SmackDown Live has officially presented the first Pay-Per-View event of the New Era; but what went down in Virginia?
With low expectations (be honest), was SmackDown Live able to deliver a fresh dose of life into the bedridden body of the WWE? The guys and girls of the Blue Brand must live with the fact that they work on the "B Show," so perhaps they rose up to the occasion and proved to everybody that they can in fact hang with Monday Night Raw.
SmackDown Live are the freshman students who attempt to impress the seniors. Sure, John Cena and Randy Orton have been hanging around on Tuesday nights but are they really that cool anymore? Or have they become the flunked-out college student who hangs around at high school parties?
Good or bad, there is much to discuss about this Pay-Per-View and here we present 10 huge takeaways from WWE Backlash:
10. Alexa Bliss is Worth the Risk
Although she did not win the Six-Pack Elimination Challenger for the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship, Alexa Bliss proved during her short time in the match that she is certainly worth the risk as future champion.
Alexa Bliss found her way up to the main roster from NXT via the WWE Brand Extension Draft; which many felt was a premature call-up to the main stage. However, Bliss proved at Backlash that the company made the right choice.
9. Becky Lynch Was a Great Call
The obvious favourite heading into the WWE SmackDown Women's Championship match was Nikki Bella. However, in keeping with the unpredictability aspect of the New Era, the inaugural Blue Brand Women's Champion was chosen as Becky Lynch.
The WWE Universe may have lost the first Irish-born Universal Champion to injury but "The Lass Kicker" is ready to take this title and make her homeland - as well as long-time friend and mentor Finn Balor - proud during this title reign.
8. The Usos Lost Their Luster
The Usos' recent heel turn was meant to provide new life into this long-suffering tag team but the excitement is gone. The Usos have been around for a while and have found some levels of success in WWE.
That was then and this is now. Even with this "darker side" of Jimmy and Jey on display, the fans are over The Usos. However, with a victory over The Hype Bros, The Usos would advance to the final round of the SmackDown Tag Team Championship tournament.
7. Dolph Ziggler is the Biggest Loser of WWE
Well, another big match and another big loss for Dolph Ziggler came about at Backlash. Yes, "The Show Off" once again found himself pinned for the three-count while tallying yet another loss on his WWE record.
The bottom line here: Dolph Ziggler is the Biggest Loser in WWE right now; the perpetually consolation prize. Thank you for playing, Dolph now step aside once again while the rest of the roster passes you by in flash.
6. Brock Lesnar is a Real Beast
At Backlash, Randy Orton was slotted to face Bray Wyatt in a one-on-one match. However, the bout would never take place due to the status of Orton's health thanks to the beating Orton suffered last month at the SummerSlam Pay-Per-View event.
Randy Orton has not been cleared to compete and thus, "The Viper's" scheduled match with Bray Wyatt was called off prior to the event. Fans looking forward to this match can thank Brock Lesnar and his elbow for the disappointment.
5. Kane is Irrelevent
The Days of the Demon are long gone. Once announced that Randy Orton could not compete (in storyline, Orton was attacked backstage by Bray Wyatt), Kane was placed into a No Hold Barred match with Wyatt.
With an "RKO Outta Nowhere," Kane would actually score the victory over Bray Wyatt. Sure, it makes sense that Orton would screw over Wyatt but having Kane walk away with this victory means little to nothing at this point.
4. Heath Slater and Rhyno Are Entertainment
Heath Slater and Rhyno would become the inaugural WWE SmackDown Tag Team Champions at Backlash by defeating The Usos in the tournament final; and the fand went absolutely wild over their victory.
Sometimes WWE pairs people together for no apparent reason and it quickly turns into a disastrous combination. However, this pairing of Heath Slater and Rhyno has proven to be nothing but pure entertainment. These guys are over in a big way at the moment.
3. Mauro Ranello is Better Than Michael Cole
Mauro Ranallo proved at Backlash that he is without a doubt the best play-by-play announcer in WWE right now. Michael Cole - who has been less than stellar for a number of years - will take a backseat to Ranallo moving forward.
Backlash served as Mauro Ranallo's first official full-call Pay-Per-View event and the charismatic voice of SmackDown Live did all he could to help put this Pay-Per-View over with those watching at home.
2. David Otunga is Awful
As good as Mauro Ranallo was at Backlash, David Otunga was that much worse; simply awful. Who the hell decided to place Otunga on the SmackDown Live announce team? Otunga almost makes Mike Adamle sound entertaining.
The three-man announce desk has never proved an effective formula but WWE have the tendency to not learn from their mistakes. Mauro Ranallo and JBL would make for a great tandem for SmackDown Live. Lose Otunga already.
1. AJ Styles is the Hottest Commodity in WWE
With a low-blow to Dean Ambrose (with the referee temporarily incapacitated) followed by a Styles Clash, "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles - following many years on the road and around the wrestling circuit - became the WWE World Champion.
Dean Ambrose simply didn't deliver as top dog and this was a welcome change. AJ Styles as WWE World Champion is perhaps something most wrestling fans thought they would never witness (myself included) but alas, Styles rides the highest wave in WWE.