Backlash 2018 sucked. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s analyze why Backlash is considered the worst WWE supershow of the year so far (and whether it truly ranks amongst the company’s worst PPV offerings) by reliving the whole show here on DVD.
On paper, the first post-WrestleMania PPV, coming right after a Superstar Shake-Up which refreshed the RAW and SmackDown rosters, should have been a can’t-miss card. But with Universal Champion Brock Lesnar beginning his 73rd hiatus from the ring, coming right after the abruptly-announced Greatest Royal Rumble which included Brock as well as other major stars like John Cena, The Undertaker, Triple H, Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho (none of whom wrestled here), and with a line-up that didn’t create much in the way of excitement before the show took place, Backlash had lost a lot of the appeal it could have cultivated by the time May 6 rolled around.
Still, that doesn’t completely explain why the card was so disappointing to so many people, and as a result, it’s time for us to dissect things, match-by-match. Let’s go!
OUT NOW! Backlash is available on Amazon.com (USA) and drops TODAY on Amazon.co.uk(UK)
Intercontinental Championship Match
Seth Rollins (C) vs. The Miz
The show actually starts with a bang. This clash between Seth Rollins and The Miz is excellent, and a genuine contender for being WWE’s best match of 2018 so far. Rollins deserves much of the credit, coming in the midst of what has arguably been a career year from a performance standpoint, but Miz keeps up with him every step of the way in what is probably the greatest match that he has ever had. A tremendous opener, but things take a downward slide from there.
RAW Women’s Championship Match
Nia Jax (C) vs. Alexa Bliss
There are some decent spots here, but due to the dynamic involved, this probably should have been a quick squash win for the defending champion (then again, the same could have been said for their WrestleMania match). Nia’s post-match promo to promote the fight against bullying should have been a positive moment, but it sounded a little too corporate in line with the Be a STAR campaign and, paradoxically, it leads to more boos than cheers in the aftermath.
United States Championship Match
Jeff Hardy (C) vs. Randy Orton
Held a few years earlier, and in front of a non-smark crowd such as New Jersey, this may not have seemed too bad; in fact, held on free television, it may have come across well. Here, though, it feels lethargic and phoned-in, especially from Orton, who seems to have two levels as a babyface: highly motivated (see his work against Christian), and not motivated at all (e.g. this bout). Thankfully, Orton has recently returned as a heel, which has already freshened up what looks to be a long-term rivalry against Hardy.
Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass
After a lengthy segment involving Elias, The New Day, Rusev Day and No Way Jose, we get this contest involving the since-fired Big Cass. It isn’t particularly good, and it ends somewhat unexpectedly. There would have been a backlash (no pun intended) had the seven-footer defeated the super-popular Bryan here, but even as it is, it’s a forgettable match at best. This being Daniel’s first singles match on PPV since 2015 was criticized by many, and added to the negative feedback of this card.
SmackDown Women’s Championship Match
Carmella (C) vs. Charlotte Flair
To me, this is where Backlash fell off a cliff. Carmella’s gimmick is that she is inferior to her babyface opponents in every way, and has to use every trick in the book to win. That has worked many times in the past, though it’s harder to push that philosophy during the Women’s Revolution era where the in-ring standards have never been higher. In spite of all that, though, Carmella pinning Charlotte CLEAN is just bizarre, and coming after a bout which is pretty poor, it was a head-scratcher for most viewers. It’s one of those deals where anything besides Charlotte regaining the title would have attracted criticism, but the way this plays out is just awful.
WWE Championship No Disqualification Match
AJ Styles (C) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Prior to the finish, AJ and Shinsuke put on their best match yet in a WWE ring. Then comes the no-contest ending (after both whacked each other with simultaneous boots to the balls), which didn’t go down well at all. Had they not fought to a double countout at the Greatest Royal Rumble, this ending may have seemed more effective, because it’s a common tool used to extend a feud. But two draws inside nine days felt like really lazy booking, and to a lot of viewers it negated the hard work that had gone into the match itself.
