Welcome to Ringside News’ coverage of the 2018 Backlash PPV, which is a cross-brand event.
Tonight’s Backlash features nine matches from both Raw and SmackDown Live. The main event of tonight’s show is either going to be Roman Reigns Vs. Samoa Joe, or AJ Styles Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura – personally I’d prefer the latter because it has a title on the line. Samoa Joe has been on fire since his return from injury, promo-wise, and I think just about everyone would like to see him go over but a Reigns win is all but assured. The actual Championship match between AJ Styles and Nakamura is under no-disqualification rules because Nakamura has a bad habit of cracking AJ in the cajones. This is likely to be the match of the night and should definitely be the main event.
Daniel Bryan will have his first singles match on PPV tonight, as he takes-on Big Cass. This feud seemingly came out of nowhere and, personally is totally the wrong feud for both men. WWE should be building Bryan back up as a main event star on the level of Lesnar, Reigns, or Styles, but a loss to Big Cass would be highly detrimental. Similarly, WWE seems to like Cass, so why book him to lose in his first match upon returning? Neither scenario makes much sense to me but hey, WWE doesn’t seem to think very far ahead these days.
Also on tonight’s card, is Randy Orton Vs. Jeff Hardy for the United States Championship. This is a really interesting match-up that pits two veterans against each other. The SmackDown Women’s Champion, Carmella, will face former Champion Charlotte for her first title defence. Seth Rollins defends his Intercontinental Championship against The Miz, which is an odd match-up because Miz is on SmackDown Live now, meaning a win for him is almost impossible, unless he wins and is transferred back to Raw. I don’t see the point in that because Bryan Vs. The Miz is a huge feud people are clamouring to see down the line, so keep them both on SmackDown and let Rollins walk out Champ.
There’s much more happening on tonight’s Backlash card, but it all starts at 7 PM with the Kick-Off Show, where you can see Ruby Riott Vs. Bayley. Remember to download the Ringside News app or Ringside Talk app and join the conversation. Enjoy the show!
The Backlash Kick-Off Show begins with the panel of Renee Young, David Otunga, Peter Rosenberg, and Booker T. The panel run-down the entire card for tonight’s show, then throw it to Charly Caruso backstage. Charly talks about the bad blood between Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles, claiming Nakamura requested a locker room on the opposite side of the arena from Styles. She says she also spoke to Daniel Bryan, who is thrilled to be facing Big Cass tonight and says he will win with heart over size. Later tonight, Paige and Kurt Angle will sit down for a Twitter Q&A.
The first match for discussion is Roman Reigns Vs. Samoa Joe – the video package shows Reigns downfall at the hands of Lesnar again and again. The panel maintain Reigns won the cage match against Lesnar, even though his foot was on the apron. They say there is a tonne of pressure on Roman tonight, and Rosenberg reckons Samoa Joe sees that and wants to take advantage. Booker says Reigns is tired and beaten and you can only get so many chances until you go to the back of the line. Renee says this match tonight suits Joe, to which Rosenberg says Joe has Reigns’ number. Booker, Renee and Peter say Samoa Joe will win the match, while David Otunga sticks with his man, Roman.
The next topic is the Daniel Bryan/Big Cass match. We get a video package that shows the return of Cass and his subsequent beatings of Daniel Bryan. We return to the panel and Peter Rosenberg ridiculously says there has never been a bigger size difference between two men in WWE – clearly he doesn’t remember Rey Mysterio Vs. The Great Khali, or Big Show Vs. Floyd Mayweather. They say Daniel Bryan may be back and better than ever, but he has an uphill battle against Big Cass.
