WWE Backlash Review

WWE Backlash Review 9/11/16
WWE Backlash Review
September 11, 2016
By: Adam Martin of Wrestleview.com

It’s certainly not off base to say the first Smackdown Live PPV presentation tonight had little to no buzz heading into the show this weekend.

Maybe it was the buzz of CM Punk’s UFC debut or a full day of the NFL that caused considerable distractions. Either way, the Smackdown go-home show to hype Backlash was very underwhelming and didn’t really create the interest WWE may had hoped for.

While we saw a slew of new champions crowned for team blue and a pretty significant one with AJ Styles, I can’t help but ignore the fact that a majority of the show felt like a run of the mill weekly episode of Smackdown despite the efforts of all involved in WWE.

AJ Styles wins the big one

Let’s just take a moment to take in what happened tonight. AJ Styles, a guy who without a doubt was the poster boy for TNA for over 10 years, was just given one of the most important championships in the history of professional wrestling/sports entertainment. It was crazy enough to see WWE take a chance on the guy and have him debut in the Royal Rumble. Now he’s a major world champion in the biggest wrestling company today. What a journey this guy has taken and it’s safe to say many didn’t expect this one to ever happen.

It was also pretty clear that Dean Ambrose as champion just wasn’t working out. The crowd reactions are there, but the character development certainly wasn’t. Far too much emphasis was put on The Shield and without that, you are left scratching your head and trying to figure out exactly what the goal of Ambrose’s character in WWE is. It was pretty surprising to me that they gave him the ball back in June at Money in the Bank. The summer experiment with Ambrose fell even more flat at SummerSlam and wasn’t going anywhere.

WWE is certainly ushering in a new era and Styles looks to be primed for an interesting run if he’s able to keep up the momentum. The biggest difference between Styles and Ambrose is just flat out interest. Styles, after breaking away from The Club, was able to use a John Cena win to morph into an overconfident bully that also finds a way to get the job done. Ambrose? He’s a dude doing stuff in matches while making crazy faces and uncomfortably bad backstage skits. Ambrose showed some promise in a promo last Tuesday night on Smackdown where he dropped the “whatever man” stuff and showed some focus. Maybe a continuing feud with Styles will be able to pull something new out of the Ambrose character. I was honestly preparing to write a review tonight asking why WWE was intent on sticking with this guy. It would seem WWE was ready to move on and I was pleased to see it.

“We’re getting a double wide, baybay!”

I know many hardcore NXT fans were not happy with WWE pulling American Alpha from this show tonight as part of the Smackdown tag team tournament. I get it. I’m not taking anything away from Alpha as they are a solid tag team and will undoubtedly get a run with the titles on Smackdown. However, the makeshift tag team of Heath Slater and Rhyno are just flat out more interesting and entertaining right now. Kudos to WWE for recognizing that in recent weeks and giving the team a run. I’m really looking forward to what is next.

Becky Lynch gets Smackdown gold

One of the biggest questions coming away from the draft was what was to become of the women’s division with the newly introduced Women’s Championship staying on RAW. I think tonight provided a good answer as to why team blue will be just fine without that title. All six girls worked very hard tonight and I thought they put together a fun little elimination match. Even though Carmella gets crickets in her entrance, she’s really starting to come along much stronger as a heel. Becky was the right choice to get things started.

Quick Thoughts

* What’s a Jagger Eaton?

* Kane and Bray Wyatt tried hard, but that was such a throwaway match.

* I’m really enjoying The Usos so far in the new heel role.

* Mojo Rawley has some pretty impressive and powerful offense.

* The Miz as the annoying star wanting to renegotiate his contract is fun.

Overall Impression

While I can’t ignore the fact that a majority of this show felt like your typical weekly episode of Smackdown, the AJ Styles title win to close the show and the very entertaining Heath Slater and Rhyno tag team was able to nudge this show up from feeling just average to pretty good. I’m a little concerned with how quickly we are getting the next Smackdown only show (No Mercy on October 9). WWE made a really good call to cool back down to 12 PPV’s a year and now adding a slew of these brand only specials may be hitting overexposure fast. I could be wrong, but the vibe tonight wasn’t exactly thrilling.

A majority of our readers (59% as of Sunday evening) gave Backlash a thumbs up.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know your Backlash thoughts in the comments below.

Follow me on Twitter: @adamwrestleview


  1. Congratulations to AJ Styles. TNA Champion, IWGP Champion, & now WWE Champion. I think he & Kurt Angle are the only guys to win those 3 titles. Too bad ROH never made AJ their champion because that would’ve really put him in a class all his own. You deserve it, AJ!
    Long live the champ!!

  2. I have been loving the Free Agent Heath story, and almost wanted him to lose last night because I didn’t want that chapter to close, but I am ready to see what happens next.

  3. Clash of Champions is going to have a tough act to follow. Becky Lynch,Kane,Heath Slator and Rhyno,and AJ Styles winning was awesome! The only match I didn’t like was te Intercotinetal Championship Match between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. 10/10 (or 9.5/10).

  4. I don’t understand how Ambrose’s reign was boring. From what I’m observing, Ambrose’s personality seems to be that person who does some weird, crazy, and sometimes funny things, but you know deep down that he’s a Good, Kindhearted guy, as long as you don’t get on his bad side.

    I believe the Kane VS. Bray Wyatt match was an attempt to help Kane get back into the WWE Discussions again. I think he could surprise us again.

    Overall though, It was a good show.

  5. I think the fact that this show had such low expectations going in is what made it so good. It was a very pleasant surprise being that you weren’t expecting much to begin with.

  6. Actually Kurt never won the title, He won the IGF version of the championship which is like TNA making a belt and calling it the WWE championship.

  7. Aj Styles is a great worker and a great wrestler, but I am not overly amazed or shocked at AJ winning the WWE championship. Remember, we live in an era where Wrestling is more about storylines vs championships. In the WWE, we all know it’s pretty much hot potato with the WWE title- it gets passed around more times than a cheap whore- which is sad because it devalues the championships. Just look at WWE rosters and I can easily name 10 guys who have held the WWE championship. In the 70’s, 80’s and most part of the 90’s champions had long title reigns, but we all know that’s a thing of the past right now, but anyways congrats to AJ!!!

  8. AJ Styles deserves a Wrestlemania main event! What a match! He bumped like crazy towards the end. Congrats AJ! You’re indeed the Best Wrestler Alive Today!

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