Welcome to KB’s Old School (and New School) Reviews. I’ve been reviewing wrestling shows for over ten years now and have reviewed over 5,000 shows. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I’ll be posting a new review here on Wrestlingrumors.net. It could be anything from modern WWE to old school to indies to anything in between. Note that I rate using letters instead of stars and I don’t rate matches under three minutes as really, how good or bad can something that short be?

Backlash 2016
Date: September 11, 2016
Location: Richmond Coliseum, Richmond, Virginia
Attendance: 7,000
Commentators: John Bradshaw Layfield, Mauro Ranallo, David Otunga

For some reason someone wanted me to look at this again and I’m really not sure why. I don’t often get requests for modern shows and while I can remember the show, I’m not sure what to expect here. It isn’t quite a major card but for the main event does have some meaning. This is also the first Smackdown pay per view after the Brand Split so there are some inaugural champions to be decided. Let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: Apollo Crews vs. Baron Corbin

Both of them have only been on the main roster for about five and a half months at this point and this is WAY before Corbin became a thing. Corbin shoves him around to start and then does it again for a bonus. An exchange of shoulders goes to Corbin so Crews goes to the apron. One heck of a right hand puts Crews on the floor and we take a break. Back with Crews kicking away and hitting his jumping clothesline. The Stinger Splash connects but Corbin hits the under the rope clothesline to take Crews down.

One heck of a clothesline gives Corbin two but Crews is right back with a dropkick. The standing moonsault gets two and an Angle Slam gets the same to put them both down again. Deep Six catches Crews for another near fall as they’re going back and forth here. They head outside with Corbin crashing hard into the steps and Crews hammers away back inside. Corbin shoves him off the ropes though and the End of Days is good for the pin at 9:55.

Rating: C+. I’m really not big on Corbin but these two had a heck of a nice match here, which I wouldn’t have expected from these two in this spot. They were going back and forth for just under ten minutes and both guys looked rather nice in the process. I can see why Corbin went somewhere, but it went in such a completely wrong direction that the whole thing fell apart. Crews…..yeah I still can’t explain the whole thing.

The opening video is a text crawl talking about the September 11 attacks from fifteen years earlier. It couldn’t be anything else.

The regular opening video talks about how Smackdown is crowning two inaugural champions here, plus looking at the bigger matches. All as usual in other words.

Here’s Smackdown Commissioner Shane McMahon to get things going because that’s how you open a pay per view. General Manager Daniel Bryan (erg the days of two bosses per show) comes out to join him and it’s time to welcome the fans to the show. Shane talks about all of their ratings success and Bryan runs down the card, in case you just strolled into a pay per view.

Women’s Title: Becky Lynch vs. Natalya vs. Naomi vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Carmella vs. Nikki Bella

This is an elimination match for the inaugural title. Becky gets a big pop and Carmella has been attacking Nikki coming into this. It’s a big brawl to start until Becky and Naomi are left alone in the ring. Becky’s armbars don’t get her very far so Naomi does her dancing kicks, which still aren’t the best idea in the world. A big kick to Becky’s head works a bit better but she’s fine enough to backdrop Naomi outside. Carmella catches Becky on top though and a Stratusphere gets two.

Natalya and Alexa break up the Nikki vs. Carmella standoff so Nikki hits the spinning kick to Alexa for two more. Bliss sends Nikki outside so Natalya runs Bliss over but Becky is back in. Naomi comes back for a Bubba Bomb into Cattle Mutilation on Natalya but that’s broken up as well. Carmella gives Nikki a Downward Spiral into the Cone of Silence to stay on the bad neck. That’s broken up and Nikki takes her up top, only to have Natalya turn it into the Tower of Doom.

Bliss clears the ring until Becky comes back in to go after her arm. Now it’s Nikki cleaning house but Carmella breaks up her big dive. Instead Naomi hits a springboard dive onto everyone, leaving Nikki to frantically adjust her gear. Back in and Natalya loads up Bliss in a powerbomb with Naomi adding a Blockbuster for the first elimination at 9:39.

