Reverse Hipster's Reviews
Raw Women's Title match (Rhea vs Charlotte Vs Asuka) 8.1/10 B
I thought this match was fast-paced and exciting. It seemed like anytime anyone had the upper hand, a third person would come out of nowhere and knock them down a peg. However, I did not feel like the match built to a peak. I did not see an incredible string of moves lead to a decisive finish. In the end, Charlotte just watched Asuka get pinned. We had just seen her kick Asuka into Rhea, so we knew she was upright and fine, but she never came in the ring and stopped Rhea from pinning Asuka even though she was completely fine even as Rhea was picking up Asuka for the Riptide. Also, I did not like Charlotte beating and attempting to pin both women. However, besides those points I enjoyed the match, it was good, not great.
Smackdown Tag Championship (Dirty Dawgs vs Mysterios) 10/10 A
On the Rundown, I have been saying that the Smackdown tag division is on fire for weeks, and they continued the streak tonight. You just could not possibly have asked for more from this match. A pre-match beatdown that takes Dominik out. So then Rey has to fight alone, and he is the ultimate underdog, so it was amazing to watch him fight against Ziggler and Roode. They had excellent tag moves on Rey, like Roode holding Rey up and Dolph hitting him with the famouser and Roode throwing Rey under the ropes into a catch superkick from Dolph. However, Rey wouldn't stay down. He had to win for his family.
Rey was winning overall and made us believe that he might actually be able to win the tag belts by himself. My favorite spot of Rey's was when he slid under Roode and the bottom rope to come down on Ziggler. Still, the numbers kept catching up to Rey when Dominik hobbled out there holding his ribs. Rey was at a crossroads; he needed to make a tag, but could he really throw his injured son in the ring? Dolph capitalized on his hesitation, and it seemed like a zig-zag would secure their reign, but Rey kicked out and got away, and Dominik tagged his self in. He gave it everything he had but was also overwhelmed. However, he had given Rey enough time to recover, so when he tagged him back in, Rey tore the Dirty dogs up he set Dominik up for the winning frog splash pin. This was the match of the night.
Lumberjack match (Damien Priest vs Miz) 6.1/10 D
This match is hard to grade because the angle was hot garbage. Just looking at what was planned, it looks like a hokey automatic F. However, the wrestlers in the match are good, and they did the best they could and still don't think this was the worst match of the year. I think the zombies were beyond stupid. Like why would we have undead creatures who respect the rules of wrestling and stand outside the ring? Also, it was very distracting. They could not even go to their corners because of the zombies. Also, is Miz just dead now? Like, you really have to turn your brain off just to give this match a chance because it just spits in the face of logic. However, there were some cool parts. The zombies descending on the match was cool, and Damien and Miz fighting the zombies together was cool. Also, Miz being eaten at the end was cool too if you do not think about it too much. I do not support WWE using PPV matches as commercials which is what this is. Damien points to the advertisement at the end like it is the Wrestlemania sign, and it is so cheesy. Also, think about the fact that this could have been a four-way intercontinental match if not for the payola. However, the talent did their best with this. Miz and Morrison can do anything, even save this program from being an F.
Smackdown Women's Championship (Bianca vs Bayley) 7.9/10 C+
Bayley and Bianca took some rough bumps, like Bianca being thrown on the steps and then suplexed on the floor or Bayley doing a suicide dive and Bianca moving out of the way, sending Bayley shoulder first into the ground. However, I cannot rate it higher because I don't like the story they told. In the match, it seemed like Bayley was willing to take any shortcut she could to get an edge, and she needed it because she is outmatched in speed and power, and athleticism. However, I didn't like the finish. It was not definitive, and I think it should have been. Also, it contradicted the story. Bianca Borderline cheats by using her hair to gain leverage in the pin. I would rather have Bianca overcome Bayley and win her way than sink to Bayley level just makes Bayley right that you have to sink to that level to win. Also, I think they could have done a better job having a lasting impact on some of the moves done throughout the match.