We see Curtis Axel and Bo Dallas backstage, they’re looking at a piece of paper with potential new leaders for them. They can’t settle on one when The Miz walks-in and says “Daddy’s home”. Dallas and Axel are thrilled to see him – clearly he doesn’t remember that they dumped him the last night he was on Raw. Miz recalls the glory days of the Miztourage and says it’s great to have them back together. He tells them to follow him because his match with Seth Rollins is up first, to which they stop and Dallas tells Miz that they’re no longer his supporting cast. Miz is left alone and confused. Back with the panel, they talk about how amazing The Miz was as Intercontinental Champion but that Seth Rollins is a fighting Champion and the title looks good on him. Otunga points out that Miz has won the title 8 times but he has never done so without help. They’re split on who walks out with the strap.
We take a look at Carmella’s rise to glory, beginning with her Money In The Bank win – which excludes James Ellsworth. Mella is Money. The panel say Charlotte is on top of her game but before they can get very far, Peyton Royce and Bille Kay walk-in. Peyton says Charlotte is so “two-thousand and never”. They say Charlotte is no big deal because they beat Asuka on her first SmackDown Live match. Royce does an impression of Peter Rosenberg that is so wrong that it’s funny. They talk about how great Carmella is and that Backlash could be Iconic. The duo walk away, leaving the panel to continue the discussion. Rosenberg says Carmella reminds him of Floyd Mayweather because she always gets the job done and brings the money.
We see Bayley warming-up backstage and Sasha Banks walks-in. Bayley apologises to Sasha and tells her she should be in her corner tonight. Sasha asks why Bayley has ignored her for two weeks and points-out that last week Bayley wasn’t there when she got beaten down. Bayley says that’s fine, she’ll handle Ruby tonight, they way she has done to Sasha in the past. They continue to argue and Sasha says she’s on her own before walking off.
The panel stat talking about Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley – it sounds like they’re a real team now but I hope not. They say there is no real hope for Owens and Zayn to win this tag match tonight. Booker also talks about how impressive Lashley is.
Next up is the Raw Women’s Championship match, between Nia Jax and Alexa Bliss. The panel disregard Alexa’s PSA’s and say Nia is going to squash Alexa.
We go split-screen for the Q&A with Kurt Angle and Paige. The first question if for Kurt, and asks who his dream opponent today is, to which Angle says Daniel Bryan is his choice. Otunga asks them what the hardest part of being general manager is, to which Paige says not helping your friends is hard, Angle agrees and says giving equal opportunities when there only is limited time. Booker asks which match will steal the show, to which Paige says Nakamura Vs. Styles, as well as Carmella Vs. Charlotte. Angle says Nia Jax Vs. Alexa Bliss or Reigns Vs. Joe. That’s it for the Q&A.
It’s match time and out comes Bayley to a good reaction. Out next is Ruby Riott, followed by Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan. Ruby has some new hear, she looks so different than the other females that she stands out and that’s a great thing!
The match begins and Bayley wins a lock-up, before taking Ruby down with a headlock. Riott fights to her feet and knocks Bayley down. Ruby applies a headlock of her own before knocking Bayely to the mat with a shoulder tackle. Bayley hits a sunset flip roll-up on Ruby for a two-count.
Bayley hits a nice arm drag from the middle rope but Ruby quickly takes control again. She beats Bayley around the ring before Bayely whips her into the corner. Bayley runs at Ruby and gets tossed over the ropes. Ruby capitalises on a distraction to catch Bayley with an STO. Bayley rolls from the ring and we cut to a commercial for…Backlash.
We return to see Bayley grounded in a rear chin lock. She fights out but Ruby slams her head-first into the ringpost, then again. Ruby hangs Bayley on the second rope and chokes her with her knee – when the ref forces her off, Logan punches Bayley. We see a rather concerned looking Sasha Banks watching on the monitor backstage. Ruby looks to slam Bayley into the ringpost again but Bayley scoops her up and drops her on the turnbuckle. Bayley runs at Ruby, who jumps and grabs Bayley with her legs and slams her into the turnbuckle face-first.
Ruby applies another submission move but again Bayley fights up and tosses her off. Ruby knocks Bayley to the apron, where Bayley kicks her back and hits a springboard crossbody for a near-fall. Bayley hits a series of clotheslines, then tries to dive through the ropes and hurricanrana Sarah Logan but she botches it. Inside the ring again, Bayley hits a big diving elbow to Ruby for a near-fall.
