|Date: May 6, 2018
|Venue: Prudential Center |City: Newark, New Jersey
|Brands: Raw & Smackdown
|tweet me: @BastionBlogger
The show starts off with a video package, mostly focusing on Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe, Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax, Carmella and Charlotte and AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.
Michael Cole welcomes us to Backlash! They’re making a big deal about the fact that this is a co-branded PPV.
Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz – Intercontinental Championship match
Background: The Miz lost his Intercontinental Championship at Wrestlemania to Seth Rollins in a match also involving Finn Balor. At the Greatest Royal Rumble event Seth would retain his title in a fatal four way ladder match involving The Miz but tonight Miz gets his final shot at the title in a singles match as The Miz has been drafted to Smackdown whilst Seth stays on Raw.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time singles match between these two men on pay per view.
Backlash Record: The Miz is 1-0 at Backlash, Seth Rollins makes his Backlash debut tonight.
Match: Both men get big pops as they make their entrance. Miz starts the match well as you’d expect and sets a slow pace as he keeps control. The Miz ties Chris Jericho as most Intercontinental Championships won if he wins the title tonight. Seth gets back into it with a facebuster. He then clotheslines Miz out of the ring and hits him with a suicide dive. Rollins is so good, his offence is better than most in the WWE, a great mix of technical and high flying. Seth hits a big frog splash for a near fall and then looks for another suicide dive but Miz hits him with a left hand. The Miz then avoids a knee on the apron and Rollins hits the ringpost. Miz locks on a figure four but Rollins reverses it just for Miz to reverse again but Seth reaches the ropes. Miz hits a skull-crushing finale for a near fall and then hits trademark corner clothesline. Rollins hits a superplex and looks for a falcon arrow but Miz counters and hits a second skull-crushing finale for another near fall. Miz looks for a skull-crushing finale off the middle rope and Rollins reverses and looks for a stomp off the middle rope but Miz avoids it! Seth then hits a stomp and that’s enough for the three!
Result: Seth Rollins retains the Intercontinental Championship by pinfall.
Review: This was a great way to start the show. Seth is a fantastic Intercontinental Champion but definitely above the title, as bad as that sounds. This was a really good match though, not that Rollins ever puts on bad ones. Miz was a great heel for Seth to work with and now they’ll go their separate ways and concentrate on new feuds.
There’s a video package next for Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss.
Nia Jax (c) vs. Alexa Bliss – Raw Women’s Championship match
Background: Nia Jax defeated her former best friend at Wrestlemania to win the Raw Women’s Championship. Alexa has continued to mock Nia and has tried to make out that she is the bully. Tonight Alexa gets her rematch for the Raw Women’s Championship.
Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV match between these two girls, Nia previously beat Alexa at Wrestlemania.
Backlash Record: Alexa Bliss is 0-1 at Backlash, Nia wrestles at Backlash for the first time tonight.
Match: Nia throws Alexa around the ring in the early going. Alexa tries to get back into it but Nia uses her power to keep control. Bliss avoids a senton and hits Jax with strikes and slaps. Nia scoops Bliss up for a Samoan drop and looks to climb the ropes like she did at Wrestlemania but Alexa counters. Nia goes back to throwing Alexa from one side of the ring to the other. No sign of Alexa’s mate Mickie James in this one. Nia goes up to the middle rope but Alexa gets up and dumps Jax over the top and out of the ring! Alexa then hits a DDT onto the ring steps. Alexa struggles to get Nia back into the ring but Nia rolls in and Bliss gets a near fall. Nia gets Alexa up on her shoulders and climbs up to the second rope but Bliss nips down and looks for a powerbomb, can’t do that so kicks Nia off the middle rope and pins her for a near fall. Alexa looks for twister Bliss but Nia catcher her and hits a Samoan drop for the three!
Result: Nia Jax retains her Raw Women’s Championship by pinfall.
Review: The psychology in this match was good. It told a good story of Alexa struggling to get any offence in on the bigger woman but in the end the power of Jax was too much and she retained her title.
Nia cuts a promo after the match saying that her win is dedicated to anyone that is bullied. Embrace being different is her message.
There’s an ad for Something Else To Wrestle on the WWE Network.
Dasha Fuentes is backstage with Samoa Joe who is looking forward to dishing out pain on Roman Reigns. Tonight he turns the big dog into a whimpering puppy.
