clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

WWE Backlash 2017 predictions: Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal, more!

WWE returns to pay-per-view (PPV) -- if your cable provider is carrying the event, of course -- tomorrow night (Sun., May 21, 2017) live from the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Illinois with its Backlash event starting at 7:00 p.m. ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 p.m. ET on the WWE Network.

Set for the card: Randy Orton defending the WWE championship against surprising top contender Jinder Mahal, and more!

Luckily for you Cagesiders, our staff of learned wrestling blowhards is here to help figure out just how the event is going to play out with predictions for each match on the card.

Let's get to it.


Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal

Geno Mrosko: They’ve had Mahal looking superior every step of the way, so it would be the least surprising thing if he ends up the victim of an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE and comes back to complain about it on the next show. Pick: Orton

Sean Rueter: Remember when Jinder stole the title and did a photo shoot with it? That was “fake news” for the Indian market, because it’s as close as he’s getting to the World championship right now. Pick: Randy Orton

Kyle Decker: RKO to Sumil. RKO to Samir. RKO to Jinder. 1-2-3. A dive free win for the Viper. Pick: Randy Orton

Cain A. Knight: This is probably the worst idea for a WWE main event since John Laurinaitis defeated John Cena in 2012. Jinder Mahal’s sudden rise from jobber to main eventer is similar to that one time at Capitol Punishment in 2011 when R-Truth main evented against John Cena but then never sniffed a one-on-one PPV main event ever again. Jinder is completely miscast and should lose this match, but the main problem with that result is it means a super boring and stale Randy Orton will still be WWE Champion in 2017. Ugh, no thanks to all of this. Can't Big E or Luke Harper or Rusev come out and cash in a Money in the Bank contract to end this mess? I won't even question the logical failings with that result if it happens, I promise. Pick: Randy Orton

ReverendKain: Jinder, bless him, he's trying his best, but it's simply not nearly good enough. Art imitates life, the Indian market needs a hero but they don't need a champion, and it all adds up to the Viper standing tall after an RKO outta proverbial nowhere. Pick: Randy Orton

Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles

Geno Mrosko: It feels too early to do a title change here, and they need more time to properly build this up. Pick: Owens

Sean Rueter: He may be the Face That Runs The Place, but he is NOT the New Face of America. Pick: Kevin Owens

Kyle Decker: AJ should be back in the main title picture sooner than later so putting the US strap on him doesn't make too much sense. If he's not leaving with the title, it means he loses or wins by DQ. Since I can't come up with a DQ win that doesn't continue this feud, I'll say KO gets a pin using nefarious means. Pick: Kevin Owens

Cain A. Knight: There's really no need to have KO lose to a guy who can't even beat Jinder Mahal. Pick: Kevin Owens

ReverendKain: I went back and forth on this one a few times and really either outcome seems plausible. Plus, no matter who wins, he's technically kind of slumming it with the midcard title while the other guy is free to move to the big one. But, given all the variables, the way the WWE Championship scene looks, and all that, I feel like KO has a bit more upward mobility, and hey, surely AJ Styles is best suited of everyone on the SmackDown roster to be Face of America. Pick: AJ Styles

The Usos vs. Breezango

Geno Mrosko: Nothing in WWE is a entertaining as Tyler Breeze, Fandango, and the Fashion Files. I don’t know if they should be champs — because how far can they go with it — but I know if I had my choice as a fan I would absolutely put the belts on them. This is me choosing with my heart. Pick: Breezango

Sean Rueter: A lot of times when I make my (usually incorrect) picks, I try to think about future match-ups. Funny story... I had a hard time thinking of other tag teams on SmackDown. Then I remembered New Day are coming back, so it probably makes sense to stick with the bad guy-”is h” squad. Pick: The Usos

Kyle Decker: I really really want Breezango to win. I know with the New Day coming back, keeping the belts on the Usos make more sense. But I want Breezango to win so badly I'm picking them here. Pick: Breezango

Cain A. Knight: I've been waiting since the initial brand split for Breezango to get a big push, and thankfully they have taken advantage of their recent time in the spotlight. I really enjoy both of these teams and am looking forward to this one, but I'm thinking the Usos will retain because WWE sees them as more appropriate foes for the New Day. Pick: The Usos

ReverendKain: The Fashion Files is great and all, but that feeling, the hairs on the back of your neck, the chill down your spine, the sense that somebody's watching you... it ain't paranoia, it's the Usos, and they might be taking Breezango to jail? Maybe some kinda scared straight thing? I dunno, point is, don't bet against the champs. Pick: The Usos

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

Geno Mrosko: This is all about making Nakamura look as good as possible. Ziggler should be up to the job before doing just that. Pick: Nakamura

