leave both men at 1-1 in their current series and unsurprisingly lead to a final showdown between the two at Extreme Rules. Let’s all hope that third matchup is a clear step above their LMS affair…
Braun Strowman (c) vs. The Miz and John Morrison (Handicap Match for the WWE Universal Championship)
Predictions & Winner: So this match is a complete waste of time. It would have been pretty logical for Bray Wyatt to tap into his more “fiendish” side and get himself a rematch against the Universal Champion. It was seemingly teased after all. But Braun Strowman’s been thrown into a filler feud instead that has an outcome that everyone can call from a mile away. They really couldn’t find anyone better for Strowman to compete against at this PPV, huh?
The Miz and John Morrison are an entertaining duo, but they’re better suited to the tag team division instead of being relegated to Strowman’s next combined meal. I’m not expecting anything good nor great to transpire here – this is just a challenger(s) of the month scenario for the Blue Brand’s top champion and nothing more. Strowman’s retaining cause…well, duh! And hey, maybe “The Fiend” will show up after this bout to set up the match that would have more sense to take place here.
Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Bobby Lashley (with MVP) (WWE Championship)
Predictions & Winner: The rehabilitation period for Bobby Lashley has begun. After months of wallowing in an insufferable feud against Rusev with Lana by his side and that silly loss to R-Truth at this year’s Super ShowDown, “The All-Mighty” has become a badass once again. Bobby finally made the call to ditch Lana and align himself with MVP for a well-deserved career resurgence. Things are already looking up for Lashley since he’s already been placed in a WWE Championship match against Drew McIntyre, which is a bout I’m actually looking forward to. Both men pushed each other to the limit during their last stints within Impact Wrestling. I recently revisited their Slammiversary 2016 encounter and realized just how great both men can be when pitted against each other.
This one’s going to be a hard-hitting, balls-to-the-wall matchup that will make both men look even better than they were coming into it. I’m sure MVP will be at ringside to aid his man at certain points, which is what a good heel manager should do in a big title match situation such as this one. But Drew is currently in the midst of a WWE Championship that’s just getting off the ground, which obviously means he’s not taking a loss here. I’m sure Lashley will put in a rousing performance on this evening, but Drew will be the one leaving with his title belt still intact and his forward momentum going strong. And chances are pretty high that MVP will be eating a Claymore Kick for all his outside transgressions during this big man brawl.