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley vs. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
This match may have worked on RAW, and with Owens and Zayn (who fall out prior to the conclusion of the match) spinning off into a feud. But coming over three hours into an already-struggling PPV event, and with strange psychology that does little to make the babyfaces seem sympathetic and likeable, it’s a skippable match that one had forgotten about by the time that the show had ended. Plus, while I understand that KO and Sami have feuded often enough that putting the resumption of their rivalry on hold may be a wise decision, it would have made more sense to just let Braun and Bobby win in the usual, traditional manner, and let Owens and Zayn have a quiet divorce. Instead, what plays out here feels like a waste of PPV time, and does nothing to help anybody involved.
Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe
A fast opening few minutes slows down to a snail’s pace, and at that point, the Newark crowd switches off entirely. Indeed, whoever laid out this match didn’t consider that fans who already didn’t want to show support of Roman Reigns do not enjoy watching him fight from a position of vulnerability, and especially in a slow, drawn-out manner in the main event spot of an overly long card. By the time that Reigns picks up the win, fans are leaving the arena in droves, which ends a flawed show on a very bad note. It’s strange that Roman and Joe had several thrilling matches on RAW, yet their supershow collision ended up being their weakest bout yet. How much of that was down to the booking and how much was down to the fans ignoring the action depends on how you look at things. Either way, a poor way to end the night.
Kickoff Show Match
Bayley vs. Ruby Riott
This is one of the better matches of the whole night. It feels like a RAW match at best, since there are no stakes and it is just another entry in the Bayley/Sasha vs. Riott Squad rivalry. The two ladies put forth a good performance, though, and it’s Ruby who picks up a big win over Bayley, even if it was forgotten by the time that RAW aired the next night (which could be used to describe much of this show).
Having watched the show again bell-to-bell, I don’t think that it quite breaks into the group of WWE’s all-time worst PPVs. It has one superb match, another really good bout (before the no-contest finish), and some of the other bouts have a slight piece of redeeming value. It’s more than could be said for the likes of King of the Ring 1995, In Your House 4, Judgment Day 2004, The Great American Bash 2004, ECW December to Dismember 2006, Unforgiven 2007 and even Battleground from last year, all of which are memorable for the wrong reasons but which have literally zero value for repeat viewing, aside from locating content for future WrestleCrap inductees. This also makes me realize how much wrestling has progressed; as poor as Backlash was, any card featuring a Match of the Year candidate would have been considered a success during the 1990s and 2000s, regardless of what else took place that night.
That all being said, it can’t be denied that Backlash 2018 is not a good PPV event, and much of that comes down to the booking. Once you get past the opener, we have an infomercial for Be a STAR, a weirdly clean win for Carmella over Charlotte, the second draw in as many supershows involving the WWE Championship, an odd piece of storytelling in Strowman/Lashley vs. Owens/Zayn, and a snore-inducingly slow pace for a main event that has a predictable finish. The other big problems with the show are that several matches are purely filler in terms of execution and significance, the card unnecessarily lasting over three hours, and the fact that a non-title Roman Reigns match main evented over a WWE Championship bout (even if the latter did not have a conclusive winner, which is how WWE will justify putting Roman vs. Joe on last).
But here’s the big issue when watching it on DVD, and when considering whether a home video purchase should be recommended. The top match, Rollins vs. Miz, will inevitably appear on the Best PPV Matches 2018 DVD, which will be released after the year is done. And once you remove that match from the show, it is barely worth watching. So, while some of the criticism was a little over-the-top, Backlash 2018 was definitely not a good card, and one that I wouldn’t suggest you checking out on DVD. If you really want to see Seth vs. Miz, you’re best waiting for Best PPV Matches 2018.
Get hold of WWE’s BACKLASH 2018 DVD and add it to your collection…
– United States: NOW! Get your copy of the new Backlash 2018 DVD here on Amazon.com.
– Australia: NOW! Get a copy of the new Backlash 2018 DVD now at Madman.com.au.
– UK/Europe: NOW! Get your copy of the new Backlash 2018 DVD now via Amazon.co.uk.
Does anybody ever think it would be nice if we had more non-WWE articles on here every now and then? Maybe the odd review of ROH or indie DVDs (like RevPro UK, PWG, Evolve/WWN etc.) I know we get a TNA / Impact article a couple of times a year but they are normally just about new releases rather than reviews. I also know we get semi-regular shoot interview reviews also.
I just realised the site is quite WWE-heavy, despite being called WrestlingDVDNews. I get that WWE is the biggest game in town with the widest DVD distribution deals, but just a suggestion; I still love the site as it is.