Sean Rueter: A little scared this is like Payback’s US title match where we were all like “LULZ... there’s no way Jericho is winning!” But there’s real no way Dolph is winning. Right? Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Kyle Decker: I've quite enjoyed Dolph as the heel with the message "If you haven't done it in WWE, it doesn't count." But the only way it should end is with Dolph taking a Kinshasa to the head that lands him in the front row. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Cain A. Knight: I'm very curious to see if WWE gives Nakamura a dominant and quick win over Ziggler for his in-ring debut, or if they go back and forth for 15 minutes and try to pull off a great 4-star match. I'd prefer to see the latter because both guys are really good workers and can create something special, and this PPV certainly could use that. But I’ll understand if WWE goes the other way with it. Let's face it, it's easy to dismiss Ziggler's credibility as an upper card threat after a decade of being told he is mid-card for life. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

ReverendKain: Dolph's been complaining that Shinsuke hasn't done anything on main roster WWE, well, the legend starts with a knee to his face and the 1-2-3. Pick: Shinsuke Nakamura

Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn

Geno Mrosko: Losing is what Zayn does best. Pick: Corbin

Sean Rueter: You ever watch Battlestar Galactica? Or read “The Dark Tower” series? Sami’s WWE career shares a theme with both. Pick: Baron Corbin

Kyle Decker: Zayn has lost a ton and he's really good at it. It helps build him up for when he eventually gets that big win. Corbin wins a ton and he's really good at it too. Let them do their thing. Pick: Baron Corbin

Cain A. Knight: Mediocre McMahon-approved big guy against highly-talented scrappy underdog babyface? That's all I need to know to figure this one out. Pick: Baron Corbin

ReverendKain: Sami's the guy that never gives up, the guy that exists to remind guys like Baron Corbin that they're only human... but he doesn't have to win to do that. Pick: Baron Corbin

Naomi & Charlotte & Becky Lynch vs. The Welcoming Committee

Geno Mrosko: The babyface team isn’t going to be able to get along, and that’s going to lead to the bad gals stealing a victory. Pick: The Welcoming Committee

Sean Rueter: I wonder if maybe the unlikely allies team of two babyfaces and a tweener might not get along when the chips are down? Pick: The Welcoming Committee

Kyle Decker: I'm calling the Charlotte heel turn to reveal that Welcoming Committee is legit a welcoming committee for her. Sure she's gotten beaten down by them, but taking a beating to fool everyone is a hallmark of a swerve like this. The McMahons did it all the time back in the Attitude Era. Then Charlotte will have a league of villains outnumbering the babyfaces Becky Lynch and Naomi. That could be really fun. Pick: The Welcoming Committee

Cain A. Knight: On paper this match appears to be very lopsided. If I had to rank all 6 of these superstars in terms of kayfabe accomplishments in the last year or two, Naomi's team would entirely rank above Natalya's team, with the only close call coming between Becky Lynch and Natalya for 3rd and 4th place. It's just really hard to buy into the idea that the heels pose much of a threat here, unless of course Charlotte or Becky end up betraying their team. But I think that will be saved for a later time. Pick: Naomi, Becky, Charlotte

ReverendKain: I mean, it all feels a little bit too obvious, but... Charlotte Flair is a snake in the grass. Her daddy was a snake, too, it runs in the family. And you might as well do some research and discover a distant Irish connection for the Borden family, because Becky Lynch is a real Stinger. Pick: Welcoming Committee

Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan

Geno Mrosko: Harper may have more potential but it appears as though they think they see something in the other former Wyatt Family member. Pick: Rowan

Sean Rueter: It’s Sunday. You know what that means. Pick: Erick Rowan

Kyle Decker: Remember when two months ago we were all talking about Luke Harper being in the world title match at WrestleMania? And now we're here. Dammit, I'm sad now. Pick: Luke Harper

Cain A. Knight: It's usually smart to pick against Luke Harper on PPV, but it's also usually smart to pick against Erick Rowan on PPV. Something has to give here. I still see a ton of upside in Luke Harper, and maybe one day WWE will see that too. Pick: Luke Harper

ReverendKain: I'm into Rowan's demented sheep mask Santa gimmick, but I gotta go with my dude Luke Harper. DGUSA/Evolve bros stick together and whatnot. Pick: Luke Harper

Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English

Geno Mrosko: It’s the Kickoff and they may actually have something with Dillinger if they treat it right. Beating him here wouldn’t be treating it right. Pick: Dillinger

Sean Rueter: Prediction: Sean will smile uncontrollably when The Perfect Ten’s music hits on a main roster PPV, even on the pre-show. Also... Pick: Tye Dillinger

Kyle Decker: The long time NXT enhancement talent becomes the enhanced. Pick: Tye Dillinger

Cain A. Knight: I have no idea if the actual results support this logic, but for now I'll stick with the idea that it makes more sense to have babyfaces win on the Kickoff show. Pick: Tye Dillinger

ReverendKain: I am literally flipping a coin. Pick: Tye Dillinger

That’s how we see the card playing out. How about you?

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats