4 Right/4 Wrongs of WWE Backlash 2017 – Mahal makes both lists?

Backlash 2017 was – in a word – wild. There have been better SmackDown pay-per-views, but this was quite possibly the strangest mix of matches and outcomes. It was a diverse card and the creative team made it clear from the outset that ‘unpredictability’ was the word of the night. By the end of the evening, they delivered on that in spades. Let’s take a closer look at Backlash 2017.

Worst Things

    1. Jinder Mahal wins the WWE Championship

A jobber has won the most prestigious prize in American professional wrestling. A stooge for a celebrity appearance at WrestleMania. A released and rehired hand that had been used only months ago to help get over Heath Slater. A run-of-the-mill Anti-American heel whose credibility extends back four weeks at most. Jinder Mahal has captured, albeit with some aid from the Singh Brothers, the WWE Championship from Randy Orton. I am speechless.

      1. Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

A colossal disappointment. Shinsuke Nakamura, while proving himself absolutely excellent in NJPW and parts of NXT, has succumbed to a very formulaic and predictable ‘WWE style’ that has neutered his match ups. Shinsuke is a wild card and an electric performer, oozing charisma in a way few ever have in the WWE. It is painful – and I say this with little exaggeration – to see him shoehorned into a sluggish and boring event opener with Dolph Ziggler. And this isn’t a dig to Mr. Ziggler – I feel just as bad that he hasn’t been given the full canvas on which to paint.

        1. Women’s Six-Person Tag match

WWE Backlash 2017 - six woman match

While no one looked especially bad in this match (save for Ms. Lynch eating the pinfall), the overall contest was a mess. From start to finish, it felt haphazardly slapped together – missing any semblance of energy or emotion. I shouldn’t have expected much out of six-person tag, but the sheer density of talent involved left me disappointed. I certainly hope this was not indicative of the future of the Blue Brand’s women.

        1. Erick Rowan vs. Luke Harper

I just forgot this was going to happen and I forgot that it had happened. A feud between an ex-Wyatt Family member and a current Wyatt Family member should not be a filler match that is forgotten both quickly and easily. Nothing against the quality of the match and certainly nothing against the victor, but a winner this was not.

Best Things

        1. Jinder Mahal wins the WWE Championship

The WWE has taken a chance and rolled the dice! While he has little-to-no credibility, Jinder has successfully utilized his lackeys, the Singh Brothers, to ascend quickly the ladder of the WWE in a way that is both frustratingly believable and criminally inspiring. Jinder has made an incredibly effecting heel out of a very trite formula, promising great things for his future as WWE Champion. We always ask for something different, and here it is. Run with it Jinder!

        1. AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens

WWE Backlash 2017 - AJ Styles vs Kevin OwensHey, what a surprise! Two of the best wrestlers in the world put on an incredible match! While the fight took a bit to kick into gear, when it finally did settle into a solid pace it never once faltered. I’d like to give special praise to the near-genius finish that kept both men looking great in victory and defeat, respectively. I was absolutely baffled in the best of ways and I cannot wait to see what comes of this feud.

        1. The Fashion Police vs. The Usos

This was an incredibly fun and thoroughly entertaining match that would have scored second place if not for the finish hinging on a total no-sell by the Usos after a pretty slick dive to the outside by Fandango. Every other aspect of the match was pure gold especially Breeze’s several disguises and outlandish offensive and defensive tactics. I need a lot more of this on SmackDown for the foreseeable future.

        1. Sami Zayn wins a match

He won a match, everyone. Believe it or not, Sami Zayn won a match – and on pay-per-view no less. I almost put the pre-show English vs. Dillinger on here due to it being a pretty fun and relatively memorable match, but nothing edges out the Underdog from the Underground actually scoring a pinfall.

While I did enjoy the rollercoaster-esque ups-and-downs of the evening, this was not SmackDown’s best showing. There were some high highs and the end of the main event left my jaw quite askew; however, the disappointments brought me down in no small way and detracted from my satisfaction on the whole.

Grade: B-

Predict-O-Meter: 5/8

Have a different perspective on 2017’s Backlash? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to tune in to SmackDown Live on Tuesday night for the fallout. Meet me back here soon as we gear up for the Raw’s Extreme Rules.

Photo Credit: WWE.com

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