We’re only days away from WrestleMania Backlash, which means it’s time to put my forecasting hat on (think 80s era Slick) and make some predictions about what’s going to happen. For some of the matches, that feels pretty easy based on the storylines we’ve seen so far and what makes sense to develop moving forward. For other matches, however, it’s not exactly Drew McIntyre and Happy Corbin levels of obvious. I’m not even sure Vince McMahon and company are a hundred percent on who is gonna win all the slobberknockers yet.
But alas, I’ll power through. My predictions for WrestleMania 38 actually went pretty well. I was 11/15 on my guesses which isn’t bad given a few bizarre decisions WWE made like having New Day lose after Big E broke his freakin’ neck. This premium live event I’m not quite as confident about, but I’ve got some theories and a few matches I’m gonna squash like I'm Veer Mahaan delivering vicious clotheslines. So, let’s sprint out of the back Ultimate Warrior style and get into it…
Charlotte Flair (Champion) vs Ronda Rousey in an I Quit Match
This is, without question, the match I’m most intrigued about on the card, at least from a where-is-this-going standpoint. Ronda Rousey is a huge name and a terrific athlete. She usually gets a big initial pop when her music hits, and at times, she looks good in the ring. She should be the type of star you build premium live events around, but something isn’t totally clicking right now. Something needs to change about the way she’s being presented. Maybe a manager or a heel turn or something.
If WWE still looks at Ronda Rousey as a star that could be one of its biggest draws, I don’t think you can make her lose an I Quit match to Charlotte Flair. Submissions are her thing, and she already lost, albeit in a protected way, at ‘Mania to Flair. Two consecutive losses, the second by her preferred style, would probably drop her to the mid-card given there are so many talented women right now they’re outrageously just leaving Alexa Bliss on the sidelines. But not losing means winning and winning means picking up the SmackDown Women’s Championship. Should they really be giving the belt to someone in the midst of a run that’s not really working that well?
I don’t know. I think the right move, from a short-term analysis perspective, is to keep the belt on Charlotte. She’s better and you shouldn’t reward someone with a belt that’s only marginally over with fans. The right long-term decision, however, is to salvage Ronda if you can. She could still be a star. Sometimes it does work. I’d love to see WWE give her a manager and turn her heel in some fashion during this match, which would allow her to change her attitude and presentation. I think she’ll win, but I don’t think we’ll get the hell turn that's really needed.
Predicted Winner: Ronda Rousey via submission.
Happy Corbin Vs Madcap Moss
Madcap Moss is way more over with live event fans than I ever would have guessed. He’s gotten some real pops from the crowd, but I personally think those pops have more to do with people hating Happy Corbin than anything he’s really doing. Corbin is quietly one of the best heels the company has, and if he’s getting clowned, people are going to root big for whoever is clowning him. So, my preference here is that Corbin wins. I want to keep him relatively strong. I’m not saying he should be fighting Roman Reigns at an upcoming premium live event, but I’d love to see him stick around the mid-card and maybe have a run with one of the lesser belts. He can draw boos, and fans would get behind screaming at him for a few months while he brags about how cool he is.
But I’m worried WWE may try to build Madcap. I’m not saying it’s impossible he could get over outside of Corbin’s orbit, but I just don’t think one joke followed by obnoxious laughing is enough of a gimmick. He’s a pretty good wrestler and has a terrific build. There’s an alternate presentation that could definitely work, but this current one with all the random thumbs up gestures after big moves isn't working for me. It seems like it’s doing it for the WWE writers though; so, there's a real shot he could win. I’m going to predict Corbin because I’m a shameless and biased superfan of everything he’s doing, but I don’t feel good about this prediction at all.
Predicted Winner: Corbin via pinfall.
Bobby Lashley vs Omos
It seems like WWE is burying Omos. They had him lose clean to Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania. Then, after giving him MVP as a manager which seemed like a potential win, they had him lose, of all things, an arm wrestling contest. If you had big, long-term hopes for a gigantic, physically imposing dude, it doesn’t seem like you’d have him lose arm wrestling matches on TV, right?
I think it’s as simple as this: if Omos loses, something about him has to change. He needs to disappear for awhile, get repackaged or move back to the tag division. His whole identity right now is hating Bobby Lashley, even using his old manager, and Lashley already beat him clean at ‘Mania. If he beats him again, Omos is going to lose whatever mystique he has left and not really serve any kind of purpose.
