WWE Backlash 2020
June 14, 2020
WWE Performance Center
Orlando, Florida

Watch: WWE Network

Meet our previewers

Suit Williams: I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have my name on the preview for THE GREATEST WRESTLING MATCH EVER. It’s like being on the pregame show for the 2006 Rose Bowl, knowing that greatness awaits. You can follow me on Twitter, @SuitWilliams. I’m also a co-host of the Smark Sports podcast, which you can follow @SmarkSports.

Jeff Hawkins: Co-Host of @ShakeThemRopes. If you don’t know me by now, you will never ever ever know me. Oooooooooooh. @Crapgame13

WWE United States Championship
Apollo Crews (c) vs. Andrade

Suit: Apollo Crews has gotten a few of these false start pushes in the past, but this one has actually netted him a title shot and a match on PPV. The company has always called him a guy with limitless potential, yet they never really tried doing anything with him outside of a fun little undercard unit with Titus O’Neil and Akira Tozawa. I would say this would be the start of something for him, but they’ve gotten cold feet on him before. I’ll say they get them again and stick the US Title back on Andrade. He’s been rock solid as the mid-card champ, and they seem to be setting up something with Angel Garza or Kevin Owens. I think those feuds have more juice if Andrade has the title, so I’ll pick him. Prediction: Andrade

Jeff: What a strange “new toy” push. It felt like they were going to turn him heel, then scrappy underdog, now champion. Los Ingobernobles Orlando has been a mess of a story since playing the role of red shirts to Drew McIntyre. Through it all they’ve tried to protect Andrade, but mostly at the expense of now cult member Austin Theory or the Humberto Carrillo’d Angel Garza. There is an entire group of guys who now mean absolutely nothing that were brought in hot and cooled off quickly or reheated and then stuck in the freezer. Do we care about the inner politics of Zelina Vega’s stable? These guys turn on each other at the drop of a hat. Add in Kevin Owens who comes off as a bigger star than any of the guys fighting for the title and you have the ingredients for a “look at your phone while keeping an eye on the screen” classic. I think this match may steal the show but the emotional investment is nil. If you go by what they think the more interesting choice is, you go with Andrade, but I think you can do whatever story without the title, so I think all the backstabbing allows Apollo to retain. Prediction: Apollo Crews

WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship
Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce)

Suit: The Women’s Tag Titles have found their way back onto Sasha and It’s Bayley, who I will be calling Bayley Dos Straps per her request. The rumors of a feud between the two have heated up recently and have started to take shape on TV, with Bayley being more controlling over Sasha as of late. As for this match, it really could go any way. It’s not like these titles are protected, and the Bayley and Sasha deal can still go on either way. I will say that Sasha and Bayley retain, but this one is as much of a coin flip as any of these matches. Would a coin flip work with 3 teams? Maybe a roll of the dice? You know what I mean. Prediction: Bayley Dos Straps and Sasha Banks

Jeff: I hate that this is a 3 way. You can build a great feud with any two of these teams. I think the logical choice would be Alexa and Nikki lose the titles on Smackdown, but the IIconics have the signed title match, so you do a mini-feud for 2 shows with those two teams. I don’t think WWE knows they have a compelling story here of 3 kinds of friendship: the friendship where one thinks of the other as the best friend but it’s not reciprocated; a friendship that’s lasted through childhood and is now growing apart; and a friendship based on mutual respect but with underlying bitterness from that rivalry. You all know my love of “Aunt Pam,” and the more obnoxious she gets the better. I don’t know who they move the titles onto (I suspect Alexa and Nikki) but it doesn’t happen until Sasha either screws up (face) or purposefully screws Bayley (heel). I think the champs retain with the story that their friendship is built to last which only adds to the underlying tension. Prediction: Bayley and Sasha

Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus

Suit: Ah yes, let’s call Jeff Hardy a junkie and a failure on worldwide television every week, then act surprised when he relapses again. Don’t you just love this stuff? I’m usually for weaving real-life issues into wrestling, so I don’t know why this is hitting me differently. Maybe because it’s WWE doing it in the midst of all the other stuff I don’t like about them right now (the Drake Maverick stuff, running during COVID while not testing, firing people during said COVID pandemic). Maybe it’s just not that good of a story to begin with. I dunno, it just seems an excuse to call Jeff a disappointment against the backdrop of a largely meaningless midcard feud. I don’t know why Sheamus is still a thing in 2020, so I’m picking Jeff. Prediction: Jeff Hardy

