Damian Priest shocked the world with his World Championship win at WrestleMania. But will he retain it at WWE Backlash?

Just a few weeks removed from the biggest WrestleMania weekend in history, the stars of WWE are gearing up for another epic night of edge-of-your-seat action: It’s time for WWE Backlash France! And even though my Mania predictions didn’t exactly pan out like I’d hoped, I feel supremely confident about hitting 100% prediction perfection for this show.

Nightmares Do Come True

April 7, 2024 will always be remembered as the day that the “American Nightmare” Cody Rhodes finally finished his story against Roman Reigns. Overcoming a sea of adversity, Rhodes was able to beat the Tribal Chief and win his first ever WWE Championship.

The swell of emotion was unlike anything wrestling fans had ever experienced, myself included. It was the most satisfying conclusion to a grueling, multi-year story that saw the fan favorite finally triumph against all odds, reaching a level of greatness that eluded his family dynasty for generations.

As heartwarming as this moment was, the show must go on. Though Rhodes’ story with the Bloodline is finished (for now), his reign at the top of WWE has just begun. The instant Cody won the championship, he became a target for many of WWE’s toughest competitors. After an action-packed eliminator tournament, the “Phenomenal One” AJ Styles emerged as Cody’s first championship challenger.

This will surely be a tough first test for Cody as a defending champion. Styles is one of the most gifted athletes in all of wrestling, with a versatile in-ring style that makes him a major threat to anyone who gets in his way. Will Styles put an abrupt end to Rhodes’ new story at WWE Backlash?

A New Bloodline

Roman Reigns has been MIA since his WrestleMania loss, which seems to have created a power vacuum from within the Bloodline. On the first post-Mania episode of SmackDown, Roman’s former heavy Solo Sikoa shocked the world by seizing control of the Bloodline in his cousin’s absence.

This regime change was punctuated with the surprise debut of Tama Tonga, a gifted but deadly fighter who has made a name for himself in countless other promotions. Tonga quickly aligned himself with Solo and the Bloodline, aiding in a vicious ambush of Jimmy Uso.

Right now it’s hard to tell who’s pulling the strings for the faction that has dominated the WWE landscape for years. Solo is acting as the de facto leader while Roman is gone, but all signs seem to indicate that Reigns isn’t the one making these decisions, as evidenced by the dumbfounded expression and uncharacteristic speechlessness from the group’s wise man Paul Heyman.

Solo and Tonga are out to prove that this new era of the Bloodline is just as devastating as the old guard. They’ll have the chance to do so this weekend at Backlash as the pair goes up against Kevin Owens and “the Viper” Randy Orton. Will the Bloodline be able to reassert themselves as the dominant force of WWE in the wake of their Tribal Chief’s crushing defeat?

Prediction Perfection for WWE Backlash

With just five matches on the card for WWE Backlash France, I feel good about my chances of finally achieving 100% prediction perfection. It’s a far cry from the 14-match colossus that was WrestleMania weekend. What’s more, history shows it’s usually safe to bet on newly crowned champions winning their first post-Mania title defense.

With the statistics on my side, I firmly believe I will face no backlash for my following picks. Here are my predictions for WWE Backlash France:

  • Randy Orton and Kevin Owens vs. The Bloodline (Solo Sikoa and Tama Tonga)

    My pick: The Bloodline

    What better way to put this new version of The Bloodline over as a legitimate threat than by having them beat two of the fiercest fighters on the roster? With this match also marking Tonga’s in-ring debut for WWE, this is the perfect way to showcase his abilities and, more over, his utter ruthlessness. I don’t just expect Orton and KO  to lose this match, I expect them to be absolutely mowed down.

  • The Kabuki Warriors (C) vs. Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill - WWE Women's Tag Team Championship

    My pick: Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill

    I probably feel the most conflicted about this particular match. On one hand, although she had a tremendous showing in her WrestleMania debut last month, Jade Cargill is still new to WWE. One could argue that it may be too soon to put a championship on her at the expense of her more experienced opponents. And with Damage CTRL’s Iyo Sky losing her women’s championship at WrestleMania, you would think they’d want to keep Damage CTRL at least somewhat in control of the women’s division.

    On the other hand, I mean, just freakin’ look at her! Jade Cargill’s entire aura just screams champion. She has the look and all the charisma of a megastar, so who am I to say it’s too soon? Not to mention she’s going into this championship match with Bianca Belair in her corner. Bianca is no stranger to championship gold, and a victory here would only add more hardware to her already impressive collection.

    I see Bianca and Jade picking up a fairly easy win here, with Jade herself getting the pin.

  • Bayley (C) vs. Naomi vs. Tiffany Stratton - WWE Women's Championship

    My pick: Bayley

    You gotta feel for Bayley here. Not only did she endure months of abuse at the hands of her former Damage CTRL teammates in the lead up to WrestleMania, but now in her first defense as WWE Women’s Champion she has the numbers stacked against her once again. In triple threat action Bayley will defend her title against her longtime friend Naomi, and the brash upstart Tiffany Stratton.

    The Buff Barbie has been a thorn in the side of both Bayley and Naomi since the first post-Mania SmackDown. Stratton immediately shoehorned herself into title contention by talking trash to the new champ as well as Naomi, who Bayley had originally picked as her opponent for her first title defense.

    I don’t really envision a scenario where Naomi wins this match. Nor do I see Stratton winning her first main roster women’s championship at the expense of Bayley, who had a long and arduous journey to the gold earlier this year. While I do think it will be Tiffy Time eventually, I don’t see it happening at Backlash. Bayley retains.

  • Damian Priest (C) vs. Jey Uso - World Heavyweight Championship

    My pick: Damian Priest

    Let me go ahead and make this known: I firmly believe Jey Uso will be a world champion in 2024. Jey’s got all the momentum in the world right now and has found new life in his solo run since breaking from the Bloodline.

    However, I don’t believe he’ll win the gold this weekend. Damian Priest has been on a roll ever since cashing in his Money In The Bank contract at WrestleMania and winning his first ever world title. And history has shown that WWE doesn’t create a moment like that unless they have big plans for the superstar in question. It would be a shame for Damian to have pulled off such a shocking upset at the biggest show of the year, just to make him a transitional champion and lose his first defense.

    I think we’ll see some trademark interference from Damian’s Judgment Day buddies, which will lead him to victory against “Main Event” Jey Uso.

  • Cody Rhodes (C) vs. AJ Styles - Undisputed WWE Championship

    My pick: Cody Rhodes

    Look, I’m not dumb. As ecstatic as I was to see Cody Rhodes finally reach the top of the mountain at WrestleMania, I know all good things come to an end. I fully recognize that Cody Rhodes will eventually lose his championship sometime down the line.

    But come on, this feels like a slam dunk. You’re gonna have the biggest fan favorite in the WWE today, who is hot off the heels of the biggest wrestling story of the last few decades, lose his first title defense? I will be absolutely gobsmacked if that happens.

    Don’t get me wrong, if there’s one thing AJ Styles excels at in the ring, it’s telling a compelling story. As obvious as this match outcome seems on paper, I fully expect Styles to put up just enough of a fight to stir doubt in the closing moments of the match. But in the end I see the American Nightmare picking up the victory and holding on to the championship he fought so hard for so long to win. Rhodes retains.

  • How To Watch

    You can watch WWE Backlash France on Saturday, May 4 at 1 p.m. ET, only on Peacock!

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