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WWE Backlash 2018 Results & Review

WWE Backlash 2018 Results & Review

WWE BACKLASH 2018
MAY 6, 2018
PRUDENTIAL CENTER
NEWARK, NEW JERSEY

Watch: WWE Network

Meet the Reviewers:

Kelly Harrass: I’ve got a headache and I’m very tired so I’m not gonna do the whole third person gimmick. Wish me luck as I try my best to not fall asleep during this show. Follow me on Twitter @comicgeekelly as thanks for reading this Back Ash review.

Warren Taylor: Tonight marks my return to the VOW territory…in a thrown together tag team with the Pop-Tart gimmick guy. So much for the push Rich promised me. All kidding aside, follow me on Twitter @WarrenETaylor for links to my work covering college sports and disgruntled thoughts on my placement on the card.

Pre-Show: Ruby Riot def. Bayley

Warren Taylor: Geez, Bayley has fallen hard from the heights she attained in NXT. That is more interesting to ponder than the match itself. It was solid, inoffensive, and will be forgotten by the time you finish reading this review. **

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
SETH ROLLINS © DEF. THE MIZ

Warren Taylor: I liked this match, and I write that so that I can offer this tidbit: something about the opener felt off, at least in the beginning. The champion and challenger worked a step slow in the first portion of the contest and traded moves with little logic behind them. Once the Miz went to the outside and lured Rollins into banging his knee on the ring post, the match went to another level. The battle over the Figure Four was a masterful use of the well-used trope. Rollins sold the injury to perfection, and the Miz’s facial expressions over the failure of each Skull Crushing Finale added another verse to the ode of the match’s resurrection. The final sequence, from the attempted avalanche SCF to the desperation Blackout, is one of my favorites of the year thus far. ****

Kelly Harrass: Holy crap, the champion actually made their entrance last! Rollins gear tonight makes him look like a coil user from Dimension W. I doubt it’s intentional, but hey, there’s my manga reference for the evening. With that out of the way, this was a really good opener. While it started a little slowly, Miz and Rollins both put in an awesome performance once this got going. I loved the story of Rollins having Miz’s number until he hurt his knee. The only real complaint I have for this match is that it made the Skull Crushing Finale look weak by having Rollins kick out of it twice. I know that finishers aren’t really protected in WWE anymore, but stuff like this still bothers me. That being said, this was still one of the best WWE matches of 2018 thus far. ***¾

WWE RAW WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
NIA JAX © DEF. ALEXA BLISS

Warren Taylor: Nia Jax working from underneath as a babyface does not fit her character, especially given the petite frame of Alexa Bliss. The former champion got in too much offense for my liking. The match would have benefited from Jax beating the holy hell out of Bliss early. I believe that would have segued better with Bliss using chokes and crafty counters as she did near the finish. Combine that with the sweet visual the end provided, and this would have been a fun title bout. Instead, it has to settle being just above average. **1/2

Kelly Harrass: It still sounds to me like Bliss calls Nia a “Shrek dump” in the video package for this match. I don’t think that’s what she actually said, but it is a phrase that I will begin using. So this was fine. The work in the match was fine, but the structure didn’t really work for me. David vs. Goliath just doesn’t have the same punch when David is the bad guy. Bliss comes out of this match still looking strong while Nia looks just okay for struggling so much against someone so much smaller than her. Nia still doesn’t steamroll women the way that she should and I’m hoping that this is a problem they’ll fix over the course of her title reign. **¾

WWE UNITED STATES TITLE
JEFF HARDY (C) DEF. RANDY ORTON

Warren Taylor: Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton are stark contrasts, and that was on display in this match. Even in the twilight of his career, Jeff Hardy still gives professional wrestling his all. When he was in control, the bout was fun. Randy Orton puts in the bare minimum, and as a result, he dragged this contest into the mundane zone. Hardy going over was the right choice, he will have fun matches as US Champion. **

Kelly Harrass: This was a Shrek dump of a match. Randy Orton in 2018 is one of the most boring wrestlers alive and this couldn’t keep my attention at all. Objectively, this match was fine, good even, but I just could not care about anything happening here. **

