It’s time for WWE Backlash, which is the first WWE Smackdown pay-per-view since WrestleMania. The three main matches on the card are Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens defending the US Title vs. AJ Styles and Randy Orton putting the WWE Title on the line against Jinder Mahal.
Allstate Arena in Chicago (Rosemont), Illinois
May 21, 2017
Kickoff Show Recap
The Kickoff Show began at 7pmET with Renee Young, Booker and Peter Rosenberg as the hosts. I’m not going to recap their discussions, but I will cover the match that’s coming up as well as any significant segments.
They had James Ellsworth as a guest on the Kickoff Panel to talk about the women’s tag match.
Erick Rowan showed up to the table with a sheep mask on his head. He stood around and looked at everybody. Then he left. Thrilling.
Dolph Ziggler was interviewed backstage. He said there’s no film of Nakamura’s matches because he hasn’t wrestled on the main roster yet. Ziggler claimed that Nakamura won’t deliver, but he will. Ziggler said he’s going to open the main card with Nakamura and he talked about how he’ll get the win.
Analysis: I didn’t expect Ziggler vs. Nakamura to open the show, but that’s what they’re doing.
Sami Zayn was seated backstage with Dasha Fuentes to answer fan questions in the “social media lounge.” Zayn spoke about how on any given night he feels like he can beat anybody. Zayn was also asked about his positive attitude as well. Zayn answered three questions and that was it.
The announce team of Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton were at ringside to call the first match.
Aiden English sang on his way down to the ring with a spotlight on him. He noted he was from Chicago and said he couldn’t be happier that he left. English called himself the greatest thing this trash town will ever see. When English got into the ring, he said he’d give us an encore, but Tye Dillinger’s “ten” intro started. Crowd was hot for Dillinger doing the “ten” hand gestures.
Analysis: I’m a big fan of English and love it when he gets a chance to sing on the way to the ring. Great voice. It also allows him to stand out.
Aiden English vs. Tye Dillinger (Kickoff Show)
English took control when he grabbed Dillinger by the arm and sent him into the top rope. Neckbreaker by English. Running back splash by Dillinger in the corner led to a quick commercial.
The break lasted for about one minute with English in control using a chinlock. Dillinger made a comeback with an atomic drop, chops, forearm smash and a clothesline. Ten punches by Dillinger in the corner with the crowd chanting “ten” the whole time. English with a neckbreaker using the top rope. When English went up top, Dillinger slammed him off. Dillinger up top and he went for a splash that missed. English picked up Dillinger and hit a slam that sent Dillinger stomach first into the mat. English was nearly crying. English body slam. English up top, he jumped off and Dillinger moved. Dillinger put English on his shoulders and hit the Tye Breaker knee to the face for the win after eight minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Tye Dillinger
Analysis: ** A decent match to open the show. I’m a fan of both guys. They came up through the developmental system together and wrestled many times. I hope that at some point one of them (or even better, both of them) get a push, but it’s hard to find room for everybody. I like the Tye Breaker as a finisher. It’s similar to a GTS, but not exactly the same move.
Erick Rowan joined the Kickoff Panel again. He was wearing a sheep mask. He had a bag that had more masks in it. Booker kept telling him that he looked jacked. Rowan didn’t say anything to them. It was just an awkward segment.
The panel did a final hype for Orton/Mahal, which led to a video package for that match and the start of the show.
WWE Backlash Main Card
The opening video package aired to hype up the main matches on the card.
The pyro went off as the show began and the crowd in Chicago was loud as usual. They are probably the best fans in the business.
Dolph Ziggler made his entrance. He got some boos since he’s in heel mode and the crowd is likely going to be fully behind his opponent.
The announce team Tom Phillips, John Bradshaw Layfield and Byron Saxton were shown at ringside on camera as they welcomed us to the show. Also at ringside are the German and Spanish announce teams.
