This had to be the most random main event thrown together in WWE history, despite the title match being set for nearly two months. Jinder Mahal's first WWE stint ended as a member of 3MB and his last match before his 2014 release was against El Torito. When he was brought back late last year, it didn't seem much would change, but lately WWE decided that pushing him would be a good idea to build their Indian audience, hence the seemingly random push and the quick rise. Mahal got the better of Orton through most of their feud, but did he come out on top when it mattered most?
We also got Shinsuke Nakamura's WWE PPV debut, AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens for the United States Championship (man, THAT's what the WWE Championship match should be), a six-woman tag match and Breezango getting a tag title shot against The Usos.
While there were some highlights of the show, SmackDown really has to pick up its game. It's been lackluster since WrestleMania and they'd better get their act together before SummerSlam season rolls around.
How did everything unfold? What does this all mean? Read on and find out our top 15 takeaways from WWE Backlash.
15. The WWE's Buying Time With Tye Dillinger
Tye Dillinger scored the win over Aiden English on the pre-show in a pretty routine match, but you have to wonder what the direction really is for Dillinger. The WWE seems to realize the crowd likes Dillinger and they want him to have a role on the main roster, but they're just not sure what direction they want to pull him in. Will he eventually challenge for the U.S. title? It seems to be the logical path to take, but at this moment, it still remains a mystery as to how big a star Dillinger can be on SmackDown.
14. Nakamura Wins... And Doesn't Disappoint
The WWE chose to begin the show with Nakamura and Ziggler and it was a good call, as the two immediately got the crowd into the show. Shinsuke Nakamura wrestled his first match on the main roster and didn't disappoint. He gave us the hard-strike offense we've come to expect and he had a perfect dance partner in Dolph Ziggler. The match was exactly what it had to be, as Nakamura looked impressive in the win, while still selling well for Ziggler. Hopefully this PPV win will lead to a push for the WWE Championship going into SummerSlam in a few months.
Now that his feud with Ziggler is seemingly over, you wonder what's next for Nakamura.
13. Ziggler Will Be Stuck As A Sacrificial Lamb
So Dolph Ziggler basically did what was expected of him, and as a credible veteran superstar, put over Shinsuke Nakamura in his first PPV match. Ziggler did as good a job as he always does, but the fact that Ziggler was put in the spot to do the job to Nakamura makes you wonder how many victories he gets before he leaves WWE. He's hinted that he's been thinking of leaving WWE for a while, so you wonder if he'll be stuck in this role until he leaves.
12. Breezango Is A Guilty Pleasure Tag Team
Count me as a fan of Breezango. Breeze and Fandango are actually a funny pair, and they've really found their on-screen chemistry. The Fashion Files have become a funny series and it's very rare in WWE today that you laugh when you're supposed to. Their backstage segments cracked me up and Breezango have found the perfect level of ridiculousness. Who would have thought Breeze needed to be put in a janitor outfit and start wielding a mop around to get over?
11. Usos Win, But Breezango Leaves Lasting Impression
The Usos managed to retain their titles in a really fun match. While The Usos retained the story of the match was Tyler Breeze first coming out in his 'undercover' janitor disguise. Breeze got one pop after another using a mop as a diversion before Jimmy Uso broke the mop in half. Breeze then changed his disguise to that of an old lady and got more support from the crowd. Breezango has really emerged as a great comedy team, but they can also work a great match.
Hopefully this run continues and it's not the last time we see Breezango challenging for the titles.
10. Hallelujah! Sami Zayn Wins A PPV Match!
Wow! Sami Zayn got a PPV win! It was a little surprising that Zayn got the win over Corbin considering his very low win/loss record on PPV. You wonder if this means Sami Zayn is finally going to challenge for a championship and where Corbin goes from here. Either way it was good to see the underdog Zayn get a win.
9. It's Still Hard To Take Jinder Mahal Seriously
Okay, I've tried and tried, but I just can't take Jinder Mahal as main event material. Mahal cut a promo while arriving to the arena in the middle of the show, and got the 'WHAT' treatment from the crowd. It's not necessarily Mahal's fault, as we've been conditioned to not care about him for years then all of a sudden without merit, we're supposed to take him seriously? It's a lot to dump on a crowd and it really looks like a shameless attempt to appeal to an Indian audience. I'm all for expanding the market and India deserves better representation than what they've traditionally gotten from WWE.
