|Date: May 21, 2017
|Venue: Allstate Arena |City: Rosemont, Illinois
|tweet me: @BastionBlogger
A video package kicks us off focusing on the Randy Orton/Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens/AJ Styles and Dolph Ziggler/Shinsuke Nakamura matches.
Tom Phillips welcomes us to Chicago for Backlash. How long until the CM Punk chants break out?
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler
Background: On SmackDown, Nakamura interrupted Dolph Ziggler’s in-ring promo. Ziggler attempted a superkick on Nakamura, but Nakamura countered and Ziggler retreated. On the April 25 episode, Ziggler interrupted Nakamura’s in-ring interview by Renee Young. After the two traded barbs, Ziggler attacked Nakamura, who retaliated with an Inverted Exploder Suplex on Ziggler, who retreated. It was then announced that Nakamura would have his SmackDown in-ring debut at Backlash against an unknown opponent. On the May 2 episode of SmackDown, Ziggler criticised Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan for hyping Nakamura for Backlash, even though he had not had a match on an episode of SmackDown yet. The following week, Ziggler cut a promo touting his accomplishments before calling out Nakamura. Nakamura called for a referee, but before the match could begin, Ziggler backed out and said he would face Nakamura at Backlash and then attacked Nakamura, but Nakamura overpowered Ziggler. On the final SmackDown before Backlash, Ziggler dismissed Nakamura as a real competitor since he had not done anything on the main roster yet.
Previous PPV matches: This is a main roster in-ring debut for Nakamura so a first match between these two men.
Backlash Record: Dolph Ziggler is 0-1 at Backlash.
Match: It’s a back and forth start to the match with both men trying to out-wrestle the other. Ziggler uses heel tactics to the take the advantage, pulling hair and raking the eyes. Shinsuke hits some nice kicks. It’s a back and forth match but Dolph controls the pace. Ziggler hits a fame-asser for a near fall and then motions for a superkick but ends up hitting a zigzag for a near fall. Ziggler hits a superkick to the back of the head for a near fall. He then spits in the face of Nakamura which fires up the former NXT Champion. Nakamura hits a knee to the face and then heads to the top but Ziggler avoids a knee. Nakamura hits an exploder and the the Kinshasa for the three!
Result: Shinsuke Namamura wins but pinfall.
Review: This was the right match to kick off the show I think. It was a decent match but you get the impression that both men could take it up another notch. Shinsuke wins on his main roster debut which is the right result. Dolph is the man to do the job, which is pretty much his role in WWE.
We’re shown a Fashion Police vignette from Smackdown.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) (c) vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) – Smackdown Tag Team Championship match
Background: Breezango won the first ever tag team beat the clock challenge to become number one contenders to the Smackdown Tag Team Championships. They’ve since branded the champion “The Uggos” and The Usos have responded with verbal tirades.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time tag team match between these two teams.
Backlash Record: The Usos are 1-1 at Backlash, Breezango make their Backlash debut tonight.
Match: Jimmy Uso and Fandango kick off the match and Fandango takes the early advantage. Tyler Breeze is disguised as a janitor. Breeze mops the ring canvas and then rubs the mop into Jimmy’s face. Jey Uso tags in, takes down Breeze and snaps the mop before heading to the top but Tyler rolls out of the way. Jey then heads to the other corner but Tyler rolls away again. This continues for a while. Jimmy Uso tag in, he is looks pretty big at the moment. Fandango is the legal man and Tyler Breeze has changed his disguise to that of an elderly lady. A “let’s go Grandma” chant breaks out. We’re shown a replay of Jimmy Uso throwing Tyler Breeze’s dress at JBL. Fandango hits a tornado DDT for a near fall. Jey accidentally kicks Jimmy in the head and Breeze hits the unprettier for a near fall. The Usos then dispose of Tyler Breeze, throwing him over the barricade. Jey Uso hits Fandango with a superkick and that’s enough to retain the belts.
Result: The Usos win by pinfall.
Review: This was a comedy match for the vast majority. It wasn’t a bad match, I’m just not into fancy dress comedy. The Usos are a great team and actually this was one of Fandango’s better performances. It was a standard title defence for Jimmy and Jey who I’m sure will get into a programme with The New Day when they debut on Smackdown.
We’re shown a clip from Smackdown with Baron Corbin attacking Sami Zayn.
Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin
Background: Baron Corbin has attacked Sami Zayn on multiple occasions. Sami Zayn made the challenge to a match and Baron Corbin attacked him again. The two meet tonight.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Backlash Record: Both men make their Backlash debut.
