I recently said to a friend of mine that in terms of blog topics, the most difficult ones to write about are those that are dull, or fairly uneventful. My first in this Random Draw series was one of the most eventful shows of all time, whereas my second was largely dull, until the very end of the main event. So, for this one being number 3, it really was 3rd time lucky… Backlash 2017 was a SmackDown only PPV that came shortly after that year’s Superstar Shake-Up, so a great SmackDown roster before now had new faces and feuds for them to get in to. So the card for this show was absolutely LOADED with talent… but as good and as fun as the undercard matches were, this show will FOREVER be remembered for… maybe the most shocking crowning of a champion in wrestling history? One that as little as maybe a month or two prior people wouldn’t have called in a MILLION years… and for whatever the rationale behind the decision to crown a new Champion on this show, it was certainly a moment that none of us will ever forget, as much as some of us wish we could… so I’m going to get cracking now with my review of Backlash from the year 2017.
The show occurred on May 21st 2017. The SmackDown only PPV had the team of Tom Phillips, JBL and Byron Saxton on commentary (who I kind of liked calling this show, I thought they all mixed well), and we had Greg Hamilton as ring announcer. To add to the mix for a great show it just so happened to be happening at the AllState Arena in Chicago, Illinois … a venue that knows a thing or two about big shocking title changes…
The opening video for the show was decent in fairness.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler
Ziggler was heavy booed when he came out (he played his role of being totally unimpressed by Nakamura so well). This was Nakamura’s first match since the former 2-time NXT Champion came up to the main roster. The ovation he got was amazing, and I forgot how cool the old Nakamura entrance was with the spotlight, and the crowd singing along to the tune of his theme. The crowd chanted for Nakamura loudly and it was really spine tingling stuff. They played cat and mouse early and did more matt-based wrestling stuff, Ziggler moved out the way of a Nakamura kick, they locked up, Dolph had Shinsuke in the corner and breaks but disrespectfully shoved Nakamura in the face, which pissed him off. And so Nakamura hit some shots back at Dolph, and some knees, Shinsuke hit an arm drag and eventually Dolph reversed a hold and got a nearfall not long after. The pair locked up again but Nakamura escaped to the ropes so they broke, and Nakamura did his classic waving of the arms and then shoved Dolph and gave it the big “COME ON!!! The showman Nakamura was really showing who he was against the showoff himself, this already promised to be super fun. Nakamura hit a knee to the mid-section of Dolph, then a knee drop, and Good Vibrations in the corner, Dolph was on the outside as the crowd chanted “NAKAMURA” as Shinsuke hit strikes to Dolph on the outside, Ziggler went back in but he then caught Nakamura in the ropes and hits a neckbreaker using the ropes. He then hit a headbutt, pulled Nakamura’s hair and raked his eyes, Dolph got a neckhold, we had chants of “LET’S GO ZIGGLER, ZIGGLER SUCKS”, Nakamura rolls out of the hold and ran at Dolph, but Ziggler hit a dropkick.. 1,2, nearfall for Dolph. Ziggler hit some punches and then an elbow drop for a 2 count. He screamed “I’m the man” and then got in Nakamura’s face and said “YOU SEE ME BOY” as he then hit him with a headbutt and told the ref to shut up as the crowd chanted more for Nakamura, Shinsuke then pulled Ziggler away and hits a knee to the mid section. Nakamura hit a spin kick after Dolph ducked the first, both of them eventually got up as Shinsuke dodged a series of Dolph strikes, and he got his own in too, and series of knees to Dolph’s face each time he went at him. Ziggler then went into the corner as Nakamura hit a running charge at him, and he then pulled Dolph up to the top rope, rolled backwards and Nakamura hit a running knee to Dolph’s stomach as he laid prone. 1,2, Dolph kicks out. Shinsuke then set up for the reverse exploder, or he tried at least but Dolph hit an elbow and got a roll-up for a nearfall. Nakamura though got in a triangle hold only for Ziggler to get a foot to the ropes, Nakamura after tried a suplex but Dolph got out of it and hits a big ddt for another nearfall. There were more chants for “NA-KA-MU-RA” as Shinsuke hit a hard knee to Dolph’s mid-section, and he tried a Kinshasa but Dolph got a roll up for a 2 count. Ziggler the hit the Fameasser for another 2 count. Then, for a few seconds you can watch happened next…
