• Jayden Becker

WWE Backlash 2020 Review



The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever, 5 words that shocked the wrestling world when uttered by Charly Casruo on that infamous episode of Monday Night Raw. That match comes to a head at this year's Backlash as Randy Orton and Edge have their first match since Wrestlemania. WWE Champion Drew McIntyre puts his title on the line against Bobby Lashley. Universal champion Braun Strowman faces off against Miz & Morrison with the legal man making the pinfall winning the title.


The action doesn't stop there as Jeff Hardy gets his hand on Sheamus after the Celtic Warrior has attacked him with his past demons. The WWE Women’s Tag Team Championships are on the line as Sasha Banks and Bayley defend the belts against The IIconics and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross. Asuka will also put her title on the line against foe Nia Jax.


Kickoff Show: Apollo Crew (c) vs Andrade w/ Zelina Vega and Angel Garza - United States Championship


Before the match gets started, Kevin Owens makes his way to commentary to both get a better look at the matchup and defend his friend Apollo Crews from any Zelina Vega related shenanigans.


The offense of the matchup is equally matched until Apollo Crews tosses Andrade into the turnbuckle with a belly to belly suplex (I thought those were banned). Crews drops Andrade with a stalling military press, connects with the backflip and moonsault. As Crews goes for the pin Garza steps up on the ring apron to distract the official. Owns leaves his seat at the announce table and rips Garza off the apron and plants a stunner onto his chin.


Apollo Crews slams Andrade with a spinning powerbomb and pins him, 1… 2… 3. Apollo Crews retains the United States Championship.


Takeaways:


A great match and as I talked about in the Predictions article, this could’ve gone either way. I'm glad to see the company still has trust in Crews given the firing of Heyman. I do believe that he will lose the belt as the New US Title design comes into play. If not, he will be a future main eventer. I also wish he didn't change his music, the other entrance theme was a perfect fit for him.


It was sad to see, however, this match pushed to the kickoff show. I think other options could’ve been better served in its place.



Sasha Banks and Bayley (c) vs IIconics vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross - Women’s Tag Team Championship


After the belt changed hands a few weeks prior this match came to be including 3 out of the 4 Women Tag Teams in the company.


With the match being evenly balanced throughout, the IIconics perform double team moves on both Sasha Banks and Bayley tossing them out of the ring. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross enter from outside the ring and attack both Billie Kay and Peyton Royce. Cross and Kay brawl to the outside knocking each other out. Bliss sets up for her top rope finisher and connects onto Royce.


Before Bliss can pin Royce, Banks crawls back into the ring and rolls up Bliss. 1… 2… 3.


Sasha Banks and Bayley retain their Tag Team Titles.


Takeaways:


This is the best bet until fans are back in stadiums. Not only does it keep the effect of them as being best friends but is the literal unification between the two people. When they are no longer champions they will also start to split as well. Originally this plan was for them to have their match at Summerslam in front of Banks’ hometown of Boston.


These plans have been halted for obvious reasons.



Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus


Sheamus for the past month has been exploiting the inner demons of Jeff Hardy's past right back in the face of the now sober superstar. After Sheamus assumingly caused Jeff hardy to be arrested after crashing his rental car, this match was made for Hardy to take revenge on a bitter rival.


Sheamus is in control for most of the match as his strength is too much for Hardy to overcome. Hardy gets in some offense towards the middle of the match as the veteran rallies with a few signature moves. 10 beats of the Bodhran leads to Hardy throwing Sheamus into the ring post and dropping him with a twist of fate. Hardy climbs to the top rope and connects with his patented Swanton Bomb, 1… 2… Sheamus breaks the pin with a rope break.


Sheamus rolls out of the ring. Hardy starts to walk to the top of the barricade for a flying attack but is thwarted by a Brogue Kick from Sheamus. Sheamus throws Hardy into the ring connects with a second Brogue kick. 1… 2.... 3.


Sheamus beats Jeff Hardy.


Takeaways:


It is now apparent that Hardy’s return was meant to get Sheamus over as a strong and powerful heel. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is in the Universal Championship conversation soon. The question now lies with Jeff Hardy.


Hardy is now 42 years old and at the back end of his career. We have seen some both amazing and saddening moments from him through his professional wrestling career. It is a long tradition to end your professional career on your back to help get wrestlers of the future over. Having this happen at Backlash, however, is unlikely.


