We had to wait for SummerSlam to end to get to this point, but SmackDown finally has its own, blue-brand-exclusive pay-per-view event. Every wrestler is a SmackDown wrestler, every story a SmackDown story. To really drive that point home, two brand-new championships are on the line: the SmackDown Women’s Championship, and the SmackDown Tag Team Championships.
So, let’s get to it. Backlash will begin at 8 p.m. ET, but the pre-show will kickoff on the WWE Network at 7 p.m. There are six matches on the card and a three-hour show to fill once 8 p.m., so we might be in for some real lengthy bouts, which will be a change from SmackDown’s usual brisk pace.
Intercontinental Championship Match: The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
What am I looking at here? The Miz is trying to convince everyone that he’s an incredible champion worthy of your praise because he shows up every day, ready to work. Dolph Ziggler is trying to convince everyone — and maybe himself — that he’s the wrestler capable of proving Miz wrong. Also, his hair sometimes looks like spaghetti.
Why you should care: The Miz is underrated — if you disagree with that statement, you’re just proving it right. Mind blown, yeah? He really does show up all the time, and do everything WWE needs him to do in and out of the ring, and he is maybe being setup to hold on to the Intercontinental title for some time until SmackDown is ready to push him toward something even greater. The thing is, Ziggler is being presented as someone who is approaching his last opportunity to prove he belongs at this tier or better — so, who is the one who’s going to win? Both of these wrestlers need the W, both of them need the title, but only one of them can leave this match with it.
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
What am I looking at here? The tall dude covered in skull tattoos is Randy Orton, who, if you did not know before, you likely know as the guy whose head Brock Lesnar split open at SummerSlam. Bray Wyatt is the bayou cult leader also covered in tattoos, just not of the skull variety. Orton is here to prove that losing to Lesnar in his return to WWE doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near finished. Wyatt is here to prove... uh... well, let;s not focus on that too much. WWE usually doesn’t.
Why you should care: Don’t take the above the wrong way: Randy Orton is awesome, and so is Bray Wyatt. The build to this match hasn’t been much to care about, but the thing is, at the end of the day, it’s still Randy Orton and Bray Wyatt in a match and they’re going to tear each other to pieces for our amusement in it.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament Match: The Usos vs. The Hype Bros
What am I looking at here? Let’s rewind: So, American Alpha defeated The Usos in the SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament on Tuesday, and Jimmy and Jey Uso did not take kindly to that. The twin brothers turned heel and attacked Chad Gable’s knee until it got to the point where American Alpha was no longer cleared to compete in Backlash’s tournament final. So, The Usos get a chance to defeat The Hype Bros — who lost to Heath Slater and Rhyno in the semi-finals — and move on to the finals.
Why you should care: The Usos were getting pretty boring despite their talent, and since crowds were often booing them due to their association with Roman Reigns — they’re real-life cousins, and WWE played that up just long enough to make The Usos hated by many. Now, by going bad, they just might recapture some popularity, or at least give people an actual reason to boo. We’d talk about why you should care about The Hype Bros part of it, especially since they’re talented and interesting, but this is all about The Usos given their heel turn.
SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match: Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. ...someone
What am I looking at here? The winner of The Usos vs. The Hype Bros will take on Heath Slater and Rhyno. Slater isn’t officially a SmackDown wrestler, but can become one if he and Rhyno win the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. Heath Slater is incredible, but he’s often used as the butt of, well, every joke WWE can think of. That’s not a complaint, by the way, as he’s wonderful at that, but it would be good to see him get a chance to succeed. Especially since he has like, 18 kids to feed. And he just got an above-ground pool!
Why you should care: The thing is, Slater probably won’t succeed, because there is value in depriving him of the victory and closure everyone wants him to get. Plus, seeing how he’ll get screwed out of the tag titles by the newly-evil Usos — like said above, they’re likely the winners of the previous match on the card — is worth your attention.
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Six-Pack Challenge feat. Becky Lynch, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Naomi, Carmella, Natalya, and Alexa Bliss
What am I looking at here? SmackDown is adding a Women’s Championship to the brand, and they are letting the entire women’s division fight for it. Well, Eva Marie isn’t involved in the match, but only because she hasn’t finished her vacation to recover from the bout of exhaustion that fans caused her to have. The other six are all here, though, with Becky, Nikki, and Naomi as the faces, and Natalya, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss as the heels. There is a ton of talent in this match, and the fact that it’s an elimination format means we’ll get a chance to see it all on display.
Why you should care: It’s the first-ever Women’s Championship match for SmackDown! Carmella and Nikki Bella are already feuding, with Carmella targeting Nikki’s surgically repaired neck every week since SummerSlam. This kind of setup, with elimination taking every wrestler out until just one is left standing as champ, means we’ll not only see stories being told in the match itself, but also setup for the stories SmackDown will tell with its women’s division next. These are exciting times, y’all: two women’s titles in WWE! At the same time!
WWE World Championship Match: Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles
What am I looking at here? Dean Ambrose has successfully defended the WWE World title against Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, (then the two of them at the same time), and Dolph Ziggler. Now, though, he might be facing his greatest challenge yet as champ, as AJ Styles is arguably WWE’s greatest wrestler right now. Styles defeated John Cena at SummerSlam, with Styles declaring himself the new face that runs the place in the process. Both of these dudes are tremendous, with Styles doing great character work since turning heel in addition to his incredible ring work, and Ambrose has taken inarguable leaps and bounds forward since becoming champ.
Why you should care: What, a successful and super-over WWE champion facing off against potentially the greatest opponent he’ll be able to face in the entire company isn’t enough for you? Well, tune in, because you’ll likely find out that yes, it was enough for you.