Welcome to The Wrestling Kennection's LIVE PPV coverage of Backlash, Smackdown Live's first solo installment following the 2016 WWE Draft!
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Smackdown Women's Championship Women's Six-Pack Elimination Challenge Naomi vs. Becky Lynch vs. Nicki Bella vs. Carmella vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Natalya
RESULT: Becky won via sumission to become the NEW champion; Becky submitted Carmella with the Dis-arm-her for the final elimination.
THOUGHTS: Not a bad choice for an opener, but it could've been better. There was far more flash than substance; that is, plenty of fun group spots, including a Tower of Doom and Blockbuster Powerbomb, but lacking on individual elements, as it felt like they were trying too hard with big-time stunts, which led to some clunky transitions (especially apparent with Naomi and Natalya).
Nikki's upset elimination by Carmella works perfectly, as it continues their animosity and builds up Nikki's first feud back in WWE.
Emotionally speaking, the crowd was firmly behind Becky and popped big when she scored the final elimination. It's been overdue, TBH, and I'm happy she finally got her spotlight moment on Smackdown's first solo PPV.
WK KING OF PPV: (1st pick - 2 points, 2nd pick - 1 point) Ken - 2/8 (1st) Zack - 1/8(2nd) Julian - 0/8 Greg - 0/8 Nick - 2/8 (1st) Julie - 1/8 (2nd)
#WWEBacklash #WomensTitle #GetKennected
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Tournament "2nd Chance" Semifinal The Usos vs. The Hype Bros
RESULT: The Usos win via submission; Jimmy Uso submitted Zack Ryder with a Single-Leg Arm Trap Crab.
THOUGHTS: I can certainly appreciate the change in the Usos' attitude being symbolized with their lack of face paint and darker attire, but they honestly look like they just came from a basketball pickup game.
That aside, we saw a more physical, brutal side to the Usos' typical offense, hearkening to their Samoan roots, which gives their heel turn the edge that it needs, including using the same tactic to debilitate Ryder as they did to Gable last Tuesday.
No surprise here on the Usos winning. As we talked about, a loss would've made their heel turn completely pointless. Now, the one question remains: Do they go the full length for the heel turn and spoil Slater's opportunity, or have American Alpha cost them the belts?
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 4/8 (LOCK) Zack - 2/8 Julian - 1/8 Greg - 1/8 Nick - 4/8 (LOCK) Julie - 2/8
#WWEBacklash #TagTitles #GetKennected
WWE Intercontinental Championship The Miz (c) w/Maryse vs. Dolph Ziggler
RESULT: The Miz wins via pinfall; The Miz pinned Ziggler following the Skull-Crushing Finale.
THOUGHTS: A hot, fast-paced match between these two, as the chemistry between Miz and Ziggler is well-established and made for a more fluid, physically and emotionally intense match. We even saw Miz follow up on his berating of GM Daniel Bryan by mocking him and borrowing from Bryan's moveset throughout the match.
Glad to see they are going the route of Miz doing everything he can to undermine Bryan and prove that his way of "playing it safe" works more than the risk-taking and showing-off of the likes of Bryan and Ziggler. The Maryse interference works fine here, as it plays into Miz's "by any means necessary" tactics to hold onto his championship and, in his mind, continue to bring back its prestige.
Ziggler saying he'd have to "re-evaluate things" if he lost only lends more credence to the heel turn we've been anticipating for the last two months, and we may very well see it come to a head later in the main event.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 5/8 Zack - 3/8 Julian - 1/8 Greg - 2/8 Nick - 5/8 Julie -3/8
#WWEBacklash #ICTitle #GetKennected
Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt & No Holds Barred Match Bray Wyatt vs. Kane
RESULTS: ORTON VS. WYATT - Wyatt won via forfeit; Orton was counted out due to Wyatt's earlier assault on his ankle. WYATT VS. KANE - Kane won via pinfall; Kane pinned Wyatt following a chokeslam.
TIME: ORTON VS. WYATT - N/A; WYATT VS. KANE - 10:51
THOUGHTS: Firstly, I understand WHY they did the backstage spot with Wyatt assaulting Orton's ankle, as Orton apparently hasn't take an impact test for the legit concussion he suffered courtesy of Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. Why they would even promote a match with a man who wasn't cleared for competition baffles me, and it can't do anything but hurt WWE's credibility, but I digress...
I also understand sending Kane out there to face Wyatt, as they needed to fill the time slot. What I DON'T get is Orton coming out instead of selling the ankle injury, figuring into the end of the match, as well as Kane actually WINNING A MATCH IN 2016! Doubly bad booking on WWE's part. Kane has no business winning over anyone relevant at this point, and WWE's infuriating backwards booking of Bray Wyatt continues.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 5/8 Zack - 3/8 Julian - 1/8 Greg - 2/8 Nick - 5/8 Julie - 4/8
Smackdown Tag Team Championship Finals The Usos vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno
RESULT: NEW Champions Slater & Rhyno win via pinfall; Slater pinned Jimmy Uso following a Gore from Rhyno.
THOUGHTS: While the match had a nice ending for Slater FINALLY getting his Smackdown contract ("AND A DOUBLE-WIDE, BAY BAY!"), I felt like going with the squeaky clean finish actually wasn't the better of the options WWE had here, although Slater looked like a pretty good underdog thanks to surviving the Usos' brutal tag tactics.
I mentioned before that the Usos spoiling Slater's Cinderella story would have fully cemented their status as top heels in the Smackdown tag team division. That would've worked fine, or even have American Alpha coming out to cost the Usos, leading to a feud between the two teams while the Two-Man World Gore has a fun little run with the belts.
I suppose you could have the Usos nefariously win the belts from Slater and Rhyno either this Tuesday or later on, and then have Alpha make their triumphant return to revenge on the Usos. All in all, a decent outcome that at least pleased the crowd.
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 6/8 Zack - 4/8 Julian - 2/8 Greg - 3/8 Nick - 5/8 Julie - 5/8
#WWEBacklash #TagTeamTitles #DoubleWide
WWE World Championship Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles
RESULT: NEW CHAMPION AJ Styles wins via pinfall; Styles pinned Ambrose following a low blow and a Styles Clash.
THOUGHTS: A fun main event to cap off what felt like a very middle-of-the-road Smackdown (LIVE!) PPV, which would be fine if WWE wasn't trying to tout Smackdown as an equal to Monday Night RAW for the last couple months.
They really needed to put their best foot forward here with the overall quality of the PPV and the matches, as well as getting the audience hooked; while the crowd certainly was emotionally involved throughout the night, a good chunk of the card left something to be desired (Wyatt vs. Kane and a lack of foresight concerning Orton's concussion the more glaring among them).
The main event itself was a great exchange between Styles and Ambrose, AJ's technical strong style versus Ambrose's more eclectic brand of offense. We saw what I felt like was the edge Ambrose had been missing to his in-ring psychology as of late, finding any and all means to debilitate Styles, whether it was catapulting Styles into the ring post (which looked LEGIT nasty) or sending him into the crowd and diving right after him. THAT'S the attitude I like to see from Ambrose.
And, of course, AJ looked as phenomenal as ever, capitalizing on a ref bump and a low blow to FINALLY pick up a victory with the Styles Clash. The dirty ending will most likely lead to a rematch with Ambrose down the line, and perhaps at that point we may very well see what Ziggler's "re-evaluation" of his career leads to....
WK KING OF PPV: Ken - 7/8 (WINNER) Zack - 4/8 Julian - 4/8 (LOCK) Greg - 5/8 (LOCK) Nick - 6/8 Julie - 5/8