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Backlash 2018 Review and Match Ratings

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Seth Rollins (C) def. The Miz – Intercontinental Championship

Seth Rollins has been on freaking fire this year, and this match only continued his long-standing streak of quality performances on both PPV and TV. This match just had a great energy to it from start to finish. There was a fever pitch and the two men just kept hitting their moves with consistency. They were having a completely fine match with their basic back and forth, but the match took on a new dimension with the introduction of the psychology with Seth Rollins’ knee. Seth Rollins did a masterful job of selling it throughout the match, especially making sure to limp right before The Miz hit his finishers, showing some continuity.

What I also believed did wonders for the match is the way Seth Rollins paced himself and hit his moves. He allowed himself time in between each move and made them as impactful as they possibly could be, and it was glorious. The Miz was the perfect foil for Seth Rollins in the match here, making sure to always target the knee and quickly pounce on the chance the moment he saw Seth Rollins’ knee buckle. While I could have done without Seth Rollins kicking out of two finishers like John Cena/Roman Reigns, this was an excellent opener, and it’s hard for me to say anyone has had a better 2018 campaign on the men’s roster than Seth Rollins so far. ****1/4

Nia Jax (C) def. Alexa Bliss – Raw Women’s Championship

The only thing this match accomplished is prove why this match shouldn’t have gone longer than 45 seconds. These two just have absolutely no chemistry. We just had a lot of screaming, a lot of struggling and spot calling. The most accurate depiction of this match I can give is the scene of Alexa Bliss trying to drag Nia Jax’s corpse from the outside back into the ring. It was just a struggle to get through and finish. Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax as mutually exclusive workers are good in their own right, but certain styles don’t correspond with each other. Nia Jax is slow and big. Alexa Bliss doesn’t have a believable offensive repertoire. Combine the two and you have someone with a non-believable offense dominating someone double her size. It just makes no sense.

But did you guys check that post-match motivational dialogue by Nia Jax? My goodness, was that the definition of cringe? Be a star. Be yourself. Don’t bully. Yeah, right. The reason why Nia Jax was getting booed in that cringefest wasn’t that her message was wrong. It was because what she was saying was clearly WWE-manufactured lip service. And they’re using Nia Jax of all people, who was used to bully and make fun of others before her face turn, to do it. Kayfabe, right? I guess you have to draw the line somewhere. Overall, from the match to the promo to this entire feud, we can all throw it in the trash. Nia Jax said to be a star, but this match isn’t getting many. *

Jeff Hardy (C) def. Randy Orton – United States Championship

I mean, this was definitely a match that happened, right? They were two wrestlers and they had a match. That’s what I have to say about it. It’s a shame, too. But there was something that pissed me off about this match, but it was from Randy Orton. It actually shames me to say this as a Randy Orton stan, but looking at his body language, he’s just not into it and hasn’t been for some time. The best way I can describe Randy Orton since, I guess you could say, 2014, is that he’s the best and most complete wrestler ever born to not be good at wrestling matches. What am I talking about? There was a portion in this match where Randy Orton hit a simple power slam, took about 3-4 seconds to himself and then made a half-assed cover as if it had any chance of being a 3 count. Randy Orton has been too methodical and dull for his own good. It’s sad because when Randy Orton wants to, he’s probably a top 5 worker in the business. Did you see some of those standing dropkicks in this match? He still has it. He’s still a quality worker on the inside. But when you’re getting paid millions despite not being a consistent main eventer anymore, why bother going full throttle?

Jeff Hardy didn’t really have anything to offer either, as his style of singles matches only work with certain people that can match his intensity, and the 2018 version of Randy Orton is not it. He’s just a bland superstar with skull head tattoo sleeves. Then, when you consider how over the segment with Elias and Rusev Day was, it’s a mystery how one of WWE’s mid-card titles are being fought for by two guys who hadn’t faced each other one on one in a decade. Again, nothing bad with the match. But it was just a match. **

Daniel Bryan def. Big Cass

Don’t tell me that Big Cass’ ceiling was being good at getting hot tags from Enzo Amore. I thought that working with Daniel Bryan would force Big Cass to work a smarter style of match and even though we only got a small sample size of one match, he came up, ironically, short in this performance. I don’t know what it is, but for as Big Cass is, his offense just doesn’t look like it hurts a lot aside from his big boot. It just doesn’t look powerful. What makes it worse is that Daniel Bryan wasn’t able to play his role effectively because of it. Daniel Bryan plays well in a match when he’s coming from behind as an underdog. However, it never felt like Daniel Bryan was in any major jeopardy of losing, and that’s on Big Cass to work on being more believable with everything.

In addition, I wasn’t a fan of how quickly Big Cass tapped out. Getting his heat back by attacking Daniel Bryan after the match is okay, but we can’t deny that Big Cass tapped out squeaky clean to a guy half his size after over 8 months on the shelf. How are we supposed to take him seriously now? I would understand the post-match attack out of frustration if he lost on a fluke pin (that’s what I predicted the finish would be), but doing it after a tap out just makes him look weak. To top it off, he didn’t really face a significant amount of damage in the match to have him easily submit to that extent. The match was fine for two men who haven’t worked with each other before and one who is making his in-ring return, but it wasn’t anything special, and they didn’t hit the big guy/little guy dynamic like I wanted. **1/4