By Jason Powell
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WWE Backlash 2016 Kickoff Show
Aired live on WWE Network and social media
Richmond, Virginia at the Richmond Coliseum
-Renee Young, Booker T, Jerry Lawler, and Lita hosted show from a set on the arena floor. Tom Phillips checked in from the Social Media Lounge and said he would be reading Twitter questions to Heath Slater and Rhyno.
-A video showcased the Intercontinental Title feud. Jerry Lawler said he had a heart attack and died on live TV four years ago yesterday. Lawler said the heart attack occurred ten minutes after he beat Dolph Ziggler. Lawler said he was beating Ziggler at a point in his own career where he had one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel. Ouch. All the panelists picked Miz to retain the championship, so he’s probably dropping the title tonight.
-Backstage, Daniel Bryan spoke with Apollo Crews and told him to get loose and have more fun in the ring. Baron Corbin entered the room and complained that he beat Dean Ambrose (by DQ) on Smackdown and was then left off the next week’s show and the pay-per-view. Crews stepped up to Corbin. Bryan booked them in a Kickoff Show match.
-A Randy Orton vs. Bray Wyatt video package aired. Two panelists picked Orton to win.
Powell’s POV: They are at least acting like Orton vs. Wyatt is still on even though there are multiple reports indicating that Orton is not medically cleared to wrestle. They may intend to do an angle of some kind to explain his absence.
-Slater and Rhyno joined Phillips in his masturbation den. Phillips asked Rhyno what happens if he loses. He said he can’t lose, then said he won’t get his pool and other items if he loses. Slater was asked how his kids have helped him. He complained about one of his kids driving without a license. Slater said he’ll get a doublewide trailer if he wins. Phillips asked how they will celebrate if they win. Slater said he’ll jump for joy if he gets his contract and his pool. Rhyno said he would celebrate by making a list of opponents they can beat up on. Lawler said that segment might be the end of the social media lounge (we can’t be that lucky).
-Alexa Bliss joined the pre-show panel and appeared to be paying tribute to Harley Quinn. She said she’s not leaving the ring without the new Smackdown Women’s Championship. She said their time was up and she had a match to get ready for. Booker picked Nikki to win. Lawler went with Bliss. Lita picked Becky Lynch.
1. Baron Corbin vs. Apollo Crews. Mauro Ranallo, JBL, and David Otunga checked in on commentary from ringside. The extra point is good! Er, um, Crews threw a nice dropkick, but Corbin caught him with a punch as he was going for a springboard move. They cut to a commercial break.
Corbin remained on the offensive until Crews caught him with a knee. Crews followed up with a leaping kick and a standing moonsault for two. Crews scored another near fall off an Angle Slam. JBL noted that “a certain gold medalist performed that same move pretty well too.” In the end, Corbin hit End of Days and scored the clean pin…
Baron Corbin beat Apollo Crews in 10:00.
Powell’s POV: An entertaining finish to the Colts vs. Lions. Oh, and the Corbin vs. Crews match too. In all seriousness, there were some good near falls for both men and Corbin continues to rack up wins on the Smackdown side. Don’t worry, I’m not watching the Sunday night game live, so my entire focus will be on Backlash.
Footage aired of Renee Young interviewing Jagger Eaton about his Nickelodeon show, which was sponsoring the Kickoff Show. Further proof that WWE doesn’t need one-hour Kickoff shows for brand exclusive pay-per-views.
The hosts finally spoke about the Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles match. Booker picked Styles to win the title and said he wants it more than anybody. Lawler and Lita both picked Ambrose to retain. A video package focussed on Ambrose vs. Styles.
Join me for live coverage of WWE Backlash on the main page.