Tonight was the annual Backlash pay-per-view and like many shows lately they’ve had to get creative and step up their game to keep the fans attention. Before we dive into the night, here are the results for WWE Backlash:
-Kick off Match: Apollo Crews defeated Andrade to retain the United States Championship
-Bayley and Sasha Banks defeated Alex Bliss and Nikki Cross, and The IIconics to retain the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships
-Sheamus defeated Jeff Hardy
-Nia Jax and Asuka ended in a Double Count-Out
-Braun Strowman defeated The Miz and John Morrison to retain the WWE Universal Championship
-Drew McIntyre defeated Bobby Lashley to retain the WWE Championship
-Randy Orton defeated Edge
The opening match of Backlash was for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships and it’s really a sad statement that the three teams involved have already have held the titles. It really shows that the company really doesn’t care about the titles. There are so many combinations of women you could use that aren’t being used to feature in the Women’s Tag Team Division. It shows a real lack of creativity and effort on the company’s part. The six women did have a great mach and we got to see a glimpse of how good women’s tag team matches could be. Sasha Banks and Bayley retain the titles, but I would suspect that at some point their going to clash once they drop those titles.
One of the more personal rivalries we’ve seen in WWE recently has been between Sheamus and Jeff Hardy. This is a rivalry that has had a really good build to it. It started very slowly and worked it’s way into Backlash. A lot of people are upset that Jeff Hardy’s past was brought into the story-line, but I think that made the story even better. If Jeff felt that uncomfortable then he could have said no. Even though Sheamus won in a really great hard fought match, I don’t think this feud is over. I think this feud could carry itself into the summer.
With Becky Lynch being forced to give up the Raw Women’s Championship, it left a huge void in the Raw Women’s Division. Asuka was awarded the Raw Women’s Championship after her Money in the Bank win and now has the task of taking on all challengers. There is no a challenger tougher than Nia Jax. Many people criticize Nia for her work but she makes it look as real as it can get. She and Asuka fought hard again tonight and they definitely left room for them to continue their feud. The match ended in a double count-out which means that they will probably have some sort of stipulation match at Extreme Rules on July 19th.
Since Braun Strowman defeated Bray Wyatt at Money in the Bank, I feel his reign has been lackluster. Instead of giving someone new like Cesaro, Shinsuke Nakamura or bringing someone from Raw and NXT over, they gave Miz and Morrison an opportunity to win the title against him. This match didn’t do anything for anyone. Braun in handicap title matches has been overdone and it’s getting old. They need to have a new challenger emerge and actually give Braun a run for his money. I hope going into Extreme Rules they find someone that can step up to the plate because Braun needs to be tested.
Drew McIntyre’s biggest test as WWE Champion came tonight against Bobby Lashley. The story of Lashley has been an intriguing one. He’s always been a beast, a monster and a force to be reckoned with. Lashley has been sorely misused since his return a few years ago. He probably should have been in the Main Event scene from the get go and should have been competing for the WWE Championship a long time ago. Going into tonight, I was excited for McIntyre vs. Lashley. I thought they were going to tear the house, but unfortunately it was very underwhelming. It came across very sloppy and it seemed like they didn’t have the chemistry. Sadly, they put more focus on the issues between Lana, MVP and Lashley and not the fact the Lashley is a monster. I hope they drop MVP and Lana from the story and just let Lashley do his thing.
The Viking Raiders and Street Profits were scheduled to have a Raw Tag Team Championship match, but instead we got cinematic chaos and carnage involving Braun Strowman’s car, Turkey Legs, Bowling Balls, and Akira Tozawa with Ninjas. It makes sense that they did this segment due to how corny their story has been with anything they can do, the other can do better. It’s been a fun and silly story, but I really want to see these two teams go in the ring. We have all seen how great these two teams are so I hope going forward the silliness turns into seriousness and we get a phenomenal tag team match.
The Main Event of Backlash was Randy Orton vs. Edge in what was being billed “The Greatest Match Ever.” It was a really good match with a lot of throwback elements, excellent audio and unique video angles. I have a lot of respect for Orton and Edge but they took a lot of stuff from other matches and paid tribute to some of their comrades who are no longer here or wrestling anymore. Was it the greatest match ever? Some might say yes and others may strongly disagree. I will say that it was a excellent match where both men brought everything they had and then some. At the end of the night, it was Randy Orton who stood tall in one of the best matches WWE has seen in a long time on a pay-per-view.
The superstars put in a good effort for WWE Backlash, but I personally wasn’t feeling it. Outside of the main event, there wasn’t anything epic, surprising or unpredictable. Earlier this week, Paul Heyman was let go from his position as lead writer from Raw. Tonight easily could have been a case of trying to finish stories so they can start new ones for the rest of the summer. I hope Backlash wasn’t an indication of Bruce Prichard putting too much on his plate and getting lazy with the creative team. Next up is Extreme Rules and WWE is going to have to something extreme to get the fans attention after the last two pay-per-views.