Yikes, this pay-per-view was a rough one. With them all being co-branded now, Raw has to pollute half of every show and SmackDown couldn't do much to save it since they were limited on which feuds to feature. I can't even defend SmackDown's contributions all that much since their big match ended in a no contest and the best match of the night involved a Raw championship.
If you need a quick summary of Backlash 2018, don't waste your time with this way-too-long show outside of the first match, as even the crowd in attendance had enough before it was over and left the arena.
Ruby Riott def. Bayley
This match was a whole bunch of nothing, but that's to be expected with it being on the kickoff. The story instead of what's going on the ring was between Bayley foundering in the ring and Sasha Banks staring at a monitor on a weird angle backstage, which we cut to at least three times during the match. I guess Ruby Riott won because the obvious thing happened with The Riott Squad interfering?
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Seth Rollins (c) def. The Miz
Rating: REALLY GOOD
Way to start the show with a showstopper. This crowd in New Jersey was hot at the top of the show before devolving into the shitheads that they have a reputation for, and it really helped set a great atmosphere for these two. The Miz and Seth Rollins went all out to put together a top-notch match and easily the match of the night.
However, I do have a small complaint. The Miz hit two devastating counters into the Skull Crushing Finale and neither of them won the match for him. Seth Rollins hit one Curb Stomp (or whatever they're calling it now) and the match was over. I could have gone with one less failed finisher from The Miz as it made his seem extremely weak in comparison to Rollins'.
Raw Women's Championship Match
Nia Jax (c) def. Alexa Bliss
This match was Alexa Bliss carrying the workload while Nia Jax threw her around or fell down. Alexa is underappreciated for her in-ring due to how great her character work is, but this match was all her. The bit with her trying to get Nia back in the ring before the countout was great and I honestly would have accepted that as the finish, but instead we got Nia doing an unexciting Samoan Drop and breaking poor Bliss in half before pinning her.
Normally I'd be totally cool with it being all Alexa since she is great, but I'm also taking into consideration the post-match promo by Nia. It was a super shitty anti-bullying speech that didn't land at all, and afterwards I joked about "Be a Star" before the commentary said it seriously. Good grief, this Nia Jax character is just the worst. I'd even take Ember Moon over this.
WWE United States Championship Match
Jeff Hardy (c) def. Randy Orton
Jeff Hardy is fun, and Randy Orton is fine. But on the go-home SmackDown they telegraphed that this match didn't real mean anything since there was no sizzle to this "feud" or any reason these two should fight outside of "I want that title". It's a problem with these face vs. face matches, and not having big personalities/egos in play doesn't help matters. This match was fine.
Daniel Bryan def. Big Cass
Rating: THE WORST
Daniel Bryan's first singles pay-per-view match was supposed to be a big deal, and heading into this I even tried to give Big Cass the benefit of the doubt since he was going to be in the ring with a talented superstar. However, this match was dreadful. There was no real pacing to it, and the story was "Big Cass is gonna do some power moves and put his fist in the air, then Daniel Bryan is going to do some of his moves before putting on the Yes Lock for a super quick victory". No one came out of it looking good, but at least Bryan got the victory.
After the match we just got Cass beating down Bryan some more, because we clearly didn't get enough in the match and we can't enjoy nice things. And fuck the crowd for chanting "We Want Enzo" during the match, because that is absolutely not okay after the things he did. New Jersey gotta be New Jersey I guess.
SmackDown Women's Championship Match
Carmella (c) def. Charlotte Flair
Rating: THE WORST
Carmella is not very good, despite my efforts to try to see the good in her. The problem with this match is that it was nothing but rest holds to try to prevent exposing Carmella for her terrible offense or inability to sell. They could have tried to use Carmella cheating to get out of having to go toe-to-toe with Charlotte, but there was practically no cheating and she still somehow got the win. This felt extremely unrealistic, especially with Flair breaking Asuka's streak a month ago. This whole thing was a bummer.
No Disqualifications Match for the WWE Championship
AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura ends in a draw
Rating: REALLY GOOD
Despite what anyone else may think, I thought this match was rad. It was the best of the three matches these two have had so far, with Shinsuke Nakamura coming into his own as an asshole heel. The no disqualifications stipulation helped allow for some additional brutality and working with the ringside area, and I really appreciated the small detail of AJ Styles using more closed fists. The Kinshasa into the thrown chair at ricocheted back into Styles' face was especially brutal, cutting up his cheek and giving the match color. He's lucky that didn't go into his eye or it would have been WAY worse.
The moment everyone was waiting for was when someone was going to be punched in the dick, and not only did Styles receive one but he also gave Nakamura a taste of his own medicine. The finish was both men kicking each other in the dick simultaneously for a double countout, since there's no getting up after such a devastating kick. I loved the finish and thought it was hilarious while also allowing us an additional month of balls-focused storytelling.
Tag Team Match
Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley def. Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn
Why did this happen? This show was already running way too long at this point, so it was very hard to get into it. The only things keeping this from being two thumbs down are Braun Strowman trucking the hell out of Kevin Owens while chasing Sami Zayn and Owens & Zayn falling apart as a team to set up future tension between them where I could see Zayn being the heel of the two. Besides that, Bobby Lashley is still terrible and lost everything that made him special at Impact.
Roman Reigns def. Samoa Joe
Rating: THE WORST
I'm just going to walk out of this review before I finish writing about ANOTHER Roman Reigns main event.