On Sunday, May 16th, WWE will be live from the WWE ThunderDome at the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida, for WrestleMania Backlash. The event begins at 7pm ET with a kickoff show live on Peacock.
As of this writing, WM Backlash has six announced matches with more expected by time the show begins. Four of the six announced matches will be for various WWE championships.
WrestleMania betting sites have released odds for the six matches that have already been confirmed. Let’s walk that aisle, step through those ring ropes, and drop a Randy Savage flying elbow on these WrestleMania Backlash predictions.
Keep in mind, this article was published prior to the May 14th episode of SmackDown which means there’s still a chance that WWE makes some changes or additions to the WrestleMania Backlash card.
From 1999 to 2009, Backlash was an annual WWE PPV that held the position of being the event that followed WrestleMania each year. It was discontinued in 2009 before returning in 2016.
In 2016 and 2017, Backlash was a SmackDown exclusive event. In 2018, all WWE PPVs were no longer brand exclusive following WM 34.
Once again, the WWE dropped this PPV title in 2019 and replaced it with Stomping Grounds. In 2020, Backlash returned to the PPV lineup in June which was just the second time that this event has ever been held in a month outside of April or May.
If you recall, the Backlash PPV for 2020 featured “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” between Edge and Randy Orton.
The 2021 edition, which is considered by some to be the 16th installment of the Backlash lineage, was moved to May 16th as it switched spots with Money in the Bank.
However, there was a twist to the Backlash event this year as it was now dubbed WrestleMania Backlash and designed to feature some rematches from WrestleMania 37.
On the May 10th episode of RAW, Damian Priest took on The Miz’s partner Morrison with the winner getting to pick the stipulation for the match at WM Backlash.
Priest would go on to win the match and picked the stipulation of a lumberjack match for the bout against the Miz at Backlash. It was the second straight week that Priest had defeated Morrison.
On a side note, Morrison is someone that Priest has wanted to wrestle for quite some time. The former NXT star made the following comments about Morrison:
“That’s somebody I’ve been wanting to have a singles match with for a long time, for years. I’ve always admired his work. I think he is ridiculously talented – the things he can do are incredible. I don’t even understand how a body moves that way. It was neat to finally get in the ring with him, and showcase a little bit. I know depending on the situation and my opponent, it’s always limited. It was cool to have somebody I can go toe-to-toe with in terms of creative strikes and what not. I enjoyed that match and it was cool that we finally got to share the ring.”
The feud between these two RAW stars began prior to WrestleMania 37. Priest came to the aid of Bad Bunny and joined the musical artist in a feud against Miz and Morrison.
Eventually, that feud came to a head at WM 37 in a tag team match that Priest and Bad Bunny would win.
Although Bad Bunny moved on to his world tour, WWE kept the storyline of Priest vs Miz and Morrison going. Now, we have another PPV match between these wrestlers and we will almost certainly have the same results.
Priest is the second largest betting favorite for the entire Backlash event. Couple that with the fact that Miz and Morrison have been jobbing out to Priest for months now, there’s no reason to think that won’t continue this weekend.
Take Priest to win at Backlash even though there’s no value with his odds.
I still can’t get past the name “Dirty Dawgs” when it comes to Roode and Ziggler. These two are more deserving of a better tag-team name than that. It seems rather beneath the two stars.
Nevertheless, the SmackDown tag team champs enter this Sunday’s match as the betting underdogs. Roode and Ziggler are the 15th different tag-team to hold these titles across 24 reigns. They won the belts in January and have held them for over four months.
The Mysterios are looking to become the first father and son duo to win the SmackDown tag team titles. But, they’re not the first father-son duo to win gold, if the WWE puts the titles around the Mysterios as planned.
Bullet Bob and Brad Armstrong along with Larry and Curt Hennig were real life father and son duos that captured gold in various territories. I’m sure there are plenty more examples, but those were just a few off the top of my head.
As for the Mysterios, they’re certainly playing up the potential to make history this weekend as Rey Mysterio made the following comments about the pressure to become a father-son duo to win the tag titles:
“The fact that we’re a step closer to making history [as] the first father-son SmackDown Tag Team Champions, like, that doesn’t compare to anything that I’ve done in the past with all of my accolades in the 30 years that I’ve been in this profession. I’m going to speak for myself, but I feel a lot of pressure on my back because I want this dream to become a reality.
The fact that we’ve been sharing the ring together for the past year has been incredible. But to have this opportunity right in front of us to become father and son champions, that’s just unbelievable. I feel that stress and that good pain on top of me. I’m sure that come Sunday, it’s going to feel much better.”
