UA-59049186-1 WWE Backlash Reviews - Good if it Goes

WWE Backlash Reviews

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by Abraham Jackson

What a memorable night as Smackdown had its first PPV this past Sunday. In it we saw the WWE Championship switch hands and the crowning of new champions in both the tag team and women’s division. Also, the Intercontinental Championship was defended and we saw an opponent change to due to an injury to one of Smackdown’s biggest stars. All in all, it was a pretty eventful night with lots to be discussed.

What Worked for Backlash:

I liked a lot of the booking of Backlash’s PPV, but AJ Styles dethroning Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship definitely stood out the most, as it should. It was definitely a surreal moment despite the cheap finish with AJ Styles hitting Ambrose with a low blow en route to the Style Clash for the title win. Still, it doesn’t hinder the fact that AJ Styles now belongs with elite company and has now reached the pinnacle of the organization. It’s amazing considering that he only made his debut in the WWE 8 months ago, and a lot of the Internet Wrestling Community feared that AJ Styles would be buried like many of their independent promotion favorites. I feel we all need to give the “evil corporation” a round of applause for giving AJ Styles the opportunity to shine on the big stage and like a true superstar he performed up to expectations.

Styles was able to show he was a true main event player with his WWE Championship feud with Roman Reigns, which produced two great PPV main event matches. After that he was immediately put into a rivalry with the man who has been the cornerstone of the company for over a decade now, John Cena. Not only was he made to look equal with John Cena, but in a rare occasion, Styles won the feud when he defeated Cena cleanly at Summerslam. After such an amazing and rare feat, it seemed the logical thing to do was to put the title on AJ Styles as Dean Ambrose’s reign has been mediocre at best. That is exactly what happened. Although people will complain that Styles didn’t win cleanly, I think it was smart for him to win in a cheap heel way as it continues the Ambrose feud into the next PPV, No Mercy and sets up a possible No DQ match.

The match itself was really good. I’ve had my criticisms about Dean Ambrose’s in ring work since his splitting up with The Shield but AJ Styles managedto bring the best out of Dean Ambrose in their match. This only furthers the point that I truly believe: AJ Styles is the best in-ring wrestler in the world today. At this point I think AJ Styles could wrestle a broomstick and drag a good match out of it. By the looks of things, it appears the WWE is starting to build the Smackdown brand around AJ Styles which is the smart thing to do. This is something I feel TNA should’ve done years ago instead of bringing in washed up, over the hill, wrestlers to overshadow their young talent.

What I also liked about last night was the crowning of both the Women’s Champion and Tag Team Champion on Smackdown. I felt that both winners of the inaugural championships was the right booking choice. Heath Slater has been one of the most entertaining personalities in the WWE currently and has been on fire since the brand split. His story line to get a WWE contract really brought about some of the most hilarious vignettes of the year. Pairing him with Rhyno was a bit odd at first but it has shown to work out. Rhyno and Heath possess a unique chemistry with Rhyno’s seriousness feeding off Heath’s goofiness. Although it was an odd choice to have as your first Smackdown Tag Team champions, storyline-wise it made sense. It finally gave us a feel good ending to Heath’s fight to get a contract and the crowd reacted greatly to it even if the match with the Uso’s wasn’t all that great.

Becky Lynch becoming Smackdown’s woman’s champion also was a great move. Becky, often overshadow by the 3 of her Four Horsewomen stablemates, has a chance to become the main woman on Smackdown with the other 3 on RAW. She can finally breakout and become the star she has the potential to become, and surprisingly the 6 pack woman’s elimination challenge to crown the woman’s champion was better than I expected it to be. It is going to be interesting seeing what they do with Becky next as champion, but I think she is the most deserving on the Smackdown roster to be the inaugural champion.

I also want to give a shout out to The Miz, Carmella and even The Uso’s for their good heel work for the Smackdown brand. The Miz has been great this year and has been one of the most entertaining Intercontinental Champions in a very long time. His match with Ziggler at Backlash was good, and that shouldn’t surprise anyone because Ziggler and Miz have had have good chemistry in the ring all throughout this past year. I’m really interested to see what they do with Miz since I feel like he can main event for the brand whenever the time is right, and possibly be WWE Champion again.

