|Right before things go bad for AJ.|
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, WWE Backlash 2018. A largely mediocre pay per view, kicking off this year’s new era of co-branded PPV’s, but it is significant in one key aspect. My first ever 100% prediction PPV, including the pre-show.
Ruby Riott vs. Bayley (Pre-Show): I’ll give it to Riott.
And Riott did indeed win. Solid match, nice length. A couple of botches along the way, but a strong finish and minimal Riott Squad interference.(1/1)
The Miz vs. Seth Rollins (IC Title): Rollins retains.
Man, Rollins is getting pushed HARD. He kicked out of two Miz finishers and won with a single Blackout. Plus the announcers kept calling him the hottest star in WWE and even gave him the “pound for pound the strongest” thing they used to use for Cesaro, for whom it may actually be true. (2/2)
Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax (Raw Women’s): This is definitely Jax’s second win to cement herself as champ.
And it was, though I was shocked at how much offense Bliss got in. It’s very nice for Bliss, who looks strong as she exits the title picture for a while, but I’m not sure they have a strong enough story around it to keep Jax from seeming less dominant than she should as a result. I expect Jax to be built up strong again before her next challenger. (3/3)
Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy (US Champ): Jeff Hardy wins.
I didn’t bother watching this match, for obvious reasons, but at least my Never Pick Orton rule paid off this time. (4/4)
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass: Bryan wins.
Wow. I don’t know what their plans are for Big Cass, but I guess those plans involved tapping in seconds to the Yes Lock despite no work being done to set it up. Bryan did bump a lot for Cass’s offense throughout the match, but the fast tap to the submission was surprising and unnecessary, even with the mild post-match beatdown he put on DB. (5/5)
Charlotte Flair vs. Carmella (SD Women’s): I’m going to go with Carmella retaining.
Interesting choice. I wouldn’t have expected Carmella to pin Charlotte cleanly with a stack-up after a missed moonsault and fake knee thing. The rest of the match was more what I was expecting - Carmella the cowardly asshole, mostly outclassed by Charlotte, which normally would have led to more chicanery in the ending, but no. On the other hand, (6/6).
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles (No DQ< SD Title): Styles retains.
Well, I wasn’t expecting that, but it makes me happy. As much as I wanted to see the “dream match” at Wrestlemania, what we’re getting is a “dream program”. This chapter of the story ended with a double countout after a double nut kick, which means the story continues. Assuming AJ’s face heals up after catching a chair that bounced badly off of Nakamura’s knee mid-match. Ouch. (7/7)
Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn: Strowman and Lashley exist to win.
Yep. This was fine. (8/8)
Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns: Reigns will be getting a win back.
Yep. Not a great match compared to the rest of the card. Not Reigns-Lesnar awful, but not great. (9/9)
I realized with Backlash that I need space for things I enjoyed a great deal that were neither match results nor Events Of Significance, so here they are.
Bonus kudos to the ridiculous, stupid, long, and very entertaining Every Musical Superstar Interrupts Elias segment, featuring The New Day, No Way Jose, Aiden English and Rusev, and finally Bobby Roode. I enjoyed the hell out of it.
Bonus kudos to Kevin OwensOwens for referring to Bobby Lashley, repeatedly and loudly, as “HEADBAND” because of Lashley’s stupid headband.
Bonus kudos to Carmella’s performance on the post-show, which somehow turned 470 utterances of “I beat Charlotte Flair” into some of the strongest character work of her career.