WWE Backlash France predictions: Can The Bloodline succeed under new leadership?

Cody Rhodes tells McAfee the moment he knew he was winning universal title (1:40)

Cody Rhodes explains to Pat McAfee that he knew he was going to win the undisputed WWE Universal Championship the moment he came up the elevator. (1:40)

The WWE's tour of international premium live events continues with Backlash in Lyon-Decines, France on Saturday afternoon (1 p.m. ET on Peacock). The Undisputed WWE title is on the line, as are four other titles -- giving this card a Night of Champions feel without the actual name attached.

The 19th edition of Backlash feels eerily similar to last year's event in Puerto Rico. Bianca Belair is involved in a title match vs. a member of Damage CTRL, Randy Orton is entangled once more with The Bloodline in a tag match and two men who defined that night in San Juan (Cody Rhodes and Damian Priest) are now entrenched in the first defenses of the respective titles they won at WrestleMania 40.

Will the trio who won titles at WrestleMania be going home empty-handed? Is Backlash a precursor to one of the most important summers in recent WWE history?

Here's a look at each of the matches in France, along with predictions on how these feuds may play out.

Undisputed WWE title match: Cody Rhodes (c) vs. AJ Styles

If WrestleMania 40 ended like "Avengers: Endgame," with a long, arching story finally reaching a satisfying conclusion, Backlash represents the beginning of something new for Cody Rhodes. A year ago at this event, he battled Brock Lesnar, bloodied him and escaped. He's the champion this go-round, and AJ Styles represents a unique first challenger.

After dispatching LA Knight a week after WrestleMania to secure his spot as the No. 1 contender, Styles did what many a man before him has done when approaching Rhodes: he invoked his late father, Dusty. However, Styles' angle is different than those before him. He doesn't hate Rhodes, nor did "The American Dream" proclaim him to be a son he never had. Styles merely wants it to be understood that Dusty gave him the tools to be a man and succeed everywhere in pro wrestling. And he has done just that.

Even though they've wrestled in nearly every major wrestling promotion in America, the stars have never aligned for them to be simultaneously across the ring from one another -- until now. With a feud built on respect (and past ties to New Japan's Bullet Club faction), Backlash represents a moment between two Georgia boys who want to be champion, but only one will likely walk out with the gold.

Prediction: Cody Rhodes wins after a lengthy battle, but the two may run it back once things get more personal.

World Heavyweight title match: Damian Priest (c) vs. Jey Uso

For nearly nine months, Damian Priest was in a "will he or won't he" limbo with his Money in The Bank briefcase. One fortunate moment at WrestleMania and Senor Money in the Bank became El campeón. With Rhea Ripley sidelined for a few months, he steps in as the de facto leader of The Judgment Day, even if his underlings aren't exactly living up to his championship mettle. Hence why Jey Uso being his first challenger makes all the sense in the world.

Since his arrival to RAW last September, Uso has made peace with plenty of people he assaulted and aggrieved while The Bloodline ran rampant on the WWE for the better part of three years. The night after WrestleMania, he outlasted Drew McIntyre, Ricochet and Bronson Reed in a Fatal 4-Way to become the No. 1 contender for the World title. And considering Uso's history with The Judgment Day and his personal history with Priest, it's deeper than joining a faction between them. There's some simmering bad blood, and given all the criticism Priest faced for not being champion, he's dead set on not having a short reign.

Prediction: Priest retains, with a bit of help from either The Judgment Day or Uso's cousins in The Bloodline.

WWE Women's title match: Bayley (c) vs. Naomi vs. Tiffany Stratton

Bayley finished her own story at WrestleMania. Despite being the first of the Four Horsewomen to become a Grand Slam champion, the noted 49ers fan never had a true WrestleMania moment until that fateful night in Philadelphia. Now going from hunter to hunted, The Role Model thought she would get a friendly, competitive one-on-one with Naomi. Instead, Tiffany Stratton has made it known that the entire WWE should be on "Tiffy Time," including the women's champion and one of her best friends.

Naomi's desire to be a champion isn't lost on anyone involved, considering she not only held down TNA during her time away from the WWE as champion, but she's also very aware of what being a champion means. If she, Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill leave France with gold? It's a historic moment. Bayley isn't planning on giving up a title and moment she sought for years this easily, not to a close friend and especially not to the upstart in Stratton.

Prediction: Bayley wins, though Stratton proves to not only be a game opponent, but that she's ready to challenge Bayley throughout the summer.

WWE Women's Tag Team title match: The Kabuki Warriors (c) vs. Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill

At this point, we can count Bianca Belair vs. Damage CTRL as one of the longest feuds in WWE history. Since SummerSlam in 2022, Belair has been embroiled in issues with the group, spanning two different WarGames matches. Belair lost the Women's title to Iyo Sky at SummerSlam 2023 and a six-woman tag match at WrestleMania last month. Needless to say, The EST is primed to finally put things to bed with the group.

Teaming with Jade Cargill, who looks like Belair's physical equal, has been nothing but a nightmare for Damage CTRL, all the way down to their defeat at WrestleMania. Cargill is a game-changer, and although Asuka and Kairi Sane are easily the most decorated Women's tag team champions in WWE history, they're facing arguably the most physically imposing women's tag team in WWE history.

After running Smackdown for most of 2023, Damage CTRL is united but lacking hardware. Bayley's win over Iyo Sky at WrestleMania left the group vulnerable. And seeing how the group feels primed for a rebirth on RAW following the WWE draft, it feels all the more likely that Cargill's undefeated run will continue and France will see new champs crowned.

Prediction: Belair and Cargill win, setting up the most dominant women's tag team title holders the company has seen.

Randy Orton and Kevin Owens vs. The Bloodline

No group felt more in flux than The Bloodline post-WrestleMania. Roman Reigns, the proverbial face of WWE, finally lost the WWE title and, with it, the power of being the guy on Smackdown. Solo Sikoa -- in demand of answers for the group's failure -- assumed the position of interim "Tribal Chief" with Reigns' sojourn away from the ring.

Similar to how Triple H reconfigured Degeneration X following WrestleMania 14, Sikoa brought in Tama Tonga, the son of the legendary Haku. First order of business? Restore The Bloodline to a faction to be feared, which meant booting Jimmy Uso out via numerous Samoan Spikes, and assaulting Kevin Owens in a way not seen on WWE TV since the late 1990s. Owens, who feels like he has been feuding with The Bloodline since the pandemic, now has to deal with Sikoa and Tonga alongside Orton, who has his own beef with The Bloodline.

Orton and Owens are friendly rivals at best, as evidenced by their hard-hitting triple-threat match with Logan Paul at WrestleMania. But to further establish the new version of The Bloodline as a ruthless outfit, they need to leave France with a victory.

Prediction: The Bloodline wins, but not before bloodying either Orton or Owens and beginning the road to reclaiming their control of Smackdown.