Segunda Caida

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

Sunday, May 06, 2018

WWE Backlash 2018 Live Blog

ER: This looks like a good card on paper, but there doesn't seem to be much buzz for the show. I did not watch the Greatest Royal Rumble, so it's possible a long ass card one week ago has burnt some folks out.

Bayley vs. Ruby Riott

ER: Riott looks like she has temporary tattoos. The ones on her legs. Rachel thinks she's been getting some sun. She thinks her arms and face look a little tan, but "not from tanner". Riott is kind of moving like a luchador in this match, lots of keen moments of her rolling into position. I like her rhythm here, kind of keeping an off tempo time to the match. She throws a nice off balance right elbow, has some nice stuff around a headlock, and makes some great faces throughout, and I loved the spot where she yanked Bayley into the turnbuckle with her knees. Bayley looked sloppy during her comeback, which is a shame. Riott had to occupy herself for too long on a crossbody, and Logan had to freeze while Bayley set up the Fuerza bump rana. That took a little steam out of the home stretch, but overall I enjoyed this.

The Miz vs. Seth Rollins

ER: Now here's a match I'm not excited for. And they both spend the first couple minutes of the match making their growl faces, and I like Miz kicking Rollins around the ring, and I start digging it once Miz kicks Rollins out of a springboard attempt. Miz picking apart Rollins is way more interesting than Rollins' comeback is going to be. I like how Rollins hit the mat when Miz kicked his knee out for the low DDT, but Rollins' comeback just doesn't do it for me. He has the safest suicide dive in wrestling. He doesn't even make a starter cut across the wrist, just kind of presses a knife to it and that's enough suicide for him. The problem with having him as a champ, is that you have to see him in title matches. But the problem with him chasing a champ, is you have to see him in title matches. But I did like him rolling through and coming up with Miz off a crossbody. That's some strength I wasn't expecting. Instead of crossfit he should start training for Backlund strength. His frog splash is nice, too, so this match has turned back to the good side for me. Everything about the figure 4 was really hammy, but I appreciated how jacked the crowd was once Rollins started reversing it. People getting amped for the figure 4 in 2018 is pretty cool. The enziguiri looked really good on the replay, and I liked the little reversal battle over the Skull Crushing Finale, I'm into this. Although I think immediately following a hot exchange just to have Miz slowly climb to the top rope was really stupid. That whole battle on the top rope felt really out of place, and was clearly just done to set up Rollins' annoying roll through superplex. The superplex takes a lot out of both men, but Miz reverses Rollins' falcon arrow attempt right after the superplex, completely negating a fucking SUPERPLEX. That move is still a big deal, and Rollins is doing his best to kill it. I can't believe I thought this guy was cool a few minutes ago. The roll up stuff is fine though it's too dancey and I wasn't over the superplex swing dance spot, and I still have to see big match Seth. Rollins really likes to run the spectrum of "not bad wrestler" to "guy I don't want to see again" in the span of 5 minutes.

Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax

ER: Bliss looks awesome in her new crown, Excellent crown/jacket choice. Bliss has been so good in this feud, and it's such a wild dynamic to have a large babyface against the heel who is the smallest person in the division. You'd think it would practically babyface Bliss, but she's been so mean that she's never felt sympathetic. Nia smooshes her with avalanches and Bliss starts coming back with some nasty stuff, kicking out Nia's knee, slamming her face into the mat, slapping her hard. I like Nia's use of the rolling senton, as it looks great when it hits, but it's useful for providing an opening for Bliss when it misses. I liked Bliss relentlessly going after headlocks, trying to run down Nia's gas tank, refusing to let go in the corner, jumping off the ropes into a headlock to put all her weight on Nia's neck. It doesn't do much as soon Bliss takes 4 biel throws and a couple avalanches. Nia is really good at creating openings, and Nia's bump to the floor is HUGE and the bump off the DDT on the ring steps was great too. Michael Cole actually points out a cool match story, with Nia being on the floor and out cold, Bliss can't win the title that way so needs to get her back in. All the stuff around the turnbuckle was good, Bliss fighting out and kicking her leg out, and Nia taking another big bump off of that. But Nia is good at catching Bliss mid-offense and smooshes her for good. And you know, even though Nia has won the title match and the rematch, I'm still not totally ready for this feud to be over. I'm gonna want Mickie/Nia with Alexa helping Mickie cheat. This needs to continue.

Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy

ER: I am not looking forward to Mr. Kennedy vs. Edge later on this show. But I'm enjoying this more than I expected. Hardy's big flying hip attack looked good off the apron, Orton flew into the front row  (in that careful way that Orton bumps into the barrier), and Jeff takes a big backdrop bump on the barrier. If they keep this to like 8 minutes I'll probably stay into this. Fans were into the Miz/Rollins figure 4, but don't share the love for Orton's chinlock, building to a Rusev Day chant. It did go on a bit long, but I liked Hardy fighting through it. Whisper in the Wind continues to look mostly terrible, but Orton does a decent job leaning into it. I've decided that naw, I can't get into this. Hardy always looks almost immediately disinterested. He still takes bumps that can look good, and he didn't look LAZY, which is a thing that can happen (he even connected on a couple stomach kicks, which is something he doesn't do when he's just working for the finish). He just doesn't have a lot of "new" to bring to the table. His matches are very formula, and it's a formula that we've all seen hundreds of times at this point. He has enough established stuff that you could work several twists involving those spots in a match, but it never happens that way. BUT, they kept this short, so that is a point in their favor.

I use the magic power of "staying behind live" to fast forward a whole segment filled with people coming out to not wrestle. I would have watched those people wrestling. Sadly now that there's no brand split, I won't ever get to see Tyler Breeze wrestling on a PPV again.

Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass

ER: Bryan is now the ultimate sympathetic babyface, as I just assume he's going to suffer brain trauma every match, making each match potentially his last. Everybody's match is potentially their last, but the odds feel much higher during Bryan matches now. Cass does not interest me very much as a wrestler, just as I imagine he does not interest a lot of people. I don't think I'm unique in not getting excited for Big Cass matches. But Bryan is a guy who knows how to work a monster, and makes Cass offense more interesting than it should be. The short arm clothesline portion was really fun, and I think the match didn't actually go long enough. It felt like Cass took 85% of the match, and then Bryan kicked him and tapped him. Felt too abrupt and it would have benefitted from another twist. Bryan at least made the finish look like something that would finish, with his hammerfists to the back of Cass' head looking nasty. The post match beating really works, as I think Cass left with more heat getting beat by Bryan and then kicking his ass. People probably would have turned on him as a character if Bryan lost the match, so now they actually view his character with disgust and I theoretically won't have to read whiny tweets where people complain about Big Cass "being shoved down our throats". Big Cass is not good ya'll.

Charlotte vs. Carmella

ER: I've really gotten into Carmella the last few months, she's really excelling as a character right now. She's not the best in ring, but the whole package has made her someone I look forward to. Charlotte is the opposite as she's not someone I look forward to, but has been a part of several matches I've really liked. I like Carmella for going to the headlock way too early in the match, and then going right back to it after a nice low superkick. It wasn't the right time in the match for two long headlock stretches, but she's awesome at rubbing it in, taunting the fans during the second one with stuff like "I could be here ALL DAY." That's some Buddy Landel with no kneepads level of awesome stall shit. Fans are getting noticeably restless as Carmella holds a LONGGGG surfboard, all of this is making people REALLY want to see Charlotte on offense. Carmella bumps an STO on her neck, and Charlotte does a really shitty Flair Strut. Her tongue is always out, it looks terrible. There's no wink to the Flair Strut, Charlotte, so take your bullshit attitude somewhere else. I liked Carmella wrapping Charlotte around the ringpost, and the Code of Silence might actually be the best submission in WWE. Feels much to have another hurt left knee in a title match spot on the show, but maybe they thought they had to keep knee injury spots strong by giving the knee injury its win back later in the show. In a vacuum the blown tire on a moonsault looked really great, an awesome sell by Charlotte, and I loved Carmella capitalizing and immediately going for the high leverage roll up. I liked that they went for something different in this match, even if some of it didn't quite work. It had a different feeling from the other matches on the show, and I liked that.