His contract was meant to expire in March but was extended due to a knee injury. With the limited amount of time he has left, let us all cherish the possible last months of Jeff Hardy’s career in WWE



Asuka vs Nia Jax - Raw Women’s Championship


After Asuka was awarded the Raw Women’s Championship after her Money in the Bank victory, Nia Jax has been gunning for the belt. Jax believes that Asuka’s championship reign as of now is unearned. She gets her opportunity at the belt at Backlash.


Asuka starts strong by wrapping Jax in a spider submission hold. Jax uses her strength, however, to release herself from the hold, almost landing a Samoan Drop in the process.


Asuka climbs to the top rope but is stopped by Jax. Jax is soon caught in an armbar that has Asuka dangling from the top rope. Asuka loses her grip but manages to lift Jax over the top rope and outside the ring.


Asuka catches Jax in another armbar outside the ring as the count reaches 5. Jax breaks free and continues to attack Asuka, the champion breaks free of her clutches and kicks Jax in the head. Before she can reenter the ring, both are counted out and the match is considered a draw.


With the champion's advantage in play, Asuka retains her title.


Takeaways:


I have gotten into some discussions wondering if this was a botch or not. Although this type of outcome has happened before, it sure did look like a botch. Maybe it's because of the previous Nia Jax botches is the reason I have this bias.


Either way, Jax and Asuka will have a rematch on the next episode of Raw. Don’t be surprised if Charlotte Flair gets involved.



Braun Strowman vs Miz & Morrison - Universal Championship


After challenging Braun Strowman to a 2-on-1 Handicap match, Miz & Morrison tried to make his life a living hell before getting caught in a white van in the parking lot of the Performance Center. Before the match at Backlash, Miz & Morrison debuted their music video insulting their opponent. Rules are set, stating that the winner of the Universal Championship belt will be the legal man making the pinfall or submission.


Strowman struggles to stay on his feet after Morrison attacks him with a few springboard kicks. Strowman is finally downed with a running knee. Miz enters with a top rope ax handle dropping Strowman once again. A modified Skull Crushing Finale from the miz has Morrison tag in to double stomp on the back of Strowman. Morrison pins Strowman, 1… 2… The Miz rips Morrison off and instantly apologizes for his mistake.


Morrison tries to pin again but it is too late. The Miz is choke slammed and Morrison is planted with Strowman’s running powerbomb. 1… 2… 3.


Braun Strowman retains the Universal Championship


Takeaways:


I get it now, I finally get it. This might be either the first or final domino to fall in the of there relationship. I would love to see both Miz and Morisson got at it at Summerslam. Also if you have been reading, I called this may be a month back after Miz became the weak link of the group. Pat on the back for me.


Strowman should go on to face Bray Wyatt if he’s ready to return, if not Sheamus is a good option bearing on the feud between Hardy and him ending. Smackdown is still missing Roman Reigns and he is not expected to return for quite some time.



Drew McIntyre vs Bobby Lashley w/ MVP - WWE Championship


Ever since McIntyre Claymore kicked MVP on the road to Wrestlemania, he has looked for revenge. MVP has joined with Bobby Lashley and have set their sites on the WWE Champion. After weeks of back and forth, Bobby Lashley’s wife Lana has not liked the appearance of MVP in the life of her husband. Lana and MVP have both struggled to coincide going into Backlash.


Before the match starts Lashley locks in the full nelson onto the neck of McIntyre. The grip is locked so tight that it takes four officials to pull him away. The match starts with McIntyre struggling to stand, all while wearing his entrance jacket.


Lashley produces a hard-hitting offense, his pin attempts however all end with McIntyre kicking out at 1. With the match coming to a close and Lashley with the advantage, Lana enters to get a closer look. Lana climbs up onto the apron and distracts both the official and Bobby Lashley. McIntyre connects with a Glasgow Kiss, knocking Lashley into Lana which knocks her off the apron onto MVP. A concerned Lashley turns around to the Claymore Kick from McIntyre.


McIntyre pins and wins, retaining the WWE Championship.


Takeaways:


With Heyman gone, this might officially write off both MVP and Lana from WWE Television. Lashley will most likely continue to be stuck in no man's land on the Raw roster, as he has been most of his WWE career. You may ask why don't they let Lashley go? Well, one, he can perform at a high level and two, he is one of the most athletically gifted superstars in the company. Vince wouldn’t want him to leave if his life depended on it, especially to a place that would use him better.



