WWE Backlash is the third in the series of the Pandemic Era PPVs, and as was the case with the previous two, WWE did a good job with the execution.
Despite the troubles and uncertain times surrounding the world, the company has managed to deliver the goods with their PPVs, and occasionally with their weekly content.
The PPV had a total of eight matches, once again a low-count and a short PPV, which made it more enjoyable than the normal four hours. The PPV had the tag-line of Greatest Wrestling Match ever, which was used to describe the Randy Orton-Edge matchup in the main event.
The show surpassed expectations overall, but how did each of the eight matches go down? Let’s find out as we review and give our thoughts.
WWE United States Championship: Apollo Crews(c) vs Andrade
Kevin Owens joined the commentary for the kick-off match to ensure Crews doesn’t get outnumbered by Andrade’s mates Zelina Vega and Angel Garza. The match started off in quick fashion as the action quickly spilled to ringside. Crews dropped Andrade with a back body drop on the steel ramp.
Garza tried to get involved later on but Owens prevented it, as Crews avoided the Hammerlock DDT to end up hitting the spinning powerbomb and retained the title.
Result: Apollo Crews retains the United States Championship
Analysis: This was simply a case of two really good wrestlers once again giving a top-notch performance inside the squared circle. Apollo Crews getting such a massive push will make the wrestling community happy, as the highly talented star has been in the low card for far too long.
Andrade and Garza’s troubles will continue in the coming weeks, and it will be interesting to see if WWE splits up the duo.
WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship: Bayley and Sasha Banks(c) vs The IIconics vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross
The main card opened with the triple threat for the Women’s Tag Team titles, as Bayley, Billie Kay and Nikki Cross started off with some good offense, before their respective partners tagged in, and followed up with fun pinning combinations.
Alexa Bliss dominated the show after a hot-tag, which saw her take out all the other competitors. Bliss and Cross were often double teamed by their heel opponents in the match, but Bliss recovered to hit a Twisted Bliss on Peyton Royce. Banks sneaked in out of nowhere to steal the victory after rolling up Bliss.
Result: Sasha Banks and Bayley retain the Women’s Tag Team Titles
Analysis: WWE doesn’t do a lot of triple threat tag-team matchups and it’s usually three teams with only two being legal at a given time. However, this was different, and it worked out well for all the three teams. The IIconics got a chance to showcase their talents outside of comedy, while Bliss-Cross continue to be solid babyfaces.
WWE is holding off on the much-awaited Banks-Bayley split, but the role models will continue to function together for some more time.
Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus
The two individuals looked to settle their deeply personal rivalry inside the ring, as Sheamus used his brute force to keep the high-flyer at bay. Hardy tried to rally but was constantly overpowered by the Irish star. Hardy thought about bringing the steel steps, but eventually backed out, and was given stiff elbow shots by Sheamus.
Hardy hit the Twist of Fate and Swanton, but a foot on the rope saved Sheamus. The Celtic Warrior proceeded to hit Hardy with two Brogue Kicks for the pinfall victory.
Result: Sheamus def. Jeff Hardy
Analysis: Jeff Hardy does magnificent work of selling moves as if he is being murdered, and Sheamus’ hard-hitting offense complimented Hardy’s style really well.
The two individuals are now 1-1 in the rivalry, and will surely have a blow-off match soon. The match was decent, as both the stars brought their A-game to the fore, but there was something lacking overall.
Sheamus could be in line for a title shot next, considering SmackDown doesn’t have many top heels.
WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Asuka(c) vs Nia Jax
Asuka’s first defense of her championship saw her go up against the big frame of Jax, who used her power to keep the Empress at bay. Jax dished out some interesting offense like bringing in the Cobra Clutch and Jackhammer, but it wasn’t enough to give her the win.
Asuka blocked a Samoan Drop and delivered a flurry of kicks to Jax, as the action moved outside the ring. They continued to trade blows as the referee counted them out.
Result: Asuka retains via double-countout
Analysis: There was nothing special about this match, and the duo hasn’t had many encounters in the past. Jax is a powerhouse but somehow her matches fail to impress consistently, and outside of her Ronda Rousey match, it is hard to think of a good match featuring her.
The finish wasn’t a great way to end things, but at least it protects the duo and will most likely bring in Charlotte Flair for a triple threat.