Bayley sets-up for a Bayley-To-Belly but Liv Morgan jumps onto the apron and distracts her, allowing Ruby to kick Bayley, then hit the Riott Kick for the win!
That was a decent match but a little botchy in spots. I really like Ruby, so I’m glad she picked up the win here.
We return to the Kick-Off panel, who rundown the card once again. And that’s it for the Kick-Off Show.
After the introduction packages, WWE Backlash 2018 opens with The Miz making his way to the ring. Miz gets a huge reception from the crowd in New Jersey. The Intercontinental Champion, Seth Rollins, is out next to another big reception.
The bell rings and the crowd go crazy before they even touch. Eventually they lock up and Rollins applies a hammerlock. Miz fights out and hits a kick to the gut and beats Seth down to the mat. Rollins retaliates with a dropkick and a few chops to the chest. Rollins takes to the apron and tries to springboard into the ring but Miz jumps kicks him off the rope to the floor. He slams Rollins’ head into the announce table before bringing him back into the ring. He slows the pace down as he grounds Rollins with a headlock.
Seth fights out but Miz chokes him against the middle rope until the ref forces him to break. Seth hits a facebuster out of nowhere! He sends Miz’s face into the middle turnbuckle and takes him down with a sling blade. Rollins clotheslines Miz out of the ring and then takes him out with a suicide dive and rolls him back in the ring for a near-fall. Miz counters a springboard, but Rollins is still able to hit a blockbuster a moment later for another near fall.
Miz pulls Rollins off the apron and his head hits the side of the ring. He climbs to the top rope for a crossbody, but Rollins rolls through and lifts him up for a swinging side slam to get a near fall. Seth jumps off the top turnbuckle with a huge frog splash to get another close two count. Rollins begins setting up for the stomp, but Miz rolls out of the ring – to a chorus of boos from the fans. Rollins decides to take the fight to him with another suicide dive but Miz catches him in mid-air with a forearm shot.
Both men clamber onto the apron and trade punches, until Miz counters the Revolution Knee and Seth hits the ring post hard. Miz gets him into the ring and immediately locks in the Figure Four. Seth suffers in the move for over a minute, then gets fired up and turns over to reverse the pressure. Miz rolls it back over and Seth reaches the ropes immediately. Miz looks for his finisher but Rollins rolls down for a pin attempt, howevr Miz lifts him back up like a wheelbarrow and hits the Skull Crushing Finale for a very close two count. Very cool segment.
Miz hits a corner clothesline before heading back to the top turnbuckle. Miz blocks a superplex attempt and kicks Rollins away. Seth runs right back up the ropes and hits a superplex. Miz counters the falcon arrow and hits another Skull Crushing Finale for yet another near fall. The crowd is going nuts for this match. Miz avoids a stomp and they trade pin attempts until finally Rollins rolls out and lands The Stomp for the win!
That was a fantastic match. Rollins really seems to have found a new gear in the past few months. After the match Rollins celebrates, while Miz retreats, holding his head in pain.
We see a video package for the long-running feud between Alexa Bliss and Nia Jax.
Bliss is out first, not accompanied by Mickie James.
RAW Women’s Championship Match
(C) Nia Jax Vs. Alexa Bliss
The bell rings and Bliss goes right to the knee of Nia with a dropkick. She hits a few more kicks before Jax grabs her by the hair. She bends Alexa’s fingers back and delivers a stiff headbutt – I was worried Alexa would pop her elbow out of joint again and gross me out. She throws Bliss from one corner to the next before the Goddess rolls out of the ring to regroup.