I just wonder if it adds as little to the tension because we’re basically only ever discussing WWE, which is a very divisive product at the moment, partly due to inconsequential PPVs such as this and Extreme Rules.
I realise this may have been suggested before, but I wasn’t sure. Obviously if most of the staff are WWE loyalists or aren’t that big into ROH etc. I understand this might not be possible. 🙂
while I personally agree my guess is that ultimately it comes down to other articles not gaining enough attention.
I totally agree….for a site called Wrestlingdvdnews, there sure is alot of WWE on here.Would be nice to see ROH covered
Yeah, well I just thought it might be an idea. For instance, I haven’t seen any mention in articles on here that WrestlingStore.co.uk are now releasing NJPW DVDs for the UK market with English commentary, including the WrestleKingdom events. I feel like that’s pretty big wrestling DVD news.
Had no idea that was a thing. That’s pretty cool news.
Glad to see they included the pre-show match. From what I can recall, there was no mention of it originally when the listing was revealed.
I personally think that the biggest hurdle for the show was audience fatigue from having three shows ( two of which were massive shows) in one month. I had high hopes because I enjoyed Ruby/Bayley and Miz/Rollins at the start of the show. I personally liked the ending of Styles/Nakamura. It reminded me of a less violent version of the Mankind/Rock with the steel chairs double ko. Maybe the WWE learned from this and is why they are having a women’s ppv after the Australian Super Show in October. With talent from WWE, NXT, Mae Young Classic, and legends it will be different for the audience then the usual shows.
I was at the show. It was definitely 1 of, if not the worst Pay-Per-View events I have ever been to live. Only worth it for the great Intercontinental Championship Match between Seth Rollins vs. The Miz!
I loved it. Love all wwe events. Enjoy getting them all on dvd and will continue to do so. It truly does get to me hearing people bad mouth a product I love so much. I guess to each their own right?
I personally have high expectations for WWE because I care about their product so much. I put them on a pedestal. If I didn’t care about them, I wouldn’t follow them or buy their releases, or comment on this website. My problem with many of the conversations here, whether it is about covers, content, or release themes is that I don’t feel people are critical enough. There seems to be this blind love for most of what WWE releases and what they market. Whenever anyone says anything, it often turns into accusations of complaining. The fact is that WWE, at times, does make weird booking decisions and releases DVDs that people really don’t care about. Ever notice their really great documentaries (ECW, Bret Hart, and Ric Flair) seem to be a thing of the past? If you “love all WWE events” you must have really low expectations, or none at all.
“I don’t feel people are critical enough.”
I 100% agree, but this isn’t the best comment board in terms of feeling like you’re allowed to be critical; you just get flamed by people who want to outright love everything that WWE does. “Quit complaining” is the usual response, from people who don’t understand the difference between complaints and critique.
No Daniel, I’m not having a pop at the site or the staff; just making an observation re: the comments board.
If people like you continue to accept and praise a sub-par product, the rest of us fans have to suffer and endure the same sub-par product.
WWE should strive to be better than they are currently.
“I loved it. Love all wwe events. Enjoy getting them all on dvd and will continue to do so. It truly does get to me hearing people bad mouth a product I love so much.”
Thank you, sir. May I have another?
I actually laughed out loud on that one, LP1
Classic Dreamer reference. 🙂 You out-did yourself on that one, LP1. Kudos.
It’s from Animal House. I wasn’t thinking Dreamer, but that’s good too.
You do say it as if it’s confirmed that Seth vs. Miz is going to be on Best PPV Matches 2018 though, when frankly, it’s not as yet. I know it should be, but this is WWE we’re talking about. If they include the Mania triple threat they may consider the Backlash IC match to be too similar as it contains two of the same superstars.
They might even include the 4-way Ladder Match from Greatest Royal Rumble(which was great) on the Best PPV set before they include this one.
Its a poor show, no doubt about it but I was shocked that within days it was in lists of ‘worst PPVs ever’
Thats a bit harsh!
It’s not harsh. This was awful. Then again, Extreme Rules wasn’t much better
Very true. I turned Extreme Rules off after Hardy/Nakamura. I couldn’t take it.
