Even an RKO out of nowhere couldn’t hinder Jinder. Jinder Mahal has become the new WWE Champion by defeating Randy Orton at Backlash.
Billed from Punjab, India but in truth an Indo-Canadian, Mahal becomes the first Canadian to hold the title since Edge defeated Jeff Hardy at the Royal Rumble in 2009.
It wasn’t smooth sailing though for the self-appointed “Maharaja” (“great ruler”, “great king” or “high king”). He was attacked by Randy Orton before the match had even started. During the introductions, Orton threw the belt to the referee and started pounding on Mahal from one corner to another. Orton then threw the nephew of Gama Singh out of the ring. After scaring off The Singh Brothers (formerly known as The Bollywood Boyz) Orton threw Mahal over the announce table and then beat on him some more before hurling him back into the ring.
The official would only start the match after Mahal made it to his feet once again. Seething in the corner, Mahal rushed Orton as the bell rang. The two traded haymakers in the middle of the ring. When Orton went for the RKO, Mahal bailed out to the floor.
Orton followed Mahal leveling him with a clothesline before rolling him back in. Mahal rolled out again. Mahal caught Orton coming back out and slung him shoulder-first into the side of the ring. That one move proved to be the difference maker as Orton’s shoulder would be injured for the rest of the match.
Back inside the ring, Mahal tied up Orton wrenching his shoulder then dropkicking it. Orton eventually broke out, throwing him to the mat and then stomping his body parts, one by one while trying to shake some life back into his shoulder.
An armbreaker from Mahal put Orton down for another submission move further cranking on the shoulder.
They began simultaneously chanting…Let’ go Jinder! and Jinder sucks!
Pitched to the floor again, Mahal was backdropped onto the announce table. In the ring, Mahal caught Orton coming in stomping and dropping knees on his shoulder before wrapping him in the shoulder lock.
As Mahal charged, Orton side-stepped him and Mahal smashed into the ring post. From there, Orton Superplexed Mahal back into the ring for a two count.
Orton signaled for the RKO but Mahal rolled out of the ring. As The Singh Brothers hovered over their fallen leader, Orton confronted them. He threw them into the barricade, slammed them onto the announce table and then took them out with a double Elevated DDT in the ring.
As The Singh Brothers rolled out of the ring, Mahal rolled back in locking in the Khallas (Cobra clutch slam) from behind and pinning Orton for the championship.
As The Singh Brothers lay in a heap, Mahal celebrated in the crowd raising the title for all to see.
The rest of the Backlash card was highlighted by the match of the night, Kevin Owens and AJ Styles battling for the United States Championship and a surprisingly fresh bout between Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin. Regrettably, the match for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships turned into a mind-numbing, embarrassing comedy bout between The Usos and Breezango who deserved much better.
Besides that match, the bouts were decent enough it is just Backlash couldn’t and didn’t surpass NXT Takeover: Chicago and most of the rivalries are about as interesting as a documentary about wood chips. Solid matches but very weak angles for the most part.
Backlash 2017 Results: May 21st, 2017
Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English
Well, at least Aiden English is trying to dress differently as per his new persona. He has a Chris Jericho scarf, sunglasses and Van Gogh’s The Starry Night printed on his tights. None of the announcers pick up on that fact which shows how much they are paying attention. It still doesn’t seem enough. He needs to go the way of Taichi from NJPW. English bellows…”This is MY town!”…a bunch of times to intimidate Dillinger. English dominates most of the match and acknowledges that with a round of bows for the audience. Fans boo relentlessly when English applies a headlock for minutes on end. Dillinger mounts a comeback with a flurry of flying forearms, running clothesline and his trademark mounted punches in the corner. After English misses his That’s a Wrap from the top rope, Dillinger puts him away with the Tye Breaker.
Winner: At 8 minutes and 13 seconds, Tye Dillinger.
