So, this is the first of the brand specific PPV’s and I have to say, I’m hardly enthused. I firmly believe that Smackdown should be a unique and exciting show, with the advantage of having only 2 hours of television to fill. Sadly, the draft simply split the roster up and missed the opportunity to have guys like Cesaro and Sami Zayn heavily involved in an underground style show aimed more at a hardcore wrestling audience, rather than the casual mainstream fan base for Raw. Instead, Smackdown has fallen half-way between the two and although it does have some positives, it still comes across on screen to me as the ‘B’ show to Raw and lacking in identity.
Perhaps Backlash can be where Smackdown finds itself and is able to build and develop. Here’s hoping.
In the tag team title tournament, it was good to see The Usos finally turn heel and make themselves interesting for the first time in over a year. The injury angle for American Alpha should set them up nicely for a return and chase with The Usos in the not too distant future. With Usos facing Hype Bros for a place in the final against Slater and Rhyno, my guess is Usos win the whole thing. Having said that, you can’t rule out Slater and Rhyno winning it too as WWE love their comedy.
The six pack challenge for the Smackdown Women’s title has been a car crash thus far, with some dreadful segments. Personally, I think a regular one on one or triple threat match would’ve been better as whoever wins the title will have just beaten the entire roster to do so. It will need to be a well laid out match to create a couple of storylines to come out of this, but I have little faith in that, given how poor the build-up has been.
The much talked about Talking Smack segment with The Miz and Daniel Bryan eventually produced Miz v Ziggler for the Intercontinental title. Underwhelming to say the least. Having Ziggler challenge Ambrose for the WWE title at Summerslam was an odd move and if it was supposed to convince that the landscape has changed and suddenly Ziggler is relevant again, it was a failed move because nobody bought it, and for good reason. Ziggler has quickly and seamlessly slipped back into the mid card area we’ve become accustomed to seeing him in and I highly doubt he will defeat Miz for the Intercontinental title. Ziggler needs a character re-think and Miz needs an opponent who we genuinely believe will take the title from him.
The main event should be fun and I am desperately hoping will see AJ Styles crowned as WWE Champion. Unfortunately, Ambrose has been a disappointing champion and as much as I like Ambrose, he’s missing something. It’s hard for me to put my finger on what that is that he is missing, but I feel that the goofiness of his character over the past 18 months hasn’t helped. I also feel some of his in-ring work has needed to move on for some time, to be more convincing, more authentic, more serious and less like the goofiness in his character. I want to see Ambrose more like the serious guy he was in the Shield and maybe a heel turn down the road will help unlock that for him. I think it will be interesting to see what type of match Ambrose can have with Styles because Styles is the best in the business right now. Styles has not only been putting on great matches, but he’s also embraced his heel turn and delivered some fantastic promos. As I said, I’d like to see Styles win, it would certainly freshen up Smackdown and perhaps reinvigorate Ambrose in the process. This could be the match that makes Backlash memorable, so once again I say, here’s hoping for tonight’s event.