Picture: WWE

Puerto Rico will finally host their first WWE Premium Live Event since 2005, with Backlash taking place this Sunday featuring a monstrous card for the San Juan faithful.

The show will emanate from Coliseo de Puerto Rico José Miguel Agrelot at 10am AEST on BINGE and will be the last Premium Live Event before the WWE Draft comes into full effect.

Multiple main event-calibre matches are scheduled that will shape the tone of Backlash, including the culmination of The Bloodline’s rivalry with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Matt Riddle, Bad Bunny colliding against friend-turned-foe, Damian Priest and Cody Rhodes facing an uphill battle in the form of Brock Lesnar.

There should also be results that will be influenced by the outcomes of the WWE Draft, especially involving the championships that are set to be defended.

Below is The Inner Sanctum‘s preview and predictions for each match at Backlash.

Seth Rollins vs Omos

Picture: WWE

The announcement of a match between Seth Rollins and Omos caught the WWE Universe by surprise, as the two will compete against each other at Backlash.

It was made official on the April 22 edition of Smackdown, when the Visionary and Nigerian Giant had no interaction with one another prior. However, Rollins and Omos came face-to-face on the following week’s episode of Raw where MVP said he orchestrated the match.

Video: WWE

Although the contest may not feel important, it certainly poses implications for Night of Champions at the end of the month. The Visionary is the hot favourite to become the new World Heavyweight Champion, while the Nigerian Giant has been suggested by some as a possible opponent for Roman Reigns at the Premium Live Event.

Rollins should not be losing if the plan is for him to become the red brand’s world champion, as he is also riding a wave of momentum from a WrestleMania win and how favourable he is with the WWE Universe.

Prediction: Seth Rollins

Rhea Ripley (c) vs Zelina Vega – Smackdown Women’s Championship

Picture: WWE

In her first title defence after capturing the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania, Rhea Ripley will compete against Zelina Vega at Backlash.

Their respective factions have been feuding from before WrestleMania and it has only intensified since, as the challenger declared her desire for an opportunity at the gold on the April 22 edition of Smackdown.

Vega asked Adam Pearce for the match, saying she is the only Puerto Rican woman on the roster and wants to make her people proud by overcoming the Eradicator.

Video: WWE

Despite the challenger’s hungry and ambitious attitude, Ripley is a certainty to walk out of Backlash still the Smackdown Women’s Champion.

The match will serve as a showcase of Vega’s ability against the strongest woman in the division, but she should only receive one shot before the Eradicator moves towards newer programs after the WWE Draft.

Prediction: Rhea Ripley

Bianca Belair (c) vs IYO SKY – Raw Women’s Championship

Picture: WWE

By Backlash, Bianca Belair would have become the equal-longest reigning Raw Women’s Champion of all time. However, her tenure will be in jeopardy when she takes on IYO SKY of Damage CTRL.

The Genius of the SKY emerged as the number one contender on the April 11 edition of Raw, prevailing over Piper Niven and Michin in a triple-threat match. Bayley was supposed to fulfill her partner’s position, but SKY and Kai affirmed to their leader that she’s had her chances at the gold.

Video: WWE

It created temporary tension, but the Damage CTRL member is a genuine threat to dethrone the E.S.T. after most assumed that Asuka would capture the Raw Women’s Title at WrestleMania.

SKY is a very realistic choice to finally end Belair’s year-long reign as Raw Women’s Champion, while it could also create the possibility of a Damage CTRL breakup and a babyface turn from SKY or Bayley for a potential feud.

However, there is so much unknown with the women’s championships and how they will be affected after Backlash. The E.S.T. and Genius of the SKY are both on Smackdown, as the winner of their match could either be traded to Raw for Rhea Ripley or simply swap the belts with the Eradicator in a move that would sour many fans.

Regardless, SKY should defeat Belair in a golden opportunity to build a new star for the women’s division to centre around.

Prediction: IYO SKY

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Austin Theory (c) vs Bobby Lashley vs Bronson Reed – United States Championship

Picture: WWE

Austin Theory will encounter his toughest test yet as United States Champion, defending his gold against Bobby Lashley and Bronson Reed at Backlash.

