Tag Archives: wwe backlash

Manopera! Episode 42: The Death Of #DIY, The Maharaja Rises

by Chris Butera and Frank Lucci

Our hosts discuss the surprise endings and aftermath of WWE’s NXT TakeOver: Chicago and Backlash events. In addition, Spaceman Frank addresses the controversy surrounding the Alamo Drafthouse’s “women’s only” Wonder Woman screening event.

Donate to our Patreon: www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

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SSEP: Episode 16 – For Whom Cyborg’s Bell Tolls / NXT Takeover / WWE Backlash Reviews

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by Jonathan Schorr

Jon goes solo this week, discussing UFC’s Chris Cyborg punching out cyber bullies and reviews WWE’s NXT TakeOver: Chicago and Backlash events.

Donate to our Patreon.

Why A Jinder Mahal Championship Reign is Best for Business

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Credit: WWE.com

by Chris Butera

Tonight in Chicago’s Allstate Arena, Jinder Mahal will get possibly his only opportunity at the WWE Championship when he faces Randy Orton.

Although Mahal is arguably the most unlikely Superstar to receive a main event push of all time, putting the title on the Maharaja would not only be one of WWE’s boldest moves, but one of the most beneficial in the company’s 50 plus year history.

While Mahal’s xenophobic foreigner angle is nothing new to the world of sports entertainment(and is also the main variation of multiple xenophobic heel angle’s on SmackDown Live currently), the former 3MB member has been crushing it on the mic and in the ring with what he’s been given. Considering his pairing with the Sigh Brothers (formerly known as The Bollywood Boyz) and revealing on Chris Jercho’s Talk is Jericho podcast that Vince McMahon has been writing his promos personally, it seems that Jinder and his impressive new physique actually has a legitimate shot at holding the gold.

This would not only do wonders for the sports entertainment juggernaut’s relations with India, who only recently launched their WWE Shop e-commerce website (the main speculation on the reason for Mahal’s seemingly out of nowhere push), but for the entire roster of WWE talent. India is one of the hardest markets to break into for business and WWE also has never really had a large depth of talent from that well to draw from. The company has also not had an Indian World Heavyweight Champion since The Great Khali’s reign a decade ago. A championship reign for the Maharaja shows that WWE is willing to invest stock in new talents and mix things up rather than continue to rely on the same four mainstays and already established part timers.

The blue brand’s on-air Co-General Manager Shane McMahon recently said on the Stone Cold podcast that talent is afraid to try new things and approach Vince with ideas, so WWE giving someone different a fair shake could be a great motivator for young talent to speak up and potentially get their well-deserved opportunities as well. This very moment in time is eerily similar to “The New Generation” era 20 years ago, where WWE was forced to push young talent such as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels due to steroid scandals, declining ratings and top guys jumping ship to then-competitor WCW.

Besides Mahal, India and the rest of the WWE locker room, the fans would benefit from this shift as well. The WWE Universe is very critical of the product, mostly venting about how inconsistent and predictable the writing could be. Although it came at a time of low ratings, Mahal’s push threw a huge monkey wrench into their complaints, and the reception has been pretty positive so far (a villain is actually getting booed by the crowd organically for a change). It’s familiar territory, but different because it’s with an unexpected talent, which the fans like. It shakes things up in terms of talent competing for the main championship, and that’s a great way to get people talking about your product in addition to giving them a reason to tune in.

By pushing different people, WWE will elevate the title, the talent and most importantly, the product itself for the better. Giving Jinder Mahal a run with the WWE title is a high-risk maneuver, but it could result in one of the best eras in the company’s history.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Backlash 2017 Predictions

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by Frank Lucci

Backlash is upon us, and SmackDown Live’s first crack at a Pay-Per-View after WrestleMania has been a roller coaster of emotions for fans even before it began. We saw several key members of the SmackDown roster get sent to Raw, a House of Horrors match over at Payback, and roughly half the card put together in the final week before the show.

It is telling that WWE had me on the hook before Payback when they announced A.J. Styles vs. Kevin Owens, then lost my interest once the rest of the card filled out. Due to lackluster writing, I am now again looking forward to a match on another card, the Fatal Five Way Match for the WWE Universal Championship number one contender status at Extreme Rules.

WWE should stop announcing main events of the next PPV before the last one has even air.

Throw in a random NXT TakeOver and Backlash could very easily be lost to time almost as soon as it is over. I’m Spaceman Frank, and here are my WWE Backlash predictions.

Tye Dillinger vs. Aiden English (Preshow Hoopla Funtime Carnival)

 He may be The Perfect Ten, but with WWE Creative continuing their habit of calling up talent with no real purpose for them, this is the best Mr. Dillinger can hope for.

Dillinger showed up on SmackDown with some decent momentum, but since then has just been responsible for filling time as SmackDown slowly becomes more and more like Raw with every passing week. He is going up against Aiden English, one of the many guys WWE has recently chosen to randomly push just to see what happens. English is now without a partner and back to singing (which I guess is a step forward from not being booked at all?).