The fans chanted “Nakamura” and the lights went out. The violin music hit as Shinsuke Nakamura made his entrance to a thunderous ovation. The crowd was very loud during the entrance. It went about three minutes like usual. Loud chants for Nakamura after it was over as well.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
They started out with some technical wrestling with Ziggler going for an armbar. Nakamura came back with an armbar of his own. Nakamura shoved him in the face to taunt him. Nakamura stomped away in the corner leading to Ziggler going to the floor. Nakamura sent Ziggler back into the ring leading to a kick by Ziggler and a neckbreaker as well. Ziggler grounded him with a headlock. When Nakamura broke free, Ziggler hit an impressive dropkick for two. The crowd booed Ziggler after he said “I’m the man.” The fans chanted Nakamura as he made a comeback with a jumping left foot kick to the head after Ziggler ducked the right foot. Nakamura connected with two more kicks, running splash in the corner and a knee to the gut by Nakamura earned a two count. Ziggler came back with a nearfall, so Nakamura applied an armbar and Ziggler got to the ropes. Ziggler came back with a kick to the knee and a leaping DDT for a two count.
Ziggler continued the offense with a rollup for two and Ziggler connected with a Fameasser for a two count. Ziggler had a big smile on his face as he set up for a superkick. Nakamura avoided it, but Ziggler avoided a kick attempt and Ziggler hit the Zig Zag for two. Ziggler teased a Powerbomb like move, but Nakamura fought out and kicked him in the back of the head. Nakamura went for a reverse exploder suplex, but Ziggler landed on his feet and hit a superkick to the back of the head. Great sell by Nakamura. Ziggler covered for a two count as Nakamura got his shoulder up. When Ziggler went for a kick, Nakamura caught his foot and Ziggler spit in his face. Nakamura connected with knees to the ribs and elbows to the back. The ref pulled Nakamura back because Ziggler was against the rope. Running knee strike by Nakamura by the apron. Nakamura went for the Kinshasa off the middle rope, Ziggler moved and Nakamura hit the exploder suplex. Nakamura readied himself in the corner and hit a Kinshasa knee strike for the win after 16 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Shinsuke Nakamura
Analysis: ***1/2 That was a very good opener. Slow pace early on, Ziggler took control, got a lot of believable nearfalls and they built up well to the Nakamura finish. Ziggler got in more offense than I thought he would get. He hit all of his signature spots and kept getting nearfalls. The best one was the superkick to the back of the head with Nakamura selling it like he was knocked out. Nakamura didn’t unleash all of his offensive moves that we saw in all of his longer NXT matches, but what he did really worked. The crowd loved it when he hit the Kinshasa for the win. I don’t think anybody watching this thought Ziggler was going to win. Predictable is fine, though, because they had to put Nakamura over.
Post match, Nakamura celebrated the win as his music played.
A commercial aired for Raw’s Extreme Rules PPV in two weeks.
AJ Styles was shown warming up in the locker room.
There was a Fashion Files video for Breezango that was the same video that was on last week’s Smackdown.
Tyler Breeze was dressed up like a janitor that was undercover like in the video they did last week. Fandango was in his regular ring gear. The Usos made their entrance rocking the “Day One Ish” sweatshirts.
