WWE Backlash is live at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, IL tonight, and we will have live coverage of the show, which airs live on pay-per-view and the WWE Network starting at 8pm. We will have limited coverage of the Kickoff Show, beginning at 7:00pm, and full coverage of the main card.
The current lineup is as follows:
- WWE Champion Randy Orton vs. Jinder Mahal
- SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos vs. Breezango
- United States Champion Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler
- SmackDown Women’s Champion Naomi, Charlotte Flair & Becky Lynch vs. Natalya, Carmella & Tamina (Six-Woman Tag Team Match)
- Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin
- Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English (Kickoff Match)
- Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
Be sure to tune in here and follow along on Twitter @RingRap!
We go ringside as Aiden English sings his own entrance, saying he’s from Chicago and couldn’t be happier he left. He calls himself the Drama King and “the greatest thing this trash town will ever see.” He holds an impressively long note. He decides to give the fans an encore, but Tye Dillinger’s entrance cuts him off
Aiden English vs Tye Dillinger (Kickoff Show)
The Action: Chicago is vocal tonight. They respond well to Dillinger’s “10” chant, and boo uproariously at English. English grabs Dillinger’s hair to pull him into a headlock. Dillinger counters with his own headlock throw and a cartwheel for a “10” chant. English talks trash from the top turnbuckle. From the apron, he yanks Dillinger into the ropes while the ref is talking to Dillinger. He hits a neckbreaker and follows up with some stomps. He maintains control when we go to break.
Out of the brief break, English maintains control. Dillinger fights free of a chinlock with a roll-up. He builds momentum with an atomic drop and some chops. Dillinger unleashes a flurry of offense. He hits 10 punches from the top turnbuckle, and drops his kneepad, but English bails out. Dillinger rolls him back in, English takes advantage and catches Dillinger on the ropes. Dillinger misses a frogsplash, English counters with a full nelson slam for two.
English heads up top for a senton, but rolls through Tye counters and hits a Tye Breaker for the sudden win.
The Winner: Tye Dillinger
These two had some good chemistry together, but more importantly, they gave the crowd a kickoff match they got excited for. I think Dillinger has a lot of promise on the main roster, but let’s not downplay Aiden English here, who really stepped up and put on a performance that will hopefully open up some eyes backstage
WWE Backlash Main Show
Surprisingly, we’re opening up with Ziggler vs. Nakamura. Ziggler comes out first, of course. Huge Nakamura chants after Ziggler’s music ends. They milk the chants before turning off the lights. Naturally, the arena sings along with Nakamura’s music. Ziggler sits on the announcer’s table, looking at a fake watch as the entrance continues.
Dolph Ziggler vs Shinsuke Nakamura
The Action: The match has a big feel to it, despite there being no title on the line. The two take their time before locking up. Ziggler goes for the legs and Nakamura locks in a headlock. The two reverse each other. Ziggler ducks a kick to the face and the two square of again. Ziggler slaps Nakamura in the corner. Nakamura hits a pair of kicks in return. Ziggler locks in a wrist lock. Nakamura taunts Ziggler and hits a knee to the gut followed by a knee drop. He pins Ziggler’s face against the turnbuckle and gyrates.
The two head to the floor. Nakamura attacks him and rolls him in quickly. Ziggler kicks Nakamura as he climbs back in and hits a neckbreaker. He locks in a sleeper. Ziggler with a dropkick for two. He hits a leaping elbow for two. Ziggler talks trash. Nakamura counters an Irish Whip with a knee and a spin kick. Both men are laid out. Ziggler feeds to Nakamura’s offense. He hits a running knee in the corner and sets Ziggler up across the top rope, hitting a running knee for two. Nakamura goes for a triangle choke, Ziggler breaks it on the ropes.
Ziggler hits a huge DDT for a near fall. He hits a Fameasser for two. He sets up Nakamura for a superkick. Nakamura counters it, but Ziggler hits a Zig Zag. Nakamura kicks out. Nakamura counters a piledriver attempt and hits a set of kicks and knees. Ziggler flips out of an Exploder and kicks Nakamura in the back of the head. He covers Nak for two. Ziggler hits elbows to the back of the head. He goes for kicks too, but Nakamura catches the boot. Ziggler spits in his face. Nakamura gets pissed. He hits kicks and more knees, this time to the ribs. Ziggler takes refuge in the ropes, and the referee pulls Nakamura off of him. Nak kicks Ziggler in the head and hits a running knee on the apron. He amps up and goes up to the second turnbuckle. He misses a leaping knee but hits an exploder. He sets up for the Kinshasa knee and it connects. Nakamura wins.
The Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura
If you’re not going to be in the main event, you want to be in the opening bout. This was certainly the case here, and it was best to get Shinsuke out there early on, otherwise there was a chance the fans would be chanting for him all night. All that aside, this was a good match with good pacing. Ziggler was a great first opponent for Nakamura. He sold Nakamura’s offense better than just about anyone could. Ziggler looked good in defeat too. Overall, this was a good debut for Nakamura, who can be fast-tracked to the title if necessary.
Leading into the next match, we get another Fashion Files segment. Well, actually it was just a replay of last week’s Fashion Files.
Breezango (Tyler Breeze & Fandango) vs. The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) (c) for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
The Action: Breeze comes out to the ring decked out in his custodian outfit from Tuesday, mop and everything. He’s mopping the floor as Fandango dances. The Usos come out with a normal entrance.
Jimmy and Fandango start it out. Fandango hits a spinning head scissors early on. He tags in Breeze, who brings in the mop. He mops the floor in front of Jimmy, then slyly steps out of the way of a splash, then trips Jimmy with the mop. Jimmy runs at him and he sticks the mop in his face. Jey Uso tags in, takes Breeze out and breaks the mop to huge boos. Jey goes up top for a splash, Breeze rolls away, so he goes to the other corner, and Breeze rolls that way. Repeat this two more times. The audience is eating it up. Jey goes in and Breeze hits a surprise kick for two.
Fandango tags in as Jey knocks Breeze off the ropes. Jimmy tag in, and he lays into Fandango with chops. Fandango reverses a sunset flip attempt with a leg drop. Breeze climbs up onto the apron in a completely different outfit. He’s dressed like an old lady, dress, wig, cane and all. He tags in as a “Let’s go Grandma” chant breaks out. Breeze “flashes” Uso and hits a dropkick. He does a Bronco Buster in the corner. Jey hits a dropkick that knocks the wig and glasses right off of him. Jimmy tags in and hits a running hip check. Jimmy throws the dress, and it hits JBL in the face. Hilarious.
Both sides make tags. Jimmy cuts Fandango off with a punch, but Fandango picks up the pace. He hits a nice tornado DDT for two. Breeze tags in, Jimmy makes a blind tag and hits a top rope axe handle for two. Breeze sets Jimmy up in the corner and Jey accidentally kicks him in the face. It’s a near fall.
Breeze leaps off the apron onto both Usos, but they catch him and toss him over the barricade. Fandango leaps over the ropes onto The Usos and heads back into the ring, but he’s caught buy a superkick to the face. A roll-up and the pin puts Fandango away.
The Winners: The Usos to retain the Smackdown Tag Team Championships
I wasn’t expecting quite so much comedy, but they pushed it aside and got serious towards the end. This was a fun match though, from start to finish. Both teams put in a solid effort. At the end of the day, the right team won.
Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin
The Action: Full entrances for both men. Corbin pushes Zayn around a bit to get things started. Zayn hits a head scissors, but holds off on a dive to the outside, flipping back in. Corbin hits a kick and sends Zayn into the turnbuckles head-first. Corbin yanks Zayn out of the ring, nailing him with a right to the face. He whips Zayn into the barricade, and Zayn counters with a moonsault off the barricade.
Back in the ring, Zayn takes it to Corbin. Corbin drills Zayn across the ring into the turnbuckle. He follows it up with a back breaker. Corbin cinches in a bear hug. Zayn fights free and sends Corbin over the top rope by yanking it low. Corbin hits a spine buster in the ring, it’s worth two. He keeps Zayn grounded. Zayn fights back and fires up with a clothesline and a springboard cross-body for two. Corbin slides under the bottom ropes off a whip, and nails Zayn with a clothesline for two. Corbin nails Zayn with a backbreaker for two. He sets Zayn up on the top turnbuckle. Zayn fights free and hits a sunset flip powerbomb for two. Zayn goes for a tornado DDT, Corbin counters it. Zayn tries for an exploder, Corbin holds on. He rolls Corbin up for two. Corbin immediately hits a Deep Six for two.
Corbin unloads on Zayn with forearms and stomps. The referee breaks him off Zayn. Corbin charges and Zayn side-steps. He hits a boot to the face and a Helluva Kick out of nowhere for the win.
The Winner: Sami Zayn
Zayn needed this win more than Corbin, as he’s on the fringe of being a habitual loser. Corbin will recover from this without issue He continues to put on good matches with top notch workers, and more and more is proof that the Performance Center can create stars from scratch.