Bliss manages to take control and starts slapping Jax while screaming at her. Hilariously, Bliss feigns a running attack but just shouts at Nia again. Jax hits a clothesline to shut her up. Bliss hits a few knees to the face before Nia scoops her up. Alexa puts Jax in a submission but she gets slammed into the corner to break it. Jax puts her on the middle rope and whips her down to the mat by both of her arms, a hard fall. Jax throws Bliss around like a ragdoll. She climbs to the middle turnbuckle for a splash but Bliss dumps her over the top rope to the floor. Alexa goes outside and DDT’s Nia into the steel steps. Then she realizes she has to get Jax back into the ring and can’t manage to do-so. Alexa runs back into the ring and complains to the referee, so he restarts the count.
Alexa finally gets Nia back in the ring but the Champ kicks out at two. Alexa throws a tantrum. Jax picks her up and climbs to the second rope, looking for the Samoan Drop she hit at WrestleMania. Alexa slips off her shoulders and kicks her leg out from under her to get another near fall. Jax grabs her again and finally hits the Samoan drop for the 123.
That as a weird match, I don’t get why Nia takes so much damage. I hope this feud is over. Nia grabs the horn after the match and says she dedicates her win to everyone who has ever been bullied, or is being bullied. She says never to change who you are for anyone and to be proud of who you are.
We head backstage to see Samoa Joe be interviewed. Joe is asked if Reigns is rattled and he says yes, Reigns is a man who has lost a step, who can’t pull out the win on the big stage. Joe says tonight Reigns will open his eyes and see him above him. Tonight he turns the big dog into a whimpering puppy.
Back live and out comes the future Hall of Famer, Randy Orton. It’s been ten years since we last saw Randy Orton take on the current US Champion…
Maybe it’s just me, but Orton looks like he’d rather be anywhere else tonight. They lock up, shoot to the ropes, and Hardy knocks Orton down with a running shoulder tackle. Hardy applies a waistlock but Orton counters with a back elbow and knocks Hardy down for a two count. Jeff sends Randy out of the ring, then hits a running dropkick through the ropes and a clothesline off of the apron.
Orton gets threw into the ring but when Jeff looks to climb back in he eats a perfect dropkick. Orton drops Jeff onto the barricade multiple times before heading back inside. Hardy goes up for Whisper in the Wind, but Orton pushes him off the turnbuckle and he falls into the tree of woe, where Orton unleashes some kicks. Back outside the ring and Hardy hits poetry in motion off the steps to knock Orton into the barricade. Hardy attempts a springboard and Orton nails him with another dropkick to send him crashing into the floor. The Viper goes outside and drops Hardy across the barricade three times. He brings Jeff back into the ring and slows the pace down. Orton grounds Jeff with a headlock.
Jeff catches Orton with an atomic drop, low blow leg drop and dropkick for another two count. Hardy avoids an RKO attempt, but Orton comes back connecting with his snap powerslam for a two count. Hardy misses his corner dropkick when Orton moves. Orton drops Hardy with his DDT off the ropes. Hardy connects with a Twist of Fate and then a Swanton Bomb for the win.
I thought that was a decent match, despite Orton’s lack of motivation. I’d like to see the feud continue.
Ladies and gentlemen, Elias. The Drifter plays guitar for the fans in New Jersey, before saying he spent some time with Bruce Springsteen recently. He says he and Brucey talk about music and life, and he dedicates tonight’s song to Bruce. The fans applaud as Elias tells them not to, so he says he will leave and they cheer. They go back and forth before he says that Bruce needs to hear his song. Elias is then interrupted by The New Day.
Big E is holding a lambeg drum and he’s shirtless, while Kofi Kingston has cymbals. Xavier Woods says they are actually big fans of his work. Elias wants to know why they are out here. New Day suggested a co-brand band with Elias tonight. Elias reminds them he is a solo act. New Day say they understand…but start playing the instruments loudly. Elias tells them to stop and Kofi has a hard time doing so. He wants JoJo to take it from the top again and dim the lights.
