Hey, Backlash happened! There were championship matches! Daniel Bryan in a singles match at a pay-per-view! Elias trying to have a concert! Shinsuke Nakamura punching AJ Styles right in the Phenomenal Foreskin!
This pay-per-view could have had everything, but it sure did not. Want to see what I mean? Below you’ll find the live blog from this event, but be warned: there were lots of rest holds at Backlash.
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
Roman Reigns would like Samoa Joe to stop saying hurtful but true things to his face. Samoa Joe would like Reigns to stop getting championship matches he can’t do anything productive with. Even though I like Reigns, I’m very much Team Joe here. Beat him down, Joe, Roman needs to do something else for a bit.
Samoa Joe started beating on Reigns before the bell even rang, so apparently that’s how it’s gonna be. Reigns already went through the Spanish announce table! God, I love Samoa Joe. Joe keeps going back to the ring then changing his mind, but now he’s throwing him back into the ring so he can get this thing started in an official capacity.
Joe is, to your surprise, in control once the bell actually rang. Weird how that works. The crowd is super into Joe and super not into Reigns. Again, I like Reigns, but extremely same right now.
Roman got his first bit of offense in, but it stopped in a hurry, as Joe kicked Reigns in the head in the corner to end that uprising as quickly as it began. Samoa Joe suicide dive, damn dude. Reigns went down hard, which, what else are you supposed to do when Joe comes flying at you through the air?
“This is boring” chants from the crowd — I said a couple of hours ago this show needed to stop with so many rest holds, and they did not listen. This match has been Samoa Joe beating the heck out of Reigns and then putting him in a rest hold, rinse repeat.
Roman finally hit a spear, but Joe had a leg on the ropes, so this match continues. This match feels like it’s building to a big Reigns’ comeback, which also feels like a really dumb idea!
Joe avoided getting speared again with a kick he reversed into a Coquina Clutch, which Reigns then reversed into a pin, but now Joe has him in another Clutch with his legs wrapped around Reigns to keep him from moving around with his arm toward the ropes.
Reigns is fading until he doesn’t, and he gets the ropes to break the submission. Joe looks like he wants to kill Reigns, which is also what the crowd sounds like. This whole comeback thing for the match does not work when no one wants the comebacker to comeback.
And yet, Reigns picks up the win with spear number two. Take it away, Tony.
more like Wacklash
— Antoine Linguine (@aklingus) May 7, 2018
Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens
This is the “Hey, Bobby Lashley is back!” match on the card, so it’s not a surprise to see it sandwiched between the two mains.
I wish commentary would stop discussing Sami Zayn’s health since he was only storyline injured in order to keep him out of Saudi Arabia, cough cough cough.
I’m realizing now this match exists for a second reason: so Braun Strowman could run at Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn and crash into them at high speeds.
Zayn wanted to escape the match, but Owens wanted to stay and fight… so Zayn threw Owens into the ring to fight again. Now Owens is throwing Zayn into the ring to take a beating from Strowman. These two might need to talk things over backstage.
Man, this crowd is dead for Bobby Lashley doing things. Which is unfortunate since Lashley hit the finishing move and got the pin to end it.
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles (c) for the WWE Championship
We’re having a no disqualification match between Nakamura and Styles, because Nakamura has been throwing dick punches, incessantly, and the meeting between these last two wrestlers at [redacted] ended in a double count out. This no DQ stip is an elegant solution, one where dick punches are legal!
I’m still afraid to love again after the disappointment that was their WrestleMania 34 match, but heel Nakamura > face Nakamura, so the possibility is there, at least.
This whole match has been flying around on the outside of the ring, with Nak and Styles taking turns landing blows. Nakamura is in control after throwing Styles into/through the ring steps, but Nak can only get a quick two count when he attempts to pin.
There is a dueling Nakamura/AJ Styles chant happening, which is mostly making me laugh about the dueling Nakamura/Jinder Mahal chants at SummerSlam.
This match is moving a little slow, but it feels like it’s building to something. The question is whether it is doing just that, or if it’ll be unfulfilling like Mania’s was. Considering they still haven’t committed to much utilization of the no disqualification stip…
Nakamura comes off the second rope with a jumping knee, and then hooks both legs for a pin, but once again gets just the two. Nakamura is finally thinking about weapons, here we go. There’s a chair, and a smile to go with it!
Styles attacks before the chair can be used, but eventually, he eats chair thanks to a reverse exploder suplex.
oh shit, Nakamura just ran at Styles to hit him with a Kinshasa, and Styles LAUNCHED a chair into Nakamura that then ricocheted into Styles’ face, which, in a related story, is now bleeding pretty good.
Hey this match really picked up right at the moment the chair was introduced, y’all should have listened to me sooner.
DICK PUNCH BATTLE
Nakamura struck first, but Styles finally answered the blow with one of his own now that they’re legal. Also they’re both laying on the ground cupping their beans because obviously.