Dillinger will get the win because English has less momentum and we cannot have all the random heels plucked from obscurity get the win.

Luke Harper vs. Erick Rowan

This next match is one that has already happened repeatedly, but is now getting (some of) the attention it deserves. With no Bray Wyatt to add mystery and Randy Orton moving on from his crazy teenage goth days of 2016, this feud pretty much boils down to the two going “Well, I guess we should fight each other now.”

Rowan is wearing clown masks and giggling, which sure is something to behold. Is it better than the genius guitar player/wine expert he was before? We shall see. Meanwhile, Harper has been meandering around looking vaguely confused, and since he is forever my boy, I hope WWE figures out what they want to do with the talented big man (maybe give him a tweener role/mercenary roll similar to King Cuerno in Lucha Underground minus the deer headgear so he can feud with a variety of people in need of a quality opponent?).

Rowan has the fresh gimmick, but Harper gets the nod because, hey, it was a few weeks ago that he was rumored to be added to the WWE Championship match at WrestleMania. Remember those days? Good times…(cries into Luke Harper body pillow).

Baron Corbin vs. Sami Zayn

Another “Hey, you two, go slug it out for a bit” feud that came about for reasons unknown (I swear after the Superstar Shake-Up SmackDown’s creative team made up a dart board with people’s faces on it and drew up future plans based on which faces each dart hit the most).

Due to his size and look, Corbin seems destined to reach the main event scene, so taking on Zayn to get some heat makes a micron of sense. Zayn has been rudderless when not being beaten up by Braun Stroman, so I do not have much faith in him here (when was the last time he won a PPV match anyway?). Corbin wins to keep hating on internet dweebs and potentially join the ranks of suddenly elevated midcarders along with Jinder Mahal and Rusev.

Naomi, Charlotte, and Becky Lynch vs. The Welcoming Committee (with James Ellsworth)

For whatever reason we can’t get a Women’s Championship match on Backlash, so instead we get a thrown together “meh” match featuring the (mostly) female response to the Social Outcasts.

On the flipside, this at least gives Ellsworth something to do, and him being the cocky d-bag on the fringe of the women’s division is better than seeing him waste a main eventer’s time in the WWE title picture.

The big story of this match is the dissension among the champ’s teammates, as Charlotte is still gunning for the belt and Becky Lynch has briefly teasing turning to the dark side.

My prediction is that Ellsworth interferes when the Lass Kicker is on a roll, with Lynch thinking Charlotte was the one who messed her up, leading to a big brawl. Thus, the Welcoming Committee steals a win and everyone gets the bathroom break they deserve.

Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Dolph Ziggler

Oh, Dolph. You try so hard.

What everyone assumed would be The Miz vs. Nakamura is now being filled with Ziggler doing his best Miz impression (Seriously, does anyone really think Ziggler wins here?).

My Prediction: This.

Nakamura steamrolls Dolph and moves on to steamrolling others until SummerSlam, where he wins the John Cena lottery and faces off against The Face That Runs the Place.

The Usos (c) vs. Breezango (aka The Fashion Police) (WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)

Tyler Breeze and Fandango have been responsible for the best segments on SmackDown in the past few weeks, and between The Fashion Files and Southpaw Regional Wrestling, these guys own WWE’s Youtube content.

It’s hard not to love these goofballs, and they are faces in all but name. However, they are still treated like jokes, so I do not have hope they will win against the Usos. Jimmy (shouldn’t he be James now? No good heel is named Jimmy) and Jey are much better heels then doofus good guys, and really deserve more of a focus than they are getting.

Are Breezy and ‘Dango the new Heath Slater and Rhyno? Maybe, but not now. Usos win.

Kevin Owens (c) vs. A.J. Styles (United States Championship Match)

The match that hands down will be the best on the card sees two of the internet’s favorites clash for SmackDown’s secondary title.

Owens has regressed with his “Face of America” gimmick, and with him, Mahal and potentially Rusev all trying to get heat by speaking different languages is lazy writing and even lazier booking (remember when SmackDown was the watchable show? NXT quickly took that title back, and now we get audiences booing a Canadian for speaking French despite being on the friendliest of terms with our northern neighbors).

Meanwhile, Styles can still do no wrong, so at least this match will be excellent to watch. I just wish he was getting the main event push again rather than propping up the midcard. Owens recently traded the title back and forth with Jericho, so I see him winning here since he still needs them after the Goldberg debacle.

Randy Orton (c) vs. Jinder Mahal (WWE Championship Match)

The main event is so hyped up that I have to remind my roommates what the main event of Backlash is roughly every three days.

There are many theories for why Mahal is getting a sudden main event push, from the WWE expanding into India to Vince McMahon loving his intensely muscled body.

To be fair, Jinder has done well with what WWE has given him, and barring the xenophobic “Boo me because I am speaking my native language” schtick he is playing the part well. After a few months of not being a joke instead of WWE’s usual “few weeks heel” build, I can believe him staying in the midcard.

