The Backlash event returned after a long hiatus as a brand exclusive event for Smackdown. Last night we saw a few new champions and a lot of great moments. We’ll talk about AJ Styles, Becky Lynch, and more inside!
Alright, let’s get the big one out of the way first. AJ Styles finally won the big one and captured the WWE World Championship from Dean Ambrose after a low blow and a Styles Clash. With the win, Styles becomes the first individual to hold the WWE World Title, the IWGP World Title, and the TNA World Title. AJ is definitely in a class of his own.
Many people are going to focus on the fact that he won the match in a dirty way. I certainly couldn’t care less how he won it. AJ is a heel after all, what does everyone expect? Sure, AJ may become the good guy soon, but he hasn’t yet. At the end of the day, this is wrestling. There can’t always be a photo finish, nobody would ever watch if that were the case. The Miz has made a a career of stealing championships and he’s been great at it.
No matter how AJ won the title, Backlash 2016 will forever be known for that win. Make no mistake, this was AJ’s moment after year’s of toiling away in every other company out there. Styles finally came into WWE and did exactly what everyone expected him to do. He rose to the top.
Nobody deserved to be a champion more than AJ Styles after all the years of speculation about his arrival. There were always rumours that he wasn’t what WWE was looking for. That he was too small. That he didn’t have the right look. That nobody knew who he was. After awhile, the excuses ran out. AJ Styles won one of the two top titles in the top wrestling promotion in the world in spite of every person who was against hiring him. The fans always knew what he could be. He always knew what he could be. Now WWE finally sees what he can be.
They don’t call him The Phenomenal One for nothing.
What can’t I say about Becky Lynch? I almost look at her as the forgotten one out of the Four Horsewomen. I don’t say that as a slight to her at all. She always seemed like the workhorse out of that group of women. Becky has been one of the most polished female wrestlers on the roster for some time now. She can be trusted to have a good match with any woman on the roster. Becky is also arguably one of the most popular female stars that WWE has. Those are the things that made last night so special.
The Lass Kicker finally got the chance to hold the SmackDown Women’s Championship after eliminating Carmella with the Dis-Arm-Her. A few weeks ago, I wrote about how cool it was to see the excitement on Becky’s face seeing the SmackDown women’s title for the first time. Last night I had that same feeling while watching Becky get handed the title for the first time. She didn’t know what to do with it. It was like she was in awe of the moment.
Becky Lynch reminded me why I love wrestling. The outcomes of every match might be pre-determined, but the work it takes to get there is not. Each man and woman that walks in that ring strives to be the very best at what they do. Every Superstar works day in and day out tirelessly to one day be at the top of the mountain, if only for a short period of time.
What many people don’t know is that Becky Lynch almost quit wrestling after a 2006 injury. She ended up slowly making her way back before signing in NXT. Some wrestlers never make it back. She did. Not only did she make it back, but she became one of the best females on a very talented female roster. At Backlash, it was the realization of a dream for a girl from Ireland who finally made it to the top. Now let’s see what she can do as champion!
What a smart pairing between Heath Slater and Rhyno. These two have been entertaining and are the prototypical odd-couple, but they work so well together. Heath Slater is definitely having the best run of his career. He’s showing everyone that he can be bigger star than WWE has allowed him to be thus far. Rhyno is the muscle, Heath is the entertainment. Now this probably won’t be a long-term thing, but for right now this is ok. I was skeptical about handing American Alpha the titles already because they’d have little to accomplish after that. Sometimes the chase is better than the win.
I really hope that Heath doesn’t fizzle out after this angle. Turning heel and attacking Rhyno may be the best thing for his career, but we’ll see what direction WWE decided to go on that one. Regardless, I was content with the tag-title win. I’m certainly happy that there will be a bit more competition on SmackDown now.
Dolph Ziggler loses again. How long will it be before Dolph actually gets a high-profile championship victory? At this point it may never happen again. Time to form a new Spirit Squad? Seriously though, has there ever been a more misused Superstar than Ziggler. This guy is good and he’s falling into the same old holes every week.
The Miz continued his reign with help from Maryse. Keep these heel tactics going, it works. The Miz may become the most hated man in WWE history when all is said and done. I’d love to see him hold the title until Wrestlemania. Why not? There aren’t enough effective heels anymore and Miz is certainly proving the he is.
Carmella was a bright spot in the women’s match. She mixed it up with everyone and continued to look strong despite the loss. This girl is going to be a big deal in short order on SmackDown. Turning her heel was a spectacular decision!
Alexa Bliss knew she wouldn’t be in the Women’s Title match long so she decided to stand out with her attire. Smart move be the up and coming diva to make a visual statement. Make them remember you.
Dean Ambrose lost the title after a decent reign. What’s next for Dean? Could he be the next big bad guy on SmackDown? I can see it. I just don’t see many faces other than AJ if he could turn back. Orton will definitely be heel before long. Bray already is. Tough cal, but I’ve enjoyed watching Ambrose evolve into a credible World Champion.
Orton still isn’t cleared after SummerSlam. That’s worrisome. Hopefully Randy can come back sooner than later. Orton still has some great feuds that have yet to be realized.
Kane, live on the WWE Network. It was nice to see The Big Red Machine make an appearance against Wyatt last night. Kane’s days are surely winding to an end as an active performer. It’s going to be hard to replace people like him and The Big Show when they hang the boots up. WWE is set to lose some of their most unique personalities in the coming years. Undertaker, Kane, Big Show, Triple H, Goldust, and more are in the twilight of their careers.
Backlash was one of the best WWE events in a long time as far as doing service to the fans. Most people went home happy last night and that’s what WWE is all about.