2-on-1 Handicap Match for WWE Universal Championship: Braun Strowman(c) vs The Miz and John Morrison
The heels debuted the music video of their new single “HEY! Hey Hey”, which was actually quite good! The match saw Strowman constantly get hit by double team maneuvers, but the Monster Among Men shrugged it off with one-count pins.
It was announced pre-match that whoever gets the pin will be crowned the champ, which played into the finish. After a Skull-Crushing Finale from Miz and a shot to the back of the head from Morrison, Morrison went for the pin, but Miz pulled him off.
Realizing his mistake, Miz put Morrison back for the pin, but Strowman recovered, hit a chokeslam on Miz, and a powerslam on Morrison to retain the title.
Result: Braun Strowman retains the WWE Championship
Analysis: It is tough to be a fan of handicap matches, as the losers are often demoted to a lower level while the winner comes off as a huge monster. Strowman didn’t need this, as his power and brute force are already well-established.
The finish was quite interesting though, and plays well into the narcissistic personality of the Miz. Morrison continues to impress with his wrestling, and at 40-years, he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.
WWE Championship: Drew McIntyre(c) vs Bobby Lashley
Drew McIntyre’s entrance was hindered by Lashley who immediately put him in the deadly Full Nelson even before the bell could ring. The officials tried to separate Lashley from the champ but failed. Lashley eventually let go of the hold and the match began.
The Almighty, under the guidance of MVP, dished out some brutal offense onto the champ, who seemed vulnerable for the first time in his reign. Drew delivered a Northern Lights Suplex, tried to use the Kimura Lock and Tombstone Piledriver, but was unable to get better of his opponent.
Lashley was closing in on a win, but a distraction from Lana, helped Drew to hit the Claymore Kick for the three-count.
Result: Drew McIntyre retains the WWE Championship
Analysis: The match was absolutely perfect apart from the finish, otherwise the grade would be bumped to A. Lashley and McIntyre are two big men who shouldn’t be as agile as they are, which helped to make this a beautiful encounter. Lashley has improved leaps and bounds since his partnership with MVP, and has come a long way from the Rusev feud in 2019.
The finish screams for a rematch at Extreme Rules, and expect the duo to dish out a hard-hitting encounter once again.
WWE RAW Tag Team Championship: The Street Profits(c) vs The Viking Raiders
A late addition to the card, we were treated to yet another cinematic matchup from WWE, as the two teams engaged in a comedic battle once again.
After a series of non-wrestling battles over the past few weeks, the two teams brought with them a few props from their competitions, like bowling ball inside the crotch of Montez, and several other weapons.
The two teams battled throughout the arena and were also encountered by a group of ninjas on bikes, with Akira Tozawa bringing a tall sword-wielding ninja to the party for some unknown reason.
The action culminated with the two teams inside the dumpster and being attacked by a tentacle, as the match ended with no finish.
Analysis: WWE has done a good job with these two teams, using them as comedic relief without taking away their supreme wrestling abilities. At some point, they will have to get inside the ring and square up, but until then, fans can be content with such encounters, which are a much welcome break from the usual wrestling antics.
Many are bound to have their complaints about this match, and it is warranted, but the bottom line remains that it was a fun and unexpected bout.
Randy Orton vs Edge
Finally, the main event saw the Greatest Wrestling Match ever, as the voice of late Howard Finkel was used to give the introductions for the matchup. The match then proceeded with Edge hitting a few arm-drags but Orton countered the last one. Orton kept slithering away from the Rated R Superstar, who dished out a headbutt to bust Orton open.
Edge paid homage to Eddie Guerrero with the Three Amigos, and Orton took a page from his father’s book and hit a superplex from the top rope.
The match then proceeded to mat-based to offense-based as Edge used Christian’s Killswitch and Orton dished out a Pedigree. Orton couldn’t get the win after multiple RKOs while Edge’s spears didn’t end the match as well. Orton then hit a low blow followed by a Punt Kick to win the match.
Result: Randy Orton def. Edge
Analysis: This was NOT the greatest wrestling match ever. But it was one of the finest matches inside a WWE ring in recent memory. Both the individuals rolled back the years to show what they are actually made of, and exactly why they are considered legends of the industry.
A series of callbacks, the storytelling and the action, everything contributed for 45 minutes of tremendous wrestling.
Kudos to WWE, Orton, and Edge and everyone else involved in the production of this encounter, which was straight-up fantastic. Props to Samoa Joe as well, who added extra fun to the matchup with his brilliant commentary.