No DQ: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. AJ Styles

ER: I dig Nakamura stalling to start, running out of the ring to finish stretching and then rubbing his crotch a bunch. But I think they went to AJ kicking his ass a little too early. Styles was really making simple moves seem really damaging; that backbreaker looked really rib breaking, and Styles is awesome throwing him ribs first into the barricade. But usually I don't see heels getting their asses handed to them in No DQ matches, unless they REALLY deserve the beating for doing something terrible. This match is essentially being fought over a shot to the balls, which is egregious for sure, but doesn't seem like something to set up a No DQ match. I would have LOVED IT if it set up a "Winner Can Only Win With a Ball Shot" match like the Chris Adams/Great Kabuki superkick match. But Nak's comeback in this is really good with AJ bumping around like a lunatic, flying into and over the ring steps painfully, Nak dropping the huge guillotine knee on the apron, really digging in chokes with the boot, stuff that works a lot better now that he's a heel. His kicks are really laced in, that sidekick to the chest was huge and the short mocking kicks all have snap. Styles takes a GREAT backdrop bump and this match has really gotten great. It's No DQ which hasn't lead to dumb shit with weapons, it's just been guys beating ass with fists and kicks. Fans start a We Want Tables chant but they've gotten like 10 minutes of these two kicking each other's ass, why would we want that interrupted to set up one bump? It's way cooler to see Nak kick AJ's legs out so Styles lands appendix-first on the barricade. AJ keeps getting caught on his springboards, and Nakamura hits a big knee to the chest off the middle rope. A chair comes into play, which has been the least interesting part of the match, as Nak had just been beating his ass and Styles wasn't moving, he could have just continued kicking his ass instead of taking a minute to grab a chair. But you know what?? I'm wrong, because AJ just threw a fucking chair as hard as you can throw a chair at someone's knee. Nak ran in for knee, AJ bounced a chair off that knee, and the chair came flying right back into AJ's face, busting him open!! Hot damn. Getting hit in the face with a chair sends AJ into a rage and he locks in his great calf crusher on that knee, hits a sick flying forearm to the back of Nak's head, and then dumps him neck first over his knee. And they've worked straight for so much of the match, that Nakamura hitting an uppercut to the nuts to block a Styles Clash became a HUGE moment, as I was lulled into not even thinking about ball shots. And then we actually do get a snapshot of that "Winner Can Only Win With a Ball Shot" match!! As AJ uppercuts Nakamura in the balls, and soon they BOTH go for kicks to the balls at the same time, and neither can respond to the 10 count!! I mean when was the last time you saw two people splitting the uprights with kicks at the SAME TIME! These two went for broke on those ball kicks, and no human would be able to answer a 10 count after a kick like that. These two finally had a match that delivered, with the focus being on stiff shots and big bumps, really making it feel like a fight. If they had been wearing kneepads over jeans then it would have only seen better.

Braun Strowman/Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens/Sami Zayn

ER: Zayn has really done some of his best work in the fed during this feud. He's always been a really great opponent for Braun. But Lashley beating down Zayn goes on a bit too long. Lashley is coming off a little too calmly while tossing a smaller guy around, making him look like a heel. But Lashley takes a big painful bump off the apron, and I like Sami throwing knuckle punches down across Lashley's cheek. But this is just too much of a mauling to make it that interesting. Their Raw match was awesome, this practically made Owens and Zayn look sympathetic. It's always fun seeing Braun run around clotheslining people, but this beating went on too damn long with no real payoff. Braun just kept slamming Owens. He got a terrible reaction when he raised his hands after the beating. Fans just wanted him to stop. By the time he dragged Sami back into the ring there were like 4 people cheering for him to continue the beating. I'm not really sure who this match helped.

Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

ER: Joe comes out and immediately jumps Roman, and Roman takes two absolutely gross bumps through the announce tables, one bouncing him off his neck and the other sending limbs awkwardly into chairs. At least it's a heel taking a beating too far. Joe is smart to work a long cravate and chinlock, as the crowd has gotten quiet during long holds all night, and it would be too easy for him to otherwise get a babyface reaction. Joe works tough here, throwing real heavy kicks, fishhooking Roman, crossfacing him...but then it keeps going...and going...and Joe is basically holding an armlock for minutes on end to own the libs. Here I am, talking about how much I loved Carmella taking a long ass time with her holds, and an hour later I'm getting restless as Joe lies on Roman's arm for a few minutes of my Sunday. I think fans are actually chanting "beat the traffic" which I believe is a new one. That's brutal. Joe's chokes all look good, and I can dig long submissions, but this is really not the match the fans are interested in seeing. They don't want Roman to win, but they don't like the way Joe is winning. So the mood in the arena is really disdainful. I myself went into this not really caring who won, but hoping for one of those 8 minute Samoa Joe slugfests that he's been so good at during his WWE run. But this definitely isn't that. By the time we get Roman kind of easily winning with one spear, this had ground to an absolute dead halt. It's tough for two guys to have a match that doesn't satisfy anybody (though I guess this might have satisfied people who hate Roman and want their opinions justified), but this one probably did it.