ER certainly wasn’t the best show by any means but unlike Backlash which only had Rollins vs Miz and AJ vs Nakamura till the lazy ending booking at least ER had Lashley vs Reigns which I’m glad Lashley won, AJ vs Rusev which wasn’t a great match or had a great build but was a good match with a clean finish and the IC Title match which closed the show like it deserved to.
Thing is I think WWE does this kind of thing purposely not bc they don’t care or aren’t listening like many believe myself sometimes included but bc these are called B ppvs for a reason. They think these B ppvs won’t get the WM type buyrate no matter what bc of the economy we live in. Reality is things get expensive seemingly every day/year and people have more important things to save/use money for (rent, bills, taxes, groceries, etc) and people are for many reasons losing their jobs more and more often seemingly and job opportunities seem to be lessening with time. There’s other reasons some of which may be on WWE but that reason I detailed is not and will never be no matter what in WWE’s control, good/great product or not.
With that said I believe WWE think people will try to save for buying or attending if possible a big ppv where big names will perform, basically the top 4 ppvs at least one of them or however many they can afford to pay for rather than spend money on a B ppv. I myself don’t waste my money on a B ppv knowing the build for these overall aren’t great except for maybe 1-2 matches and bc my faves won’t be performing there.
What I didn’t like or understand about ER is a ppv with that name on it didn’t feature every match as a gimmick or stipulated match. Guess they felt a match like Reigns vs Lashley especially with the build they had didn’t need any gimmick or stipulation attached to sell it though for obvious reasons it’d make sense to at least make it a #1 Contenders match, winner faces Lesnar at Summerslam for UC but what about the rest of the card as most were just regular matches and ending in less than 10 mins, basically a typical length for a tv match??? If Jeff/Nakamura match eas was gonna be that short, should’ve switched places w/New Day vs SAnity and save Orton’s return for the US title rematch imho as that did a better job of writing Hardy off if that was the point of Orton’s 2nd attack.
But it’s not just people paying PPV prices anymore. If they put effort into these PPVs, it might help increase Network subscriptions.
I think that was their strategy last year by putting first-time dream match-ups like Cena/Reigns, Brock/Joe and Brock/Strowman (an earlier example is the Shield Triple Threat at Battleground 2016) on the lesser PPVs. They know that WrestleMania and Summerslam will sell themselves, no matter what the card. For instance, I know people enjoyed the main event at Summerslam last year and it was a great match, but a one-on-one match always means more than a Fatal 4-Way cluster for me.
It wouldn’t surprise me if they do Lesnar / Lashley for the first time in some kind of grudge / dream match at Hell in a Cell as opposed to ‘Mania when Lesnar isn’t even champ anymore, which annoys me as I miss seeing the biggest matches at the Big 4 shows like when we were kids, but it is what it is. Lesnar / Lashley should really be headlining Summerslam IMO and I feel like WWE are missing out on capturing lightning in a bottle with a match that people actually want to see in that regard.
EDIT: I’ve just realised this isn’t even DVD chat anymore and we’re just talking about the merits of PPVs – apologies, lol.
Network…I think more would subscribe/stay subscribed if they’re given what they subscribe to receive. Different people want different things and to a point you and I both made in 2 separate earlier article posts, no matter what is done, can’t please everyone. Some will say “give me good original content.” They get it. Then there’s others who’ll reply with “this sucks give me WCW, ECW, territories, WWF old school library content.” They’re given that yet some will complain with “why’d ya stop original content?” I do wish all their libraries were completely added at launch so those who want it would have it allowing them to focus on just original content making those who want that happy. However I’m very appreciative of all their Network efforts.
PPVs…..another reason adding to the valid one I gave in my previous comment…too many ppvs. I get why they do it but some downsides are waters it down making it feel less special. WM is WM. Always will be imho. But some of the appeal is still gone bc the product is oversaturated w/way way too much tv/ppvs. Too many ppvs even one once a month doesn’t allow much build. This started w/WWF in 95 w/IYH. Had they kept it to 4 ppvs a year or 5 if u add KOTR which started being a ppv in 93 till 2002 then all ppvs would be more special with more hype and build and each match having more builf and anticipation to them wheras now except for the big 4 ppvs the rest have 1-2 matches anticipated bc of how well they’ built. Back in 94 or before, this never happened.
