With WWE Backlash 2018 concluded, it’s time to look back with another Smack Talk Pay-Per-Viewpoint post-show podcast and reaction/review.
On a general scope, I hated this event, and my reaction following the pre-show ended up carrying itself out for the whole rest of the night, because I just kept harping on one statement: “This is really the best of both worlds you’ve been advertising?”
This screamed of the WWE creative team either not having good ideas, not having any ideas after being burned out, or not even trying to have any ideas because of whatever reason.
If the past few months had been amazing material left and right with no breaks, then I’d give them the benefit of the doubt, but it hasn’t been the case, which really has me worried about the coming months.
This wasn’t even good, let alone the best. This was mostly a waste of time with some really bad decisions mixed in and one segment (The Miz vs. Seth Rollins) that was actually just flat out good—and that certainly wasn’t because of the writing team, as that rests entirely on the shoulders of The Miz and Seth Rollins for pulling that out.
The advertisements were purposely giving off a very simple impression: “If you haven’t been watching the Raw and SmackDown split pay-per-views, because you feel like the matches have been lackluster, we have good news for you. Going forward, the pay-per-views will be co-branded, which means the most important people will be featured on the card all the time. Also, we’ll be focusing our efforts on making those storylines the most engaging and interesting, and you’ll always get your time’s worth, because we’ll make sure that even if Raw and SmackDown have their down times and their meh moments, the special events will be special and fun.”
Instead, we got a repeat of the Bayley and Sasha Banks stuff that we’ve seen stuck in a loop for 3-5 months, a TV filler segment with the conga line and all, the THIRD tag team match where Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman soundly defeat Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, ANOTHER draw between Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles (IE, “we want to have them fight again but can’t figure out how to drag it out”), Nia Jax forcing us to suspend our disbelief so much to believe someone 1/3 her size could dominate her, and a main event where people walk out if they aren’t chanting “this is boring”, because someone thought it would be a smart idea to have the main event be a guy people like lose to a guy most people are frustrated in seeing in the main event after a long series of rest holds where nothing happens until some spears and Superman punches—showing that WWE is refusing to learn from these mistakes with Reigns to book him in a better position where he can actually succeed.
If this is the best of both worlds, then good lord, that isn’t an endorsement. That’s a warning.
The goal here was to get fans so happy that the WWE Universe collectively says “holy shit, we’re going to get events this good every month? That’s awesome! I can’t wait for the next one!”
Instead, it’s done the opposite, on par with telling someone that you can order anything at a restaurant and it’s going to be the best meal ever, only for that person to hate it. You didn’t just earn that restaurant a customer for life. You’ve scared them away from trying anything else, because if that’s the best, everything else must suck, too.
By proxy, if this is the best of both worlds and the jumping off point to convince people that this is the product of WWE trying really hard to win back viewers, you’ve just told them that they might as well not watch Money in the Bank, Extreme Rules and everything else as they’ll probably be just as bad, if not worse, somehow.
Not everything was the worst thing ever, but this is certainly the worst event of the year so far, and we can only hope that nothing manages to challenge it for that title.
For more opinions on the show in more specific detail, check out the latest edition of the Smark Out Moment wrestling podcast SMACK TALK as the panel reviews Backlash with our immediate reactions following the event before the dust has fully settled.
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