Meanwhile, Orton is back to “zero effs given mode,” and I do not see him putting in any effort to get Jinder over as a legit threat considering he wouldn’t do it for Wyatt (Is Orton still supposed to be a good guy? I have zero interest in cheering him, and I think he is the most overrated superstar of the modern era. He does one move a year to remind you he is a good athlete, then coasts for the rest of the year). It would be great if WWE would just the belt off him and have him fart around away from the title picture forever, but not quite yet. Wait until Styles gets back into the title picture (or maybe even Rusev, the man more deserving of the Jinder push).

Orton wins and the crowd has a 50/50 chance of turning on this match.
…..DIVE

Manopera! Episode 41: Bray Waytt’s House of Payback

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Chris and Spaceman Frank review WWE Payback and discuss current events in Pro Wrestling.

Donate to our Patreon at www.patreon.com/thebonesaw.

Spaceman Frank’s WWE Backlash Predictions

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Several months after the brand split we get our first official WWE brand exclusive Pay-Per-View, the revived Backlash.

It’s interesting to see how WWE presents these new types of PPVs and if they decide to shorten the length of brand exclusive events, or keep on steamrolling fans with three plus hour shows (not including the pre-show).

Despite splitting the roster, the WWE still seems to have trouble focusing on building up storylines properly (at least the video editing department will always be there to salvage the build and make us care about the matches right before they actually start). With the usual mix of trepidation and vague hope as most Pay-Per-Views, Spaceman Frank is here to predict Backlash 2016.

The Usos vs. The Hype Bros (Qualifying match for SmackDown Tag Team Championship Tournament Finals)

While the WWE Universe may not have Roman Reigns turning heel, at least we finally get The Usos turning into bad guys and attacking American Alpha. The tag team tournament may be the best booked part of Smackdown, and the WWE has made sure that the fans have a reason to care about three out of the four teams that were in the semifinals of the tournament. The lone exception being The Hype Bros, who will be losing to the hot Usos team so they can advance to the obvious finale of them vs. Slater and Rhyno. Speaking of that match…

Heath Slater and Rhyno vs. The Usos (SmackDown Tag Team Championship Match)

Heath Slater may be the 2016 version of Damien Sandow in that he turned crap into gold. His “free agent” gimmick has worked well, and the crowd is actually behind his antics with his perfect foil Rhyno. I went from having zero confidence WWE could pull this off to rooting for Slater to actually get the belts with his new buddy. It would be amazing if all of the Slater clan is at ringside for this match (please do this WWE). That being said, I see The Usos winning the tournament to set up the obvious Usos vs. American Alpha rematch for the belts down the line.

The Miz (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship Match)

The Miz is an interesting case in the WWE. The guy has nailed his character and has recently been pure fire on the mic. However, WWE has dropped the ball with giving him feuds people actually care about. After Apollo Crews lost at SummerSlam, we have another big disappointment from the show in Ziggler as his next opponent. I like Ziggler (I even named my Fantasy Football team Team Zigglypuff), but his big chance to break out on SmackDown has fallen flat. The Miz needs somebody he can actually play off of who can carry his half of the build (Heath Slater vs. The Miz anyone???) Anyway, The Miz wins because that seems to be the default option for The Miz in these types of feuds.

Nikki Bella vs. Carmella vs. Alexa Bliss vs. Naomi vs. Natalya vs. Becky Lynch (Six-Pack Challenge for SmackDown Women’s Championship)

This match is interesting in that it will reveal who the WWE brass has faith in going forward. Carmella has been targeting Nikki Bella, which makes me think the former champ takes down the rookie quickly. Alexa Bliss and Naomi have been background characters, and while they are decent in the ring it seems as though they’re there just to make up the numbers. Natalya may be the dark horse here, but she and Becky Lynch will take each other out because of their history. That leaves Nikki Bella as the last women standing, as she can help establish the belt and give the veteran something to do moving forward.

Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt

Another month, another meaningless Bray Wyatt feud. The poor guy cannot get any traction, and now he gets fed yet again to somebody coming off a major match. At this point I’m desperate for him to actually go for the title, because this gateway to the main event place he is in for years is wasting a great talent (maybe we’ll get Luke Harper making his return?). Orton wins to regain his momentum and Wyatt just farts around as he does.

Dean Ambrose (c) vs. AJ Styles (WWE Championship Match)

This is the saving grace of Backlash. I can’t see this match being poor in any way. Sure the build has been pretty bad, especially with Dean Ambrose acting like an apathetic teenager the whole time (We saw you cry when you won the title at Money in the Bank Dean, we know you care!). AJ Styles on the other hand is having one of the best years anyone has had in wrestling, and considering how hot he is I see him winning the championship in an awesome match. This will setup both rematches with Ambrose as well as John Cena, as I see him and Styles going at it again, but with gold on the line.