Backstage, The Singh Brothers place down an oriental carpet next to the backseat of a limo. Jinder Mahal gets out. Dasha Fuentes immediately approaches him. He says Chicago is full of haters. He says we hate him because of who we think he is, how he looks and how he talks. He’s going to turn the hatred into goodness. He’s going to take the hate and turn it into something positive. He says he’s a peaceful man until provoked. He will turn us into believers. He starts to cut a promo in Punjabi, ending it with “WWE Champion.”
James Ellsworth skips out to the ring. He calls the fans “sausages” and tells them to listen to him. He’s the Michael Jordan of Sports Entertainment. He’s the “epitome of masculinity.” He says the fans are lucky to be in the presence of royalty, the Princess of Staten Island.
Carmella & Tamina & Natalya (w/ James Ellsworth) vs. Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair & Naomi
The Action: Tamina and Lynch start it off. They immediately lock up. Tamina powers Lynch to the ground, pushing her away. Natalya tags in, Lynch gains control and tags in Charlotte. The two trade wrist locks. Charlotte cartwheels out of the lock, Nattie shoves her to the mat. Surprise roll-up for two. Charlotte hits a running knee. Natalya hits Charlotte with a shot off the apron and tags in Tamina. Carmella tags in and hits a slam for two. She sends Charlotte into the turnbuckle head-first. Charlotte makes a desperation tag to Naomi.
Naomi is on fire. She hits a flurry of kicks on Carmella and goes for a split legged moonsault, but Tamina caused a distraction. Carmella takes advantage and lays in a series of stomps. Tamina legal, she keeps Naomi grounded. Natalya tags in, and she works with Carmella to double-team Naomi, who fights her way clear. Naomi goes for the tag to Lynch, but Carmella yanks her off the apron at the last second.
Tag to Natalya. Naomi counters her and makes the hot tag to Lynch, who is on fire. Lynch hits an Bexsploder and a flying forearm. Two-count. Lynch counters a sharpshooter with a Disarmer. Carmella breaks it up. Charlotte sends Carmella out, Tamina sends both Charlotte and Naomi to the floor. Natalya kicks out of a roll-up and Lynch takes out Tamina, who caused a distraction. Natalya rolls into a Sharpshooter. Becky Lynch has noone to help her, and she taps out.
The Winners: Carmella & Tamina & Natalya
All things considering, this was a fairly clean win for The Welcoming Committee. I’m quite shocked at the finish too, but they really do need the win. It looks like this feud will last another month, at least.
Kevin Owens (c) vs. AJ Styles for the WWE United States Championship
The Action: Greg Hamilton gives this is a big match feel and handles introductions with both men in the ring. The two lock up, but Owens immediately backs off. Owens goes for the leg, Styles backs off. Styles goes for a reversal into a roll-up for two. Owens goes for the leg again. Styles cinches a headlock. Owens bails out of the ring after Styles picks up some speed.
It’s back and forth here. Styles gets the better of the exchange until Owens yanks him off the top turnbuckle and hits a clothesline for two. He keeps Styles grounded with knees and a headlock. Owens with a DDT for two. He immediately follows up with a trio of sentons. Two-count. Styles starts to recover. He hits a set of forearms and a clothesline. Low flying forearm for two. Styles hits a sitout flapjack for two. He teases a Styles Clash, but hits an ushigoroshi instead. Styles goes for a backflip DDT, Owens has it scouted and hits a superkick followed by a cradle neckbreaker. He goes for a pop-up powerbomb. Styles unleashes a fist to the face. Styles on the apron, Owens hangs him up on the ropes.
Styles catches Owens on the top turnbuckle and he pulls him upside down, teasing a Styles Clash off the apron. Owens counters, whipping the leg into the ringpost. He launches Styles into the steps. He hits a cannonball in the corner, then ties Styles’ leg around the bottom rope, hitting a second cannonball. He goes for a single-leg crab, then changes it into an anklelock.
The two climb up top. Owens sets Styles up on his shoulders. Styles fights free and hits a sunset flip powerbomb. He goes for a Phenomenal Forearm, but his bad leg gives out on the ropes. Owens hits a DDT immediately. Two-count. Styles hits a desperation Pele Kick. Owens sets Styles up on the top rope and hits a single-underhook suplex. Owens heads up top, Styles rolls to the apron. Owens follows him and Styles hits a suplex directly onto the apron. Styles breaks the count and goes back at Owens. Owens sends him into the timekeeper’s area. Styles hits a Phenomenal Forearm out of nowhere. He hobbles to his feet and sets Owens up on the announcer’s table. He goes for a Styles Clash, but Owens yanks the foot into one of the open monitor holes in the table. Styles’ foot is caught in wires as Owens rolls back into the ring for the countout finish.
The Winner: Kevin Owens to retain via countout
After the match, the referee helps Styles get free. Owens takes a cheap shot and hits a superkick to the head before leaving ringside in a hurry.