Street Profits Clash with the Viking Raiders


Before the Pay-Per-View aired, it was announced that the Viking Raiders and Street Profits were going to compete with the WWE Tag Team Championship titles on the line. Before this match, however, these two teams are found fighting in the parking lot. Eric is thrown into the recently repaired windshield. The two teams continue to fight into the backstage air carrying shields, axes golf clubs, and a blowing ball, calling back to their weekly challenges.


Ivar is driven through a glass window at the performance center by Dawkins. As they recover, a group of ninjas appears in the parking lot riding motorcycles. These ninjas are led by Akira Tozawa, a man who we’ve seen time and time again get squashed on WWE television. Tozawa leads his ninja army into battle just to be shut down by the “Viking Profits”. They stand tall as Tozawa brings in a large man dressed in ninja gear to help him.


Both the Viking Raiders and Street profits run away and end up fighting each other again into a dumpster. Their match for backlash is canceled.


Takeaways:


The WWE show off their video editing chops here yet again with a pre-recorded scene similar to the Undertaker vs AJ Styles match at Wrestlemania. Great job their. I also understand the Viking Raiders and Street Profits not having a match yet saving both of their pushes but it would’ve been nice if it was announced 6 days prior.


Welcome back Tozawa… I guess. Some are saying that Tozawa and the large mysterious ninja man will be a future tag team. If that's the case then I guess it's a good thing. Just an odd yet creative way to bring them in.


Some of the scenes in this were a little goofy but it’s what we can expect for WWE programming.



Edge vs Randy Orton - The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever


This match, announced weeks back, was dubbed the Greatest Wrestling Match Ever before they even stepped into the ring. Before the bell ringing, it is announced that this match will look and feel a little different with special camera angles, enhanced sound and piped in crowd noise. The official is dressed in classic official uniform and the iconic MSG microphone hangs from the ceiling. The late Howard Finkel who passed away weeks prior was either edited to introduce the two competitors.


Through the match, the two wrestlers go through their whole arsenal using moves from their past. Edge and Orton on the apron battle until Edge connects with a headbutt, busting Orton open over the eye. The wrestlers move from there arsenal to famous moves of the past such as an Olympic Slam, Pedigree, Rock Bottom and an attempted Sharpshooter. Events of the match were often compared to the great matches of the past throughout.


Orton finally connects with the RKO but Edge kicks out at 2. Edge Spears Orton twice but Orton also kicks out at 2. Edge locks in his choking submission move but Orton inadvertently hits Edge below the belt to break up the hold. Orton punts Edge and pins, 1… 2… 3.


Randy Orton beats Edge at Backlash.


Takeaways:


The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever. This is a subjective term, so whatever you thought of the match at Backlash is your opinion and that is fine. This match was great. Many calls to the past with other wrestlers' moves made every step feel so important. The camera angles added a lot to this match, especially the overhead shot of the ring that we used to see in years past. The crowd noise was unusual knowing that there are only 30 people at ringside but I think it was better with it than without.


Now the real question, was this the greatest wrestling match of all time? No. But was this a bad match? Not at all. Edge and Orton stole the show that was given to them in the first place. Both superstars should be proud of their work.


In sad news, it is reported that Edge tore his tricep during this match and could be out for the next 8 months. The rubber match should conclude at Wrestlemania, which is fitting for the two legends. Some blessings are disguised as curses.



Wrap Up


This Pay-Per-View was saved by the main event. Goofy finishes through built storylines but made me wonder why I pay for the PPV in the first place if stories don’t end. I would pay double to watch Edge and Orton again, however.


Pros:

  • Sasha Banks and Bayley (c) vs IIconics vs Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross - Women’s Tag Team Championship

  • Jeff Hardy vs Sheamus

  • Braun Strowman vs Miz & Morrison - Universal Championship

  • Drew McIntyre vs Bobby Lashley w/ MVP - WWE Championship

  • Edge vs Randy Orton - The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever


Cons:

  • Kickoff Show: Apollo Crew (c) vs Andrade w/ Zelina Vega and Angel Garza - United States Championship

  • Asuka vs Nia Jax - Raw Women’s Championship

  • Street Profits Clash with the Viking Raiders


Final Grade: C+


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