DANIEL BRYAN DEF. BIG CASS

Warren Taylor: I honestly didn’t have a problem with this match. I liked Daniel Bryan going after the knee early and schooling Big Cass whenever he got an opening. Cass, in turn, used his size well and came across as an utter douchebag when he taunted the crowd. The crossface clubs before Bryan cinched in the Yes! Lock was a nice touch to negate the big man’s length. The seven-footer is still green as grass, but his overconfident bully act has potential. ***

Kelly Harrass: Oh thank god, Bryan didn’t lose. Unsurprisingly, WWE found a way to make me not excited for one of my favorite wrestlers ever by sticking him with the tall CAW. Please leave this company behind, Bryan. I don’t know how many more of these “main roster dream matches” I can take. Also, the crowd revealed themselves to be trash during this match by chanting “we want Enzo.” Don’t do that. **¼

WWE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
CARMELLA © DEF. CHARLOTTE FLAIR

Warren Taylor: Charlotte deserves better than this. The fans deserve better than this. Carmella deserves to be a great heel manager who is not involved in a mess like this. No buildup to the knee injury that led to the finish and too much screeching make this my vote for worst match of the night. *

Kelly Harrass: I sure am glad that Charlotte broke Asuka’s streak and then immediately went on to have this massive Shrek dump. This was just all around awful. Carmella should not be controlling matches like this and Charlotte shouldn’t be putting in Hideki Suzuki levels of effort. ¾*

WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
AJ STYLES © VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA ENDED IN A NO CONTEST

Warren Taylor: The WWE Championship match was not the main event the show. The finish of the said match came across like a desperate attempt to win money on America’s Funniest Home Videos. The no disqualification proved to be a glorified red herring. It existed purely to justify the pair of shots to the nuts and briefly introduce the chair that gave AJ Styles the gnarly cash on his cheek. All of the elements above combined to produce yet another mediocre display of scripted pugilism. The only bright spot was that the in-ring action was okay; there was not any rhyme or reason to most of it, but at least the bout was competently wrestled. **1/2

Kelly Harrass: We got the double nut shots so that was cool I guess. I don’t know what to tell you about this one. It’s a joke that the WWE Championship isn’t closing the show, but if the match is treated as a joke then it fits. Outside of the cool spot that ended with a chair in AJ’s face, this was a waste of time. Par for the course for this show. **¾

BRAUN STROWMAN & BOBBY LASHLEY DEF. KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN

Warren Taylor: After watching booking of the show squeeze the joy out it 17 times since the opener, Sami Zayn’s coward act was pure comedic gold. Leave it to him and Kevin Owens to continue to make the best of the awful situation that creative has written for them. Also, who knew Braun Strowman could run so fast? **1/4

Kelly Harrass: I was eating ice cream during this one so I turned to the VOW Slack for help writing this review. “Go watch Lashley have better matches by starting your free 30 day trial at GlobalWrestlingNetwork.com.” Thanks! **

ROMAN REIGNS VS. SAMOA JOE

Warren Taylor: The main event was a perfect microcosm of the entire show. It started off with red-hot action, Samoa Joe kicking the shit of Roman Reigns to the delight of the crowd, and then devolved into a four-minute resthold to prove how tough and resilient Roman Reigns is. The fact that the WWE has spent so long and wasted so many opportunities to get other performers over so that Reigns can be Vince’s last star is absurd. The people want to see guys like Samoa Joe succeed, not the howling goof that wrestles in a laser tag jacket.  ¼*

Kelly Harrass: I was really into this match before the bell rang. Then the neck crank happened and whoa boy did that ever cool this right back down. What is the logic in these extended limb work segments? This has to be done to mock the fans for watching this stupid product, right? “You’re dumb for watching WWE so your punishment is some very WWE bullshit” seems like a very Vince McMahon thing to do. Everyone that left this show early made the right move. What a waste of time. Roman has no chance of being the top guy if he’s booked in awful matches like this. I don’t think that I can blame the performers for this match. Joe knows better than to think that a match with this structure could succeed in this place on the card. I wholeheartedly believe that WWE has become incapable of success and will only skate along on their name value until this trash fire finally burns itself out. ZERO STARS INSERT GIF OF BEETLEJUICE MAKING THE JERKOFF HAND MOTION


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