WWE Smackdown is presenting Backlash tonight, coming at us from Richmond, Virginia. The preshow kicks off at 7pm Eastern, with the main card starting at 8pm. We will have loose coverage of the preshow and full details of the main card.
The currently announced card is as follows:
- Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles for the WWE World Championship
- Alexa Bliss vs. Becky Lynch vs. Carmella vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Nikki Bella in a Six-Pack Elimination Challenge for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
- The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) to qualify for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Tournment Final
- Winner of Above Match vs. Heath Slater & Rhyno for the Inaugural WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship
- Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt
- The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Be sure to join in the fun here, and follow along on Twitter @RingRap for real-time thoughts and reactions during the show!
Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin (Kickoff Match)
Corbin and Crews had words during the kickoff show, so Daniel Bryan decided to put them in a match against each other. Works for me.
I have not been giving this match my full attention, but the crowd is getting behind Apollo Crews during a stretch of offense from Corbin. Baron Corbin picked up the win with an End of Days.
Winner: Baron Corbin
A good opening match for these two, and the crowd got behind Crews solidly.
The show opens with a scrolling text memorial of the September 11th attacks.
A video package airs hyping the matches on the card, and then we go into the arena, with Shane McMahon starting things off. Well then. Daniel Bryan follows him out next. Shane welcomes us to Backlash, and that’s nice. He talks about the Smackdown stars getting opportunity, and Team Blue rah rah rah. Bryan talks about the title defenses scheduled, as well as the first ever Smackdown Tag Team Champions and Smackdown Women’s Champion, which will be the first match of the night.
Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Bella in a Six Pack Elimination Match for the WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship
All hell breaks loose pretty quick, leaving Becky Lynch and Naomi alone in the ring. Lynch hits a pair of arm drags. Naomi counters a snap mare and hits flurry kicks, but Lynch sends her over the top rope.
Carmella attacks Lynch and hits a top rope head scissors for a near fall. Nikki Bella walks in and gets a minor pop for confronting Carmella, but Natalya and Bliss attack both cutting that off. Nattie sends Carmella into the barricade, Bliss connects with her knees/backflip knees to Bella. Bella hits Bliss with a rebound enzuigiri for two. Bliss hits a modified sunset flip for two. Natalya seizes the opportunity, Lynch cuts her off and Bliss too. Flying forearm to Bliss, but Nattie hits her with a German. Naomi hits a head scissors, and a full nelson bomb into Daniel Bryan’s old Cattle Mutilation. No falls yet, but lots of great action.
Carmella hits Nikki Bella with a face buster and goes for her finisher, but Bella counters with an Alabama Slamma for 2.75. Tower of Doom with Carmella, Bella, and Natalya hitting a powerbomb on the other two. Bliss goes for a pin on Nattie, tosses her out, Bella, tosses her out, then Carmella, who kicks out. Bliss gets frustrated and flips out.
Lynch comes in and mixes it up with Bliss, who hits a sunset flip powerbomb for a very near fall. Carmella in, she kicks Bliss out of the ring, and Bella sends Carmella out after her. All five ladies are at ringside, and Bella runs the ropes, but Carmella wisely cuts Bella off, then tosses her out. Naomi sneaks in, tosses Carmella out, and connects with a springboard cross body to the ladies at ringside.
Bliss lays into Nattie with punches from the second rope. Natalya sets her up for a running power bomb. Naomi climbs up top with a top rope neck breaker/power bomb. She pins Alexa, and we have our first elimination.
Eliminated: Alexa Bliss via pinfall by Naomi
Naomi and Natalya do something a little clunky on the ropes. Naomi goes for another springboard and Nikki Bella goes for the cover, but Natalya tosses her away and locks in the Sharpshooter on Naomi. Naomi taps out.
Eliminated: Naomi via submission by Natalya
Carmella and Natalya corner Nikki Bella, but Nattie turns on Carmella right away. Bella takes out Nattie, sets her up and drops her with her new finisher.
Eliminated: Natalya via pinfall by Nikki Bella
Carmella immediately rolls up Nikki Bella and gets the pin.
