Heading into a new brand extension, the questions were always going to revolve around the Smackdown brand. Sure, WWE would probably bend over backwards to make sure Raw, the flagship show, came out looking strong, but what about the often mistreated blue brand? Well, since then, Smackdown Live! has put on more good shows than bad ones, even with a few glaring weaknesses. Backlash was the first real test for Smackdown, however, seeing if it could cobble together an entire PPV with a smaller roster than Raw, as well as less established stars. And honestly, for the most part, Backlash rose to the occasion. The PPV showcased most of the roster favorably, and while it was far from a perfect show, with some definite room for improvement, it did make it seem like the Smackdown brand might come out of this brand split looking just fine. Here’s some thoughts we had after watching the show, about what they did right, and what still needs to get better.
10. Two Guys In Search Of A Purpose
Whether you like or hate either man, it’s hard not to be somewhat sympathetic for Baron Corbin and Apollo Crews, two wrestlers who should have bright futures, but maybe could have benefited by staying in NXT a bit longer, and seem to have been brought up more as available warm bodies than because WWE had any specific plans for them. Watching them wrestle a pretty decent match on the pre-show, that took place with absolutely no build and no on-screen issue between them, kind of underlines the lack of direction their careers have take thus far. Both have the capacity to be major parts of WWE going forward, thanks to unique looks, decent wrestling skills, and a certain level of charisma, but neither has had much to work with up until this point. When Corbin is still getting announced solely as the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal winner, it only shows how little he’s accomplished since then (as well as shining the light once more on how little the Andre Battle Royal actually matters). It seems ridiculous that a show with as small a roster as Smackdown has isn’t utilizing talents like Crews and Corbin more meaningfully. Hopefully by the next Smackdown PPV, both men will have some sort of feud going that actually gets them onto the main card, because it’s not like Backlash didn’t have room for a couple more matches.