Final Backlash Card Revealed
WWE finalized the card for Sunday’s SmackDown Live pay-per-view Backlash last night, adding two matches to the show via angles on SmackDown Live and Network wrap-up show Talking Smack.
The official card is:
Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal
WWE United States Championship
Kevin Owens (c) vs. AJ Styles
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) vs. Breezango
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler
Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Carmella & Tamina
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn
Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper
Kickoff Show: Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English
It’s a strange card, the sort of line-up that would likely have died a death on traditional pay-per-view (although the Nakamura debut should generate considerable interest, as should the Owens-Styles clash), which has been made possible with the switch to the WWE Network. It is very reminiscent of circa 2004 single brand shows, with talent that rarely would have been given a look in on dual branded events given spots and pushes.
The main event is of particular interest, with the previously unheralded Jinder Mahal thrust into the main event role as a direct response to WWE’s behind the scenes surge into the potentially lucrative Indian market. Given the visceral reactions online to Jinder’s rapid ascent to the top of the card, we would not be at all surprised to see him emerge victorious at Backlash. While WWE loves to troll its audience, in their mind they would have created a new heel main eventer. It could genuinely work, too – it did for JBL when he defeated Eddie Guerrero to win the WWE Championship in 2004. Prior to that the brash Texan was a lifelong midcarder and one half of a tag team act. He was never considered a main event level player until he was suddenly pushed as one.
Elsewhere on the card, bet your house on Shinsuke Nakamura winning in his main roster debut against the increasingly expendable Dolph Ziggler. Similarly, expect a comfortable Baron Corbin win over the floundering Sami Zayn. Corbin is clearly someone WWE are intent on pushing – no matter how limited his matches and promos are – because he has size. Sami is an afterthought on the main roster, a staggering testament to just how badly he has been booked since he was called up from NXT. We would also expect Luke Harper to defeat Erick Rowan, simply down to Rowan having defeated Harper last week. WWE loves to even steven book, making Harper the safe bet.