This time, Aiden English walks out to interrupt – to a huge reaction. He reminds us today is Rusev Day. Rusev refers to Elias as a bootleg Bob Dylan and New Day as the Booty Boys. Elias wants his concert to be restarted. No Way Jose interrupts instead, with Titus Worldwide and Breezango amongst his followers. Elias again demands his concert get restarted. This time, he is interrupted by Bobby Roode and his “Glorious” theme. Roode is in the ring and takes out Elias with his Glorious DDT. They all dance up the ramp to end the segment.
A video package runs hyping Daniel Bryan vs. Big Cass tonight, chronicling Bryan’s return to action.
Bryan with a kick early to the repaired knee of Cass. Cass with a forearm to the back of Bryan when Bryan goes for a takedown. Bryan dumps Cass over the top rope and connects with a dropkick through the ropes. Bryan catches Cass with a flying knee off the ring apron.
Back inside, Bryan goes up top and connects with a dropkick to the chest of Cass. Bryan with his Yes Kicks to the chest of Cass. Cass cuts off the finishing kick lifting Bryan up and back down hard on the mat. Cass with a big chop to the chest of Bryan. Cass with another chop to Bryan. Cass drops a quick elbow over Bryan for a two count. Cass has Bryan up on his right shoulder applying pressure, but Bryan breaks free and gives Cass a drop toe hold into the bottom turnbuckle. The fans start a rather pathetic “We Want Enzo” chant.
Bryan with big kicks to Cass in the corner. Bryan with a corner dropkick, a second corner dropkick and misses a third when Cass drops him down over the mat. Cass with a big clothesline that levels Bryan. More clotheslines from Cass. Bryan with a head kick after Cass misses a big boot. Bryan has Cass down on the mat. Bryan is trying to apply the Yes Lock. Bryan with forearms to the face of Cass. Yes Lock is in. Cass taps.
After the match, Big Cass attacks Daniel Bryan while he is celebrating, and tosses him around at ringside. Fans start a loud “YOU TAPPED OUT” chant and Cass looks furious. Back inside, Cass levels Bryan with a big boot. Cass celebrates holding his arm in the air. I guess this feud will continue.
We get a video package for Charlotte Vs. Carmella. The former Champion is out first.
The match begins and Carmella starts doing Ric’s strut walk, only to be hit with a big boot by Charlotte. Mella grabs her belt and tries to leave, but Charlotte cuts her off. The Queen catches and rolls her back into the ring. She rolls Carmella up for a one count. Flair misses a slingshot over the top rope and Carmella lays her out with a superkick for a two count.
Mella lets out a Woo as she wrings Charlotte’s neck in a headlock. Flair eats another superkick to give the champ another near fall. She keeps Charlotte grounded with various submissions for a few minutes, all the while trash talking like crazy. Charlotte breaks free with a mule kick and starts to build up a head of steam with some chops to the champ. Mella counters a big boot on the apron and Charlotte lands hard on her back.
Carmella gets cocky again, does a little moonwalking, and then Charlotte smashes her with a Spear. Carmella counters the Figure Four and locks in the Code of Silence, which was her finisher in NXT – a nice callback. Charlotte stands up to escape the hold and nails a big boot for a two count. Charlotte heads up top and looks for her signature moonsault but Carmella moves out of the way and Charlotte lands hard. Carmella immediately capitalises with a pin and wins!
Carmella clears the ring as soon as the bell rings. She seems like she’s as shocked as everyone that she won fair and square. She grabs her title and holds tight. Charlotte grabs her knee like she hurt it.
It’s world title time as we get a video package for AJ Styles Vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.
Nakamura is out first, accompanied by his cool new music. I was hoping this would be the main event – it’s no wonder people never look at SmackDown as the main show, Raw gets the main event even when it doesn’t have a title on the line or a huge feud.
As soon as the bell rings, Nakamura slides out of the ring. He walks around with gloating expressions, so AJ chases after him but Shin slides back into the ring. Nakamura taunts Styles and when the Champ tries to climb inside Nakamura looks to knee him. Styles is wise to it and drags Nakamura out of the ring, where he slams him into the barricade, then the announce table, and back inside the ring.
