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Countdown to WWE Backlash
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff




WWE Backlash, which goes down tonight on pay-per-view, is the start of a new era in the Fed. Starting tonight Smackdown, Raw and ECW will no longer have their own special events. Instead, all three brands team up to present a supercard every month.

As an indicator of this new philosphy, all three World belts are up for grabs tonight. Three other matches highlight the card as well. For a closer look, let's check in with the SLAM! crew and see what they have to say.


Bob Kapur

Fatal Four Way Match (WWE Heavyweight Championship)
John Cena vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

I'd actually prefer a rematch between HBK and Cena after the fantastic match they had on RAW this past week. Edge and Orton just seem thrown in after-the-fact, and it seems they'll only be in there as a way of setting up their feud. Look for them to eliminate each other from contention and Cena getting the win over Shawn to retain.

3-on-1 Handicap Match (ECW World Heavyweight Championship)
Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. McMahon/Shane McMahon/Umaga

Despite all the attempts to make Lashley a superstar, I just can't find myself to care. He's just too bland and too green for me to invest anything in him or in his matches. Lashley will overcome the odds and win - hopefully very quickly.

Last Man Standing Match (World Heavyweight Championship)
Undertaker vs. Batista

I doubt that Undertaker will be able to carry Batista to another solid performance like he did at Mania. But if they use the gimmick well, and it ends up being a hardcore war filled with weapons and blood, it may be distracting enough that it doesn't matter. Taker retains.

World Tag Team Championship Match
The Hardys vs. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch

Cade and Murdoch got their singles wins on consecutive RAW's, but the Hardy Boyz will give them their comeuppance tonight.

United States Championship Match
Chris Benoit vs. MVP

If nothing else, working with Benoit is at least building up MVP's credibility somewhat. His outfit still sucks, though. Benoit retains.

Women's Championship Match
Women's Champion Melina vs. Mickie James

They've exchanged the belts on this recent tour, so I'm seeing that as a sign of things to come. Mickie is your new champ.


Greg Oliver

Fatal Four Way Match (WWE Heavyweight Championship)
John Cena vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

The intrigue for insiders is how Orton is used, if he's used at all. The cynic in me says it's all a swerve and that Orton goes over here. The brain in me says that Cena, somehow, survives with his belt. If he loses, it should be one-on-one.

3-on-1 Handicap Match (ECW World Heavyweight Championship)
Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. McMahon/Shane McMahon/Umaga

Sigh. This again? Will Lashley ever have a real challenger? Lashley wins, but gets really beaten up in the process, making him more superhuman.

Last Man Standing Match (World Heavyweight Championship)
Undertaker vs. Batista

I didn't really care at 'Mania, and I don't really care now. Batista bores me, and 'Taker, well, it's been a good run, but ... 'Taker retains.

World Tag Team Championship Match
The Hardys vs. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch

I've always liked Cade & Murdoch, though WWE has done zilch as far as character development. Hardys win.

United States Championship Match
Chris Benoit vs. MVP

The progression of MVP continues with an upset victory.

Women's Championship Match
Women's Champion Melina vs. Mickie James

They've switched in Europe, and they'll switch here.


Matt Mackinder

Fatal Four Way Match (WWE Heavyweight Championship)
John Cena vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

Four-way matches always seem so busy in the ring as guys are confined and can't put on a decent show. Cena can't drop the title so soon after WrestleMania can he? Edge is still hurt and Orton can't behave himself. The only logical ending to this match is Cena pinning Orton (doing the job) with HBK having a fit and getting a rematch at the next PPV.

3-on-1 Handicap Match (ECW World Heavyweight Championship)
Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. McMahon/Shane McMahon/Umaga

Like I said in my ECW report two weeks ago, if McMahon wins the belt here, I will once and for all say something nice about VKM. I don't see that happening, so I hope to God that Lashley retains and continues his roll. At least lately, Lashley has developed a mean streak, but still not as extreme as ECW would lead you to believe.

Last Man Standing Match (World Heavyweight Championship)
Undertaker vs. Batista

This will either be a gong show or a solid match. Both guys should juice and both should put it all on the line. I think this may go 20-25 minutes, but we'll see. I like the Dead Man retaining the gold here and perhaps dropping it to Mr. Kennedy...Kennedy at SummerSlam.

