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WWE Backlash live results: AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

Preview by Joseph Currier

WWE's move to all dual-brand pay-per-views officially begins as Backlash takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey tonight.

While Universal Champion Brock Lesnar isn't on the show, AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura will face off in their third PPV title match of the past month. Styles retained the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 34, their Greatest Royal Rumble match ended in a double countout, and this time there will be no disqualifications.

We're looking for your thoughts on this show, as well as the two New Japan Dontakus shows this week, so you can leave a thumbs up, thmbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match for each show to dave@wrestlingobserver.com 

Roman Reigns will face Samoa Joe, who went to SmackDown in this year's Superstar Shakeup. The Miz also moved to Tuesday nights but will be getting a shot at Seth Rollins' Intercontinental title.

Elsewhere on the card, Daniel Bryan takes on Big Cass, Nia Jax defends her Raw Women's Championship against Alexa Bliss, Charlotte Flair gets her rematch against Carmella for the SmackDown Women's title, Jeff Hardy and Randy Orton meet with the United States title on the line, and Braun Strowman & Bobby Lashley team against Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn.

The pre-show has Bayley vs. Ruby Riott and will begin at 7 p.m. Eastern time, with the main card starting an hour later.

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By Dave Meltzer

 BAYLEY VS. RUBY RIOTT 

This match had a lot of sloppiness.  The crowd was still more into this than a usual pre-show match because they were into Bayley.  Predictable finish as Bayley speared Liv Morgan off the apron to the floor, but then Riott kicked Bayley and then gave her the Riott kick for the pin.  Riott kicked out of the Randy Savage elbow a few minutes earlier.

SETH ROLLINS VS. THE MIZ FOR IC TITLE

Great match.  This is a hot crowd.  They were into it at the start and were up for all the big spots.  Rollins was selling his knee after doing a knee into the post.  Miz hit the skull crushing finale twice and both times Rollins kicked out.  Miz continued to work on the knee.  Miz tried a skull crushing finale off the middle rope but Rollins escaped.   After a series of reversals, Rollins hit the curb stomp for the pin.

NIA JAX VS. ALEXA BLISS FOR THE RAW WOMEN'S TITLE

Not much to this.  Unlike the first match which wasn't good, this didn't have the heat.  Bliss gave her a DDT on the steps.  The finish saw Bliss go for twisted bliss and Jax caught her in mid-air and gave her a Samoan drop for the pin.

Jax did an in-ring interview after.  The crowd was booing her slightly but mostly not interested.  Jax said this is for everyone who has been bullied, a few people clapped most disintererested.  She said it's okay to be different.  These buzz words were about bullying were dying.  She said if you're good enough you should never change for a friend of a boyfriend.  I don't think they expected this reaction to her.  She said a bully always gets her ass kicked.  There was a little reaction.  Then Michael Cole went off on all the anti-bullying rallies they did.  This came off so contrived.

Samoa Joe did an interivew.  He said Roman Reigns lost his confidence, a little speed, a little power and a lot of determination.  Tonight he loses to me.  Of course the crowd is cheering Joe.  Tonight he turns the Big Dog into whimpeing puppy.

JEFF HARDY VS. RANDY ORTON FOR THE U.S. TITLE

The match was very slow.  Slow isn't necessarily bad, often it's good, but in this case it never got going.  Hardy won almost out of nowhere with a twist of fate and a swanton.  Hardy landed really heavy on him.  Nobody expected the finish so clean or that early.  Orton technically was very good..  

Elias was out.  Given they were in the New York market, he got cheered heavily.  He said he was good friends with Bruce Springsteen.  Said Springsteen calls him "The Boss."  He said the only thing Springsteen regrets is that he's from New Jersey.  He didn't get that much heat for it.  Too predictable.  He said he was going to leave.  Then he didn't.  Then he teased it again.  Then he stayed.  Then he teased it again.  The New Day came out.  Big E came out with a drum from a marchinng band while Woods had a green trombone.  Woods said they wanted to Walk with Elias.  He said he was solo act.  This was probably five minutes long but it felt longer than every Okada vs. Tanahashi match combined.  Elias said that maybe some day they can open for Elias but this isn't that day.  Then  Aiden English came out.  Fans did react big to him chanting "Rusev Day."  Did they promise the Saudis another personal show and a 30 minute prayer break?  Rusev came out.  Rusev called him Bootleeg Bob Dylan.  JoJo introduced Elias and then No Way Jose came out.  Titus was in the Conga line as was Apollo Crews, Tyler Breeze, Dana Brooke, Bo Dallas and Fandango.  Bobby  Roode showed up and laid him out with a DDT.  The crowd reacted big to Roode.  English wanted to join the Conga line as they all left and Rusev got mad at him.

DANIEL BRYAN VS. BIG CASS

Quick match.  Even then Cass was slow on offense.  It was a big win by Bryan who gave him a high kick and then put him in the LeBell lck.  Cass tapped right away.  Cass then attacked him after the match.  Cass gave him two biel throws on the floor while the crowd chanted "You tapped out."  Cass laid him out after with a running kick. 

CARMELLA VS. CHARLOTTE FLAIR FOR SMACKDOWN WOMEN'S TITLE 

This was bad.  It was painfuly obvious that whie Carmella is a good talker, in the ring she's like the women from 10-15 years ago.  This was hard to watch because it had to be athletially dumbed down since Carmella took most of the match.  Charlotte missed a moonsault and sold her her left knee buckled.  Carmella kicked Charlotte in the hamstring and rolled her up.

A.J. STYLES VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA IN A NO DQ MATCH FOR THE WWE TITLE

So the reason they couldn't put this on last was because they did a finish where both guys kicked each other low at the same time and neither guy could get the ten count so it was a no contest.  They were having a very good match up until that point.  Earlier in the match Nakamura used a low blow and then  Styles came back with a low blow.  A key spot is that when Nakamura went for the Kinshasa, Styles grabbed a chair that Nakamura had brought into the ring.  Styles threw the chair at the knee and it nailed Nakamura's world and then the chair bounced off Nakamura's knee and nailed Styles on the left cheekbone.  Styles was bleeding badly.  It didn't play into the rest of the match at all.  It added drama to the match but when it was over, it was yet another disappointing match.  Really aside from Rollins vs. Miz, this has been a really bad show.

BRAUN STROWMAN & BOBBY LASHLEY VS. KEVIN OWENS & SAMI ZAYN 

What a mess.  The match ended with Zayn trying  to run away but Owens puleld him back in.  They aruged and Zayn eventually slapped Owens.   Zayn walked off and Lashley pinned Owens after a delayed vertical suplex.  After the match the idea was that Zayn was still there and he was yelling at Strowman and Lashley but wouldn't help Owens in the ring and they powerslammed him.  Zayn went to leave but Strowman ran him down and poweslammed him.  There was no reaction to this.  They managed to take one of their hottest crowds of the year and gave them such a good show thjat they didn't even react to Strowman's big move.
 

ROMAN REIGNS VS. SAMOA JOE

They brawled before the match.  Then there was an endless neck twist and chin lock.  It started off boring and the crowd hated it, chanting boring, chanting for Punk, lots of people were leaving.  It did get better and turned into a nromal WWE style match with stars, working around their signaure spots.  Reigns hit a spear but Joe made the ropes.  Joe did an elbow suicida.  They traded near falls and then Reigns hit a spear and pinned him.  People didn't really care that much.  They did react at the end but by no means was this a good match.  

We'll be talking about this later tonight.  And during awards season.