By Ryan K. Boman, Editor in Chief
WWE BACKLASH 2018
Date: May 6, 2018
Prudential Center -Newark, New Jersey
Announced Attendance: 14,724
INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
MIZ VS. SETH ROLLINS (c)
Just an outstanding battle between two of the company’s premiere, big match performers. Rollins has never looked better and is getting more out of this current run than he ever did as a heel. He’s now in a much better fit, shining in the role of fighting champion. While The Architect is clearly the babyface, Miz nearly winning a record-tying title gets a big reaction. Rollins kicks out of the Skull-Crushing Finale and expertly plays the underdog by constantly putting over a knee injury.
GOING HOME – After some great selling and several near-falls, Rollins fires back with The Stomp to narrowly escape with the win. Fantastic way to warm up the night, and the crowd approved of ‘Monday Night Rollins’ continuing his title reign.
RAW WOMEN’S TITLE:
ALEXA BLISS VS. NIA JAX (c)
These two always do a great job of making the match work, despite the major size difference. Nia is clearly getting a huge push right now, as the pre-taped segments leading to the match continue to play her as a hero of the anti-bullying campaign. Bliss worked a lot of power offense and surprisingly dominated a great segment of the match, but Nia is clearly the chosen one on this night. And a win for the champion would force her former friend out of the title picture for a while.
GOING HOME – Alexa mounts the top rope for the Twisted Bliss, but Nia catches her in mid-air. A thunderous Samoan drop and a convincing pinfall win for Jax.
UNITED STATES TITLE:
RANDY ORTON VS. JEFF HARDY
Lots of examples of Orton cutting off the ring and trying to slow down Hardy. Obviously, a match involving two veterans, but it appeared to just be part of the formula to keep the card moving. Never felt like a title change was anywhere near happening.
GOING HOME – Jeff Hardy hits the Twist of Fate and The Swanton dive to get the win and retain the US title.
Elias comes out to play guitar, but is soon interrupted by New Day, who say they want to jam with him. Rusev and Aiden English come out, and Rusev cuts a promo on both of them. Elias stops everyone, and has Jojo re-introduce him. He is then interrupted by No Way Jose, who is joined by his entourage (including Titus Worldwide).
Elias re-starts again, cuing up one more time, only to hear the ‘Glorious’ anthem kick in. One surprise DDT later, and Bobby Roode dispatches of Elais. All the party crashers dance to the back to No Way Jose’s music… with Roode even cutting a rug all the way up the ramp.
BIG CASS VS. DANIEL BRYAN
The big man was miffed that his return from injury was overshadowed by Bryan’s. In reality, Cass is still getting his legs underneath him since returning from a blown tire. Despite the ring rust, the pair wrestled a classic David vs. Goliath contest. Bryan continues to get sharper since stepping back through the ropes, and the crowd has never loved him more. Cass held his own, often countering DB’s technical moves by simply powering out.
GOING HOME- Bryan outlasts Cass to make the big man tap to the Yes Lock. However… Post-match, the 7-footer attacked Bryan, eventually putting his lights out with the big boot.
SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLE:
CHARLOTTE FLAIR VS. CARMELLA (c)
Carmella mocks the Flair strut early,and Charlotte dominates her. At one point, the champion decides she is leaving with he belt, only to be cut off by Flair. It almost became as much a battle of egos as it was wrestling moves, with each girl talking trash when they were on offense. Carmella locked down The Queen for a good majority of the jatch, and looked impressive in a successful title defense.
GOING HOME – Carmella throws a chop block and gets a rollup for the clean win, after Charlotte appears to have a knee buckle.
WWE WORLD TITLE:
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA VS. AJ STYLES (c)
No DQ stipulations,and these two certainly tore into each other. A lot more fire between the contestants – AND the crowd – than we saw in their match at ‘Mania. Nakamura turns the tide when the match spills to the outside. At one point, a chair enters the ring. As Nakamura runs full blast to deliver a strike… AJ threw the chair and, while it did hit Nakamura, it also bounced back and busted Styles right in the face.
GOING HOME – After delivering simultaneous kicks to each other’s groins, the two men pass out in the ring and are (literally) counted out in a No-Disqualification match. No contest, and the people were NOT happy with the finish to this one.
BRAUN STROWMAN & BOBBY LASHLEY VS. KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN
Not much to this one, besides to further the confusing relationship of Zayn and Owens. Other than that, it came down to miscommunication and muscle: The supposed two best friends couldn’t get on the same page, with each throwing each other to the wolves. Basically, a power display for Lashley and Strowman, who punished Team Sami & Kevin with their finishers.
GOING HOME – Lashley pins Owens after the extended vertical suplex. Then post-match, KO eats the powerslam from Braun. It will be interesting to see how this whole Owens-Zayn dynamic plays out this week on Smackdown Live!
ROMAN REIGNS VS. SAMOA JOE
In this match-up of Samoan stars, Joe attacks Roman before the bell, and it looks like there might not even be a match. Once it gets going, Joe takes advantage and works a lot of rest holds. Joe looks mean and intimidating as he tells Reigns to just go away. Unfortunately, the crowd had grown weary with this turn of events. There is almost no buzz as the crowd fully expects Reigns to win. They chant “Delete” and Boo when Reigns has the upper hand. The match was good, but killed off by a restless crowd.
GOING HOME – Despite the fact that the audience seemed to be pulling for the Kokina Clutch, Reigns hits huge spear to get the win. Crowd didn’t like much of the card, and this was the icing on the cake. They don’t care about Roman, no matter what situation WWE puts him in.