The All Mighty and Aussie Destroyer have been feuding since the Andre the Giant Battle Royal, before colliding in a singles match on the April 11 edition of Raw. It resulted in a double count-out, with Reed still seething a week later by causing a disqualification in Lashley’s contest against Theory.

Their rivalry has now intertwined into a program involving the United States Championship, as a brawl between all three competitors ensued on the April 25 edition of Raw that saw the Aussie Destroyer stand tall.

Video: WWE

However, Reed can be ruled out for capturing the United States Title since he was drafted to Raw where the Intercontinental Championship now resides. Meanwhile, Lashley could be built as a possible challenger for Roman Reigns in the short-term future after moving to Smackdown.

Therefore, it places Theory in a prime position to retain his title and opens the door for a plethora of new feuds. The champion also crossed over to the blue brand in the draft and could be incorporated into rivalries against the likes of AJ Styles, Sheamus, LA Knight and Cameron Grimes.

Prediction: Austin Theory

Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn & Matt Riddle vs The Bloodline

Picture: WWE

In what should be the final match between both of these parties, The Bloodline will challenge Matt Riddle and current Undisputed Tag Team Champions, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.

The Original Bro officially joined forces with the Prizefighter and former Honorary Uce on the April 8 edition of Smackdown, saving Zayn from an outnumbered assault by Jey Uso and Solo Sikoa. This was also Riddle’s opportunity for revenge on the Street Champion after the latter ruled him out of action in December.

Picture: WWE

With this contest, The Usos are aiming for a consolation prize to redeem themselves after losing the Undisputed Tag Team Championships. However, a win from Owens, Zayn and Riddle is the best choice and further develops the story of animosity between Roman Reigns and his cousins.

The match will also move the Prizefighter and former Honorary Uce to new title programs on Raw, while Riddle can secure his revenge on The Bloodline and also inject himself into a possible hunt for the World Heavyweight Championship

Prediction: Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn & Matt Riddle

Damian Priest vs Bad Bunny – San Juan Street Fight

Picture: WWE

Not only will Bad Bunny host Backlash, but he will also meet Damian Priest at the Premium Live Event for a San Juan Street Fight.

The music sensation prevented Dominik Mysterio from using chains to his advantage at WrestleMania, before striking him twice on the following edition of Raw. Priest was infuriated and the rivalry between former friends was born, as the Punishment of the Judgment Day sent Bunny through the announce table.

However, the artist returned three weeks later on Raw and partially secured revenge by assaulting Priest with a kendo stick. Bunny stood tall to close the show and challenged his now-nemesis to a street fight.

Video: WWE

It was assumed that these two were going to be involved in a tag team match with Rey and Dominik Mysterio, but Priest and Bunny will instead receive singles spotlight. This contest also consolidates Priest for being the only member of the Judgment Day to not compete in a match at WrestleMania.

The no-disqualification stipulation will allow the Judgment Day and Latino World Order to insert themselves into the fray, but Priest should emerge victorious. His faction has had momentum in the build to Backlash and a win here would catapult the group for a bigger push post-WWE Draft.

Prediction: Damian Priest

Cody Rhodes vs Brock Lesnar

Picture: WWE

In what should be the main event for Backlash, Cody Rhodes will collide against Brock Lesnar and attempt to overcome more adversity following his devastating defeat at WrestleMania.

The unexpected feud kickstarted on the controversial Raw after WrestleMania, where the Beast unleashed a brutal beatdown on the American Nightmare when the two were slated to tag team against Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa.

Lesnar fooled Rhodes with a destructive assault, as the latter made the challenge for Backlash one week later on April 11.

Video: WWE

The rivalry has received large criticism for lacking in story, as the Beast never explained his actions for attacking the American Nightmare. It has also been labelled as repetitive, with the WWE Universe comparing it to Lesnar’s feud with John Cena after WrestleMania 28 in 2012.

This match should be a contributing factor in the American Nightmare’s journey to a second match against the Tribal Chief, despite being drafted on the opposing brand to Roman Reigns.

Rhodes would have climbed a lofty mountain and use a victory to mount his case for another chance at the Undisputed Universal Championship, which a trade or Money in the Bank win could ensure.

He would benefit from a win much more, while it is pointless having the Beast triumph in this match. He will more than likely undertake a hiatus and return during SummerSlam season for a potential clash against Gunther.

Prediction: Cody Rhodes

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