In my preview I said Backlash 2018 had a good card and the potential to be a real good show. It did have a good line-up, on paper at least… it turned out to be the worst WWE ppv of 2018 by a mile. Even worse than the GRR with all its Pro-Saudi stuff etc. Backlash 2018 was a show with some bad wrestling, 1 standout match and some absolutely god awful finishes.
We began the action with our first match of the card, which saw Ruby Riott get a win over Bayley (who had to fight against The Riott squad on her own after Sasha beforehand in a segment with Bayley was made clear that she wouldn’t be helping her)… meh… the match was not good at all.
The main card began with Seth Rollins defending his Intercontinental Championship against The Miz. An action packed opener saw Rollins hit plenty of his signature moves, and then as he went to hit a big knee attack on his opponent he instead hit his knee on the ring post on the apron. Later on Miz would target the knee of Rollins with a Figure 4 leg lock, they had a staredown, they exchanged offensive moves with one another whilst also exchanging figure 4 leg locks, and then eventually Miz his a Skull crushing finale but only got a 2 count! Later on there was a point when what looked like it was going to be a suplex ended up as another Skull crushing finale from Miz but once again it was only enough for a nearfall! The commentary team were going absolutely wild for this and plenty of references throughout the match were made to the inury to Rollins’ knee but it was the IC Champion who was able to use a small window of opportunity to hit the Curb Stomp and get the 1,2,3. Seth retains. AWESOME (sorry Miz) match! Seth really is knocking it out the park recently in the ring and as a character and he was able to put on another epic here, even in a match with The Miz… who isn’t exactly an in-ring general…
After a decent video recapping the whole Nia and Alexa story so far we had the Wrestlemania rematch for the Raw Women’s Championship. For most of it Bliss beating Nia (which was so stupid), Bliss’ main moment of the match was hitting Jax with a ddt on the steel steps on the outside, she tried her most to lift Nia into the ring but was clearly unable to (if this was part of the act or not idk). In general the wrestling between these 2 was not so good, surprising as they are best friends irl so a lack of in-ring chemistry is a bit of a shock, and much like their Mania contest this one too underwhelmed. After trying mutliple times to set up the same finish as the Mania match (Samoan Drop from the middle rope) Jax settled for a regular version or the move and this was enough for her to retain her title. After the match Jax cur a promo that was more a promo for the WWE’s ‘Be a star’ campaign than her character, the dialogue was as cringey as you could get, and the crowd actually began to turn on Nia at this point. Why you couldn’t just push her as a Monster ala Braun Strowman idk… bad match, awful promo. Alexa suffered a legit shoulder injury during the match to make it worse.
Samoa Joe was then shown in an interview backstage (his appearance got a big cheer from the crowd). He cut a great promo on Roman Reigns, saying he would ‘turn the big dog into a … Puppy’ which I was particularly entertained by.
Next match was Jeff Hardy defending the United States title against Randy Orton. Jeff Won. This was about as a basic a wrestling match as you could get, which is a shame from 2 veterans who are more than capable of putting on a great match. It was fairly short but it really wasn’t anything notable at all.
So then… we had a segment that was about as random as you could get… essentially we had Elias in the ring attempting to give us another ‘performance’, but he was interrupted by (in no particular order) the entrances of No Way Jose, The New Day, Bo Dallas, Breezango, Titus Worldwide, Rusev Day and Bobby Roode. Roode ended the segment by giving Elias a Glorious ddt, and then everyone bar the heels left and danced away along with No Way Jose’s conga line. I don’t know how to explain this really, it was so random, so bizzare and so unexpected. And in the early hours of the morning I did not need a long ass segment mid way through a show that had sucked so far and all I wanted was the remaining matches. Weird.
A great video for Big Cass and Daniel Bryan’s story so far was played before their match. Bryan won by making Cass tap out, which suprised me as I had thought they would protect Cass a little more whilst still giving Bryan a big win. The match was… fine… they needed more time (was only 7 minutes) I felt to make it special but it wasn’t (once again) anything special. Cass attacked Bryan after the match to make it clear this isn’t the end of this one… It was a big chance for Cass to do something, essentially he did nothing. Sad.