For Rey, he’s no stranger to tag team gold. Mysterio held the WCW tag team titles on three occasions with Billy Kidman, Konnan and Juventud Guerrera. Rey has also held the WWE tag team titles four times with Edge, RVD, Eddie Guerrero and Batista.
On Sunday, I see Rey adding a 5th WWE tag team title reign to his legendary in-ring wrestling career as the Mysterios will come out on top by defeating Ziggler and Roode at Backlash.
Bianca Belair enters this championship match as the largest betting favorite for the entire WrestleMania Backlash event.
Belair became the 10th woman to win this title when she beat Sasha Banks in a great match at WM 37. In fact, these two women stole the show. Now, in the 19th title reign for the women’s SmackDown belt, Belair will have to face Bayley at Backlash.
Bayley is looking to score her 3rd reign of this title. She’s held it twice before and also holds the mark for the longest combined days as the SmackDown women’s champion at 520 days.
She eventually lost the belt to Sasha Banks in the 2020 edition of Hell in a Cell as a culmination of a friendship turned bitter enemy storyline. Bayley held the belt for over a year before dropping it to Banks.
Since losing the title, Bayley has also been lost in the shuffle as she was no longer the main star of the SmackDown women’s roster. In fact, she didn’t even have a match at WM 37.
Following Mania, Bayley challenged Belair to a title match and it was then made official for Backlash.
Despite Bayley being one of the best performers on either show, there’s no chance she wins on Sunday. This is Belair’s time to shine and her reign is going to last probably throughout the remainder of 2021.
Here’s one match that I am really excited to watch. You have three tremendous workers in one ring at one time.
Rhea Ripley is the current RAW women’s champ as she became the 9th superstar to hold this title by defeating Asuka at WM 37.
Asuka won the title at SummerSlam in August 2020 for the second time in her career. She earned the RAW women’s belt for the first time in May 2020 after winning the women’s MITB match and Becky Lynch having to leave the WWE due to her pregnancy.
Asuka held the belt for 231 days before losing to Ripley at WM 37. Her two combined reigns lasted 327 days, but only 309 days according to WWE storylines.
Ripley and Asuka were on a collision course for another PPV match until Charlotte Flair interjected herself into the mix on the May 3rd episode of RAW. Flair has had feuds with both Asuka and Ripley at different times over the last few years.
In fact, Flair faced Asuka at WM and ended her unbeaten streak. She also beat Ripley at WM 36 for the NXT title which was one of the best matches of the PPV.
For Charlotte, she has held the RAW title four times for a total reign of 242 days.
As great as it would be for “The Queen” to have another title reign, the smart thing for the WWE to do is keep the belt on Ripley. Asuka will be the one to take the loss in this match to protect both Ripley and Flair.
The WWE has a big money feud with Flair and Ripley that they could turn to following Backlash. Flair has been one of the best characters over the last month and is must see TV right now.
Flair and Ripley have had a rivalry for quite some time and it could be a huge match for any PPV that the WWE decides to book them at. In fact, it could even be a main event match if the WWE decided to allow these superstars the top billing.
As for feuding with Flair and Asuka, Ripley made the following comments:
“Yeah, it’s wild! You just got to trust the process because even if you don’t know what’s going on, they always do. It’s wild to think we’re back to where I was a year ago and I’m back into something with Charlotte Flair. And it’s cool to have Asuka there too. I think that’s going to be magic.”
As for betting on this match, take Ripley to retain her RAW women’s title and for Asuka to take the pinfall at WWE betting sites.
For the first time in his WWE career, Cesaro will get a shot at one of the major world titles. Yes, you read that correctly. One of the most talented and respected in-ringer workers will finally get his first world title shot.
Cesaro has only ever held a singles title on one occasion and that was when he held the United States championship nearly a decade ago. Cesaro held the title for 239 days as he beat Santino Marella in March 2012 and then lost the belt to Kofi Kingston in April 2013.
He does also have seven tag team title reigns in the WWE with his most memorable run being with Sheamus as The Bar.
Cesaro earned this Universal Title match by defeating Seth Rollins on the May 7th episode of SmackDown. It was another win for Cesaro over Rollins as he also beat him at WM 37.
In fact, Rollins declared on the April 30th episode that their feud wasn’t over with which I wouldn’t be surprised if the WWE kept Seth Rollins and Cesaro in some sort of storyline moving forward.
On the same May 7th episode of SmackDown, Jimmy Uso returned for the first time in seven months since being injured last October. He would eventually align himself with Roman Reigns and his brother Jey. Yet, it was a suspicious alignment as it came with great hesitation.
Reigns has held the Universal Championship for almost one year when he beat The Fiend and Braun Strowman at Payback in a triple threat match last August. It’s officially Reigns’ second time holding the belt.
