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Predicting the match order at WrestleMania Backlash

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It’s one thing to predict the winners and losers at WrestleMania Backlash, but how about taking a guess at the match order for the event?

WrestleMania Backlash takes place tomorrow night (May 16) in the Yuengling Center in Tampa, Florida, with the main card beginning at 7 pm ET on Peacock.

WWE has announced six different segments for the main card of this event. Here is my subjective view of how important each of these six segments rank, ordered from most important to least important.

  1. Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro
  2. Lashley vs. McIntyre vs. Strowman
  3. Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Flair
  4. Bianca Belair vs. Bayley
  5. Dirty Dawgs vs. The Mysterios
  6. Damian Priest vs. The Miz

Main event

I don’t think the women’s matches have much of a chance here, so it really comes down to Lashley or Reigns for the final match of the night.

Cesaro is the least established as a main event star out of all five men who are involved in these two matches. But we’ve seen so much repetition on Raw in the main event angle, with every possible singles match between Lashley/McIntyre/Strowman taking place over the last several weeks. Reigns vs. Cesaro feels like the fresher match-up, and Roman is the biggest star of the bunch. I won’t bet against the Tribal Chief for the main event spot on this card.

If that is how it plays out, then Lashley will go three straight pay-per-views as WWE champion without wrestling in the main event. He wasn’t booked for any match at Fastlane 2021, he opened night one of WrestleMania 37, and now he’s vying with Reigns/Cesaro for the main event of WrestleMania Backlash.

Opening match

The opening match of the night is usually one of the mid-level attractions with good work rate that doesn’t require a dedicated video package ahead of time to hype it up.

There aren’t any obviously great or terrible choices for this spot, so it’s a bit tricky to pinpoint one match. The SmackDown tag titles and the Lumberjack match might not be important enough for the opening spot, so I’ll choose one of the women’s championship matches. Ripley’s match has more uncertainty about the outcome, and I think it will be saved for later in the night. Therefore I’m going with Belair and Bayley for the opening match.

That gives me the following card:

Segment 1: Bianca Belair vs. Bayley
Segment 2:
Segment 3:
Segment 4:
Segment 5:
Segment 6: Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro

Everything else

Segments 2 and 3 should include the two least important matches of the night. We’ll get all the mid or lower card lumberjacks out of the way first, so I’ll put Miz in Segment 2, with Dirty Dawgs in Segment 3.

That leaves Lashley and Flair for Segments 4 and 5. I don’t think WWE will end the night with both men’s top champions in back-to-back matches. so I’ll place Flair’s match in between them.

Finalized card

So here is my final prediction for the match order at WrestleMania Backlash, along with guesses on the bell-to-bell match times:

Segment 1: Bianca Belair vs. Bayley (13 minutes)
Segment 2: Damian Priest vs. The Miz (9)
Segment 3: Dirty Dawgs vs. The Mysterios (11)
Segment 4: Lashley vs. McIntyre vs. Strowman (15)
Segment 5: Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Flair (16)
Segment 6: Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro (20)

These times only add up to 84 minutes, which means this pay-pay-per view could fall short of three hours in total runtime if WWE doesn’t add another match to the card.

That’s my prediction for the match order at WrestleMania Backlash. What’s yours?