Well done WWE, well done. This past Sunday (well, Monday morning for us Brits) we were treated to one of the best ‘wrestling’ PPVs the WWE main roster has produced in a long, long time. Backlash was the first standalone Smackdown PPV, and the first PPV since the re-introduction of the brand split last month in August. Going into the PPV I had a sneaky suspicion we were going to be treated to a ‘wrestling’ event as there were only five matches on the card, and I wasn’t wrong. Now, of course, this PPV (technically not true now, but I am stubborn and old school so it’s a PPV to me, dammit!) wasn’t perfect, it’s a WWE show after all, but there was a lot to get excited about, so let’s break it down…
Becky Lynch defeated Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Nikki Bella, Naomi and Natalya in a 6 pack challenge match for the WWE Smackdown Woman’s Title
Kicking off the show is a very entertaining 6 pack challenge, which of course, is an eliminations match. No major surprise that the Lass Kicker came out of this match the winner, but it’s still great to see. Out of the whole ‘Divas Revolution’, Becky always seemed like a bit of a side thought, which is wrong. Becky is a tremendous wrestler and deserves to be in the main picture. The match itself was great, lots of decent spots to get the crowd pumped and ready for the night ahead. Naomi, who I have been saying for a long time deserves to have the title, was a particular highlight of the match (albeit with one bit of miscommunication with Natalya) and continued to show just how athletic she is, and she can fly just as well as her husband (Jimmy Uso). Alexa Bliss showed that she isn’t an afterthought as well with an impressive set of spots, however, Carmella on the other hand is not good. I’m afraid compared to everyone else in this match, you can just see how bad she is in the ring. There is no fluidity in her moves and she bumps so awkwardly. She actually reminds me of Vince Mcmahon when she takes a bump, and Vince has never been praised for his selling. Overall though, a great match and a great way to get the crowd bumped and ready.
Match Rating: 80
The Usos defeated the Hype Bros.
The Usos are now evil, and I mean Kai En Tai level of evilness (indeed). So, Chad Gable was injured going into Backlash, and of course, had to be written out of the show. Enter evil Jimmy and Jay Uso. They take out American Alphas and are then rewarded with another chance at the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles (it’s best not to question this and just go along with it). They had to overcome the Hype Bros. though, whom had a pretty decent match. Now Mojo Rawley, he is not a bad worker, far from it. He just has possibly the most irritating gimmick in recent memory. The man that loves to stay ‘hype’ should stay off TV until he stops trying to be this generation’s Ultimate Warrior (just times 10,000). So, a pretty standard tag team match with The Usos picking up the victory with evil tactics, well sort of evil, not quite evil…..EVIL INDEED.
Sorry, I got stuck in some sort of evil temporal loop there, weird. Anyway, The Usos picked up the win with an old school Tequila Sunrise.
Match Rating: 72
The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Miz is one of the main reasons to watch Smackdown on a regular basis. He is having the best run of his career. I’ve always really liked his mic work, but this and the fact he has his lovely wife Maryse with him now has just given him the boost he needed. His in-ring work has never and will never be as good as the likes of AJ, Owens, Rollins, etc., but he is solid. You know what you get with a Miz match, and what we got here was a great traditional Heel vs Babyface match. Ziggler can make anyone look like a million dollars, and these two just have great chemistry together. Whenever you watch a Dolph Ziggler PPV loss, sorry I mean match, you know you will be wincing at least once when he doesn’t put his hands up to protect his head when he is selling a move, and this was no exception. How many concussions does Dolph have left before he “Daniel Bryans” himself? Well, in Dolph’s mind he’s been “Daniel Bryaning” himself before Daniel Bryan “Daniel Bryaned” himself (now that’s a tongue twister!), but still Dolph, please, for the love of god put your hands up! The ending was a great old school manager/valet cheat win. One big question, where on Earth was Maryse hiding that spray! This will probaly be the start of a new feud for these two, and I am totally fine with that. There is some speculation on the internet that this feud will lead to a Daniel Bryan in-ring return to face the Miz. That will not be happening, the WWE will never clear Bryan to wrestle, he just “Daniel Bryaned” himself too much.
