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The hype level from wrestling fans coming into the 2020 edition of WWE’s Backlash pay-per-view was not very high, and several booking decisions helped make Sunday’s event largely forgettable.
Aside from a great main event and an entertaining segment featuring the Raw Tag Championship match competitors, the show was mostly disappointing. From the lackluster ending to the Raw women’s title match—which furthered a storyline most fans didn’t need anymore—to Lana’s involvement in the WWE Championship contest, fans have a right to feel frustrated with the overall product.
Here are the best, worst and most ridiculous booking decisions from Backlash.
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While billing the rematch between Edge and Orton as “The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever” was still a bad idea in terms of raising fan expectations to unattainable levels, the two men put on a 5-star classic.
With a well-told story coming into Backlash and sky-high expectations, WWE Creative gave Edge and Orton almost 45 minutes to lay out an unforgettable bout. Every punch, kick and finisher felt like it meant something, and the result was an instant classic.
Add in Orton earning the win with what looked to be a below-the-belt shot and his Punt finisher, which hasn’t been used in years, and the Superstars not only told an amazing story Sunday night but also laid the foundation for the third and likely final chapter.
The hope is that WWE CEO Vince McMahon and Co. see the success of the Orton vs. Edge match and the bout between AJ Styles and Daniel Bryan and begin to understand longer singles matches based on great technical wrestling can be a great way to draw fans to the product.
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The feud between Nia Jax and Asuka has been lackluster at best, but there appears to be no end in sight following their match’s double count-out finish Sunday.
With the Raw Women’s Championship on the line and two top stars in the division going head-to-head, WWE took the easy way out, kicking the can down the line for an eventual rematch.
Before the referee counted out both women, the in-ring action was solid but not at the level of competition fans had seen before in NXT. Add in a finish that left the WWE Universe scratching its collective head, and this match was a flop.
The hope is WWE Creative uses this opportunity to add a stipulation for the rematch. With Extreme Rules listed as the next PPV on the schedule, Nia Jax and Asuka need to be booked in a brutal bout in order to justify what happened at Backlash.
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As Raw television ratings are hitting all-time lows, why would WWE think adding Lana to the WWE Championship feud would bring in new fans or keep the people watching interested?
Since she parted ways with Rusev, Lana has been a shell of the character fans loved to hate. Now, Bobby Lashley has MVP, the same man who carried the load on the mic in TNA when The Destroyer ran roughshod over the world title scene in that promotion.
Instead of moving past the Lana and Lashley storyline, WWE is burying the momentum it created by pairing MVP and Lashley to further a story few people want to see anymore.
Lana should be the mouthpiece for another star who needs a manager to get over the hump, a job she proved she could handle during her time with Rusev. How WWE officials decided she needed to be involved with Drew McIntyre and the world title match at Backlash is anyone’s guess.
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