Styles chops and kicks Shin in the corner. He goes for it again but Nakamura kicks him away, however Styles counters him with a backbreaker. Nakamura takes control with some cheap tactics. Styles looks to catch him with a dropkick but Nakamura holds onto the ropes. Nakamura then runs at Styles but this time he does eat the dropkick! Nakamura rolls outside again and Styles chases.
Styles slams Shinsuke into the barricade, then the opposite guard. Styles runs, leaps and splashes into Nakamura against the barricade. Styles then goes for the splash again but this time he misses and hits the guard rail. Nakamura grabs AJ and beats him against the barricade, before throwing him knee-first into the steel steps – AJ took that bump like Foley. Shin drapes AJ across the ring apron and knee’s him, then jumps off of the apron with a knee to the back of the head. Inside the ring Nakamura scores a near-fall.
Shinsuke takes control and really slows the pace. He hits Good Vibrations on AJ in the corner and looks for a few pin attempts, unsuccessfully. AJ chops Nakamura but he brushes it off and connects with a stiff forearm shot. Nakamura stays in control for a while, stunting any comeback attempt from AJ. They leave the ring and Nakamura throws AJ into the timekeepers area, where Styles looks to springboard back out but Shin kicks his foot and AJ crashes. Back inside the ring, Nakamura applies a rear chokehold.
Nakamura looks for the reverse exploder but Styles lands on his feet and winds up on the apron. Styles looks for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Shinsuke grabs him and sets him on the top rope, then hits the running knee. Shinsuke takes to the top rope and hits a flying knee to Styles for a near-fall. Nakamura gets AJ onto his shoulders and hits a Michinoku Driver for another near-fall. Nakamura beats AJ down before sliding out of the ring and grabs a chair. He brings the chair into the ring and tries to hit AJ but Styles picks him up. Nakamura escapes and kicks AJ repeatedly, then hits the reverse exploder onto the chair! Nakamura winds-up in the corner for Kinshasha, however AJ throws the steel chair at Shinsuke’s knee!
Both men are down and AJ’s cheek is cut really badly because the chair ricocheted back and hit him in the face. Styles counters Nakamura and applies the Calf Crusher. Nakamura fights out and counters with a slick Triangle Choke, however AJ counters that with a Styles Clash attempt but Shin grabs the ropes and climbs out. AJ hits a stiff running forearm to the back of Nakamura’s head for a near-fall. Styles dodges a clothesline and hits a Pele kick, then looks for the Styles Clash but Nakamura counters with, you guessed it, a low blow! As Nakamura gloats, AJ retaliates with a low blow of his own and New Jersey explodes!
Both men climb up each other, striking one at a time to cheers and boos. Styles gets the better of the strikers, so Nakamura headbutts him, then both men connect with big kicks to the groin! The referee counts as both men are down and that’s all she wrote!
The crowd is not happy about the double count-out finish. The announcer says AJ retains his title because of the decision. The referee helps AJ to his feet and to the back, while nobody looks at Nakamura. I’m OK with this finish, it fits the storyline and protects both men.
The Monster Among Men is out next for his tag team match. This match feels pointless, especially considering we basically saw it on Raw last week. Regardless, I expect it to be fun.
Bobby and Sami start for their teams, although Sami wants nothing to do with Lashley. Lashley forces Zayn to the corner and the ref makes him back off. He lays Zayn out with a shoulder block and Sami retreats to his corner for a tag. KO gets taken down in a waistlock and whipped into the corner. Lashley hits a shoulder thrust, but he eats a big boot when he looks for it again.
Owens tags Zayn, and Lashley hits a clothesline to regain the upper hand once again. Lashley gets hung up on the top rope after Owens provides a distraction on the apron. KO and Zayn keep Lashley isolated for as long as they can, but he eventually manages to make the tag to Braun. He takes out Owens before chasing Zayn around the ring and sending him into the barricade. He clobbers Owens on the way back around the ring, causing him to literally flip.