Unfortunately I had some distractions during this match, so I didn’t quite enjoy it to it’s fullest. This was a tremendous match from start to finish though, as expected. It sure seems like we’ve got more of these two, and I’m fine with that. Styles isn’t in the World Title picture right now, but this feud is a perfectly suitable compromise.
Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
The Action: Rowan immediately goes on the offense. He drops Harper in the corner and keeps him grounded. Harper hits a forearm from the apron. He goes up top and Rowan knocks him to the floor, hitting the steps on the way down. Rowan hits a dropkick through the bottom rope. Back in the ring, Rowan hits a splash for two.
Harper fires back with some chops. Rowan counters with a clothesline and a dropkick. He bodyslams Harper a few times, then hits a pumphandle backbreaker. He locks in a claw to the jaw and hits a clothesline for two. Rowan goes up top and misses a splash. Harper attacks Rowan outside the ring, and goes diving near the announcer’s table. He rolls Rowan back into the ring and hits a senton. Rowan hits a powerbomb for two.
The two trade chops and strikes. Harper hits a superkick and follows it up with a clothesline for the win.
The Winner: Luke Harper
This wasn’t very good. Fine for what it was, I suppose, but this feud has been going on far too long and this match was in a tough position of being after Owens vs. Styles. If you’re watching a replay you can skip this.
Jinder Mahal (w/ The Singh Brothers) vs. Randy Orton (c) for the WWE World Championship
The Action: Full intros again here. Orton doesn’t wait for his name to be announced and attacks Mahal from behind. He sends Mahal into the announcer’s table and scares off the Singh Brothers. Orton lays into Mahal with rights. He rolls Mahal back into the ring, and the referee creates space between the two. Jinder gets amped up and angry as the bell rings.
The two clash in the middle. Orton goes for an RKO very early on, Mahal counters it. They brawl outside the ring again. Orton takes him out with a clothesline at ringside. Back in the ring, Mahal gets some momentum, working the arm. He hits a dropkick and covers for 1. Mahal works the arm as the fans chant “Let’s go Jinder/Jinder sucks!” Orton counters Mahal off the ropes. He stomps the limbs. Orton uppercuts Mahal. Mahal connects with an arm breaker.
The action spills outside the ring once more. Orton sends Mahal into the announcer’s table back-first. He rolls him back into the ring, Mahal recovers and stomps Orton. Back to the arm lock once more. Orton sends Mahal shoulder-first into the ring post. Orton heads up top and teases a superplex. Mahal tries to fight free. Orton connects with the superplex anyhow. Two-count. Orton rallies with clotheslines and a powerslam. Orton hits a fallaway slam for two.
Mahal hits a neckbreaker for two. Orton hits a backbreaker. Mahal rolls to the apron, and naturally, Orton goes for a draping DDT, which he connects with. Orton readies the RKO, Mahal rolls out of the ring before Orton can hit. The Singh Brothers stand between Orton and Mahal, naturally he attacks them. Mahal fires back and sends Orton into the ring post shoulder first. twice. He rolls him into the ring, and Orton hits an RKO out of nowhere. The Brothers make the save and yank Mahal out of the ring before the pin.
Orton goes on the hunt, sending both brothers into the announcer’s tables, literally dropping them upside down onto the tables (looked a little reckless, to be honest). He sets up both Sunil and Samir for a draping DDT. Out of nowhere, Jinder attacks Orton from behind and hits his finisher for the surprising win.
The Winner: Jinder Mahal
Mahal celebrates in the ring, and almost immediately heads into the crowd, standing on production crates, holding the title up high. He walks back to ringside, holding the title up high standing on the announcer’s table. It’s a mix of cheers and boos, but either way, there’s heat. The announcers replay the win.
Bill and I talked about this possibility in great detail on Ring Rap Audio, and we were both in favor of this. It’s a mid-year pay-per-view, there’s really no downside to it. So why not? Give it a try. There’s time to make a switch before Summerslam if it doesn’t pan out, and there’s a positive in making a new star if it does.
Needless to say, I’m all for this change. Orton’s felt like he’s phoned this title reign in for some time, which is a huge disappointment considering how talented he is. Jinder’s worked hard to get to where he is, despite the booking on Raw. Let’s see what he can do at the absolute top.
Thumbs up pay-per-view overall. Many of the matches felt like (and were) part one in a feud, so I expect we’ll get some variations of rematches at Money in the Bank. I’ll have plenty to talk about come Around the Ring on Tuesday.
In the meantime, please take a moment to vote on our two polls – both to rate the show and pick the best match of the night. Thank you for tuning in with me tonight. See you next time!