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Kevin’s Backlash Review

WWE Backlash

Sunday, September 11, 2016
Richmond, VA
Richmond Coliseum

This PPV/Special is sponsored by KFC…or, otherwise known as food poisoning in a box (no offense to those who enjoy their fine establishment, but it’s just that on two occasions that was my fate shortly after dining there. Needless to say, KFC & I have broken up. It’s not you KFC, it’s me. Ok, it actually is you).

Pre-Show Thoughts:
Renee Young, Lita (looking stunning), Jerry Lawler & Booker T are at the panel desk running down the card. Tom Phillips unveiled an apparent new hashtag tonight, #hireheathslater. Yeah, do that.

A backstage segment with Daniel Bryan and Apollo Crews chatting it up leads to a pre-show match being made against Baron Corbin, when Corbin interrupted. Corbin asked if Crews had a spelling bee to get to and Crews responded that the spelling bee is tomorrow (did I miss something?).

A great sit down interview segment with Tom Phillips in the Social Media Lounge with Heath Slater & Rhyno. They mention Golden Coral and I perk up! I would sell my soul to hit up a salad bar buffet and chocolate fountain with those two.

Pre-Show match:
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

Standard match between these two. It didn’t offend or anything. It actually got going nicely in the end. Corbin is getting a bit too cozy in this pre-show death slot. The curse of the Andre the Giant Battle Royal winner lives on! At one point Crews hit the Angle Slam on Corbin. Later, a Samoan Drop on the outside. Ouch! The End of Days ends the match and Corbin gets the victory. **1/2

Before the start of the official show, WWE scrolled a 15 year anniversary of 9/11 tribute, as expected. Classy and subtle.

The opening video package & pyro was shown (you get the gist).

Mauro Ranallo, JBL & David Otunga announce at ringside

Commissioner Shane McMahon & GM Daniel Bryan enter first and make separate entrances to big pops. They thank the crowd and have basically a 2-man pep rally. They then introduce the first match…

Match 1:
Elimination Six-Pack Challenge Women’s Championship Match
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Bella
Alexa Bliss gets eliminated first after a blockbuster by Naomi while Natalya power bombed Bliss.
Naomi then gets eliminated via tapping to Nattie’s sharpshooter. Nikki then eliminates Natalya by hitting her TKO like finisher. Carmella sneaks in with a schoolboy roll up to pin Nikki for the elimination.
Rapid fire eliminations leaving Carmella tapping out to Becky’s Disarmer arm bar submission. ***
Pretty good little match here as it was balls to the wall immediately, everyone got their stuff in, and the crowd was hot the whole time. No one looked bad, and Naomi especially showed some impressive athleticism. I’m very happy for Becky. Lynch is interviewed post-match and shows off her quirky likability.

Backstage angle showing Bray Wyatt hovering over a fallen Randy Orton. Well, I guess the rumor is true. Orton is out…again. Hmm, who will be the replacement?

Match 2:
Tag Team Championship Semi-Finals Tournament
The Usos vs. The Hype Bros.
Loving the Usos new swagger, look & attitude. Desperately needed. No war paint even. Now get rid of that awful music! Get CFO$ on the phone. Good worked match. It felt very old school. Usos turn heel and instead of playing to the crowd, they barely look at them. Went from wearing bright colors, to black. Tried and true formula. And this crowd! They remind me of the well behaved WWF crowds from the 80’s & early 90’s. Hot for the important moments, booing the heels, cheering the babyfaces. More of that please. Where was I? Oh yeah…the Usos take out Zack Ryder’s knee & make him tap with their new leg submission. Looks like a half Boston Crab. See, no more fan friendly splash from top turnbuckle. **

Match 3:
Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs. Intercontinental Champion The Miz w/Maryse
At Summerslam, Ziggler challenges for World Title, and this month it’s the IC Title. By No Mercy next month, he’ll be challenging for the Women’s Title. Seems like a good fit. Miz does make a good point too when mentioned Ziggler loses constantly, yet gets an IC Title shot rather easily. I can’t believe I’m going for the Miz, but here we are. This match got good in the closing moments, which stretched out to about ten minutes of solid fast paced action. Smart wrestling, and nothing dangerous attempted. Miz worked on Ziggler’s knee and there were a few convincing near falls. Maryse ended up spraying something in the eyes of Ziggler when the Miz had the referee distracted and hit the skull crushing finale on Ziggler for the pin and to retain the IC strap. Not too shabby. ***1/2

Match 4:
No Disqualification
Bray Wyatt vs. Kane
You see, Wyatt takes out Orton. Wyatt wins by forfeit when Orton doesn’t answer the 10 count, per Wyatt’s instructions. I sit at home anxiously awaiting the arrival of his replacement, rumored to be Shinsuke Nakamura. Kane is announced as the opponent. I die a little inside. Talk about disappointing. I’ve never been excited to see Kane in 19 years of his existence, and this took it to a new low. This is why I shouldn’t read the Internet. I just need to go off the grid. Cool spot when Wyatt hit the Senton onto Kane through an announcing desk (Spanish I believe). I was seriously getting ready to type thankfully, Wyatt gets the win with Sister Abigail, when Orton limps out, hits the RKO out of everywhere and Kane pins Wyatt?! Decent brawl until that shitty finish. This should have been an obvious, decisive victory for Bray but we got this instead. What a boneheaded move. *1/2

Match 5:
Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals
The Usos vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
Man, who would’ve thunk that this mishmash team of Slater & Rhyno would have such chemistry and take off like this? It’s brought out some personality in Rhyno too. Slater plays a solid Babyface in peril as the Usos work him over. Rhyno eventually gets the hot tag and a killer ending sequence ends with Rhyno goring an Uso and Slater covering for the pin. Slater & Rhyno win the Tag Team Titles exclusive to Smackdown and Slater gets a “contract”…and a double wide babay! Good for him. Stellar night for gingers. ***. That match kinda rocked.

Main Event:
WWE World Championship
AJ Styles vs. WWE World Champion Dean Ambrose
Both men got the reactions of the night. Sustained pop for Ambrose, while Styles got a big initial pop, which turned to boos. Good back & forth which turned into Styles working on Ambrose’s leg (a lot of that tonight and I dig it). Ambroses’s selling of his leg started out great and got a little inconsistent, but that’s minor. After getting worked over for some time, Ambrose made a comeback and took the fight to the floor, brawling in the crowd briefly. When it got back in the ring, eventually a ref bump led to Styles kicking Ambrose low, followed by the Styles Clash and the 1-2-3 for Styles. And AJ Styles is your new World Champion! **** Much deserved, and another great match from Styles. AJ is the MVP of 2016 hands down. He had to win to capitalize on his momentum. Should be interesting to see where Styles carrying the ball takes Smackdown business. Ambrose has been no slouch this year either. He had been part of some quality matches as well, but they had to get the title off of him. If just to freshen him up a bit. Not a bad career Styles has had. World titles won in Ring of Honor, TNA, New Japan and now WWE. This show had a lot of things working against it (shallow roster, more time to fill), and even though some of those things did exist, this show exceeded expectations…at least mine. A four star main event, and everything else ranging from good to very good, makes this a success. The stupid Bray Wyatt match finish notwithstanding. The roster division and split pay per views with brand new champions being crowned have made the usual fall slum remain interesting. The real question, however, is can it be sustained?

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