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 2020
Date: June 14, 2020
Location: WWE Performance Center, Orlando, Florida
Commentators: Michael Cole, Corey Graves, Tom Phillips, Samoa Joe, Byron Saxton

It’s back to pay per view again and this time it’s not a themed show. The main event certainly has a theme though, as Edge and Randy Orton are supposed to have the Greatest Wrestling Match Ever. I’m not sure if anyone actually sees that as being a realistic possibility, but it’s a heck of a tagline. Let’s get to it.

Kickoff Show: United States Title: Andrade vs. Apollo Crews

Andrade is challenging and has Zelina Vega and Angel Garza with him. Hold on though as here’s Kevin Owens (with a tie) to join commentary. Crews misses the dropkick to start and gets caught in a headlock as Owens accuses Garza of not being so angelic. Andrade chokes on the rope and they head outside where Crews backdrops him onto the ramp. The apron moonsault connects and Andrade is rocked early on.

Back in and the release Falcon Arrow gives Crews two but Andrade drop toeholds him face first into the middle buckle. The Alberto double stomp misses and Crews grabs an overhead belly to belly into the corner. Crews suplexes him to the apron and Andrade gets in a slingshot DDT for two. Back up and Crews hits the gorilla press into the standing moonsault. Owens cuts off Garza and the toss powerbomb retains the title at 7:23.

Rating: C-. Totally run of the mill Raw match here though Owens as a potential challenger is interesting. He’s needed something to do since Wrestlemania (and yes the injury slowed him down) so a US Title run could be interesting. Just do something of note with him for the sake of not having him float around. Crews doesn’t seem like a long term champion, but at least he didn’t lose the title immediately.

The opening video is all about Edge vs. Orton, complete with clips of other great matches. The two World Title matches apparently aren’t important enough to warrant even a clip.

Bayley and Sasha Banks are ready to defend the Women’s Tag Team Titles. After dubbing herself Bayley Dos Straps (I didn’t know you could use that word), Bayley says nothing is stopping her friendship with Sasha. If Kayla has another stupid question like that, get Charly Caruso to ask it. Burn…..maybe?

Women’s Tag Team Titles: Bayley/Sasha Banks vs. IIconics vs. Nikki Cross/Alexa Bliss

Bayley and Banks are defending and Cole makes it clear that you can only tag your own partner. Nikki slugs away at Billie and Bayley to start but the double teaming slows her down. Everyone tags out and it’s a six way staredown for a second. An exchange of rollups gets a bunch of near falls and then more rollups get more near falls to change things up. Everyone comes in again until Bliss sends Peyton into Banks in the corner.

Peyton spinwheel kicks Cross down and Banks brings in Bayley as Cole lists off all of the titles that Bayley has won over the years. Bayley grabs Billie in a wheelbarrow so Banks can hit a running knee for two with Nikki making a save. Nikki sends Bayley into Billie and it’s back to Bliss to clean house. Everything breaks down and Royce crossbodies Bliss and Banks off the apron onto everyone else. Back in and Twisted Bliss hits Peyton but Banks steals the rollup on Bliss to retain at 8:49.

Rating: C. The match was non-stop action for the most part but it was so fast paced that it got messy by the end. That’s almost always going to be the case with this many people flying around the match at once and that’s not always the best idea. They’ve done a nice job of rebuilding the division in a hurry though and it’s because of a really simple idea: have people fight over the titles. I have no idea if this is going to last (it probably won’t) but it has been a nice few weeks for the belts. Or straps as Bayley now calls them.

Braun Strowman came to work earlier today.

Extreme Rules is on July 19.

We recap Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus. Hardy is back after a knee injury and Sheamus doesn’t like him for having so many personal demons. Sheamus may have framed him for a drunk driving crash that took out Elias but Hardy swears he was framed. Then there was some stuff with bodily fluids to bring things down a good bit.

Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus

Hardy grabs a headlock to start as his artistic way of expressing his anger at someone who almost cost him everything. The slingshot dropkick in the corner connects but Sheamus comes straight back with the running shot to the face. They head outside with Hardy diving off the steps to take him down and, after a painful obvious spot call, sends Sheamus back inside. Hardy teases using the steps but Sheamus catches him on the way back in and drives the elbows into the back of the neck.

Sheamus drops Hardy onto the top and the knee hits the post for a nasty crash. A middle rope knee gives Sheamus two and, after calling the fans enablers, he plants Hardy with some Irish Curses for the same. Sheamus hits a nasty running knee to the face and the chinlock goes on, complete with some rakes to the eyes. Hardy fights up with a belly to back suplex but Sheamus cuts him down with a clothesline.

