10 Things We Learned From The Backlash Go-Home WWE SmackDown (May 16)

The blue brand gets on the front foot for Backlash.


A far cry from the company's limp approach to Payback, SmackDown Live!'s build to Backlash has been enthralling as the blue brand effortlessly adjusted to life following the potentially disruptive 'Superstar Shake-up'.

Last week's trip across the pond saw a tight construction of the final card for the post-WrestleMania supershow, with Baron Corbin and Sami Zayn inserted into conflicts between preset opponents Kevin Owens, Jinder Mahal, AJ Styles and Randy Orton and further teases in the Women's and Tag Division.

Away from title tussles, the entire marketing around the event has focused on the in-ring debut of Shinsuke Nakamura. Posters and adverts are adorned with the 'King of Strong Style's enigmatic glance, and even the 'Backlash' logo is formed in the mould of a vicious Kinshasa kick.

The presentation has at least made up for some questionable use of the former NXT Champion on television, where middling verbal conflicts with Dolph Ziggler have generally led to lazy fisticuffs before their inevitable separation.

Regardless, the 'Land of Opportunity' nickname shoved down viewer throats has continued to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and all feuds experienced a final convergence before Sunday's blockbuster event.


Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to WWE, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. And occasionally my kids. Responsible for some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines available at shop.whatculture.com, and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.