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Mr. Tito's PHAT WWE Backlash 2016 Review with Match Ratings and Show Grade - Good Show?
By Mr. Tito
Sep 11, 2016 - 10:38:46 PM

Follow Mr. Tito on @titowrestling

Welcome back to the EXCELLENCE IN COLUMN WRITING exclusively here at / by yours truly, Mr. Tito. This, of course, is the WWE Backlash 2016 column and I've been writing it as the show occurs. Some multi-tasking here to appreciate as I'm (a) watching Patriots vs. Cardinals on the big screen, (b) WWE Backlash on the Smartphone, and (c) writing a column on the fly as Backlash happens. Oh, putting the kiddos to bed as well.

Can't say that I'm surprised that a guy with lots of injuries in another profession and in his late 30s came up short in his debuting UFC fight. I'm happy for CM Punk to do whatever he wants and to accomplish his dream of fighting at a real MMA event. But he was mauled last night and I could imagine several high-fives were given to his opponent Mickey Gall by other UFC regulars afterward. Would Punk be given a Pay Per View slot if he wasn't a celebrity and why is he fighting under his pro wrestling name instead of his real one?

UFC President Dana White is already quoted as saying he should probably fight elsewhere because UFC is a hard place to learn. It's one thing if you're bringing in someone younger with NCAA Heavyweight Wrestling as his experience, but it's another when the guy has lots of mileage on his limbs from years upon years of pro wrestling injuries.

Then, CM Punk delivers an AMAZING promo on the microphone after his fight. That is his talent and in pro wrestling, where promo work is heavily relied on, is where he should be. If UFC isn't going to take him on any longer, the MMA money well could be drying up real quick. Bills will need to get paid and he'll have to support a family. And Punk doesn't have to ever return to WWE accomplish this. Just talk to fellow Chicago-area pal Billy Corgan and I'm sure he'd be willing to throw money his way as an investment. TNA gets under 400,000 viewers per week. You can't tell me that with Punk they can't double that? I could imagine that the Ring of Honor/New Japan route could be more likely, as it was great business and experience for AJ Styles... But to see Punk help out a smaller promotion and help turn them into a legit rival for the WWE would be magical.


There was a Pay Per View tonight and heading into WWE Backlash 2016, the card felt a bit thin... However, I was OK with that because everybody gets a little extra time to develop their matches. In my opinion, this additional time given the matches helped this show greatly and it wasn't just a stretched out show to make 3 hours. It was damn good.


Nice 9/11 tribute by the WWE... As it relates to WWE and 9/11, it always reminds me to watch Stephanie McMahon compare those attacks to when her dad was almost indicted during 1994. Yeah, nice comparison... It's been about 15 years since Stephanie was granted more power backstage and WWE has declined in viewership and live attendance ever since. Coincidence?

Show starts off with the 2 authority figures of Smackdown, Shane McMahon & Daniel Bryan complete with entrances. Hey, those entrances eat up about 5 minutes and they'll need to shave off as much time as they possibly can tonight. It is nice to see babyface pops for Authority figures. WWE sort of missed out on that opportunity for about the last, oh, 15 years when it could have been done legitimately. Some brief promos to hype the show takes us to about 10 minutes into the show when we begin our first match...

Smackdown Women's Title 6-Pack: Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Bella was the opening bout and I listed the entrances in order. Several comments about the entrances... Naomi's entrance looked like what happens when you use a black light to investigate a dorm room... Loved the Harley Quinn look for Alexa Bliss. And of course, Nikki Bella comes out last... But hey, she is the longest reigning Divas Champion of all time and I'd argue the biggest star of the match, so yeah... It's OK. The Smackdown Women's Title is BEAUTIFUL if I haven't said that already. Match was pure chaos, but in a good way... Lots of action and the ladies were hitting everything well. Big impact moves hit, too, like an Alabama Slam, several Sunset Flip bombs, and then the Powerbomb/Suplex spot with 3 wrestlers off the ropes. Better yet, heel/face alliances were thrown out the window. Naomi and Natalya destroy Alexa Bliss with a Blockbuster/Powerbomb combo off the top rope! Wow! I have never seen that before! Naomi eliminated next and Nikki eliminates Natalya with the TKO. As soon as Nikki got her win, Carmella rolls up Nikki for the win! Wow... That was pretty good story telling there. Carmella vs. Becky Lynch is your finale and the fans are HEAVILY behind Becky Lynch. This match is WORKING! Eventually, Becky Lynch overcomes Carmella and makes her tap to become the first ever Smackdown Women's Champion. Call me crazy, but I loved EVERY second of that match. All 6 participants deserve a standing applause and they got it by that Backlash crowd. [ **** ] This division has been established by 6 unique characters who have something to offer, which is what I suggested in my RAW vs. Smackdown column last week.

Not sure what that Miz segment was where he was yelling at a kid backstage.

Up next, Usos vs. Hype Bros to challenge for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Usos are stripped down this time around without the face paint and the babyface entrance. Funny how they've become heel just by mere association with Roman Reigns. Tag match involved Zack Ryder acting as "face in peril" to build up the HOT TAG of Mojo Rawley. Match seemed to have some good crowd momentum until Rawley was pulled out of the ring. Fans aren't feeling this Usos heel turn but I don't think many have cared about the Usos since one of them were injured and/or when Anderson & Gallows slaughtered them on RAW. Usos win via submission (Konnan's Tequila Sunrise?). Nice tag team move where Ryder was held and one of the Usos jumped off the ropes to kick his leg in. Looked better on the replay. Match was better than I thought it would be, [ **3/4 ], but both teams had a hard act to follow and their present characters are not that well known by fans. Gotta generate heat, guys.

