Ziggler confronts Nakamura: Dolph Ziggler wants to confront Shinsuke Nakamura. He says he suffers for his art and the fans should respect him. He calls out Shinsuke, and the crowd reacts for the first time of the night to Nakamura’s entrance. Ziggler tells him it’s “time to put-up or…” but Nakamura grabs the microphone. He finishes, “Shut up.” Nakmura is ready to wrestle Nakamura, but Ziggler backs off. He says that they’ll wrestle when he says so, which will be a Backlash. Ziggler jumps Nakamura from behind, but Nakamura regains control with knees and kicks. This was much, much better than the segment they had two weeks ago. Nakamura was clearer on the mic and spoke less; instead, he let his legs do the talking. Ziggler didn’t make any Jackson Family references, so that alone makes it better.
Mahal pins Orton to win the six-man tag: The six-man tag match itself was good enough. Each wrestler received some time to shine, and they established these feuds well leading into Backlash. The biggest shock is that Jinder Mahal pinned Orton clean after a cobra clutch slam. They have quickly established Mahal as a legitimate heel threat, and the whole situation doesn’t even feel rushed. Mahal has reacted well to the spotlight too. He’s gaining confidence in his character with each passing week. Given how low throttle Orton has been recently, it even feels like a good idea to take the strap off him and put it on Mahal, but with the Rusev promos wanting a World Title match at Money in the Bank, that probably isn’t likely.
Multi-man opening promo: Nothing could improve WWE more than not disallowing these segments. Randy Orton comes out, brings up the travesty that was the House of Horrors, and says he lost because of Jinder Mahal. Jinder immediately interrupts, probably because Randy didn’t want to talk much tonight. Jinder does his now-routine schtick: he will make everyone respect him and so on. He is then interrupted by Owens who berates both men and the arena of fans. He might be the face of America now, but soon he’ll be the face of WWE. AJ Styles interrupts and basically says that Owens is wrong. Then Baron Corbin comes out, but before he can get a mic, Sami Zayn comes out and attacks him. The AJ attacks Owens, and Orton attacks Mahal. The three heels gather outside the ring glaring at the three babyfaces in the ring. What’s the main event? You guessed it – a six-man tag. Hopefully, this reads as trite as it was.
Natalya beats Becky Lynch: At least there was a match here; however, the multi-man philosophy remained the same. Carmella, with Tamina, introduced Natalya. Then Naomi came out telling the crowd to make some “bloody noise.” They didn’t. She introduces Becky Lynch. Once the match is ready to start, Charlotte’s music hits. She comes to ringside to even the numbers. The match lasted about four minutes before the women at rignside went at it. This distraction allowed Natalya to knock Becky off the top rope and get a pinfall, much like (i.e. exactly like) the finish to the Bliss/James match last night. After the match, Becky rallies Naomi and Charlotte and tells them they need to start working together because they need to make a statement against The Welcoming Committee. That statement will happen in a six-woman match at Backlash. Same triteness of the opening segment but with a fresh twist of stealing a finish from a match on RAW last night.
Breezango’s Fashion Files segment: Tyler Breeze is dressed as a bobby and Fandango as Sherlock Holmes. They track lead paint to a closet where they find The Ascension. The “Uggos” case, Breeze says, will have to be put on hold because The Ascension case “just reopened.” This was even less funny than last week’s skit. What is happening to this show? It’s becoming hard to remember that this was must watch television a few months ago.
Erick Rowan beats Luke Harper: Rowan beat Harper in about five and a half minutes with one of the worst powerslam finishers imaginable. Harper is the only wrestler worth salvaging from the Wyatt Family disaster, not Rowan, so again, what are they doing? It should be stated at this point that there was hardly no reaction for this show as a whole, let alone this match.
Neurotic Sami Zayn: Sami has a backstage segment with Randy and AJ where he wants to discuss strategy. He goes through this fast-talking, long-winded scenario that ends with him visualizing their victory. When he opens his eyes, Orton and AJ are gone. This wasn’t funny, and this undercuts Sami’s character by doing this lame comedy bit. It shows WWE doesn’t view him as a serious contender, which is heartbreaking.
Breezango is confronted by The Usos: Breezango, who actually received a good reaction, beat The Ascension fairly easily when Fandango pinned Viktor after a top rope leg drop. The Usos came out, finally after weeks, and cut a decent promo. Their new attitudes are still refreshing compared to their face personas. Still, these promos feel like they could easily turn face and do the same thing. They are too comical to be pure heel.
The Final Analysis: This show, outside a couple segments, was a disaster. It did little in most cases to really ramp up the feuds, but simply served as reminders that they existed. The women still feel all lumped in together five weeks after Wrestlemania if what feels like a bad rehash of the already bad, TEAM PCB/Team Bad angle from two years ago. Orton is phoning it in as champion; they are mis-booking Sami Zayn out of the ring. AJ feels like he doesn’t have a direction other than to try to fight Owens for the title. Backlash can’t get here soon enough to hopefully reboot Smackdown into some more interesting feuds.