I highly believe the Raw writers can take tips from the Smackdown writers. As of today, there’s only “12 days” left until Backlash, yet nothing was given away. Instead, we got character interactions and physical altercations, which should leave most fans wanting more from the PPV. That’s more than I can say for Raw’s build up towards Extreme Rules.
Now I didn’t watch Smackdown last week, but it appears Jinder Mahal has dropped his accent. That’s great to see, because in reality he doesn’t actually have an Indian accent. Believe it or not, the man is a native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Owens’ interruption was unexpected, but much welcomed. At this point, Jinder and Orton have cut so many generic promos that they needed something different for this episode. He didn’t initially speak to Jinder and Orton, but it was great to see him tie his intentions back to their feud.
Sure, the segment did feel busy at times, but every superstar that came out wasn’t out of place. In fact, they all played a role, which allowed for their respective feuds to be well showcased.
Becky Lynch vs Natalya
I absolutely loved how every woman involved in this feud was at ringside. If they weren’t there at the start of the match, they were going to be there by the end of it. At least this way they go past a typical trope and prepare the audience for what will be a brawl/distraction. That also gives the actual match some more dramatic flair (no pun intended).
There wasn’t much to the match, but at least the end result added to the story. It leaves the babyface team at odds with each other, which made the following segment more entertaining. In fact, seeing Becky Lynch play the frustrated peace maker was a refreshing role from her typical underdog persona.
I couldn’t be happier that the WWE is doing something with the Fashion Police. This segment was simply a testament to how charismatic and funny they can be.
Luke Harper vs Eric Rowan
These two are so cold, there was no reason for me to care about this match. It’s only proof that Rowan should be close to Bray, while Harper should be distanced from the entire Wyatt Family gimmick.
Dolph Ziggler/Shinsuke Nakamura
What made this confrontation different from the one two weeks ago? Sometimes I find the WWE’s choice of wording interesting.
Dolph did an excellent job at playing a bitter person in this promo. He came across as believable, and sincere to his character’s convictions. Along with that, Ziggler did an amazing job at getting this crowd excited for Shinsuke’s entrance.
While Nakamura’s promo wasn’t as extensive as Ziggler’s, it was straight to the point and fit what Ziggler was saying. This all lead to an amazing physical altercation, which made Nakamura look like a beast. I’m glad he didn’t use the kinshasa, but instead gave the audience a small taste with his signature strikes. That only makes his finisher more special when it’s finally executed.
Fashion Police vs The Ascension
Considering how the Fashion Police are challenging for the tag titles, it’s crucial for them to pick up wins when possible. The WWE has done a great job with their characters, but now it’s time to build their credibility as in ring competitors.
As great as the Fashion Police were on this episode, the Usos reminded us that they’re just as, if not more, entertaining than the challengers. That “12 Days” promo was absolutely incredible. Not only did it have me laughing, but it showed how full of intensity the champs are. Kudos to both teams for making this program intriguing, and it’ll surely be something to look forward to at Backlash.
Jinder Mahal, Baron Corbin, & Kevin Owens vs Randy Orton, Sami Zayn, & AJ Styles
My only gripe with this match is that it was too formulaic, hence why six man tags aren’t the best ways to end a show. Apart from this boosting Jinder’s status, it didn’t do a whole lot for the other five. This felt like something I’d see at a house show, meaning it was mainly in place for the crowd to cheer on the babyface team. The length of this also didn’t help, as it was over 30 minutes (without commercial).
Like I said above, six man tags aren’t always best ways to end shows, but this one was needed, mainly for Jinder. Ever since his return to the WWE, Mahal has been jobbing to most of the roster, so it was important to use this as a way of showcasing him on another level. Having him pick up a somewhat clean win over Orton was certainly a smart decision. It could mean that he won’t win at Backlash, but at least it shows the audience that he’s a serious contender, and not just a joke.
Overall, this wasn’t the greatest way to end the show, but at least the finish served some sort of purpose.
Did anybody else feel like this episode was shorter than usual? It went two hours, but based on my review, they kept the content limited to what will be happening at Backlash. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, because at least the fans don’t have to suffer through pointless filler.
The low point of the show was Rowan vs Harper, while the high points were the Nakamura/Ziggler promo and the Usos promo. Overall, I say this show deserves a solid 7/10.