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Welcome to Mr. Tito‘s WWE Backlash 2018 review exclusively here at LordsofPain.net. As always, I worked hard and prepared this column as the Pay Per View occurred to instantly post it after the show ended. It is sort of what I do.
Have to be honest here… I’m fatigued of WWE “big shows”. Wrestlemania 34, Greatest Royal Rumble, and now Backlash 2018 are all within weeks of each other. Wearing me out… I remember being overjoyed that the WWE announced that they’d end the split Pay Per Views but so far, it doesn’t feel like it. I sense that we’re going to get more International shows featured on the WWE Network. Some might praise that but for me, once a month is just fine. “Less is more”… That’s why the National Football League (NFL) is the #1 league. You only get 16 games of regular season football and then single-elimination playoffs. Then it’s done and you’re hungry for me. NFL fans will tune into a player draft because they are so hungry for something football related (see why Vince wants to restart the XFL?).
But I’m here, at least for the next 6 months, to keep plowing through these Pay Per Views for you, the reader. Why? Because I like you…
Mr. Tito’s PHAT WWE Backlash 2018 Review
Whatever happened on the pre-game show, I missed it… I started watching at the official start of the show at 8pm.
Opening match was DAMN GOOD between the Miz vs. Seth Rollins. Imagine that… A SINGLES match is better than the multi-person matches seen at Wrestlemania 34 and Greatest Royal Rumble. Remember what I said above about “less is more”? Both guys just unloaded all of their trademark moves and each guy sold it perfectly. Very snug and tightly worked match between the two with some near falls mixed in. I enjoyed the finish which saw reversals into the Blackout stomping finisher. These guys killed it with a red hot opener! [ **** 1/2 ]
Second match was Nia Jax vs. Alexa Bliss. Match was OK… Where I saw weaknesses in this match was the fact that both wrestlers tried to work as heels… Nia Jax is the babyface here and yet she maintains her no-nonsense persona without any acknowledgement of the fans. That said, maybe her in-ring promo AFTER the match might be tilting her in that direction. Match was perfectly fine but the characters were just off… I really didn’t like the fat-shaming storyline, anyway, as it was low brow for the WWE. Finish was good with Bliss trying to hit her splash and Nia caught her to hit the Samoan Drop. If I were in WWE Creative, I would book Nia as strong as possible and build her towards a big match with Rousey. [ *** ]
Hopefully, Bruce Prichard‘s WWE Network show is good… Anytime that I’ve ever heard him, he’s so appreciative for the opportunities handed to him by Vince McMahon that he’s always speaking highly of Vince and any of his creative/business decisions. That’s my only fear on where that podcast show is going. Why not put Prichard back on the WWE Creative Team instead? Prichard was on the creative team during the Attitude Era…
SAME THING with Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy… The characters were off. Both were working as babyface wrestlers. Yes, I know that they tried to play up some heated actions on Smackdown between the two, but the crowd was clearly split between both veteran wrestlers. Additionally, I could tell that Orton was losing this match from a mile away. His body language is so evident anytime that he has to lose a match. He just has that smug look on his face and he puts zero personal emotion into the match when he loses. Yes, Jeff Hardy won this match and it was a good victory for Jeff Hardy, but we’ll forget about this match soon because Orton didn’t sell much emotion for this match. That’s why he is a 13 time WWE World Champion and doesn’t have much to show for it. It was a well worked match, honestly, but the lack of emotion by Orton and the character positions hurt this match. The crowd should be more amped to see these 2 veterans going at it. [ *** ]
Elias wanted to play music but then he had New Day, Elias/Aiden English, and No Way Jose interrupting. Segment was amusing, notably due to Elias restarting hs performance multiple times… But this filler was needed on a Pay Per View that has BOTH rosters present?
Big Cass vs. Daniel Bryan was up next… “We want Enzo” to start the match, thanks to the trolling fans. I don’t know… I don’t want to sound mean here, as I think that Big Cass has potential down the road… But this was a mismatch. You could just see Bryan waiting and hesitating to work with someone who has mostly worked tag and midcard matches before returning from an ACL injury. Big Cass looked green here. He should NOT be wrestling Daniel Bryan on his first match back. Start low and work your way up to earning a match with Bryan. It’s not fair to Big Cass when WWE management places him in a position when he’s not ready. He just blew his knee out less than a year ago. Can he knock off that ring rust? But he was also a tag wrestler and midcarder when we last saw him. To my surprise, Bryan made him tap out clean to the Yes! Lock… [ *1/2 ] Afterward, Big Cass attacked Daniel Bryan to “get his heat back” because heaven forbid that Daniel Bryan get a clean win that makes him look good and let’s him celebrate afterward to look strong.
