“Hey Vince! We need to talk.”
What could possibly be going on in Vince McMahon‘s head?
Last night at WWE Backlash we got a rather complicated blend of excitement and disappointment. The complicated is in the booking. The show kicked off with a decent match of Tye Dillinger and Aiden English, but the real showdown was Shinsuke Nakamura and Dolph Ziggler. It was a surprise to see Nakamura’s debut done so early in the program but I’m sure McMahon wanted to get the crowd going early. WWE Hall of Famer and RAW commentator Booker T mentioned in the pre-show that the location, Chicago, is a hostile environment that will love you and hate you at the same time without warning.
Breezango and the Usos put on next to Nakamura and Ziggler the match of the night. The tag team titles were up for grabs, but the attention was taken away from the stakes and more towards Breezango’s hilarious act as the Fashion Police. Tyler Breeze walked out with Fandango disguised as a janitor, entered the match as such, and when he was forced out of the ring, he came back disguised as an elderly woman. Eventually, the Usos defeated Breezango but the match was a hilarious and well fought match. But after this match, things went from mellow to shallow.
The mellow starts with Sami Zayn vs. Baron Corbin. The match was aggressive as Corbin targeted Zayn’s back repeatedly. But that was it, an aggressive match that ended with a Sami Zayn underdog victory that the WWE Universe has seen over and over again. The mellow ends in the Women’s division with a Six Women Tag Team Match. Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch, and SmackDown Live Women’s Champion Naomi went against Natalya, Carmella, and Tamina. This match was just dull. There were crazy moments where the crowd could get into the event. What made things more sour was that Becky Lynch submitted to Natalya’s Sharpshooter, a clear disappointment to the crowd.
Now we are in the shallow.
The next match was AJ Styles vs. United States Champion Kevin Owens for the title. This was supposed to be the PPV saving match, and for a time it was. Both wrestlers battled and fought and were a spectacle. It was how the match ended that really became the glaring issue. AJ Styles got tangled in wires from one of the announcer tables and was counted out of the match. A championship match like this shouldn’t end with such a misstep. Afterward, a dull match of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan capped off what was the lead up to the WWE Championship match between Jinder Mahal and Randy Orton. At this point the crowd was completely out of the picture. It was all about seeing how the story lines would end up. Mahal and Orton did have a very entertaining match, with Orton deciding to attack his opponent before the match started. The heat was on but once again the result left the WWE Universe puzzled. Orton was attacked by Mahal’s henchmen the Singh Brothers to which he subdued both with drops on the table and a Double DDT in the ring. He was then caught by Mahal who performed his finisher on Orton to win the belt. How could Orton set himself up to be involved in a spectacle to lose a belt? Why was this the outcome?
Vince McMahon is the one pulling the strings, but maybe it’s time for that to transition to a new team. Ever since the Superstar Shakeup, both the Raw and SmackDown Live brands haven’t lived up to what were once both excellent rosters of talent. The draft a year ago set the tone for a strong balance of talent on two different programs that were competing with each other. Initially, SmackDown Live put out the stronger run than Raw but eventually a balance was reached. The bookings were precise, the integration of superstars was smooth and set a great tone of exciting and unpredictable events to come week after week.
The WWE is not there with these two shows. Down in the lower division WWE NXT, the storylines are created through a team run by Paul Levesque, aka Triple H, where the substance is stronger. The wrestlers are creating characters, storylines, techniques, and drama that will transfer to the top two shows. It’s that transition that should help Raw and Smackdown Live not have to alter a finished product. However, when McMahon gets his hands dirty, the show ends up messy. Interest is being lost across the board and it’s time for a change of pace.
Vince McMahon needs to step further behind the curtain and allow a fresher mind to get involved.
Dillon Davis-Tirado is a contributing writer for wrestling page for MFST. Follow him on Twitter @thedavistirado.
Hailing from New York City from the borough of Brooklyn, Dillon is a die-hard New York sports fan. He currently resides in Upstate New York, where he studies at Wells College in Aurora, NY.
Follow him on Twitter @thedavistirado and the other MFST writers.
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