Match Rating: 75
Bray Wyatt defeated Randy Orton, then lost in a no disqualification match to Kane
Now, before anyone gets too excited here, Wyatt only beat Orton as he is injured yet again and could barely compete, so the good old backstage attack took place where Wyatt took Orton out of action. Wyatt then comes to the ring and demands that the ref count Orton out. We get the 10 count and Wyatt (in sorts) wins a PPV match. Now, before Bray can celebrate in the back, it is announced that he will still compete tonight, and out comes Kane. The actual match, not bad, the finish…infuriating!!! I loved the Bray Wyatt character back in NXT and when the Wyatt Family were first called up to the main roster, but man have they seriously missed a huge opportunity with Bray. Incredible on the mic, an amazing look and half decent in the ring, how many main event stars have we seen with those three attributes? For most of them, it takes a special kind of wrestler to be incredible in all three categories. With this brand split, WWE creative were given another chance with Bray, but they have screwed it up again by having him lose to a near retiring Kane. They should have never booked him with Orton, even if he wasn’t injured there is no way Bray would have won this match. They should have had him just beat Erik Rowan, build him back up slowly, and make him into a serious contender for the WWE title, but alas no, he lost again. Here’s an idea, him and Dolph should just bring back the Job Squad.
Match Rating: 60
Heath Slater and Rhyno defeated (evil) Usos for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Titles
Heath Slater saved his WWE career by doing what Santio Marella managed to do, making himself very funny. This new ‘redneck’ character of Slater’s is brilliant and together with Rhyno could bring us some big laughs for a few more months yet. By this point the crowd (and I) were just waiting for AJ vs Ambrose, but this match was decent, and I am glad they went with a Slater/Rhyno win. I don’t think they will be keeping the belts long, and I am confident they will lose them at the next Smackdown PPV, which will be No Mercy, another old school WWE PPV. During the match when it looked like Slater/Rhyno would pick up the victory, I had to ask just what the hell is Heath Slater’s finisher? I couldn’t for the life of me remember (according to Wikipedia, it is a belly to back facebuster). We did get to see Rhyno’s finisher though, and the match finished with a (ahem) GORE GORE GORE GORE GORE GORE GORE…gore.
Match Rating: 75
AJ Styles Defeated Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Championship
AJ STYLES IS WWE CHAMP!!! I REPEAT A…J…STYLES…IS…WWE..CHAMP!!!!!. Five words I never thought I would hear myself say, but it’s true (you could say damn true). I was shocked by this, I had convinced myself that they would save AJ winning for a ‘big’ PPV, but in retrospect AJ is the ‘face’ of Smackdown, so crowning him champ at their first solo PPV makes sense. Everyone knew going into the match it was going to be the match of the night, and it was. AJ could wrestle a box and make it the match of the night. The match was paced excellently with fast frantic action, slowing it down to let the crowd catch their breath (and the wrestlers), and then spot after spot with a slingshot into the ring post looking rather nasty. AJ with a bit of a cheat win was also good to see, as heels need to be heels, dammit! Dean Ambrose has suffered a bit as a champion, some wrestlers are just made to chase the strap, and Dean is one of those guys. It also doesn’t help that Smackdown has two face authority figures. Face champions and face bosses never work, ever. This feud is far from finished and this pleases me, as really, apart from Ambrose, there is no one who could challenge AJ. Cena is out, Orton is out, Ziggler always loses, and The Goon has retired.
But seriously, there is only Ambrose, so expect to see these two in a couple more title matches.
Match Rating: 90
Backlash gave us 5 solid matches, with the main event being the highlight and an excellent match. I am hoping that moving forward with the PPVs that the brand only shows are like this and give us a ‘wrestling’ show, save the ‘entertainment’ aspect for the big 4. It has got me excited about Clash of Champions this Sunday, and be sure to check back here at Gaming Respawn next week for the review of The Clash.
Overall Rating: 85