WWE News: Women's division match for Backlash announced at SmackDown Live tapings
Women's match announced for Backlash event on May 21st in Chicago.
What’s the story?
The women’s division match for Backlash has been set. It was announced at the latest SmackDown Live taping in London that Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and the SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi will take on Carmella, Tamina Snuka, and Natalya at Backlash on May 21st in Chicago.
In case you didn’t know...
The SmackDown Live women’s division has been in a state of flux since the Superstar Shake-up after WrestleMania 33. It seemed Naomi was set atop the division as the lead babyface given that she won the SmackDown Live Women’s Championship at WrestleMania 33 in her hometown of Orlando.
That run at the top was short-lived as Charlotte moved over to SmackDown via the Shake-up and promptly turned babyface herself.
Becky Lynch also stayed on SmackDown Live and has been a top babyface on that show since the brand split in the summer of 2016. Carmella, Tamina, and Natalya have called themselves the “Welcoming Committee” and have been a stable-like heel group working to oust Charlotte upon her arrival to the show.
Becky teased a heel turn that would have aligned herself with The Welcoming Committee but chose to side with Charlotte and Naomi to fend off the heel group. Charlotte is a five-time champion in the WWE and one of the most gifted athletes on the roster.
Lynch is also a former champion while Namoi currently holds the SmackDown Women’s Championship belt.
The heart of the matter
It was announced at the London SmackDown Live taping that instead of the defending the SmackDown Women’s championship in a match at Backlash, Naomi will team with Charlotte and Becky Lynch to face The Welcoming Committee of Carmella, Tamina Snuka, and Natalya.
Backlash is the first SmackDown-exclusive PPV on the WWE Network since WrestleMania 33. It will be held on Sunday, May 21st live from Chicago’s Allstate Arena.
It’s always important to see champions defend their titles on big shows. It makes the shows seem bigger and it makes the championship look important. By not moving forward with a women’s title match at Backlash, the WWE has risked weakening Naomi as a champion and the SmackDown Women’s Championship itself.
That said, it’s a worthwhile risk. With all the shifts and moving parts brought on by the Superstar Shake-up, the WWE needs to define who is who in the women’s division before anything else.
That is priority “A” and that is why this match is happening.
This program clearly differentiates the heels from the babyfaces. Don’t be surprised to see a turn throughout the remainder of this program as well. This feud, though not ideal, impacts and gives direction to the division and the championship programs can commence shortly thereafter with everyone’s role more clearly stated.
It’s unfortunate that Naomi isn’t defending her championship at Backlash. I’m a firm believer that shows come off better with champions in matches with their belts on the line. That said, I get where WWE is going with this.
Charlotte joining SmackDown Live drastically changed the look and trajectory of the SmackDown Women’s Division. The WWE had to address that change. This match is their way of doing that.
Lynch has teased turning heel throughout this feud so I would not be surprised to see that take place at the Backlash event. If a Becky Lynch heel turn is what we get out of this program, it’ll all be worth it.
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