ER: I enjoyed the first 2/3 of this show, and thought it was doing a good job of presenting some different match structures. These last two matches kind of blew the fun out of the evening, really coming off as beatings dealt by dead eyed joyless humanoids. It kind of bummed out the show, and the crowd was turning on it with frustration. This was a weird gritty joyless back half of a WWE show, like they were aiming for a Death Wish II vibe. At least they went for something different?



Blogger Yerfuneral said...

Greatest Royal Rumble was to much of an exhibition despite time take from the weekly shows to make it feel there was some importance than an putting over the host with fighting that it was.
Fastlane and Wrestlemania were so fun and hope this is a return to that after the blip of the GRR.

Bayley vs Ruby Riott

To digress at first. I am thinking NXT tries to get their performers to stick to a script to much. Ruby and Ember Moon thought were called up to early but have shown I shouldn't worry because their promo's have been so much better then either showed in NXT.
As far as the match. Bayley after a year is still not showing me whatever would make me agree with the hype I was running into while researching when I got back in to WWE. 3 or 4 times Bayley just plain messes up or her placement forces others to slow down or move into stuff. This isn't new.
I wish this was match was done with Logan. They really have taken some steps to grow her in recent matches and want to see more. Still think they messed up the ending of the Woman's Battle Royal having her eliminate Bayley and Sasha would have been shocking and then the double shock of Naomi would have been awesome.
I like what they are doing with Riott but Logan has shown she can be more than a lackey.

Miz vs Seth Rollins

Surprising been liking the new father Miz and separation from Miztourage (them trying to find their place on RAW has been great). Still not very hyped for the match though. They may have had multi-man matches but really this has been like Miz/Ambrose a feud that has gone to long. With Brock being such a part timer. IC belt should be so much more but same 3 or 4 guys been pretty much feuding over it the whole time I been back. Feels like that to me anyway.
I kind of like the physicality and could get behind the storytelling but in the end was a story read so many times I knew the ebb and flow which sucks when saw some wow here and there.

Bliss vs Jax

Yes, Bliss is maybe not the most competent when it comes to the wrestling skills compared to some of the others on the women roster but she plays her part so right. That is why she is awesome. God these bully promo's have been gold. Looking so forward to this.
Starts of so good with Bliss showing the smarts going right after Nia's ability to breath and trying to cut down the tree trunk of those legs with her speed before being caught.
It all continues the face expressions the taunts no shade of grey when it comes to Bliss. Love it.
God that whipping of Bliss over Nias head has to be up there for most brutal thing we will see tonight.
This match was great.

Westworld break so will have to watch the rest of Backlash later.

9:07 PM  
Blogger Yerfuneral said...

Orton vs Hardy

For some reason was looking forward to the supposed foreigner with the US Title. See Mahal with some new competition but they instantly switched the belt to a just returned Hardy who had some issues while out with the injury that makes no sense to me. Especially with his history with substances.
Unfortunately he is also facing someone who feels like he has been simply going through the motions for awhile now.
Sucks having these secondary titles with matches going in had no interest in.
Not liking multiple times this has gone outside. This is such a so called new feud all the outside stuff is overkill to me. They may have a long history I just don't know it since never been into Hardy solo acts other than the Matt 2.0 stuff back in the day.
Just noticed no VR cams so guess no highlight reel in a week or two unless they moved them to some new location.
Rusev Day chants guess some are feeling the kind of feel out period is going on to long like AJ/Shinsuke at WM34 or feel like they seen all this to many times before.
Ending feels out of nowhere since we didn't have finisher kick outs that I remember. I guess that is a plus.

Hey action figure makers. We need a non Asuka limited figure. I bought that horrible Monster Mash Up to show my support for Asuka. Her Pop is going to be a Target exclusive so know have no chance at that.

Elias love you but the Springsteen stuff was to obvious. Bon Jovi just got in hall of fame. They are more open for mocking. They got in before Priest, Maiden, and Willie Nelson? Such a shame.
Interesting way to get more people on the ppv with the rest of the skit and provide a bathroom intermission of sorts but you been hinting at a Roode heel turn and he DDTed Elias so unhappy for various reasons.

