With the co-Branded Pay-Per-View largely being viewed as a disappointment, we rate each match accordingly to determine if this is true.
By SportBrief Reporter
Just before we get started, to clear up any confusion – even though three of the five major WWE events this year already have also had wrestlers from both shows – Backlash is a dual-branded pay-per-view; meaning there will be stars from both Raw and SmackDown.
Don’t worry about writing that down, though, because the commentators will remind you at the start of every match. It’s the worst of both worlds.
NB: Matches have been rated out of 5.
Seth Rollins beat The Miz -4*
You wouldn’t have thought that watching Miz and Seth Rollins’ very good opener, though. A fantastic knee injury spot, a brilliant Skull Crushing Finale near fall and a Curbstomp to retain – ‘ooooh Kingslayer’ continues his run of show-stealing performances.
Nia Jax beat Alexa Bliss – 1*
Sadly, he didn’t have much competition. Alexa Bliss worked over Nia Jax for the majority of the following match, despite everyone wanting to see Jax obliterate her bully with some monster moves.
After taking a good 90% of the match, Bliss then lost, crying at ringside, leaving Nia to cut a half-hearted anti-bullying promo while Michael Cole reeled off WWE’s many anti-bullying charity endeavors. It was such sentimental force-feeding, the New York crowd booed. WWE, you just made people boo the concept of anti-bullying charities.
Jeff Hardy beat Randy Orton – 2*
Jeff Hardy’s shiny top was probably the most exciting thing about his pedestrian victory over Randy Orton, winning with his trademark SWANTON BOMB RIGHT ON YOUR LUNGS! This never got out of TV match gear, although I appreciated Orton’s more heelish style.
Daniel Bryan beat Big Cass – 2*
Daniel Bryan doesn’t just have a size difference to overcome against Big Cass, he’s also got to deal with a serious disparity in baby oil! You never gonna catch me.
It’s a credit to both men being over in their respective heel and face roles that Cass was booed by his hometown crowd. The match, however, was just fine and ended with Cass rather anticlimactically tapping to the Yes Lock – when he could’ve easily used his baby oil to just slide out. You’re never gonna catch me. Cass attacked Bryan afterward meaning this feud probably isn’t over…
Carmella beat Charlotte – 1*
Bryan’s first big pay-per-view singles match from his return going a lackluster seven minutes against Big Cass appeared to deflate the crowd, which Carmella’s LIFE-SUCKING CHINLOCK OF DOOM did little to win back.
Just like the Nia vs. Alexa match, the far more believable wrestler of the two here was dominated for the majority… but this time just lost anyway, when Charlotte sold a knee injury after missing a Moonsault to get rolled up for the pin – just the latest waste of Charlotte ending Asuka’s streak.
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (Double Count Out) – 3.75*
Next up was AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura in a No DQ match. It took 10 minutes for the first weapon to be introduced, where AJ cut open his left cheek with an accidental chair-to-knee-to-face spot. But the finish came with all the low blows, Styles and Nakamura effectively doing a yay/boo spot… on each other’s dicks.
They hit each other’s balls so much, neither could physically stand after a count of ten, meaning AJ retained in their best match so far, but with a lame ending.
Bobby Lashley & Braun Strowman beat Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens – 1*
While the majority of Backlash matches were disappointing, I found Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman easily beating Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens the most frustrating. Apart from being just a throwaway tag match on Raw – that we’d already seen just two weeks ago – the finish was based around Sami trying to leave and then throwing Owens to Strowman to take the loss.
Sami and KO have so much potential and natural charisma as a tag team. It’s practically an open goal in terms of booking. But WWE gets it wrong week after week, inconsistently teasing dissension when there should be none. And because the crowd weren’t into it, Braun’s babyface Powerslams on Owens didn’t get the pops they need. I strongly disliked the story of this completely needless match.
Roman Reigns beat Samoa Joe – 1.5*
But whoa Nelly did the main event give it a run in the crap stakes.
After cutting an intense promo about how he’s going to turn the Big Dawg into a whimpering puppy, and then awesomely putting Roman Reigns through the announcer’s table before the match even began, Samoa Joe carried on that ferocity with… rest holds. Lots and lots of rest holds.
It meant that it wasn’t just Roman getting booed, it was the match itself. The crowd then played through WWE: The Disinterested Roman Match volume 5, with such hits as ‘Rusev Day’, ‘Beat the traffic’ and ‘This is boring’.
When the match finally ended after a Reigns spear, the WWE production truck cut to see Roman’s adoring fans… walking out the arena.
Backlash was a very underwhelming show, rife with screwy finishes and lackluster action. In fact, the numbers are in, I can confirm Backlash was actually 83% rest hold.
The Rollins vs. Miz opener feels like months ago. Backlash 2018 is the worst possible rating, Bore.