4 Predictions for WWE SmackDown Live: May 16, 2017

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The Battle of No. 1 Contenders

Ahead of their big matches this Sunday, AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal are set to meet inside the squared circle. Their match during SmackDown Live will mark the very first time that these two have competed in singles action. Both Mahal and Styles could benefit from a big win here, but there is only one superstar emerging victorious.

Despite WWE doing an admirable job building his character up, Mahal still needs more time to prove his worth. Having been thrust to the main event slot with no build whatsoever, it’s still shocking to see him in this position. The one thing the athlete cannot afford right now is to appear weak or undeserving, and a loss to the Phenomenal One would do just that. So, you can bet that WWE has some sort of ace up their sleeves here.

Although most signs would point to the Singh Brothers costing Styles the match, there is another superstar far more likely to do so. The current United States Champion Kevin Owens has nothing but hatred for his number one contender. He and Styles have developed a strong feud at this point, and so Owens coming out to aid Mahal is a logical step. It allows Styles to look strong in defeat, and Mahal is able to gain a much-needed victory.

By the end of the Backlash event, there’s a good chance that the title scene will change. Whether or not Mahal is part of that change is unknown, but Sunday will mark a crucial night in his career. As for Owens and Styles, those two are going to deliver the match of the night.