Next match was Charlotte vs Carmella. Charlotte once again proved she’s the best female wrestler on the planet, Carmella once again demonstrated her continually good character work, but this match just didn’t click as well. Carmella had Flair in a rest-hold for long periods, which yes was good heel stuff but the crowd were left absolutely dead as a result , they did though come alive a tad more once Charlotte got back on the attack. The finish saw Charlotte’s knee buckle as she came off the ropes for a Moonsault, Carmella then attacked the injured knee of Flair and then covered her for the pin. And that was the finish. And it was so underwhelming and a little daft. Yeah… not good this.
So next we had AJ vs Nakamura… yes it was next in the show… THE WWE FUCKING CHAMPIONSHIP didn’t main event this show!!!!!!!
Shinsuke continued to show off just how good and comfortable he seems as a heel, one nasty spot in this no dq match saw AJ throw a chair at Nakamura as he attempted the Kinshasa, but the chair then bounced off the incoming knee of The King of Strong Style and right back into the cheek area of Styles, busting him open. Both men then as I widely expected low blowed one another, and then soon after they both kicked eachother in the balls at the same time which caused both men to fall down in a heap of pain. The ref then proceeded to count both men down for the 10 and the match ended in a draw. Yep… I shit you not… a NO DQ MATCH ENDED IN A DOUBLE FUCKING COUNTOUT! So the first match underwhelmed, the 2nd was a tad better with a shit countout finish, and this one again underwhelmed and was capped off with a suck finish. Wow…
Next match was Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley vs Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Couple of nice minor things here; KO and Sami came out to Zayn’s theme for a change which was nice, Lashley was put over for his strength and athleticism by the commentators, Coach (as awful as he is) said too on commentary that Braun wanted to be ‘the guy’… which at the time at least sounding promising… ANYWAY the match itself saw KO be ran over (almost literally) by Braun on a number of occasions in a repeat of the recent spot on Raw where Strowman simply runs at Owens as hard as he can, Lashley eventually made a hot tag to his partner and as expected they dominated. The match ending saw Owens and Zayn both try and escape from the match with both men looking as if they were feeding the other to the wolves (so perhaps their friendship isn’t as good as it seems… again….). So after they exchanged throwing eachother to and then escaping from Lashley and Braun it was finally Lashley who did his delayed suplex on Owens for the win. And for good measure Zayn was powerslammed by Braun afterwards as the big babyfaces stood tall. This was fine I guess, but by this point it would take soemthing pretty big to save this show. The main event… well…
And so… Samoa Joe vs Roman Reigns was the main event. Boy oh boy where do I even begin??? Joe beat up Roman before the bell had even rung, he put him through a table and generally battered him, despite barely being able to stand Roman told the ref he was good to go and the bell was rung, Joe beat on him some more… but it wasn’t power move after power move, it was resthold after resthold and strike after strike. There was little excitement. There were audible chants of ‘BORING’ and ‘Beat the traffic’ from the crowd as scores of fans were leaving the arena as the match was still ongoing, so much so that there were parts of the arena that had it’s lighting faded to black so as to obscure from view the empty seats. At around 20 past 4 am in the morning I didn’t need a boring af main event, it was so bad. I assumed it was going on last so as to set up an amazing angle or because something huge and shocking was to happen, oh how naive I was. Joe had Roman in his submission finisher for a long period as just as Roman began to fade SUDDENLY (to the surprise of nobody) he miraculously was revived and began his comeback… and yep as you guessed Reigns reversed a Muscle Buster from Samoa Joe, hit the Spear, 123. Roman Wins. He celebrates. Show goes off the air. THAT WAS IT.
I do try and see most things, particularly wrestling related, with a positive mindset. But it was impossible to be overtly positive about such a dreadful show. I was so happy I stayed up for this…………………………………………..
I don’t know how to properly describe how awful this show was. Money In The Bank now needs to be one hell of a show, else this momentum WWE seemed to have developed in recent weeks will die a quick and painful death. THIS WAS A BAD BAD BAD SHOW. Not much more to it.