WWE Backlash 2016 Review

WWE 2016 Backlash

I am not going to review the opening match. I’m taking a stand. If WWE can’t be bothered to announce something as simple as a kick off show match, then I can’t be bothered to review it. Fuck you WWE, you lazy fucks. Baron won. Yay. There’s my review. Anyway, I will be reviewing and grading on my 1.0-9.2 scale. In case you aren’t familiar with it, it’s easy. Anything between 1.0 and 5.0 are things that I never wish to see again. Some can be good even, but I still don’t have interest in re-watching. Anything above a 5.0 is worth a second viewing. With wrestling, most matches are going to be too short (or in some rare instances, too long), the booking or ending could be shit, the pacing could be off, perhaps the in ring chemistry is off, or it can simply be boring. Think about it, those are all qualities that we care about, but at the end of the day, it can be a perfectly executed match, and still be boring or un-entertaining.  So depending on how fulfilled I feel, I explain where it may have fallen short to me. A great match really starts around the 8.0 mark. The 9.2’s are for matches that you see and you know that everything is clicking, and it is memorable for all of the right reasons. Think Styles vs. Cena at Summerslam. Yes, it was the match of the year, unquestionably.

Smackdown Women’s 6 Pack Challenge for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs. Nikki Bella vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella

This is a match that had 4 sections in my opinion. The first part early on after the typical multi person match stuff was dominated by Alexa Bliss. She looked great. She really showcased to the world just how good she can be with better talent to work with. Then the next section really showcased Naomi’s abilities, and she was putting on a show. Then of course both of them got pinned.  I have a gripe as well.  When the wrestlers do the Tower of Doom spot, I think that is what it’s called, when you set up the powerbomb plus the superplex spot. WHY does the person doing the powerbomb always over react like it took everything out of them? Like they collapse and look like they just ran 10 miles. We see that they have the easiest job, so what gives? It irritates me. Anyway, Carmella then ran the third section, and even got rid of Nikki. She then had it out with Becky, and then of course the 4th section was Becky for the last minute or two. As a matter of fact, Becky didn’t have that great of a match and wasn’t involved. It was almost like the WWE was saving her energy for the end of the match. 5 minutes in, it was apparent that Becky was winning as she wasn’t in there all that much, and that is a tried and true WWE concept. They need to alter that a bit, especially with somebody who can work as well as Becky. Yes, she won. Yes, it was probably my second favorite match of my night, maybe not second best, but more entertaining to me. It had very little low points because of the amount of bodies involved. I’d give this match a 7.2 and feel fine about that. I liked it a lot. WWE did a lousy job in capturing so many of the great moments in the match on WWE.com.

Final Rating: 7.2

Usos vs. the Hype Bros – Winner takes on Heath Slater and Rhyno for the Smackdown Tag Team Championship

This match wasn’t bad at all. It’s nice to see how the Usos appear reinvigorated. I do not care for the announcers trying to tell me that these guys are the kinds of the double teams. Please. American Alpha and The Revival have them beat, and I won’t even get into teams like the Dudleys.  For my money, the Revival are the kings at the moment for double teams. Say YEAH! I don’t remember a ton from this match other than that awesome move where they kick the dude’s leg to get the win. Nothing about this was bad, but it never felt like a big PPV match. Mojo continues winning me over despite me picking on him for getting drafted. No AA interference.  What a surprise, the WWE didn’t use my suggestion. The Usos won, and if you never see this match, you will be fine. I’ll give it a 4.0 because I could have seen this on Smackdown and been as equally underwhelmed. I wished I had stayed Hype.

Final Rating: 4.0

Intercontinental Championship Match
The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

Unfortunately, a few things happened here, and I want to explain it so that when you see my rating, it makes sense. First, the build up for this match was underwhelming as fuck, despite my love for both guys. Second, I refuse to buy a Chicken Little sandwich until those commercials stop playing. Third, this match had to follow the last match which was somewhat of a snoozefest. Fourth, Dolph still doesn’t have a finishing move, just 4 great setup moves with the Sleeper, Superkick, Zig Zag, and Fameasser. It hurts his credibility when he doesn’t have that ONE move that wins 90% of the time. At this rate, I’d say that his finisher has a worst success rate than Test’s Pumphandle Slam finisher. It’s that low in the Danger Zone.  So this match started slow, then would pick up, then lull, and I’d say the last 10 minutes or so were very solid. Miz did a great job in his moves, and even mocking Daniel. If this was 1990, this would have been match of the year. If this was 1995, the same would apply.  Still, times have evolved, and there were too many negative things that hurt this match. The finish was great with Maryse spraying stuff into Dolph’s eyes, with one HUGE logical issue. Right before Miz came out, he all but told Daniel to sit and watch Miz kick ass. So your GM or Commissioner is supposedly watching this, and has an axe to grind with the guy who just cheated to win, but he doesn’t come out to restart the match? Are you shitting on my balls at this moment? Fuck, that is the sort of shit that kills a match in hindsight. Daniel should have came out and restarted the match. Daniel gets out of the ring and Miz is staring him down jawing at him, and Miz turns around, eats a superkick. Maryse pulls Miz’s foot onto the rope. Daniel orders Maryse to the back, and Dolph smiles and waves bye bye, and Miz can clock him with brass knucks or just win with the Skull Crushing Finale, and win. Now it is even more personal between Daniel and Miz. That ending pisses off the crowd and makes Miz look like a million bucks, and Dolph gets SCREWED again, which is something that should continue to happen. That is how you book wrestling. So with all of this said, yes, this match is technically sound, it is re-watchable, but in the end, the booking was garbage. It had too many obstacles to overcome.

Final Rating: 5.9 Because you aren’t really going to recommend this match to anybody.

Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt

Randy Orton was, in fact, injured and they did a backstage segment with Bray attacking him. This leads to a count out victory for Bray. Bray wins! Bray Wins! Stone Cold Stone Cold!!!

Final Rating: 9.1 It was short and effective and Bray won a PPV match by any means necessary.

bray-wins

But wait, these’s more! Bray will have a new opponent in a No Holds Barred match.

Kane vs Bray Wyatt

I know that Kane is a veteran who can fill in at any time. Hell, that’s why he is still getting paid because he can have a match with anybody and it will be watchable, but never great. Kane actually looks like he has been hitting the gym. Still, this match wasn’t any better than it was 2+ years ago. The stipulation allowed more weapons and brawling outside to mask the technical shortcomings of both guys. Bray is not at a level where he can carry worse opponents to a better match. He is so similar to Undertaker in that regard. His character and promos make the make seem so much more important though. This match was serviceable, but guys tried, and there was a table spot where Bray put Kane through one with a running senton after mocking Randy’s pose. This elicited a holy shit chant from this less than average crowd. They were really hard up for a good spot, but this was so far removed from a holy shit moment. In the end, Randy came out, hit an RKO outta nowhere, and that young rookie, Kane, he picked up the win, and Bray continues to job on PPV, like the worst told inside joke in wrestling history. Like, is there a bet to see how many matches in a row that they can job him before he become irrelevant? Just asking. No Wyatt Family. No fucks were given.

Final Rating: 3.5 

Usos vs Heath Slater & Rhyno

Here we go, will WWE fulfill the Heath Slater redemption story, or just put over Roman Reigns by putting over the Usos. I’m telling you right now, if Roman never got suspended, I would have picked the Usos. American Alpha never interfered. The crowd woke up for Heath. This was a fun match, but it never got to a great point.  And thinking about it, this is a case where the booking an outcome affect this match’s rating far more than the actual in ring work. That’s not to say that they had a bad match. It was better than the Hype Bros one from earlier, mainly because they had a lot of story to work with. Heath and Rhyno work well together, and I look forward to see if they can form a couple of double team moves. I am shocked to say that in a WWE where New Day, Enzo and Cass, Gallows and Anderson, The Usos, American Alpha, Hype Bros, Breezedango, The Vaudevillains, The Ascension, The Golden Truth, The Carlito Family, and the Headbangers, somehow the Ginger Rhynos are by far the best team going for them right now. Enzo and Cass dropped down by losing to Shining Stars and AA are “injured”, so this is actually a no brainer. Still, it’s hard to really believe. I just wish “For A Moment Like This” played after they won. I say to all Heath fans, enjoy this now because now that this has caught on, prepare for WWE to over expose the hell out of their lightning in a bottle and make fans loathe it within a month or 2 because that’s what the WWE does. The best thing to do is have the team go another month racking up fluke wins, and then suddenly start bonding as a polished well put together team who slowly grows dominant before Heath just gets too cocky. Something like that would work best. Props for that awesome double suplex into the ringpost spot. Looked great.

Final Rating: 5.5 More for the build and moment than the actual match.

WWE World Championship Match
Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles

No matter how the night had gone up to this point, I was going to get hyped for this match, and it took about a minute or two, and then I was all in. This match delivered. No, it wasn’t as good as AJ vs. Cena. Get past that, and enjoy it for what it was. A well executed, if not sloppy at times match due to the nature of Dean’s style, match. This was Dean’s best match that I have ever seen him in. I wasn’t sure if he was going to have issues with AJ’s in ring style, but assumed that he shouldn’t based on how well he meshes with Seth. There was this one spot that in real time looked painful and possibly bad, it was Dean suplexing AJ from the corner, but in replay, you could see how safe it was. The catapult on the apron was a thing of beauty. Hell, I even liked the out of ring brawling because that fits Dean so much better than just a technical match. That’s why it’s unfair to compare this to the Cena match. This match stole the show and should finish in the top 10 matches of the year. AJ put it all on the line. My biggest (raging) clue that AJ was going to win, was just how well Dean was wrestling. Notice any time a person is going to drop the belt, they try to put on a great and memorable match. It’s that lasting memory, plus they do it to try to make their sacrifice in jobbing get their opponent over even more. Trust me, this happens all the time. Some may not like the ending to the match. Honestly, I’d rather have had the ref bump, Dean check on him and get the flying forearm for his efforts, and then a clean win instead of the nut kick, but it certainly didn’t sully or taint this match from a quality or storytelling perspective. Some purists will disagree. Some purists are assholes.

Final Rating: 8.1 Really good match that is a match that you can easily recommend to anybody really.

Overall we had 2 matches that were bland at best, 2 matches that were good but never became great, a solid women’s match, and a great world title match. For a 3 hour PPV with only 6 matches, you really should have had 4 matches above 6.0. Time was not a factor. Poor build up hurt this. Randy’s injury surely sabotaged a match that had 7-7.5 potential. Dolph and Miz’s match could have had such a bigger impact is the writers gave a damn. That women’s match actually could have been done a lot better despite me saying a lot of good things about it. Honestly, you can skip this whole PPV except the main event and not feel bad. Yeah, I am happy for the Becky and Ginger Rhyno moments with winning the belts, but by year’s end, we will only remember this PPV because of Dean and AJ, and because it was the night that we got new champs. The crowd kinda sucked too. Also, the show didn’t have as good of a flow as a typical night of Smackdown does. Your PPV should be better than your weekly show. Finally, the night as a whole felt like it just dragged on and on and went through the motions instead of try to excited the fans.

Final Rating: 4.2 It certainly wasn’t above average, and that rating may be a little high honestly.

All pictures used in this blog are for review purposes. They are property of WWE and wwe.com.

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