Styles and Nakamura just kicked each other in the groin as hard as they could, to the point that the match ended when neither could stand up during the ref’s 10 count. Double TKO by low blow, so I guess we’re getting another iteration of this.
I love that this match ended because of simultaneous dick kicks, but I also hate that a no DQ match ended because of a ref counting something besides a pin fall. I’m a land of contrasts.
I’ll be fine with this if the feud escalates into a match where the only legal moves are dick kicks.
Charlotte vs. Carmella (c) for the SmackDown Women’s Championship
I’m going to borrow from my preview for this intro:
You see, there’s basically no way that Carmella is going to defeat Charlotte one-on-one: Charlotte just took down Asuka, remember, who no one was able to defeat for literal years, and Carmella took roughly 15 tries just to get her briefcase opened in time to pin the SmackDown Women’s champ while they were still on the ground writhing in pain.
So, how does Carmella defend the title against Charlotte here, so that she isn’t just a one-and-done champ who only held on because of the briefcase?
The build to this match has been great, with Carmella all bluster and celebrations while Charlotte quietly stewed until throwing a desk on Mella’s face at the contract signing. Charlotte is going to murder Carmella if someone doesn’t stop her, so… who helps Carmella keep that from happening?
Carmella’s shriek is so wonderful. It’s ear-piercing and terrible but in all the best ways for a heel. She’s already tried to leave this match with the title once, until Charlotte asked her where she was going, with violence.
Carmella keeps booting Charlotte right in the head while screaming about how no one cares about her anymore, but neither are keeping Charlotte down. The chinlock is doing a decent job, at least.
I’m enjoying Carmella screaming “Nobody likes you!” at Charlotte but they need to hit pause on these rest holds.
Well, that’s one way to stop them.
Oooh I do not love that finish. Charlotte missed a moonsault and hurt her knee, and then Carmella pinned her in a hurry after a kick to the back of the leg while Charlotte was vulnerable. Carmella really should not have won clean here, not after Charlotte defeated Asuka and ended her winning streak at WrestleMania 34, but I’m also willing to see where this is going.
Big Cass vs. Daniel Bryan
It’s not exactly a grudge match, but Cass is mad that Daniel Bryan’s return overshadowed his own, and then he spent time attacking Bryan from behind to make him pay for it.
Cass apparently did all of his knee rehab in a tanning booth.
CROWD YOU DO NOT WANT ENZO DO NOT CHANT THAT I UNDERSTAND YOU THINK THAT IT WILL RATTLE CASS OR WHATEVER SINCE THEY USED TO BE TAG PARTNERS BUT ENZO GOT FIRED FOR A REASON, AND THAT REASON WAS BEING INVESTIGATED BY THE POLICE FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT AND LYING TO WWE ABOUT IT
You morons. Bless everyone who chanted back “No we don’t.”
Anyway, wrestling! Daniel Bryan is running to the corner kicking Cass, as he does, but Cass met him halfway on the last one and threw his ass on the ground. Well, his face, but that’s not an accepted way to phrase things.
Cass is heeling it up here, playing to the crowd, and also wasting too much time: Daniel Bryan takes advantage and tries to get the Yes Lock in, but Cass has quite the large frame. Bryan punches Cass in the head until he can lock in his finishing submission and hey, now Bryan is the winner. Neat.
Not an especially memorable match, but Bryan got some big shots in, took down a much larger opponent, and showed he doesn’t need to be in a tag match, and that’s something. Plus, the memorable part might be what just happened now, when Cass attacked during Bryan’s celebration.
The crowd is chanting “You tapped out” at Cass, so you are forgiven for your previous indiscretion. “You tapped out” is a wonderful chant for taunting.
Elias claims to know Bruce Springsteen, who hates New Jersey according to Elias. (This show is in Jersey). He’s dedicating his song to The Boss.
We don’t get a song because the New Day just interrupted. I haven’t wanted to boo New Day in ages. New Day wants to join the concert — Big E brought a drum, Xavier of course has his trombone, and Kofi has cymbals. Elias is a solo act, though, and Big E definitely made a masturbation joke in response.
And now Aiden English interrupts to operatically rap. Hey, it’s a thing.
This is such a RAW-ass segment in the middle of a pay-per-view, but Rusev is here now, so I’ll allow it.
No Way Jose and his dance party showed up, and they had Apollo Crews and Titus O’Neil in tow, as well as the Fashion Police. Elias has had enough, and is threatening repercussions for another interruption… which comes immediately in the form of Bobby Roode and a Glorious DDT.
Roode interrupting Elias is a heel move. Well, it is for me, anyway. WWE doesn’t see it that way.
Okay this part was good, though.
Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy (c) for the United States Championship
I gotta tell y’all, I don’t think I can pretend to be excited for an Orton vs. Jeff Hardy singles match in 2018. I hope I’m wrong and the match teaches me I should be more open-minded, but, I’ve seen matches that Randy Orton isn’t going to win before, and, well, I don’t want to go back there. But I also don’t want Orton to win. What a pickle.