There was an attempt at a Powerbomb after, but Nakamura stopped it and hit a knee to the mid-section, then a knee to the neck and an attempt at a reverse exploder but Dolph flipped over and hit a superkick to the back of Nakamura’s neck, he then crawled over for the cover but Nakamura kicked out at 2. Ziggler then hit shots to the back of Nakamura’s neck, kicks to the head, but Nakamura then grabbed Dolph’s foot, but Ziggler SPAT in his face, leading to some hard Nakamura strikes. Dolph then went for the leg, but Nakamura sprawled, and he hit some knees back. Dolph got to the ropes as Nakamura hit elbows, kick and a running knee to Dolph’s face as he was on the ropes. Nakamura roared and then came off the top, only for Dolph to move… then we thought we may see a Kinshasa, Dolph moved, tried a superkick, Nakamura moves, he hit a shot and then finally got the exploder suplex. He signaled to the crowd that it was over and then hit a HARD-looking Kinshasa… 1,2,3. Nakamura gets the win in a hard-hitting match and bowed to the crowd afterwards. He was a SUPERSTAR to this crowd. People, as best I recall, felt underwhelmed by this match as the much anticipated main roster debut match for Nakamura, but watching it back I still thought it was pretty good. As a show opener it was pretty hot in terms of pace, match quality and crowd investment into it. This show was off to a GOOD start.
We saw AJ Styles in the locker room preparing for his match later in the show.
Commentary then introduced a video of Breezango starring in the ‘Fashion Files’… now… there are some of you reading this who wont remember or wont have seen the comedy BRILLIANCE of these skits over a number of weeks in 2017, so I’ll include the ‘episode’ they played on this show, but I’d advise you to go out of your way to watch EVERY SINGLE Fashion Files ‘episode’ on YouTube IMMEDIATELY. They did an amazing job of getting both Breeze and Fandango over. To the point that now on this PPV they were hugely over babyfaces.
This episode was AWESOME as the large majority of them were, such good shit!
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (C) defeated Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
(For the record I’m so sorry if I get Jimmy and Jey mixed up at times)
Tyler Breeze came out dressed as the janitor from the aforementioned Fashion Files. Breezango were super over with the fans as they sung along to Fandango’s theme song tune. Fandango and Jimmy started, as Breeze was MOPPING the apron as the two locked up, Fandango got a takedown, and gyrated his hips… and the crowd popped huge as Breeze was tagged in. He mopped the floor (yes he had a mop with him to complete the gimmick), and The Usos looked disgusted as the crowd chanted “MOP, MOP, MOP”. Jimmy ran at Tyler Breeze but he just sidestepped out of his way and Jimmy went into the turnbuckle, Breeze then rustled the mop right into Jimmy’s face, whom was took aback by it, and Breeze raised the mop into the air with both arms in celebration to the crowd. The crowd were loving it… until Jey Uso (?) hit a hard punch and Breeze sold it like he was knocked out. The fans were fuming as Jey snapped the mop in half and the fans booed HARD, Jey then went up top to go for a splash… but Breeze slowly rolled out the way, and this happened a few times in a row; Jey would go to the top turnbuckle and Breeze would roll slowly to the other side and out of reach, to the point it was hilarious. By the time he was losing his patience, Jey went to pick Tyler Breeze up but Breeze hit a dropkick and got a nearfall. He then tagged Fandango in as Breeze held Jey Uso’s arm for Fandango to come down on it, Fandango had ahold of the arm but then got caught with a shot and then Breeze suffered the same fate from a cheap shot and Breeze fell off the apron to the floor and the crowd booed. Jey then took Fandango to the other corner and tagged in Jimmy Uso, Jimmy hit strikes to Fandango and he tried a sunset flip pin but Fandango tilted, and tilted and tilted as he comically tried to maintain his balance and stay upright, and he eventually moved his hips again and hit a leg drop for a 2 count nearfall. Fandango then got in an arm hold… and then Breeze made another appearance… only this time…:
