They, In Fact, Didn’t Want None
The first Smackdown Live PPV is in the books, and Backlash did not disappoint. Actually, that’s selling the show short. Given the obvious depth issue, and prevailing thought that Smackdown Live is the B-Show to Monday Night RAW, Backlash didn’t have lofty expectations, but it did have the pressure of the entire company to prove to fans just why we would need 19 PPV’s in a year when 11 was a bit much to swallow. And for at least this one event, they have staved off criticism.
What’s sticking with me most after sleeping on Backlash leading into the event was the payoff to storylines. Even the Uso heel turn, which only just took place, made Heath Slater and Rhyno winning that much sweeter. They didn’t go over a team we felt equally deserved it. We weren’t short changed the emotional release in order to get some heat on the newly evil twins (which I totally expected). No, the crowd was able to go home happy….and early.
Look no further than the main event of the evening, where AJ Styles won the WWE Title from Dean Ambrose. I’ve gone on record as saying Ambrose wasn’t really doing it for me as champion. He was a representation of the fans wanting something that wasn’t quite there. There’s something to be said about his parallel to former Shield brother, Roman Reigns, and how Dean got the push he deserved, but catapulted as the anti-establishment choice.
AJ, on the other hand, was the hot guy, and clear choice to run with the ball going forward. His story, the same as it was when he took down John Cena; I am so much better at this wrasslin’ thing than the rest of you clowns. Best part being, he wasn’t wrong. He’d proven, pretty consistently that the rest of the boys couldn’t hang with Eddie Kang, and it was only a matter of when, not if, he would get that belt around his waist. So it was up to Dean to prove that he was the big, crazy dog in the yard, and Styles called his bluff.
Dead couldn’t win that match. In or out of story. Styles did most of the heavy lifting, and made that match what it was. A vet carrying a talented, yet slightly one dimensional worker. Even the commentary was having difficulty selling just how Dean was supposed to win. In one breath, stating how well Styles had Ambrose scouted, then doubling back to convince us that Ambrose had a totally unpredictable offense. In the end, Dean caught a roshambo to boys, and Dean Ambrose walked up the ramp, having now held EVERY relevant World Championship(ROH, TNA, & NJPW).
Talk about a long road to travel, I was beginning to think that Becky Lynch would never break that glass ceiling, what with Nikki Bella making a return to action, but the Lass Kicker finally got some “gold” to her name.
The match, while solid, really served the show overall more than just itself. It was the opener, and gave a fan favorite a well deserved win. Thus, getting the crowd good a rowdy for the next two hours of wrasslin’. There was a small predictability factor once Nikki was eliminated, leaving Carmella vs. Becky, but never felt cheap. Probably because we’ve seen Becky get the short end of this stick before. Not this time, and now Becky Lynch will forever be, the inaugural Smackdown Live Women’s Champion. Good On Ya.
The Greatest Heel in the Company
Yes, you read that right, and you know good and well who I’m talking about. The Miz right now, currently, in this form, the BEST heel in WWE. Yes, AJ Styles may be the most complete bad guy, but he still has a good amount of smarky support behind him. Miz, on the other hand, has never had an inkling of support. We hate when he wins, and we hate him even more when he’s right. Which he has been ever since his pseudo feud with Daniel Bryan began. Dolph Ziggler may be the current proxy, but i’m sure more will come along until a deserving good guy can finally shut Miz up.
The match itself was good. I don’t think there was every any real drama as to whether or not Ziggler would win. He wasn’t supposed to. Backlash had a story to serve up, and that was more about Miz than it was anyone else. The right guy won. The right guy won in the right way. And he’ll rub that all up and around Daniel Bryan’s face while he restructures his contract.
Double Wide Babaaaay!
The biggest payoff of the night, and likely the biggest emotional response, went to Heath Slater and Rhyno winning the Smackdown Live Tag Team Championship. In a story that NO ONE saw coming just over a month ago, we got something akin to closure. Heath Slater has been barely been above jobber status his entire career, but he’s been a constant professional. Making the most of his time at every turn, it really was his time to shine the anemic Smackdown Live roster.
I’m not going to go deep into the Kane/Bray Wyatt match, but i’ll admit that it was a damn good showing. Especially for a match that was thrown together last minute, featuring a veteran that we’ve grown pretty tired of. Kane can still work for a guy his age and style. The fact that the crowd was totally into this one speaks volumes of the two men in the ring. I’m still torn on the end, and understand that it only served to progress the story between Orton and Wyatt once Randy is healed up, and no longer comically limping. Still, Bray needs more wins.
Overall, Backlash was a great show that left me wanting more, just not that night. That night, a wrasslin’ show ending 20 minutes early, and all the people that’d packed overnight bags expecting the usual marathon of masturbatory content were allowed to go home to their families in a timely fashion. If nothing else, that is cause for celebration. As it were, we just got a damn good night of wrasslin’.