Welcome to the first SmackDown Live PPV post-WrestleMania, welcome to Backlash!
How about we start with the elephant in the room, which is not a vague reference to Ganesha. Jinder Mahal is challenging Randy Orton for the WWE Championship, which is not a sentence I imagined I would ever write. With that said, I think we’re all a little tired of hearing how insane it is that Mahal is number one contender. This is the direction WWE is headed, at least for the meantime, and so far it hasn’t been a total bust. Mahal and The Singh Brothers make a good team, even though their rise to the top was severely rushed, and I genuinely think there is a chance Mahal wins tonight. Do you think the Maharaja has a chance of actually winning the WWE Championship and becoming the biggest turnaround story in history? Let us know in the comments!
The painfully long wait for Shinsuke Nakamura’s debut is almost over. Nakamura debuted on April 4 and has yet to wrestle a match. The build to his debut tonight would be a negative thing if it was for any other wrestler, however Nakamura is very special and his style will be especially impressive against Ziggler. If these two get 15-20 minutes they will tear the house down and put a large stamp on Nakamura as the one to watch going forward. I see no scenario in which Ziggler wins this match, although perhaps a roll-up or something would allow him to steal a win and let them dance again at Money In The Bank.
The only other match tonight that has the chance of being as good as Nakamura/Ziggler, is the United State Championship match between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles. These two talents are incredibly over in their respective roles and the fans will be firmly behind AJ tonight. Styles and Owens have only faced each other three times in WWE, in singles matches, and KO has prevailed every single time. Obviously the past bodes well for the US Champion and, as much as I love AJ Styles, I think Owens is better suited to being US Champion right now. Styles should move back into the title picture as soon as possible because he feels too big a star for anything else.
Another Championship match taking place tonight, is the Tag Team Championship match between The Uso’s and Breezango. Similarly to Jinder Mahal, it seemed like Breezango were plucked from the depths of nowhere to become title challengers but, rather unlike Mahal, the fans have taken to Breezango like ducks to water. The duo are instantly likable, underrated in the ring, and their Fashion Files segments are the funniest thing on WWE TV today. Breeze and Fandango have grabbed the brass ring presented to them and ran a mile and I’m hoping they either win the titles tonight, or get screwed out of them, allowing this feud to continue for at least another month.
Elsewhere on tonight’s card, the SmackDown Women’s Champion, Naomi, teams with Becky Lynch and Charlotte to face Carmella, Natalya and Tamina, in a high-school drama match. Next we have Erick Rowan Vs. Luke Harper, in what is sure to be a really good match if it is given sufficient time. Sami Zayn battles Baron Corbin in what seems like another losing-battle for Sami. And finally, Aiden English Vs. Tye Dillinger, which will take place on the Backlash kick-off show, which starts at 7 PM ET. You can find all your coverage right here, as well as the Ringside News app. Get talking in the comments and enjoy the show!