All fair points. Certainly too many PPVs, I agree. When I think back to the ‘slow burn’ type of build that feuds would get in the early 90s with only 4 or 5 PPVs, it was awesome. You were champing at the bit to see guys lock up by the time a PPV rolled around.
Also in the grand old days, ppv matches were saved for ppvs. It wasn’t on tv before or after like it is commonly now. Plus the risk taking high flying, constantly in every match now sometimes multiple times, were saved for like a WM for example in those days if they were gonna be done. They didn’t have to wheras now they do it to substitute for the fact they don’t know proper wrestling psychology like past wrestlers did. Back then wrestling was purely wrestling more so than it is now.
It was bad, but the worst PPVs ever are so much worse than bad. It wasn’t on par with Legends of Wrestling. Or the Great American Bash 1991.
And if we’re just talking about WWE PPVs, it doesn’t hold a candle to garbage like Wrestlemania IX either.
If we’re going to mention other companies, pretty much any TNA ppv from 2009-2013 fits in the worst category as well.
I would say 2009 was fine. But 2010 – 2017 was consistently bad for TNA / Impact PPV-wise.
I didn’t like how during the night Impact Wrestling went 1 on 1 w/RAW in January 2010, they used one of their biggest acquisitions to just stand there in 2 separate segments.
Talking of course about Sting. I noticed his in ring involvement most of this year was limited bc of a shoulder injury or something. But give the guy something to do! I mean you’re going head to head with RAW on the night Bret Hart is returning lol! Let Sting cut a promo, point his bat at someone, something lol!!!
Meanwhile over on RAW the same night Bret’s long awaited return to WWE consisted an in ring promos/reconciliation with HBK, then the thing with Vince later in the same night.
Aside from AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels, and some others, best thing about TNA for me….already established names who joined the company. Sting, Christian, Kurt Angle, Booker T, Dudleys/Team 3D, Jeff Jarrett, RVD. I loved Sting’s matches at BFG 2006-2009. To perform at that age at that level, carried through the match or not, still undeniably amazing. His matches with AJ, Angle, loved them. Enjoyed his matches w/Christian, Chris Daniels, RVD, Magnus, Roode. Pretty much only saw their shows when he was on from the point of when he joined the company officially in 2006, stopped when he left. Prior to him joining, saw a little bit so knew of AJ, Joe, Daniels, etc that way. Also loved Jay Lethal’s Imitation gimmick. Hid Flair and Savage impersonations were good.
Agreed about WM9. WM11 wasn’t good either. Like this year’s Backlash, it had only one match based on my memory for it, Diesel vs HBK.
2004….liked Taker vs Booker T from J.Day but not a very good build w/the bag of dirt and stuff. Liked Taker’s facials and Booker selling his reaction to Taker throughout the build though. But the worst ppv of the year at least for SD was GABash that Concrete Crypt, idk what to say hell even Taker himself knew it’d suck though I applaud his professionalism for doing it despite that. Summerslam was a good card that year for me but the disrespectful crowd ruined it for me.
Yeah u pay to attend. Fine. Great. Cheer/boo who u want. Have fun.
Doesn’t mean u have to do a wave. Lately the trendy thing is beach balls. Gimmie a break lol! That’s why I love previous Era crowds more. They didn’t have to “be part of the show” defiantly to enjoy themselves like today’s generation of so called “fans”
don’t like, don’t pay/watch. Simple. Right?
Don’t pay so u can throw beach balls and waves. That makes no sense at all.
I do think anyone who wasn’t emotionally affected by Eddie p*ssing blood in his match with JBL at Judgment Day 2004 doesn’t have a heart. That match was memorable.
EG’s matches are always enjoyably memorable for me simply bc of his talent. While it may be emotional for different reasons, his NWO 04 Title win over Lesnar was more memorable and emotional for me bc of how they played up he finally did it and in addition to many other matches proved that blood isn’t needed to tell a story or get emotions from viewers/fans.
Still with all that said, I enjoyed the match w/JBL. I just didn’t like JBL much as JBL. He seemed to be slower in the ring (not for character purposes obviously) compared to his explosive APA matches where he seemed faster and all. The slowness was a sign to me that his best days wrestling were behind or getting behind him which also meant his title run came a little bit late. Don’t get me wrong. His post APA singles accomplishments are great. Would’ve been better though if they came a bit earlier is all I’m saying. Just my opinion though.