Jimmy (?) then hit a hard drop kick to a chorus of boos, and then took Breeze to the corner as he tagged in Jey (?), He then ripped the dress off of ‘Grandma Breeze’ and he threw it… and it landed right on JBL at commentary which made everyone laugh in the crowd. Breeze again was stuck in the corner but moved out the way in time to avoid the oncoming Uso, both guys then made tags, Fandango and Jimmy (?) went at it, Fandango hit a spinning heel kick for a nearfall, then some chops, Jimmy went into the post again, and Fandango got a spinning ddt off the turnbuckle in for another nearfall. Breeze then came in (just as himself this time), Jey pulled Fandango out the ring to the floor, Jey then got a blind tag and set up Breeze in position for Jimmy to come off the top for splash… for another nearfall. Breeze was then placed on the top turnbuckle, but he then moved so Jey Uso accidentally hit a superkick to his brother, Breeze then hit an Unprettier and got close nearfall. Fandango soon got a tag in, and Breeze rolled to the outside but got thrown over the crowd barricade by both Usos after, Fandango looked for retribution after with a crazy dive over the ropes to the outside onto both Usos.
Fandango then made his way to the top rope, but then he had his foot pulled by Jimmy and this allowed for Jey Uso to hit a big superkick… 1,2,3. Usos retain. It kind of had to be that way result wise, you can’t have the heel champions who are mega-serious be beaten by the comedy guys else it kind of kills The Usos’ gimmick, but even though this was a really fun match. The people were really into the comedy stuff, and I LOVED it.
Commentary explained about a confrontation between Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin from SmackDown, as Zayn revealed why he wanted a match with Corbin at Backlash.
Sami Zayn defeated Baron Corbin
Zayn was very popular here as a babyface as the crowd sung along to the tune of his theme music. Corbin was still in his first gimmick with the long hair and the old entrance with the spotlight, pre ‘End of Days’ theme song Corbin was just a proper heel asshole. During Zayn’s entrance by the way we got introduced the the international announce teams, including the Hindi team (go out of your way to find their commentary of the finish of the main event on this show… it was tremendous). After they eventually locked up we had crowd chants of “let’s go Sami”… Corbin got a hard knee to Zayn’s mid-section, but eventually with Corbin on the outside Zayn went to go for a dive but Corbin moved, so Sami bounced back off the ropes and posed in the ring. Corbin then got on offence and rams Zayn’s head into the corners, eventually Zayn hit a dropkick and Corbin was took outside, but Corbin then pulls Zayn by his right hand, but with Corbin on top Zayn springboarded off the barricade and came back onto Corbin in a great spot. Back in the ring Zayn hit strikes to Corbin in the corner, then Corbin picks him up and drives him into the other corner, Corbin stomps on Zayn’s lower back, then a back breaker, Corbin again launches Zayn to the corner and he took a big bump on his injured back (the crowd really weren’t impressed with Corbin on offence here). “let’s go Corbin, SAMI ZAYN” chants, Sami tried to strike his way out of trouble but Corbin catches him with a big bear hug, Zayn elbows out of it…
Zayn then came off the top but Corbin moved, and he hit a big spinebuster for a 2 count. The crowd chanted “ole, ole…” in support of Sami, Corbin hit a punch, and the crowd’s chanting made Corbin more angry “that’s what you cheer for?”… Corbin talked trash to Sami as he laid more offence in, and Corbin came off the ropes again, but Zayn caught him with a clothesline, he then hit another before coming off the top rope with a flying crossbody, but Corbin powered out of the pin that followed. Soon after Corbin did his spot where he slides to the outside, goes quickly around a ring post and then comes back in the ring and clotheslines his opponent… yeah that one… but Zayn kicked out of the pin at 2. Corbin hit more strikes to Zayn’s lower back, and eventually a back breaker for a 2 count. Eventually after Zayn got back into it he hit a great looking sunset flip powerbomb off the top… 1,2… Corbin kicks out at 2. The crowd were really behind Sami as he tried to get Corbin back up, and