Are you ready to face the Backlash? – WWE Backlash 2017 Recap – May 21, 2017

WWE Backlash has an uphill battle after last night’s NXT TakeOver: Chicago, as that show was pretty damn great.  Let’s see where the main roster takes us.

  • Kickoff Show Matchup: Aiden English vs Tye Dillinger – I was excited to see both of these guys get a few minutes on the card, but you had to know that English had to eat another loss.  I think his character is simply waiting for a complete meltdown before they transform him into some new incarnation.  Maybe he’ll let his beard get more unkempt and he can join the Wyatts.  TyeBreaker and the pinfall as the Perfect 10 picks up the victory.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler – It was a little weird that this match kicked off the show, but they did not disappoint.  Since these guys have had some house shows to get their timing down, this was damn near flawless.  They also did a great job of booking this one, as Dolph got to look pretty good even in his loss.  Kinshasa as Nakamura picks up the win in his debut

  • The Usos defend the Smackdown Tag Team Championship against The Fashion Police – Tyler Breeze is a national treasure, depending on which of his seasonal residences his citizenship aligns with.  He came to the ring dressed as the Janitor from this week’s Fashion Files, stood on the apron mopping, and when whichever Usos was trying to do his top rope move on him, Breeze just kept rolling back and forth so he couldn’t reach him until he got up and drop kicked him.  After the janitor had been beaten, he changed into an old lady costume.  “Let’s go Grandma” is my new favorite chant.  He hit a Bronco Buster dressed as an old lady.  The Usos retained the belt via pinfall, but I’m not even disappointed really because that match was incredibly entertaining, both for the wild antics from Breeze and just a damn good show.
  • Baron Corbin vs Sami Zayn – I know I haven’t, but I feel like I’ve seen this match 100 times already.  Maybe it’s just the way both of these guys are booked.  Corbin is going to beat up on Zayn because that’s what Corbin does, Zayn is going to show his heart and determination and get some offense in from time to time with his trademark flashy moves.  Sami wasn’t in his trademark ring pants, instead sporting black pants with what appeared to be motivational sayings on them (“to resist despair in this world is what it is to be free”).  It’s actually song lyrics, I googled it.  “Sound System” by Operation Ivy.  The pace of this match was slow, which was supposed to be about showing how methodical Corbin’s attack on Zayn’s injured back was, but both of these guys typically work a quicker pace than this seems.  Sami’s heart got the win over Baron Corbin’s push.  Sami Zayn with the Helluva Kick.  

  • The Welcoming Committee (Natalya, Carmella & Tamina w/James Ellsworth) vs Team NBC (Naomi, Becky & Charlotte – and yes, it’s going to stick) – I’m going to take this opportunity to talk about Charlotte, because they don’t already do that enough.  All things considered, Charlotte could phone it in and nobody would say anything.  Not only have I never seen her phone anything in, she just keeps getting better.  In a rather unexpected turn, The Welcoming Committee wins via submission with Natalya locking in the Sharpshooter on Becky Lynch.  In an even more shocking turn, Charlotte didn’t jump anybody after the loss.
  • The New Face of America Kevin Owens defends the United States Championship against The Phenomenal AJ Styles – They went with the knee injury angle, as seems to be their direction of choice here lately (as it’s all you ever hear about when you see Seth Rollins), but AJ worked his kind of match, so he made the best out of a stale situation like you can always expect.  He really is absolutely fantastic.  Owens took a suplex on the apron and landed on the corner rather than hitting flush where the mat still covers.  Looked brutal but he kept going.  Kevin Owens retains via count out when AJ Styles got his foot hooked in the announcer’s table.  Owens landed a superkick on AJ while he was still hooked in the cabling under the table just for good measure, I guess.

  • Erick Rowan vs Luke Harper – A sweaty beard battle, both of these guys are supremely talented in the ring, as I mentioned in my prediction post.  At one point, I’m pretty sure Rowan thought that pulling out Harper’s beard constituted a submission move, the referee quickly informed him otherwise.  It was fine for what it was, the “cool down” match between the AJ-Owens tilt and the main event.  Rowan was drawing some sort of power from that creepy mask, but not enough, Luke Harper with the discuss clothesline and the victory via pinfall.
  • Jinder Mahal challenges Randy Orton for the WWE Heavyweight Championship –  The match didn’t officially start and Orton went after Mahal, leading a beating to the outside and throwing him over the announcer’s table.  Orton takes Jinder back inside to get the match started and it isn’t long before Mahal takes control.  Orton was nursing an arm, so Jinder spent about 10 minutes holding a submission move on it.  After driving his shoulder into the post, Jinder has the same injury for them to exploit.  Randy turns his attention to the Singh Brothers, allowing Jinder to throw him into the ring post.  When Jinder tosses him back into the ring, he follows right into an RKO Outta Nowhere.  They pull Jinder back out of the ring to avoid a pin, but Randy goes on the attack again.  The continued distraction of the Singh Brothers leads to a Collos (spelling?) and Jinder Mahal is the new WWE Heavyweight Champion.  Makes the road to either AJ or Nak getting a title shot easier to get to with a bad guy holding the belt, which I’m ok with.  And Orton has a six month old.  I’m sure he’d rather not have to do quite so much traveling.

It wasn’t a bad show.  I’m surprised by a handful of things, but all in all sometimes it is nice to be surprised.  Jeremy is back on it tomorrow night with Raw, and I will come to you on Tuesday Night for Smackdown Live.