Smackdown Tag Team Championships: The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango)
Breeze started the match in the janitor outfit complete with a mop while he was on the apron. Fandango with a headscissors takedown. Breeze tagged in with mop in hand landing to a “mop” chant. Jimmy missed a corner splash and tripped over the mop while JBL noted that it wasn’t legal. Breeze put the mop into the face of Jimmy. Jey tagged in, decked Breeze and broke the mop over his leg. When Jey climbed to the top, Breeze slowly rolled to the other side. Jey climbed the other side and Breeze kept rolling away. Good comedy. Breeze hit a leaping enziguri kick to the head for a two count. Fandango was on offense for his team with Breeze dressing up like an old lady on the apron. Fans chanted “let’s go grandma” as Breeze tagged in. Jimmy kicked the cane away, so Breeze hit a dropkick and another dropkick for Jey. Breeze hit a Bronco Buster on Jey in the corner with JBL saying it’s Mae Young. Two dropkicks by Jey followed by legal man Jimmy hitting a running butt attack in the corner. Jimmy tossed the dress onto JBL on commentary and JBL said “last time that happened to me I paid for it.” Funny line. They replayed the dress spot. Some fans chanted “fire Bradshaw” after that, but it wasn’t that loud. Fandango got the hot tag with a leaping kick to the head for a two count. Fandango hit a Tornado DDT on Jey for a two count. Breeze got the tag in his normal ring gear, Jimmy with a blind tag and he jumped off the top with a chop to the chest of Breeze. There was an accidental superkick by Jey on Jimmy. Breeze took advantage with an Unprettier (shoutout to Christian) for two. Breeze went for an attack on The Usos on the floor, but The Usos dumped him over the top rope. Fandango hit a somersault dive onto both Usos on the floor. That looked great. Fandango went up top, but The Usos worked together to knock him down with Jey hitting a superkick while Fandango was on the top rope (Jimmy was holding Fandango’s leg) leading to the pinfall win after nine minutes.
Winners by pinfall: The Usos
Analysis: **1/2 It was mostly a comedy match, but the work was good towards the end. The crowd really got into it as well. There were some fun moments early on with Breeze using the disguises. I’m not a huge fan of that all the time, but once in a while it’s okay. They could have had more nearfalls in there to make it look like Breezango were close to winning. I expected The Usos to win because the New Day are coming to Smackdown soon and that’s likely going to be a tag title feud.
A commercial aired for WWE Network content.
Sami Zayn made his entrance. The international announce teams were shown in the arena: Japan, Hindi, Russian, Mandarin and Portuguese. I can’t understand what any of them are saying, so I’ll just assume they were telling you to read TJRWrestling.net every day. Thanks guys.
Baron Corbin made his entrance. Not much of a reaction for him.
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn
Zayn with a headscissors that took down Corbin and sent him out of the ring. When Corbin avoided an attack on the floor, Zayn did a back flip back into the ring. After a whip into the ropes, Zayn hit a dropkick that knocked Corbin out of the ring. Zayn followed him out there and hit a moonsault off the barricade to knock down Corbin. They went back in the ring with Corbin seizing control after driving Zayn back first into the turnbuckle. Backbreaker by Corbin. Bearhug by Corbin because…he’s tall. After a minute of that, Corbin charged, Zayn ducked and Corbin went flying over the top to the floor. Zayn up top, Corbin back in the ring, Zayn missed an attack and Corbin hit a spinebuster for two. A mild chant started for Zayn leading to a punch from Corbin. Another punch from Corbin. Zayn came back with a hard clothesline. Zayn hit another clothesline, back elbow, kick to the jaw and a cross body block off the top rope earned a two count. Zayn sent Corbin out of the ring, which led to Corbin running back in and hit a clothesline for two with Zayn doing a flip bump. Corbin did that spot three times in his match against Randy Orton last week leading to the finish with Orton winning.
Corbin worked over the back of Zayn with forearms. When Zayn tried to come back, Corbin did a Chokeslam into a backbreaker for two. They battled on the turnbuckle and Zayn hit a sunset flip Powerbomb for a two count. There was a shot of a kid stunned in the crowd because he thought it was the end. They each went for big moves, but they countered. Zayn hooked the arms for a pinning attempt. Corbin came back with the Deep Six Slam that earned a two count like usual. Zayn with a boot to the face and Zayn hit the Helluva Kick for the pinfall win after 14 minutes.
