A Cinderella Story – A WWE Backlash Recap


Every now and then, wrestling has a night where (mostly) everyone gets what they want.  They get us there by sometimes disappointing us, possibly intentionally, to the point where we threaten to stop watching.

We don’t.  We don’t because of nights like this.  Sometimes there’s nights like tonight that remind you why you watch so many hours of this stuff a week.

Apollo Crews Vs. Baron Corbin


The fact that they didn’t have a preshow match announced made me feel like they might skip on one entirely, like NXT.  However, tradition dictated one and we got Apollo Crews Vs. Corbin.  These guys have met several times in NXT and a couple times here on the main roster.  It was a great match and a shame that it was only a preshow match.  The difference being that there was no real story being told here.

Corbin gets a much needed win with an End of Days.

Matt’s Take:  So, I just watched this match today, as I got home late last night and only made it through about 70% of the main card before I fell asleep.  I finally found the preshow just before Raw started tonight and watched this match, which impressed me a great damn deal.  It may have gotten lost in the shuffle if I was just watching Backlash and the Kickoff live, but this match is worth a second take if you weren’t paying attention.  These guys are both going to be great with a little bit more conditioning on the main roster.  I’m glad they both ended up on Smackdown.

6-Pack Challenge for the SDL Women’s Championship


I was cynical and I thought that Nikki Bella might win to promote Total Bellas.  Then I remembered that SmackDown Live is the wrestling show, and they don’t necessarily make decisions the exact same way.  But that’s not to say that Nikki can’t wrestle.  She can.  That forearm to Naomi looked amazing.  Her finisher, a Fireman’s Carry to RKO, is a perfect re-imagining of the Rack Attack.  She’s a Diva existing in a Women’s Wrestler Era and doing a damn fine job.

Naomi delivered a amazing performance tonight.  Sure, she had one big botch, but it wasn’t enough to write off the entire night.  I never thought she was much of a wrestler, but she can go.

Everyone looked like a star tonight.

Alexa Bliss is going to be a big star…eventually.  There’s something intangible that she has.  It didn’t matter at all that she was the first one out.  She’s going to be the big heel when they need it.

But tonight…she finally won

That’s write, after taking Carmella to #BexPlexCity, she laid in the Dis-Arm-Her to win the first SmackDown Live Women’s Championship.  I couldn’t be happier for her.  She’s been denied the NXT Women’s Champion and the WWE Women’s Championship.  But now, she finally won.

I was OK if the rest of the show was garbage after that.  It wasn’t.

Matt’s Take:  I think my biggest thing here is what Jeremy said, “She’s a Diva existing in a Women’s Wrestler Era and doing a damn fine job.”  When we were at Hell in a Cell, Nikki Bella won me over.  That match she had with Charlotte was incredible.  Her performance during this six-pack challenge was just as good, and honestly, while I desperately wanted them to finally make good with Becky, given how good Nikki Bella actually is, I think I would have been ok as long as it came down to the two of them and they put on a good show at the end.   Nikki against Carmella is going to be a great women’s feud and Becky needs a match against Natalya so she can yet again shut down another of Natalya’s unearned women’s championship opportunities.  Good match, couple big missed spots that were terrible obvious, but it was a pretty good match overall.

Bray Wyatt Vs. Randy Orton Kane


Yesterday morning, it was circling around the internet that Orton wouldn’t be cleared to compete for Backlash, possibly stemming for injuries sustained in his match against Brock Lesnar.  For a card as lean as it was, many were concerned that the card would just be even shorter.  They did an old-school way of covering.  Bray “attacked” Orton backstage rendering him unable to compete.  Bray came out for the match and had Orton be counted out for a win.  But Bray wouldn’t get off so easy.  He’d have to face Kane.

This was a filler match but it had a couple of good spots.  The Senton through the announce table was brutal as well as the chokeslam onto the chair.  Kind of strange to do big spots like that on a small match like this.  Randy Orton hobbled out for an RKO allowing Kane to get the chokeslam and the win.

I like what they did here as it allows them to try the Orton Vs. Wyatt match again at No Mercy.  It also gives Randy a few weeks to continue healing.

Matt’s Take:  I was a little disappointed to not finally get a match for both Orton and Wyatt with quality writing and build, but honestly, I’m good with the fact that Kane and Wyatt put on a pretty damn good show together.  This match was not as disappointing as I’m sure the match up sounds on paper.

