Backlash 2018 Thoughts

As a lot of you said yesterday morning there wasn’t a whole lot of buzz going into this one. I was getting vibes of Fastlane earlier this year when a lot of people were calling for doom and gloom and we got pleasantly surprised. This show……was not that, and got soundly trashed on social media when it was done. For me there was some easy stuff to discuss and some more challenging stuff. Let’s take a look:

The easy part

The preshow match between Bayley and Ruby Riot was a good one. Riot continues to impress and I hope there’s a briefcase and a cash-in down the road for her.

The main show opener was great, a Match of the Year candidate, and not just because of Seth. Miz did his part as well and it’s past time that we starting giving him credit for it.

The Elias segment was a lot of fun, and a clever way to get a bunch of people on the show to get a check. If you’re poo pooing that why are you watching a wrestling show? Seriously, go watch a History Channel documentary instead if you can’t have fun with that kind of thing.

Jeff Hardy/Randy Orton and the tag match were ok for what they were. No harm no foul with both.

Kudos to the bookers for giving The Bar and The Usos the night off. They all could use the break.

Nia vs Alexa was pretty good in my opinion. Not great but nothing to get mad about unless getting mad on the internet is a thing you do all the time. I hope Alexa’s shoulder injury isn’t too bad.

Now on to the more, ahem, controversial things……

Charlotte vs Carmella

I admit to being surprised at the result, Carmella winning clean to keep the title. I figured she’d retain but with help from the Iconics. Still, for all the people taking a dump on the finish………what do you want? ‘Charlotte is the most protected person on the whole roster’ is a talking point that’s been floating around since WrestleMania, and I actually agree with it. But if that’s been a burr in your saddle for a while then why get mad about her doing a clean job here?

‘Well, what was the point of her beating Asuka just to lose here?’ Ricky Steamboat beat Randy Savage at WrestleMania 3 and then two months later lost to The Honky Tonk Man to kick off one of the greatest heel title runs ever. Let’s see where this goes, ok? Carmella defending against a variety of challengers before finally losing is a good thing and could spur lots of different things.

Daniel Bryan vs Big Cas

I don’t get the logic of Bryan winning clean here outside of a cheap sop to Wrestling Twitter, which never works out as intended because they never give you credit for it. Cas got his heat back afterwards to keep things going so we’ll see what happens. But I also have to address the ‘We want Enzo!’ chant that broke out early on. WTF? I’m sorry but any credibility the live crowd had with me, which wasn’t much to start with, went down the tubes with that. There’s a reason Vince doesn’t listen to them like they desire and that chant is it. I’m dead serious here. Why in the hell should anyone take those yahoos seriously after that?

AJ Styles vs Shinsuke Nakamura

I thought this was the best match of the three they’ve had so far, and very good in it’s own right up until the finish. Yes that was a wacky finish to set up another match but the fact that they got the crowd to respond to nut shots is a testament to their good work. Their matches have been better than people are saying, in my opinion. But as far as to why we can’t get the epic kind of match they did in Japan…..well, there are reasons. They’re not going to get 35 minutes to work and they’re not both leaving the company afterwards. They’re not doing a one off, it’s an old school series. If you want long term storytelling as much as you claim to then you gotta let this thing play out.

Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns

The match started out hot, and ended well. The middle where Joe went to resthold city was not so good. What in the hell was the thinking there? As for the decision to put this match last instead of the WWE World Title Match: a) did you want the show ending with a double nut shot knockout? b) The World Title has gone on before the main event plenty of times, no big deal c) hey, if you hate Roman Reigns so much this was a chance for you to hit the exit early or go to bed. If you chose to stay just so you could fire off your prewritten takes that’s on you.

Final Verdict

Not a great show by any means but nowhere as bad as the shows I’ve seen people comparing it to. Go watch Fall Brawl 1998 if you want awful. A match ending differently than the way you drew it up doesn’t make it a bad. Even if you dock points for wacky or unexpected finishes most of the match action itself wasn’t bad at all. The problem with calling something trash every time something doesn’t go your way is that you pretty much render yourself not worth the attention when you have something legit to say.

At the end of the day this was a show stuck between to bigger and more important ones, WrestleMania and Money in the Bank. I didn’t expect anything earth shattering so I wasn’t too miffed about anything. Was it a bit redudndant after the Greatest Royal Rumble just a week or so ago? Sure. But now we get six weeks until the next show, plenty of time to set things in order and get rolling. Sorry if I don’t match your pessimism here. Would I have booked some things differently? Sure. But if I was booking you wouldn’t have gotten some of the good parts, either. All in all, it was a perfectly fine spent Sunday night. There have been better and there have been worse.

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