Winner by pinfall: Sami Zayn
Analysis: *** Good work by both guys. I didn’t expect that result, but nice to see Zayn getting a PPV win because it doesn’t happen that often. They told the story of Corbin controlling most of it and Zayn coming back for more. Corbin was on offense for about 85% of the match. The crowd wasn’t into it that much, though, which is what happens when you book wrestlers to lose so much. It’s hard for people to believe in both of them. I think Zayn won to make people think Corbin doesn’t have a lot of momentum. Corbin hasn’t won on PPV in a while, so there is some truth to it. I think that will change for him next month because he’s probably going to win Money in the Bank if he’s a part of it. In past years, WWE has booked MITB winners to lose matches leading up to it, so that’s what I think they are doing here as well.
There was a video of Xavier Woods, Zack Ryder, Ember Moon and Brennan Williams (he’s in NXT) playing the Rocket League game that sponsors Backlash. It’s from the UpUpDownDown video game channel that Woods runs.
Two cars pulled up to the arena including a white limo. One of them had the Singh Brothers in it. They grabbed a carpet that was in the trunk. They opened the door of the other limo and Jinder Mahal walked out in his suit. Dasha Fuentes showed up to interview him. Mahal said Chicago and America are full of haters. Mahal said people hate him for the way that he looks and for the way that he talks. Mahal said he’s going to take that hate into something good, positive and spiritual – something almost holy. The crowd chanted “what” during a lot of it. Mahal said he’s going to turn a universe of doubters and discriminators into believers. He said the entire world will witness what 1.3 billion people of the great country of India already know – that he’s the modern day Maharaja. He spoke in Punjabi to end it saying he’s going to be WWE Champion.
Analysis: Decent heel promo from Mahal to make sure the crowd was against him even though they already were against him.
James Ellsworth made his entrance to say he’s the Michael Jordan of sports entertainment. Ellsworth introduced Carmella. Tamina and Natalya made their entrances separately for the heel team.
The face trio made their entrances separately with Becky Lynch out first with a mohawk hairdo, Charlotte Flair next and Smackdown Women’s Champion Naomi was last.
Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Tamina & Carmella (w/James Ellsworth)
The women took turns in the ring early on. Charlotte did a good job working with Natalya, who she is very familiar with. Charlotte was in control until Carmella distracted her and Natalya hit Charlotte with a clothesline while on the apron. Carmella hit a neckbreaker on Charlotte as the heels tried to isolate Flair from her teamed. Charlotte knocked down Carmella with a forearm and Naomi tagged in with a springboard cross body block and a corner dropkick. Tamina distracted Naomi, so Carmella got in a cheap kick to the leg to give the heels control again. Carmella hit a Bronco Buster in the corner for a two count. Tamina got in there with a headlock followed by a clothesline. Naomi finally broke free from Tamina and went to tag in Lynch, but Carmella pulled Lynch off the apron (Charlotte was already knocked off the apron). Tamina hit a Samoan Drop leading to Charlotte making the save. Natalya went for the running dropkick, but Naomi took her down with a headscissors. Lynch got the hot tag for the faces against Natalya. Bexploder Suplex by Lynch and a forearm smash earned a two count. Lynch with a dropkick on Tamina while she was on the apron. Lynch took down Natalya and applied the Disarmer submission with Carmella making the save. Charlotte sent Carmella out of the ring and Tamina hit a superkick on Charlotte. Tamina also knocked down Carmella. Lynch took down Tamina with a forearm smash and knocked her out of the ring. Natalya applied the Sharpshooter on Lynch and Lynch tapped out to give Natalya’s team the win. It went ten minutes.
Winners by submission: Natalya, Tamina & Carmella
Analysis: **1/4 They had a standard tag match. I thought the faces would win since the heels have had the advantage for the last month, but the creative team opted for a heel win. I don’t mind that at all because Natalya hasn’t had a lot of meaningful wins, so now she can claim she deserves a title shot. That’s a good thing. I thought they would showcase Charlotte a lot more than they did. Instead, she barely had a role in the match.