Eliminated: Nikki Bella via pinfall by Carmella
Bella walks up to Carmella and slaps the taste out of her mouth. It’s Lynch and Carmella left. Carmella lays into Lynch with slams and kicks. The fans are solidly behind Becky Lynch. Carmella slams Lynch face first into the mat. Lynch retaliates with a trio of Becks-plex. Carmella lays into her with a kick to the chest. She starts kicking Lynch on the ground, but Lynch counters out of nowhere and locks in a Disarm-her. Carmella taps out.
Winner: Becky Lynch to become the first WWE Smackdown Women’s Champion
This was an awesome match, from start to finish. All six ladies busted their asses in the ring and for the first time since the brand split, all seemed to really feel comfortable with their characters and styles. Smackdown has an awesome Women’s Division, and tonight was proof.
After the replay, Charly Caruso asks her to speak on becoming the first Smackdown Women’s Champ. She thanks the fans and says they’ve believed in her every step of the way. It’s because of each of the fans cheering her, each poster, every time they sing her song. She’s not sure how to hold the belt, but she makes a Rocky joke and calls herself “Becky Balboa.” She thanks the fans.
A very sincere and well-said promo. Lynch is extremely likable and will make an amazing champion.
The Miz knocks on Jagger Eaton’s door backstage. He’s a kid from Nickelodeon or something. He’s upset that Eaton is in his locker room. He wants to make it up to him and invites him onto his show “unless we can get John Cena instead.” Miz gets pissed off and Eaton closes the door in his face.
Backstage, Bray Wyatt attacks Randy Orton, slamming his let into a door repeatedly. A referee breaks it up, and Orton is clutching his leg. Well, that’s that.
The Usos walk out to the ring with a completely different look – no face paint, black pants, hoodies, and swagger to them. They are not interested in pandering to the crowd, and it suits them well.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs. The Hype Bros (Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley) to qualify for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Finals
Mojo starts it out with Jey. Mojo hits a back body drop and Uso recovers outside the ring. Mojo hits an arm drag and tags in Zack Ryder. Ryder gets cornered and Jimmy tags in. Ryder hits a face buster and goes for a Broski Boot, but The Usos bail out of the ring. Ryder and Rawley take it outside and keep control.
Jimmy Uso tags out to Jey, who tosses Ryder out of the ring. They keep control and Jimmy tags in, dropping a knee across Ryder’s throat. Jey tags in, and hits a running hip attack to Ryder in their corner. Ryder counters with a neckbreaker out of nowhere. Jimmy tags in and cuts Mojo off. Ryder fights out of the corner, and makes the tag to Rawley, who takes Jey Uso out with a series of shoulder blocks. Splash in the corner, hell let’s make it two. Jimmy runs in, gets tossed over the top. Mojo catches Jey and hits a military press. He sets up Jey for the Hype Ryder, but Jimmy holds the leg. Jey and Zack trade elbows in the corner. Ryder connects with a top rope hurricarana, Jimmy breaks the pin. Ryder tosses Jimmy out over the top, but Mojo misses Jimmy outside. Ryder hits a Broski Boot to Jimmy, Jey connects with a Chop Block, and they attack the knees. Jimmy locks in a half-crab of sorts and Zack Ryder taps out.
Winner: The Usos to Advance to the Finals of the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship Tournament.
A predictable finish. I like heel Usos. They have gone all in on the gimmick and look different, act different, wrestle different – the whole package. It’s a refreshing change of pace for them, and they’re making it work.
Renee Young interviews Heath Slater and Rhyno backstage. He says he feels like a hundred thousand bucks. He says nothing can stop a Rhyno, and then he walks away. As Rhyno starts to speak, Slater interrupts him and talks about some dip that his wife made him that hasn’t been agreeing with him. Rhyno tells him they’re still on the air, live, and Slater plays it off like he was on Swerved. Heath tries to get hyped up but almost craps himself and says he’s gotta go. Rhyno turns to Renee Young, who also, says she has to go. Rhyno looks confused.
A video hypes up the next match.
The Miz (c) (w/ Maryse) vs. Dolph Ziggler for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler comes out first, but backstage The Miz is arguing with Daniel Bryan. He wants to renegotiate his contract, since Smackdown needs him. Bryan looks pissed. Miz says when he retains his title, negotiations will get a bit tougher. He wants Bryan to watch him while he does what Bryan can’t do anymore.