But is it not weird that any Indian or those of an Indian background that have been pushed in WWE have been heels? Does it really send a great message for India?
The whole anti-American foreigner heel act is so played out and this push just feels so thrown together. Why couldn't it happen organically?
8. Who's Next To Challenge For The Women's Title?
Any time you get a six-person tag match involving a champion on a PPV it's a bit of a letdown. One of the things we were looking for in this match would be who would emerge as a possible no.1 contender for the Women's Championship. Carmella scored a pin on Naomi on SmackDown, but the ending we got in this match seemed pretty random, with Natalya winning via Sharpshooter on Becky Lynch. Was this just to establish some credibility for The Welcoming Committee or is Natalya perhaps the next no.1 contender? Either way, we hope we get some answers soon.
7. Is Charlotte Going To Last As A Babyface
Reports have surfaced over the past couple of weeks that the WWE has already started to question whether it was the right decision to turn Charlotte face. After all, she had only been a top level heel for about a year and a half, and she only started to find her groove on the main roster once she was turned heel. The last few weeks she's done the 'reluctant alliance' routine, joining up with Becky Lynch and Naomi to combat The Welcoming Committee consisting of Natalya, Carmella and Tamina.
Charlotte really doesn't seem comfortable as a face though and you wonder how long WWE is going to keep trying, especially if they are already having doubts about it.
Charlotte was part of the losing team, which gives her a third straight PPV loss after going on an undefeated streak on PPV for over a year.
6. Disappointing End To Styles/Owens Clash
Styles and Owens unsurprisingly gave us a great match in what was the match of the night, but it was a little disappointing to see it end in a countout, with Styles getting caught in the wire on the announce table. Perhaps it was a way of giving us a rematch at SmackDown's next PPV (Money In The Bank) but it really feels that Styles should not be feuding for the U.S. title and should be in the WWE title picture. Conversely, Owens should be higher up on the card as well, but SmackDown looks like Randy Orton's show for the foreseeable future.
5. KO's Brilliant Heel Work Continues
Conversely, at least Kevin Owens's brilliant heel work continues, even if he's just holding the United States Championship. The fact that Owens and Styles were feuding over the U.S. title could be the WWE's way of trying to restore prestige to the title. The last time it was really relevant was when John Cena held his open challenges back in 2015. Much like he did after defeating Chris Jericho, Owens landed an extra cheap shot in on AJ Styles after the match after he was tangled on the wire. Owens over-celebrating the title defense was typical heel Owens. He's still a bright spot on SmackDown.
4. Will Luke Harper Grow Into More?
It feels like it's time for WWE to really test out how big a star Luke Harper could be. Though he's left the Wyatt Family for a few months now, he was still given the task of having to face Erick Rowan for turning his back on the family. With the win now, hopefully all ties to the family could be severed and the WWE can really test Harper as a star chasing titles. I've always felt Harper was the best in-ring peformer in the Wyatt Family so hopefully he continues to blossom on his own.
3. Hey Chicago, Enough With The CM Punk Chants
Okay Chicago, we get it; CM Punk was amazing for the company and we all wish he was still in WWE, but he's been gone for three years. He's made it clear he's not coming back, so what does chanting 'CM Punk' accomplish? Granted, Chicago's not the only crowd guilty of this as we've heard plenty of Punk chants across cities, but it inevitably happens in Chicago every time.
There was a contingent of fans chanting his name at TakeOver, while another legion of fans were booing the group chanting it and they were sprinkled in Sunday night at Backlash as well. Please, just stop... Unless The Rock decides to give him a call while cutting a promo, just stop.
2. They Actually Did It
Yup, they actually did it. Jinder Mahal is now the WWE Champion, culminating a random six weeks of dominance from Mahal. After Orton disposed of the Singh Brothers at ringside, Mahal caught Orton with a Khallas to win the WWE Championship. Nobody would have ever thought this would be possible and now we get to see just what kind of a reign Jinder Mahal is going to have. The WWE really has pulled the trigger on betting on Jinder Mahal to help expand their Indian audience (or Vince REALLY loves his physique).
1. What Was The Point Of Randy Orton's Title Reign?
What was the point of Randy Orton concocting a plan against Bray Wyatt for six months, winning the Royal Rumble, defeating Wyatt in a world title match at WrestleMania, only to drop his title to Jinder Mahal less than two months later? Don't get me wrong, I was never crazy about Orton being champion in the first place, but this really doesn't feel like the right way a WrestleMania title winner's reign should end.