WWE Backlash boasted what would be "The Greatest Match Ever" between Randy Orton and Edge.
Although they may not have eclipsed some of the legendary matches in the history of professional wrestling, the duo delivered an exceptional showdown that is easily worthy of the best WWE match of 2020.
Orton would have to resort to dirty tactics to pick up the win over his rival as the future of The Rated R Superstar is in question after his latest setback.
It was easily the highlight of a show that underwhelmed in spots and also had what might be one of the worst "matches" of the year.
Here are the results and match grades for WWE Backlash 2020.
Randy Orton vs. Edge
It may not have been The Greatest Match Ever, but it was a damn good encounter between a pair of living legends in the WWE.
The WWE did Orton and Edge no favors by billing this match as The Greatest Match Ever and would have benefited by leaving people pleasantly surprised. Instead, what we got was one of the best Orton matches in years and Edge proving that he can still work a really good match.
They certainly gave this a big match feel with the late Howard Finkel on introductions, piped in crowd noise and enhanced lighting. And it wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t feel so contrived to deliver “The Greatest Match Ever.”
The crowd noise was a little obnoxious considering that there weren’t that many Performance Center talents in the crowd to begin with and they overreacted to every single hip toss and arm drag as if they had never seen a wrestling match before.
But that shouldn’t take away from how hard these two worked.
There was some excellent chain wrestling, familiar callbacks to past eras, some color courtesy of Orton, near falls and all of the ingredients that should deliver a great match. Unfortunately, they rammed the concept down our throat to create an unachievable high. Regardless, this was the best WWE match of the year.
A brilliant sequence that saw Edge attempt to hit Christian’s Unprettier before Orton reversed into an RKO attempt only for Edge to hit the Edge-O-Matic for a near fall. Edge hit a pedigree as a callback to his Evolution mentor Triple H for another near fall. Shortly after, Edge hit a finisher from Triple H’s rival The Rock with a Rock Bottom to nearly get a three count.
Again, the only thing that actually hurt this match was that WWE production was trying too hard to convince everyone that this was the greatest match ever. It would have worked perfectly fine if it didn’t feel forced.
A series of reversals saw Edge finally hit an RKO on Edge but the Rated R Superstar kicked out. Orton was running low on options and attempted a punt kick but Edge nailed his foe with a pair of spears for another near fall.
Orton hit his trademark counter RKO on Edge coming off the top rope but he couldn't keep Edge down.
The end came when Orton countered an Anti-Venom from Edge with a low blow that followed with a punt kick for the win.
This was a fantastic match that suffered only from being overhyped.
Street Profits vs. Viking Raiders
They just had to work a cinematic match into this PPV, didn’t they?
After weeks of the Dave & Busters decathlon of silliness, Street Profits and Viking Raiders ended up in a comedy "match: that was absolutely terrible. These teams deserve so much better than bad scripted comedy.
Akira Towzawa showing up in a stereotypical ninja motorcycle gang scene was the icing on the proverbial cake as the attempt to deliver something fun fell with a resounding thud. Don't blame either tag team because they worked with what they had.
But this might be the worst thing the WWE has done this year.
Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley
An exceptional hoss match that was utterly ruined by a nonsensical ending that could have been saved for Raw.
Although the ending hurt the match, what preceded it was excellent as Lashley and McIntyre delivered with a series of power moves and hard strikes that continued to ramp up as the match went along.
Lashley immediately locked in the full nelson before the match started and several referees needed to pull him off. It set up the ongoing narrative of Drew McIntryre powering through disadvantages and forced him to work from underneath. The added touch of McIntyre kicking out at one has also been a nice touch on his character and was worked into this match at just the right time
A well-paced and hard-hitting match with an incredible final stretch that looked to deliver one of the best WWE matches of the year until they had to insert Lana.
McIntyre escaped a second full nelson attempt and hit a reverse Alabama slam for a near fall. A nice series of escapes and reversals followed with McIntyre turning a spear attempt into a kimura lock. Lashley countered a Claymore Kick with a spear for a near fall.
And then the Lana came out and ruined the entire match with nonsense.
For no reason in particular, Lana argued with the referee. This led to McIntyre pushing Lashley into Lana and hitting the Claymore Kick to ruin a perfectly good match.
Braun Strowman vs. The Miz & John Morrison
Braun Strowman’s title reign has been extremely underwhelming and this match was little more than a placeholder for when Bray Wyatt returns from maternity leave to continue their feud.
