I wasn’t hyped for Backlash on Sunday night. With the Greatest Royal Rumble being just nine days earlier, Backlash felt like an after-thought not only to me, but the WWE as well. The card had good matchups on paper, but the build to the show was lackluster at best.
That changed about 30 minutes into the show.
The Miz and Seth Rollins had the best main card match of 2018 Sunday night. The only one that came close to it was the 30-man male rumble match in January.
It had everything you would want in a great wrestling match. Emotion, technical wrestling, high spots. It was almost a perfect wrestling match. The storytelling was phenomenal, the pace was great, and both guys came away looking like stars.
What the opening match did was give me false hope. It made me believe that maybe, just maybe, this show would be better than I thought it was going to be.
Spoiler alert: it wasn’t.
Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss had an okay match. Randy Orton and Jeff Hardy had an okay match. Big Cass and Daniel Bryan had an odd finish. Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley beat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn in a snoozefest. Those four matches that left you saying “eh, whatever.”
Carmella pinned Charlotte clean, which was the only surprise in the middle of the show. Carmella winning wasn’t a shock, per se, but the way she won was surprising. You rarely see Charlotte get pinned clean like that, so having Carmella pick up the win that way was stunning.
AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura had a fantastic match…until the end. I understood the reason for the double count-out at the Greatest Royal Rumble event. It was meant to setup the match at Backlash being no disqualification to give us a “true winner.” After 20 minutes of a fun match, the end result was…a count-out? In a No-DQ match? How is that even possible? The only positive is that this sets up yet another match between Styles and Nakamura at the Money In The Bank PPV in June. I’m assuming there will be a no count-out stipulation for the match added, but I’m not sure what that will accomplish.
And then we got to the main event, where Samoa Joe and Roman Reigns faced off because of…pride? We never really had an established feud between these two, as Reigns was focused on Brock Lesnar for most of the “buildup” to this feud. What was Roman’s incentive to face Joe Sunday night? The match was what it was, as Samoa Joe once again lost a big-time match. He’s quickly becoming Bray Wyatt: talks a big game, then loses the big match.
If you had turned off the show after the first match, the show would’ve a five-star show. The final three hours happened afterwards, though, which killed all the momentum the first match gave the show. Sunday night solidified the star power of Rollins and Miz, while also re-affirming that WWE didn’t care to spend proper time making Backlash a good show.