WWE 'Backlash' 2016 Rumors & Predictions: 5 Matches For First WWE 'SmackDown Live' Only PPV [POLL, PHOTOS & VIDEO]
Now that the sun has set on SummerSlam, it's time to look ahead to the first "SmackDown Live"-only event of the year.
The Blue Brand will get the first chance to put on their own exclusive pay-per-view and WWE Network special when Backlash emanates live from the Richmond Coliseum in Richmond, Va., on Sept. 11.
After the events of SummerSlam, there are a lot of different directions the company can go in for the "SmackDown Live" event, but here are our picks for five potential matches for Backlash. To view this article in slideshow form, CLICK START at the top right of this page. To view our matches for the "RAW" exclusive event Clash of the Champions, click here.
1) 'SmackDown Live' Tag Team Championships Tag Team Turmoil Match: American Alpha vs. Hype Bros vs. The Usos vs. Breezango vs. The Ascension vs. The Vaudevillains
The tag division isn't exactly the deepest on the "SmackDown Live" brand, but rather than doing a tournament, the WWE could just take all 12 men involved in the elimination tag team match from SummerSlam and have them face-off in the seldom used tag team turmoil match. This could be a showcase for more than one of these teams and potentially lead to American Alpha's crowning moment.
2) 'SmackDown Live' Women's Championship Tournament Finals: Becky Lynch vs. Nikki Bella
Hopefully the WWE has a better name for the title and hopefully that name doesn't end up being Divas Championship again. If the company wants people to begin caring about women's wrestling on the "SmackDown Live" brand, then making a high-stakes tournament to crown the new champion would be the best thing -- especially if it weaves in compelling storylines and strong matches. Lynch is easily the strongest babyface character and in-ring worker on the blue roster, even if the WWE continuously opts to job her out. Bella, now that she's back, will likely be the top women's Superstar on "SmackDown Live," so it would only make sense to have these two go at it in the finals.
3) Intercontinental Championship: The Miz (c) w/ Maryse vs. Dolph Ziggler
Logically, Apollo Crews was pinned cleanly in the middle of the ring, so it wouldn't really make sense for him to deserve a rematch for the belt after Sunday's loss. Ziggler, meanwhile, lost to Dean Ambrose in the WWE World Championship match cleanly, so it would be only logical for him to have to return to the midcard before getting another stab at "The Lunatic Fringe." This would be a solid midcard matchup for the Intercontinental Championship and something to look forward to at Backlash.
4) Singles Match: Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
The WWE could easily have "The Viper" skip Backlash to sell the beat down he received at the hands of Brock Lesnar, and that could very well happen, but if John Cena also isn't likely to be a part of this show due to his rumored busy schedule, then the Blue Brand would potentially be without two of its biggest stars for its first major event. There could be more to that stare down between Orton and Wyatt last week on "SmackDown Live" and perhaps it will bridge into a feud between the two. Hopefully this event will be booked better than SummerSlam, where the creative team took many missteps.
5) WWE World Championship: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles
Now that Ambrose has cleanly gone over Ziggler, it's time for him to move on to bigger things. Styles put on a legitimate Match of the Year encounter with face of the franchise John Cena and came out on top as the victor at SummerSlam. That should more than establish him as the top heel on the "SmackDown Live" brand and the momentum should carry him into a feud with Ambrose, who has looked strong as the champion, but will have his toughest battle yet in "The Phenomenal One." Styles can have a good match with just about anyone and this encounter would certainly steal the show.