WWE Backlash 2018 Report – AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe

John Pollock runs through the WWE Backlash card from Newark, featuring AJ Styles defending the WWE title against Shinsuke Nakamura, Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass, Seth Rollins vs. The Miz for the Intercontinental title, and lots more.

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of the WWE Backlash event from the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.

Wai Ting and I will be back with a post-show late tonight running through the card and taking your feedback from the POST Wrestling Forum.

The kickoff panel featured Renee Young, Booker T., Peter Rosenberg, and David Otunga.

There was a backstage segment with Bo Dallas and Curtis Axel in the locker room. The Miz walked in and referred to them as his “sons” and listed off memories with The Miztourage. Miz attempted to recruit them to assist him tonight against Seth Rollins. Dallas said they are no longer his supporting cast.

The IIconics appeared on the panel and called Charlotte “Two thousand never”. They bragged about beating Asuka in her first match on SmackDown. Royce did an impression of Rosenberg and called him a “pug”.

Rosenberg called Carmella “The Floyd Mayweather of the WWE”, which is not the name that would come up in a game of Family Feud.

Sasha Banks and Bayley were in the locker room. Bayley wanted to talk and asked Banks to be in her corner. Banks is angry she didn’t speak to her for weeks and wasn’t in her corner on Raw. Bayley said she doesn’t need Banks and can handle Ruby Riott just like she handled Banks in the past. She called Banks “pigheaded”.

The video for the Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss program was great. They added a violin underneath the “Moment of Bliss” segments and added photos, including Alexa Bliss wearing a Mickey Mouse hat at Disney World with a frown.

BAYLEY VS RUBY RIOTT

Riott dropped her with a shoulder block and called her “weak” like Sasha Banks.

Sasha Banks was shown watching backstage.

Riott went to send her over the corner and had trouble getting her over. She followed with an STO and they took a commercial break.

Sarah Logan hit Bayley behind the referee’s back. Riott used a head scissors out of the corner to drive Bayley into the middle turnbuckle.

Bayley leapt through the ropes and hit Logan with a huracanrana on the floor. She hit a top rope elbow drop to Riott for a two-count. She knocked Liv Morgan off the apron, but the distraction allowed Riott to attack her and hit the Riott kick and pin Bayley.

WINNER: RUBY RIOTT AT 10:06

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SETH ROLLINS VS THE MIZ FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE

Rollins came out to a loud response. The audience was chanting loudly as the bell rang.

Miz caught Rollins with a kick as Rollins attempted a springboard and went down to the floor. Miz tapped his foot to mock Rollins.

Miz kicked Rollins in the knee and hit a short DDT for a two-count.

Rollins came back with a clothesline to the floor and suicide dive.

Miz slid to the floor and pulled out Rollins’ legs off the apron. In the ring, Rollins rolled through, lifted Miz into a Black Hole Slam. He hit a top rope splash for a two-count on Miz.

Miz slid to the floor to avoid a superkick. Miz blocked a suicide dive with a left hand. They fought on the edge of the apron, Rollins attempted the Revolution knee, missed and hit the post.

Miz applied the figure-four on the injured knee. Rollins turns it over as the place is cheering loudly. They roll to the bottom rope.

Miz finally hit the Skull Crushing Finale, but Rollins kicked out.

Rollins hit the superplex, his knee gave out attempting the Falcon Arrow, so Miz hit a second Skull Crushing Finale and Rollins kicked out a second time.

Miz attempted a Skull Crushing Finale from the second turnbuckle but was stopped. Rollins missed a stomp off the second turnbuckle landing on the injured knee. They had a pair of roll-ups, Rollins stood up and hit the stomp and won.

WINNER: SETH ROLLINS AT 20:31 TO RETAIN THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE

Very hot opening match and the audience ate it up. Rollins has something big going for him. The audience loved the near falls, they were well paced, and the knee played into so much of the latter portion of the match. This was very good.

NIA JAX VS ALEXA BLISS FOR THE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE

Jax splashed Bliss twice and sent her to the floor.

Bliss caught her from the apron and got the advantage as she returned to the ring. Jax dropped Bliss with a clothesline but then missed with a somersault splash.

Bliss was on the turnbuckle and was whipped off the turnbuckle onto her back by the wrists.

Jax went for a Vader Bomb and was dumped off the turnbuckle to the floor. Bliss followed up with a DDT onto the steps. Bliss cannot lift Jax into the ring.

