HeadLocker — Jay Shannon
My Backlash Predictions
Our resident philosopher, Jay Shannon, looks at all the craziness that is Backlash. This PPV is the follow-up to Wrestlemania 25.
Wrestlemania 25 was a fantastic card. The WWE, as always, continued many of the story arcs with this minor PPV. The matches look reasonably solid. Expect some major swerves in this one that will launch the summer series, leading up to the next Big PPV, Summerslam. Not only will I give my predictions on each given match, I’ll throw in a few suggestions as to where I think the WWE will go from here.
Santina on Khali Kiss Cam
Who called Vince Russo? This dumb segment is part annoyance, part inappropriate. Santina, which is Santino in drag, has to head to the Khali Kiss Cam to smooch the Punjabi Playboy. Does anyone in their right mind really want to see a 7 foot plus giant play kissy face with the Lord of the Unibrow? I don’t think so. I can only hope that Khali tries to get a bit fresh, only to learn the “secret” of Santina. Khali could then destroy Santino and give the fans a much needed break from the ridiculous faux Italian dweeb, Santino.
Predicted Winner: N/A
Predicted Grade: F-
C. M. Punk v Kane
Backstory: Punk and Kane were the last two men fighting for the Money in the Bank briefcase at Wrestlemania. Punk knocked Kane off the ladder to claim the title shot case. Kane is not a happy camper at losing the guaranteed title shot. He wants to destroy Punk. Mind you, the Money in the Bank briefcase is not on the line in this filler match.
Prediction: If the briefcase was on the line, I might go a different direction with this one. Since Kane has nothing to gain, other than some kind of twisted revenge, I expect him to lose. Before the match was announced, I was expecting Punk to Pick the Bones in the Cena/Edge battle. He may still do that. If that were the case, Kane would destroy Punk, only to have the Straight-Edger rebound to take down Cena or Edge. I’m going to stick with my original prediction, since I doubt the writers would think deep enough to have Punk do the rebound thing.
Predicted Winner: C.M. Punk
Predicted Grade: B-
Chris Jericho v Ricky Steamboat
Backstory: Jericho has been on a mission to bring pain and torture to every Legend in the WWE. He got his Spandex Shorts in a twist when he saw The Wrestler. Maybe he was just ticked off that he didn’t get a part in the film. Whatever. Jericho trashed Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka at Wrestlemania and then narrowly defeated The Dragon in the Legends 3-on-1 battle. For some odd reason, Jericho wants to destroy one of the greatest technical wrestlers of all time.
Prediction: This Legend-bashing angle has run it’s course. Snuka and Piper have faded back into semi-retirement. Flair’s off training his kid, Reid, to make his first big run with either WWE, TNA or ROH. Steamboat’s an aging grappler who hasn’t really done all that much wrestling in the last few years. This feud just makes Jericho look like a whining, pathetic loser. It’s a situation of “Waaa, I wanna be a Legend, toooooo!” (stamps feet and cries like a 2-year old). It is seriously time to ring down the curtain on this one. I’ll go with an odd prediction on this one. Jericho will win this one, likely with the Walls of Jericho. The ref calls for the bell, but Jericho won’t let go. The ref then reverses the decision, giving Steamboat the DQ win. Ricky Steamboat, Jr. runs out to save his dad. That kick starts a feud between Jericho and Junior to introduce him to the WWE fans. That would actually make it make sense when Jericho calls his opponent “Junior”. That’s how I’d book it.
Predicted Winner: Ricky Steamboat (by reverse decision)
Predicted Grade: A-
Jeff Hardy v Matt Hardy
“I Quit” Match
Backstory: Matt was jealous of his brother’s success. After a series of mysterious accidents that Jeff endured, Matt stepped forward with a major turn on his brother. Matt smashed Jeff in the head with a steel chair, costing his his World title. Matt and Jeff then fought in an Extreme Rules match at Wrestlemania, which Matt won. Matt also took out his brother in a Stretcher Match on Smackdown. This match will, likely, be the final battle between the brothers, for now.
Prediction: Jeff is so over-due for a win in this one. With a huge rumor floating around the internet that Jeff’s future in the WWE is unclear, I don’t think he’s going to get that win, here. The only way that I see Jeff Saving Face would be for him to come out and pull a rant where he talks about the stupidity of this feud and how the family should be more important than any titles, on-air time, etc… Jeff could then say that if you need to hear me to say the words to end this…fine. Jeff would then say “I Quit” and walk out. That would so seriously tick off the crowd, who would be ripped off from a brutal, vicious battle. I’d book it this way, just to get that reaction.