The added stipulation that whoever gained the pinfall would be recognized as the WWE Universal Champion was meant to add some friction. And we got that after a double stomp/Skull Crushing Finale nearly earned the win but Miz interrupted Morrison’s pinfall attempt. That led to Strowman powering up, nailing the running power slam on Morrison and retaining the title.
For what it’s worth, Miz and Morrison worked very well together in taking down the big powerhouse. But there wasn’t much to write home about here.
Asuka vs. Nia Jax
Nothing Asuka could do could help this from being an extremely slow and plodding match with a baffling finish. It seems as if Nia Jax has regressed over the past few years. Maybe a lot of that can be blamed on the injuries but this just didn’t work. Asuka can’t be blamed because she more than played her part with her offense. But something about Nia Jax just isn’t clicking.
A weird tumble outside from a botched armbar led to a double count-out that leaves everyone scratching their heads. They are going to keep this feud going and nobody really knows why.
Jeff Hardy vs. Sheamus
The use of Jeff Hardy’s real life issues with alcohol and substance abuse for a storyline has come off somewhat tone deaf but there was hope that this match could deliver and rinse the taste of an awful build.
Sheamus continuing to call back to Hardy’s alcohol issues were just too on-the-nose and brought back the reality that this match had zero heat. What it tried to manufacture simply didn’t work and we ended up with a plodding match that Sheamus dominated far too long for until Hardy finally got some offense in late.
Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on the outside and followed with another Brogue Kick back in the ring to pick up the victory. Hopefully this loss doesn’t leads to an angle where Jeff Hardy is drinking again because he failed.
The IIconics vs. Bayley & Sasha Banks vs. Alexa Bliss & Nicki Cross
If the WWE decided to really invest in women’s tag team wrestling, they could have some great matches. Hopefully this is a sign for a move in that direction rather than using the tag titles as a prop for an eventual breakup of Sasha Banks and Bayley. It’s a predictable split that’s dragged on too long and should be scrapped because Banks and Bayley have great chemistry as a heel tag team.
This match was perfectly fine for what it was as it tried to keep the action consistent between all six women. There were still some pretty sloppy moments that exposed Peyton Royce and Billie Kay as the greenest team in the match. Nevertheless, this was handled as well as it could be.
There was a car crash dive that was fun along with some nice double team spots but the right team won as Sasha Banks pinned Alexa Bliss clean to retain the titles. Hopefully, they find a way to keep the tag division going and give some of the underutilized women (Naomi, Bianca Belair, Shayna Bayzler) some room to shine.
Apollo Crews vs. Andrade
It wasn’t so long ago when both Crews and Andrade appeared to be dead in the water from the creative side. It had nothing to do with their talent, but everything to do with the characters they were saddled with. But now they are engaged in a notable feud for the United States character. That part is well deserved. For all the criticism Raw and Smackdown has received in recent weeks, this rivalry has been a bright spot both in and out of the ring.
Kevin Owens joined commentary for the match while Angel Garza was with Andrade and Zelina Vega.
"Slap him in the chest! Multiple times!"@FightOwensFight offers top-notch commentary as @WWEApollo defends his #USTitle against @AndradeCienWWE on the #WWEBacklash Kickoff!@AngelGarzaWwe @Zelina_VegaWWE pic.twitter.com/DYcdR3y5YZ— WWE (@WWE) June 14, 2020
Crews and Andrade worked hard with some great spots including Andrade’s slingshot DDT and a wicked belly to belly into the corner by Crews. This definitely needed more time and only scratches the surface of what these two can deliver.
Owens hit a stunner on Garza -- who tried to interfere on Andrade’s behalf – and Crews hit his spin-out powerbomb finisher to retain the United States title. They teased more friction between Garza and Andrade (splitting them up is a bad idea) and this angle involving all four may not be finished yet.
WWE Backlash 2020 Results
- Randy Orton def. Edge (44:45)
- Street Profits vs. Viking Raiders (N/A)
- Drew McIntyre def. Bobby Lashley (13:15)
- Braun Strowman def. The Miz & John Morrison (7:20)
- Asuka and Nia Jax ended in a double count out (8:25)
- Sheamus def. Jeff Hardy (16:50)
- Bayley & Sasha Banks def. Alexa Bliss & Nicki Cross and The Iiconics (8:50)
- Apollo Crews def. Andrade (7:25)