I have a confession to make: I don’t hate the name of this show.
I know folks have been heckling it, but it’s pretty straight-forward and, honestly? This is what the Backlash PPV has always been. Is it a bit of a frying pan to the head this year? Yeah. But the era of Vince McMahon knowing we don’t want our intelligence insulted ended over a decade ago. He’s back to assuming we are clueless morons. You know he sat around and thought, “WRESTLEMANIA Backlash! Now they’ll know why we call it Backlash! We’re lashing back from Wrestlemania!”.
But it doesn’t bother me. They probably figured they could maybe sell a few Peacock prescriptions (Prescriptions? Subscriptions. I think it’s subscriptions. But let’s wait until after the show to see what side effects I have from it to be certain) if they threw out another pay-per-view show with “WrestleMania” in the title.
Also? I still compare every WWE show title in my head to Great Balls of Fire, and that makes all the rest sound so much better.
Seriously, was there EVER an explanation for that show’s name? So damn weird and out of nowhere. I’m here for more random shows named after songs, though! WWE Total Eclipse of the Heart! Followed by WWE Shake Ya Tailfeather.
WWE WRESTLEMANIA Shake Ya Tailfeather.
(Oh nuts, I just made the joke after defending the name of this show for so long)
(And yes, that IS a weird song to pull out of thin air, BUT it just came on my Spotify earlier today, so it’s in my head)
Show names aside, I’m steeling myself here. As I look over tonight’s card, I realize there is a respectable chance that both Bobby Lashley and Charlotte win their triple threat matches and leave as champions, and typing that depresses me. That would absolutely set Fire to my Great Ba–uhhhh… that would Totally Eclipse My Heart.
Okay, I feel mentally prepared for this. Let’s go! It’s time for WrestleLash Backmania!
MATCH 1: Raw Women’s Title Match
Okay, phew! Just like that, everything settled down. God is on his throne, my cat just had a hairball, and Charlotte isn’t the champ [yet]. All is right with the world.
I really miss Asuka’s green mist. I know she’s a face again, but there are no disqualifications here, so it wouldn’t have been “dirty” to use. I really wanted to see her spray Charlotte while the latter had Rhea in a Figure Eight. Just… get down on her hands and knees and spit in the Queen’s exposed face. Tell me that wouldn’t be rad. It would be rad.
Even without the mist, this was a fantastic opener. They kept all three women involved for most of the match and the advantage changed hands frequently and rapidly. These three did better work all united that most of the matches that have been one-on-one between the various combinations.
THIS is how you get fans hyped for a show!
MATCH 2: Smackdown Tag Titles Match
And THIS is how you, you know, throw away some of that good will.
That’s not fair. There was nothing inherently wrong with this bout; I just don’t really care about any of these guys, and it is a reminder ion how bad the Smackdown tag team division is. Even with as long as Roode and Ziggler have been a team, they still don’t FEEL like a tag team.
Good on Dominick, who clearly has worked hard to get his spot, for winning a title, but it felt like they just threw too much drama into this match. There was the pre-match beatdown and the extended handicap match spot… Like, sometimes just have the match, you know? None of this was needed. We know old, tiny Rey and his rookie son are underdogs against the long-reigning champions. You didn’t need to pad this story.
Between matches, we get two backstage segments.
One features Jimmy Uso giving his brother crap for being Roman Reigns’ lackey. That’s fine. That’s normal. I expect that.
But the other…
The other saw John Morrison attempt to bribe the lumberjacks of the upcoming match… only to find out that the lumberjacks are zombies. The Shuffling Dead. Reanimated corpses. Literal, actual zombies.
I mean… sure, okay. Why not? Let’s do that now. Zombiejacks. Yep.
Wait, WWE, what are you doing?! I wasn’t seri–
MATCH 3: Lumberjack Match
Boy, it sure was nice of 2000 World Championship Wrestling to show up tonight.
So this contest ended with The Miz and John Morrison being eaten by zombies, right? Please oh please let this mean we get zombified Miz and Morrison going forward. I don’t know that I want that, but I do want continuity. Unless these are video game undead and they just affected Miz and Morrison’s HP.
But yeah… I actually do kind of want zombified Miz and Morrison.
This was obviously all a tie-in to Batista’s new Zack Snyder flick, Army of the Dead. The undead were allegedly sent by Dave to help out tonight. So wait… does that mean the WWE takes place in the same reality as that movie? Is it a spoiler that the movie ends with Dave befriending the zombies? Or… wait, does this make WWE more or less realistic than the movie? Because Batista is admitting the zombies are his allies and co-stars, but they aren’t… actors? They are for truly the living dead.
So in WWE canon, there are zombies.
I mean… they are polite zombies who understand the integrity of wrestling matches, considering they didn’t try to eat either of the competitors when the match was on.