What is pretty neat, despite my pessimism, is that this is a battle between Grand Slam Champions, and for a title, even. I’m a sucker for that sort of thing.
Jeff Hardy’s shirt has already come off, and now it’s a battle between two guys with a lot of visible tattoos. They have space for so many more tattoos, though, keep painting that canvas guys.
Orton is doing that thing where he’s wasting a lot of time walking around in circles while the announce team talks about how he has no wasted effort in his game. They must do that to me on purpose.
Here’s Orton with purpose himself, slamming Hardy into the barricade three times, and now he’s walking around in circles again with the occasional stomp to break that up.
The crowd is chanting “Cruiser-weights!” at this match. It is not going great. It’s not even bad so much as it just… is.
Jeff Hardy seems to have noticed, and has upped the intensity. He’s throwing himself all around the ring, and Orton has definitely decided to go the other direction and let the crowd boo him for taking too long to do anything. Hardy reverses the RKO attempt before it can get going, and takes down Orton long enough to hit a Swanton Bomb from the top rope. Match over, Hardy defends.
That’s three championship matches and three successful championship defenses to start the show. [extremely large thinking emoji]
Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax (c) for the RAW Women’s Championship
Alexa Bliss is a shitty, shitty friend who said horrible things about Nia Jax and her body before WrestleMania 34, and she paid for it with a loss to her former friend Jax at said event. Now Bliss has decided to tell everyone Jax is a bully and an awful person, because when terrible people try to get sympathy, they do so by blaming others for being the way they are.
Bliss gets her rematch against Nia, and hopefully, the result will be the same as it was at Mania: Nia winning, and Alexa in pain because of it.
Alexa is going for Nia’s legs, classic strategy for taking down the larger opponent. Then again, every opponent is larger than the five-foot Alexa, so. It worked, too, as Alexa got Nia off of her feet, and that’s where Jax has stayed. Alexa keeps hitting her in the face, but she made a mistake going for a DDT, and now Nia has her up on her shoulders. Now it’s Alexa on the ground. Whoops.
Alexa is desperate to not let Nia slam her down in any meaningful way. She’s literally just hanging off of her back or her head or her shoulders, at least until Nia just threw Alexa halfway across the ring. No more hanging on, problem solved.
Alexa just pushed NIa off the ropes to the outside, with a bump on the apron on the way down. It did not look great for her wellbeing, and neither did going face-first off the steps there.
Bliss keeps trying to make the running crossbody work against Jax, but Nia keeps catching her. Alexa then tried to sunset flip powerbomb Nia in the corner, which… what
Twisted Bliss attempt is caught — Alexa, you gotta stop throwing yourself at Nia — and there’s a Samoan Drop. Nia gets the pin, and retains the RAW Women’s title against Bliss.
Miz vs. Seth Rollins (c) for the Intercontinental Championship
Here’s Miz, sans the Miztourage as far as we know, on his way to the ring to face the current Intercontinental Champion, Seth Rollins, who won that title at WrestleMania 34 against Miz. While Miz went to SmackDown and lost the Miztourage (Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel), this is a co-branded pay-per-view, as you will be reminded often: those dudes are backstage and can help Miz win a record-tying ninth IC title.
Rollins, though, is the man right now, and could probably fight off the Miztourage and Miz at the same time. We’ll see soon enough!
Miz uses the Miztourage to help him get over the edge in close-fought matches, so he’s certainly not helpless without them. He just, you know, isn’t as likely to win. Maybe he’s made some new friends on SmackDown since moving over there.
He’s doing pretty well for himself here, as he’s been tossing Rollins around and now has him in a chinlock on the ground. Miz is targeting his knee a bit, and Rollins is feeling it. In the bad way, but you knew that. You’re capable of reading context.
Rollins is feeling it in the other way now, the good way, as he just crashed into Miz with a suicide dive to the outside, and is now finally in control, even reversing a Skull Crushing Finale into a pin attempt.
Miz knew a stomp was coming to his head, and rolled out of the ring to avoid. He comes back in, and Seth knocks him back out, so here comes another suicide dive aaaand nope, punch to the face.
Uh oh, Miz locked in a Figure Four, and Seth’s knee has been targeted as mentioned previously — Seth is struggling, but he’s in the middle of the ring… is Miz going to win the title back oh god not with that look on Rollins’ face, he’s going to reverse this Figure Four… and he did!
A Skull Crushing Finale, and Rollins somehow kicks out again. Rollins is taking a serious beating here: he’s going to have to end this soon if he wants to retain. Rollins hits the Superplex, but his knee gave out before he could hit the Falcon Arrow followup… Miz capitalized with another Skull Crushing Finale and oooh man Seth kicked out again!
Miz just tried to pull off a third Skull Crushing Finale, this one from the top rope, but Seth reversed it, and then jumped off the rope for a big move of his own… only to get whacked in the knee. Get this man an ice pack.
Rollins finally gets off a stomp to the head, and that’s it, 1-2-3: Seth retains. Real good opener there.