Match: Sami Zayn knocks Corbin out of the ring in the early going with a head scissors. Sami looks like he’s hurt his lower back early on. Corbin rams Sami into the corner and then goes to work on Zayn’s back. There’s a few chants for Corbin in this one surprisingly. Zayn tries to fight back but gets caught in a bear hug and hit with spinebusters and backbreakers. Zayn hits a cross body for a two count but Corbin takes the advantage with a big clothesline. He hits a chokeslam backbreaker for a near fall. Zayn hits a sunset flip powerbomb for a near fall. Corbin looks for end of days but Sami counters with a crucifix pin for a two count. Corbin then hits deep six for a near fall. Sami hits a big boot out of nowhere and then the helluva kick for the three!
Result: Sami Zayn wins by pinfall.
Review: This match was ok but no better. It felt like a match to get both men on the card. I was actually surprised to see Sami win, I thought Corbin would take it. Zayn takes the victory though and maybe it’s the start of a push for him.
Jinder Mahal and The Singh Brothers are shown arriving at the arena. Dasha Fuentes interview Mahal who says that tonight he will be winning the WWE Championship. He repeats it in Indian.
James Ellsworth is out next to introduce Carmella and her team.
Becky Lynch, Naomi & Charlotte vs. Natalya, Carmella & Tamina – 6 woman tag team match
Background: Natalya, Carmella and Tamina have banded together as the welcoming committee. Their main aim was to take out Charlotte and make sure that she doesn’t get the chances that she got on Raw. Naomi and Becky Lynch came together and invited Charlotte to join them for a six woman tag team match.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time six woman tag team match between these six girls.
Backlash Record: Becky Lynch and Natalya are 1-0 at Backlash, Naomi and Carmella are 0-1 and both Tamina and Charlotte make their Backlash debut tonight.
Match: Becky Lynch and Tamina start the match and Tamina out-powers her opponent. Charlotte and Natalya soon get into it and Charlotte takes the advantage for her team. Charlotte gets distracted by Carmella and James Ellsworth which allows Natalya to take control. Charlotte makes a hot tag to Naomi who hits some stupid kicks that don’t look like they hurt much. Tamina distracts Naomi which allows Carmella to lay in some boots of her own. Naomi gets triple teamed by all three opponents and Carmella stops Becky Lynch from tagging in. Tamina hits Naomi with a Samoan drop and Charlotte breaks up the pinfall attempt. Becky Lynch then gets the hot tag and quickens the pace. Natalya looks for the sharpshooter but Becky counters and locks on the armbar. All hell then breaks loose with all six girls which results in Natalya locking the sharpshooter on Lynch. Becky taps out!
Result: Natalya, Carmella and Tamina win by submission.
Review: Well this was what you’d expect it to be. I guess it makes more sense for the established stable to win. It wasn’t a terrible match it had a good pace and all of the girls got their offence in. The champion stayed out of the finish which doesn’t give a clear opponent for Naomi going forward.
There’s a video package next for Kevin Owens and AJ Styles.
Kevin Owens (c) vs. AJ Styles – WWE United States Championship match
Background: AJ Styles became number one contender to the United States Championship by beating Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn in a triple threat match. Since then Kevin Owens, the new face of America, hasn’t given AJ. second to think about it. Owens has attacked Styles on multiple occasions.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Backlash Record: AJ Styles is 1-0 at Backlash, KO makes his Backlash debut.
Match: It’s a cagey start to the match and not long before Kevin leaves the ring. It’s a pretty back and forth start to the match. I’m such a big fan of both guys, particularly AJ who has some great offence. Owens takes control and locks on a chinlock before hitting a DDT and a three sentons for a near fall. AJ looks for a Styles Clash but KO counters. Owens starts to target the injured leg of Styles. He wraps the right leg around the bottom rope and hits a cannonball before applying a single leg crab and then an ankle lock. Styles counters a Samoan drop off the middle rope with a sunset flip powerbomb. AJ motions for a phenomenal forearm but he slips on the top rope due to his injured leg. KO hits a double underhook DDT for a near fall. Owens hits a suplex off the top for a near fall. AJ hits a suplex on the ring apron and then a phenomenal forearm to the outside. AJ then looks to hit a Styles Clash on the announce desk but Owens escapes and pulls AJ’s leg through one of the gaps in the desk. Owens gets back into the ring and the referee counts Styles out!
Result: Kevin Owens wins by countout.
Review: This was a good match but you get the feeling they have a lot more in the tank. Especially with the finish, there’s no way this rivalry doesn’t continue. Owens wins by count out tonight.
