You’re probably thinking WWE SummerSlam 2016 was only a few weeks ago — and you’d be right. As part of this “New Era” that WWE continues to promote we’ve come to the point post-draft where both the WWE Raw and SmackDown Live brands are going to be running separate pay per view events every 2-3 weeks, then joining forces for the major events like Survivor Series and the Royal Rumble. Speaking of SmackDown Live, the WWE Backlash 2016 card this Sunday is one of SmackDown exclusive events, and the first post-draft PPV for SD. This is their chance to put their best foot forward and show what COO Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan are doing to distinguish their brand and talent roster from Raw. That starts at the top with the “Unstable” Dean Ambrose, who despite being the WWE World Champion is actually the dog in this fight at +265, with the challenger AJ Styles being the -265 favorite. This is the point where we should and always do point out that odds like this do not reflect the physical prowess or technical wrestling ability of either man. The odds as such here are a reflection of what the writers in charge here think is the best story to tell, and with AJ Styles getting a huge win over John Cena at the LAST PPV, now is the right time to tell that tale and have Styles ascend to the top. It arguably might HELP Ambrose a bit — he’s been flat of late as a babyface champion but could be quite strong chasing the arrogant heel Styles. SmackDown Live is crowning several new championships to help push their brand extension forward post-draft and we’ve got betting odds on those matches as well. While we can’t tell you who Heath Slater & Rhyno will be facing in the tag team tournament finals, since the Usos and the Hype Bros have a match on the PPV to determine their opponent, I strongly suspect the Usos are going over given their recent heel turn and the fact they are the more established team in WWE. Furthermore given that Heath Slater & Rhyno are +160 dogs against an opponent not even determined before the show (their unnamed opponents are -210) you could almost certainly bet on the Usos being crowned the first SmackDown Tag Team Title champions. WWE also has a “six pack challenge” for the newly minted SmackDown Women’s Championship. Here are the contenders and their chances of winning according to the latest odds, each one “against the field” respectively: Nikki Bella -140, Becky Lynch +145, Natalya +1400, Alexa Bliss +2200, Carmella and Naomi both +4500. Now as a wrestling fan it makes more sense to me to have Becky or Natalya be your inaugural champion, but from WWE’s point of view Nikki Bella has a new show called “Total Bellas” to promote and putting the title on her just serves as a vehicle to plug the reality show on E! Sorry y’all, that’s how these things work. As always please remember that these previews are for entertainment purposes and that if you wager to bet only what you can afford. Enjoy WWE Backlash!
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