Dolph Ziggler Vs. The Miz w/ Maryse for the Intercontinental Championship

In a prematch segment, Miz yells at Bryan that he deserves to pay more because of what he brings to SmackDown Live.  It’s important.  Not only does it tie back into Talking Smack, but it also sets up his action the whole match.  Miz brought out some new moves that were decidedly not soft, including a sitout powerbomb bounced off the ropes and a modified surfboard stretch meant to mock Bryan.  Miz was on fire.

So was Ziggler.  This was the match I wanted him to have at SummerSlam.  It was a good pairing and it’s something I hope continues into No Mercy.  Miz got the pinfall after Maryse maced Ziggler.  Some solid heel shit right there.

Matt’s Take:  Mace?  Seriously?  Oh my god, will you just let Daniel Bryan have one match?  I’m disappointed because I really thought they were finally going to let Ziggler have a belt that he’s desperately earned this year, but no.  In any event, these two just put on what was the match of the night, save for the dumb ass ending.

Tag Team Semi-Finals and Finals


Hype Bros Vs. The Usos

“I’m loving the Usos” is not something I ever thought I’d type in 2016, or ever.  But they work so much better as bad guys.  Gone are Uso staples: haka, paint, colorful clothing, fun-loving attitudes.  Now they slowly walk to the ring wearing black pants.  They need a new video package and new music and the transformation will be complete.

The Hype Bros were the sacrificial lamb to make the Usos even more dastardly.  It didn’t matter how good Mojo was keeping the crowd hyped.  It all came to The Usos isolating a body part.  It’s like they’ve been watching The Revival or something.

Good on Zack and Mojo for having a match on a PPV though!  Hope to see them next month too.

Usos get the win to advance to the Final.

The Usos Vs. Slater and Rhyno for the SDL Tag Team Titles

We live in 2016 and the crowd in Richmond was chanting “We Want Rhyno”.  We live in a world where Rhyno and Slater are tag team champions.  It’s a magical world.

At first, I thought Rhyno was going to seal the deal.  He did get the hot tag after the Usos put Slater through the ringer (that suplex into the ringpost!) but that wasn’t enough to finish.  It took a Gore from Rhyno and Slater performing his finisher to both of the Usos before Slater got the pin.  It HAD to be Slater to get the pin.  That’s what everyone wanted to see.

I don’t care if they lose the titles on Tuesday this was a nice payoff and probably one of the top moments of 2016.

Slater gets the pin to win the Tag Team Championship and a contract on Smackdown Live.

Matt’s Take:  I hate the idea that the Usos had to commit another violent assault, this time on Ryder, but Mojo looked strong in the first match, and I’m so glad that the company paired up Slater and Rhyno and are actually just sort of letting them get over on their own.  It’s working, really well, so good on you.


Champion of the World

With how strong AJ has been booked, post Wrestlemania, it was only a matter of time before he became World Champion.  I’m glad he’s on Smackdown and not Raw.  He doesn’t need to be Universal Champion.  AJ being World Champion is an accurate description.  He’s been ROH Champion, TNA Champion, IWGP Champion.  Is he the only Grand Slam Champion out there?  I’m not going to research it.  I’m just going to claim he is.

And I love Ambrose.  Sure, his move set is a little lacking, but his presence is what matters.  AJ adapts to almost anyone’s style and makes them look good.  Styles wrestled an entirely different match than he did with Roman.  Tonight was more of a raw brawl, playing to Ambrose’s strengths.  I’ll be happy to see this rematch when it inevitably happens on Smackdown or next month at No Mercy.

Is Cena going to show back up before heading off to American Grit?

Matt’s Take:  I read that Cena has been off working with the WWE team because they signed the first Chinese signee and Cena speaks fluent Mandarin, like a motherf***ing boss.  In any event, this match was pretty great, but Styles wrestled circles around Ambrose.  I think the only title that Styles never had was in his brief stint with WCW, so technically I guess he just won that belt simultaneously.  AJ is the best, and while I don’t believe that the ending was the right way to go, he’s the most gifted wrestler on that brand, and likely, in this entire company.  I’m glad I called this one, because it was deserved, and I’m excited for The Face That Runs the Place demanding that they turn that belt blue, in which case I may break down and buy one.