Wednesday, May 26, 2021

WWE Wrestlemania Backlash 2021

I hadn't planned on watching this show. I had better things to do. Walk my dog, scratch my balls, that sort of thing.

But when friends of mine (who shall no longer be called friends after this night) told me to give the show a watch, I couldn't help but be curious as to what was so special about this show... actually, that's a lie. I knew about the thing that made this show the talk of the town. I knew about it since the show aired. I heard it on F4W. I heard it on Scott Keith's blog. The Youtubes made their thoughts known. I figured, "Yeah. Not wasting my time."

Those buddies I mentioned? They mentioned that thing didn't last long and the show was, for the most part, excellent. After seeing the show, I don't know if I would go that far, but it was certainly a show that is... probably only going to be known for one thing... anyhoo, onwards.

RAW Womens' Champion Rhea Ripley defeated Asuka and the walking mannequin that vaguely resembles Charlotte Flair, but is probably an Auton from Doctor Who, which happens to be is a species made entirely from plastic, to retain the title. The saga of Charlotte and her urban legendary history of cosmetic applications is about as synonymous as athletes with "impressive physical attributes" allegedly taking steroids. If you feel uncomfortable listening to me ramble about plastic, you'll be sad to learn that this is probably the only interesting thing about Charlotte at the moment, since I've long since ceased to care about any story involvement she might have. This was a thing that happened where Asuka takes another loss because she's not important, but the story of how long before Baby Flair gets her billion titles or whatever. I'm over this. Wake me up when she becomes a 20-time champion and maybe I'll take her off the no watch list.

Rey Mysterio & Dominick defeated Tag Team Champions Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode (dubbed the dirty dogs... my dog resents that) to become the first father-son team to win the tag titles... which is a lie because everyone knows Dominick's PAPI is the late Eddie Guerrero and this is just Rey Rey sticking it to his former brother. Before the match, Dolph and Roode take out poor Dominick and Rey opts to go 2 on 1 in this tag title match... and then Dominick shows up in the end to even the odds and win the match. The match was alright once Dominick got into the fray, but I don't care for this trope they've got going where one of the partners is taken out before the match, the other guy handles the bulk of the match before things even up. It's such a lazy ploy to build up cheap heat and drama since they've done a f

So... we have the Miz and some guy (Damien Priest, I think) in a lumberjack match where the lumberjacks are all zombies and shit. And they're treating this like a real zombie invasion, which is ridiculous because you figure zombies would be hungry for flesh, but they're apparently cognitive of the fact that this is a match of sorts and they should stay outside. The announcers are scared of these zombies (jobbers in cheap make-up, I presume) and... look, all you need to know is that at the end of the match, both Miz and Morrison are "eaten alive" by zombies... but then Morrison showed up the next night on RAW without a scratch, so I don't even know.

This whole "entertainment" was done to promote the Army Of The Dead feature film debuting on Netflix, the one directed by Zack Snyder and featuring big Dave Bautista, who promised friends of his would show up at the show and then when people told him about the zombies, he'd feign ignorance and claim that he had nothing to do with it. He did, however, take credit for milk prices rising at Walgreens, so that's taken care of, I suppose.

If you had asked me a couple days ago what I would've thought, my reaction would have been far stronger than it is now... of course, all that means is that I'm less likely to use more questionable wording in terms of expressing those thoughts than I would've been then. This was all kinds of stupid. If this were a skit backstage or whatever, like when they had guys dress up as apes to promote the Planet Of The Apes movie from 20 years ago and played it for laughs, fine. It would've been silly, but otherwise harmless and it'd help promote a movie. Hell, I didn't even mind that Jurrassic Express vs. Bear Country match from a month or so ago being touted as the AEW equivalent of Godzilla Vs. Kong; it's just a bunch of cheesy cross-promotion.

This wasn't a skit, this wasn't just a silly branding gimmick, this was a subpar, low-brow shitty attempt at a zombie movie disguised as a wrestling match on a program airing on a subscription service. This was terrible. It outsucked the worst AEW had to offer, it outsucked anything out of the TNA camp, it outsucked anything that Vince Russo could come up with whether it'd be his TNA, WCW, or even the golden Attitude era because that had shit, too... and I loathe to use this comparison because it feels too cliche... but this even managed to outsuck WCW in its final years. Any WWE fans want "Yeah, but AEW..." at this point, nothing - NOTHING - that AEW did is as stupid as this zombie gimmick.

By the way, do you remember when Miz was the reigning heavyweight champion of the WWE earlier this year? Didn't think so.

This killed the show for me. Massive, massive turn off for me. And so I shut the show off, I went for a walk - as allowed by my public health regulations that will probably no longer be a thing if you're reading this years down the road - cleared my head and moved on with my day... and then I watched the rest of the show.

What makes this whole shitshow even worse is that after that, we get a bit between the Usos, who are either unaware or unconcerned that there is a zombie apocalypse in WWE. In fact, once we got our needed "entertainment" out of the way, they never mentioned the zombies ever again. If you're going to commit to this shit, the least you could do is go the whole way; make it a constant thing throughout the rest of the show. Have some sense of continuity for fuck's sake.

(Just as a heads-up, I haven't seen Army Of The Dead, but a colleague of mine who is a big connoisseur of zombie films did and her response was - and I swear I am not making this up - "you're better off gouging both your eyes with hot pokers than watching this piece of shit movie." 

I take it she didn't like the movie.)

Smackdown Womens' Champion Bianca Blair defeated BAY LEY with an assist from her hair to retain the title. This was a good match with a focus on hair at times. Me wonders if this is going to leead to a HAIR VS. HAIR match down the road. Is it too soon for such a thing? Is Brutus Beefcake available? Other than that, I thought this was a perfectly acceptable wrestling match and I probably enjoyed this more than the mania match with Sasha. (Suck it, Sasha fans.)

WWE Champion Bobby Lashley defeated Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre in a triple-threat match to retain the title. The finish saw Drew toss Lashley into the video screen, causing a whole bunch of explosions. Drew would lay out Braun with the kick, but Lashley would eventually recover and steal the pin from Drew to retain.

Blue Belt Champion Roman Reigns defeated Cesaro via guillotine submission to retain the title. Good match, fine match, but at no point was I ever think Cesaro had a chance of winning the title here. There was no spin, here, which I'm guessing is either a story thing, a vetoed thing, or maybe Cesaro is hurt and couldn't do it. Either way, it was fine, but it was also fairly one-sided and Roman was in no danger of losing... and then one of the Usos beat up on Cesaro. Then Seth shows up - wearing the most godawful looking jacket walking the face of the planet - and beats up Cesaro some more to end the show. Yippee.

As a show on a whole, with the exception of that thing with the zombies and the thing with the walking mannequin, this was a pretty good show. Two top tier title matches, a pretty good women's match, the tag match was alright despite the bad booking, and it didn't overstay its welcome... except for that one part. Sadly, most people are going to know this show for that one part than any of the really good wrestling.

Maybe they'll do a Snyder Cut of this shit, too. Though, all things considered, Zack Snyder would actually be an improvement over Kevin Dunn.

Anyway, next month's WWE offering is Hell In A Cell and is supposedly the last PPV event to take place in the Thunderdome before WWE brings back live audiences. I guess I skip that one.


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