Matthew Roberts takes a look at the latest DVD release from WWE Home Video, Backlash 2020.
There was a lot of, well, a commotion online in the build-up to Backlash 2020. All of it surrounded the build-up to Edge versus Randy Orton, which was proclaimed to be the “Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” before the bell had even been rung. Whilst most were mocking the idea that Edge and Orton could deliver such a thing, something else entirely amused me. The fact that the WWE was hyping a match up specifically on how good a “wrestling match” it would be. You don’t get that every day. I haven’t been so tickled since the WW(F)E hyped Alex “The Pug” Porteau in his introductory vignettes on how good a wrestler he was.
When it came to it, the match itself was not the greatest wrestling match ever. It probably didn’t come close. But it was a very good one. The piped-in audio, the Fink announcing the participants from beyond the grave, and Charles Robinson going old school with a bowtie gave the match a unique feel from the rest of the card.
And although it took up the best part of three-quarters of an hour it didn’t drag for the most part; it certainly flew by a lot quicker than their interminable match at WrestleMania, which many rated but I found deathly boring. The slew of finisher – kick out – big move – kick out – finisher – kick out had to be a rib (even more so when you consider some of Orton’s comments online in the weeks before the show) on Indy wrestling but it would be churlish to say that it wasn’t entertaining.
And speaking as a fan who had little interest in general in seeing the two go at it prior to the match (it seemed as if their feud had reached it’s peak in terms of interest at WrestleMania) to say I enjoyed it greatly is a compliment indeed.
Nothing on the rest of the card could quite match that one, but some things came close and there was very little that was offensive.
Drew McIntyre continued his stint as one of the most impressive in-ring acts of the “Lockdown era” by defeating fellow TNA alumni Bobby Lashley in a great back and forth match. It was arguably the best match Lashley has had since returning to the WWE, even if only because off hand I can’t remember many others that were very good. The ending was a little bit anti-climatic but at this point it seemed as if that was a feud/storyline extender.
Braun Strowman’s WWE Universal Championship defence against John Morrison and The Miz was less effective; clearly a place-holder whilst the WWE work out what they could actually do with Strowman in terms of opponents, this was nothing more than filler and had little finesse or drama. The suspicion remains that whilst McIntyre is seasoned enough to excel in the very strange lockdown circumstances, Strowman is somewhat lost without a crowd to feed off.
The Women’s matches were a mixed bag too. The WWE Women’s Tag Team Title match that opened the card was a lot of fun. Sasha Banks and Bayley are front-runners for the “MVP’s of the no crowd era” and Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross are another duo who have shown the aptitude for playing to the current circumstances rather than just plodding along doing the same old, same old. And who doesn’t like the Iiconics, right? It could have done with going a little bit longer, but it was a fun opener.
Asuka’s Raw Women’s Championship defence against Nia Jax didn’t quite hit the mark and the attitude era esque finish did absolutely nothing to me. Jax is beyond the need to “be protected” on a finish (and I don’t mean that as a compliment to her) and Asuka surely should have had a clean win here to cement her title reign. Still, sometimes you can’t expect anything else from WWE.
You probably would have either loved or hated the “WWE Raw Tag Team Championship” match between The Street Profits and The Viking Raiders. It was entertaining in it’s own way, whether or not it was “wrestling” is up to you I guess. Jeff Hardy and Sheamus was more traditional but for a deeply personal grudge match (well, they’d tried to engineer that in the build up) it lacked intensity. It picked up towards the end though and was certainly very watchable.
All in all I thought this was a very good show. It shone where it needed to, had some decent undercard stuff and never dragged or felt boring. In these very unique times that is more than enough for a thumbs up from me.
Added on the DVD is the entertaining Kickoff match between Apollo Crews and Andrade.
8 out of 10
Photos courtesy of Fetch and WWE
You can find me on Twitter @IWFICON