Segunda Caida

Phil Schneider, Eric Ritz, Matt D and occasional guests write about pro wrestling. Follow us @segundacaida

Sunday, September 11, 2016

WWE Backlash 2016 Live Blog

ER: Found out a PPV was happening tonight, Phil said the card looked like junk but I had no idea what the card was, so he urged me to GO IN BLIND!! Smackdown has kind of overperformed since the draft so even with the card looking bleh on paper I'm hoping to maybe get surprised by it.

ER: Pre-show has some pretty great moments, like Lawler just completely shitting all over Dolph Ziggler, followed by Lita shitting all over Ziggler, followed by the table unanimously deciding that Dolph is a total failure.

And Slater/Rhyno were flat out great doing a Q&A. Rhyno had some great dry delivery, answering a "how have you been getting ready?" with "All sorts of things. Water aerobics at the community pool. No more community pool after tonight though." With Slater butting in, "That's right I'm getting my above ground after tonight." They played off each other soooo good and came off with a real nice natural, easy charisma. No overly scripted, unfunny "comedy", just them being themselves and being funny. Great segment.

1. Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

ER: Didn't really care much for the opening of this, but once they started dropping big moves on each other and bumping all over the place, the final 3 minutes got pretty hot. Both guys have some fairly unlikely offense, but they both committed to the offense and made it work. Crews bumped big off Corbin's cool grounded chokeslam, the Crews' fallaway slam/samoan drop on the floor was sick, Corbin hit a massive spinning backdrop, and yeah, the big moves won me over. Still can't really get much of a feel for Corbin, and he's a guy I've now seen several times. It's weird.

2. Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Bella

ER: These matches always seem like a total mess. They're always a jumble, people always get crossed up, and then suddenly all the eliminations happen at once. And that's pretty much true of this. But it had some moments. It was easily the best I've seen Alexa Bliss look, and she showed more personality than any other gal in this. Usually I think she looks fairly inept but he backflip knees actually hit for once, she lobbed a great knee into Becky's face, nicely held onto the top rope to prevent the neckbreaker/powerbomb that eventually finished her. She was a bright spot I was not expecting. And then the eliminations flew fast and pointlessly. Natalya looked awkward as hell in all her exchanges with Naomi, like she was trying to make Naomi look bad, except Naomi looked fine against everyone else. Becky Lynch really does nothing for me. Nikki was mostly underused here. Carmella tried but needs more time (I liked her quick elimination on Nikki and her slapping Lynch though), and yeah this whole thing added up to not a whole lot.

3. The Usos vs. Hype Bros

ER: Usos were due for a heel turn, I like it. Ryder looks like he's making the most of his newfound 2016 PPV time, really busting ass this match. His slingshot splash was great, crazy missile dropkick off the apron, weird but painful looking bump off the apron to the floor. Loved Mojo's running all the way around the ring double shoulder block after the Ryder dropkick. But Usos on paper as a heel team sounds better than execution so far. I'm sure they'll get better at it. Their heat segment wasn't too compelling and they don't have tons of heel stuff to fill time yet. They've been working fired up babyface for like 6 years now, it'll take some adjusting. That flying superkick to the back of the knee is a sick finisher set up though. That move is nasty.

I feel guilty fast forwarding through Connor's Cure segments.

4. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz

ER: Well this was really good. This is one of the best Miz performances I can recall ever seeing. Ziggler was kind of along for the ride, but Miz slayed here. Loved Ziggler owning him on the mat, always going for that sleeper choke, and I buy the sleeper from Ziggler. In fact I think the period I enjoyed Ziggler the most ('09 or '10) was when he regularly used that backpack sleeper as a near-finish. In my brain I'm picturing a series of matches he had with Kane of all people, where he really effectively employed the sleeper. So we get some rear chokes to start and then later came back to some great stuff with the sleeper. They were given a lot of time here, and made the most of it. Miz was super aggressive and broke out some stuff I've not seen him do. Those running corner dropkicks were devastating. Ziggler breaks out his great chest first bump in the corner. I dug Ziggler setting up the famouser by doing a little sliding shin kick, dug them fighting on the floor with Ziggler muscling up and lugging Miz back in the ring to avoid a countout. But I really wish they had just let Miz win clean instead of the normally out of the way Maryse interfering. The entire announce crew already tossed Ziggler under the bus before the show, and Miz is hotter than he's maybe ever been. Let the dude get a win. Still, really good match.

5. Bray Wyatt vs. Kane

ER: Of course it's Kane. And they tried and Wyatt busted his ass, and at least Wyatt was presented as Kane's equal the whole match, not as someone scared of the unstoppable monster. They went out and had probably the best match they could have had. Wyatt breaks him down with a chair, the senton through the announce table was awesome (even though Kane was the next one to go on offense), and I thought overall Wyatt came off good here. But really this was just a way to occupy Bray until Orton is healthy again. So whatever.

I have no clue who those two guys were who AJ talked to, but one of them looked exactly like current Rhyno, minus 100 pounds. Look at the nose, eyes, facial hair. That is Rhynito.

6. The Usos vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno

ER: Maybe the Usos just needed one match as heels under their belts to start catching on, because I already liked them more in this match. Slater gets predictably cut off from Rhyno, and I especially enjoyed one Uso choking Heath in the ropes while the other runs and uppercuts him from the floor. The match itself really wasn't much, but it went in the right direction. Heath has certainly earned a big moment over the last couple months, and the Usos are going to be far better served in the American Alpha feud. So Usos and AA will get to tear it down for a few months, while Slater gets a nice moment in the sun for a few months on top. Okay match, great result.

7. AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose

ER: Styles as been an absolute king over the last few months, so I'm greatly curious to see what he can do here against I guy I loved for years, but who's stock has dropped more than maybe anyone over the last year. And Styles is really making it work. It's wisely worked with Dean doing minimal offense, as even at his indy match best he was never known for his offense, but the last year has seen him lob some of the flimsiest offense in WWE. So AJ - who has some great offense - works him over,  kills him with elbows (that diving one to a seated Dean was awesome), Dean flies wildly into a turnbuckle, AJ keeps at him, works him into some weird awesome calf/ankle crusher in the corner that leads to some nice leg moments (love AJ working a leg lock when Ambrose starts booting him in the face), with AJ rolling through into the awesome calf crusher. I miss that period when every WWE main event had a submission alternate finisher. That Brock Lock and Lasso from El Paso were the best. The calf crusher is a totally believable finish, and I did NOT see Dean just grabbing and bouncing AJ's head off the mat to break it. THAT is an awesome way to get out of a sub. God does AJ sell that catapult on the apron, just shoulder tackling that ringpost. And then things start to get wild. That vicious 450 with Styles practically over-rotating his face into the mat only made it look like he was whipping his body as hard as possible into Ambrose, and then AJ goes on a tear illustrating how he's made every single opponents' offense look amazing ever since arriving in WWE (well....except Jericho. He really couldn't salvage that offense). AJ gets booted to the floor and flies ass over elbow, then takes Dean's weak tope better than anybody else. Most people take Dean's tope and absorb it, which kind of highlights the lightness of it. AJ acts like it throws him off balance, which in this case sends him over the announce table. I realllllllly wish AJ had ducked that damned rebound lariat, but at least he bumped it big. And I love the kick to balls -> Styles Clash finish. It's a way to somehow win deservedly, while also being a royal asshole in winning. He could have likely just kicked him in the stomach and got to the same conclusion, but he went balls. Styles is awesome. Total ace.

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