Match Rating: 6 / 10
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler
The crowd begins chanting for Nakamura before his music even hits. Nakamura interacting with a little girl in the audience as he did his bow was very cute indeed. Dolph sits on the announce desk looking at his imaginary watch the entire time. Phillips mentions Nakamura’s NJPW history and once again JBL makes all that seem like nothing compared to WWE. Sigh. Philips also keeps perpetuating the notion that NXT is not WWE. Nakamura and Dolph trade slaps to the face. Dolph attempts to out wrestle Nakamura taking him down to the mat with a wristlock. Nakamura turns things around and gives Dolph Good Vibrations in the corner. Dolph catches Nakamura coming back into the ring with a neckbreaker to regain the momentum then resorts to pulling his hair and another lengthy headlock. The crowd starts chanting…Ziggler Sucks! Dolph hits a brutal drop kick that has Nakamura counting his teeth. A two count. “I’m the man and you all know it,” shouts Dolph as he continues to call Nakamura, “boy”. Nakamura makes Dolph pay by roundhouse kicking him to the mat. Dolph enters a fist fight and loses, badly. A running knee in the corner scores Nakamura a two count. Nakamura kicks out of the Famouser. Dolph goes for Sweet Chin Music but Nakamura blocks it. Dolph hits The Zig-Zag. Nakamura kicks out. Dolph lands on his feet after the Exploder Suplex and super kicks Nakamura in the back of the head. Nakamura kicks out again. Dolph spits in Nakamura’s face. The two flop around on the mat like fish as Nakamura lands knees and elbows. With Dolph hanging in the ropes, Nakamura hits a knee lift. Exploder suplex, Kinshasa knee strike.
Winner: At 15 minutes and 48 seconds, Shinsuke Nakamura.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match – The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) (c) vs. Breezango (Tyler Breeze and Fandango)
Not sure why but the last Breezango Fashion Police skit is aired right before the match. Guess we have time to waste, apparently. Tyler Breeze comes out as the janitor character he played in the skit, mopping the floor on the way to the ring as Philips tries to sell laughter. JBL: “Guys, I have some news. That is Tyler Breeze in disguise.” Groan. Tyler Breeze continues to stay in character as the match begins, mopping the apron. When Breeze is tagged in, he mops the ring. The crowd cheers for the mop. Groan. The official does nothing to take away the mop as Breezes cleans the Usos’ faces with it. The comedy match continues as Breeze rolls from corner to corner so he cannot be splashed from the top rope. Breeze returns to the ring dressed as an old lady with a cane. The announcers pretend not to recognize that it is Breeze. Seriously? The crowd starts chanting…Let’s go Grandma! Groan. The Usos toss Breeze’s dress and it lands on JBL at the announce desk. Okay, THAT was funny. When the match gets back to actual wrestling, Breeze tries to splash The Usos but they catch him and throw him into the ringside barrier. Fandango is superkicked off the top rope for the pinfall. All comedy and not much wrestling at all.
Winners: …and still SmackDown Tag Team Champions at 9 minutes and 16 seconds, The Usos.
Match Rating: 3 / 10
Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn
More talk from the announcers about Sami fighting out of his league. Sigh. Notice how they don’t do the same thing when A.J. Styles, Dean Ambrose, The Miz, etc, fight those who outweigh them? The crowd seems divided between the two. Corbin relies on power while Sami, his agility. JBL: “A couple of flips, a couple of flops doesn’t make you a superstar. You beat people up.” What a way to tear down many of the agile superstars in the locker room, JBL. Corbin throws Sami into the barricade. Sami springs off of it and takes Corbin down. Corbin targets Sami’s back with stomps and a backbreaker. Perpetual bearhug by Corbin. Corbin pounds on Sami telling him to just stay down. Sami takes Corbin down with two clotheslines and a crossbody from the top rope for a two count. Sami lands a sunset powerbomb from the ropes for another two count. Sami kicks out of the Deep Six. Corbin stomps him into the ropes and then lays in forearms. Sami hits a kick to the face and a Helluva Kick for the win.