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. Randy Orton – United States Championship match
Background: At WrestleMania 34, Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton, Bobby Roode, and Rusev in a fatal four-way match to win the United States Championship. On the following episode of SmackDown, Orton defeated Roode and Rusev in a triple threat match to face Mahal for the title at Backlash. However, on the April 16 edition of Raw, Mahal was traded to Raw during the Superstar Shake-up and lost the title to Jeff Hardy, and Mahal invoked his rematch clause at the Greatest Royal Rumble. Hardy was then traded to SmackDown the next night, where as Orton was about to face Shelton Benjamin, Hardy interrupted his entrance and took the match instead. The following week, Hardy was set to face Benjamin, but Orton this time interrupted Hardy and took the match. Hardy retained his championship at the Greatest Royal Rumble against Mahal, making Hardy the defending champion against Orton at Backlash. On the May 1 episode of SmackDown, Orton and Hardy teamed up and defeated Miz and Benjamin, after which, Orton attacked Hardy with an RKO
Previous PPV matches: This is a second PPV match between these two men, Randy Orton previously beat Jeff Hardy in a WWE Championship match at Royal Rumble 2008.
Backlash Record: Randy Orton is 2-3 at Backlash, Jeff Hardy is 2-2.
Match: Jeff Hardy takes the early advantage and takes the fight to the outside before diving off the apron. Orton soon takes the advantage and hits a trademark dropkick and then crotches Hardy on the top rope. Randy is always so slow in his offence. Jeff not so slow as he springboards off the ring steps and hits Randy with a dropkick. Randy hits another dropkick and then slows down the pace with a chinlock. Jeff gets back into it and hits whisper in the wind for a near fall. Orton counters twist of fate and Jeff counters an RKO but Randy hits a powerslam for a near fall. Orton hits a hangmans DDT and then motions for an RKO but Jeff rolls him up and then hits a twist of fate and a swanton bomb for the three!
Result: Jeff Hardy retains the United States Championship by pinfall.
Review: This match was ok. Nothing too exciting, a slow match to Randy Orton’s pace. I’m surprised Jeff won clean but the win was made to look like it came out of nowhere. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see an Orton heel turn and have this rivalry continue.
Elias is out next and he gets a big pop. He teases a song, decides not to sing and then says that his good friend Bruce Springspreen needs to hear it. He is then interrupted by The New Day. Elias offers them autographs but Kofi asks him if he wants to jam with the New Day. Big E has a massive drum. Elias declines the offer and looks to take it from the top but he’s interrupted this time by Aiden English! Aiden sings and then introduces Rusev. Elias still isn’t happy and looks to sign but this time he’s interrupted by No Way Jose who has the likes of Titus O’Neil, Apollo Crews, Dana Brooke, Tyler Breeze and Fandango in his conga line! Elias isn’t happy but asks Jojo to introduce him again just to be interrupted by Bobby Roode’s music! Roode appears in the ring and hits Elias with the Glorious DDT! Roode celebrates with Titus Worldwide, Breezango, No Way Jose and The New Day.
There’s a video package next for Daniel Bryan and Big Cass.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
Background: On the April 17 episode of SmackDown, Big Cass returned from injury, aiding Shinsuke Nakamura in attacking AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan during a match in which the two were teaming together. The following week, a Miz TV segment with Daniel Bryan was advertised, but instead Cass came out. (It was later revealed that Cass had attacked him backstage.) SmackDown General Manager Paige scheduled a match between the two for Backlash. At Greatest Royal Rumble, Cass eliminated Bryan from the Greatest Royal Rumble match.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Backlash Record: Both men make their Backlash debut tonight.
Match: This is Daniel Bryan’s first PPV singles match since returning to the ring. Big Cass tries to use his size and power in the early going but Daniel Bryan hits him with strikes. Bryan hits a missile dropkick and nips up. Cass takes the advantage with a spinebuster. Corey Graves sounds like he’s got it in for Big Cass. Cass hits some big chops, powerslam and an elbow drop for a two count. Cass hits a big clothesline, flipping Bryan 360 degrees, or near enough. Cass then looks for a running boot but Bryan ducks and takes him down, locking on a crossface which causes Cass to tap out!
Result: Daniel Bryan wins by submission.
Review: This match wasn’t great. Daniel Bryan is of course great but his opponent isn’t. Cass played the big man card but didn’t show that he had any more than that. Thankfully Daniel Bryan won and will hopefully get some good feuds going forward.
After the match Big Cass attacks Daniel Bryan and tosses him around the ringside area before hitting him with a big boot.
There’s a video package next for Carmella and Charlotte.