The top rope clothesline misses though and Hardy hits the Whisper in the Wind for two of his own. The legdrop between the legs into the basement dropkick gets two and Hardy adds a mule kick. Hardy’s Sling Blade lets him go up top but Sheamus meets him on the rope. That’s broken up but Sheamus blocks the dive and hits White Noise for two. Hardy’s knee is banged up so Sheamus slaps on the Texas Cloverleaf.

Hardy makes the rope so Sheamus starts kicking at the knee and adds the forearms to the chest. Sheamus goes shoulder first into the post though and the Swanton connects for two with Sheamus getting his foot on the rope. They head outside with Hardy trying the run off the barricade but Sheamus Brogue Kicks him out of the air. Back in and another Brogue Kick connects to give Sheamus the pin 16:45.

Rating: B-. Pretty good power vs. speed match here but it’s pretty clear that they are heading for a gimmick rematch at Extreme Rules. I’m almost scared to imagine what that is going to be given how they have set things up so far, but hopefully we can get something as lame as a tables match or something instead. Hardy being knocked backwards and then overcoming the odds will be fine. It’s not like losing to Sheamus is some big upset.

Miz and Morrison aren’t happy with hearing that if they beat Braun Strowman, the winner will be the sole Universal Champion. Otis comes in to say they might not be champion that long. Mandy Rose clarifies that Otis means they might not be champion that long.

We recap Asuka vs. Nia Jax. Asuka won Money in the Bank to become champion and Nia is being her usual jerk of a self. Title match ensues.

Raw Women’s Title: Nia Jax vs. Asuka

Asuka is defending and goes for the sleeper early. That’s broken up and Nia hits a headbutt, only to have Asuka grab an Octopus in the middle of the ring. Nia powers out without much trouble and, after shrugging off a Fujiwara armbar attempt, runs Asuka over with straight power. The spinebuster sets up a cobra clutch but Asuka is back with a guillotine.

Nia powers out with a Jackhammer for two but Asuka scores with the Shining Wizard for the same. A middle rope dropkick gets two and there’s the running hip attack for two more. Jax grabs a sitout powerbomb for two of her own and Asuka goes for the armbar. That sends them outside where Asuka grabs the armbar again. The hold takes some time though and Asuka kicks her in the head, only for both of them to get counted out at 8:25.

Rating: C. It was a fun match while it lasted with Asuka trying to take down the monster, but it’s a little hard to get invested in the feud when the monster has been slayed so many times before. It feels like we’ve seen the same Jax story over and over and that can get old in a hurry. Not a bad match at all, but I’m not really wanting to see them fight again, especially if they manage to get Charlotte involved.

MVP is getting Bobby Lashley’s celebration ready when Lana comes in. Lana asks why MVP has banned her from ringside for Lashley’s matches, but MVP says he didn’t do it. Go ask Lashley why, unless she’s scared of the answer.

We recap Braun Strowman vs. Miz/Morrison for the Universal Title. Strowman beat both of them and then agreed to face them both at once, so they started “pranking” him, meaning destroying the windshield of his expensive car and failing to slime him. Strowman wrecked a van and is ready to destroy.

Smackdown World Title: Miz/John Morrison vs. Braun Strowman

Miz and Morrison are challenging and before the match, they show us their new music video for Hey Hey Ho Ho. Morrison is knocked into the corner without much trouble so it’s off to the terrified Miz for a kick to the face. That just annoys Strowman, who kicks Miz outside. The freight train around the ring is cut off by a dive from Morrison and the champ is in trouble for a change.

The chinlock keeps Strowman down and Miz comes in for the YES Kicks. He wants some singalong time, but the delay lets Strowman get in a chop. A charge goes into the post though and Morrison adds the Flying Chuck. The Skull Crushing Finale with a stomp from Morrison connects but they fight over who gets the pin. Miz finally lets Morrison cover but Strowman kicks him out to the floor. The chokeslam plants Miz and the running powerslam to Strowman retains the title at 8:23.

Rating: D+. So that’s about exactly what was expected and all it should have been. This was a pretty big waste of a pay per view title match (put Nakamura in there for a one off challenger if nothing else) as we’ve seen Strowman beat both of them before. Did we really need to see him beat both of them on pay per view?

We look at AJ Styles winning the Intercontinental Title over Daniel Bryan on Smackdown.