into the corner as he hit elbows, and then he tried for a ddt from the second rope but Corbin countered, Zayn tried for an explorer suplex but Corbin hit elbows and then Zayn got a nearfall from a crucifix pin. Corbin got a close nearfall from a Deep Six, and then in fury at not getting the win he hit Zayn on the floor with a series of stomps, kicks and strikes… Corbin charged at Zayn again but again Corbin found himself on the outside as Zayn had moved, Corbin got right back on it and ran at Zayn again but Zayn again moved and Corbin crashed into the corner, and Zayn didn’t waste his time and quickly took the opportunity and hit the Helluva Kick!!! 1,2,3!!! Somehow after getting battered for most the match Sami Zayn got the win! Zayn’s selling as a babyface was great, Corbin played the dickhead bully so well, both of them then as they are still in 2021 were tremendous at their roles. In my opinion if both were given the platform and spot (regardless of what you may think of them), if they got the chances I think they would both excel at anything they were given to do in WWE. 2 great talents. This was pretty good stuff.
A car was shown pulling up backstage. The Singh Brothers stepped out and laid out a carpet on the ground. And out stepped the man himself, Jinder Mahal. The crowd were loud for him and it seemed more cheers and claps than anything else. Jinder cut a promo after to an interviewer (with the camera directly on his face), He said Chicago is full of haters, America is full of heaters… he basically cuts an anti US Promo saying people hate him for who they think he is, as you can hear the crowd reacting mostly positive to him (although he got the WHAT treatment and chants of CM Punk at one point). The crowd did boo as he finished his promo speaking to “his people” in Punjab.
Natalya, Tamina & Carmella (with James Ellsworth) defeated Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair & SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi
James Ellsworth (remember him? Sadly, I do) came out. He cut a ridiculous heel promo before introducing Carmella (roll tide). Then out came her teammates of the AWFULLY named “Welcoming Committee”. Jbl called Natalya “the greatest Hart of them all”… behave… all 3 of the babyface team were very popular with the crowd when they came out. Lynch and Tamina began, with Tamina getting the better of their exchange before tagging in Natalya. Lynch then got a roll up nearfall and tagged in Charlotte (lots of woos from the crowd), Charlotte shortly got a roll up nearfall of her own on Natalya. Charlotte then hit a series of chops, a Knee drop, and she then did a moonwalk to mock Carmella who was furious on the apron, Charlotte then hit a hard strike to Natalya to take her off the apron, but Carmella backed away and wanted nothing to do with Flair, Natalya then cameback and clotheslined Charlotte down. Natalya tagged in Tamina and then the three heels took it in turns to hit kicks to Charlotte in the corner before tagging out and letting the next person have a go. Eventually after the kicking it was Carmella who stayed in the ring and hit Charlotte with some elbows before getting her in a rest hold and taking Flair down for a 2 count. Carmella was on top for a little while, until Charlotte sent Carmella’s head into the turnbuckle…
before flying into a bronco buster which earned her a nearfall from the following pin. Tamina came in and soon got a neckhold, Naomi tried to fight out but to no avail. Carmella came in and hit a kick, Natalya came in and launched Carmella into the corner but instead of hitting her opponent Naomi had moved out the way. Natalya then hit Charlotte, Naomi reversed an Irish whip from Natalya and sent her to the corner, Tamina took a tag, and Naomi tried to tag Becky Lynch in at last but Carmella pulled Lynch down off the apron so she couldn’t. Tamina hit a Samoan drop for a nearfall that Charlotte Flair came in and broke up. Natalya and Naomi had an exchange after before Naomi ducked under Natalya to tag in Lynch, who came in real hot going at all 3 of the opposing team, she then hit a kick and strikes to Natalya before a bexploder and the running strike in the corner to get a nearfall. Lynch went to the top rope but Tamina tried to get her down, Lynch moved but Natalya did manage to get Becky down and into a sharpshooter, but Lynch counter into a dis-arm-her, only Carmella broke that up, Charlotte