WWE Backlash 2018 review: What we learned, takeaways, future projections

Photo credit: WWE.com
Photo credit: WWE.com /
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Photo credit: WWE.com /

What we learned, what we took away and what the future holds for the superstars of Monday Night RAW and SmackDown Live following Sunday night’s WWE Backlash pay-per-view event.

The 2018 edition of WWE Backlash took place on Sunday night, and if you’ve been on Twitter at all since (well, I suppose during as well) the show, you know that it lived up to its name because there’s been plenty of backlash about how awful the show was, and I’d have to say that I’m in agreement for the most part.

Not everything was bad, but this is exactly what I feared would happen with a third pay-per-view event in less than a month. It’s just been too much, and outside of the opening match and maybe the WWE Championship bout, I was bored to death. I’m not going to break down the kickoff match between Bayley and Ruby Riott, which had plenty of bad spots, or the Elias/everybody else segment that was completely unnecessary, but let’s go ahead and jump into the show, starting with the only match on the card that I’d ever go back and watch again.

Intercontinental Championship Match

Seth Rollins (c) vs. The Miz

What we learned: In case you weren’t already aware, especially seeing as how Michael Cole reminds us every 10 seconds, we learned here that Seth Rollins is the hottest superstar in WWE not named Braun Strowman. But seeing as how The Architect or King Slayer or whichever moniker they’re going with this week actually has a belt that actually gets defended (sorry, Braun, that green belt you got for winning the Greatest Royal Rumble means nothing), we’ll go with him. It doesn’t hurt that he’s in the top three in-ring performers in WWE right now, but we certainly can’t discount what The Miz brought to the table in this electric opener.

The Newark crowd was hot to start the show, and this Intercontinental Championship match was the perfect way to kick things off. For more than 20 minutes, Miz and Rollins put on an instant classic. The back and forth was done to perfection, and Rollins did very well selling the knee throughout the match. If you read my predictions for WWE Backlash, you know that I gave The Miz zero chance to win this match, as I think the Intercontinental Championship is perfect right where it’s at, but there were plenty of times when I thought The Miz would tie Chris Jericho’s record of nine IC title reigns. The near-falls in this match were incredible, and the storytelling by both men was superb. In the end, Monday Night Rollins was finally able to connect with The Stomp to get the 1-2-3. Beautiful match.

What’s next: With Seth Rollins on RAW and The Miz on SmackDown, this is the last we’ll see of these two going at it for a while. Rollins will need a new challenger for the Intercontinental Championship, and there are plenty of options for him on Monday nights. The Finn Balor feud is already built in if they want to go that way, and Jason Jordan is rumored to be back soon as well. There’s also talk that Dean Ambrose could be back soon, and Rollins vs. Ambrose was likely the direction things were going before The Lunatic Fringe went on the shelf. Rollins is going to have a great summer.

As for The Miz, he’s already booked for a Money in the Bank qualifying match on Tuesday. While I don’t see him winning the briefcase next month, that should keep him busy for a while until creative decides to move forward with the Daniel Bryan program, which I think likely comes to a head at SummerSlam.