Few were truly excited about the Backlash card, but sometimes the card and the show can end up being very different things. This is the epitome of exactly that. Rather than rattling on about it all, just jump right in. Or, if you haven’t watched Backlash, go watch it now, then come back to read this! Yes, I’m serious!
Apollo Crews (c) vs Andrade
This was a fun match for the kickoff, but I do wish it was given more time. Plenty of back and forth in the match but it felt like it could have used an extra five minutes. Andrade came out with Zelina and Garza and Garza looked none too enthusiastic to be out there. I think there is a nice story building with these two and I hope they don’t rush anything. Kevin Owens came out to make sure Garza didn’t get involved and even joined commentary while sporting a nice tie. I loved Owens on commentary, and he had some good back and forth with Samoa Joe on commentary. These two have some solid chemistry and this was a fun match but still felt a bit short. Garza tried to get involved to help Andrade, but he ate a Stunner from Owens for his troubles. Andrade was distracted by that and it allowed Apollo to hit Andrade with his spinout powerbomb to retain the US Championship. Fun match for the kickoff but definitely could have used an extra five minutes in my eyes.
Bayley & Sasha Banks (c) vs The IIconics vs Alexa Bliss & Nikki Cross
As this match started Lewis commented on how he hates when they do the interview thing right before a match, while their entrance music is playing, and I agree. I don’t want to listen to Bayley ramble on and on in the horrid way she does, while those who really work the ring well are standing around out there.
It was nice to see how evenly these three teams were booked and worked the ring. Most people who dislike the IIconics do so because of the screeching more than anything else, though Billie’s ring work really was bad when they first came up. There were good reasons for us hating on them, but both Billie and Peyton looked strong as if they would hold their own with the four others in there, which I never thought possible! Billie was such a mess and looks so much stronger, but that doesn’t mean I want to listen to them every week. Heck, it’s not even Peyton, it’s Billie I never want to hear again!
Bliss was pure fire in this match. All three teams worked well with their partners and each other, better than I thought they could. Dre was the one who said this match could be fantastic, and he was right – though I knew this might be amazing by where it was placed starting the show. This was a stellar match, and Billie was a bigger part of it being stellar than Bayley was, by leaps and bounds. I’d have been happier with IIconics winning than having to listen to Bayley, ever! Then again, when they lose the straps it will continue to push their issues and into that feud people have been waiting years to see since coming up from NXT.
Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus
So this feud has had so many plot holes, from the arrest from a DUI, but still managing to get back to the PC before the end of the show, to having a drug test within 10 minutes. It’s made no sense and really hasn’t had me interested in this feud. The match starts very physical from Sheamus, Jeff’s face paint and top didn’t last long, as Sheamus brings the pain. The assault on Jeff continues for a lot of the match, to the point where Jeff takes a nasty hit to the knee on the top of the corner of the ring. However, this isn’t a one-sided story and Jeff starts to come back into the match, showing off his usual Hardy tropes, but yet his high flying style can’t finish the match. Sheamus hits the Brogue Kick to finally stop Jeff and claim the victory. I have to admit I underestimated this match, but for good reason as the build-up was terrible. The match made me a believer in these two, and while I hope this is the end of their feud, they left it all in the ring tonight and for that I can’t complain.
Asuka (c) vs Nia Jax
Another match I had no interest in and another with a very valid reason, Nia is just too dangerous in the ring with small opponents. Three times she’s managed to hurt Kairi Sane, so I feel I am justified to be worried when Asuka has to face her for the title. Asuka starts the match picking at Nia and even gets her into a lovely, brutal-looking submission (and I was so hoping Nia would tap and finish this match early), but Nia flings Asuka off, using her brute strength. It’s not long before Nia starts to use her size and strength to her advantage and control the match. They made a very smart move and slowed the pace down and had a fair few submissions to keep the match long without Nia blowing up too early. The finish sees Asuka going for an armbar from the top rope but after what seemed like a botch, both falling to the outside where they continued to fight until the 10 count, causing a double count-out. A weak ending for a feud I had no interest in that seems will likely continue on to Extreme Rules.