Carmella (c) vs. Charlotte – Smackdown Women’s Championship match
Background: On the April 10 episode of SmackDown, Charlotte Flair, who had just retained the SmackDown Women’s Championship against Asuka at WrestleMania 34, was attacked by The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce). Carmella took advantage of the opportunity and cashed in her Money in the Bank contract and won the championship. A rematch was scheduled for Backlash.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two girls.
Backlash Record: Carmella is 1-1, Charlotte is 0-1.
Match: This is the 4th title match so far tonight and the first 3 have resulted in the champion retaining. Carmella grabs her title and looks to make a quick getaway but she’s stopped by Charlotte. Charlotte looks really impressive in the early going. Carmella gets a cheap shot in and takes the advantage with a chinlock and then a surfboard. Charlotte gets out of it and hits a backbreaker and then lays in some chops and hits a side suplex. Carmella nicely counters a boot on the apron. Carmella takes too long celebrating and Charlotte nails her with a spear. Carmella then counters a figure four and locks on the code of silence! Charlotte powers out of it and hits a big boot for a very near fall. Carmella counters the figure four again and then avoids a moonsault. Charlotte grabs her own knee and Carmella kicks her in the knee for good measure before jackknife pinning Charlotte for the three!
Result: Carmella retains her Smackdown Women’s Championship by pinfall.
Review: Yeah this match wasn’t great. Charlotte is great but I’m not sure Carmella is at her level. I don’t need to see chinlocks and surfboards for so long. Charlotte is better as a dominant heel in these matches rather than taking offence. Carmella remains champion.
There’s a video package next for AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura.
AJ Styles (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – No disqualification match for the WWE Championship
Background: AJ Styles beat Shinsuke Nakamura ay Wrestlemania and after the match Nakamura would turn heel and low blow AJ. Nakamura has low blowed Styles on a few occasions since and would get another title match at the Greatest Royal Rumble event but the match would end in a double disqualification. Nakamura seems to have the edge going into this match, will this be his last shot and can he win the WWE Championship tonight?
Previous PPV matches: This is the third PPV match between these two men, AJ Styles own the first and the second was a draw.
Backlash Record: AJ Styles is 1-1, Shinsuke is 1-0.
Match: The bell rings and Nakamura heads straight to the outside where AJ follows and throws Shinsuke into the barricades and announce desk. Styles misses with a splash into the barricade which gives Nakamura the advantage. Nakamura is a great striker as he hits AJ with kicks, taking his time as he does. AJ tries to fight back at times but Nakamura keeps him grounded. The challenger hits a jumping knee strike off the middle rope for a near fall and then a landslide for another two count. Shinsuke grabs a chair and hits AJ with a reverse exploder on it for a near fall. Nakamura motions for a Kinshasa but AJ counters it by throwing the chair at him! AJ locks on the calf crusher but Nakamura reverses into a triangle! AJ then counters and looks for a Styles Clash but Nakamura fights his way out of it. Shinsuke crawls back into the ring where AJ hits a forearm and a backbreaker. AJ has a bloody face. He hits a Pele kick and looks for the Styles Clash but Nakamura hits a low blow! AJ then hits a low blow of his own and both men are down! Both men get to their feet and kick each other in the groin! The referee starts his count and as no man gets up by the count of 10 it’s a no contest!
Result: No contest.
Review: This was a good match. Nobody likes a match that finishes in a draw but it means that this rivalry will continue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big gimmick match at the next PPV like a cage match. AJ retains his WWE Championship tonight in a good match. Possibly their best yet.
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Background: On the April 9 episode of Raw, Bobby Lashley returned to WWE after a ten-year absence. Also that night, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn appeared backstage on Raw and tried to convince Raw General Manager Kurt Angle to hire them since they were unsuccessful in gaining back their jobs on SmackDown at WrestleMania 34. Angle decided that the winner of a match between the two would get a contract, but the match ended in a double countout, so neither received a contract. On the April 16 episode, however, Raw Commissioner Stephanie McMahon awarded both Owens and Zayn contracts. The two were later involved in a 10-man tag team match, and were defeated by the opposing team, which included Lashley and Braun Strowman. On the April 30 episode, Roman Reigns, Lashley, and Strowman defeated Jinder Mahal, Owens, and Zayn in a 6-man tag team match. During the match, Strowman continuously sent Owens and Zayn crashing into the barricade walls. Later in the night, a match between Lashley and Strowman against Owens and Zayn was made for Backlash.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time match between these four men.
Backlash Record: Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn are 1-0 at Backlash, Bobby Lashley is 0-1 and Braun Strowman makes his Backlash debut tonight.
