I know… lists are such click bait… but Backlash has shown us evidence of some very interesting things:
5. The writers think Vince McMahon is still watching, which means Vince isn’t controlling SD creative
One of the most glaring things about Backlash was the unusually bad Slater/Rhyno segment. This storyline has been great and engaging from their first promo, so it was strange to see them script Slater and Rhyno to do toilet humor that seemed very reminiscent of every fucking RAW promo that Vince writes ever. However, that being said, I didn’t find it as egregious as normal. IT was a quick joke and I thought the “swerved” line was a creative way of deflecting it. Also interesting was the fact that it was really early in the show and that was it. Less than five minutes devoted to it. My conclusion is that it was a quick pander to Vince to satisfy him early in the show. This also leads me to believe that Vince McMahon is not really keeping tabs on our beloved Ryan Ward…
4. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts
Specifically, the women’s match. The match was really good. But look at the participants. Carmella is bad. Naomi is not good. Alexa is better than bad. Nikki is fine. Nattie is good but band. Becky is good but buried. And yet, after all that, they put on a really good match. It’s not going to win any awards, but it was a fun opener that had the crowd invested. Definitely a well thought out and well put together match that shows WWE can still make something out of nothing if they really want to.
3. Less is more
The show clocked in at just under 2 hours and 40 minutes, 20 minutes less than the assigned 3 hour slot they were given. Ending the show early was a great choice. Nothing felt drawn out (maybe Ziggler/Miz a little) and at the end, I didn’t feel like I needed to take the next day off of work due to exhaustion like I do whenever I watch SummerSlam or RAW. I tuned in for wrestling, I got two and a half hours for a pay per view and then I went on with the rest of my night. Thumbs up for not doing useless filler. In fact, I had hoped the AJ celebration would last a bit longer.
2. The roster is really thin
My previous post discussed how feud burnout is a very real issue and tonight’s show reinforced my argument. There is literally no one on this roster. They threw everyone in the tag team division, but Orton is out and Cena is coming back (as per Meltzer on WOR) but he’s in and out as it is. There is no midcard (Corbin and Crewes?) and AJ looks like he has only two real feuds coming up. Ambrose in a rematch and then Cena in a rematch. Rematches galore. They need to seriously bring some NXT guys up to Smackdown. Tye Dillinger in particular would be great as a gate keeper in the upper midcard. Also, with like 8 cruiserweights being signed to RAW, it may be time to give SD some guys like Cesaro and Darren Young who I think would be better suited on Team Blue.
Why Darren Young? You need guys to lose.
1. Coherent stories with happy endings get over
There is a time and place for the heels to mess around and use fuck finishes to end matches. To advance stories. When it’s all said and done, people want to see their heroes get over on the heels. Backlash showed that the crowd is happy and invested when they think hey are getting a good payoff. I have no doubt that if Russo booked this, we’d have had Nikki win the women’s belt with a roll up, the Usos winning with shenanigans, and Dean winning by count out or a screwy double submission. The only tainted win was Miz and it made sense with his current story where he is trying to convince everyone that he’s a legit wrestler and Maryse is protecting his ego by helping him win. This might be stretching it, but it’d be even better if Miz doesn’t realize that Maryse is helping him and really believes that he’s a really good wrestler.
Overall Backlash was really good and a lot of fun. I had no problem with any finish and my only concern is moving forward and he thin state of the midcard. As long as they can navigate the next few months and get some stories going into Survivor Series, the future looks bright for #TeamBlue.