We’re shown some footage from the kick-off show when Tye Dillinger defeated Aiden English.
Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
Background: On the post-WrestleMania SmackDown, The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan) were defeated by WWE Champion Randy Orton and former Wyatt Family member Luke Harper. The following week, Wyatt was moved to the Raw brand as a result of the Superstar Shake-up, effectively disbanding The Wyatt Family. Rowan and Harper then both competed in the WWE Championship number one contender’s six-pack challenge, but were unsuccessful. On the May 9 episode of SmackDown, Rowan defeated Harper in a singles match. The following week on Talking Smack, Rowan said that he disliked the fact that Harper had left The Wyatt Family. He said that although he defeated Harper the previous week, he felt that Harper deserved more punishment and requested a match against him at Backlash, to which Commissioner Shane McMahon granted.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV singles match between these two men.
Backlash Record: Both men make their Backlash debut tonight.
Match: This match starts with hard-hitting offence from both men. Harper looks to go to the top but Rowan knocks him off, sending Harper down to the ring steps. Rowan hits a splash and then applies a chinlock. Rowan hits a pump handle slam into a backbreaker and then a clothesline for a two count. Rowan then heads to the top but Harper avoids the splash. Rowan reaches for his mask but Harper steps on his hand. Harper hits a suicide dive and then tosses Rowan back into the ring and hits a senton. Rowan hits a powerbomb for a near fall. The powerbomb is an under-utilised move these days. It’s probably my favourite wrestling move. Rowan attempts another but Harper counters with a hurricanrana and then a couple of superkicks. Harper hits a spinning clothesline and that’s enough for the three.
Result: Luke Harper wins by pinfall.
Review: This match was ok. It was hard hitting and physical but not a match I’d watch again. Luke Harper wins and maybe it’s a sign of a push?
There’s a video package next showing how Jinder Mahal became number one contender to the WWE Championship and his rivalry with Randy Orton.
Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal – WWE Championship match
Background: Jinder Mahal became number one contender to the WWE Championship by winning a six pack challenge. Mahal would then steal the WWE Championship and attack Orton with it at Payback, costing Randy his match against Bray Wyatt. Mahal promises to take the title back to India.
Previous PPV matches: This is a first time PPV match between these two men.
Backlash Record: Randy Orton is 2-2 at Backlash, Jinder is making his Backlash debut and looking for his first PPV victory tonight.
Match: Randy Orton attacks Jinder during the ring announcements. Orton then lays into Jinder on the outside. Back in the ring and the bell finally rings. Orton goes for an RKO early but Jinder pushes him away. Jinder takes the advantage and the match takes a slow pace. Plenty of submission holds in this one. Arm bars and chin locks. Orton hits a superplex, a powerslam and a fallaway slam. Orton hits a backbreaker but sells an arm injury. Randy then hits a hangmans DDT and motions for an RKO so Mahal rolls out of the ring. Orton exits the ring and takes out the Singh brothers but that allows Mahal to throw Randy into the ringpost a couple of times. Jinder rolls back into the ring but Orton catches him with an RKO! The Singh brothers pull Jinder out of the ring so Orton wipes them out again. Randy hits them both with a hangmans DDT but Jinder then comes from behind and hits Orton with the Khallas! Jinder hooks the leg and gets the 3!
Result: Jinder Mahal wins the WWE Championship by pinfall .
Review: This match was nothing special. It was slow, there were a lot of restholds. But in possibly the biggest shocker of all time Jinder Mahal has won the WWE Championship. What is going on. This seems like a terrible decision. It reminds me of JBL winning the same title but JBL was a lot better.
And that was Backlash 2017. It wasn’t great, I wouldn’t bother with it if I were you. There were two good matches, Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler and the United States Championship match between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles which was the match of the night. Unsurprising that those four men put on two good matches tonight. The rest of it was weak. Even the main event was poor but it was a shocking result with Jinder Mahal becoming WWE Champion. Jinder Mahal! It was his first PPV victory and the biggest win he will probably ever have. Overall a pretty poor show.
Overall Rating: 48.21/100 (ranked joint 314th out of 344)
Match Of The Night: Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles
Worst Match Of The Night: Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin
Surprise Of The Night: Jinder Mahal wins the WWE Championship
Worst Booking Of The Night: Jinder Mahal wins the WWE Championship
Superstar Of The Night: Jinder Mahal
Backlash 2017 Will Be Remembered For: Jinder Mahal winning the WWE Championship
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And so begins the reign of Jinder Mahal as WWE World Champion.