Back inside the ring, Owens avoids him in the corner and Braun hits the ring post. Sami tries to leave the match and KO gets frustrated, saying they have to keep fighting. Owens thinks he has him convinced but Sami throws him back into the ring to face Strowman alone. KO rolls back out and tosses Sami back in. They fight over who has to fight Braun until Sami slaps Kevin in the face. Owens is incensed, and Sami backs away, only to be cornered by all three men, however Zayn rolls from the ring. Owens shouts at Sami to come back but he doesn’t, and KO gets squashed in the corner by Braun. Lashley tags in and hits the Stalling Suplex on Owens for the win.
After the match, Sami sits by Owens at ringside, until Braun comes out and grabs him. Braun throws him back into the ring and hits the running powerslam. That’s all she wrote for this one. At least they turned a random tag match into a story device, I also like that Sami will seemingly be the heel while Owens turns face.
It’s main event time! We get a video package for Reigns Vs. Samoa Joe, then out comes Joe who is the fan favourite. Unsurprisingly.
Before the bell can ring, Samoa Joe runs and attacks Reigns! He beats him down and throws him out of the ring. Joe slams Roman into the barricade, then hits Reigns with a Urinagi through the announce table! Joe throws Roman back into the ring and the referee makes him back-off, meanwhile the fans chant, “Joe is gonna kill you”.
Finally the bell rings and Joe tees-off on Reigns in the corner with right jabs. He then flips Roman over and slaps his back, then kicks his chest. Joe scores a two-count by hitting a knee drop. Joe applies a elbow lock and Reigns starts to fight out but Joe slams him back down to the mat. Joe then applies a chin lock and talks trash to Roman. The fans chant “CM PUNK” – I’m a huge Punk fan but even I don’t see the point in chanting his name.
Roman escapes the hold by pulling Joe’s fingers apart, and he tries to fight but Joe tackles him in the corner and hits a enziguiri for a near-fall. After another minute of submission holds, Reigns is knocked outside the ring and Joe hits a suicide dive to Reigns – which looked dangerous because Reigns turned away and Joe landed hard on his leg. Back inside the ring, Joe elbows Reigns and again goes to the submission hold. The fans boo and Joe smiles and nods.
After a long while, Reigns fights to his feet and exchanges punches with Joe. Reigns knocks Joe off his feet for the first time with a boot. Joe rolls outside and leans on the apron, allowing Reigns to hit the Drive-By. Back inside the ring, Reigns hits multiple clotheslines, then clobbers Joe repeatedly in the corner. Joe counters Reigns with a atomic drop, big boot, and a running senton for a near-fall. Joe looks for another Urinagi but Roman elbows him, then hits a spinebuster.
Roman looks for a Superman Punch but Joe ducks it and applies the Coquina Clutch. Roman smartly escapes by rolling through the ropes to the outside. Roman then looks for the Drive-By again but Joe catches him in mid-air with the Coquina Clutch! Roman again escapes and hits a Superman punch for a near-fall. The fans are incredibly restless and bored. Reigns looks for the Spear but Joe kicks him, which only pauses Reigns, who then hits the Spear and pins Joe…but the Samoan Submission Machines gets his foot on the bottom rope.
Both men are down and slowly get to their feet. Reigns looks for the Spear after hitting the ropes twice but Joe kicks him. Joe wraps in the Clutch again but Reigns rolls over for a pin attempt that is unsuccessful. Reigns looks for another roll-up but Joe kicks him out and into the Coquina Clutch. Reigns fades out and seems to have passed out when he comically comes back to life and grabs the rope. Joe lifts Roman to his feet and takes him to the corner. Joe lifts Roman up top and looks for the Muscle Buster but Reigns punches him away, leaps over him and hits a Spear for the win.
Not a bad match but it was kinda painful to watch because we all knew the outcome. It’s a shame they refuse to give-up the Roman experiment when guys like Joe are made cannon fodder.
That’s it for Backlash 2018. Let us know what you thought of the show and remember to come back tomorrow night for Raw! Until then, safe travels.