WWE Backlash 2018 Thoughts and Results
What was a pretty decent card on paper slowly went downhill after the amazing first match due to some pretty stupid booking during matches. I also can’t believe that no heels won their matches (if you don’t count the kick-off show match). What does that say about WWE building characters, threats, and story lines? Here are my thoughts on each match
Bayley vs. Ruby Riott (Kick-off Show)
Ruby Riot needed the win here to help make a point that the new blood on the show can be seen as some kind of threat and means business. She got that, although the Riot Squad had something to do with the outcome. This was a clunker of a match, though, with some pretty rough spots. Thank goodness it wasn’t on the main show.
WWE continued to show the drama between Sasha Banks and Bayley backstage through horrible dialogue and, surprise, it went nowhere on the show. Can this either go somewhere or end, please?
Winner: Ruby Riot
Intercontinental Champion Seth Rollins vs. The Miz
This match was a hot opener and both men should be commended. The action was great and both sold each other’s moves very well. There were points where I actually believed The Miz was going to get a shocking win. It was a match that drew me in and took me on a ride. It should have almost been the blueprint that every match on the show should follow. I say almost because I’m still not behind Rollins kicking out of two Skull Crushing Finales. Kicking out of one for drama I can see. Two? That’s just insanity. The whole kicking out of multiple “finishers” has to stop.
Winner: Seth Rollins
Nia Jax (Champ) vs. Alexa Bliss –
Raw Women’s Championship Match
I would feel bad for anyone having to follow the first match and these two kinda got some fan fatigue already. This match plodded away and while I was actually surprised how much offense Bliss got in, all it took was one Samoan Drop to take her out at the end. I think Jax should have dominated a woman more than less her size, but what do I know?
The lines Jax delivered at the end of her match were written and delivered so poorly, it was like she was reading a teleprompter from the 80s. WWE touting no bullying is such garbage when that’s what the whole show is based on. Jax’s line as well about bullies get their asses kicked is so backwards to what life is actually like makes you shake your head. I wonder how many kids were watching this are going to school today to beat the shit out of their bully?
Winner: Nia Jax
Jeff Hardy (Champ) vs. Randy Orton –
United States Championship Match
This wasn’t a bad match but I just didn’t care. I couldn’t see the strap coming off Hardy at this point and Randy Orton bores me to death. There was just no spark or investment here for me. It was what it was.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
This match didn’t seem to make it out of 2nd gear for me and the ending where Big Cass tapped out seemed to come out of nowhere. As much as I would have liked Cass to win here to elevate his comeback and heel persona, the post match attack worked, too. This loss may lead to Cass teaming up with another Smackdown star who has a vendetta against Daniel Bryan. Let’s see how this pans out on Tuesday because this feud isn’t over.
Winner: Daniel Bryan
Carmella (Champ) vs. Charlotte Flair –
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
I knew Carmella would retain here but I would never in my life bet she would get a clean victory over Charlotte. You’re telling me the woman who beat Asuka’s undefeated streak just got beaten clean by the newbie Carmella? Are you f’n kidding me? Who is booking this shit? This just puts Charlotte’s character back and really destroys the whole notion of her beating Asuka. Absolute insanity booking. They should hang their heads in shame.
AJ Styles (Champ) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura –
No DQ WWE Championship Match
I couldn’t believe this match didn’t go on last. Brock Lazy won’t show up again, so it’s the main title on the show and should be the main event. I immediately understood after I saw the ending, though.
Once again, these two started to put on a great match until the low blows started. AJ Styles’ character isn’t one that would resort to ball punches, but this isn’t him writing his character. Actually, you wouldn’t have seen Nakamura resorting to such tactics outside WWE either.
After both men kicked each other in the balls at the same time (yeah, you read that correctly), neither could get up for the ten count from the ref, which caused the ref to stop the match. I turned to my buddy Dustin after they both were writhing in pain and said, “can you imagine if the match actually ends like this?” and it did. I shit you not.
I can see the meeting for this match:
Vince: “I know you two put on one of the greatest matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling and can show up the majority of the talent on the roster if we gave you the time but I have Roman on the mind so you’re both gonna kick each other in the balls, not get up, and Styles, you’re keeping the title.”
AJ Styles: “But Vince, it’s no DQ. The crowd is going to expect a winner. Nakamuara and I can wrestle and…”
Vince: “Wrestle? You’re sports entertainers, damn it. And entertainment is constant nut punching and kicking. Go do it”
Kevin Dunn and the rest of WWE Creative laugh with Vince as he laughs while they high five each other.
AJ Styles: “OK, boss. If that’s what you want.”
Styles and Nakamura turn to leave and as they walk out, Nakamura turns to Styles and says, “Vince may not think I can speak English, but this is bullshit.”
Winner: Neither man or the crowd
Side note: I have to mention the chair that Styles threw at Nakamura and then ricocheted back in his face looked damn painful.
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
This match was nothing but filler. I expected some tension or a turn of Lashley on Strowman because we haven’t gotten one reason to be invested in Lashley since he’s returned. Instead, we got confusing tension between Owens and Zayn and it made the match look like bad comedy. What a waste.
Winners: Brawn Strowman and Bobby Lashley
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
I think the best thing about this match was the videos on Twitter during it where people were walking out and how, after the ending, people weren’t sticking around to either cheer or boo Reign’s victory, they were just getting up to leave. You’d think that would send a message to Vince and friends, but they haven’t gotten the message over the last few years anyway.
I don’t want to waste time writing on this match because it was another match where Reigns got beat down for the majority of it and then won quickly at the end. I hate this kind of booking and it’s garbage. Much of the crowd seemed to think so, too.
I just don’t get the logic with the decision with Reigns winning here. The guy hasn’t won big profile matches in a while and Samoa Joe needed to look unstoppable heading to Smackdown on Tuesday night. Instead, WWE has him lose clean with one spear after beating Reigns down for over ten minutes. Are these writers drunk? Maybe not because even if I was, I would speak my mind and tell Vince why it doesn’t make sense. Reigns could have used this as fuel to finally snap and Joe would look like a monster and could hold a win over Reigns over Nakamura and Styles. I shake my head in disbelief. What a bunch of shit.
Winner: Roman Reigns