Unfortunately for Omos, however, I think he is going to lose, and I don't even think it's going to be competitive. Lashley is going to beat him up and then put him in the Hurt Lock. WWE seems to want to build Lashley back into a main event contender, and he’s not going to do that continuing his feud with Omos. So, I think Omos gets rolled and then we see a repackaging, which I'm fine with. Omos has an amazing look, but he needs to get a bit smoother in the ring.
Predicted Winner: Bobby Lashley via submission.
AJ Styles Vs Edge
Damian Priest played a key role in Styles and Edge’s WrestleMania match, but he’s banned from ringside this time around thanks to a recent loss to Styles where that was a stipulation. There have been rumors for a month or so about more people being added to their new stable Judgment Day, but that hasn’t happened so far. I predict we finally get that mystery third person, and that mystery third person (not Hulk Hogan, probably Rhea Ripley) interferes in the match and gets Edge the win.
At least that’s what makes sense to me. I think Edge needs this win the most. AJ Styles may have a partnership brewing with Finn Balor. They could head to the tag team ranks and compete for those titles without a big momentum loss since that would be a new thing. Edge losing would seemingly pump the brakes on this very recent build they’re putting a lot of time into. So, unless the writers are losing confidence in Judgment Day, I think Edge needs to win or at least lose like he’s an Attitude Era main eventer that needs three consecutive finishers and a referee distraction to go down.
Predicted Winner: Edge via pinfall.
Cody Rhodes vs Seth Freakin’ Rollins
Cody is getting a superhero welcome every time he’s on TV. Crowds are chanting his name, and WWE is giving him a main event entrance presentation, as well as ample time on the microphone. The writers are also building a storyline about how he’s going to capture the WWE Championship for the first time for his dad, the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. It’s all getting over even better than expected with fans and barring an injury, will probably climax with that title shot against Roman or someone else at a huge upcoming premium live event.
Because of that, I just don’t see how you stop his momentum and have him lose at WrestleMania Backlash. Seth Freakin Rollins is great. His chaotic laughter and endless trolling are still over with fans. They’re still singing along with his catchy theme, but he doesn’t need this win. Plus, if he were to win, that means they’d have to wrestle a third time, and while the ‘Mania match was great, I think we all want to see Cody bounce around and work with some other people. So, I suspect they put on the best match of the Backlash card, but it ultimately ends the same way as the first time with a Cody victory.
Predicted Winner: Cody Rhodes via pinfall.
Drew McIntyre And RK-Bro vs The Bloodline (Roman Reigns And The Usos)
What happened here? We were going to get RK-Bro and The Usos to combine the tag titles. Now we have a six man tag match, the purpose of which seems to be delaying RK-Bro vs The Usos and Drew McIntyre vs Roman Reigns to later premium live events. I’m not saying that’s not a smart business decision or that this match won’t be fun to watch, but it feels like the stakes here are zero. No matter what happens, these teams will just continue feuding. So, unless Randy Orton gives Riddle the Sweet Chin Music and throws him into a barbershop window, the outcome is about as important as any random six man tag on SmackDown.
I’ve gotta choose a winner though, and since I think The Bloodline will come out on top in this larger feud eventually (unless WWE wants McIntyre to main event the European PPV Clash At The Castle with the title), I’m going to say RK-Bro and McIntyre get the better of this one. Roman definitely won’t get pinned, but i think the Bloodline goes down.
Predicted Winners: Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro via pinfall (Orton on Jey)
This doesn't feel like enough matches, especially on the women's side. There are simply too many amazing women in WWE right now to get one match on a premium live event card. So, I suspect another match will be added tomorrow on SmackDown or we'll get some kind of major plot advancement. Maybe we'll finally see the long-awaited return of Bayley or we'll figure out whatever is going on with Alexa Bliss. Or maybe we'll get Rhea and Liv or Becky and Asuka, though they may be saving those for other events.
I'm not sure if you've been following Ezekiel. He's Elias' younger brother, who is definitely not Elias. He's been building some steam lately in programs with Kevin Owens and Chad Gable. I think there's a chance he gets something to do here too. Maybe we get a fun video package that cuts back and forth between Ezekiel and Elias in the same location without ever showing them together?
Enthusiastic about Clue, case-of-the-week mysteries, the NBA and cookies at Disney World. Less enthusiastic about the pricing structure of cable, loud noises and Tuesdays.
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