Zombies adhere to sports rules, which is very interesting to know. Apparently you can thwart a Zombiepocalypse by just throwing together an NHL playoff game and never letting either team score. The zombies will stand outside the glass in perpetuity and wait for the official conclusion.
Do you think the players on the bench would be safe, though? The zombies DID attack when Priest or Miz left the “playing surface”. So maybe you could only save fifteen people at as time with this stratagem.
You know what? I have always hated Lumberjack Matches. So at least this was… different? I mean, it was different from everything. But it was ESPECIALLY different in regards to Lumberjack matches. Does that make it a plus?
I kind of want to talk about this match all night, but the bell just rang for Bayley vs Bianca.
MATCH 4: Smackdown Women’s Title Match
Bianca Belair’s ring gear tonight was made out of those pillows that have the shiny material that is different colors on either side. You know, where if you rub it one way, it makes it one color, but going the other makes it different? I don’t understand the practicality of those pillows; they can’t possibly be comfortable.
I spent much of the match imagining I could walk up to Bianca and draw pictures in her outfit. I usually make a smiley face on those pillows, you know. I just hope someone passes by it later, sees the smile, and cheers up. I’m a good person like that.
This was the second damn good women’s match of the night, and it ended in such a way that the feud will keep going. How much do I want a PPV triple threat match with Bianca, Bayley, and Sasha Banks? I want that very, very much. The chemistry all three have with each other is unimpeachable, and it feels like Bayley and Sasha have a lot more mileage left in their story. Let Sasha act as the ‘Tweener to Bayley’s devout heelishness and Belair’s altruism. There are so many good spots to contemplate!
MATCH 5: WWE Title Match
Jesus, they are REALLY all-in on Bobby Lashley as the WWE champion, huh? This title reign is doing less than nothing for me.
The match was damn good, though, even if it followed the more frustrating WWE Triple Threat formula of two-in-one-out for the bulk of the affair. The women stayed mostly all there in the earlier triple threat, but there was substantially more of one person going MIA here.
There was a lot of hard-hitting action, and all three guys really seemed to go through hell against each other. Entertaining stuff, and I flinched a few times at what I was watching. They were dropping some big bombs at each other.
I wondered where the zombies had gone after their earlier appearance, though. In addition to honoring the rules of matches, the undead also appreciate when they aren’t part of a match. Do you think they had brains back in catering?
Would this show have been better or worse if the zombies just kept emerging throughout and having to be chased away from ringside? They could have all come back here and gotten choo-choo’ed by Strowman! You could have had all three men take a moment to clear out the malevolent forces of the dead before going back to throwing each other around.
I’m just saying… if you are going to have zombies tonight, HAVE ZOMBIES TONIGHT.
MATCH 6: Universal Title Match
Is WWE actively trying to make me immune to the word “bitch”? I’m not a huge fan of that as far as insults go, but now WWE is just putting it in huge letters on a babyface’s T-shirt? And having him talk constantly about who IS or ISN’T one? Be a star, WWE.
I strongly disagree with the decision to have Roman win clean here. With the whole story being that Cesaro has never had a one on one title match and has fought and clawed to earn this spot… would it have been so bad to have Jey interfere and help Roman win through underhanded tactics? It wouldn’t take anything away from Reigns. That’s what I’d have done.
But I also would have had the zombies confusedly shuffle out and try to eat Pat McAfee because catering ran out of paramedics, so maybe don’t listen to me.
After the match, Seth Rollins came out to beat the snot out of Cesaro, and that is how the show ended. Which is admittedly strange. First, that Seth and Cesaro is STILL a thing. And second, that the show closed on a midcard feud angle. So… I’m curious as to what is next!
And that was it for The Wrestling Dead 2021. It was a lot of good wrestling and only a little bit of zombies. Work on that ratio, WWE. By Survivor Series, I want a 1:1 ratio of good matches to matches featuring zombies!
I will be ever so disappointed if WWE just writes the zombies out after this. You have given us canonical zombies! You can’t put that genie back in… you can’t put that undead back in its casket! I want zombies interrupting Raw now. Make them like the Nexus where enemies team up to deal with the outside threat of insatiable corpses! “You’re either undead or you’re dead-dead”. THE SLOGANS WRITE THEMSELVES!
I am convinced this entire show was a sign from a powerful force that I am supposed to watch Pro Wrestlers Vs Zombies which has, no joke, been on my Plex playlist for a few weeks.
I’m going to wake up tomorrow and it’s still going to be Sunday, and this show will have just been a dream induced by the huge milkshake I had on Saturday. I’ll try relating it to people (“no, seriously, there were ZOMBIES and they ATE THE MIZ”), but no one will believe me. Come on, even WWE wouldn’t have in-universe zombies, Stew. That’s just crazy talk.
Until next time… take care!