WWE’s build to Backlash has left a lot to be desired, but that doesn’t make SmackDown Live’s first pay-per-view since WrestleMania 33 any less important to the direction of the brand.
Though there was plenty of time to get here, the eight-match card had three of its bouts added in just the last week — none of which are particularly noteworthy. Still, three of the brand’s four titles will be defended on the show, which emanates live from Chicago on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET. (The kickoff show begins one hour earlier at 7 p.m.)
WWE Backlash 2017 predictions
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English (Kickoff Show)
BC: Give English credit for transitioning nicely out of his Vaudevillains character and back into his original NXT gimmick as an annoying crooner. That said, there’s little to no buzz for this feud, booked to put “The Perfect 10” over. Pick: Dillinger wins
AS: Dillinger brings a 2-0 record against English into this match, and though WWE is giving English a chance with his new “Drama King” gimmick, a win here is incredibly unlikely. Pick: Dillinger wins
Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
AS: Normally, there would be no internal debate here. Haprer is better in the ring and has a brighter future, but WWE had Rowan win clean recently on SmackDown despite the fact that Harper had an outside chance at the No. 1 contendership for the WWE title heading into WrestleMania. Ultimately, I think — and hope — this is a case of 50/50 booking and Harper gets the win back despite the recent minor Rowan push. If not, WWE is wasting a legitimate talent. Pick: Harper wins
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