Charles Sykes/Associated Press
A big stretch of shows for WWE culminates with Backlash on Sunday, and the pay-per-view figures to set the direction of Raw and SmackDown for the rest of the summer.
There are seven matches scheduled, headlined by Edge vs. Randy Orton in what is being billed as “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever”. That’s an unusual bit of marketing for a contest that hasn’t taken place, but both men are very good in the ring and should be able to have a memorable fight.
Five championships will also be up for grabs, and Jeff Hardy is looking for revenge against Sheamus after The Celtic Warrior has repeatedly made references to Hardy’s past issues with substance abuse.
WWE Backlash Card
Edge vs. Randy Orton
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
Universal Championship: Braun Strowman (c) vs. The Miz and John Morrison
Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax
Women’s Tag Team Championship: Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) vs. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross vs. The IIconics
United States Championship: Apollo Crews (c) vs. Andrade
Sheamus vs. Jeff Hardy
Why Edge Must Win
The booking for the Edge-Orton feud has been backwards, starting with the fact that they went from a Last Man Standing match at WrestleMania to a straight wrestling match.
It’s also baffling that Edge would continue to wrestle Orton after going over clean in the first matchup.
If we are to assume the feud ends at Backlash, The Rated R Superstar has to defeat The Viper again because splitting two matches doesn’t do anything to help either superstar.
Edge’s comeback has been one of the best things in WWE in 2020. He is consistently cutting the best promos on television, and though his in-ring work at WrestleMania showed signs of rust, that was to be expected in his first singles match since 2011.
Given the value Edge has to WWE as a feel-good story, he could challenge for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam. Having him score a decisive victory over Orton makes the most sense.
Why Asuka Must Win
One month after Asuka won Money in the Bank and was awarded the Raw Women’s Championship, with Becky Lynch taking time off after announcing her pregnancy, it unfortunately looks like WWE is setting her up to lose the title in her first pay-per-view defense.
Charlotte Flair scored a pinfall victory over Asuka on Raw, though that did come after Nia Jax distracted the Empress of Tomorrow.
This suggests Flair will be next in line to chase the championship, whether it be against Asuka or Jax.
The only argument for Jax to win the title is a program with Flair would be something new, but there’s a low ceiling to the quality of match anyone is going to get out of Jax. Asuka is easily one of the best wrestlers on the WWE roster, male or female. She was finally put in a top position by the company in May after a successful tag title run with Kairi Sane.
Even though an Asuka-Flair feud isn’t anything new—they have had singles matches on Raw in each of the past two weeks—their matches would be significantly better than what either one of them would get out of Jax.
Why Bayley and Sasha Banks Must Win
One hallmark of WWE booking is putting the Tag Team Championship on two superstars who are having issues getting along.
The formula is predictable, with cracks starting to show until one of them either turns on the other or causes a distraction so one of them gets rolled up and pinned.
Before Bayley and Sasha Banks defeated Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross to win the women’s tag titles on the June 6 edition of SmackDown, there were seeds of discontent growing between the two. Banks was taking credit for Bayley’s success, while Bayley was costing her partner matches.
WWE has done countless start-stop teases of a Bayley-Banks feud for years, to the point it’s almost a punchline when the two display any tension on television.
Rather than go into a Bayley vs. Banks singles feud, keeping the tag titles on them for the time being makes the most sense. They are easily the best of WWE’s current women’s tag teams, and having them on both shows will at least make for much better matches.
Plus, if WWE wants to have Banks challenge Bayley for the SmackDown women’s title at SummerSlam, the breakup angle can be done at Extreme Rules in July.