Winner: At 14:38, Sami Zayn.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Naomi, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch vs. The Welcoming Committee (Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina) (with James Ellsworth)
When Tamina comes to the ring, someone shouts…Nobody cares! When Becky Lynch comes out, the producers cut to a small child in the audience yawning. Too funny. Becky Lynch is sporting a new massive mohawk. Becky Lynch cannot match power with Tamina and her headbutt. Charlotte mocks Carmella with a moonwalk of her own. The Welcoming Committee tags in and out stomping the crap out of Charlotte in the corner as the crowd boos. Tamina takes down Naomi with a wicked clothesline. The crowd chants..We want Ellsworth! Carmella sneaks up and pulls Becky Lynch off the apron before she can tag in. Becky hot-tags in and takes out all three members of the Welcoming Commitee. She gets a two count on Natalya with Straight Fire. Tamina super kicks Charlotte in the face and head butts Naomi down. Lynch takes out Tamina but gets wrapped up in the Sharp Shooter courtesy of Natalya and taps out.
Winners: At 10 minutes and 15 seconds, The Welcoming Committee (Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina).
Match Rating: 5 / 10
WWE United States Championship Match – Kevin Owens (c) vs. AJ Styles
JBL: “I heard Justin Trudeau is moving to America just because of Kevin Owens.” Styles gives Owens a clean break but Owens tries to go after the knee of Styles. The crows starts chanting…Stupid idiot!…as Owens gets the advantage. Owens knocks Styles off the top rope, clotheslines him to the canvas and then just batters him. Owens: And that’s why I am the champ! Three senton splashes in a row flattens Styles. Styles pancakes Owens for a two count. Seconds later, a backbreaker slam scores another two count. Owens dodges Styles, clocks him with a super kick and a pump handle neckbreaker for a two count. Styles goes for a Styles Clash on the apron but Owens fights him off, slams his leg into the post and the steel steps. A cannonball inside the ring has Styles dazed. Owens wraps the leg around the ropes and hits a cannonball on it. A single-leg crab and an ankle lock has Styles in agony. Styles counters Owens in the corner to deliver a powerbomb. Styles goes for the Phenomenal Forearm but his leg buckles and he falls off the ropes. Owens hits a DDT for a two count. Owens resorts to screaming at Styles and slapping him in the face. Styles shuts him up with a Pele Kick to the head. Owens counters Styles in the corner for a suplex and a two count. Styles suplexes Owens onto the ring apron. Owens flings Styles off into the time keeper’s area . Styles blasts Owens with a Phenomenal Forearm from the barricade, tries for a Styles Clash on the announce table but steps into one of the holes and falls through. Styles is caught up in wires and such so he doesn’t answer the 10 count. The crowd is not happy about the outcome. After Owens is declared the victor he super kicks Styles in the head. Officials help a limping Styles to the back.
Winner: …and still WWE United States Champion at 21 minutes and 15 seconds, Kevin Owens, via countout.
Match Rating: 8.5 / 10
Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan
Punch. Punch. Chop. Chop. Kick. Kick. Until Harper is knocked out of the ring by Rowan. Rowan executes a baseball slide and Harper acts like he was fired out of a cannon. Rowan lands a splash back in the ring for a two count. Rowan chops and punches Harper in the corner until Harper chops his way out. A splash, a drop kick and a two count for Rowan. Rowan slams Harper into infinity and clotheslines him for another two count. Rowan goes for a top rope splash but misses. Rowan reaches for his mask but Harper cuts him off. Harper slams Rowan’s head into the announce tables before spearing him with a suicide dive. Rowan is pinned between both tables. Harper wins the match with a Discus Clothesline.
Winner: At 8 minutes and 58 seconds, Luke Harper.
Match Rating: 7 / 10
WWE Championship Match – Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal (with The Singh Brothers)
Winner: …and new WWE Champion at 15 minutes and 50 seconds, Jinder Mahal.
Match Rating: 7.5 / 10
Overall Event Rating: 7 / 10