World Tag Team Championship Match
The Hardys vs. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch

If the titles get taken from the Hardys, it'll be because of cheap tactics. Please retain, Hardys.

United States Championship Match
Chris Benoit vs. MVP

Will Benoit ever get off the undercard? Maybe, because MVP wins the title here.

Women's Championship Match
Women's Champion Melina vs. Mickie James

Mickie can actually wrestle, but Melina is the no-talented eye candy Vince wants us to drool over. Give Mickie the belt already.


Brian Elliott

Fatal Four Way Match (WWE Heavyweight Championship)
John Cena vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

Michaels' defeat of Cena in that spectacular match in London, England was a demonstration to fans that "The Heartbreak Kid" is capable of pinning the champ, something that Edge had also proved throughout 2006. That only leaves Orton, this bout's fall guy, primarily because of his recent behavioural indiscretions. Cena to pin Orton.

3-on-1 Handicap Match (ECW World Heavyweight Championship)
Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. McMahon/Shane McMahon/Umaga

Given such a close call by Umaga at WrestleMania, one would think that 3-1 odds in favour of the McMahon team would be too much for even Lashley. However, I believe he will scrape another win in this one, with Shane McMahon the one to go down.

Last Man Standing Match (World Heavyweight Championship)
Undertaker vs. Batista

It is interesting that this bout is a Last Man Standing match only two bouts into the Undertaker vs Batista feud. Even more interesting to note will be how Batista performs after one of his best ever matches at WrestleMania. The Undertaker character continues to be immensely strong on television, but I can see a short changing of the guard here, before Undertaker regains the title in a rubber match.

World Tag Team Championship Match
The Hardys vs. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch

In a match which hopefully receives the time that Cade andMurdoch deserve, the Hardys run out victors.

United States Championship Match
Chris Benoit vs. MVP

MVP takes the belt in suspicious circumstances.

Women's Championship Match
Women's Champion Melina vs. Mickie James

Melina holds on to the title and begins to become established as a long-term champion.



Jon Waldman

Fatal Four Way Match (WWE Heavyweight Championship)
John Cena vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels

I get a sneaking suspicion that the whole "Randy Orton trashes the hotel again" is a ruse. After all, it's the first time that I can remember that wwe.com has reported on "disciplinary action", despite the wellness suspensions. I certainly wouldn't put it past WWE to swerve everyone via the 'net. So as bizarre as it sounds, I'm putting my money on Orton to take the title.

3-on-1 Handicap Match (ECW World Heavyweight Championship)
Bobby Lashley vs. Mr. McMahon/Shane McMahon/Umaga

Two titles changing hands on one show? You bet. While fans will get a sick feeling over the threat ofVinnie Mac being the ECW champ, I have little doubt that the Fed has thought this out in advance. Instead, Shane McMahon, who in the ring is more extreme than Lashley could ever dream of being, will be the one wearing the strap at the end of the night.

Last Man Standing Match (World Heavyweight Championship)
Undertaker vs. Batista

Whoever wins here will pretty much go on to face Ken Kennedy. That's inevitable. What we don't know is how WWE's book will take this one. The nature of the LMS match would almost make you think that Kennedy will take his opportunity to get the belt here and now, and that's what should happen tonight. The reality is neither Batista nor 'Taker need the belt now, and a feud between them puts the belt in a secondary spot. So let Undertaker retain, just for fun, but lose to Mr. Kennedy...Kennedy in the end.

World Tag Team Championship Match
The Hardys vs. Lance Cade/Trevor Murdoch

Could we be in line for another title switch? Why not. Cade and Murdoch need the credibility.

United States Championship Match
Chris Benoit vs. MVP

It's MVP's time to get the belt, or his fantastic wrestling of late will be forgotten. MVP takes the title.

Women's Championship Match
Women's Champion Melina vs. Mickie James

It's a clean sweep folks. Every title changes hands tonight, as Mickie James wins here, then gets a rude awakening from Beth Phoenix on Monday.


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-- compiled by Jon Waldman