Naomi headscissors Natalya out to the floor but Nikki punches her out to the air. Natalya sends Nikki outside and the Sharpshooter makes Naomi tap at 10:46. That leaves Natalya and Carmella to team up against Nikki, who fights them both off and hits the Rack Attack 2.0 to finish Natalya at 11:53. Carmella immediately rolls Nikki up for the pin at 12:00, leaving us with Carmella vs. Becky for the title.

Hold on though as Nikki slaps Carmella first, leaving the fans to cheer for Becky even more. Carmella spends a lot of time shouting so Becky comes back with the suplexes to take over. A shot to the face drops Becky but she easily pulls Carmella into the Disarm-Her for the tap and the title at 14:15.

Rating: C+. The match was kind of all over the place at first and focused way too much on Carmella vs. Nikki (I’m as shocked as you are) instead of almost anyone else involved. They did well enough once things started clearing out a bit, but the rest of this fell into the trap of two do stuff and then the others take their place with rather limited transition. Becky winning was the only choice given her competition so at least they got the ending right.

Post match Becky thanks the fans for everything and says this is what Becky Balboa is all about.

Bray Wyatt has attacked Randy Orton and injured his knee. They face each other later tonight.

Tag Team Title Tournament Semifinals: Usos vs. Hype Bros

This is a second chance challenge match for the right to fight for the titles……or a semifinal match for all you normal people out there. American Alpha was supposed to be in the finals but the Usos attacked Chad Gable’s knee and put him on the shelf to force this match. Mojo drops into a three point stance in front of Jey and scores with an early backdrop. Back in and Mojo slams Jey down, setting up a slingshot splash to give Ryder two. Ryder hammers away in the corner but Jimmy breaks up the Broski Boot.

That’s fine with Ryder, who hits a dropkick off the apron and Mojo runs Jimmy over for a bonus. Jey sends Ryder into the buckle back inside though and it’s time for the evil Usos to take over. A backbreaker/running knee combination gets two and we hit the chinlock for a bit. The running Umaga Attack (with Mauro actually getting the name right) connects for two and the chinlock goes on again.

Ryder counters a suplex into a neckbreaker for two but Jey kicks Mojo in the head like a smart villain. As usual, that’s about it for the beatdown though as Ryder clears the ring and makes the hot tag off to Rawley to clean house. Ryder gets two off a super hurricanrana but Rawley gets sent into the barricade. That leaves the Usos to take out Ryder’s knee and the Tequila Sunrise makes Ryder tap at 10:06.

Rating: C+. I wouldn’t have expected the Hype Bros to do this well but it helps when you’re in there with the Usos. The Usos have to be in a match to crown some new champions for the sake of credibility, so it wasn’t like this was the biggest shock. It was quite the surprise that the match worked out this well, but the Hype Bros could rise up to another level when they had the chance.

Rhyno and Heath Slater are ready for the Tag Team Title match but Heath’s stomach is a bit messed up because of bad crab meat. Rhyno: “We’re still live.” Heath: “You’ve been SWERVED!”

Connor’s Cure video.

We recap the Miz defending the Intercontinental Title against Dolph Ziggler. This comes off of the near legendary Daniel Bryan “you wrestle like a coward” promo on Talking Smack, which somehow set up Ziggler getting a shot. See, Ziggler needed to prove himself (again) because being a multiple time World Champion didn’t count because….uh, reasons.

In the back, Miz tells Daniel Bryan that he wants to renegotiate his contract and that’s going to get even worse after he retains the title.

Intercontinental Title: The Miz vs. Dolph Ziggler

Miz, with Maryse is defending. Ziggler spinebusters him down to start and hammers away, sending Miz bailing to the floor early on. Back in and Ziggler easily wrestles him down for some near falls so Miz wisely goes to the ropes. A slam plants Ziggler and Miz stomps away as the pace slows a bit. Ziggler isn’t having that and snaps off some dropkicks but Miz is back with a catapult to send him throat first into the bottom rope. The bow and arrow works on Ziggler’s back before Miz catapults him out to the floor.