They get into the ring, Jax catches her on her shoulders and climbs the turnbuckle, but Bliss gets off and kicks out the leg of Jax.

Bliss attempted Twisted Bliss and was caught coming off the top. Jax placed her onto her shoulders and hit the Samoan drop for the win.

WINNER: NIA JAX AT 10:17 TO RETAIN THE RAW WOMEN’S TITLE

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The difficult part of this match was that the story of Nia Jax being the one bullied falls apart from a visual standpoint as soon as the bell rings. The match didn’t have a lot of heat compared to the first but attempted to tell the story of Bliss overcoming Jax’s size.

Nia Jax was interviewed after the match about being different and did this for everyone that is different. This was a PSA and less a promo. She ended by saying, “a bully always gets their ass kicked”.

This segued into Michael Cole promoting the Be a Star campaign.

JEFF HARDY VS RANDY ORTON FOR THE UNITED STATES TITLE

Tom Phillips mentioned these two have 38 titles between them.

There was a “Brother Nero” chant at the start.

Orton crotched Hardy on the top and stomped Hardy in the tree of woe position.

They went to the floor, Hardy leapt off the steps with Poetry in Motion.

Orton dropped Hardy back first onto the barricade three times in a row.

Orton applied a long rear chin lock and led to “Rusev Day” chants.

Hardy hit Whisper in the Wind for a two-count. Orton blocked a Twist of Fate and Hardy blocked an RKO.

The audience was not loud.

Orton hit a draping DDT and called for the RKO. Hardy countered with a roll up and then hit the Twist of Fate. Hardy climbed to the top and hit the Swanton and pinned Orton.

WINNER: JEFF HARDY AT 11:49 TO RETAIN THE UNITED STATES TITLE

The match never seemed to engage the audience and the comeback was so quick that no one had a chance to get behind it. This was just average.

A trailer aired for the return of Total Bellas on May 20th with the big tease of John Cena and Nikki Bella’s breakup.

Elias is in the ring, he ran down New Jersey and dedicated a song for Bruce Springsteen. He threatens to leave without playing. He was interrupted by the New Day. They came out as a marching band. They said they don’t want to play with him but do enjoy a solo act. They started playing their instruments until Elias made them stop.

He went to play again and was interrupted by Aiden English. He rapped on New Day and then introduced Rusev. Rusev referred to Elias as “Bootleg Bob Dylan” and New Day as the “Booty Boys”.

Next out was No Way Jose with Titus Worldwide, Breezango, and the Conga Line. Elias demanded an end to the fiesta.

Elias attempted to sing again, Bobby Roode’s music played and he was already in the ring and took out Elias with the Glorious DDT. They all danced to the back.

This would be a great bit to do on a house show, that said the audience did get into this a lot even though people at home felt it dragged and signalled this show is likely going really long.

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DANIEL BRYAN VS BIG CASS

The audience began chanting, “we want Enzo”. That was so embarrassing.

After some early Yes kicks, Cass took over the match.

Cass applied the Sammartino style backbreaker before Bryan fought back and hit his running dropkicks before he was pressed in the air and dropped down on the mat.

Cass grabbed Bryan by the wrist and delivered repeated clotheslines with the grip applied. Bryan battled Cass down to the mat and applied the Yes Lock for the immediate tap.

WINNER: DANIEL BRYAN AT 7:43

Big Cass attacked Bryan after the match and threw him around on the floor. He dropped Bryan with a big boot in the ring.

The match portion was designed for Bryan, but they obviously want to keep Cass a priority and got the better of Bryan in the post-match. It feels like the feud will continue although based on the match this doesn’t need to.

CARMELLA VS CHARLOTTE FOR THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLE

Carmella mocked the strut and Charlotte went for a running boot that missed by a wide margin, but Carmella went down.

Carmella grabbed her title and teased leaving but was blocked by Charlotte.

Carmella side-stepped a pescado and superkicked Charlotte to get the heat. Carmella applied a rear chin lock for a long period. She was screeching as he yelled repeatedly at Charlotte.

She pulled Charlotte around the post in the corner. Carmella was gloating and was hit with a spear out of the corner as Charlotte recovered. Carmella applied the Code of Silence, but Charlotte stood up and was rolled up by Carmella.

Charlotte landed on her feet from a moonsault, injured her knee and Carmella attacked the knee and stacked Charlotte to win the match.

