April 29, 2005
Countdown to Backlash 2005
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff

WWE returns to pay-per-view this Sunday with Backlash with five matches that have a bit of intrigue.

In most cases, there is no clear-cut winner for these bouts, with combatants playing back-and-forth type feuding. There are a lot of question marks here, but let's see if we can turn those query punctuations into exclamations. Here's what we thing will go down on Sunday.

 


WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

HHH vs. Batista


SLAM! Predictions

  • Steve Rennie
    Geez, I don't know about anyone else, but I sure as heck can't wait to see HHH regain the big gold belt. I mean, aren't most wrestling fans clamouring for The Game to embark on his 11th title reign? Seriously, I've lost whatever interest I had in Batista since WrestleMania, and HHH's act is older than Arnold Skaaland. Since it looks like these two are going to duke it out in a Hell in the Cell match down the road, I think Batista is going to hold onto the belt for at least another month.

  • Jon Waldman
    Well, on one side we have Big Dave, who hasn't lit the wrestling world on fire since gaining the gold. On the other side, we have Triple H who we know will get his belt back sooner or later. The only question here is whether or not WWE is planning on pulling the trigger on the much talked about champion switch. I think to keep their options open, the Fed will keep the belt on Batista.

  • Greg Oliver
    The classic example of the chase being more exciting than the title win. Batista was better when he was after HHH. since winning the belt, he's been relatively pushed to the sidelines. Gee, how'd that happen? But it's still too soon to give it back to Hunter. Batista wins, but probably not clean. Perhaps Ric Flair's interference backfires.

    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH

    Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho


    SLAM! Predictions

  • Steve Rennie
    My only hope is that they turn Jericho heel here and freshen up his character, which has grown staler than HHH's in recent years. This could have been built up as a battle between a multi-time IC champ who thinks he deserves the title and the new champ who wants to prove that he deserves the strap. Instead, we have Jericho calling Benjamin a bitch in a lame skit on RAW. Go figure.

  • Jon Waldman
    If there is any wrestler who is in more need of a brand switch, please let me know. Jericho has done it all on Raw, and putting the IC Title around his waist again does nothing to advance the character. Benjamin should go over here in a big way.

  • Greg Oliver
    Benjamin will go over clean. Should be a good match, though.

    TAG TEAM GRUDGE MATCH


    Hassan and Daivari vs. Hogan & Michaels


    SLAM! Predictions

  • Steve Rennie
    It'll be interesting to see what WWE is trying to accomplish with this match. Michaels and Hogan won't gain anything by picking up a win over Hassan and Daivari, so unless the Arab-Americans win and get a rub from the two legends, this is somewhat of a throwaway match. On the other hand, if Michaels turns on Hogan, which they subtly teased on RAW, the resulting PPV dream match could draw some serious money.

  • Jon Waldman
    The question here is not if HBK/Hogan will win, but how much they will destroy any credibility Hassan and Daivari have left. The only thing I can see happening here that would help this match would be Marty Jannetty helping Hassan and Daivari win, as a result of being snubbed by HBK for this match. Heck, throw him through a plate-glass set element for good measure.

  • Greg Oliver
    Man, I like both Steve and Jon's ideas. I just forsee a squash with Michaels & Hogan going over, but getting the pin on the manager, of course.

    LAST MAN STANDING MATCH

    Edge vs. Chris Benoit


    SLAM! Predictions

  • Steve Rennie
    I think this could be a heck of a match if it's given enough time. Expect a really brutal match between these guys, with both men getting busted open at some point. Edge has been on a roll since WrestleMania and Benoit is in limbo right now, so I think Edge is going to take this one.

  • Jon Waldman
    Edge has to go over here to remain credible as a number-one contender, unless they use this bout to fuel a battle for the number-one contender's spot down the line. I don't think it's going out on too long a limb to say this will be the match of the night.

  • Greg Oliver
    We've seen this lots of times, and both are capable of stealing the show. I'm going to take Benoit to win, but they'll have a (yet another) rematch on RAW with Edge being pissed, angry, etc.

    "GRUDGE" MATCH

    Kane vs. Viscera


    SLAM! Predictions

  • Steve Rennie
    Two words: bathroom break. Even throwing Trish Stratus into the mix won't make this match worth watching, and that's saying a lot. This might be mildly interesting if Viscera and Kane go retro and come out as Mabel and Isaac Yankem, DDS, with Doink the Clown as special guest referee and Dink as the timekeeper.

  • Jon Waldman
    Well, this is an obvious set-up with Trish headed to the injured list. Kane gets his W here, defending his wife's honour. Along the way, either he or Lita will take out Ms. Stratus, exacting revenge for Ms. Dumas' injury. Of course, while Trish is on the mend, the Women's Division will be tossed away. Damn shame.

  • Greg Oliver
    Kane goes over.


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    -- compiled by Jon Waldman


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