Miz finally comes out, and we have our match. Ziggler takes Miz down early on. He goes for a sleeper almost immediately, and Miz bails out of the ring. Back in the ring, Ziggler bridges a pin attempt. He goes for a cradle pin attempt. Ziggler is using moves we haven’t seen from him, maybe ever. Miz nails him with a fist to the face. Bodyslam, and Miz stands over Ziggler, who recovers and hits a pair of dropkicks. Miz sends him into the ropes and lays into him with punches. Miz locks in a bow and arrow-like stretch on Ziggler.
Miz sends Ziggler out of the ring, and keeps him out. Ziggler sells a shoulder injury. Miz takes the fight outside, then rolls him in for a near fall. Ziggler drives Miz into the corner, but misses a dive, slamming his head on the turnbuckle. Miz goes for a pin, gets two. He takes his time, and steals one of Daniel Bryan’s moves, using an inverted surfboard. Miz hits a trio of corner dropkicks. He’s taunting Daniel Bryan more than Ziggler at this point, and hits his corner clothesline. Miz goes up top. Ziggler catches Miz with a dropkick.
Ziggler picks up steam, hits a splash, a neckbreaker and a spine buster, followed up with an elbow for two. Miz misses a shoulder in the corner, but still hits a slingshot powerbomb for a near fall. Miz blocks Ziggler’s kick and starts working the leg. Ziggler kicks out the shoulder with his good leg and hits a Fameasser for two. Miz counters a Zig Zag, but Ziggler locks in a sleeper.
Ziggler hits a DDT for a near fall. Ziggler can barely stand up. Miz counters a Superkick, hits a face buster, and locks in the Figure Four. Ziggler breaks it on the ropes, but barely. Miz goes right back at the leg again, and then connects with a running kick to the face. Ziggler pushes him off and hits a desperation Superkick, but Miz gets his foot on the ropes at 2 and a half.
Miz bails out of the ring and crawls up the ramp. Ziggler follows him out and tries to drag him back in. He picks Miz up and puts him back in the ring, and Maryse causes a brief distraction. Miz goes for a roll-up, Ziggler reverses it, and Maryse sprays something in Ziggler’s face while the referee was distracted. Miz connects with Skull Crushing Finale, and puts Ziggler away.
Winner: The Miz to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
As I said on Twitter, the brand split has been the best thing to happen to The Miz since he headlined Wrestlemania. And it’s true – not only is his character shining outside the ring, but he’s getting opportunities to wrestle great matches like this one. Of course, he had an awesome partner to dance with, as Dolph Ziggler never phones it in. A great match with some great back and forth action. Miz needed to retain, and Ziggler needed to lose, if both are to grow as characters.
Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton
I stepped away for a moment to find Bray Wyatt in the ring. He tries to get the referee to ring the bell. A stage hand passes a note to the ring announcer, who says due to injury, Randy Orton cannot compete, and that Bray Wyatt insists on a 10 count to certify the win via forfeit.
Winner: Bray Wyatt via forfeit
The announcer continues, saying that Wyatt will compete in a no holds barred match against “this man.”
And then Kane’s music hits.
Kane vs. Bray Wyatt in a No Holds Barred Match
Kane unloads on Wyatt immediately, and it’s not long before they brawl outside. Kane maintains control as he tosses Wyatt over the timekeeper’s area. He rips up one of the announcers tables. Wyatt counters by hitting Kane with the bell.
Back in the ring, Wyatt gets control. Wyatt bails out of the ring to recoup, and uses a steel chair to take out Kane’s leg. He hits a running splash in the corner, then swings the chair at Kane’s back. He keeps on the attack, but Kane fights back, hitting a DDT onto the chair. Kane sets Wyatt up for a choke slam, Wyatt fights free, and low bridges Kane to the outside, but Kane lands and goes for a choke slam. Wyatt rakes the eyes and fires back with a clothesline. He sets Kane up on the table, poses like Randy Orton, and hits a running senton onto Kane, crashing through the table.
