Are we dreaming? Are we in the matrix? Are we in some kind of alternate reality?
Backlash is over, and we have some pretty shocking results to digest. For this reaction, we’re going to focus on the main event. But very quickly, let’s run down the rest of the card.
- Shinsuke Nakamura vs Dolph Ziggler
Good opening match. Ziggler was more dominant than a lot of people expected. Great way to debut Nakamura, with Dolph selling like it’s going out of style (and it kind of is), and of course, Shinsuke Nakamura wins.
- The Usos vs BreeZango
The general consensus for this match was that it was a lot of fun. I’m in the minority then, because I thought the antics of this match were terrible. The commentary was even worse. Why Tyler Breeze had to come out in costumes, I’ll never know. It felt like they weren’t taking it seriously, and therefore didn’t deserve to win. And that’s how it turned out. The Usos win (and retain the Tag Team Titles)
- Sami Zayn vs Baron Corbin
Solid match from both guys. I genuinely didn’t expect Sami Zayn to win, but that’s what happened. Only complaint is that JBL says things like “the most unexpected victory”. Longtime fans know how good he is, but casual fans hear that and will go “oh, he’s a fluke”. That’s not how to give someone momentum. Still.. Sami Zayn wins.
- 6-Woman Tag Team Match
And here is where the show turned on the fans. This (awful) feud has been dominated by Natalya, Tamina and Carmella, and the same thing happened tonight. It made no sense, and once again Becky Lynch eats a loss in a multi-woman match. Just bad all around. And on a side note – change Carmella’s music. That intro is a momentum killer.
Natalya, Tamina & Carmella win.
- Kevin Owens vs AJ Styles (US Championship match)
Now, I said that the previous match is where the show turned on the fans. Don’t get me wrong, this match was easily match of the night. Owens and Styles were the best on the card by far. Great back and forth action and great storytelling. But that ending. Yes, it furthers the story. Yes, it gets Owens heat. But, I found myself angry at the product, not Kevin Owens. And that’s a problem. We’ll see what happens, but cheap endings are never good.
Kevin Owens wins (via Countout)
- Erick Rowan vs Luke Harper
Bad spot for a match that wasn’t ever going to be amazing. Not really a lot to say about it. Harper picked up the victory, and hopefully this means the Wyatt family stuff can be put to rest, seemingly forever.
Luke Harper wins.
Ok. Now on to the main event.
IS THIS REALLY HAPPENING?
Yes. The stories are true. Jinder Mahal is actually the WWE champion. Moreover, his cronies had been taken out earlier in the match. Jinder Mahal, JINDER MAHAL… beat 13 time WWE champion Randy Orton, as clean as it could possibly have been.
As it sinks in, my reaction has gone from complete abject horror, to disappointment, to trying to piece together what they may have been thinking and where everything goes from here, and realising we might be onto something good.
It’s safe to say that Orton’s now-ended title run wasn’t anything to write home about. His Wrestlemania match this year was definitely one of the worst on the card, and nothing special really happened at all. It’s also safe to say that he has done his best to establish Jinder as a legit threat. Which is admirable.
The problem is I think, that a lot of people don’t buy it. Why, just two months ago, an NFL player was beating up Jinder Mahal. It’s pretty hard to go from there to WWE champion and seem credible to everyone. But the signs were there. Week after week Jinder was picking up momentum, picking up clean wins, and delivering increasingly better promos. Especially last week. He really toned down the silliness in his promos and got serious, which helped a lot.
And, what have fans said for years? We need new matches, we’re sick of the same old sh*t. This does just that. This gives us at least the potential for a new, legit main event heel. Something the WWE lacks, aside from The Miz and Kevin Owens. Oh and Reigns, but that’s a whole other story.
But, vocal WWE fans, this is what we wanted. It just may be a bit too fast for everyone to really buy into.
But let’s talk about the match. Jinder proved that he could hang in a main event, albeit on a smaller pay per view, but still it’s a good start. Orton did all he could to get Jinder over, and in the end, it was a solid match. And Jinder won clean, as I said. That’s probably the biggest takeaway I have. Randy took out the Singh brothers, and there was no interference from Rusev, as had been rumoured. It was also one finisher. Randy didn’t kick out. Say what you will, but that puts over the move and makes it a threat. It doesn’t matter that it’s basically a neckbreaker. Think about Sweet Chin Music. It’s just a superkick, but any time HBK hit it, it was so much more. The crowd also helped things. They didn’t crap all over the match, I don’t recall any loud CM Punk chants, and there was legit heat for Mahal winning.
So, the question is now, where do we go from here? Rusev has demanded a title match at Money in the Bank. Are we headed for a Rusev vs Jinder Mahal main event for the WWE championship? Can I believe I just wrote those words? Probably, and no. No I can’t. But, there’s history there. They tagged together, and then feuded a little. Granted I’m pretty sure it was on kickoff shows, but nonetheless, there’s history. And it would be fresh faces in the title picture. Which WWE needs.
Really as long as Orton doesn’t win the thing back on Tuesday, I can’t see a lot of negatives. And WWE are trying something, and that’s much better than coasting and keeping Orton and/or Cena champion and having them only there part time. (Lesnar anyone?). As long as the title reign means something, and it’s not just a quick 48 hour thing to mess with the fans, I see it as a success. And if nothing else, it’s giving someone a chance. Which again, hasn’t been the norm. I think we have the brand split to thank for that, and that’s not a bad thing… it’s a good thing!
Winner, and NEW WWE Champion: Jinder Mahal
And there we have it folks. What did you think of Backlash? Were you shocked by the ending? Let us know in the comments below!