Up next, Carmella vs. Charlotte… The match was OK but I actually like that the WWE let Carmella defeat Charlotte 100% clean. The Money in the Bank match cash-in was cheap and usually doesn’t help build credibility for the champions who won that way. Carmella won when Charlotte “landed on her knee wrong” for the Moonsault… Match felt like it belonged on an edition fo Smackdown and was nothing special. That’s my worries about Carmella as champion as we’ve just not seen anything special from her since the Ellsworth days took over her blossoming career. [ ** ]
So Backlash 2018 has ONE World Title match and where do they place it on the card? If you guessed “NOT the Main Event”, then you win! AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura was up next… In fairness, this was the 3rd time that we’ve seen this match in weeks and the previous 2 matches weren’t as good as hyped. Mind you, NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 10 event was 2 years ago… That said, I haven’t seen AJ Styles lose a step against most other opponents but I have with Nakamura. The “heat” of this match isn’t really there because by shoving in 2 other Pay Per Views following Wrestlemania 34, Nakamura has no room to breathe as a newly turned heel. Match featured Nakamura in firm control and applying weardown moves… Yep. That’s what everyone paid to see, right? King of Strong Style, applying weardown moves. A chair got involved and then I was like “is that legal”? But then I realized this was a no-disqualification match. So we waited THIS LONG to get any weapons involved? No wonder the fans were chanting “we want tables” earlier in the match. AJ Styles took a chair to his face and busted his cheek right open! Both wrestlers kicked each other in the balls and it resulted in a Double Countout. Are you kidding me? [ ** 3/4 ] On top of underwhelming matches, the Creative Team isn’t helping matters with bad finishes.
Bobby Lashley/Braun Strowman vs. Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens is up next. Funny how Zayn and Owens LACK credibility heading into RAW. Gee, why is that? Maybe having to sell for a non-wrestler named Shane McMahon has caused something… Imagine that. Bobby is a tank at age 41 and about to turn 42. He looks like he has been working out with the Rock (who looks ripped at age 46). Owens and Zayn really have no chance here, as they are facing 2 wrestlers that Vince McMahon really likes based on their size and his recruiting of them. Zayn and Owens argue as a team and it causes their downfall. Eventually, Owens loses to a vertical suplex. A good looking one, yes, but when was the last time that you saw a standard suplex win a match? Afterward, Owens takes a power slam by Strowman to put some more dirt on top of his career. Sami soon gets caught by Strowman and he gets destroyed by a powerslam too. [ ** ] Why have this match? Lashley should have been the “kid” that Strowman pulled out of the audience for Wrestlemania 34. Get ready for Owens vs. Zayn feud attempt # 2626188374734. Can’t wait.
By the way, Daniel Bryan is selling the Big Cass beatdown after their match by not appearing on the post-Backlash talkshow.
Oddly enough, I’m actually welcoming Samoa Joe vs. Roman Reigns because I’m SICK of seeing Reigns vs. Lesnar. How about that? The video packages that glamorize Reigns for his Lesnar feud that were shown before this match was torture to watch… Roman is truly the “Lex Express” of 2018 except that bus ride has been going on for 4 years and Lex Luger’s mega push of 1993-1994 fizzled in less than a year. Opportunity knocks here for Samoa Joe to impress WWE officials by pushing Roman to a great match. Joe goes on the attack and tosses Roman quickly through a table and then tosses him over 2 other tables. “Let’s Go Roman / Roman Sucks” and “CM Punk” chants heard… As Joe applies a resthold, “Boring” chants are heard. Ouch. “This is borning” chants also break out. The match started out well with Joe viciously attacking Roman and now it’s nothing but restholds. Roman hit a nice big boot to finally get on the offensive side of the match. Silence from the crowd… We’re now above 3 hours for a non-big 4 Pay Per View, by the way, and fans breakout a “Rusev Day” chant. Roman begins hitting his trademark moves, such as Superman Punch and Spear, so thus the end of the match is near. Joe keeps trying to lock in this modified sleeper (I know that it has an official move, but it looks like a Sleeper Hold) over and over again but Roman always escapes. Joe tried to apply a Muscle Buster but Roman avoided that and once back on the ground, hit the spear for the 1, 2, and 3. Enjoy Smackdown, Joe. Just another victim of a RAW wrestler beating a Smackdown wrestler around a draft or a shake-up. [ *** ] Honestly, the match wasn’t half bad… Just too predictable.
LAST WORD: I was fine with the first 3 matches (especially Miz vs. Rollins), but the show went downhill after that. I think that everyone is getting burned out of doing too much within a short period of time. In case you haven’t noticed, the WWE wrestlers travel schedule has been ridiculous for the past few months. In addition to fans being fatigued, it appears as though the wrestlers are also worn out as well. I’m not saying have an offseason, but let your wrestlers take a break for a moment and let’s not have many Pay Per Views so close together. [ C+ ] Just watch Miz vs. Rollins and you’ll be good.
SO JUST CHILL… ‘TIL THE NEXT EPISODE!
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