threw Carmella out, Tamina hit Charlotte with a superkick, and then a headbutt to Naomi, Lynch got a nearfall on Natalya after they rolled, Tamina came in but Lynch strikes her down, and suddenly Natalya came and got Lynch in a sharpshooter… and that was that as Becky tapped. This finish really felt like the wrong choice. I mean… I guess when you think about it it had to be this way… or did it? Naomi was the champion, Charlotte was the big star that was new to the brand, so Lynch sadly had to take the fall … and Natalya did win the women’s title a few months later, Tamina I guess they wanted to keep strong as the heater of the group, and Carmella won the MITB briefcase at the next event… but I will say this really felt like a SmackDown tv match rather than a PPV women’s match. Why they couldn’t of just had a multi woman title match I don’t know, although that’s what they did at WrestleMania so maybe they just needed to book better feuds in the division at this time? Ah well…
Kevin Owens (C) defeated AJ Styles by count out to retain the United States Championship
Owens was doing his gimmick (as was shown in the pre match video) as “the face of America”, which was WAYYYY too short a run and was some GOOD shit. He even was introduced here by Greg Hamilton as “the United States face of America”.
Styles was really over also. They did a really strong lock up to start, Owens tried to go at Styles’ right leg but AJ got out of it. He soon after got a roll up for a nearfall, Owens again went for AJ’s leg, they played cat and mouse for a bit as the crowd chanted “Stupid Idiot” at him (in reference to his former partner turned enemy Chris Jericho), Owens went hard with the offence, Styles couldn’t hit a dropkick as Owens soon after hit a series of stomps. Styles though popped up with a dropkick, then some more strikes, some more back and forth, a hard striking exchange, Owens got AJ into the top turnbuckle and then a hard clothesline for a nearfall. He followed up right away with some hard strikes, then Knee strikes to the spine of AJ…
The crowd chanted for both guys as Owens had in a neckhold, AJ though eventually managed to get up from it and hit an enziguiri. They had another striking exchange, AJ hit more strikes and then a running forearm for a nearfall after. Hard strikes from AJ, and then he made KO go face first into the ring mat and got another nearfall off the back of it. AJ thought about a Styles Clash, but didn’t pull it off and instead a fireman’s carry and then slamming Owens head onto his knee for a nearfall. Another Styles Clash attempt was turned over by an Owens backdrop, and a springboard moonsault was met with an Owens superkick, and then a pumphandle neckbreaker got Owens a 2 count. After he tried for a Pop up powerbomb, but AJ held the ropes to stop it, he then hit a boot and they exchanged strikes, AJ was on the apron, Owens used the ropes on AJ’s neck to take him down to the floor, Owens was later caught in the corner by more AJ strikes and it looked like maybe a Styles Clash but Owens smashed Styles’ leg into the ringpost, then back in the ring Owens hit the cannonball to AJ in the corner, and after he wrapped Styles’ injured leg around the rope and hit a cannonball directly onto the leg. Owens got a great single leg crap on the targeted right leg not long after, and then into an ankle lock, but AJ got the bottom rope. Owens was then on the second rope with Styles also in the corner, Owens had AJ up with a fireman’s but soon Styles turned that into a 2nd rope powerbomb, and Owens took a hard bump. Styles then set up for a Phenomenal Forearm but his hurt leg gave out so he slipped when he tried to pop up onto the ropes, and Owens hit a double underhook ddt for a close 2 count. Owens again went for the leg as he told AJ to “stay down”, he slapped AJ but got hit back with a Pele kick, AJ hit KO back into the corner, and both men were then up on the second rope and it looked like a superplex was coming, but Owens this time got the better of it and hit a side/power slam for a 2 count again. Owens went up too possibly looking for a big splash, but AJ rolled over to the apron. With both then on the apron Styles hit a suplex, AJ briefly rolled back into the ring to break the count but then when he went back out Owens launches him over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area. AJ then jumped back and hit a Phenomenal Forearm on the outside.
