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Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss - Making Backlash Predictions While Weeping Over The Current State of SmackDown Live
By Super Chrisss
May 17, 2017 - 11:12:37 AM

Tom Jenner rocks!

Back in January, I stumbled across this amazing meme on Twitter. As in, one of the thousand accounts I follow (don’t judge me) retweeted a hilarious – yet accurate - picture of a trash can, which symbolized SmackDown pre-brand split 2.0. I mean, let’s be honest: the blue ‘brand’ had been trash for the better part of three years or more, or at least ever since the “Raw SuperShow” era. Anyway, below the trash can was an animation of Shane McMahon and Daniel Bryan driving a train engine which consisted of the initial SmackDown roster – Cena, Orton, Miz, Ambrose, Wyatt and others. The over-the-top grinning conductors and passengers represented the ‘new’ SmackDown, and the contrast between the two pictures could not have been any more accurate.

It’s hard for me to accept that the same SmackDown which every other month produced a Pay-Per-View quality of free television is all but gone. Sure, a lot of the original players are still around, like Orton, Styles and Corbin, but if SmackDown from late 2016 to mid 2017 was the first season of a scripted show, then it feels like the post-Superstar Shake-Up SmackDown has jumped to the eighth season of that same show. Several of the cast members are still around, but they almost feel overshadowed by the new, unfamiliar faces. And like most shows which fall victim to this formula, the new characters aren’t as good as their predecessors (sorry). To each their own, but I think Miz, Ambrose, Wyatt and Alexa have already helped improve the quality of Raw while Owens, Sami, Jinder and Charlotte have done nothing to make SmackDown the must-see show it was not that long ago.

Therefore, you can’t hate on me too hard for not being excited for Backlash this Sunday, can you? With the exception of Owens vs, Styles and Ziggler vs. Nakamura, there’s nothing on the card that I’m dying to see. Speaking of the latter, if I were WWE, that’s the match I close the show with for several reasons. First and foremost, Backlash is taking place in Chicago. Regardless of the outcome, there is no way having Orton vs. Mahal go on last will work out well for anybody. Meanwhile, the crowd will be hot for Nakamura all night, and by saving him for last, you can prevent any possible early departures from the crowd or – at the very least – a dead crowd. Considering how Ziggler and Nakamura have been wrestling each other a lot in dark matches for the past month or so, I’d be surprised of this isn’t match of the night, or at least second-best. Nakamura wins because, to quote James Ellsworth, “duh!”

Speaking of The Big Hog, I wish I could force myself to care about The Welcoming Committee vs. Naomi & friends on Sunday. The problem is, how can I take this match seriously when it’s a complete mismatch? On the heel side, we have Nattie, who hasn’t won a championship or major feud since the 2000s. She’s joined by the muscle of the group – Tamina – who has accomplished pretty much nothing since her debut. They’re teaming with the other half of Carmellsworth, who – despite improving plenty since her premature call-up from NXT last summer – was easily the weak link of SmackDown’s women’s division (and probably still is). I’m supposed to believe they have a shot of beating Naomi (two-time SmackDown women’s champion), Becky Lynch (first-ever SmackDown women’s champion and one of the NXT Four Horsewomen) as well as Charlotte (no explanation needed)? Come on, now. I like the idea for this ‘faction’ on paper, but it doesn’t work on a show when they’re basically half the entire division. Despite all that, I’m pretty sure the heels will win because DISSENSION!

I didn’t bother tuning into Talking Smack this week for the first time since the show’s inception because I had no interest in seeing or hearing from Naomi & friends, Jinder Mahal or Erick Rowan. However, the latter apparently requested and was granted a match against Luke Harper at Backlash. Even though they’ve only faced off a handful of times in the past, it feels like these two have been feuding for eternity. Harper is probably the most underutilized guy on the SmackDown roster, and I thought he would have been placed in a better spot on the roster since giving Orton his best match of 2017 so far. Instead, he’s off TV more often than not, and that’s just not right. Since Rowan unexpectedly won their match last week, I expect Harper to win this filler-of-all-fillers match on Sunday.

