By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE Backlash Kickoff Show
Taped in Orlando, Florida at the WWE Performance Center
Aired June 14, 2020 on WWE Network and social media
-Scott Stanford and Peter Rosenberg hosted “the greatest Kickoff Show ever” from WWE Headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut.
-The hosts announced that there will not be co-champions if The Miz or John Morrison defeat Braun Strowman for the the WWE Universal Championship. Despite the possibility of co-champions being advertised, the hosts announced that the person who scores the pin or gets the submission would be named the champion.
-Stanford and Rosenberg ran through the card and then set up a video package on the Raw Women’s Championship match between Asuka and Nia Jax.
-Renee Young, Booker T, and JBL checked in from their homes and discussed the Raw Women’s Championship match.
-Charly Caruso interviewed Ric Flair and Christian on the backstage interview set. She note that Flair predicted a Randy Orton win while Christian picked Edge to win. Flair chalked up Orton’s loss to Edge at WrestleMania being a case of it not being a traditional wrestling match. Flair said Orton will walk out of the ring and remain the greatest in-ring performer in the history of WWE. Christian said Orton just wants to take the path of least resistance. Christian said Edge has had to scratch and claw for everything in his life and so he’s banking on grit and passion overcoming natural ability.
Powell’s POV: Flair’s hyperbole aside, this was a good exchange. Christian was especially believable while standing up for Edge.
-The hosts spoke about the Edge and Orton match, then a video package focused on the WWE Universal Championship match with Strowman vs. Miz and Morrison.
-A Miz and Morrison video aired. The chorus included, “Hey Hey Ho Ho, the Universal Champion needs to go”…
Powell’s POV: You see, kids, MTV used to actually play these things called music videos…
-The hosts set up a recap of the cornball contests between the Street Profits and Viking Raiders.
-Young, Booker, and JBL spoke about the Raw Tag Title match. Booker predicted a Viking Raiders win, while JBL shockingly went in the other direction.
-Young set up a video package on the Edge vs. Orton match by asking if it will be the greatest match ever. Booker said the advantage goes to Orton and we’ll find out what Edge has left in the tank. JBL recalled teaming with Bob Orton Jr. in Japan back in the day and being told that Randy could be awesome. JBL also recalled Shawn Michaels coming back and being even better than before. JBL also picked Orton to win.
1. Apollo Crews vs. Andrade (w/Zelina Vega, Angel Garza) for the U.S. Championship. The Raw broadcast team of Tom Phillips, Byron Saxton, and Samoa Joe were on the call. Just before the opening bell, Kevin Owens made his entrance wearing a t-shirt with a tie (oh, and pants) and joined the broadcast team. Crews performed an early moonsault from the apron onto Andrade at ringside.
Back inside the ring, Andrade tripped up Crews and sent him crashing face first into the middle turnbuckle. Andrade hit double knees in the corner and then covered Crews for a two count. Andrade went up top, but Crews cut him off with chops and then set up for a superplex.
Andrade tripped Crews and got him in tree of woe position. Andrade went for a double stomp, but missed it. Crews performed an overhead belly to belly suplex that sent Andrade into the corner. Crews executed a spinebuster and covered Andrade for a two count.
The wrestlers ended up fighting for position the apron. Andrade got the better of it and performed a leap over the top rope and DDT’d Crews through the ropes on the way down, which led to a near fall. Crews cut off Andrade on the ropes and then pressed him over his head and dropped him.
Crews performed a standing moonsault and a standing shooting star press and went for a cover, but the referee was caught up with Garza standing on the apron. Owens got up and took out Garza. Crews performed a sit-out powerbomb on Andrade and pinned him…
Apollo Crews defeated Andrade in 7:25 to retain the U.S. Championship.
Powell’s POV: A good Kickoff Show match. They didn’t get enough time to make it memorable, but it was fun while it lasted. It will be interesting to see if we’ll get another Crews vs. Owens match at some point.
-Stanford set up a video package that recapped the Jeff Hardy and Sheamus saga.
-Sheamus delivered a backstage promo about Jeff Hardy claiming to be a beacon of hope. He claimed that’s not the case and accused Hardy of being a pilled up has-been who is an embarrassment to his friends, family, and himself.
-Stanford and Rosenberg spoke about the Hardy vs. Sheamus match, then shifted the focus to the Triple Threat for the WWE Women’s Tag Titles. They ran through a bunch of tweets written by some of the match participants. Both hosts predicted an IIconics win.
-A video package chronicled story heading into the Drew McIntyre vs. Bobby Lashley match for the WWE Championship. The hosts spoke about MVP claiming that Lana has been holding back Lashley. Rosenberg predicted a Lashley title win. The hosts wrapped up the Kickoff Show. Rosenberg also said Randy Savage vs. Ricky Steamboat is his personal bar for the greatest wrestling match ever.
Join me for live coverage of the WWE Backlash main card in a separate story on the main page.
The Pro Wrestling Boom Podcast with Jason Powell features Kenny Herzog discussing his journalism career, his new Outside Interference podcast, doing a feature story on CM Punk, pro wrestling in the pandemic, WWE talk on Retribution, The Hurt Business, Roman Reigns as a heel, and much more...