With his leg still hurting still AJ Styles went onto the announce table, but Owens pulled his leg so he fell down onto the table. Styles then got his leg stuck in an opening on the table (I believe for wiring or where one of the monitors was), but basically his leg was stuck and got caught in the gap and some wiring. This allowed for Owens to get back on the ring and as AJ was stuck, the ref’s count hit 10 and Styles was counted out so Owens retained the US title. After Owens kicked AJ in the head before leaving and Styles had to be helped to the back by a couple of referees.
This was part of a series of matches between the two around this time, so the feud was going to carry on, so long-term the finish makes sense… but on its own this match was getting good and then we had a real let down end. If this was another 5 minutes and they both really went for it big move wise then this match would’ve been a classic… but sadly, as was the theme of this feud, I can’t help but feel short changed…
We had a recap of Tye Dillinger beating Aiden English on the kick off show. Man… there’s a story for me to talk about one day, the time that the Perfect 10 and that one number dominated wrestling all over the world…
After his recent passing I hope I’ll be forgiven for not offering the most in-depth review of the next match. I still find it upsetting to watch anything Luke Harper or Brodie Lee.
Whilst I’m here please everyone go out of your way to find the edition of The New Day’s podcast and the AEW tribute video montage and special show, all of which were beautiful tributes to the great man in their own way.
Luke Harper defeated Erick Rowan
(Backstory here is Rowan returned shortly after WrestleMania to help Bray Wyatt vs Randy Orton and Luke Harper. Bray then went to Raw and Orton went on to face Jinder, so the former tag partners were to battle it out here).
Rowan took most of what was a real big man’s match. Not much that wasn’t hard hitting and big impact moves. Crowd were behind Harper and Rowan was booed at times. Towards the end Rowan hit a spin kick and a powerbomb for a nearfall. Rowan was booed as he hit more strikes, Harper got a nearfall, they exchanged strikes, Harper got a superkick as Rowan looked to his mask for inspiration, but he turned back into a discuss clothesline and Harper got the pin.
There was an excellent promo package to promote the main event.
And then… it was time…
Jinder Mahal (with The Singh Brothers: Samir Singh and Sunil Singh) defeated Randy Orton (C) to WIN THE WWE CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!!! YES THIS REALLY, ACTUALLY, GENUINELY, FUCKING HAPPENED!!!!!!
(COPY AND PASTE THE ABOVE LINK FOR A VIDEO OF THE FULL MATCH)
Jinder came out with the Singhs and he looked JACKED (he also had wrestling gear of the colours of the Indian flag), he was mostly booed, as opposed to Orton who was mostly cheered.
