Backlash 2016 [Review]

I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I thought I’d write a quick review of Backlash 2016. After all, it’s the reason I’m actually slightly excited about Clash of Champions!

I’m not even sure why I watched Backlash if I’m honest. I wasn’t going to but I’m glad I did. I thought SummerSlam was pretty rubbish but I had somewhat high hopes. Backlash was the opposite, I had no hopes. Why would I have? It’s the first brand exclusive PPV for the ‘B’ show Smackdown. If SummerSlam can’t deliver, how could this?!

Well, the fact that there were only six matches on the main card helped, it gave every match that little bit extra time to breathe. Plus the event itself was shorter and managed to keep the pace going for most of it. SummerSlam, was a drag. A slog that I just wanted to end.

Not only that but for the most part the wrestling was good, at times great, and the booking made sense. I’ll get to the few gripes later on. Who would have thought sending the fans home happy, would be a good idea though?

Becky Lynch wins the Smackdown Women’s Championship

058_back_09112016jg_0332-a13d472253fd291f0cfff5362c134946It was great to see Becky Lynch win the championship, it clearly meant so much to her. Other than Nikki Bella, who we’ve seen so many times already, she was the only real choice. That sounds negative, but it’s actually a positive! Lynch might be one of the superstars to benefit the most from the brand split. In a world with Charlotte, Sasha and Bayley all on Raw she can have more time in the sun on the blue brand. Excellent.

As for the match itself. It was good. Multi women matches do tend to be a little messy but I feel like it was well put together and everyone had their turn to shine a little bit. There were a few awkward moments, Naomi trying to head scissors Natalya over the rope was a bit messy for example.

It was a great start to the show. Hopefully now that the champion has been crowned though we can move away from this ‘throw everyone together in one match’ idea and focus on characters and great wrestling that much more though.

The Usos defeated The Hype Bros

Why would two face general managers rewarded a heel tag team, who intentionally injured American Alpha, with a second chance in the tag team tournament? That’s literally rewarding bad behaviour. Madness!

Unsurprisingly The Usos, who should never been in the match in the first place dammit, defeated The Hype Bros. It was an okay match, but not much more than a formality really.

I just have one question, while I’m glad The Usos have turned heel as it was definitely needed to refresh them. Why couldn’t they have shown half of this much character as faces?

IC Title: The Miz defeated Dolph Ziggler

082_back_09112016mm_3102-a59c2ffdd1278f1a432695e4a0166b1aI love how everyone suddenly thinks The Miz is the greatest heel ever. I’ve been a fan of his for years, excluding the weird duck face for all promos phase which unfortunately was pretty much his entire WWE Title run… Suddenly everyone has woken up and realised that the man can talk again. Not only that but he can also wrestle! Who knew? Well I knew.

This match was fantastic, match of the night by far. I’m not sure why I heard so many complaints about Miz not winning clean though. Firstly he’s a heel, heels don’t tend to win clean. Plus it’s been a while since we’ve seen someone get sprayed in the eyes as a finish. So that’s cool too. Put it all together and you’ve got a reason to continue the story line and Miz’s title run. On this form, I hope it last a long time.

Bray Wyatt…

120_back_09112016jg_0624-15ba53253d6e6d87319ffa0d4ef6262dRandy Orton had a concussion so had to be pulled from the event. Which makes the ending of SummerSlam even more stupid doesn’t it! The fact that news broke early in the day but WWE continued to advertise the match of the pre-show was pretty scummy of them too.

So Randy gets ‘injured’ by Bray Wyatt backstage during the show, resulting in Randy’s forfeit. That sucks, but it had to be done I guess. Instead though, we get a Bray Wyatt verses Kane match. Which Kane won! WHY? WHY? WHY?

This could have been used as a moment to build Bray up, instead he is once again proven to be a man who’s words mean nothing at all. He’s all bark and no bite.

So WWE want it to end with Bray getting an RKO? That’s cool, have it after he wins his match! Or better yet, have him escape the RKO and roll out of the ring. ‘Besting’ Randy Orton for the second time that night. It’s so simple! Luckily this was the shows only real misstep with the booking, but it still sucked.

Smackdown Tag Titles: Heath Slater & Rhyno defeated The Usos

171_back_09112016mm_4909-398d85161c1c91878e27ccc263f8988dWell I’ll be damned. Heath Slater & Rhyno won! I was sure The Usos were going to cement their heel turn by dashing Slater’s dreams of a contract. Slater’s storyline in the type of thing WWE like to drag out too long, but they pulled the trigger at a good time meaning the crowd reaction was great. Very smart!

I can’t see it being the longest title reign, they’ll probably lose them to The Usos at No Mercy. However, yet again Slater (and Rhyno did his part too) has shown that if given the opportunity you can be entertaining and can get over even in the undercard. Excellent stuff.

World Title: AJ Styles defeated Dean Ambrose

We’ve got a new World Champion! Who would have ever thought Mr TNA himself would one day become WWE World Champion, not me that’s for sure. I’m delighted for him, he’s been consistently at the top of his game since arriving back at the Royal Rumble. He’s heel turn and feud with Cena was pretty good, but it’s since his victory at SummerSlam (one of the few highlights of that show) that he’s really come into his own. Declaring himself the new face that runs the place and generally being a smug git. It’s been great.199_back_09112016mm_6308-8fdb8fdfc65ff8e0f292b9c0554c01fb

The match itself was good, as you’d expect any match with Styles to be. The ending was rather sudden, but I guess that the point of a low blow finish really. Much like with The Miz I don’t understand the few people complaining about Styles not winning clean. He’s a bad guy! Plus, he just beat John Cena clean less than a month ago! What more do you need!?

The only real negative about this match is that it brings the end of Dean Ambrose’s somewhat flat World Title run. I’m not sure what it is, but it had been lacking something. Maybe it was Ambrose himself, his character isn’t at it’s peak right now being far to ‘wacky’ and not enough ‘insane and dangerous’. Also I have to say, his offence looks so weak. Some of those punches don’t even look like they’d tickle let alone hurt. Or maybe the title run just came at the wrong time, all of the focus has been on the brand split rather than him. Couple that with the fact that Smackdown is still seen as the ‘b’ show it’s hard to get excited about it sometimes.

Hopefully the next time he wins the World Title, he will have fond that missing piece and be able to have an amazing run. Perhaps a heel turn is in order to freshen him up but it might not be completely necessary. Just start making him less ‘wacky’ and you’ll see an immediate improvement.

Final Thoughts

My overall thoughts for Backlash are that it was a solid show and much better than I expected it to be. It had a few bumps on the road but other than the Bray Wyatt stuff I was impressed. The right people won and they won in the right way for story lines. Put that together with some decent wrestling and you’re onto a winner. It’s now really a case of ‘follow that Raw’ for Clash of Champions!

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