Now that we’ve officially begun the brand split PPV era with each show presenting their first effort, it’s time to analyse both events and decide who produced the better card. As I touched on in a previous article, SmackDown Is currently a much more enjoyable and well put together show than its Monday night competitor, but were they able to claim that title when it comes to their debut Network special?
Backlash was a critically-acclaimed show that most fans seemed to enjoy, although from a financial standpoint it doesn’t appear to have been a smash success as there were reports that the building had a lot of unsold tickets and had to be heavily papered to fill the seats. Clash of Champions – a semi-revival of one of WCW’s most popular concepts – put every Raw championship on the line in what should have been a blockbuster event.
After conducting a poll on Twitter and reading extensive amounts of online feedback I can safely one show stood tall above the other when comparing the two. We’re going to stack Backlash and Clash of Champions up against each other in several key categories and see who came out on top in the first PPV shot fired of the new Monday/Tuesday Night War.
8. Best Overall Card
Raw has an advantage here because they have a deeper talent roster to pull from, with a noticeably larger amount of “big names” to book on the show. Add in the gimmick that every title was defended – similar to the previous Night of Champions concept – and there’s no reason why Raw shouldn’t have had the best card on paper.
They delivered Sheamus vs. Cesaro in the finals of their best of seven series, a women’s triple threat featuring three of the four horsewomen and best female workers in the company, The New Day defending their championship against The Club, Nia Jax continuing her reign of dominance over Alicia Fox, TJ Perkins retaining his cruiserweight belt against Brian Kendrick, Chris Jericho pulling one out over Sami Zayn in the battle of KO's besties, Roman Reigns conquering Rusev for the United States championship and Kevin Owens beating Seth Rollins in the main event to hold onto the Universal title.
Backlash had much less star power, putting together a card that featured yet another installment of what already feels like an endless Baron Corbin/Apollo Crews feud, a women's 6-pack match that crowned Becky Lynch as the first SmackDown champ, and a double dose of the newly-heel Usos as they defeated The Hype Bros and lost to Heath Slater and Rhyno in the finals of the tag team championship tourney.
Kane subbed in for Randy Orton against Bray Wyatt (a match we don't ever need to see again), while The Miz had a career performance against Dolph Ziggler in their IC title bout. The show was main evented by AJ Styles winning the WWE World title from Dean Ambrose.
As you can see, not only did Backlash have a thinner card with less "names", it also had a much weaker card on paper. If we're going by the lineup of both shows, Raw was the favourite here.
Advantage: Clash of Champions