The SmarK Rant for WWE Backlash 2017
Live from Chicago, IL
Your hosts are Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton & JBL
Dolph Ziggler v. Shinsuke Nakamura
YEAOH! This should hopefully be a destruction, although JBL makes the ridiculous point that being in there with Dolph Ziggler is now the “bigtime” after already being IWGP champion and winning the G1 and stuff. Dolph gets a cheapshot in the corner, so Nakamura puts him down with a knee and works the arm, and they trade armbars. JBL keeps harping on the “two time World champion” thing with Dolph, even though one title reign was a fluke technicality and didn’t even count, after months of him being treated like little more than enhancement talent. Dolph works a chinlock on the mat and gets a dropkick for two. Elbow and more stalling from Dolph, but Nakamura makes the comeback with kicks and a knee in the corner for two. Dolph tries a suplex and Nakamura reverses to a triangle, but Dolph makes the ropes and gets a DDT for two. Fameasser gets two. Dolph takes forever to set up a superkick, and that misses, but a Zig Zag gets two. Nakamura puts him down with kicks again, but Ziggler escapes the exploder and superkicks him in the back of the head for two. Nakamura fights back one more time and pounds away on the ropes, but he misses the Kinshasa. A second one hits for the pin at 15:47. Major, major disappointment. This was 12 minutes of Dolph taking all the offense and Nakamura fighting from underneath from some reason. **1/2 (The start of a disappointing year in general for Nakamura, unfortunately.)
Meanwhile, the Fashion Police get ready for the Big Bust tonight.
Smackdown tag titles: The Usos v. Breezango
The part of Tyler Breeze appears to have been taken over by a ridiculously good looking janitor with a sweet moustache. Not sure how this will affect the odds tonight, however. Fandango controls Jimmy and brings in the janitor. The mop immediately becomes the biggest babyface in the match, so the Usos lay out the janitor and BREAK THE MOP. Jey goes up, but Tyler keeps rolling out of position in delirium, before coming back with a dropkick for two. More wackiness as Fandango blocks a sunset flip with a hip swivel and legdrop for two, but the now the janitor has been replaced by an old lady. The crowd immediately chants “Let’s go grandma”, and a broncobuster results. The Usos proceed to beating up Breeze, having figured out his brilliant disguise. JBL gets hit in the face with the dress and the crowd chants “Fire Bradshaw” for that. Fandango gets a hot tag and hits Jimmy with a tornado DDT for two, but Tyler Breeze comes in and gets destroyed with a double-team elbow for two. The Usos have some heel miscommunication and Breeze hits an Unprettier for two. Breeze tries a dive on the Usos and they dump him into the front row, so Fandango hits his own dive, but a superkick ends his dream at 10:37. I bet Vince LOVED this. Breezango will get their moment. (No, they won’t. Actually they’ll start a storyline with a mystery payoff that drags on for months and never explicitly ends.) Nothing as a match, but very entertaining and the crowd was with them every minute. **1/2
Sami Zayn v. Baron Corbin
Sami puts Corbin on the floor with a headscissors and fakes the dive, and dropkicks him out again. Sami follows him out and hits a moonsault off the railing, but hurts his back and that allows Corbin to take over back in the ring. And it’s time for a BEARHUG! Spinebuster follows, but Sami makes the comeback with a crossbody for two. Corbin puts him down again with a lariat for two. Backbreaker gets two. They head to the top and Sami brings him down with a sunset flip powerbomb for two, then a crucifix for two. Corbin hits him with the Deep Six for two and pounds away on the ropes, but Sami hits the Heluva Kick out of nowhere for the pin at 14:30. Well that was unexpected. Pretty dull, but nothing wrong with it otherwise. **3/4
Meanwhile, Jinder Mahal arrives and he’s pretty sure he’s winning the title tonight, guys.