WWE Championship Match (Braun vs Lashley vs Drew) 9.2/10 A
This match was fantastic. These three behemoths destroyed each other. I think Drew was the MVP of this match was flying around, diving off the top, diving to the outside, and leaving his feet in ways I would not expect him to. Everyone had moments of brilliance. They went through tables. They went through the LED boards they destroyed the landscape, and that is what should happen when three guys as powerful as them collide. My only knock on this match was that it was a little predictable with the finish. Bobby won after reappearing at the end, which has happened before with Brock, and I think everyone expected Braun to take the pin.
Universal Title (Cesaro vs Roman ) 8.4/10
This one was difficult because I feel like these two did an excellent job telling the story they were supposed to tell, but I did not like the story they were supposed to tell. I did not think Cesaro getting his arm hurt indirectly was a good idea. If Cesaro is going to get hurt, it should be directly because of Roman. I do not like that they chose his arm because, to sell that injury, Cesaro had to pull back his power moves in his arsenal. Also, I thought for the first part of the match, when Roman was in control, his offense could have been more powerful and less slow and draining.
However, this match did have some excellent points. These two could counter each other well Cesaro as a technician, shifted into multiple submissions that almost forced Roman to have to tap if not for Cesaro's hurt arm. That is one aspect of the hurt arm story I liked. Also, Roman knocked Cesaro out of the air with a vicious superman punch as Cesaro tried to uppercut Roman off the ropes. Also, Cesaro showed immense power and resiliency when powering out of the guillotine once and almost doing it a second time. Cesaro passing out without giving up or being pinned also shows he and Roman are not done and gives Cesaro some credibility even in a loss. I disliked everything after the match. Seth needs to move on. I do not want to see him face Cesaro again. It should be over. They have fought twice, and Cesaro defeated him twice. Jey attacking Cesaro was also unnecessary.
1. Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Charlote Flair (Raw Women’s Championship)
This was a great way to open the show. Rhea Ripley, Asuka, and Charlotte Flair did a great job with the triple threat format. They came up with creative spots, and the pacing was excellent. At the end of the match, they booked the right finish. Ripley is early in her championship run, so she continues to look strong. Ripley pinned Asuka, who already ate the last fall. It gives Flair’s entitled character an excuse to keep pushing for the championship.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
2. The Dirty Dogs vs. the Mysterios (SmackDown Tag Team Championship)
I was questioning the booking of this match from the get-go. Taking out Dominik Mysterio was upsetting to me because I think he is one of the most underrated wrestlers in WWE today. He is as talented as his dad and doing unbelievable things in the ring after wrestling for only a short period of time. I wanted to see Dominik and Rey Mysterio play out the full tag match I knew they could have with Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode. Against my initial instincts, the way it played out accomplished everything WWE set out to do, though. Rey Mysterio looked incredible as an underdog in a handicap situation. Of course, Dominik came back out to hit some moves, and he and Rey won the titles. The match was beautifully symbolic of Rey paving the way for Dominik to come into WWE and hit the big flogsplash. Dominik’s limited exposure allowed him to stay as a spectacle until he gets more practice. Ziggler and Roode weren’t great champions, but they were the perfect foil to this moment- slow, methodical heels to pick apart the babyfaces. I teared up a little when the first father-son duo held the titles. It reminded me of things I’ve been through with my family, and I can’t imagine how that would feel, the pride of Rey as a dad and sharing that moment with your son. For criticism, it was an over the top underdog moment even for Rey, and Dominik did a terrible selling an injury that initially stopped him from competing. Still, I think this was just short of being great.
