Review: WWE Backlash 2017

Jinder bender.
It’s fine. SmackDown’s been fine lately, and Backlash was fine. There was some good stuff, there was some bad stuff, and it evens out to be fine. Just fine. If you go out of your way to watch these things live (which actually IS worth doing sometimes) then I could imagine being pissed off about what went on here, but the on demand, fast forward-y nature of the WWE Network means that you don’t have to plan your whole night around WWE’s whims any more, and this Backlash show had the stink of mediocrity coming off of it for weeks now so… let’s just dig in.

The SmackDown Live women’s division has been Ruthless Aggression era Divas bad lately and last night was no exception. Aside from Becky Lynch’s Sindel from Mortal Kombat costume the six woman tag match last night between The Welcoming Committee (Natalya, Tamina and Carmella) and Charlotte, Becky and Naomi was a complete and utter waste of time.

The Luke Harper and Erick Rowan thing was certainly a thing that happened. Over as fuck Tye Dillinger and better than anyone gives him credit for Aiden English being relegated to the pre-show? Shit, why not. Japanese wrestling god Shinsuke Nakamura blowing off a weeks long feud with Dolph fucking Ziggler and not completely squashing him? Dolph is short for Adolph. He’s Hitler. What I’m saying is that he’s Hitler. He’s worse than Hitler.

Kevin Owens and AJ Styles’ encounter for the US Title was easily the match of the night, though the weird finish with AJ being counted out after getting his foot wrapped in cables inside an announce table kind of killed the whole thing, and Baron Corbin vs. Sammy Zayn was similarly just serviceable, unique only for its clean finish (Sammy going over for a change) and that it’s nice to see two golden age NXT guys doing fairly well on the main roster.

And Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton’s WWE Title match sure was a Randy Orton match, wasn’t it? Mahal is so completely devoid of charisma that Randy may as well have been in there with the blow up doll from that Kenny Omega match that Jim Cornette hates so much. Not that Randy’s ever been Mr. Personality himself. He hears voices in his head. They council him, they understand. They talk to him.

Guess what was great? Tyler Breeze and Fandango vs The Usos. Guess why? Because Breezango are really leaning into this Fashion Police thing and having a ton of goddamned fun. Prince Pretty came to the ring “undercover”, first as his janitor disguise and then as perpetual octogenarian attitude era punching bag Mae Young, complete with a dress lifting bronco buster spot that got so over with the CM Punk loving smark ass smark Chicago crowd you could tell that Breeze barely believed it himself. Aaaaaaaaand then they lost. Insert Picard facepalm meme here.

So hey, remember when SmackDown was better than Raw? Better than NXT even? I’ll keep DVRing you SmackDown, mostly for AJ, Owens, Zayn, Big Banter Corbin and The Fashion Police. Please pray for the life of my fast forward button.


Kevin Hawkey is the co-founder, head writer and editor of Riot-Nerd. He enjoys Fighting Games, Metal, Marvel, Horror and all the weird shit in between. A lifelong Philadelphian just as comfortable in a circle pit at Underground Arts as he is drooling over the new Hot Toys figures at Brave New Worlds, Kevin’s idiosyncratic sensibility gives this site it’s unique dichotomy between “riot” and “nerd”.

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