Carmella, Tamina & Natalya v. Naomi, Charlotte & Becky Lynch
Entrances take FOREVER here so they must be trying to stretch out the running time. Charlotte and Becky control Natalya in the corner and Charlotte drops a knee, but gets caught in the heel corner. Charlotte easily fights off Carmella and brings in Naomi for the kicks, but some distraction from the heels turns the tide. The heels work her over with some dull stuff and Carmella pulls Becky off the apron to prevent a tag. Finally she fights back and makes the hot tag to Becky. Exploder and forearm get two on Natalya. Disarmer follows, but it’s BONZO GONZO and Tamina beats up everyone, leaving Natalya to get the Sharpshooter and tap her out at 10:00. Meh, just a match to fill time. **1/4
US title: Kevin Owens v. AJ Styles
AJ gets a quick rollup for two and works a headlock, but Owens takes a walk early. Back in, they slug it out and Owens puts him down with a lariat for two. Time for Chinlock City, and a senton gets two. And back to the chinlock, but AJ fights up with an enzuigiri and slugs him down for two. Faceplant gets two. Owens escapes the Styles Clash, but AJ hits the neckbreaker for two. Owens with a package neckbreaker for two. Styles bails to the apron and Owens hits him with a necksnap to put him on the floor, but we get a teased Styles Clash off the apron before Owens escapes and tosses AJ into the railing. Back in, KO with a cannonball in the corner, and he goes after the knee with a half crab. He turns that into an anklelock, and a pretty darn good one at that, but AJ makes the ropes. They head up and AJ brings him down with a powerbomb, but the Phenomenal Forearm results in the knee giving out and Owens gets a DDT for two. Owens lays the smack talk on him, but AJ hits him with a Pele kick and they head up again. Owens brings him down with a fisherman’s suplex for two. They head to the apron again and AJ suplexes him out there. AJ with the forearm onto the table, but he tries the Styles Clash on the table and fails, somehow getting his foot caught in a hole and resulting in a countout at 21:10. Took FOREVER to get going, and that was a particularly lame finish. Match was pretty good in between, I guess, but the finish really ruined it. ***1/4
Erick Rowan v. Luke Harper
Glad to see Harper with new gear, but neither of these guys is going anywhere, especially stuck in the death slot like this. Rowan attacks and pounds away in the corner as everyone in the arena goes for nachos. Harper gets dumped and Rowan baseball slides him into the railing. Back in, a splash gets two and Rowan uses the dreaded DOUBLE ATOMIC NOOGIE, but Harper escapes and slugs back. Rowan dropkicks him for two and goes to the chinlock as the crowd is completely distracted by something else. Rowan with a clothesline for two and he goes up and misses a splash. Back to the floor and Harper makes the comeback and pounds him into the tables a few times, and back in for a slingshot senton and big boot for two. Bossman slam gets two. Rowan powerbombs him for two. They slug it out and Harper reverses a powerbomb and superkicks him, then finishes with the discus lariat at 8:53. They put it in the death slot and it died. Technically fine, though. **1/2 (Hey, maybe they should make them a team again! With rubber hammers! That might stick!)
WWE title: Randy Orton v. Jinder Mahal
Jinder is introduced as “222 pounds”, which is just like, COME ON. Orton attacks during the introductions, apparently as offended by that fake weight as I am, and tosses Jinder for the brawl outside. Back in, Orton slugs away and Jinder runs away. He manages to send Orton into the apron and works on the arm back in the ring. Kneedrop gets two. The crowd is actually chanting “Let’s go Jinder / Jinder sucks” and invested in this match. They head to the floor and Orton suplexes him onto the announce table, but Jinder catches him coming back into the ring and drops more knees. Back to working on the arm, but he charges and hits the post. They head up top and Orton brings him down with a superplex for two. Orton makes the comeback with the powerslam and a fallaway slam for two. Mahal with a neckbreaker for two as this drags on. Orton with the draping DDT, so Jinder runs away again. Orton gets rid of the goon squad, but this allows Jinder to attack again, only to walk into the RKO like a geek. And then the Boyz pull him out to save him again. Orton takes them both out with crazy dangerous suplexes onto the tables. Back in, Jinder uses the distraction to hit the cobra slam and win the WWE title at 17:38. Sure, why not, Orton’s title reign was a complete waste anyway and I’m numb to all the stupid decisions they make at this point. ** (And so our national nightmare began.)
A completely forgettable and skippable show, up until they decided to do one of the biggest troll jobs in history in the main event. I wouldn’t bother with it.