Predicted Winner: Matt Hardy
Predicted Grade: A (if they fight), C (if Jeff does as I suggested above)
Jack Swagger v Christian
ECW (Formerly World) Title Match
Backstory: ECW got shafted at Wrestlemania. The ECW champ was reduced to serving as a Lumberjack in the Dark Match, pitting the Colons against Miz and Morrison. The ECW strap has also been downgraded from a World title to just the ECW title. (Thanks, Vince). Swagger has been a decent title holder. He’s really done his best to work a second-class belt. Christian ended up on the Red-Headed Step-Child brand when he returned from TNA. Christian had been mediocre, at best, since coming back. He’s still using that lame Killswitch/Unprettier finisher. Christian worked a series of matches against Mark Henry, Finlay and Tommy Dreamer to earn the title shot.
<Prediction: The key to the match has nothing to do with either man in the ring. Tommy Dreamer is the central point of this one. Tommy is getting closer to his June deadline. There are several angles that ECW could use in this one. With Kozlov on the horizon, most might think Christian takes the strap, only to drop it quickly to Kozlov. Kozlov could then send Tommy into retirement in a brutal match. I don’t think that WWE is going to go in that direction. My prediction is that Swagger will power out of the Killswitch and nail the Gut Wrench Powerbomb to retain the title. Swagger will then defend the belt, successfully, against Evan Bourne at Night of Champions before finally losing the belt to Tommy Dreamer (just before the deadline). Tommy will then get destroyed by Kozlov, either at Great American Bash or Summerslam. I’m thinking it will happen at Summerslam, in what will be billed as Tommy’s Retirement Match.
Predicted Winner: Jack Swagger
Predicted Grade: B-
John Cena v Edge
Last Man Standing, World Championship match
Backstory: John Cena upset Edge and the Big Show to win the title at Wrestlemania. Cena was supposed to also get Vickie, but that didn’t happen (I’d take her, thank you, if I wasn’t seeing someone). Anyway, Edge is ticked off and wants his belt back. Edge trashed Cena with a Con-Chair-To on Monday night. This match is a Last Man Standing Match.
Prediction: Both top belts are on Raw, right now. I can’t imagine the WWE allowing that to stand. Edge is going to manage to pull off the win after an incredibly brutal and vicious match.
One other alternative would be to see Edge lose, only to have Punk sweep in and take out Cena. That would make Punk a “Tweener” on Smackdown. WWE really wants Punk to stay a face, so I think he’s going to skip this golden opportunity.
A third ending would be for the heel, Edge, to take the belt. Punk could then run in and do a flashback and hit the G-T-S on Edge to take the belt. I would love this ending, because it is a Best of All Worlds ending. Cena loses, Edge loses, Punk ends up the top dog on Smackdown and gets to stay a face. Sadly, Punk is tied up with Kane, so I don’t think he’s going to pull double duty. Therefore…
Predicted Winner: Edge
Predicted Grade: A-
Triple H, Batista and Shane McMahon v Randy Orton, Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase (Jr.)
WWE Title match (filled to the grim with stipulations)
Backstory: Orton has gone after the McMahon family and HHH with a vengeance. Orton feels that HHH and the McMahons have kept his down. Does Every heel in the WWE feel a need to whine? Orton has suckered Rhodes and DiBiase to follow his lead. Orton has also attacked Shane, in the past. To finalize this strange puzzle, Orton sent Batista to the DL list for several months with a Orton Drop (DDT off the ropes). Batista wants revenge. HHH wants revenge for the attacks on his family, especially his wife, Stephanie. Shane wants revenge for getting his skull kicked in. Add to this powder keg the odd stipulation that if any of Team HHH gets DQ’d, Randy gets the belt. It’s not all that difficult to see where this one will go.
Prediction: HHH isn’t going to get DQ’d. He’s not going to get pinned. He is going to lose the title. Batista is going to lose it and get himself disqualified. That is going to set up a feud between Batista and HHH, after Batista says that Orton was correct. Batista will say HHH thinks the entire wrestling world revolves around him. The two of them will have two or three months of brutal matches. In the end, Batista will earn a title shot at John Cena, who has come back to take the WWE title from Orton. Confused? Good. Batista v Cena II will happen at Summerslam.
Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Predicted Grade: B
Final Grade: B-
Final Thoughts: This PPV will be either a fantastic event, or a total flop. There are so many ways that the WWE can screw this up. The worst thing that they could possibly do is to Play it Safe. They need to make the fans anger, happy and sad. They need to pull swerves to keep people’s interests. They’ve already ignored the US, I-C, tag, Diva and Women’s title for this one. I realize that they are holding back until Night of Champions but it certainly decreases the power punch of this show. I’m keeping a positive hope for Backlash but I still think this going to be a sad follow-up to Wrestlemania.
— Jay Shannon