WINNER: CARMELLA AT 10:01 TO RETAIN THE SMACKDOWN WOMEN’S TITLE

This was not a great match, it dragged a lot with Carmella on offence for such a long period of the match. The clean nature of the finish was somewhat surprising.

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AJ STYLES VS SHINSUKE NAKAMURA IN A NO DISQUALIFICATION MATCH FOR THE WWE TITLE

The two fought on the floor at the beginning, Styles dove at Nakamura and crashed into the barricade. Nakamura ran Styles into the steps and then a jumping knee to the back of the head with Styles draped on the apron. Nakamura continued his attack in the ring with a heavy emphasis on kicks and knees.

Nakamura applied a dragon sleeper, Styles got up and blocked a suplex and attempted to fight back. He landed on the apron and Nakamura caught him as he went for the phenomenal forearm. Nakamura hit a Kinshasa off the second turnbuckle and then a Landslide for a two-count.

Nakamura brought a chair into the ring, but Styles ducked and attacked with strikes, Nakamura landed an enzuigiri and suplexed Styles onto the chair.

Nakamura went for the Kinshasa, but Styles blocked it with the chair to Nakamura’s knee. The chair bounced off Nakamura’s knee and cut Styles on the cheek.

Styles applied the calf crusher, Nakamura turned it into a triangle and Styles lifted him for the Styles Clash, but Nakamura was sent to the floor.

The intensity really picked up at this point. Styles attempted a Styles Clash in the ring, Nakamura hit a low blow, but Styles fired back with a low of his own and both were down. The audience was chanting “Yes”.

They trade shots and then kicked each other in the groin and went down. The referee counted ten and both were counted out.

WINNER: DOUBLE COUNTOUT AT 21:20

The audience was not happy with the finish.

This made no sense given the double countout finish last weekend, coming back with a No DQ stip and then doing another double countout.

BRAUN STROWMAN & BOBBY LASHLEY VS KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN

Corey Graves was attempting to explain Sami Zayn’s vertigo that forced him to stay home from the trip to Saudi Arabia, Michael Cole laughed it off and doubted the legitimacy of the story.

Owens distracted Lashley and Zayn knocked Lashley off the apron to the floor.

They kept Lashley away from Strowman. Lashley worked his way to the corner and finally tagged Strowman.

He chased Zayn around the ring and drove through Owens with a shoulder block and then dropped him with a clothesline.

Zayn went to leave, and Owens stops him, Zayn sent Owens into the ring for Strowman. Owens returned to the floor and he sent Zayn into the ring. Zayn slapped Owens and then apologized, and he ran off.

Strowman splashed Owens, Lashley hit a spine buster, delayed vertical suplex and pinned Owens.

WINNERS: BRAUN STROWMAN & BOBBY LASHLEY AT 8:40

After the match, Strowman hit a powerslam to Owens.

They caught Zayn and Strowman gave him a powerslam too.

This was not a good outing for Owens and Zayn and the move to Raw has not positioned them well.

The Money in the Bank event will have both a men’s and women’s ladder match just like last year.

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There was a really great video package for the main event.

ROMAN REIGNS VS SAMOA JOE

Joe attacked him before the bell rang and they brawled on the floor. Joe dumped him through the announcer’s desk with a uranage. He tossed him over the other desk before sending him into the ring and the match officially begun.

Joe beat down Reigns as the audience began to chant, “CM Punk”.

Reigns finally fought back, and the audience hated it. They started chanting “boring”.

Joe hit a tope suicida to the floor and then attacked the left shoulder in the ring. Joe made faces at the audience as he applied an arm lock. “This is boring” chant from the audience.

Reigns attempted a superman punch, Joe ducked and went for the Coquina Clutch, but Reigns got to the floor. Reigns went for the Drive-By and Joes caught him with an arm-triangle and brought him into the ring, Reigns got out and hit a Superman punch for a two-count.

Next was a “Rusev Day” chant.

Reigns hit a spear and Joe got his foot on the bottom rope.

Reigns went for an O’Connor roll and Joe turned it into the Coquina clutch, Reigns teases going out but then reaches to the rope to a chorus of boos.

Reigns popped out of the corner and speared Joe to win the match.

WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS AT 18:04

The audience didn’t enjoy the match, it went really long and heavily relied on Reigns selling throughout the match.

About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.