Despite no fans, WWE has continued to have their regularly scheduled T.V. shows and pay-per-views, with every event taking place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, FL. Backlash was the recent pay-per-view in the pandemic era of WWE.

Originally, eight matches were scheduled to take place but we ended up with seven (more on that match later) with one on the pre-show with five titles on the line. The main story heading in was a gimmick style “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” between two legends taking place in the main event. How did the 2020 edition of Backlash here? Here are my thoughts on grades on each match.

United States Championship – Apollo Crews (c) def. Andrade (pre-show)

Credit: WWE.com

Grade: A-

Angel Garza and Zelina Vega joined Andrade on the lone pre-show match while Kevin Owens joined the commentary team. With these guys, I expected a solid match to kick-off the show. Crews and Andrade delivered with a combination of technical precision and their high-flying moves.

Most of the time, kickoff matches are lower-level matches with not a ton of excitement but this was the rare exception as this was one of the better matches of the night. Owens helping Crews after Garza tried to interfere in the match suggests that we may see a Crews/Owens program down the line, which should be a good one. It’ll be interesting to see if we see a fallout between Andrade/Garza/Vega with the tension hitting a high point this past Sunday.

Women’s Tag Team Championship – Bayley and Sasha Banks (c) def. Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross, and The IIconics (Billie Kay and Peyton Royce)

Credit: WWE.com

Grade: B-

Triple threat tag match can be tricky at times, given that there are three superstars in the match at the same time but the pacing here was solid throughout. The opening part of the match had a lot of action throughout with a lot of pin attempts and reversals.

Everyone got a chance to shine here and the ending was a good call where Bliss hit Royce with the Twisted Bliss finisher and Banks ran in and rolled her up to steal the win. This was a great way to establish the heel team of Banks and Bayley more now that they are set to defend their titles on NXT this week against Shotzi Blackheart and Tegan Nox. The women’s tag team division is coming along nicely after months and months of struggles.

Sheamus def. Jeff Hardy

Credit: WWE.com

Grade: C-

The storyline heading into the match was questioned by most, even though Hardy signed off on it. With that being said, many fans (including myself) felt that using his real-life issues with drugs and alcohol in a feud is a bad decision.

The buildup was odd and the match was okay, to say the least. It felt a little sloppy at times and a lot of moves and counters looked predictable at times. Having Sheamus win was an odd choice given the amount of push Hardy has received.

Raw Women’s Championship – Asuka (c) vs. Nia Jax ended in a double count-out

Credit: WWE.com

Grade: C-

This could have been a better match and the double count-out makes this less satisfying. Jax showed her power from the start and Asuka was able to stay grounded. The chemistry here was a little off with is odd given that Asuka is known as one of the better workers in the business but she was still entertaining here.

Given the outcome of the match, we will likely see these two battle it out in another match down the line, likely at the next WWE PPV, Extreme Rules.

Universal Championship – Braun Strowman (c) def. The Miz and John Morrison in a 2-on-1 Handicap match

Credit: WWE.com

Grade: C-

Like I said in the predictions, I am not the biggest fan of the Handicap stipulation in singles title matches and this was the case here. Strowman looked strong here defending off both Miz and Morrison but this match felt a little more predictable than most of the other matches.

Strowman has had good matches as of late with the title, this was not one of them.

WWE Championship – Drew McIntyre (c) def. Bobby Lashley

Credit: WWE.com

Grade: B

MVP accompanied Lashley to the ring and distracted the champion so his client could put him in a full nelson before the bell. After officials broke it up, the match started. McIntyre played it perfectly here selling the pre-match attack. There was a lot of action back and forth and with fans, the crowd would have gotten behind it.

Lana came out to the ring to yell at the referee due to McIntyre kicking out at two from Lashley’s spear. After more of a distraction, McIntyre was able to retain. The match overall was interesting throughout and I did enjoy watching it. The distractions from MVP and Lana hurt this match as it seemed a little too much. We will see what the plans are for McIntyre down the line while we will see if the Lashley and Lana “marriage” lasts any longer.

Raw Tag Team Championship – The Street Profits (Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford) (c) vs. Viking Raiders (Erik and Ivar)

Credit: WWE.com

Grade: B

There was supposed to be a match for the Raw Tag Team Championships but instead, we got both teams fighting out in the parking lot in a cinematic style match. The fight backstage involved a lot of props from their previous encounters (a golf club from their mini-golf and bowling ball from their past Raw segments).

The twist here was that as they fought in the parking lot, several people pulled up on motorcycles. Akira Tozawa revealed himself as one of the bikers and gave a quick promo in Japanese. The Viking Raiders and Street Profits joined forces. Tozawa brought out a huge masked man to face them, but Ivar summed his turkey leg, which was kind of funny. It ended when all four men ended up in a dumpster.

Sometimes, a comedic style match is what is needed for a pay-per-view if done right and that was the case here. It makes sense when you see the bigger picture, with both teams having these types of comedic segments for the past few weeks on Raw. Tozawa was a nice twist in this situation but what does this mean for him going forward?

Overall, this was solid and fun to watch to get a break from the action. Let’s hope now that we will see these two teams in an actual ring.

Randy Orton def. Edge

Credit: WWE.com

Grade: A

This was way better than my expectations, mainly because this was advertised as “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever”. From the entrance of a Madison Square Garden mic unit hanging from the ceiling with the legendary Howard Finkel’s voice introducing the competitors to the end where Orton pinned Edge with a Pedigree, this was excellent.

At certain points, I forgot it was Edge and Orton in this match as we have never seen some of the moves done here. This is the case where I wished fans were able to see this live and the crowd would have eaten this up from the beginning.

Orton winning here suggests that we might see these guys in a final match settle the score. It might not be for a while as Edge did tear his triceps in the match so he’ll be out of action for a while.

Was this The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever, no. But this was very memorable and rewatchable from time to time.

Overall

After a horrendous 2018 edition, the 2020 edition of Backlash was better. Some of the matches in the middle where a little dull but the beginning and ending parts of the match make it a solid pay-per-view to watch. Hopefully, we will see fans in the arena sooner rather than later. WWE’s next PPV is Extreme Rules on July 2019 but it will be at the Performance Center once again.

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