Tuesday, May 18, 2021

WWE WrestleMania Backlash: Zombies. Really? REALLY?!

WWE WrestleMania Backlash.  Pretty good show.  Whole lotta good wrestling on this show.  Strong work from everyone involved.  Oh, and zombies.  Wait, what?  Yeah.  Fucking zombies dude.....

Ya know that saying in wrestling that the audience really only remembers the ending of a show?  Apparently that's not true.  Apparently equally as compelling a stick in an audience member's craw is something unfathomably stupid that happens in the middle of a show, overshadowing all the good stuff that happened before and after.  Because for me the first thing I'll remember about WrestleMania Backlash for years to come is the fact that WWE actually put on a lumberjack match, where the lumberjacks surrounding the ring were goddamn fucking zombies.  Zombies that somehow obeyed the rules of a lumberjack match and thus didn't run into the ring during the bout's seven official minutes.  Zombies that went after the announcers, forcing them to "relocate to a secure location" to call the rest of the match.  Zombies that ate The Miz and John Morrison alive at the end.  Morrison miraculously survived the attack, but since The Miz is legit injured, WWE is going to let itself off the hook in explaining why he isn't a pink pile of goo now, and by the time he returns in 3-4 months they'll pretend this fiasco never took place.  Fuck this company.  Even removing the zombies from the Miz-Damian Priest match, it wasn't any good.  Imagine seriously getting behind a new guy finally and having this be his coming out match.  A match where zombies attacked and murdered his opponent after the closing bell.  I don't wanna hear another peep out of the AEW critics ever again, no matter how many botched explosions or soft-looking stunts they show on their programming.  At least AEW doesn't have its wrestlers get EATEN A-FUCKING-LIVE.  This match was embarrassingly terrible and I feel bad for everyone who had to pretend it was real.  DUD
Ok that bullshit is out of the way, now we can talk about the rest of the show, which was very good.  The opening triple threat between Rhea Ripley, Asuka and Charlotte Flair was a fast-paced, energetic match with almost non-stop movement.  It won't rank high in the pure storytelling category, but these three worked very hard and the pace just kept picking up throughout the bout.  The last few minutes in particular were quite invigorating, as each woman took turns hitting each other with big moves and nearfalls.  Finally Charlotte blocked an Asuka charge with a big boot from the apron, but was knocked to the floor as Rhea hit Asuka with Riptide to retain the belt.  I assume we'll now get Rhea vs. Charlotte at Hell in a Cell (now in June for some reason), and hopefully that means Rhea gets to avenge her nonsensical WrestleMania 36 loss.  This was a very fine opener.  ***3/4

The second match of the night was the Smackdown Tag Title match, as Rey and Dominick Mysterio challenged Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode (Now called The Dirty Dawgs? That name sucks).  The heels attacked Dominick backstage to keep him out of most of the match, while Rey played the consummate underdog taking on both champs at once.  This was your classic come-from-behind story where the babyface keeps getting beaten down but keeps defying the odds.  Eventually Dom showed up, made a hot tag, got beaten down, tagged back to Rey, who got beaten down, and Rey tagged Dom who landed a frog splash on Roode, thus making the Mysterio boys the first-ever father-son tag team champions in WWE history.  This match was solid but about five minutes too long.  ***

After the zombie bullshit was over, we got back to good wrestling as Bianca Belair had her first title defense against Bayley, and these two had a very good, athletic contest.  Bayley was the cocky veteran desperately hoping to prove the hotshot new champ was nothing but a fluke.  Bianca's power an pure athleticism was once again on full display, and near the end of the match Bayley attempted to cheat repeatedly to steal a quick win, notably using Belair's hair for a ripcord into Bayley to Belly for a nearfall.  But Bianca used her own hair to her advantage, cradling Bayley with the braid wrapped around Bayley's leg to retain.  Bayley threw a tantrum at ringside.  Another very good women's match, and probably not the last time we'll see this pairing.  ***3/4

The WWE Title three-way was next, and ended up being the surprise hit of the night for me.  These three jacked mofos put on a helluva car wreck match, with high-impact brawling, a dive onto the floor from Strowman, Drew overhead-throwing Strowman on the floor, Drew tossing Lashley through the LED boards, and Strowman powerbombing Drew onto the announce table.  Drew countered a powerslam attempt with a Claymore, but before he could score the pin, Lashley returned, tossed Drew out, and speared Strowman for the three-count.  Shockingly good match.  ****

The match of the night overall though, as expected, was Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro.  While probably five minutes longer than necessary, this match was an old-school dominant heel vs. underappreciated babyface story.  Cesaro frustrated Roman early with grappling, but Roman used ground-and-pound to take over, grinding the match to a halt.  Cesaro took a tough bump on the outside that seemed to legitimately hurt his shoulder, and that became the story of the rest of the match.  At no point did Cesaro even attempt the giant swing; instead every time he got Roman down he went for the sharpshooter, and late in the bout he finally clamped it on.  But Roman made the ropes, nearly tapped Cesaro with an armbar, and eventually made him pass out in the guillotine choke.  I hope this wasn't Cesaro's last Universal Title match, as there was a distinct Steve Austin-Bret Hart vibe at the end, but for now Cesaro is back to feuding with Seth Rollins, who attacked him after the match.  A strong main event to close an overall very good show.  ****1/4

So yeah, take out the goddamn zombies and you have what amounts to a really good In Your House-type show from the late 90s.  Four near-excellent title matches and one good tag title match.  From WWE in 2021, this is about as good a show as you're likely to see.  But fuckin' zombies, man....

Best Match: Roman vs. Cesaro
Worst Match: Fucking, goddamn, zombies
What I'd Change: See above
Most Disappointing Match: See above
Most Pleasant Surprise: WWE Title match
Overall Rating: 8/10

Thanks for reading - subscribe to our mailing list, and follow us on Twitter, MeWe, Mix, Facebook and YouTube!

No comments:

Post a Comment