In years past, WWE Backlash has traditionally featured title changes, the conclusion of ruthless rivalries and beginning of new ones. The 2018 installment might be no exception considering what's on tap for the show, even if the build has left a bit to be desired.
On paper, it's hard to argue this is anything but an extremely predictable pay-per-view. Then again, the same was said about WrestleMania 34 going into the event, yet many finishes on that show left viewers stunned.
While Backlash could end up exceeding expectations, the key will be if WWE swerves fans for the right reasons to create compelling programming for the coming weeks. Thus, here are four bold predictions for the pay-per-view that could come to fruition.
Alexa Bliss' Pursuit of the Raw Women's Championship Comes to an End
Alexa Bliss has been a mainstay in the Raw Women's Championship picture since her arrival on the red brand more than one year ago. Even before switching shows, she was constantly in the mix for the SmackDown Women's Championship, so Bliss is no stranger to the championship scene.
She has earned every accolade she has received through her exceptional mic work and enjoyable matches. For a long time, no one came close to being on her level, but Nia Jax finally broke through the proverbial glass ceiling at WrestleMania, where she beat Bliss for the Raw women's title.
Bliss' bullying of Jax in recent weeks has made for entertaining TV, but Backlash must mark the end of their feud as well as Bliss' time in the title picture. There are plenty more fresh faces for Jax to defend against in the coming months, including Ember Moon, The Riott Squad and Natalya.
Besides, Bliss could benefit from taking a lesser role in the division for the foreseeable future so she doesn't feel as overexposed. A match with Ronda Rousey would allow her to maintain momentum in a high-profile program.
Big Cass Upsets Daniel Bryan
When Daniel Bryan was cleared to compete again back in March, fans salivated over the countless dream matches involving the American Dragon that were possible. AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and Samoa Joe came to mind as potential opponents. Big Cass was nowhere near the top of that list.
Nevertheless, Cass wasted no time in targeting Bryan upon his return to TV in April, claiming Bryan represented what he once was: weak. To his credit, Cass has impressed on the microphone, though it remains to be seen how he will fare in the ring against one of WWE's elite athletes.
Bryan is at his best when he is overcoming the odds, and thus beating Big Cass at Backlash would mean virtually nothing. A Cass victory, however, would be a shocking turn of events and ensure the rivalry remains alive going forward.
A defeat for the fan favorite would elicit a negative reaction from the audience, but the heat Cass would garner from such a monumental victory would be huge. The New York native is more than the flavor of the month; he's here to stay, and he will prove that with a win at Backlash.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn Tease Tension
Despite being signed to Raw in grand fashion by Stephanie McMahon in April, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn's Raw run isn't off to the strongest start. They have lost three straight tag team matches, but they will have the chance to redeem themselves against Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley at Backlash.
While a win by the heels is plausible, it's more likely Owens and Zayn suffer yet another defeat at the hands of the behemoths. Additionally, look for the friends to tease tension and plant the seeds for their inevitable split.
It is far from being the best booking decision, but let's not forget that the writing has been on the wall for some time. During their WWE Championship program with AJ Styles earlier this year, Owens and Zayn weren't on the same page, and Zayn went so far as to betray his best friend in order to pick up a victory.
It's more a matter of when than if one will turn on the other, and Backlash could be the time and place it happens. However, one can only hope WWE resists the urge to break up this fun pairing prematurely.
Roman Reigns' Recent Losing Streak in Marquee Matches Continues
Regardless of how you feel about the booking of his character, Roman Reigns' status as a main event player in WWE can not be denied. He is bound to be a focal point of Raw for years to come, but it appears WWE believes portraying him as an underdog will be what gets him over as a beloved babyface.
His losing streak in marquee matches on pay-per-view began when he failed to take the Universal Championship from Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 34. Considering Reigns was also unsuccessful versus The Beast Incarnate at Greatest Royal Rumble, one would assume he's the odds-on favorite to beat Samoa Joe at Backlash.
Reigns has no obvious direction post-Backlash, whereas Joe could be in line for a shot at the WWE Championship immediately following the event based off what went down on the most recent edition of SmackDown Live.
As predictable as a decisive loss to Reigns may seem for The Samoan Submission Machine, Joe having his hand raised is a real possibility. Not only that, but it's a bold prediction worth banking on if WWE's tendency to swerve viewers is any indication.
Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.