Miz drops him onto the barricade for two back inside as things slow down for real this time. The chinlock goes on and the comeback attempt earns Ziggler a face first toss into the corner. Miz grabs the surfboard ala Daniel Bryan and then stomps down onto Ziggler’s knees, also ala Bryan. We’ll keep up the Bryan tribute with the running corner dropkicks and YES pose, followed by the running corner clothesline.

The Skull Crushing Finale is countered though and Ziggler nails a dropkick. The clothesline comeback is on and it’s a spinebuster into right hands on Miz. Ziggler gets two off a sunset flip and sends him shoulder first into the post. Miz is right back with a sitout powerbomb before starting in on Ziggler’s knee. The Figure Four is broken up though and Ziggler grabs the sleeper as the submissions continue their trip back to 1982.

Miz slips out so Ziggler grabs the jumping DDT for two more. The superkick is countered into Miz’s short DDT and now the Figure Four can go on. Ziggler gets to the rope so Miz kicks him in the head, earning himself a superkick for a VERY close two. Miz has to be thrown back inside, allowing Maryse to get in some hairspray to the face. That’s enough to set up the Skull Crushing Finale to retain Miz’s title at 18:20.

Rating: B+. Yeah they were using a lot of basic stuff here, but they were using it in a way that made you want to see how it was going to go. Miz worked on Ziggler’s leg and Ziggler tried to set him up for the superkick. It became a bit of a chess match as they were trying to get to that final moment and that’s how you build to a climax. Heck of a match here, as Miz is still able to have this kind of a match under the right circumstances.

The Kickoff Show panel recaps the Kickoff Show in a panel discussion.

Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton

I forgot how much I missed Broken Out In Love. Actually hang on as Orton has a bad knee and can’t win, so after the ten count, Bray wins by forfeit.

Hold on though as we have a replacement for a No Holds Barred match.

Kane vs. Bray Wyatt

No Holds Barred. It’s a slugout to start with Kane taking him to the floor for a clothesline. Bray gets sent into the timekeeper’s area but comes out with a bell shot to the head. Back in and Bray hammers away before getting in a hard shot to the knee to cut Kane off. Some chair shots put Kane down again and then some chair shots put Kane down again. Kane comes back with a DDT onto the chair but it’s way too early for the chokeslam.

They head outside where another chokeslam is broken up, this time with a right hand to the face. The announcers’ table is loaded up and there’s a running backsplash to send Kane through it for the big crash. Back in and Sister Abigail is countered into a quick chokeslam for two. Bray manages a release Rock Bottom onto the chair but here’s Randy Orton for the RKO. Kane adds a chokeslam for the pin at 10:57.

Rating: C. Not much to see here but the point was to have Orton get one over on Bray and that worked out well enough. Kane is fine for a fill in spot like this and him beating Wyatt isn’t the biggest stretch in the world. If nothing else, it’s weird to see Wyatt in this old deal after his crazy transformation just a few weeks later.

AJ Styles talks to a few young guys and knows it by looking at them: they are destined for failure, but at least they got to meet him!

We look back at the Usos winning earlier.

Tag Team Titles: Usos vs. Heath Slater/Rhino

For the inaugural titles and Slater/Rhino are the wacky thrown together team. The fans are behind Slater as he forearms Jey down to start. Rhino and Jimmy come in for the ECW chants and Jimmy gets knocked down with a knee to the ribs. Slater comes back in and is quickly knocked out to the floor in a heap.

We hit a….sliding chinlock (ok then) back inside but Slater it out even faster. That earns him something like a top rope Demolition Decapitator and we hit the chinlock. Slater gets driven into the corner and a legdrop makes it worse. A clothesline gets Slater out of trouble and it’s back to Rhino for the hot tag so house can be cleaned. The Gore only hits the buckle so Slater tags himself back in to DDT Jey. Jimmy makes the save but walks into the Gore, allowing Slater to get the pin and the titles at 9:56.