Another match that got added to the card yesterday was Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin. To be honest, I would be a lot more excited for this match if I thought Sami had even a remote chance of winning. Don’t get me wrong; this could be a lot of fun, as I’m a fan of both guys, but I always tend to lose enthusiasm for a match when the winner seems fairly obvious (I call it “Roman Reigns syndrome”). Since Corbin just lost to Orton and Sami never wins matches that matter, I can smell a Corbin victory from a mile away. I don’t know why WWE didn’t book Corbin vs. Orton for the WWE Championship instead and pit Sami against Mahal to start building up Jinder before having him challenge Orton, but that’s WWE logic for ya. Baron Corbin wins, but this feud will probably continue.

I know a lot of people have been loving The Fashion Files segments we’ve been getting for the past three weeks on SmackDown, but I think The Usos’ promos have been the true highlight of this rivalry so far. Breezango are very entertaining as a duo, and I’m happy they’re finally getting a chance to showcase their personalities, but I think this has been just as much The Usos’ coming-out party as it has for Breezango. The majority of The Usos’ promos since turning heel last summer have taken place on Talking Smack, but it’s been so much fun seeing them with live mics these past two weeks. I’m not sure what to expect from the actual match on Sunday, but with only six matches announced, I’m hoping they’ll get plenty of time to do some work. Breezango are obviously the sentimental favourites, but I think we all know they’re just killing time until New Day shows up to challenge The Usos. The Usos retain their titles.

You know, speaking of time, I won’t be surprised or offended if AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens goes at least twenty minutes. Obviously, that’s a lot of time to grant to a “midcard” match-up, but I think we can all agree this is arguably the ‘real’ main-event, or at least the one that should be contested for the WWE Championship instead. Unless I’m mistaken, Owens vs. Styles has only taken place once before on WWE television, and that was about a year ago on Raw. In fact, it was one of the most over-looked matches of 2016 (mainly because it took place on a random edition of Raw). However, on a PPV like Backlash that needs carrying, I fully expect both guys to pull out a potential MOTY candidate. In fact, the only thing that might taint its quality is the finish, as I predict Owens to retain thanks to a dirty finish. I’m definitely looking forward to this one, regardless.

While watching SmackDown last night, I gave Jinder Mahal props on Twitter for finding a way to have a boring match with AJ Styles. I didn’t think it was possible, but Mahal proved me wrong! Man, if neither Styles or Sami Zayn can have a watchable match with Jinder, good luck on Sunday, Randy. The sad/funny thing is, if Orton vs. Mahal bombs on Sunday – and that’s without taking the crowd reaction/lack of reaction into consideration – Orton could potentially have the worst match on his third straight Pay-Per-View (vs. Wyatt at WM33, House of Horrors at PayBack, and vs. Mahal at Backlash). That, too, is equally impressive. Randy Orton MUST win, if not, God help SmackDown, because I sure as hell won’t be tuning into a show which features Jinder Fucking Mahal as WWE Champion.

By the way, if you’re one of those people who are upset and/or offended by Randy Orton’s recent ‘jabs’ at indie wrestling and the whole “…dive” controversy, I’d like you to keep in mind that Randy is trolling you. Like I mentioned above, Orton has two of the worst PPV matches of 2017 on his resume and could be days away from adding a third to his list. It’s not a coincidence that he chose to start criticizing indie matches NOW, of all times. If anything, he’s brought them more attention since he probably has more Twitter followers than every indie wrestler and company combined. So if you think Orton is being a dick for his comments/posts on social media, I’d think again. He’s getting people to talk about and want to check out indie wrestling, which is certainly not a bad thing.

Just stop with your “…dive” tweets/signs/whatever. That shit isn’t even a week old yet it’s already annoying as fuck.

NXT TakeOver: Chicago Predictions:

-Bobby Roode to retain over Hideo Itami
-Nikki Cross to defeat Asuka and Ruby Riot and become NXT Women’s Champion
-The Authors of Pain to retain over #DIY; Ciampa turns on Gargano afterwards
-Pete Dunne to defeat Tyler Bate for the U.K. Championship
-Sanity to defeat Roderick Strong plus two other wrestlers (Kassius Ohno & No Way Jose?)
-Adam Cole debuts or is shown in the crowd


YOUR Two Centsss: Do you think SmackDown will bounce back in terms of quality and story-telling? If so, when and how?

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