Match: Bobby Lashley and Sami Zayn start the match and Lashley out-powers Zayn. Lashley mostly dominates but every time Zayn or Owens get a cheap shot in they tag out. Lashley beats on Zayn on the outside but a distraction from Kevin Owens allows Zayn to take the advantage. Owens and Zayn keep Lashley away from Strowman but he finally makes the hot tag! Strowman picks up the pace, laying into KO and then chasing Sami Zayn around the ring. Strowman misses with a shoulder charge on Owens and hits the ringpost. Zayn then looks for a helluva kick but Braun catches Zayn for a running powerslam. Sami escapes and then looks to head to the back but Kevin Owens tells Sami to stay and fight. Sami then throws Owens into the ring! Strowman knocks Kevin down but KO rolls out of the ring and throws Sami in! Sami slaps Owens and then runs away, leaving Owens to take a splash form Strowman and a spinebuster and stalling suplex from Lashley which is enough for the victory.
Result: Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley win the match by pinfall.
Review: This match told a good story and was entertaining but it wasn’t a classic. A big win for Lashley and Strowman which was the right result. This does look like the end of the friendship between Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn which is maybe the bigger story here. I’d have liked to have seen Owens and Zayn challenge for the Raw Tag Team Championships so hopefully this friendship isn’t over.
After the match Braun Strowman hits Kevin Owens with a running powerslam and then Sami Zayn with the same move.
There’s an ad for Money In The Bank, which is the next pay per view.
There’s a video package next for Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe.
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
Background: At WrestleMania 34, Brock Lesnar retained the Universal Championship against Roman Reigns and then was scheduled to defend the title against Reigns in a steel cage match at the Greatest Royal Rumble, which Reigns lost. On Raw, Reigns addressed his match against Lesnar when a returning Samoa Joe, who had been out with injury since January, interrupted him, called him a failure, and challenged him to a match at Backlash. During the Superstar Shake-up, Joe was traded to SmackDown
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two Samoans.
Backlash Record: Both men make their Backlash debut tonight.
Match: Samoa Joe attacks Roman Reigns before the bell rings and the fight spills to the outside. Joe hits a urunage on Reigns, sending him through the announce desk! Joe rolls Reigns back into the ring so the bell can finally ring. Joe is slow in his offence, applying armbars and chinlocks. This does lead to a “boring” chant. Joe drops Reigns outside the ring and then hits him with a suicide dive. Joe goes back to the armbar and the crowd do not like it. Reigns fights back with a clothesline and then a spinebuster for a two count. Joe counters a superman punch and tries to lock on the coquina clutch but Reigns fights out of it. Roman then looks for a drive-by but Joe manages to counter. Roman hits a superman punch for a two count. Reigns looks for a speaker as a “Rusev day” chant breaks out but Joe kicks Reigns in the face. Reigns then hits a spear for a near fall. Joe then locks on the coquina clutch out of nowhere but Reigns has it broken when he reaches the ropes. Joe looks for a musclebuster but Reigns counters and then hits a big spear for the three!
Result: Roman Reigns wins by pinfall.
Review: This wasn’t a memorable match. It was slow, there was lots of submissions and after such an explosive start I just don’t think it lived up to expectation. Roman Reigns won, probably because he’ll be in line for another shot against Brock Lesnar. The loss won’t hurt Samoa Joe too much, he can pretty much ignore it as he goes off to Smackdown. Sadly, a disappointing main event.
And that was Backlash 2018. WWE had gone big on the fact that this wasn’t a single branded PPV but it didn’t really deliver. There were a couple of good matches, namely the opener between Seth Rollins and The Mi and the WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. There were 5 title matches and none of the titles changed hands which is pretty common on PPV’s that follow, or are close to, Wrestlemania. Daniel Bryan was in a pretty weak match with Big Cass but that obviously wasn’t his fault. I don’t know, this show just lacked sizzle. Roman Reigns beat Samoa Joe in the main event, a main event that should’ve belonged to AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura but they couldn’t end the show with a draw. This show was seriously passable. They had loads of talent on it but it didn’t deliver.
Overall Rating: 55.31/100 (ranked 252nd out of 360)
Match Of The Night: Seth Rollins vs. The Miz / AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Worst Match Of The Night: Carmella vs. Charlotte
Surprise Of The Night: Carmella beats Charlotte
Worst Booking Of The Night: N/A
Superstar Of The Night: Roman Reigns
Backlash 2018 Will Be Remembered For: The terrible song the superstars recorded for the end of single brand PPVs