Bryan vs Cass

I think Wrestlemania kept referring to Daniel Bryan as Bryan Daniel. I never really saw much of his WWE run other than Nexus stuff along with some tag title stuff with Kane and never bothered to learn the refurbished Bryan Danielson name.
Cass' promos to set up this match has been on the silly scale and I don't mean cartoony between the comeback overshadow and the bully kid thing.
If someone is still having issues with the chest welts from GRR I sure don't seem to notice anything so his missing from recent Smackdown just adds to the bad silliness setting up this match.
I guess because of the women's match you have to change the story but surprising how devastating on offense Cass is being from beginning. Bryan though has been almost always presented as the underdog but he is such a veteran and this is the follow up to a record iron man stint it doesn't make sense to me and in the end Daniel Bryan barely does anything and gets the win with out even really a comeback. Don't get it maybe that skit ran to long.

Charlotte vs Carmella

Really loved how the title switch went down. Great intro of the Iiconics who I liked in NXT. Perfect continuation of Carmella's need for help building upon the Ellsworth period. So it really worked for me. Though really haven't seen much Carmella one on one action so this should be interesting.
Charolette getting a lot of offense and Carmella mocking and heeling it up in various ways though can't say I have ever heard a ref asking about give ups with a simple headlock it doesn't even look like a sleeper.
That extension of I guess a mule kick to get out of surfboard was pretty neat from Charlotte. Not positive but I think this is the first real Code of Silence I have seen. Known the move from her WWE Supercard but two flat cards don't do the move justice.
In the end I love how the woman are allowed to build some characterization in the matches. The taunts by Carmella during her various simple moves make it seem purposeful. I get why people dislike these women matches but dig this character stuff that is the problem with a lot of the men they just come across interchangeable for one another.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Yerfuneral said...

Nakamura vs Styles

It almost feels like they are following the Omega vs Okada script but without the internet wowing matches. Would have guessed Nakamura with a DQ win to move on to a 4th meeting but this is no DQ. How can a champ lose the match but not the belt in a no DQ match? I just don't think they will put the belt on Nakamura, yet.
GRR match was an improvement on Wrestlemania lets see if they continue to build towards that internet shattering match people expect in a match 4.
This is just a straight up fight. Some of the stuff Nakamura is pulling I don't understand why he doesn't do more. He should have multiple possible finishers like Styles. The however you spell his finisher move is one of my least favorite because he is overly waiting like Shawn Michaels and his superkick; just to silly.
This is what this feud needed. To many feuds go multimatches now a days but nothing builds to a level like this two have unleashed tonight. Things looked so stiff but no welts really showing. This was an excellent showcase I will take even with the no decision ending. Actually looking forward to next meet up.

Strowman/Lashley vs Owens/Zayn

I just realized neither of the tag belts are being defended and this is the only tag match. Must say impressed they gave a ladies match a chance on preshow. Interesting way they have chosen to balance mixing both shows into a shared ppv.
Still unhappy Strowman is being used as a tag guy unless it is team Little Big. Lashley didn't care for in his first run which I saw bit of since kept giving the WWE version of ECW a chance. Owens and Zayn minus their being stuck in the office vs worker angle I have liked.
Getting late because of my break to watch some other things with family. Weird how they treat Bludgeon Brothers putting away people so fast even veteran teams. Lashley and Strowman look ever more menacing pair so lenght didn't make sense. Lashley was given to much time. It felt like a showcase for him but if you want people to really care you need a build up on the weekly show rather than a ppv that less people will see.

Reigns vs Joe

Joe had a good performance in the ladder match at GRR but this feud has been hurt by the injury and the fact they are both on different shows so their is no heat to this but it is the main event. Feels to much like the continued booker push of Reigns despite his loss in two straight Universal Title matches; we'll see how it goes.
Are they trying to get people behind Reigns with some kind of sympathetic angle with the beatings he is take in these matches of late. The thing is it is the exact thing the crowd wants to see so it isn't helping the cause of getting them on his side.
CM Punk chants? That's a clue to break away from the wear down and make your opponent suffer, pick up things a bit, or at least taunt your opponent or the crowd. We get some of that later. I get the story wanting to put a hurting on the guy but do like outside stuff not submission hold after submission hold even though it makes sense when your finisher is a submission move so you weaken to make that move more effective as well. It isn't fun to watch though.
The one clutch turned into a pin was kind of cute not sure if that had been done before but the pacing was crap for this. I think the Reigns losing the big match needed to continue that is the way to bring some sympathy like Peyton Manning for the longest time and the playoffs.

Overall I liked most of the show with Bryan/Cass and the last two matches not working for me. Was interesting to see the multi-man matches whether they be tag or (insert #) ways so absent from the show. GRR and the shake up kind hurt the build up. Lack of even one title change is going to make it a negative for some out of the gate but that WWE Title match was so surprisingly good.

1:22 AM  

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