Rating: C-. This was just a TV match and nothing more, which isn’t exactly the most thrilling thing to see on a pay per view. Slater and Rhino winning is the right way to go as you can only get so far with the Usos winning. They’re the established team, so why waste your time with having them get another title win here? Not a bad match, but I won’t remember it in half an hour.

Post match Slater is rather pleased at getting the title (and a contract on Smackdown) because this is the biggest moment of his life. Slater: “Aside from a couple of my kids being born.” What matters most though: HE’S GETTING A DOUBLE WIDE!!!

And now, a KFC ad featuring Dolph Ziggler as Colonel Sanders beating up Miz in a chicken suit.

We recap AJ Styles challenging Dean Ambrose for the World Title. Styles beat John Cena at Summerslam and wants the World Title, though Ambrose isn’t exactly taking this seriously. He keeps telling AJ that he isn’t getting a trophy for being second best, but Styles wants the WWE Title.

Smackdown World Title: AJ Styles vs. Dean Ambrose

Ambrose is defending and is taken down in short order. Some rollups give Styles two each and it’s another early standoff. Styles wrestles him down and tells Ambrose that he owns him so Ambrose is back up with armdrags. A slam sends AJ bailing to the floor as things stop for a breather. AJ gets Ambrose to chase him though and the stomping is on, only to have Ambrose knock him outside again.

Ambrose’s suicide dive is cut off with a trip and it’s time to work on the neck. The drop down into the dropkick gets a nice reaction from the crowd, along with a two count. The jumping knee gets the same and AJ knees him in the face a few more times. Ambrose fights back but charges shoulder first into the post to cut that off in a hurry. AJ misses his own charge though and Dean hits a top rope belly to back superplex, with AJ flipping onto his face to make it worse.

A swinging Rock Bottom backbreaker gives Ambrose two and the top rope standing elbow (I’ve missed that one) hits AJ on the floor. Back in and a double chickenwing facebuster gets two more but Styles suplexes him into the corner. It’s way too early for either finisher so AJ crushes the knee in the corner to take over again. The leg cranking is on so Ambrose uses the good leg to kick his way to freedom.

Not that it matters as AJ is right back with the Calf Crusher, with Ambrose having to make the crawl to the rope. The hold goes on again so this time Ambrose bounces his head off the mat for the break. Ambrose has to climb the ropes to escape the Styles Clash so they head to the apron, where a heck of a catapult sends AJ into the heck of a hard post. Back in and Ambrose gets two off la majistral, only to get caught in the fireman’s carry backbreaker.

AJ: “Let’s see if he gets up from this one.” The springboard 450 connects and we do see Ambrose get up from this one. Ambrose slugs away and hits a running dropkick to put AJ on the floor again. Now the big dive can connect and AJ is thrown over the barricade. The running dive from the announcers’ tables over the barricade drops AJ and the rebound lariat does it again back inside. Dirty Deeds is broken up and the referee gets bumped, allowing AJ to hit a low blow into the Styles Clash for the pin and the title at 24:57.

Rating: A-. I really liked this one as they built up the story of Ambrose being a wild brawler and AJ slowly reeling him in for the catch because Styles is that much better. The leg work was good, though Ambrose kind of dropped it near the end. Styles had to get the title here and WWE was smart enough to not do something crazy like try to stretch it out. This was the right call with the right choice and the match was pretty great.

AJ looks very pleased that he won and poses to end the show.

Overall Rating: B+. This was a rather good show here and Smackdown gets off to a nice start. They did the historical stuff with the title changes and there was nothing bad throughout the card. I wasn’t expecting much out of this show and I barely remembered the thing in the first place so this was a heck of a nice surprise. Very good show here and the main event is worth seeing for some nice storytelling.

Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. Get the latest and greatest in professional wrestling news by signing up for our daily email newsletter. Just look below for “GET EXCLUSIVE UPDATES” to sign up. Thank you for reading!


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