During the finals of the inaugural SmackDown Tag Team Championship tournament, Rhyno and Heath Slater shock themselves and the world by defeating The Usos.10/05/2017 - 17:15
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To me, Backlash is arguably a pay-per-view with a double main event, but the WWE Championship Match gets top billing. I like the varied abilities of the three competitors, and I think that the combination of their individual styles will deliver a solid main event. Cena may be booed out of Rupp Arena, but I don't think he will lose at Backlash; Triple H, Cena and Edge will produce a slobberknocker that only one man can win, and I see The Champ retaining. It's just my personal opinion, but I would like to see two referees assigned to this Triple Threat Match.
Taking on both McMahons is a tall order for anyone, let alone Shawn Michaels. I would like to say that I think Michaels will overcome these seemingly insurmountable odds, and HBK might, but I don't think so. Mr. McMahon doesn't lose multiple times at anything, including contests over who can pass the most lethal gas. I have a feeling that we may be uncomfortable watching this one before it is over, and it won't be "over" until the Chairman says so. The way I see it, this is a 2-on-1 contest that will take a miracle for HBK to survive and win. No one will ever brag about the McMahons' wrestling skills, but never underestimate their ruthlessly tough mindset and willingness to do whatever it takes to win in any arena.
The athletic potential of the Van Dam vs. Benjamin match is lofty. RVD has the edge in experience, and he has more unique offense than the supremely gifted Intercontinental Champion. I envision lots of high-risk offense in this match that easily leads to crash-and-burn scenarios. With all the chances these two may take, this match may not be as aesthetically pure as some would like it; it may even be bowling-ball ugly to purists, but it will be unpredictable and athletic as hell. This one is a coin toss, but because of his experience, I'm going with RVD in a close one. The medical staff should be standing by for this one.
If Big Show comes to Backlash pissed off, then the world's largest athlete can beat Kane, who seems to get weirder by the day. If not, Kane gets the duke.
Carlito versus his former tag team partner Chris Masters is an interesting matchup. I'm not quite sure who the majority of the fans will cheer or boo in this match, but I'm not sure it matters either. Carlito is a better wrestler with more natural instincts and experience, while Masters has a significant size and strength advantage; however, Masters is somewhat one-dimensional, depending almost solely on the Master Lock. I'm guessing Carlito avoids the Master Lock and wins the match. For the record, I don't think "Meathead" Masters is the marketing slogan the chiseled Californian was looking for.
Ric Flair has battled with some really big men during his career, but "The Nature Boy" was younger when most of those mismatches took place. I love Ric Flair and I hope he can derail Umaga, but unless "Naitch" can get to the 400 pounder's legs early and ground the big Samoan with the Figure-Four Leglock, this might be a long night for Flair. Ric has to be willing to wrestle the massive Umaga, because I am not sure anyone on RAW at the moment can handle Umaga in a straight brawl. The "Dirtiest Player in the Game" has surprised me many times over the past 30 years, but Umaga may simply be too big a load of concrete for Ric to handle Sunday night.
I don't look for Trish vs. Mickie to be a cute little catfight where the majority of the teenage boys are watching hoping that "something pops out." Well, I take that back, those young men probably do want to see "something pop out" and it might. Anything can happen on a live pay-per-view. I think we're in for an even better physical outing from these two Divas than we saw at WrestleMania 22. Obviously, "Mickie ain't right," but she can wrestle and so can Trish. Both ladies are familiar with each other, so the competitor that adds the most effective new twist to their game might have the advantage. Is Trish hungry enough to want to regain the Women's Championship, or has this issue simply gotten too personal for the Toronto beauty? I think Mickie is prepared to do whatever it takes to leave with the gold and that the champion will retain. I shudder to think what Mickie might do if she loses.
By the way, rumor has it that off camera, Mickie is sweet on Joey Styles, but that is unconfirmed and only between us.
It will be interesting to see how responsive the live audience is Sunday in Lexington for Backlash. As we have all seen, the live audience can really make or break a live TV presentation, and the crowds lately in Chicago, Milwaukee, Omaha, St. Louis and London have been stellar. I hope the crowd is as jacked as they would be for a Kentucky Wildcat hoops game against their archrival Louisville. For wrestling history buffs, to the best of my knowledge, the largest crowd to ever watch wrestling in the 23,000 seat Rupp Arena was over 20 years ago when Jerry "The King" Lawler battled "Macho Man" Randy Savage.