Jeff: You can’t do a “I’ve beaten my demons” story with a guy whose last DUI is less than a year old. That’s what makes this story tasteless beyond comprehension. I wouldn’t have too much of an issue with it if 1) He was five years clean and sober and 2) This hadn’t been the basis for other feuds like the CM Punk one. Turns out CM Punk was right. What also doesn’t scream to me “grown up and gotten his life together” is wrestling in the same gear and wrestling the same style in his 40’s as he did in his 20’s. Nothing screams “no longer the same kid I used to be” to me about Hardy. You know that feeling you get when you see photos of fan conventions and people well past their prime are dressing in the same character outfits that made them famous and they just look sad? That’s Jeff Hardy to me right now. It’s John Cena when he comes out with a new neon shirt and jorts but the face has crows feet and wrinkles on the brow. Sheamus’ worth is he’s big as his character is a retread too. They’re going to put this over hard as a redemption for Hardy but really, we’ll have to wait for that. Prediction: Jeff Hardy 

WWE RAW Women’s Championship
Asuka © vs. Nia Jax

Suit: I don’t have anything positive or complimentary to say about Nia Jax. She’s not any good to begin with, and now she’s had a bad run of hurting Kairi Sane every time they interact. It’s like she’s the Bride in Kill Bill, and Kairi Sane is Vivica A. Fox. Vince likes to have his new champions topple giants to start their reigns, so consider this giant toppled. Prediction: Asuka

Jeff: I mostly agree with Suit here, but something’s bothering me. You don’t introduce next boss until current boss is defeated unless the two tie in somehow. The story here is Asuka can’t beat Charlotte. Charlotte is “New Becky” until they find someone else. She’s going to have title reigns everywhere to get to 16 and keep her the star. There’s that voice in me that screams they think Asuka is teflon and the predilection to stupid babyface syndrome won’t hurt her, as seen in the match on Monday. My cynicism here is to hot potato the title onto Charlotte because I tend to think they’re going to have Charlotte always be a champion from here on out. I think Nia wins with Charlotte’s help, Charlotte gets the title on Monday, and Asuka chases, probably with Shayna somewhere in the mix though who knows with Heyman no longer in charge of Raw. Prediction: Nia Jax

WWE Universal Championship
Braun Strowman vs. The Miz & John Morrison

Suit: Braun Strowman has become Vince McMahon’s personal action figure. Vince will have him throw things around and knock over cars and trucks and buildings, then once he’s bored, he’ll toss him to the side and forget about him. Here, he takes on cartoon bad guys Miz and John Morrison. It’s funny how Morrison leaves WWE a decade ago, becomes a decent level of star, then gets put right back with the Miz as if it’s still 2008. These two are cornier than bad guys in a Disney movie, and I expect Braun to knock them around and beat them with ease. Prediction: Braun Strowman

Jeff: Singles wrestlers should not be able to beat a tag team. Singles wrestlers should definitely not be able to defeat a CHAMPIONSHIP tag team. WWE uses this trope to get over “powerful” characters. It’s a terrible trope. Hilarity will ensue as Braun runs through these two, they get a quick hope spot, but get crushed in the end. Prediction: Braun Strowman

WWE Championship
Drew McIntyre © vs. Bobby Lashley

Suit: MVP has gotten in Lashley’s ear and made himself useful by immediately getting him a World Title match on a theoretically big show. However, Lana doesn’t like MVP, and she has boobs. You can empathize with Lashley’s dilemma here. This feels like part one of the story here, with Lana costing Lashley the title and Lashley moving on from her. As for the match quality, these two had a kickass match at Slammiversary a few years back. So if Lashley can turn it on, they’ll have something good here. That’s a pretty big if these days, so we’ll see what happens. Prediction: Drew McIntyre

Jeff: So you have MVP as a second, and broken Zartan figure Lana also somehow involved in this convoluted mess. Drew McIntyre is trying to show his personable witty side to be a more marketable asset. Lana and MVP argue, distract Bobby, 3,2,1 Claymore Kick sounds about right, meaning the story is about Bobby and not Drew. Which sounds even more right? I somehow doubt we get back on track with that Brendan Vink/Shane Thorne mini-push as part of a stable. Prediction: Drew McIntyre

The Greatest Match Ever
Edge vs. Randy Orton

Suit: This match literally exists to disappoint. It could be pretty good. Hell, it could be very good. But by setting the bar so high, now you have people like me who are assuming that they are gonna go the other way and have Edge roll Orton up in 15 seconds. There is no chance that a legitimate effort to have The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever will end with them actually having the Greatest Wrestling Match Ever. Either people will feel trolled by my idea, or let down by theirs. This is an impossibly stupid idea, that has no possibility of ending well. Prediction: Edge

Jeff: Will it be the Greatest Match Ever? No. Will it be fun while it lasts? I don’t know. Will it be edited from its original 5-hour director’s cut? Yes. Is Randy going to cheat to get disqualified or win? Probably. Will there be a third match? Definitely. So I tend to think this goes on for a while and we get Randy hitting Edge with an object and the rubber match involves said object in the “War to Settle the Score II: The Greatest Fight Ever Recorded And Edited Down to Be Cinematically Pleasing.” Prediction: Randy Orton