Styles promises a big title presentation on Friday and wants Bryan there. Bryan is great, but he isn’t phenomenal and has a lot to learn.

We recap Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley. MVP has gotten in Lashley’s ear and made him a lot more aggressive, plus getting him his first title match in thirteen years. McIntyre knows what a threat Lashley is but is ready to fight as usual.

Raw World Title: Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre

Drew is defending and MVP is here with Lashley. Before the bell, Lashley grabs the full nelson with a bodyscissors and a bunch of referees have to pull it off. McIntyre says ring the bell anyway so Lashley throws him down for two. We see Lana watching in the back as McIntyre can’t even get his gear off. Lashley hits a knee to the head and chokes on the rope (MVP: “How you feeling champ? Feeling like a loser yet? Don’t worry. It’s coming.”).

McIntyre manages to knock Lashley outside and drives him back first into the Plexiglas. A glare at MVP takes too long though and Lashley gets in a hard shot. MVP: “One, two, you hear the clock ticking.” Lashley sends McIntyre into the post but he charges into a suplex into the barricade. McIntyre muscles him up for a suplex and hits the top rope shot to the head back inside.

The spinebuster gets two but Lashley hits his own for one. Lashley grabs a lifting Downward Spiral for one more so MVP tells him to hit something McIntyre can’t kick out of. The full nelson doesn’t work so Lashley climbs to the middle rope, only to get countered with the reverse Alabama Slam for two. Lashley is right back with a Crossface but McIntyre powers up. A Tombstone is teased but Lashley slips out and grabs the ankle lock.

That’s broken up and McIntyre grabs a Kimura of all things. Lashley grabs the rope so McIntyre takes him to the top for a superplex and a big crash. The Claymore is countered with the spear for two and both MVP and Lashley are shocked. Cue Lana to get on the apron though, with McIntyre hitting the Glasgow Kiss to knock Lashley into her. The Claymore finishes Lashley at 13:15.

Rating: B. This was the match I was looking forward to in the buildup and they delivered with a good, hard hitting fight. They made this two big, strong guys beating each other up, but the Lana interference was annoying. Odds are we have a Last Man Standing match or a cage match next month, as the rematch is certainly warranted. Plus a lot of Lashley yelling at Lana of course. Oh and a lot of credit for MVP here too. I was never a fan of his back in the day but he has been pure gold in this role with Lashley.

The announcers talk about the Raw Tag Team Title match and we cut to the back where the teams are fighting near Strowman’s car. Erik is slammed through the windshield so they run off and fight into the building. We enter cinematic mode with the Profits pulling out golf clubs but the Raiders counter with shields, an axe and a bowling ball. Profits: “NO!” The chase is on again and they go into a tunnel where they agree to put their weapons down.

The Profits hits them in the face to take over, leaving Ivar with his bowling ball. Ivar flashes back to the bowling match, then rolls the ball down the tunnel between Ford’s legs. Ivar heads outside to find Erik down but Dawkins spears Ivar through a glass door. That means another flashback to bowling where they pulled a turkey leg out of the ball return. With that out of the way, Ivar wants to head outside, where they already are.

Cue a seven person motorcycle gang, as led by Akira Tozawa. He says anything you can do, we can do better, and throws his helmet at Ivar. The Raiders and the Profits huddle up (with a camera looking up at them), to say those are ninjas on bikes. They have to do this together, so a bunch of lightning strikes and they pull out red solo cups and turkey legs.

With a Viking Profits graphic coming up, they want the smoke and start beating up the ninjas with the cups and turkey legs. The ninjas are dispatched and the Viking Profits throw their fists together for a pose. Tozawa gets up to shout a lot and waves a huge ninja (as in over 7’) over. Ivar summons a turkey leg ala Captain America and the hammer in Avengers so the ninja pulls out a sword.

They climb onto the top of the production truck with Ivar not being able to keep up. Then they argue over who beat up the ninjas and start fighting again, with Dawkins diving off the truck with a bulldog to send Erik into a trashcan. Ivar throws Ford in, shouts AIR IVAR, and Swantons in after them. That means another flashback to all of the women finding Ivar cute but not so much with Erik. Cue referee Jessika Carr to say their match is next and that Ivar is cute, but not so much with Erik. Then what looks like an alligator tail appears in the trashcan and they all scramble to escape.