Backstage, Rhyno & Heath Slater cut a promo but then Heath Slater, thinking that the interview is live and the cameras are off, confides in Rhyno that he's nervous about the tag match. Of course, he panics when he realizes that they are still on LIVE television.

The Miz promo reminds us how GOOD the "shoot" promo between Miz & Daniel Bryan was on Talking Smack and how quickly WWE Creative let that momentum die.

The Intercontinental Title is up for grabs next as we approach the end of hour #1. Yikes, they need to fill up some time. Dolph Ziggler comes out first and Miz is then seen backstage with Daniel Bryan suggesting that Miz's contract needs renegotiated and those negotiations will get tougher if he retains the title tonight. Oh boy... Maryse has been proudly showing off the assets lately... Miz comes out second because he's Champion and that's what champions do (it's still real to me, damn it!). I would be remiss if I didn't laugh at the fact that Dolph Ziggler wrestled for the WWE Title at the last Pay Per View. Match was solid, as both wrestlers acted as if they've fought before (they have) and everything was hit without error. Some good drama and near falls, but in the end, Ziggler LOSES once again. Just release him already, WWE. And since his great Talking Smack promo, Miz has just reverted back to the chickens*** heel. Momentum from Talking Smack has been killed, ladies and gentlemen. [ ***1/4 ]

Up next, Bray Wyatt comes to the ring... I got in late during Sunday Night and I had NO idea that Randy Orton wasn't cleared to wrestle following his Brock Lesnar hardway injury from SummerSlam. Earlier in the night, Bray and Orton did an injury angle where Bray Wyatt attacked Orton's ankle. With Orton not coming down, Bray insists that a 10 Count be performed... After the 10 Count, the WWE announcer insists that a "No Holds Barred" match with THIS GUY will be held... And it's Kane.

Bray Wyatt vs. Kane is up next... At least we don't have fire surrounding the ring. Seriously. I guess that it's an OK replacement match but shouldn't WWE officials have known about Orton well before this match? Pretty foul move, WWE, in attempt to fool us on Orton being available. Some decent hardcore stuff by Bray Wyatt here, especially that table spot. That was devastating! After they trade chokeslams, Randy Orton limps on outand hits the RKO on a distracted Bray Wyatt. Kane chokeslam and the "walking glass ceiling" gets the win. Match was solid with a few nice spots. [ **3/4 ]

Backstage, AJ Styles tells some younger wrestlers that they'll likely fail in their careers but they were at least lucky to have met the "face that runs the place".

Up next is the Smackdown Tag Title bout between Usos vs. Heath Slater/Rhyno. Pretty interesting character development of both Slater and Rhyno. The WWE gave Slater an interesting purpose as the "Free Agent" and he proudly milked it through tonight. Rhyno usually plays a guy full of anger and power and yet he's chill as Heath's friend. It's quite weird how things come together in the wrestling business. Heath Slater is getting worked as "face in peril" and the experienced Usos are working him over. Rhyno gets the tag and fans are digging it! Misses the Gore but Heath Slater tags himself in and gets great momentum. Nice sequence where Heath took a superkick but Rhyno sneaks in a Gore... Heath Slater makes the cover. Afterward, Heath comes to and realizes that he's (a) won the tag titles and (b) now has a Smackdown contract. These guys are OVER! Heath delivers a promo like Rocky 2 where "besides a couple of my kids being born, this is the biggest moment of my life". Classic. [ *** 1/2 ]

Those KFC commercials are embarrassing and worse yet, Miz just BEAT Dolph Ziggler earlier tonight.

MAIN EVENT was up next with AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose (c) for the WWE Title. We're starting just after 10:00pm... Hmmm, interesting. Crowd was very mixed in this match which is why I believe Smackdown's writers pushed AJ Styles HARD as a heel for the past month through intimidating backstage personnel. What I liked about Styles vs. Ambrose is that it was more psychological than the high impact, more spotty Cena vs. Styles match at SummerSlam. Lots of selling and that's good... When you're tasked to wrestle a longer match to carry a thin show, psychology allows you to do more with less. It was interesting, too, as some of the stuff Ambrose pulled off was quite heelish with psychology whereas Styles acted like a heel with personality. The catapult on the side of the ring apron by Ambrose was a sight to behold! Towards the end, Ambrose was quite physical with Styles to tell the story that the champion was overwhelming the challenger. Lots of pro-Ambrose moves on the outside and crowd is pumped for Ambrose. Amazing sequence with the Pele Kick by AJ Styles but then Ambrose hits the ropes for clothesline. Referee bump and that prompts the heel AJ Styles to kick Ambrose in the nuts and hit the Styles Clash. NEW WWE Champion, HOLY COW! [ **** 1/2 ] GREAT MATCH! Would you have guessed AJ Styles would have won the WWE Title by September when he entered the 2016 Royal Rumble? Soooooooooo happy for the guy!

LAST WORD: Wow, that was a good show... They had fewer matches that normally fill a 3 hour WWE show BUT they had longer matches to cover that. The talent made the most of the extended time and also seemed to do more in-ring psychology to extend matches. I liked that... With the "sense of urgency" to win the Women's and Tag Titles, good Intercontinental and WWE Title matches, and everybody maximizing their efforts with more time in place... Show was damn good. Smackdown seems to be performing a better job of getting over midcard talents than RAW and that's where it counts. Every successful wrestling entity MUST be strong at both the top and bottom. I enjoyed this show and several matches are worth going out of your way to see here. [ A- ]


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