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WWE Backlash 2023 predictions

WWE Backlash is all set to take place tonight (Sat., May 6, 2023) from the Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It begins at 7:00 pm ET with the Kickoff show leading right on into the main course at 8 pm ET on Peacock in the U.S., WWE Network everywhere else, or your local cable pay-per-view provider.

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.


Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

Geno Mrosko: This match is everything for Cody’s story, the first chance for WWE to show us how they really feel about him after booking Roman Reigns to beat him in the main event of WrestleMania. If they really believe he’s the kind of star who can headline WrestleMania and actually win, he needs to win this match, maybe clean too. I’m not convinced they think that. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Sean Rueter: My gut feeling when the new World title was announced was that the Beast would kick Cody’s ass real good before the American Nightmare outsmarted him for a win, then Rhodes’ would sell the damage from this Brock’s beating while losing in the tournament to crown Raw’s new champ. Nothing’s dissuaded me from that notion yet. Pick: Cody Rhodes

Kyle Decker: How they book this match will be very interesting. But I don’t think this is a one off match. I wouldn’t be surprised if they find a way to keep this going. I’m not going to go with a double DQ like Cain is, though that’s a good guess, but will say Brock wins in a way that somehow protects Cody but kicks him a bit while he’s down to give him a longer road back up the mountain and a rematch with the Beast in the future. Pick: Brock Lesnar

Claire Elizabeth: Cody went three in a row over Seth Rollins when nobody thought they’d put him over once. He hit a speedbump at WrestleMania but I really think he wins this one, gives Seth his win back in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament, and then I dunno, gets traded to SmackDown or wins Money in the Bank or whatever the hell to get back on track. And if not, I’ll moan about it for one night and he’ll talk me back in with a promo because he’s got the touch right now. Pick: Cody Rhodes

Cain A. Knight: I’m expecting a rematch in a few weeks at Night of Champions in Saudi Arabia, which opens the door for a screwy finish without a winner in Puerto Rico. The idea is that these two guys are so out of control that the rematch will need a gimmick that accommodates weapons and whatnot. Pick: Double disqualification

Marcus Benjamin: Unlike everyone else with pretty firm ideas on how this one shakes out, my gut tells’s hungry. So yeah, I have no real feeling on this one. If only because WrestleMania threw everything out of alignment for me as it relates to Cody. I’m not rehashing that argument, just saying WWE clearly has no problem telling longer stories now, even if they seemingly clash with the story beats presented on television. Everything here tells me Cody’s emotion might cost him a big time W. BUT, after taking that Mania L, I’m not sure he withstands another loss in a big spot. Pick: Cody Rhodes

The Bloodline vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn & Matt Riddle

Geno Mrosko: The way they teased dissension on SmackDown leads me to believe Jey Uso and Solo Sikoa are going to be having a go at each other much sooner rather than later. Taking a loss here will help push that along while the return of Roman Reigns looms large.

Sean Rueter: KO and I are often on the same page (see also: The liar known as Elias who tried to be known as Ezekiel but was really Elias and everybody should know that it was Elias), and neither of us is feeling Matt Riddle’s involvement in this program. That’ll cost the tag champs’ side, letting Solo Sikoa pin Sami and remain the only one of Rikishi’s boys still in his Tribal Chief’s good graces when he returns. Pick: The Bloodline

Kyle Decker: It’s pretty clear now, especially after the Usos failed to regain their tag titles, that the story is the cracks in the Bloodline, specifically Jey Uso. For that to continue, the Bloodline needs to take another L here. Pick: Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, & Matt Riddle

Claire Elizabeth: A wise slacker once said life is a series of down endings and while he was totally wrong and I think the arc of this story bends towards triumph and justice, this one is for the bad guys to feel like they’ve got their stuff together before the final fall begins. Pick: The Bloodline

Cain A. Knight: There needs to be as much tension as possible within The Bloodline for when Roman Reigns returns next week, so that gives the edge to the babyfaces. Pick: Kevin Owens, Matt Riddle, Sami Zayn

Marcus Benjamin: Oh this is easy for me. This story revolves around Jimmy & Jey getting excommunicated from the Bloodline, and even questioning their own brother’s loyalty. Pick: Kevin Owens, Matthew Riddle, Sami Zayn

SmackDown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega

Geno Mrosko: It might actually be interesting to do a title change here but I just can’t see it. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Sean Rueter: Sorry ZV. If it helps at all, another of my hunches involves your side celebrating at the end of the show. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Kyle Decker: This, my friends, is what we call a no-doubter. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Claire Elizabeth: I have loved Zelina Vega ever since I saw her and Brandi Lauren randomly pull three and a half stars out of their pockets as late replacements on a crappy B-tier WWN show in like 2017, but nope. Not her night. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Cain A. Knight: Zelina Vega is going to quickly learn that she picked a fight with the wrong person. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Marcus Benjamin: Zelina looks good in front of her fellow Puerto Rocks, but c’mon now. Pick: Rhea Ripley

Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs. IYO SKY

Geno Mrosko: There have been zero indications of a title change here and even plenty of teasing of Belair retaining the title so she can do her own rewriting of the record book. Pick: Bianca Belair

Sean Rueter: Since there’s probably a dreaded belt swap coming to make the length of The EST’s reign confusing anyway, let’s do the switch. It gives the Genius of the Sky another overdue accolade, moves the countdown clock forward on Damage CTRL’s inevitable explosion, and freshens Bianca up with a chase. Pick: IYO SKY

Kyle Decker: There’s no momentum for IYO to win the title, even though I can see a world where they decide to shake things up within Damage CTRL & address a year long title reign that is getting a bit stale. But that’s a very unlikely scenario. Pick: Bianca Belair

Claire Elizabeth: Bayley gets ahead of herself and tries to help IYO but IYO knows she doesn’t need the help and we sow tension in Damage CTRL and it’s kind of a bummer but we gotta take this stable somewhere. Pick: Bianca Belair

Cain A. Knight: Bianca Belair has already shown in the past that she can beat all three members of Damage CTRL at the same time all by herself. Pick: Bianca Belair

Marcus Benjamin: Bianca wins here but I predict this is where IYO flys the coup. Either on her own volition or Bayley & Dakota force her out. Bianca moves on and takes her talents to Friday nights.

United States Championship: Austin Theory vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed

Geno Mrosko: They didn’t really even need to book this match, especially with the Draft moving things around. Pick: Austin Theory

Sean Rueter: Wouldn’t make much sense to have him lose a month after beating Cena, would it? Pick: Austin Theory

Kyle Decker: Triple threats like this are booked to allow the champion to keep their title while the others don’t look too bad failing to win it. Theory’s shitty title reign can continue until they decide it’s time for a Megastar to hold some gold. Yeah! Pick: Austin Theory

Claire Elizabeth: I would like to once again formally apologize for Austin Theory, but this is a triple threat for a reason. Pick: Austin Theory

Cain A. Knight: The US title needs to be on SmackDown, so that rules out Reed. Theory is a first round draft pick who beat John Cena at WrestleMania, whereas Bob is a third round pick who didn’t even get a WrestleMania match. I think it’s pretty clear who is winning this one. Pick: Austin Theory

Marcus Benjamin: They’re not taking the belt off Austin here after he beat John Cena. Pick: Austin Theory

Street Fight: Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest

Geno Mrosko: This is going to be an all timer of a clustermuck, basically a much bigger version of what we got on SmackDown this week. Priest is going to give a lot to Bunny, and we’re all going to be better off for it. Priest should probably win here but there’s just no way they beat Bunny in Puerto Rico, right? Pick: Bad Bunny

Sean Rueter: Shout out to Priest, who’s been doing some great work lately that doesn’t get talked about because it’s so much fun to talk about Dom Dom & Mami. But I’m expecting Zayn in Montreal levels of noise for this one, but with a much happier ending. Pick: Bad Bunny

Kyle Decker: This is going to be a blast of match. It’s going to be super overbooked with the LWO and Judgment Day all interfering, but the crowd will be nuts for it and Bunny will come out on top. Pick: Bad Bunny

Claire Elizabeth: It’s a no DQ, bodies are gonna be flying, run-ins are gonna happen, it’s gonna be a hoot AND a holler and in the end the bigger star will win. Pick: Bad Bunny

Cain A. Knight: There is no way Bad Bunny is losing in Puerto Rico. This match between Damian and Bad is going to have a lot of interference, during which Rey Mysterio will get the better of his punk kid again. Pick: Bad Bunny

Marcus Benjamin: This is my match of the night. Bad Bunny will wreck shop in Puerto Rico. It’ll be a hot time in the old town tonight. We’ll get enough shenanigans that protect Damian in a loss and Bunny gets the lasting image that anyone who missed the match will see all weekend on every outlet unconcerned with King Charles. Pick: Bad Bunny

Seth Rollins vs. Omos

Geno Mrosko: I mean. Come on. Pick: Seth Rollins

Sean Rueter: If all their “Omos is a special talent” talk isn’t just hot air, he’ll need to start beating some people on PLEs soon. But not here, and not now (WHOA OH OH OHHH). Pick: Seth Rollins

Kyle Decker: I was initially going to say Omos was going to win and then go on to face Roman in Saudi because that feels like a very real thing that could happen in Vince McMahon’s WWE. But with the introduction of the new World Heavyweight title, Seth has to remain strong since he’s likely going to be the one who wins it. Pick: Seth Freakin’

Claire Elizabeth: Seth Rollins should only ever lose to wrestlers with more than three points of articulation. Pick: Seth Rollins

Cain A. Knight: A wrestler as talented as Seth Rollins should never lose to a wrestler as green as Omos. That’s especially true if the idea is for Seth to be a major player in the upcoming World Heavyweight Championship tournament. Pick: Seth Rollins

Marcus Benjamin: Nope not giving it a lot of thought. Pick: Seth Rollins.

That’s how we see the card playing out.


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