Since her attack on Nikki Bella, Carmella has been the best heel for the Women’s division on the brand. Her constant attacks on Nikki Bella are truly entertaining and have made her appear strong. When she got called up I felt she would get lost in the shuffle on the Smackdown roster, not being paired with Enzo and Cass like she was in NXT. But, she has broken out and come into her own since the main roster jump and she deserves a lot of credit for that. The Uso’s for years have been lame duck faces in desperate need of a gimmick change. I always believed they were a talented team but their stereotypical Samoan tribe gimmick was corny to me, but turning heel now gives them a breath of fresh air. Although it remains to be seen where they go from here as heels, I’m nevertheless intrigued. So far the new vicious heel side of the Uso’s has been interesting, such as their brutal but entertaining attack on American Alpha after losing to them on Smackdown.

What Didn’t Work for Backlash:

The Randy Orton/Bray Wyatt match being called off due to an injury to Randy was very disappointing. It was one of the most anticipated matches on the card, as this was the first time we actually got a full feud from both Orton/Wyatt. On top of that, having them replace Orton with Kane was very underwhelming. It’s 2016 and almost nobody has any desire to see Kane wrestle as “Demon Kane’ or “Corporate Kane”. Yes, Kane is a legend. Yes, in his prime he was one of the best big man workers I’ve ever seen. He will of course go into the Hall of Fame when he retires, but at this point hopefully retirement is sooner rather than later. It’s a new era in the WWE, and when I see Kane I can’t help but think the WWE is trying to force relevancy on him and it’s just not working. He gets no reaction from the crowd anymore and he is a bonafide bathroom break at this point. On top of that, they had him win over Bray Wyatt, one of their main stars on Smackdown. Granted it was because of Randy Orton RKO which allows the Wyatt/Orton rivalry to continue, but it makes me fear that they plan on keeping Kane around possibly in a upper mid card-main event level role. Kane hasn’t been entertaining since his Team Hell No days with Daniel Bryan and it’s time for both the WWE and Glen Jacobs himself to realize it’s 2016 and not 1999 anymore. No one cares about Kane.

I also just want to say how much I really dislike Mojo Rawley. He is utterly useless, and his gimmick as a muscled up jock, who screams like a 5 year old and shoulder tackles people all the time is stupid. I swear the shoulder tackle is the only move this jabroni knows. He is the worst wrestler on the roster and it is my belief that the only reason he has job is because of his friendship with New England Patriots Tight End, Rob Gronkowski. WWE loves their celebrity ties, especially relevant celebrities, so it’s in their best interest to keep this turd nugget around in the hope of forming a relationship with Gronk.

I really like the booking and the direction that Smackdown is going but I feel that the roster depth is what hurts them the most. This is something that can easily be fixed with NXT main roster call ups. Both Samoa Joe and Sinsuke Nakamura both need to be on Smackdown when they get called up. They are the star power and depth this brand needs. RAW has all the star power it needs. As far as main event talent goes, with John Cena gone the only main event level wrestlers that Smackdown has are AJ Styles, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, and Bray Wyatt. The Miz can be a main eventer but I think he’s going to be holding the IC title for a while now to bring relevancy back to it, and there are no complaints from me about that. Ambrose has disappointed me as a main eventer and I feel he under performs when it really counts. His WWE Championship match with Ziggler at Summerslam was awful and ruined what was an interesting build up, making the feud forgettable. The bottom line is that the brand needs more star power depth. The booking is fine but there is only so much the brand can do with the talent they have on the roster.

Overall Match Ratings (Rating out of 5 stars)

6-Pack Elimination WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship Match: ***1/4
The Uso’s vs. The Hype Bros: *
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler, WWE Intercontinental Championship Match: ***3/4
Bray Wyatt vs. Kane, No Holds Barred: **
Heath Slater & Rhyno vs. The Uso’s, WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match: **1/4
AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose, WWE Championship Match: ****

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