The first Smackdown-exclusive PPV of the New Era is here, as WWE presents Backlash! While an already thin card took another hit with the reveal that Randy Orton was not medically cleared to compete, there was definitely a chance for some good wrestling and, with the introduction of two new titles, some really big moments that could change careers forever! Here’s all the results from Backlash for your enjoyment, and make sure to come back to Goliath on Monday for a more extensive look at the show!
There are multiple reports that Randy Orton has not been medically cleared to compete at tonight’s Backlash PPV. Orton allegedly suffered a concussion during his match with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam, and the hope was that he would be cleared in time for Backlash, but that is apparently not the case.
In a move that has clearly been coming for a while, WWE officially announced that they have “mutually agreed” to release Alberto Del Rio from his contract, according to a post on WWE.com. Del Rio has been the center of a firestorm of controversy in recent weeks, due to his public relationship with fellow Superstar Paige that recently saw both simultaneously suspended 30 days for violating the WWE Wellness Policy, a messy legal situation involving his ex-wife, and a general malaise due to how he has been booked since returning to WWE in October of 2015.
Okay, so we’re not sure how much of a “starring role” it actually is, but WWE’s Eva Marie was the fourth name mentioned in the list of actors starring in the upcoming film Inconceivable, behind Cage, Dunaway, and Nicky Whelan, so maybe she’ll have a larger role than that Colin Farrell film that WWE tried to pretend “starred” Wade Barrett. The movie looks to be a thriller about a single mother with a hidden past (Whelan) moving to a new neighborhood and befriends a local couple (Cage will play the husband), in which Eva Marie will play an emotionless robot sent back in time to destroy John Connor. No, we’re sorry, that was a typo, she is an emotionless robot from the future, but there’s no word on what her role in this movie, which begins filming in October, will be.
The holiday ratings malaise from Raw apparently carried over for a second night, as the final Smackdown Live! before their first brand-exclusive PPV did the worst ratings since the brand extension began, a bad sign given that the new fall season of network TV will resume in the next few weeks, which will also likely steal viewers away from the show. Overall, the show still finished third among original cable programming for the evening, bringing in 2.45 million viewers and a 0.79 rating in the 18-49 demographic.
Tales of a film based on the life and tragic final days of WWE Superstar Chris Benoit have been floating around essentially since just after the horrific double murder/suicide in 2007, an event which changed the face of professional wrestling forever, especially as it relates to studies on the effects of concussions on wrestlers. This week, Academy Award-nominated director Lexi Alexander, who has also directed the movie Punisher: War Zone, and several episodes of DC Comic’s various superhero TV shows, confirmed on social media an IMDB listing that claimed she has signed on with the film.
This is all speculation for now, although it comes from highly reliable sources, but it sounds like WWE Superstar and one of the stars of Total Divas, Paige, who is currently serving a 30-day suspension for violating the WWE Wellness Policy, may be trying to find a way out of her contract. It sounds as if Paige is looking to join her boyfriend Alberto Del Rio, who recently exercised an “out” clause in his own contract and will be finished with the company at the end of the month, after a tumultuous last few months which saw her relationship become public, leading to several complications.
We’re just about a month away from the release of WWE 2K17, and we already know the full roster for the game, which means it’s just about the right time for a gameplay trailer! From the fine folks at 2K Games, via IGN, here is that trailer, which, of course, asks the question, “Who’s Next?”
The holiday weekend and the new college football season took chunks out of Raw’s viewership this week, as the show started with a strong number, but shed viewers throughout the evening, dropping the average and finishing the evening well under the 3 million mark. Overall, the show, which started well with the Kevin Owens victory celebration and excellent matches involving Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho, Bayley, and WWE Women’s Champion Charlotte, before seeing a sharp drop-off in quality (then rebounding with a strong main event that, clearly, nobody saw), finished with an average of 3.07 million viewers, down significantly from the 3.31 million it brought in last week. The show also drew a 1.07 rating in the 18-49 demographic, which was also down somewhat, and put Raw at #4 for the evening among original cable programming, behind Love and Hip-Hop on VH-1, and a college football game (and post-game show) on ESPN.
With the WWE Brand Extension once again in full swing, it’s time for the next hurdle in the road, the very first brand-exclusive Pay Per View. Smackdown gets the first kick at the can with Backlash, a PPV name that actually has a long history due to formerly being WWE’s first post-Mania PPV that dealt with the fallout from the largest show of the year (hence the name). Can Smackdown maintain the legacy of Backlash? Well, they’ve actually got a pretty big hill to climb, thanks to a small roster, a show that doesn’t seem to have enough matches announced to fill three hours, and having to introduce two major titles on the same show with only a few weeks of build-up. The talent is there, however, so the show could actually be quite good. And if you want some more thoughts and predictions to get you prepared for Backlash, well, then just keep reading.