Geektified's WWE Backlash 5.22.17
By Anton Ware
-WWE Backlash is LIVE from Chicago, Illinois.
-JBL, Tom Phillips, and Bryon Saxton are your hosts for this evening.
-Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler: This came about as Ziggler talked about his accomplishments and grievances when Nakamura came out to interrupt. Tired of hearing Nakamura’s insults, Ziggler tried to attack Nakamura, but The King of Strong Style saved himself in the nick of time. The put downs and attempted attacks would go on for weeks until Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon booked this match to resolve their differences once and for all. This was Nakamura’s debut match on the main roster. A great choice for an opener as Nakamura was billed as the main attraction for this PPV. The match itself was a fine contest as Ziggler carried the majority of the match and the crowd was steadily behind Smackdown’s newest sensation. We had chain wrestling to start with Dolph taking control with a neckbreaker and sleeper hold. Nakamura gained control with his patented knee strikes only for Ziggler to regroup with his Jumping DDT and Fameasser. He even countered a back body drop into a Superkick and connected with the Zig Zag, but it wasn’t enough to keep The King Of Strong Style down. In the end, it was Nakamura who would score with the Kinshasa knee strike for the win!
-Smackdown Tag Team Title Match: The Usos vs. Breezango: On the April 25th edition of Smackdown, Breezango won the Beat The Clock challenge against The Ascension to earn a shot at the Tag Team Champions. In the weeks that followed, The Usos downplayed Breezango and their chances to dethrone the twins. The match was then set for this show. Going into this match, many people didn’t know what to expect due to Breezango recently turning face and adopting a comedy aspect to their characters (in reference to their Fashion Files skits from recent episodes of Smackdown). This match exceeded everyone’s expectations by not only throwing in comedy, but delivering thrilling action towards the end. Tyler Breeze came out incognito as a janitor and with his trusted mop in hand and used the household item as a clever line of defense against the twins. Later in the match, Breeze appeared as an elderly woman with a cane, wig, and dress as he continued to play mind games with the twins. The Usos were tired of Breeze’s antics and took off the attire only to throw it at JBL (much to the delight of the crowd). From there, the action picked up as Breeze hit an Unprettier on Jimmy (an ode to fellow Canadian Christian) and Fandango hitting a flip dive on the outside. The ending saw Fandango going for the Top Rope Legdrop, but Jimmy caught him with a superkick for the pin and win! Definitely the show stealer of the night.
-Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn: This match is a result of Zayn costing Corbin a US Title shot and interfering in a beatdown on AJ Styles with Kevin Owens. Corbin retaliated by attacking Zayn on an episode of Talking Smack while assaulting an official in the process which resulted in a one-week suspension. After he returned from suspension, Corbin and Zayn found themselves against each other in tag matches when Zayn finally decided he wanted Corbin in a one-on-one match, which was granted. This was a simple contest as it was Corbin’s ground attack style vs. Zayn’s aerial abilities. Corbin kept Zayn at bay with a Spinebuster, Backbreaker and Deep Six slam, but Zayn showed off his fight and expertise with a moonsault off the barricade and Blue Thunder Bomb. In the end, it was Zayn who scored the win with a Helluva Kick to get his momentum back on track.
-Naomi, Charlotte and Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Tamina and Carmella: As part of the Superstar Shakeup, Charlotte became the newest member of the Smackdown Women’s Division. She immediately made her presence felt as she requested a title shot against Naomi. She won a non-title match against the champion that lead to a title match, but Natalya, Carmella and Tamina (the other new Smackdown recruit) didn’t take too kindly to The Queen getting a title opportunity so quickly. During the actual title match between the champion and challenger, Natalya, Carmella and Tamina (now named The Welcoming Committee) attacked both competitors leading to a no-contest. More attacks would follow on the two superstars until Becky Lynch evened the odds due to her being attacked from dismissing The Welcoming Committee’s offer to join them. A match was set to settle the score between the factions. This was your basic women’s tag match. The Welcoming Committee grounded Charlotte early on until she made the tag to Naomi. She came in blazing with a cross body and multiple kicks to Carmella. Natalya and company wouldn’t let that last long as they grounded Naomi as well. Naomi tagged in Becky Lynch and the Lass Kicker came in with guns blazing on TWC which lead to all out mayhem as everyone would get involved at the same time. The ending saw Natalya get the win with a sharpshooter on Lynch.