Post match, the heels celebrated in the aisle while the faces looked sad in the ring.
Commercials aired for WWEShop and Rocket League.
Video package aired to set up Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles for the US Title. I’m looking forward to this one.
Analysis: Some people thought this might be the main event. Nope. It’s going to be Orton vs. Mahal.
The great AJ Styles made his entrance. Huge ovation for him. The crowd hasn’t been that hot all night, but they should be very interested in this match. The US Champion Kevin Owens also got a good reaction although mostly boos for him as the heel.
They did the in-ring intros with announcer Greg Hamilton doing the honors since it’s a title match. Hamilton does a great job.
United States Championship: Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles
Loud “AJ Styles” chants to start it and Owens got some chants too, but mostly for Styles. Owens ran the ropes, Styles was going to attack and Owens bailed to the floor like the heel that he is. Fans chanted “stupid idiot” at Owens in support of Chris Jericho. Styles missed a dropkick attempt, Owens stomped on him and when Owens ran the ropes, Styles hit a perfect dropkick. Styles took down Owens with a headscissors. Owens took control by sending Styles face first into the turnbuckle and hit a hard clothesline. Owens slapped on a headlock. When Styles tried to fight out, Owens hit a DDT for a two count. Owens hit three senton splashes in a row for two. After another headlock by Owens, Styles came back with a leaping kick to the head. Styles unloaded with strikes, clothesline and a running forearm gets two. Styles picked up Owens and slammed him face first in a move that was like a reverse suplex. Styles hit the Ushigoroshi (firearm’s carry into knee to the back) for a two count. Phillips didn’t call the move by name the way Mauro Ranallo used to. I miss Mauro on this show. Styles went for a moonsault, Owens avoided it, hit a superkick and a cradle into a backbreaker like move for two. Ouch.
The two men exchanged punches. Owens hit a neckbreaker on Styles using the ropes for an assist. Owens was upside down on the turnbuckle, so Styles teased a Styles clash. Owens fought out of it, whipped the right leg into the ring post and Owens sent Styles right leg into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Owens hit a cannonball splash against the turnbuckle. Owens put the right leg against the turnbuckle and hit a cannonball splash. Owens followed up with a single leg crab submission on the right leg. Ankle Lock by Owens on the right leg of Styles with Styles getting to the ropes. Owens went for a move off the top, so Styles slipped out and hit a Sunset Flip Powerbomb to counter it. That was a sweet sequence. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but he collapsed on the top rope because he was selling the knee injury. Owens capitalized with a sitout double underhook DDT for two. Owens slapped Styles a few times leading to Styles coming back with a Pele Kick to the head. They battled on the top rope with Owens nailing a cradle suplex for a two count. That was great. Owens went up top , so Styles went to the apron. Owens met him there, but that was a bad move because Styles hit a snap suplex on the apron leading to a “holy shit” chant. Styles went after Owens on the floor, so Owens shoved him over the barricade. Fans chanted that they wanted tables. Styles hit a Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade onto Owens on the floor. They teased Styles hitting a Styles Clash on the announce table. Instead, Styles foot went through a hole where a monitor was. Styles was trapped on the table and tied his feet with cables. The ref counted Styles out, so Owens won by countout after 20 minutes. The crowd booed that finish a lot because they wanted more.
Winner by countout: Kevin Owens
After the match, Owens kicked Styles in the back of the head as the ref was trying to free Styles.
Analysis: **** Great match that was four stars out of five with a cheap ending that could lead to another match. I didn’t expect Styles to win the title, but I didn’t expect it to end that way. I don’t think anybody could have predicted that kind of finish with a guy’s foot getting stuck in the announce table. I can’t recall WWE doing that finish before to that degree. The work in the match was outstanding as expected. They are two of the best in-ring performers in the company (Styles is the best) and I’m not surprised that they had an entertaining match like that. They didn’t take it to that next level with a lot of believable nearfalls. When they got nearfalls they were good, but the crowd didn’t buy them as the finish. I’m glad they got 20 minutes because they delivered one of the better PPV matches this year. It also leaves us wanting to see more of them, which should help their next match.
