WWE Backlash Review

Kickoff: Tye Dillinger vs Aiden English

English comes out and runs down Chicago, which is his hometown. Dillinger comes out to a pop. This is your basic Kickoff match, complete with advert break. I wasn't bad but it wasn't particularly good and I've forgotten it 10 minutes after watching it. **

Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler

We are kicking off strong. Nakamura gets a massive pop, as is to be expected. They start with some back and forth before Ziggler takes control after hitting a hanging neckbreaker. Ziggler bad mouths Nakamura while he has the advantage but his hubris allows Shinsuke to fight back. Nakamura's command doesn't last long though and Ziggler takes control again. Dolph hits the Famouser for a 2 count. He then hits a Zig-Zag for another 2 count. Ziggler is having way too much of the control in this match. Ziggler hits a superkick to the back of the head for another 2 count. Nakamura finally gets some offense in, hitting knees and an xploder. He then hits the Kinshasa for the win. That was not the debut I was hoping for. It was 90% Ziggler and that killed the crowd somewhat. I'm not sure how this gets Shinsuke over to casual fans. It wasn't a bad match, just a weirdly structured one. ***

The Usos vs Breezango (Smackdown Tag Titles)

Tyler Breeze comes to the ring dressed as his undercover janitor gimmick. Complete with mop. He works some spots with the mop and does a weird slow motion roll to avoid a top rope splash. Breeze then has a costume change and returns as an old lady. This has gone off the rails. When the shenanigans are over we get a decent little match but up until that point it was nonsense. I have no idea how to rate this. The Usos won. I didn't really mind the janitor stuff but they took it too far. **(maybe, I don't know, it was fucking odd)

Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin

Corbin controlled a large portion of this match. Most of it really. At some point Zayn appeared to have hurt his back. Sami hits a moonsault off the barricade but doesn't get as much of it as he would like. Zayn makes his comebacks, as is his character, but Corbin cuts him off at every turn. He focuses his work on the back. There is a spot where Corbin puts Zayn in a bear hug and focuses directly on the injured part of the back, it's a nice touch. The only times that Zayn really gets the upper hand is when he manages to outwit Corbin. The issue with this match was that as it went on it became clear that Zayn was going to pick up the plucky underdog victory and he did just that after hitting the Helluva kick. Zayn did a great job of selling the back injury and the match was good but it didn't really come across as anything more than you would get on an episode of Smackdown. ***

Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs Carmella, Tamina & Natalya

Becky has some extravagant hair tonight. Flair took control early on but got isolated. Naomi got the tag and a bit of an advantage but wascut off by Carmella. Carmella's offense looks terrible. The heels cut the ring in half and make quick tags. This match is not going well. Every time Carmella or Tamina are in the quality noticeably drops. Becky gets the hot tag and it picks up slightly. In the end Natalya gets the submission victory over Becky. This was actively bad. *1/2

Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles (US Title)

This show needs something to turn the tide here because it hasn't been great so far. Both men get a great reaction from the crowd. We get some nice chain wrestling to start things off. Owens gets the first portion of control but Styles cuts him off with a dropkick. Owens grounds Styles and works his headlock heat segment. He hits 3 back to back cannonball sentons for a 2 count. Styles fights back with a series of strikes and hits a pendulum facebuster for 2. Styles is selling the injured knee from Smackdown. He goes for a springboard moonsault but Owens moves and hits him with a superkick. Owens begins to aggressively target the knee of Styles. He rammed into the ring post, ran Styles into the ring steps and hit a cannonball onto it in the corner. He applied a single leg crab and an ankle lock before Styles managed to rally. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm but his leg buckled under him. This is good body part work. Owens hits the inverted brainbuster from the second rope for 2. Styles is selling like a trooper and manages to hit a desperation suplex on the apron. Owens throws Styles over the barricade but Styles fires back with a forearm. They end up on the announce table and AJ's leg fell through the hole where the monitor should be. This allows Owens to pick up the win by countout. Following the match Owens kicks Styles in the back of the head. This was a great match, with great selling, that suffered slightly from a cheap finish. ****

Luke Harper vs Erick Rowan

Hoss fight. Luke Harper is great but I don't think this match will be anything special. They work exactly the type of match you would expect. Lots of strikes and slams with Harper getting to occasionally show his superior agility. It's a type of match I'm fond of but this wasn't a particularly good representation of it. Harper did land a suicide dive that looked like it sucked for Rowan. The finish was also botched as instead of hitting a spinning clothesline Harper actually hit what looked like a spinning push. It was relatively short and forgettable. **

Randy Orton vs Jinder Mahal (WWE Title)

Here we are at the main event of a show that has been largely tough going. This might be the randomest world title match since the Patriot challenged Bret Hart. Orton attacks before the bell, sending Jinder over the announce desk. The ref asks Jinder if he wants to continue the match for some reason. Why would he say no? Orton continues to murder Jinder. Jinder briefly gets the upper hand but Orton says fuck that noise. They end up on the floor and Orton gives Jinder a backdrop onto the announce desk. The announce desk is grabbing that brass ring tonight. Back in the ring Mahal works the heat segment with a long arm hold. Orton regains the upper hand and hits a superplex for a 2 count. Orton is doing a solid job of selling an arm injury. Jinder makes a brief comeback before Orton runs through his hits. The powerslam and the draping DDT. The Singh Brothers get in Orton's face so he straight up murders them. As he is continuing to murder them Jinder sneaks back in, hits that cobra clutch slam thing and wins the WWE Title. Jinder Mahal is WWE Champion. One more time, Jinder Mahal is WWE Champion. It was better than I expected and I suppose it deserves marks for that. Having said that it was still an average main event. **1/2

Overall Grade - C-/D

This was not a good show. It was a chore to get through and only contained one match that is really worth going out of your way to see. That match has a cheap finish too. The structure of the card was all over the place too. I love wrestling but sometimes it is bewildering. 


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