Brock Lesnar has the most reigns at three and the most days combined as the champ at 686 according to WWE.
There’s a buzz growing that the WWE could pull off a huge upset at Backlash by having Cesaro dethrone Reigns and win the title. In fact, there are some pundits who feel that Cesaro could be the next Daniel Bryan if the WWE puts the title on him.
Former WWE and ECW star Tommy Dream has flat out said that Cesaro can be the face of the WWE if the company made him the champ.
I’ve also seen multiple pro wrestling outlets pick Cesaro to win. “The Swiss Superman” has been one of my favorite WWE stars for quite some time. I certainly would pop for Cesaro if he won the title at Backlash.
Unfortunately, I don’t think the WWE will pull the trigger just yet. In fact, I see the possibility of this happening at a larger PPV event like SummerSlam.
Cesaro certainly deserves the win, but I don’t believe that the WWE is ready to pull the title from Reigns just yet. Furthermore, if they do, then it would definitely be due to the Usos turning on him. And, I’m not sure that the WWE is ready for that right now either.
The safe play is on Reigns to retain the title. If you want to be a daredevil then put a small flier on Cesaro.
Lashley became the 53rd different wrestler to hold the WWE championship when he beat The Miz in a lumberjack match on the March 1st episode of RAW. If you recall, it was Lashley that helped The Miz win the title in the first place at the Elimination Chamber PPV.
Lashley would go on to defeat Drew McIntyre at WM 37 in his first major title defense on a PPV. It was quite the surprise as many fans and pundits believed that McIntyre would get the belt back at WM.
Following WM 37, McIntyre would come out on RAW to demand a rematch. Braun Strowman and Randy Orton also came out that night to state their cases for a title shot.
So, a triple threat match was made where the winner would go on to face Lashley at WrestleMania Backlash. McIntyre would come out victorious in that bout.
On the April 26th episode of RAW, Strowman would earn a match against McIntyre with the stipulation that if he won then he would be a part of the Lashley-McIntyre match at Backlash.
Strowman would end up defeating McIntyre to the surprise of many. This win set up the triple threat title match for WM Backlash. On the most recent episode of RAW, Strowman showed off his brutality by beating up everyone in his way.
Unfortunately for Strowman fans, this only means that he’s going to take the pinfall at Backlash. The big reason why he’s even in this match is to protect both McIntyre and Lashley by taking the loss so that the WWE can carry on with the feud between Lashley and McIntyre.
At some point, Lashley’s reign will come to an end despite how fantastic and deserving it has been. McIntyre will be the man to end that reign unless the WWE can coax Brock Lesnar to come back and fight Lashley in what could be a huge PPV matchup.
For this match, take Lashley to get the win and Strowman to take the pin at entertainment betting sites.
In addition to the confirmed lineup, the following matches or segments could be added to the WM Backlash event:
On the May 10th episode of RAW, Sheamus and Humberto Carrillo were wrestling before Carrillo suffered an injury and the match was waived off. At first, the injury was thought to be serious, but it has since been reported that Carrillo is fine.
Sheamus got the win due to Carrillo’s inability to continue the match. Yet, Humberto is determined to get another shot at Sheamus and the US title.
This feud began after WrestleMania 37 when Sheamus beat Riddle for the US title at the PPV. “The Celtic Warrior” would issue an open challenge for the belt and Humberto Carrillo was the first to step up. The two would attack each other over the next few weeks before having their match a few days ago.
There is a small chance that Sheamus could defend the title on the kickoff show or even do something with Carrillo if the injury doesn’t hinder his overall safety.
It’s a bit surprising that this rivalry won’t continue at WrestleMania Backlash considering the overall concept of the show. Big E and Apollo Crews have had an intense feud for most of 2021 and it came to a head at WM 37 in a Nigerian drum match which Crews won and became the IC champ.
The two would have a rematch on SmackDown three weeks ago and Crews ended up winning that match as well. But, if The Miz and Priest can keep fighting each other on a weekly basis then I don’t see why Crews and Big E can’t have another match.
There’s a lot of buzz for the tag team of Matt Riddle and Randy Orton. Many fans, pundits and former wrestlers think that this duo is going to be a huge success. There are rumors that this team could become RAW tag team champs in the very near future as well.
Baszler and Jax are set to defend the women’s tag team titles on SmackDown this week, just two days prior to Backlash. But, that doesn’t mean that the WWE won’t have a tag title match at Sunday’s PPV event.
They’ve done it before and they could easily do it again. In fact, the women’s tag title match could be the perfect bout for the kickoff show.
We’ll have to wait until the conclusion of the May 14th episode of SmackDown to see if any other matches will be added to WrestleMania Backlash.
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