Jinder Mahal stunned the WWE Universe, as he overcame the test of Randy Orton in the main event at a solid Backlash to win the WWE Championship for the first time.
Like it or hate it, Mahal’s crowning moment has got the WWE Universe talking which is exactly what WWE wanted, as a guy who was being tacked by NFL player Rob Gronkowski at WrestleMania less than two months ago is now the WWE Champion.
Mahal pulled off an upset win in a six-pack challenge to become No.1 Contender last month and has been causing chaos ever since, including stealing the WWE Championship and cost the Viper his House of Horrors match to Bray Wyatt at Payback.
The former 3MB member headed into Backlash with momentum on his side, but it was Orton who kicked off with a vengeance as he blindsided the challenger from behind to show Mahal he was in for the fight of his life, before the bell even rang.
Mahal avoided an early RKO attempt by the Apex Predator and he soon turned the match in his favour, as he sent Orton shoulder first into the LED board and began to work on the injury.
Orton fought his way back into the match as the match continued to swing back and forth, before Mahal rolled out of the ring to avoid the RKO as the champion began to hit his stride after a fall away slam and the backbreaker.
Orton attacked Mahal’s allies the Singh Brothers, before he hit the RKO at the third time of asking only for Mahal’s buddies to pull him out of the ring to safety.
Orton had enough of their interference taking out both men with bell-to-back suplexes on the announcers desks, one of them suffering a bad landing with Orton’s face saying a lot of how bad it could have been.
He also hit both men with the apron DDT at the same time, which allowed Mahal time to recover and come from behind to hit the Cobra Clutch Slam and stun the WWE Universe to win his first WWE Championship.
It has cause a lot of debate among the fanbase as to whether this was a good move and from a fans standpoint, it was a bad move. This is a guy who was jobbing on Raw for six months, comes to Smackdown, is thrown straight into the main event and wins the big one.
When you think of the names that held the title: Bruno Sammartino, Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and John Cena just to name a few, no one would have thought that Mahal would ever put his name alongside these legends.
However from a business standpoint, it was a good move because with the recent expansion to India, it draws attention to the company which is obviously what Vince McMahon wanted because at the end of the day, it’s all about the money.
I still don’t think his reign will last long and he will be no more than a transitional champion before falling back into mid card obscurity. He probably will drop the title back to Orton at Money in the Bank but as for now, Mahal is your WWE Champion whether you like it or not.
The match of the night at Backlash was no doubt the United States Championship match between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens, but after a back-and-forth 20 minute battle, Owens retaining via a countout was a bit of a damp squib.
After a back-and-forth fast paced start to their much-anticipated showdown, Owens began to build early momentum hitting the senton on the Phenomenal One three consecutive times, but Styles fought back gaining a near fall off the wheelbarrow facebuster.
Both men were throwing their best shots at each other but a turning point in the match came, when Owens avoided a Styles Clash on the ring apron and wrapped Styles injured leg around the ringpost.
Owens continued to target the injury with a half-leg boston crab and the anklelock, but Styles gained some breathing space when he hit Owens with a sunset flip for another near fall.
Styles’ injury affected his attempt at the Phenomenal Forearm as he slipped on the top rope, but Styles managed to stay in the match after kicking out of Owens double arm DDT and a fisherman’s buster suplex off the top rope.
The action spilled to the outside when Styles hit Owens with a gut-wrenching suplex on the ring apron and despite being thrown into the timekeepers area, Styles came flying back with a Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade.
He aimed to hit the Styles Clash on the announcers desk but Owens reversed and pulled his leg through a hole in the desk and after getting his leg caught in cables, Styles could not answer the ten count as Owens retained the title on a countout victory.
It was a brilliant back-and-forth match between two very talented wrestlers with plenty of near falls to keep you on the edge of your seat, but the finish was very underwhelming.
However, I had guessed that it would end on a DQ or countout because this way they can keep the fued going. If this one was good, I cannot wait to see what Owens and Styles deliver next time around.
Sami Zayn picked up a surprise win over Baron Corbin after a solid match at Backlash, as he scored revenge on the Lone Wolf after weeks of blindisde attacks.
Zayn used his quickness and athletic ability to sun Corbin in the early goings, but Corbin would soon keep the high-flyer grounded after tossing Zayn back first into the barricade.
Corbin began to work on the injury hitting a spinebuster for a two count, as Corbin yelled at Zayn to stay down. Sami had no intent on doing so as he stunned Corbin with a thundering clothesline and hit a sunset flip top off the top for a two count.
Even Deep Six was not enough to put Zayn away as Corbin continued to get more and more frustrated and after he ran into Sami’s boot, Zayn connected with the Helleuva kick to pick up a surprise win.
I am glad for Sami to finally getting a win and maybe this means he will finally get a long-awaited push. Despite the loss, I think Corbin is still very much in line for a push and I would consider him the favourite to win the Money in the Bank ladder match.