Wyatt laughs, selling the impact of the move. He rolls Kane back into the corner, and sets him up for Sister Abigail. Kane counters with a choke slam, Wyatt kicks out. Bray decides to choke slam Kane onto the chair instead, and Kane also kicks out.
And then, from the ramp, Randy Orton limps out to the ring in full gear. His leg is wrapped, and he’s taking his time, but it’s a distraction. Kane sits up, Orton slithers into the ring and hits an RKO out of nowhere, then hobbles back up the ramp as Kane hits a second choke slam for the win.
A slow, methodical match helped by the stipulation. You had to wonder if Orton might show up with that sort of stip – and he did – but he did more than I was expecting too.
AJ Styles walks backstage. He comes across two unnamed jobbers. Styles says he knows what it’s like to be them, sleeping in their car, hitting up indy shows on weekends. He says they know his story, and they’re destined for failure, but this is going to be a great moment in their careers, because they met the face that runs this place on the night he became WWE World Champion. AJ smirks and walks away.
The Usos (Jimmy & Jey) vs. Rhyno & Heath Slater for the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championships
Don’t forget, Slater has a Smackdown contract on the line too. Slater and Jimmy start it off. Slater is on fire, and he keeps Jimmy in check. Jey tags in and is taken down immediately. Tag to Rhyno, and he and Slater hit a pair of elbows. Rhyno hits a pair of shoulder blocks, Jey counters an arm drag, but Rhyno maintains control and tags in Slater.
Jey nails Slater in the face, but Slater fights out of the corner, until he’s nailed in the gut. Jimmy and Jey hit a suplex on Slater into the steel post, then nail him with a superkick, all outside the ring. Back in the ring, Slater tries to fight out of Jey’s headlock. He hits a pair of boots in the corner, and crawls towards Rhyno. Jimmy Uso tags in first, and launches him into the turnbuckle. Jey hits a belly to back suplex for two. They keep control of Slater, tagging in and out. Slater and Jey collide mid-ring with a splash each. Slater makes the hot tag to Rhyno, who unleashes on the legal Jimmy Uso. He hits a shoulder in the corner, and counters with a belly to belly suplex. Rhyno readies up for the Gore, but Jimmy sidesteps, sending Rhyno head first into the corner. Slater tags in and ducks a clothesline from both Usos, hitting a neckbreaker on each. DDT to Jimmy, but he’s pulled off by Jey. Jimmy hits a superkick, Rhyno Gores him out of nowhere, and Slater reaches over for the cover and the win.
Winners: Rhyno and Heath Slater to become the WWE Smackdown Tag Team Champions
Honestly, I would not have predicted this in my wildest dreams, but I love it. It’s a great happy ending to Slater’s chase for a contract, it makes Rhyno even more relevant, and it gives The Usos fuel for the fire.
After the match, Charly Caruso asks both men about becoming the first Smackdown Tag Champs. Slater lets out a yell of excitement and says when he wasn’t drafted there had to have been a mistake, but he thanks Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon for the chance, and Rhyno. He says it’s one of the greatest moments of his life, aside from a couple of his kids being born. “Yo Buellah, we’re getting a double wide baby!”
And then, it’s ruined by another Miz/Ziggler KFC commercial.
AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose is up next, and a video hypes it up.
Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles for the WWE World Championship
After full ring intros, both men lock up. AJ hits a snapmare early, and a quick roll-up for a 1-count. Styles lays into Ambrose with kicks to the back. Ambrose counters with a sunset flip, but AJ forearms him in the face and talks trash. Ambrose hits a kick to the throat, and hits a nice back body drop. Styles bails out of the ring to recover, and Ambrose runs the ropes for a dive, but AJ slides in the ring and hits a drop toe hold throat-first into the ropes. Very smooth.
Styles continues to work on Ambrose’s throat, dropping him across the ropes. He focuses on the neck too. He catches Ambrose with a gorgeous drop kick. AJ corners Ambrose, and connects with a pair of rights. Dueling chants from the fans. AJ hits a leaping forearm for two. Ambrose sells the nose being dislocated. AJ hits a set of knees, but Ambrose counters and drops AJ into the corner with a set of stomps. He misses a shoulder in the corner, slamming into the ring post.