-United States Title Match: Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles: Smackdown General Manager Daniel Bryan decided that Backlash needed a US Title match and made a triple threat match between AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, and Sami Zayn for the #1 contendership which saw Styles come out on top. At the Smackdown following the Raw exclusive Payback PPV, new Smackdown star Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho to win his second United States Title. With Chris Jericho out of the way, Owens finally set his sights on Styles which leads us to this championship bout. A damn fine matchup as both men capitalized on big-time maneuvers than anything else. Highlights included both stars trading over-the-knee neckbreakers, Owens’ Flip-Out Suplex and Styles snap suplexing Owens on the apron. A turning point in the match was Styles teasing a Styles Clash off the apron, but Owens managed to escape and injured Styles’ knee with a Cannonball and single leg Boston Crab. Styles recovered and attempted a Styles Clash (this time on the announce table) only for Owens to trap Styles in the table to get him counted out! Owens retained the US Championship.
-Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan: This is a rematch from an earlier edition of Smackdown where Rowan defeated Harper in a singles match, but requested another one due to wanting to punish Harper for leaving the Wyatt family. A short, big man matchup. Rowan used his strength and impressive agility to wear Harper down, but the Backwoods Brawler overcame his former partner with suicide dives, superkicks, and a forearm smash to get the pin and win.
-WWE Title Match: Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal: On the April 18th episode of SmackDown, Jinder Mahal (with the help of his new henchmen, Sunil and Samir Singh) defeated Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, and Sami Zayn in a six-pack challenge to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship. One week later, Mahal stole the WWE Title from Orton after the champion had a successful match against Erick Rowan. Mahal’s antics wouldn't stop there as he interfered and cost Orton in the House of Horrors match against Bray Wyatt at Payback. On the next edition of Smackdown, Mahal had his picture taken with the WWE Title, but Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon quickly shut down the photoshoot and took the title from Mahal and gave it back to its rightful owner. Afterwards, Mahal claimed that he would “regain” his championship and go back to India where a statue of himself would be made in this honor. This match wasn’t anything special, but it picked up around the last five minutes of the contest. Before the match started, Orton attacked Mahal and beat him down with strikes and shots on the announce table. Orton rolled Mahal back in the ring and the referee asked Mahal if he wanted to continue before ringing the bell. This was your usual wrestling match until Orton hit Mahal with an RKO only for the Singh Brothers to pull Mahal out of the ring in order to save the match. Frustrated, Orton attacked both brothers, but the distraction allowed Mahal to hit Orton with the Cobra Clutch Slam for the pin and win!! NEW champion!! The fans are NOT happy. Mahal celebrates as we…
-Final Thoughts: This was a fun showcase for the blue brand. The highlights were the Tag and US Title matches and the crowning of a new WWE Champion. The landscape on Smackdown has drastically changed due to Jinder Mahal being the top star. Ever since hiring Sunil and Samir Singh as his henchmen, he’s found new life and success as a superstar and with WWE’s top prize around his waist, there’s no telling how long his dominance will continue in the land of opportunity. Mahal’s success is a prime example of what Smackdown is all about: giving stars who wouldn’t get a second look elsewhere a chance at success and notoriety. All eyes will be glued on this week’s Smackdown to see what will transpire between Mahal and the rest of the Smackdown locker room. Mahal was the hunter, now he is the hunted and it’ll be interesting to see who steps up to the plate. For now, all hail the Mahārāja (great king in Sanskrit) of Smackdown!
-Personal Enjoyment: The tag title match. A pleasant surprise that was fun to watch. Tyler Breeze and Fandango’s tenure in WWE has been less than stellar, but they finally found their groove with this pairing. They’ve won many fans over with their Fashion Files segments and overall weirdness (if you’ve followed Fandango before he took on the dance character, you know what I’m talking about) If they can keep this up, they’ll be holding gold in no time. Also major applause for WWE with making history with Mahal being the first Indian to become WWE Champion. The company has been progressing quite steadily over the past few years and this was another example. Last year we had two women main event a PPV in the most barbaric match WWE has to offer and now we have Jinder Mahal trailblazing for his people and culture by becoming champion. I’ve always said that “representation matters” so it’s always a beautiful sight to see a person of color hold the most precious and sought-after title in all of wrestling in a company and profession known to put white males at the forefront. I only hope this move is a sign of what's to come when it comes to more variety and creative experimentation in WWE.
-What did you think of the show Geektified family? Was the show hit or miss? Let me know in the comments section. Thanks for reading!