In the first WWE pay per view back since Wrestlemania, we were given many highs and lows. With matches including Seth Rollins vs The Miz and Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe impressing and standing out for all the right reasons, there were many missed opportunities and wrong decisions made throughout the night and today we are going to be looking at five of those not so great moments and decisions.
If there is anything that really does need working on it’s how the WWE Championship is used. The most prestigious prize in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment really has suffered in recent years in terms of getting the respect it deserves. Despite Shinsuke Nakamura winning this year’s Royal Rumble, he and AJ Styles was not made the main event at Wrestlemania and during last night’s Backlash pay per view, the WWE championship match was placed in the middle of the show. This was arguably one of the biggest mistakes of the night. The rivalry, the story, and the blue brand really did need that main event spot. This is one of, if not the most, important title/s in the WWE yet it isn’t being used or booked like it. Nakamura in particular really did need that big main event slot. The chance to work that big match we have all been waiting for and placing such an important match in the middle of the card was a move that benefited no one.
While we all love some fun in the world of pro wrestling timing is key. Throwing in a random segment with zero meaning, sense, or interest really is never a great move. Elias is, of course, someone many enjoy watching, the crowd reaction speaks volumes, however, his segment last night that saw the likes of Rusev and Aiden English, Bobby Roode, No Way Jose and more interrupt the drifter really didn’t go down too well. Rusev, Roode and even Elias were talents many fans believed should have been on the card and booked in an actual match we could all care about and so a comedic angle during the first hour of the show didn’t have the most positive of reactions. These superstars who are over and so deserving of a big push do not benefit in the slightest from this kind of booking. The better option would have been to simply leave them off the show. Focus on the next pay per view and finding a slot from there instead of a slightly lazy, useless comedic segment that added nothing to the show. This is also exactly how you can take away the importance and flow of a show and ruin the difference between a PPV and an episode of RAW/Smackdown LIVE.
Going back to the WWE Championship match and while it most certainly was one of the best matches of the night the end result left many feeling pretty… disappointed. This was one of the better matches we have seen from Styles and Nakamura since their rivalry kick-started, however, with their previous ending in DQ and this one ending in a no contest many were not satisfied. This was an important night and match for Nakamura in particular and while he, of course, had a strong performance a win was needed. While the feud will continue on there were mistakes made here and Shinsuke not walking out as WWE Champion is something that could in return result in being one of the biggest mistakes and regrets of not only the night but the year so far.
A slightly disappointing match of the night came from the United States championship bout between current titleholder Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton. Now, for anyone who grew up in the noughties, this was a great little throwback contest, however, it was disappointing. The match was fairly slow paced and the crowd was pretty quiet throughout the matchup. Sure, we heard the fans rally on in support for Hardy but it was during this match the audience was quieter due to the bland one on one that was being presented. Some believe that Shelton Benjamin should have either been in this match or even taken Orton’s place while others believe even greater missed opportunities were made. Debuting Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas definitely should have been an option here. It would have given the crowd something to react to, the end result some edge and an attack on Hardy would have indicated a fresh new feud as well as a hot new arrival on a bigger night than a random episode of Smackdown: LIVE.
The final point we are going to be discussing today revolves around the tag team between Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Here we have four of the best superstars currently working not only on the RAW roster but in the WWE altogether. We have powerhouses, former indie darlings and some of the sheer best wrestlers in the world today and how were they booked? In a borderline comedic match up lasting less than ten minutes. The WWE has given fans reason to worry about the future of all four of these superstars. With Braun winning the Greatest Royal Rumble many wanted to believe that the rough patch the Monster Among men had been experiencing the past couple of months had ended while the freshly returned Bobby Lashley would kick-start a strong, dominant and promising run with the company, however, none of this happened. Throwing Kevin Owens in the mix you have three genuine future opponents for Brock Lesnar, future Universal Champions yet they were all so poorly used. A massive turnaround is needed here. Whether it be a heel turn for Lashley, going back to basics with Strowman, and/or pushing Owens and Zayn to new heights there must be a change and these four big-time stars need to start being pushed and used as just that; big-time stars.
While we did get a fair share of highs and lows the pay per view got people talking. Controversial decisions, strong matches, and many mistakes have sparked conversation but what did you think of WWE Backlash 2018?