Heading into Sunday, it felt like Backlash was the proverbial redheaded stepchild of WWE PPVs this year. It was wedged between WrestleMania and Money in the Bank, with a Network special Greatest Royal Rumble less than 10 days earlier.
Backlash felt like an afterthought, but solid performances could salvage the show and at least make it entertaining from a wrestling standpoint. And for about 20 minutes, it felt like that’s what we might have been in store for.
And then the opening match ended, and the show fell off the proverbial cliff.
How bad was Backlash? It wasn’t the worst event WWE has put on in recent years, but it was a huge waste of time. The other big match that should have been an in-ring gem ended with a thud. The main event induced groans and sent fans heading for the exits before the final bell had finished ringing.
WWE has managed to turn Braun Strowman, once the hottest act on Raw, into a “hot tag” guy in a comedy tag match, while the guy the company has been grooming for years falters at consecutive shows, only to then beat another guy who is far more organically popular and realistically threatening.
When an Elias time-filler “concert” merits a mercy “up,” you know it’s a bad show. Let’s get to it…