Braun Strowman vs Miz & Morrison
This match was as predictable and boring as expected. When they finally explained how the match was going to be worked, it was obvious that Strowman would retain and that there would be something starting issues between Miz and JoMo. I love that Miz pulled JoMo off Braun without even thinking about it, did it automatically. Beyond that this was a NOTHING of a match that didn’t get a skull because they showed better than booked – which wasn’t hard for any of the three. Nothing more to say on this one.
The Street Profits (c) vs The Viking Raiders
The build-up in this feud has been nothing short of amazing! Their anything you can do we can do better story has been some of the best TV on Raw. So this match of course starts in the parking lot, that is until Erik is thrown onto Braun’s car and run inside. This swiftly moves inside when Street Profits grab golf clubs and the Viking Raiders grab shields, swords and… A bowling ball? I could continue on, but anything I write just won’t do it justice. Nothing I could say about the window smashing, turkey leg eating, flashback having, ninja beating, craziness… Yeah, there are ninjas. Instead watch this for yourself, it’s absurd, hilarious and everything I hoped this would be and so much more. The match never technically got started so there was no real finish or winner determined, instead it ends when there’s a crocodile(?) in the trash and they run hell away. I never want this feud to end, these four men are just so much fun and everything they have been doing is pure gold. WATCH IT!
Drew McIntyre (c) vs Lashley
I read and retweeted something very poignant before Backlash even started. Basically it said no one would be happy with the results of this match, because if Drew loses it’s too soon, he’s only half the strap for a short time. If Lashley loses, WWE is full of racists and that black lives don’t matter. So they’re kinda screwed if they do, screwed if they don’t!
All that being said, these two did exactly what McMahon loves physically bigger wrestlers to do – get physical and beat the crap out of each other in and out of the ring. They really worked this one hard, in a way we haven’t really seen between two big guys in a long time. I’m sure McMahon will treat them both to hugs after this match!
They obviously really worked this one hard, and they impressed me in a massive way. I have been VERY down on Lashley for many years, and while he looked really ungainly and awkward through much of this match, it was still a really strong fight between the two. I’m really impressed with what they did out there, and they will both feel it tomorrow. After the bell when Drew was face down on the mat trying to catch his breath, every bit of that match and his tiredness showed on his face!
I called for Lana to cost ‘her Bobby’ this match, which is exactly what she did. I’m not going to comment on how bad her makeup and hair looked because there are just no words to how bad she looked from the neck up here.
Edge vs Randy Orton
I don’t know if this was the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” but this was the best match on the main roster this year. I know everybody wondered if it could top AJ/Bryan from Smackdown and in my eyes, it did that and then some. I honestly do not even want to talk about what happened in this match because it was simply amazing on every level. The storytelling, the ringwork, and everything else was just a masterclass in wrestling. Edge was always one of the greatest to ever do it and we wondered how he would fair he and boy did he blow every expectation out of the water. Orton has been known to phone it in but when he tries, boy does he try. This was simply a lesson for the young trainees in how to tell stories in the ring. I loved how Edge dusted off all of his old moves and even some from other wrestlers. I loved his Unprettier because he just snapped down like Christian would and so many nowadays jump and it loses its impact. Randy busted out some moves as well as he hit Edge with an Angle Slam and even a Pedigree to boot. There was even some blood as Orton was busted open after a clothesline from Edge on the outside. The match looked to be over when Orton caught Edge with an RKO, but Edge was able to kick out. Orton would do the same when Edge hit him with a spear and both men sold their shock so well. Edge would even hit two spears consecutively on Orton and that still wasn’t enough. Orton caught Edge with an RKO from out of nowhere and that also was not enough as well. Orton would win after possibly hitting Edge low and then dusted off the Punt for the win. I also loved how Orton slapped his thigh for the Punt because of all the stuff he spoke about that sort of thing with NXT. All in all, this match was amazing on every level and the match of the year in WWE and my personal match of the year as well. A masterclass on every level.
Shut Up Graves, We’re Talking!
What a PPV! I’m floored at how great this show was, and how wonderfully everyone came together to write this for you. I couldn’t have done it without everyone who helped out! Thank you!
Queen, Sam, and Lewis