Styles was shown getting helped up by referees with Styles favoring the right leg injury.
A replay aired of Tye Dillinger bating Aiden English earlier in the night.
Talking Smack after the PPV has Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg hosting the show with Kevin Owens, Tye Dillinger and Sami Zayn. All three of the guests and Renee are Canadian. Good job by my fellow Canadians.
Luke Harper made his entrance first. Erick Rowan was up next.
Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
Rowan took control early on by sending Harper into the barricade outside the ring. Back in the ring, Rowan hit a splash for two. Rowan applied a chinlock and I could hear the “fire Bradshaw” chants although it wasn’t that loud. Rowan hit a dropkick on Harper for two. Impressive for a big man. Rowan hit two body slams in a row. Clothesline by Rowan. The crowd wasn’t reacting to them at all. Rowan up top for a splash, but Harper moved and Rowan crashed to the mat. Rowan reached out for his mask on the steel steps. When Rowan left the ring, Harper hit a running forearm to the face. Harper back in the ring and he hit a suicide dive to knock down Rowan on the floor. Back in the ring, Harper with a boot to the face for two. Harper hit a Bossman Slam type move for two. Spin kick by Rowan and a Powerbomb by Rowan earned a two count. No reaction for it. Harper played dead, tripped him up and got a pin attempt for two. Harper countered a Powerbomb with a headscissors followed by a superkick and another superkick. Harper hit a discus clothesline for the pinfall win after eight minutes. It didn’t connect that well and looked more like a forearm.
Winner by pinfall: Luke Harper
Analysis: ** It was just an average match. They worked hard, but it’s tough when there’s no story. I want to see Harper on the receiving end of a big push because he’s so talented in the ring. I just don’t think WWE is going to get behind him enough to push him any time soon. Harper got the win back after Rowan beat him two weeks ago.
Commercial aired for Extreme Rules in two weeks on June 4. It goes up against game two of the NBA Finals. That won’t be good for WWE.
The video package aired to set up Randy Orton defending the WWE Title against Jinder Mahal in the main event.
Mahal made his entrance with the Singh Brothers. He was booed, but it’s not like it was a loud reaction.
Randy Orton, the WWE Champion, entered for his title defense. JBL did his usual thing about how Orton is one of the greatest of all time. Ring announcer Greg Hamilton did the intros, but Orton attacked before he was done.
Orton attacked Mahal outside the ring and tossed Mahal over the announce table leading to Mahal landing on the chairs. Orton rolled Mahal back into the ring, the ref kept Orton back and rang the bell.
Analysis: Good way to build excitement early by having Orton attack like that before the bell.
WWE Championship: Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal (w/Sunil & Samir Singh)
The bell rang at 10:31pmET with Orton going for a RKO, but Mahal pushed him away. Mahal was on the floor, so Orton hit him with a clothesline. With Mahal still on the floor, Orton went to attack, but Mahal sent him shoulder first into the side of the apron. Running dropkick by Mahal for two. Mahal with an armbar. Orton bounced off the ropes and sent Mahal down by the head. There was a “Let’s go Jinder/Jinder Sucks” chant. That’s not a chant most of us were expecting. Mahal with an armbreaker followed by a knee drop for two. They took the fight to the floor with Orton hitting a back suplex on the announce table, which didn’t break the table, but knocked Mahal down. Back in the ring, Mahal seized control again with knee drops. Another armbar by Mahal. Orton got back to his feet, avoided a corner attack and Mahal went left shoulder first into the ring post. Orton hit a superplex like he does in most of his matches. It was at around ten minutes by this point.