That was such a waste of time that I don’t know where to start. The only thing I can say is this: just wrestle. Have the two talented teams who have torn the house down before tear it down again. This match was announced earlier today and we get this stupid thing to flash back to the month long series of jokes that have left everyone involved looking goofy. The Raw Tag Team Titles haven’t been defended in over two months, but we’ve had bowling and basketball between the teams that had a non-title match before the whole thing started. Just have a freaking match already. Is that too much to ask on the wrestling show?

And no, the match isn’t taking place, because they set up the match about eight hours ago just to not do it on the pay per view.

Commentary announces that they will be offering an enhanced viewing and audio experience for the next match.

We recap Edge vs. Randy Orton. Edge won in a Last Man Standing match at Wrestlemania and now it’s a wrestling match, which will be the Greatest Wrestling Match Ever because that’s what they billed it as and that’s what it’s going to be.

Edge vs. Randy Orton

They pipe in the fake crowd noise on the entrances, just in case you were wondering what you were getting here. We get a voiceover from Howard Finkel and the old MSG microphone for the entrances as Charles Robinson is wearing the 1980s WWF referee uniform. After referee instructions, Tom instantly declares this the greatest wrestling match ever. Edge snaps off some armdrags but the third misses as Orton puts on the brakes. Orton grabs a headscissors with Edge powering out in a hurry.

They trade leapfrogs until Orton sends him outside. Edge suckers him in for a big boot though and they press play on the “crowd cheers” audio file. Back in and Edge armdrags him into an armbar (they’re playing up the history of injuries, with Edge’s neck and Orton’s shoulder), with Edge wrapping the legs around Orton’s arm. It’s off to a headlock but Orton gets up to take him into the corner and kick at the leg.

A headscissors sends Orton outside and Edge goes up, only to have Orton pop up top to meet him. Edge headbutts him down and Orton is busted open, prompting some far louder than possible THIS IS AWESOME chants from the crowd. Back in and Orton misses the RKO so Edge can grab the head and arm choke, sending Orton over to the ropes. They fight to the floor with Orton sending him into various things and then drops him onto the announcers’ table.

Back in and Orton goes with the Garvin Stomp, followed by the chinlock. That’s broken up so Orton looks up and hits two out of Three Amigos. Edge blocks the third and hits his own Three Amigos to put them both down. They head outside again with Edge being sent chest first into the post, setting up a top rope superplex back inside. Joe: “EDGE IS NOT GOOD RIGHT NOW!”

That gets two and they get back up for stereo crossbodies and another knockdown. Edge drapes him over the top and hits the Edgecution for two, followed by a knee to the face. A sliding forearm to the chest (Joe: “Stee-rike!”) gets two on Orton and a high crossbody is good for the same. Edge gets the Crossface on the shoulder he hasn’t been working on but Orton switches into a rollup for two instead. Orton snaps off an Angle Slam for two and the frustration is setting in.

Back up and Edge can’t hit an Unprettier but manages to counter the RKO into the Edge-O-Matic for two. Now the Unprettier connects for two, followed by Orton hitting a Pedigree for the same. Edge busts out a Rock Bottom for his own near fall and they’re both down again. The Edgecator is blocked and Orton hits the RKO for the closest near fall yet. Orton can’t believe it so Edge spears him down and hits a second for two, meaning it’s time for him to be stunned as well. Edge goes back to the head and arm choke but Orton goes low and hits the Punt for the win at 44:49.

Rating: B. This was a great example of a lot of the problems with WWE in a nutshell. They have some outstanding talents and wrestlers, but they can’t just let them do their thing. Instead it was over hyped, overproduced and overly long (this easily could have been trimmed down by twenty minutes) and now we’re going to hear about how great it was for the next few days. Why can’t it just stand on its own as a big match between two of the best ever?

It was a heck of a match too, with both guys working on their opponent’s weak spots and playing off the history. I could have gone without bringing in the legends’ finishers, but it tied in a bit to the legends being brought in for predictions. The problem wasn’t the wrestlers or what they did, but all of the additional weight that was put on them, which may have been a nice marketing idea on paper, but didn’t do anyone involved any favors.

Post match Orton whispers something in Edge’s ear (sounded something like telling Edge’s daughters Uncle Randy says hi but I couldn’t make it out) and Edge is helped up after a long while to end the show.

Overall Rating: B-. I’m not sure what to think of this show as the wrestling was pretty good for the most part, but between the back to back cinematic matches and the feeling that it was a dress rehearsal for Extreme Rules, it was a little hard to care. It did exceed my expectations, but sweet goodness can we cool it on the cinematic matches already? It feels like we’re getting at least one per show now and that’s a good bit too much.

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.

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