WWE Backlash 2018 Review

WWE Photo

This is going to be a grumbly review. Credit: WWE

I don’t think I’m ever going to forgive myself for spending part of my May Day holiday being punished by WWE. Let’s get on with it.

Seth Rollins defeated The Miz to retain the Intercontinental Title

Miz mocks the WWE Universe after getting the upper hand...

It didn’t get any better than this. Credit: WWE

In the context of the show that followed, The Miz and Seth Rollins put together a masterpiece. They went out and had an entertaining wrestling match with a coherent story. Standing ovation for those men.

Even it had its faults, however. To begin with, it felt like they weren’t clicking. It was slow and a bit clunky without much really happening. That changed when Rollins went for his Ripcord Knee on the apron. Miz ducked out of the way causing Rollins’ knee to collide with the ring post.

From there, they had something to work around. Now, Miz was zeroing in on that leg, using the Figure Four to try and take it out of commission. It would prove to be a smart move as time after time Rollins’ knee would buckle under him at crucial moments.

Miz’s problem was that even with a buggered knee, Rollins refused to stay down. He hit multiple Skull Crushing Finales, but Seth kept kicking out. It would force him to go for an Avalanche version of the move, which Rollins escaped before they went into a fun finishing sequence that ended with The Stomp.

This was great, watch it and then turn the Network off.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Nia Jax defeated Alexa Bliss to retain the Raw Women’s Title

Nia once again hurls Alexa to the mat.

Cheerio. Credit: WWE

Remember that classic story where the giant Goliath overcame the tiny David? Or the one where Sauron walked into the Shire, beat up all the hobbits and stole their ring? Wait, have I got those wrong?

Nia Jax cannot work from underneath. She looks awkward and uncomfortable. They tried hard to tell a story but they couldn’t because the structure of the match made no sense. The underdog should not have the majority of the offence.

At this stage, Jax should be destroying Bliss.

Verdict: Two Stars

Jeff Hardy defeated Randy Orton to retain the US Title

WWE Photo

Why is this move not a low blow? Credit: WWE

Randy Orton is going in the Iizuka box. From now on, I refuse to review anything he does. If he isn’t going to care, why should I?

Jeff Hardy worked his arse off to make this look like a decent match. He’s not a young man anymore, though, and even with his willingness to put his body on the line, there was nothing he could do to get over the fact that Orton doesn’t give a shit.

Verdict: Two Stars

Daniel Bryan defeated Big Cass

Bryan strikes with the "Yes!" Kicks.

‘Dream match’ Credit: WWE

If you are a fan that chanted for Enzo Amore, then I want you to know that you are scum and are not welcome at wrestling shows. Fuck you.

You know what I said about Jeff Hardy working hard to make Orton look good? Read that again and replace Hardy with Bryan and Orton with Cass. Let’s give Cass some credit, he was at least trying.

They told a pretty standard big man little man story. Bryan attacked the legs, eventually got Cass down and won by submission. It was totally inoffensive. The problem is that this was Daniel Bryan’s first PPV singles match since his return. That WWE decided to not make that the focus of this card is mental.

Daniel, if you read this mate, please leave. Come back to the indies where the wrestling is great. We miss you.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Carmella defeated Charlotte Flair to retain the SmackDown Women’s Title

WWE Photo

There was a lot of this. Credit: WWE

Carmella is fucking annoying. Not in the way Cody Rhodes is annoying, where I want him to get the shit kicked out of him, but in the way that makes me want to turn off my TV. Or at the very least mute it. Stop bloody screeching.

She’s also a horrible wrestler to the point that even the commentary gave up trying to call the action. It was rest hold after rest hold after rest hold. Carmella is currently where Alexa Bliss was when she won the SmackDown title. There’s a character there that could work, now she needs to prove she can back it up in the ring. On this evidence, she can’t.

Aren’t we all glad that Charlotte beat Asuka’s streak? I can’t wait till Omega beats Okada for the belt then goes on to lose to fucking Leo Tonga. Bloody hell.

Verdict: A Quarter Star

AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura fought to a no contest, so AJ Styles retained the WWE Title

WWE Photo

Why don’t I love it? Credit: WWE

Why would you have a World Title match and not close the show with it? It instantly devalues the title. Tetsuya Naito built a character around his disgust at not getting to headline a show when he challenged for the World Title. Do Styles and Nakamura not care?

That gripe aside, this was another disappointing performance from a pairing that I should adore. It feels like Styles and Nak are focused on producing a storyline, rather than fantastic wrestling. That is alright sometimes, but the storyline is Nakamura punches AJ in the dick. It was amusing the first few times, now it’s too much.

Except, it isn’t too much because Vince McMahon sure knows how to ruin a good joke. Of course, it ended with a double nut shot. How else would it end? I’m surprised Titus falling over wasn’t involved too.

Nakamura is still missing the spark that was so essential to his NJPW run. I don’t know whether he doesn’t care enough or perhaps his body just can’t do it. Either way, every time his WWE run is on the cusp of exploding, he puts in another mediocre performance. At least we have his NXT debut.

Verdict: Three Stars

Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley defeated Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn

The Monster Among Men chases Zayn around the ringside area...

Run! Credit: WWE

Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are a goddamn delight. On a show that is making me hate wrestling, having them turn up and give everything they have cheered me up a bit. WWE has cut the legs out from underneath their heel act at every opportunity. Yet, they continue to make the best of it.

And sure, this match wasn’t great. However, it becomes worth watching for all those little moments. Sami retreating from Lashley because of his ‘vertigo’, the way that Kevin went into reverse when Strowman entered the ring and Zayn then taking flight, running around the ring before taking a full-blown slapstick fall into the barricade. They make their own magic and have perfected the cowardly heel act.

Of course, being good at your job isn’t a positive in WWE. Rather than using you, they’ll feed you to the big boys. Although they can’t even get the big boys right as you can tell by the complete lack of reaction for the usually wildly popular Strowman. There was a scattering of boring chants as Lashley hit the Jackhammer for fuck sake. Nothing is working.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Roman Reigns defeated Samoa Joe

Joe sends Reigns plummeting through the table with a fierce Uranage!

This was the best bit. Credit: WWE

Remember the bit at the start where Samoa Joe beat the crap out of Roman Reigns? Yea, that was awesome.

Then Samoa Joe went all Carmella and started locking in rest holds. I refuse to believe that Joe thought that was a good idea. That man knows how to construct a wrestling match and even if his body can’t do what it once did, he damn well doesn’t think that following a red-hot attack with limb work is the way to keep a crowd on your side. They drew them in and then bored the crap out of them.

So, why did he do it? The obvious answer is that he was told to by those in the back. That Vince somehow thinks the way to get fans behind Reigns is to have him survive a shitload of rest holds. Maybe they believe that making the fans hate the wrestling will force them to cheer Roman because… well… yea, fuck knows.

It doesn’t help that when Reigns does get some momentum, he goes for the exact same moves every time. Drive-By Kick, Superman Punch and a Spear. What happened to that cool Sit-Out Powerbomb he was doing? I loved that thing.

Even more annoyingly, Vince wants him to be the man and still won’t make him the man! Brock keeps fucking winning. What is the plan here? Is there a plan? God, that opening feels like a long time ago.

Verdict: Fuck Vince McMahon

Overall Show

WWE Photo

‘Excuse me, Kevin.’ Credit: WWE

It was fucking bollocks.

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