Orton was in control with clotheslines and a spinning powerslam. Orton was doing a good job of selling the left arm. Overhead suplex by Orton for a two count. Mahal hit a neckbreaker for two. Orton hit a modified backbreaker and then he sold the shoulder injury again. Orton hit the vintage draping DDT off the middle ropes. Mahal bailed to the floor while Orton was setting up for the RKO. The Singh Bros yelled at Orton on the floor, so Orton tossed them into the barricade and ring apron. Mahal took advantage by sending Orton into the ring post shoulder first two times in a row. Mahal sent Orton back into the ring and Orton hit a RKO. The Singh Bros pulled Mahal out of the ring to prevent a cover by Orton. Orton gave the Singh Brothers back suplexes onto the announce table. Orton dropped one of them hard and Orton had a grimace on his face, but looked like the guy was okay. Both of them actually took hard bumps, but the second one was worse. Orton hit a double draping DDT move on the Singh Brothers at the same time. Jinder Mahal snuck up behind Orton and hit The Khallas (Cobra Clutch Slam) for the pinfall win after 17 minutes of action.
Winner by pinfall and New WWE Champion: Jinder Mahal
Analysis: ***1/4 Good job by both guys putting on an entertaining match. I’m in shock by it because I felt like Orton was going to retain and Mahal would move on as a midcard heel after this. Instead, Mahal found a way to get he cheap win thanks to his buddies causing the distraction like usual. Orton was pre-occupied by them, so Mahal capitalized with his finish. When Mahal was doing the cover, I kept thinking that Orton was going to kick out and hit another RKO to win. However, Orton didn’t kick out and Mahal got the win just like he’s won every match for the last six weeks. Great way to make a guy a big star with a title change. Also, I know people are only going to care about the result, but I think the match was pretty good and the crowd was into it, so give both men credit for telling a good story.
Post match, there were shots of stunned fans in the crowd. Mahal celebrated with the WWE Title on the announce tables.
Replays aired of the finish. Mahal celebrated with the WWE Title some more and that was it for Backlash at 10:50pmET.
— WWE (@WWE) May 22, 2017
Analysis: I really didn’t believe they were going to do the title change the entire match and then once RKO spot happened when Jinder was pulled out of the ring that’s when I was like “oh shit they are gonna do it.” Is it the right move and the best decision for Smackdown right now? I don’t know about that. I’m leaning towards a no at the moment, but maybe this will work long term.
It could be a quick title reign where he only holds it for one month. Then again, it could be three or four months. Who knows? I’m intrigued by the possibilities and wondering what might happen. I’m also worried that it might be terrible too, if I’m being honest.
I think from WWE’s perspective the reason is mainly to grow the product in India, which is a story that we’ve all read about for several months now. If Orton retained then nothing really changes. However, a win for Mahal is new, shocking and suggests that anything really can happen in WWE. I like the unpredictability factor, but I can also see why people might be mad about it too since WWE has booked Mahal so poorly for many years. All of a sudden, he’s ripped like never before and they decide to push him. That’s where I can see the anger coming in and it’s justified a bit.
Mahal winning the WWE Title is a business move to help their product in India. This is a way to do that. We knew that the reason this push started six weeks ago and I didn’t think they would pull the trigger on him, but they did. Let’s see how things go from here.
Five Stars of the Show
1. AJ Styles
2. Kevin Owens
3. Sami Zayn
4. Randy Orton
5. Jinder Mahal
It gets a 6.5 out of 10 from me.
It was an okay show. The best match was Styles/Owens, the moment with Mahal winning the WWE Title is what people are going to talk about the most and I thought it was a solid main event too. Nakamura’s debut was handled well also.
As for the rest of the card, everything else was pretty average. There wasn’t anything that bad, though, so that’s why it gets a 6.5 out of 10 score.
WWE PPV Rankings 2017 (Scores on the 1-10 scale)
Royal Rumble – 8
Backlash – 6.5
WrestleMania 33 – 6.5
Payback – 6
Fastlane – 5
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