Are we in for quality WWE content or is it a return to 2003?
If you’re unaware, the WWE was pretty much hot garbage in 2003 but had a surprisingly stacked roster and the brand split was finding it’s feet. Sound familiar? Let us all hope we won’t return to that form. Backlash is Sunday and the CWC comes to a close next week. Let’s dive in!
Coast 2 Coast is cowritten by Josh Rebuck.
1) What stood out to you from this week’s Raw?
Corey: What stood out to me was the beginning of the Seth Rollins face turn. He’s been struggling to keep the crowd booing him so it only makes sense that they would go ahead and try with a face/anti-hero run. Hopefully this will lead to the turn for Roman as well.
Josh: Rollins definitely had the biggest impact on Raw, but I want to take special note of the relationship between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. Jericho is killing it on the mic and might be operating as a sort of gatekeeper/lackey/best friend for Kevin Owens. They are doing some really interesting things in the Raw main event and I expect most everyone will elevate because of it.
2) The CWC comes to a conclusion Wednesday, who wins and why?
Corey: Well my pick is still the same. Going with Zack Sabre Jr. all the way! The man is technical perfection in the ring and it would definitely make sense. The only other possible winner would be Josh’s pick Kota Ibushi.
Josh: I’m definitely riding my guy all the way — Kota Ibushi! Of the four that remain he’s the biggest international star and I think the WWE is hungry to built up their Japanese fan base. Best way to do that is establish some already recognizable Japanese stars. However, all four guys will probably make their way to the main roster before too long, though Zack Sabre Jr. may be a holdout until next year.
3) Which match is “can’t miss” for Backlash?
Corey: Without a doubt the can’t miss match is going to be AJ Styles vs Dean Ambrose. Do I think AJ is going to win the title? No, not yet, but maybe at Survivor Series.
Josh: I’m actually really excited for the tag team title match. Heath Slater and Rhyno are oddly perfect together and I’m really glad they put together a storyline for Slater. That dude deserves it for all the terrible factions he’s been stuck in over the years. Plus, there will be an earlier qualifier match to decide the other team since the Usos heeled it up and put out American Alpha. Expect the Usos to complete their heel turn on Sunday.
4) What’s your overall impression of the Backlash card and is there anything you would compare it to?
Corey: The Backlash card is decent. Nothing too spectacular especially since they don’t have the star power that Raw has. Right now Smackdown is still trying to pull it all together and hopefully they can get some of the talent to do some character tweaks (Ziggler, Usos, Crews, and many others) to freshen up their gimmicks and help develop renewed interest in them. Right now I would compare Backlash to one of the first Smackdown tapings back in the Attitude Era over an actual Pay Per View.
Josh: It’s a mixed bag. There’s definitely going to be some highlights, but the overall card is still missing something. I’m not sure what, but it just doesn’t feel fully formed. That may mean that the Ambrose and Styles goes for 40 minutes which would be incredible. What I don’t want is a bunch of a promos to fill out the time. If I would compare it to something it might be one of the Smackdown PPVs from 2005. Solid cards, but rarely perfection.
5) Who walks out with the WWE World Championship on Sunday — Dean Ambrose or AJ Styles?
Corey: Dean Ambrose. It seems like the WWE has gotten behind him for the time being so I don’t see his title reign ending just yet, but I have no doubt there is going to be another rematch the following month.
Josh: For the exact reason Corey stated is why I actually think AJ Styles walks out with the title on Sunday. Styles really has turned into the face of Smackdown and putting the title on him would put him into another stratosphere. A rematch at the next PPV and completing finishing with a trilogy at Survivor Series where Ambrose wins it back would be sweet. Backlash should go big so it doesn’t feel like the little brother to Raw, shocking the world with a Styles title win is one way to do it.
– So Sasha Banks is facing Charlotte for the title, but Bayley go the win on Monday, so what does that mean for Bayley? Will we see a triple-threat match?
– Ember Moon has the sickest finisher in wrestling, but I can’t imagine that move won’t cause hip problems later on. I mean Steve Austin has talked extensively about much damage the stunner did to his body and he wasn’t jumping off the top rope.
– I’m genuinely impressed by the Smackdown women’s division. Everyone appears to have a role and while this Sunday we’ll only see one women’s match, I expect future Smackdown PPVs will lean heavily on their women to help carry the show.
– Talking Smack is perfect, don’t change anything about it.
* Corey didn’t have any additional thoughts for this week. His brain may be fried from wrestling content overload. We’ll check back next week with a health update.
All images courtesy of wwe.com.