The first WWE SmackDown exclusive pay-per-view is around the corner and it’s time to look at what the full card could be, breakdown how the feuds are going and determine who should emerge victorious. With one SmackDown still left to run, things are up in the air meaning this article will be more speculative than definitive.
WWE Championship Match: Dean Ambrose versus AJ Styles
The feud hasn’t really gotten going yet. They used the first two weeks setting up the match and that leaves this final SmackDown to build the tension between the superstars. Ambrose and Styles are very different people so you’d assume it wouldn’t be hard to create a good feud between them, and you’d expect this would last multiple pay-per-views meaning there’s no rush to get to the good stuff.
AJ Styles has to win here. You can’t have him go over Cena clean and then lose to Ambrose; it’s as simple as that. Styles has a freight train’s worth of momentum right now and the company needs to go all-in and put the championship on the man who debuted nine months ago.
Prediction: AJ Styles wins clean with the Styles Clash.
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship Six-Pack Challenge
Firstly, it’s safe to say a women’s six pack challenge in WWE five years ago would have meant an entirely different thing. Onto the feud itself, the women are in a similar position to AJ and Dean here. They need mic time in order to build the characters of each of them and give the crowd a reason to cheer for the likes of Naomi and a reason to boo Carmella and Alexa. So far, it’s revolved around getting each competitor in the ring with the only real feud between Nikki Bella and Carmella so far. That needs to change this week.
This is probably the most interesting match on the card result wise. You have six women and let’s break down each of them. Naomi isn’t winning the title for the simple reason that she’s currently in the shadow of Becky and Nikki and will need time to get over. It’s safe to assume Alexa Bliss and Carmella won’t be pushed straight to the title as well. That leaves you with three real contenders for the belt. Bella provided the star-power and would give the belt ‘credibility’ as the champion, but her winning would feel hollow in the eyes of the fans and when you’re building a new belt, that’s not the way to go. Becky Lynch is the unquestionably the fan favourite, but should her triumphant moment of victory happen in a six-pack challenge? It should be saved for a grander stage. That leaves Natalya who would make the most sense as heels winning the first championship sets up a natural story arc for the babyface (Becky) to chase. Have Carmella and Nikki cost themselves the title by brawling through the crowd.
Prediction: Natalya capitalizes on Becky Lynch’s maneuver to pin Naomi and win the championship.
Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz versus Dolph Ziggler
The feud here has certainly been more The Miz versus Daniel Bryan than Dolph Ziggler, but the former can’t compete any more so the latter was tossed in. There’s also the issue of there being nobody else who can challenge Miz on the roster, considering how little depth SmackDown has. Ziggler and Miz know each other very well and the feud revolving around whether Miz is a coward has been must-watch television to this point in time.
This should be a good wrestling match. These two have fantastic chemistry and if given the time, could even steal the show. The result here is very simple though. The Miz has to retain via help from Maryse or through disqualification. This storyline is only just beginning and Miz needs to keep that belt.
Prediction: The Miz retains after Maryse distracts Ziggler.
Bray Wyatt versus Randy Orton
Orton and Wyatt’s feud makes sense in that they’re both very similar character wise. Orton hears voices in his head and Bray is … well, Bray. They showed great chemistry last week on SmackDown and the best thing to do this week is give Wyatt a strong victory. Don’t let them come to blows until Backlash. This should remain a psychological feud.
The result here will be interesting as it’s hard to see Orton losing again after being squashed by Lesnar. At the same time, Bray really needs a win. If this goes multiple pay-per-views, which it should, it would make more sense for Wyatt to get the win here to give Orton a reason to continue going after him. Having said what ought to happen, what will happen is Orton winning because he won’t be losing two pay-per-views in a row.
Prediction: Randy Orton wins clean with an RKO.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: American Alpha versus Heath Slater & Rhyno
American Alpha should defeat The Usos this week on Smackdown in what will be a fantastic match and The Hype Bros defeating Slater and Rhyno would be hugely disappointing. Alpha should dominate the match before Slater goes for a hot-tag to his partner. Rhyno jumps down from the apron, leaving Slater by himself. Alpha and Slater all look at Rhyno confused. Slater doesn’t back down calling on Gable and Jordan for the match to continue. It does and Heath is overpowered and beaten nobly. After the match, Rhyno comes back and gores Slater one more time.
Prediction: American Alpha win and Rhyno turns heel.
Curt Hawkins versus Jobber (Hopefully The Milkman)
If they go with a standard seven match card, this is really the only option they have in terms of a filler match that will only need four or so minutes. It’s unlikely that Hawkins will be taken too seriously in his return, but this is a way to get him an easy win.
Prediction: Hawkins wins, duh.
Baron Corbin versus Kane
We saw these two cross paths momentarily last week and this would be a good way to get Corbin a big pay-per-view win. The match itself will be nothing special, but it fills the card and serves the purpose of getting Corbin over. Another option would be Corbin versus Crews, but they’ll probably save that for later on.
Prediction: Corbin wins clean.
We’ll be leaving Backlash with new World, Women’s and Tag Team champions leaving a very fresh feeling show the following week. The undercard is weak, but SmackDown’s depth doesn’t leave much opportunity there. Slater’s storyline should continue to truck on and The Miz needs to brag about being the only person to walk in with a title and walk out with it.
Was Finn Balor going to turn heel and be Triple H’s new pawn? Is Big Cass doomed to be Roman Reigns 2.0? What big issue could change NXT forever? LISTEN HERE for this week’s Glorious Wrestling Podcast!