All of the women are in the ring arguing, and Alexa Bliss pops up in her playground at the top of the ramp. "This is WWE, you can't let any distraction get into your head or you won't go very far" - sound advice from Corey Graves. Whoever told Adnan Virk to start calling moves as "oh" and "AHHHHHHH!," please tell him to stop. Asuka got a win with a Shining Wizard on Shayna Baszler, selling a knee injury. It's WWE, so Charlotte gets her heat back by knocking out the person who just won. Alexa Bliss AND Lilly are both laughing on the ramp, with Lilly's being pumped in over the sound system.
Jinder Mahal (w/ Shanky & Veer) defeated Jeff Hardy
Jinder Mahal says nothing smells better than fresh competition, so he's facing the guy he beat on Main Event last week. He introduces new muscle, as well. Jinder trying to find Jeff Hardy's left wrist to do the Khallas was a journey, but he gets the win after a short back and forth. I love that move.
RKBro & New Day defeated AJ Styles, Omos, Elias & Jaxson Ryker
New Day gave Riddle registration forms. This isn't the strongest Riddle promo, but he's talking about how funny it was to see Orton get hit with tomatoes. Omos crushes a tomato with his hands backstage because AJ Styles doesn't wanna hear whatever stupid song Elias and Ryker have.
There are some nasty spinebusters in this match, all from the heels. Omos' timing was terrible on a Riddle cue, and we're starting to see his weaknesses. Riddle suplexing people everywhere was great, as was the wishbone on AJ from New Day. When Omos pursues them, Randy beats Elias with an RKO. Orton RKOs New Day, and Riddle yells at him. He's worried about making friends.
Sheamus vs. Humberto Carrillo went to a double countout
It took eight minutes from Sheamus' music hitting to the promo starting. Sheamus buries Adnan Virk, which is good TV. He calls all the people who gave open challenges has beens and he wants to carve his own path.
Humberto getting yanked out of the ring popped Sheamus. Oh my god, Humberto Carrillo slammed Sheamus on his knee. He signaled to someone and they went to a double countout. Here's to hoping that things aren't too bad.
Shelton Benjamin defeated Cedric Alexander
Cedric and Shelton are both still working in Hurt Business colors. Alexander had the Paydirt scouted, which was cool. Alexander is delivering offense with intent. Outside of a huge step up knee, this is Cedric Alexander. Shelton Benjamin busted out his old finish, the T-Bone suplex!! That match was a lot of fun. I'd rather that been on Backlash than a match we've already seen a bunch. A great story told in that one, with Cedric learning Shelton's modern repertoire from teaming with him, and Shelton adjusting and pulling a trick out of his old book.
Rhea Ripley defeated Asuka
Why is Rhea arsed about fighting anyone? She should just be like, sure, shit, who cares? Their chemistry has been dogshit in the last two matches they've had together, but is better this time around. But distractions are here, in the form of Charlotte. This match is way, way better, but the story is Charlotte. It seems like the two made it a personal mission to improve on what we saw the last couple of times. Ripley got the win with the Riptide. Asuka got 50/50'd to the most extreme degree tonight. WWE has a weird fetish with pinnning champions or challengers just before title matches.
Winning Side gets to pick Backlash stipulation
Damian Priest defeated John Morrison (w/ The Miz)
Damian Priest has already beaten The Miz in two singles matches, both five minutes or less. This will be the eighth match in his feud with Miz & Morrison since February. Miz isn't happy that Morrison accepted the proposal.
This match was very ambitious at times, and unfortunately really sloppy. Missed spots, miscommunication, pins in the ropes. It meant well, but was probably better served for a taped show. Priest's character keeps getting distracted, whuich makes him look dumb. His strikes are a real highlight, but I didn't feel like the match recovered from the early hiccups. It's still worth watching, despite that. Priest scouting and countering the Spanish Fly was very cool. The flying spinning heel kick is a great spot, and Priest's finish never looked better. Miz GETS HIS HEAT on Priest, though. Miz ducks and runs after, and Priest hits the lights again.
Priest wants a lumberjack match with aliens and zombies at Backlash. I will provide no further context.
- Eva Marie is at a photoshoot talking about being a super role model. Eva Marie's gimmick is every wrestler and MMA fighter looking to build their following with inspirational quotes
- Back in my day, shoving a rose up someone's ass and punting it even further was a feud ender! Not for Angel Garza and Drew Gulak. Garza says he'll shove it down his throat next. Hopefully not the same one!
Drew McIntyre defeated Bobby Lashley (w/ MVP) via DQ
MVP is trying to get Braun Strowman to take out Drew McIntyre before tonight's match.
This pretty quickly turns into a Sirloin Beef Sunsabitches match early, and that's a really good thing with these two. I don't think they can have a bad match together. The helicopter ring post spot is peak Lashley, and very impressive on Drew. MVP steps up his trash talk even more during this match, as that's the story of it -- that just a little of it cost Drew the title, so turn it up.
Lashley's knees out of the Hurt Lock is awesome. What isn't awesome is Drew hitting the Claymore and getting distracted instead of pinning Lashley. Why? Tell me why in the lord's shitting fuck wouldn't Drew just pin Lashley after the Claymore? Who cares that the music hit? Braun causes a DQ, and Powerslams both men.
Braun powerslams Lashley through the barricade.
10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones that may change upon a second viewing, or sitting on the match for a period of time. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!