Randy attacked Jinder during the in-ring introductions, and he then threw Mahal to the outside. Randy went after him and launched Jinder over the announce table and battered him. With both men eventually back in the ring, the ref tried to restore order and asked Jinder if he wanted to continue (lol)… and although he looked to be seething the bell was eventually finally rung. With the match officially underway Randy Orton was on offence, and he had Jinder in the corner as he tried for an RKO but Mahal got to the outside. Orton went after him again, JBL on commentary noted that Mahal was getting guzzled and he wasn’t wrong. Jinder though then threw Orton into the LED side of the ring apron. Jinder then had Randy back in the ring and hit some strikes and then a resthold locked in, Jinder then came off the ropes and hit a dropkick but Orton kicked out at 1. Jinder then had a series of restholds, chants of “Let’s go Jinder, Jinder sucks”, Orton then came off the ropes and sent Jinder down, Orton then hit his classic stomps and some punches, an uppercut then a backslide and then an armbreaker by Jinder. He then got a nearfall from a knee drop, Jinder then had another rest hold as he began to target Orton’s shoulder, eventually Mahal sent Randy outside, but Orton soon came back and his back breaker to Jinder on the announce table. Orton came back in but Mahal hit some stomps and knees before another rest hold (yeah… Jinder didn’t exactly have a varied move set, largely because as a Jobber he’d never needed one before…). Mahal continued to target the left shoulder of Orton, Orton then looked to reverse an Irish whip before Mahal was sent shoulder first into the ringpost HARD, Orton was now on top of things. And with Jinder on the apron and Orton on the middle rope it came to Mahal hitting some punches, and then Orton kicked the ropes and this allowed for him to hit a Superplex! Orton then crawled over for the cover hit Jinder kicked out at 2, they exchanged punches and then Orton hit his scoop slam and eventually a fallaway for a 2 count. After another Jinder nearfall Orton for a really great backbreaker, and later with Jinder on the apron Orton walked over and hit the inverted ddt which the crowd loved. Orton (still selling his left shoulder) then set up for an RKO but Jinder rolled to the outside. Orton eventually went after him only for The Singhs to try and protect their leader…
naturally Orton destroyed both Samir and Sunil, including sending one Singh flying with a backdrop and then the same to the other which prompted an all time classic reaction from Orton.
He eventually picked both Singhs up onto the apron and hit them with a double inverted ddt… and then… it happened… Jinder came from behind, hit Orton with the Khallas…. 1…2….3!!!! I can’t quite describe the crowds reaction… it kind of went through stages. Of course they showed shots of the crowd and largely focused on people who were absolutely gobsmacked, but you could also see people openly laughing. Commentary sold it great to be fair, particularly JBL’s call of the magnitude of the result was tremendous. But to quote Bradshaw… and I still now can’t believe I write this… “JINDER MAHAL… listen to this, JINDER MAHAL, IS THE NEW WWE CHAMPION”!!!! Without a doubt the biggest shock result ever in the long history of the WWE Championship. Some will go back to when Bruno lost the title way back, but given just how insane the rise of Jinder Mahal was in such a short space of time this one has to be at the top. Still now can’t quite believe it.
So of course this show was all about the main event finish. The show overall was one I enjoyed, the action was perfectly fine. But it really was all about Jinder Mahal and his incredible rise to becoming WWE Champion. Naturally it was done to gain interest in the lucrative Indian market (news flash; it didn’t work, and only now years later are they setting up a specific Indian tv show or brand in the pipeline). In fact the whole idea was eventually for Jinder to be WWE Champion for a WWE tour of India later in the year, but in the end Jinder lost the title before and ended up facing Triple H in the main event of the tour non-title. Now of course the views on this (putting the WWE title on a jobber) will largely be negative, and having gone through it I don’t recall Jinder’s reign being too much fun. His rematch with Orton at the next PPV was almost the the exact same match as this one, and the Punjabi prison match was obviously awful. Mahal then handed Shinsuke Nakamura his first defeat on the main roster, and then beat him again before AJ Styles ended the reign of Jinder just before Survivor Series and to rid us of the advertised Jinder Vs Lesnar match… but regardless of what you think of the idea or the logic, I can safely say that NOBODY will ever forget Backlash 2017… the night that Hell really did freeze over… the night The Modern Day Maharaja won the most prestigious championship in professional wrestling…
Bruno, Hogan, Savage, Flair, Hart, Yokozuna, Undertaker, Michaels, Austin, Rock, Mankind, Triple H, Lesnar, Eddie, Cena, Edge, Orton, CM Punk, Rollins, Reigns, Ambrose, AJ Styles, Bray Wyatt…. and right now forever alongside them… Fellow former WWE CHAMPION… JINDER MAHAL!