Another WWE pay-per-view is done but how did the booking of the matches at Backlash potentially shape what we’re going to see in the coming weeks and months on the road to SummerSlam and beyond? This is our take on storyline winners and losers at WWE Backlash.
Mixed fortunes in mid-card for Rollins and Orton
With the United States title on SmackDown Live, there was never really much doubt that Seth Rollins would go over The Miz and thwart him in his bid to tie Chris Jericho’s record for most reigns as Intercontinental Champion. Creative continues to book The Kingslayer with references to his history of knee trouble despite his high-octane offense.
As for The Miz, well he’s booked to battle Daniel Bryan – who beat Big Cass later on the Backlash card only to suffer a post-match beatdown – on WWE’s latest European Tour. Seeing that rivalry renewed has plenty of mileage in it for sure, and it’d be no surprise to see Bryan and Miz meet at Money In The Bank next month either one-on-one or in the ladder match for the briefcase itself.
Wrestling fans should watch the booking of Bryan, who is back in full-time action after being medically clear to return to the ring earlier this spring closely. His performance in the Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia, where he set a new record for the longest time in such a match has seen him installed as Sky Bet’s 9/2 joint-favorite in the betting on next year’s Rumble winner.
Like Rollins, Randy Orton has had to settle for a place in the mid-card in recent months feuding over the US title against the likes of Bobby Roode, Jinder Mahal, the increasingly popular Rusev and now Jeff Hardy in a losing effort. The Viper’s downgraded status fits nicely with SmackDown’s “land of opportunity” as others get pushed.
Carmella a heel to be chased
Any thoughts that Carmella would just be a transitional Women’s Champion on the blue brand was dispelled by consecutive victories over Charlotte Flair. This looks like classic booking by creative, who have built the first Ms Money In The Bank up into a champ that SmackDown’s female faces will chase.
Neither Carmella nor Raw counterpart Nia Jax, who again beat Alexa Bliss at Backlash, need look too nervously over their shoulders for Ronda Rousey yet as the UFC convert is unlikely to be thrust into the title picture immediately. This year’s women’s Money In The Bank ladder match should go elsewhere, as something is building long-term with The Baddest Woman on the Planet.
Rousey looks well worth the investment of free bet offers even at this stage as a hot betting 11/8 favorite for the 2019 women’s Royal Rumble match – ahead of Charlotte, whose legendary father Ric won the men’s equivalent in 1992.
More to come from Styles and Nakamura?
Although Samoa Joe is now on SmackDown and has history from TNA with WWE Champion AJ Styles, the double countout ending to The Phenomenal One’s latest encounter with Shinsuke Nakamura suggests that rivalry isn’t over yet. Booking wise, things are perfectly set up for a Last Man Standing contest at Money In The Bank.
There is also need for a decisive outcome in the Universal title picture on Raw after champ Brock Lesnar was speared through a steel cage by Roman Reigns – who subsequently beat Joe at Backlash – at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Finality to both feuds will allow fresh ones to start as we head towards SummerSlam.