Backlash was the very definition of the word “filler”; the card was underwhelming and wasn’t even expanded upon on the right (Seth Rollins and Aleister Black never made it onto the line-up…for some reason, and neither Otis, Daniel Bryan, or newly crowned Intercontinental Champion AJ Styles were anywhere to be seen) and it’s really another of those examples of the WWE stubbornly sticking to the script and their schedule when they really should be dialling back a bit, especially in the current climate.
Still, it happened, if only to pad out the road to SummerSlam so let’s get into the results…
My prediction: Apollo Crews by pin fall, championship retained.
Actual winner: Apollo Crews by pin fall, championship retained.
The right man won here, to be honest. Not only has Apollo Crews only just won the United States Championship but Andrade has done about as much as he can do with that belt by this point; it’s time to move Andrade up the card, away from the mid-card division and endlessly feuding with the likes of Rey Mysterio and Humberto Carrillo and make a play towards the main event. If he doesn’t work out then, by all means, he can return to the mid-card and going after this title but it’s time to move things along. Given that Kevin Owens was directly responsible for Andrade falling short here, I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t see Andrade and Owens get into it, perhaps as part of a multi-man effort involving the United States Championship.
My prediction: Bayley and Sasha Banks by pin fall, championship retained.
Actual winner: Bayley and Sasha Banks by pin fall, championship retained.
Despite the fact that they have been having some subtle issues lately, and that they were up against two other teams, this contest didn’t provide much of a bother for the WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions. Instead of any kind of dissension or miscommunication, Bayley and Sasha Banks continued to work as a coherent team so I guess the WWE really is planning on playing the long game with these two. I still think we’ll see their relationship break down once Bayley gets pinned to lose the belts, though, and I can only assume that we’ll see the build towards their inevitable match happen soon to get it ready for SummerSlam.
My prediction: Sheamus by pin fall.
Actual winner: Sheamus by pin fall.
One of the things I find odd about Sheamus’ feuds is that they never seem to end; considering the simplicity of their narrative, I don’t think having a series of matches is really in anyone’s best interests. However, everything is kind of coasting along at the moment so, rather than put an end to it here, the WWE clearly wants to drag things out for at least a few weeks by having Sheamus get the win this time around. Rather than lumping Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura with King Corbin, they really should just have Sheamus and Corbin form a loud-mouth bully tag team and shift them towards the tag team division.
My prediction: Asuka by submission, championship retained.
Actual winner: No contest, championship retained.
Well, considering Asuka is likely going to butt heads with Charlotte Flair again in the near future, the WWE did a pretty piss poor job of helping to rebuild Asuka’s reputation and present her as a strong, bad-ass competitor. Asuka’s whole aura has dimmed so much since she came to the main roster that she’s literally just one of the girls, with the only thing really separating her from anyone else is that she’s this wacky/crazy Japanese fighter but what does any of that mean when she is so easily distracted by music playing, run-ins, and so easily rolled up much less baited into leaving the ring for a double count out? The only good thing about this was that Asuka looked pissed to have lost the match that way and made sure to put a bit more of a beating on Nia but, considering the weak ending, it’s likely we’ll see Nia be involved in the championship scene for a little while longer…and nobody wants to see that.
My prediction: Braun Strowman by double pin fall, championship retained.
Actual winner: Braun Strowman by pin fall, championship retained.
I’m really disappointed that the WWE always botches it when they have Braun Strowman in these handicap matches; considering he’s been toned down a lot in recent years, this would have been a perfect way to show how strong and dominating he is by having him no-sell all of Miz and John Morrison’s offence, shut them down at every opportunity, throw them around, and absolutely murder them with a couple of Running Powerslams before giving us the strong visual of him pinning both men at the same time and looking like an absolute monster.
Instead, the narrative turned towards the dissension between Miz and Morrison who ended up costing each other the match due to the stipulation that only one man could win and become the champion; Strowman took advantage of the situation to retain and the match ended with the suggestion that Miz and Morrison may part ways soon…and without an appearance by the Fiend, Bray Wyatt, which was another missed opportunity for me (though I assume we’ll see that on Friday Night SmackDown after Strowman has faced both men again, either together or individually).
My prediction: Bobby Lashley by disqualification, championship retained.
Actual winner: Drew McIntyre by pin fall, championship retained.
Not gonna lie, part of me actually wouldn’t have put it past the WWE to do a sudden swerve and switch the belt to Bobby Lashley; without a crowd around, it’s the perfect time to throw shit at the wall and see what sticks but, luckily, it seems they’re still really high on Drew McIntyre and continued to book him as a strong, credible champion in this contest as he was able to continue despite a post-match attack from Lashley.
Unfortunately, as strong as McIntyre’s performance was, the main story of this match was the continuation of the dissension between Lashley, MVP, and Lana as Lashley only fell to the Claymore for the three count after being distracted by Lana’s well-being. It’s depressing to think that, had the WWE not ran with the Lana/Lashley storyline, Rusev might still be in the company and could be challenging McIntyre so, yeah, I’d much rather see Lashley end his relationship with Lana, ship her off to SmackDown or NXT, and transition Lashley to a tag team with MVP after another loss to McIntyre as the time isn’t right for him to win the belt.
My prediction: The Street Profits by pin fall, championship retained.
Actual winner: No contest, championship retained.
It’s hard to really explain what happened in this match; this was, honestly, an odd choice for the cinematic match of the night (I would have done that with the Strowman/Miz/Morrison match) but I guess it played into the fact that the entirety of the build towards this match has been done through skits and pre-taped segments.
This match got interrupted partway through when Akira Tozawa, of all people, showed up with a bunch of motorcycle-riding ninjas and summoned a gigantic masked henchman to attack the teams. After overcoming these odds, the two teams went back at it on top of a truck but soon tumbled into a dumpster and were apparently…eaten alive by an alligator…? Oookay.
My prediction: Randy Orton by pin fall.
Actual winner: Randy Orton by referee stoppage.
Given that the WWE seems determined to get three matches out of the Edge/Randy Orton feud, I think it was pretty obvious that we were going to see Orton get the win here so we can get the “rubber match” at SummerSlam. Honestly, I’m a little annoyed by that’ Edge has been gone for so long and obviously won’t be competing week in and week out so I’d hate to see his few appearances and matches wasted solely in one-on-one contests with Orton. I think maybe it would’ve been better to have Rated-RKO re-form to face another super team at WrestleMania and then have Orton turn on Edge to set up this match and then move Edge on to another opponent at SummerSlam.
Still, the real question about this match is: Did it live up to the hype and the tag line? Well, I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong as it was actually far better than I gave either man credit for. The jury may still be out, however, on whether this truly was the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” but it certainly wasn’t a bad match. We got to see some spots we don’t normally get to these days, like Orton getting busted open and gushing blood, Orton hitting a massive RKO on Edge in mid-air, and the match ending in Orton’s favour after he busted out the Punt Kick! The WWE also enhanced the crowd noise, which is a slippery slope to start going down, but I appreciated busting out the old school referee outfit for Charles Robinson and recycling Howard Finkel’s ring announcements but what’s next? Playing snippets of Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler over commentary?
What did you think about Backlash? Did your predictions pan out? Do you think the Edge/Randy Orton matched lived up to expectations? Do you think there were a few too many non-finishes at the event? Whatever your thoughts, drop them in the comments below.