Ambrose starts firing back with headbutts and fists. AJ fires back with forearms of his own. He misses a flying forearm and Ambrose sets him up on the top turnbuckle. Ambrose on the top rope, he manages to suplex AJ, flipping him over face first to the mat. It was a tough looking spot but they pulled it off.
Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, Styles counters. Ambrose picks up the pace, hitting a nice clothesline. He catches Styles mid-air and hits a swinging back breaker for two. Ambrose heads to the apron and heads up top, begging AJ to get up. AJ rolls out of the ring instead, so Ambrose leaps onto him with a flying elbow to the floor.
Back in the ring, Ambrose hits a wheelbarrow face buster for a near fall. He goes up top, and leaps over AJ, who tried to counter. AJ rolls through for a Calf Crusher, and the two counter back and forth. AJ wins the exchange with a suplex into the turnbuckles. AJ goes for the Phenominal Forearm, Dean ducks. They have a reversal exchange, and AJ drops a knee on the back of Ambrose’s leg. AJ zeroes in on the leg, and starts laying in some kicks.
AJ wrenches the leg in the middle of the ring. Ambrose rolls AJ back and hits him in the face with his good leg, over and over. He wobbles to his feet, and goes for a suplex, but AJ rolls out of it right into a Calf Crusher. Ambrose crawls to the ropes and makes it. AJ brings him back into the middle of the ring and locks it in again. Ambrose counters by slamming AJ’s head into the mat repeatedly. Very clever.
AJ sets Ambrose up for a Styles Clash, but Ambrose clings to the ropes. AJ counters with an enzuigiri, and joins Ambrose on the apron. He looks like he’s going to do a Styles Clash on the apron, but Ambrose counters and catapults AJ into the ring post, and he tumbles right to the floor.
Ambrose sends Styles into the barricade, then rolls him back into the ring to hit a bulldog out of the corner. He rolls Styles up in a cradle for two. AJ hits a flurry of chops, and does a fireman’s carry into a neckbreaker for two. Ambrose counters another Styles Clash attempt. Styles gets Ambrose up in a back breaker position and swings it into a sitout bomb for two. He dumps Ambrose to the mat and says “Let’s see if he gets up from this one.” He hits an awesome springboard 450 for two.
Ambrose counters AJ with a neckbreaker. Ambrose unloads with punches and knees to a mixed reaction from the crowd. He hits a low dropkick, sending Styles to the floor. He flies through the ropes, sending Styles over the announcers’ table. Ambrose stands on top of the table, then throws AJ back over it again before tossing AJ over the barricade. Ambrose rolls back into the ring and then goes back out. He climbs onto the table again and runs across, diving over the barricade onto Styles.
Ambrose tosses AJ back over the barricade and into the ring as the crowd finally wakes up. AJ counters with a Pele Kick, and Ambrose hits a rebound clothesline on Styles. Styles pushes Ambrose into the referee, then hits Ambrose with a low blow while the referee has his back turned. He nails Ambrose with a Styles Clash, rolls him over, and gets the pin.
Winner: AJ Styles to become the new WWE World Champion
This match had a slow build and the crowd wasn’t burning the place down until the end. Not that they weren’t into the match, but they may have been burned out by some of the excitement of the other matches.
That said, Styles brought the best out in Ambrose. Ambrose has had a rocky ride as the champ, but I think AJ is certainly up to the challenge. I like the switch and I would like to see AJ roll with the title long term – at least through the new year and hopefully until Wrestlemania.
As far as the rest of the show goes? Well, for starters, it was the pay-per-view length that we all know and love – 2 hours and 40 minutes, plus the preshow. That’s the sweet spot, in my opinion. And they hit it.
The women had an awesome match that exceeded my expectations – not so much in workrate but in booking. The tag tournament had a surprise happy ending. The Miz had one of the best matches he’s had in years. I have almost nothing to complain about.
I would recommend this pay-per-view to anyone that hasn’t seen it yet. It’s newsworthy on a number of levels and all the matches delivered.
What did you think? Check out our reader polls and let us know, or drop us a comment below! Thanks for reading, folks!