Final Grade: 7.5/10 Very Good
3. The Miz vs. Damien Priest (Lumberjack Match)
I think this was the test to see if The Miz and John Morrison can truly get anything over. I loved the backstage segments with Miz and Morrison. It was a brilliant strategy to try to win over the lumberjacks before the match, but then Morrison found that the lumberjacks were zombies. I honestly popped. WWE is the land of strange nonsense where anything can happen, and I was down for this. It set such a unique, terrifying scene. It addressed all my concerns about this match. Miz and Damien Priest have faced off pretty much every week since WrestleMania, and the lumberjack stipulation wasn’t exciting to me. This new development was. Miz sold the zombie lumberjacks like a million bucks. Priest looked like a badass, completely unfazed by the zombies and fighting through the zombie crowd 1-on-10. Johnny Drip Drip made me laugh out loud again when the zombies took him out. The match itself was just kind of meh, but this was a fun cinematic moment for the COVID era. My only complaint is that the zombies just sort of appeared tonight, and the rationale was because Batista sent them because he’s promoting something? This was a fun end to a feud that went on a little too long, and I hope people remember it fondly even though it was silly.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
4. Bianca Belair vs. Bayley (SmackDown Women’s Championship)
This match started off hot and reminded me of Bianca Belair’s match at WrestleMania. Things felt fast-paced, aggressive, and technical. I thought we were settling in for another match of the year candidate, but then the match started to sort of slow down and lose its rhythm in my opinion. Then, the finish sort of came out of nowhere, Belair stooping to Bayley’s level and using her hair for a cheap roll-up. The whole thing sort of felt like the feud was obviously going on to the next PPV, and the match went on too long because of how few matches were on the card. Still, these are some of the most consistent wrestlers on the women’s roster, so it was never going to be a bad match.
Final Grade: 5/10 Average
5. Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre (WWE Championship)
I know this was a great match for a lot of people, but for me, it wasn’t really my style. I prefer technical wrestling over bruisers and powerhouses, but this was three of the best of that style. I also didn’t know how they were going to turn it up a notch. We’ve seen them wrestle nearly every week in some fashion on Raw. They did turn it up a notch, though. The big spots on the stage were awesome, and McIntyre hitting a michinoku driver was awesome and unexpected- I thought it might get a three count. The finish felt a little too similar to the women’s triple threat earlier in the night. The champion that was heavily favored came in at the last second, hit their finish, and won. In fact, their whole feud felt a little similar, and that kind of detracted from an otherwise great match for me. I hope after this McIntyre and Braun Strowman can stay away from the championship for a bit because Raw’s main event scene needs fresh faces, and they can lend their credibility to a feud down the card. Bobby Lashley with MVP is starting to build a strong championship run that should be a big feature of Raw moving forward.
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
6. Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro (Universal Championship)
Cesaro lent a new energy to this main event match. As his first main event championship match, he delivered. It wasn’t quite the same energy that Daniel Bryan gives, but it was close. I like that Roman Reigns kept his help backstage, so he could prove he could beat Cesaro on his own. Every match Reigns is in feels important, which is a testament to his run as champion. Cesaro brought the energy to this, but Reigns choking him out was a definitive finish. The post-match content was exciting and makes me want to see what happens next on SmackDown. How will the story play out with Reigns and the Usos? How will Seth Rollins and Cesaro be involved moving forward?
Final Grade: 7/10 Good
Overall, I thought WWE Backlash continued WWE’s trend of delivering solid matches when it comes to PPV time. The problem is, as they continue to establish this standard of being above average, it moves the quality of the “average” match up and makes everything harder to rank favorably. There weren’t a lot of surprises or developments, but the in-ring quality was definitely there. The only championship that changed hands was the SmackDown Tag Champs. I also felt like the show went long for being only a six-match show. I prefer longer matches over shorter ones, but I think every match went just a little longer than it should have. The only match that really stood out was the zombie lumberjacks with the Miz vs. Damien Priest. Every other match was a straight up title match with a relatively predictable finish. I would have loved to see the Women’s Tag Team Championship, Intercontinental Championship, or United States Championship on the card too. For being the first PPV after WrestleMania, I was expecting more energy, but for what it was, I still give it a thumbs up.
Final Grade: 6/10 Above Average
Reverse Hipster Overall grade 8.4/10 B