On this day after Cinco de Mayo, let your hangover cure be in the form of Backlash. While any other Backlash isn’t a great cause for excitement, this marks the first cross-brand PayPerView of the post-WrestleMania season. WWE finally decided that there is such a thing as too much wrestling, and they are cutting back PayPerViews to one per month. Hallelujah.
It’s not only the fact that these events were too frequent, but spreading yourself thin is never a good idea. Too many shows were beginning to feel exhausting and there was little build to each event, taking away from their significance. With the WWE Network, fans are able to watch every piece of content that WWE can muster. Naturally, WWE was inclined to create more content. But of course, just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should. In a week, the wrestling programming schedule contains three hours of Raw, two hours of Smackdown, and an hour each of 205 Live and NXT. That, combined with a PPV every two weeks was getting to be a bit much. And that’s just WWE.
Having too much of a good thing can take away from the event being “special,” thereby making it not so much of a good thing. So many of these shows start to meld together and become indistinguishable from one to the next; at which point, they turn into a wasted effort. Off the top of my head, I can’t tell you the card for Great Balls of Fire, because it was probably similar to Hell in a Cell. With any luck, with this newer, leaner schedule, we’ll be able to look back at a minor wrestling event and remember what it was.
Having both Raw and Smackdown on one show makes for a card with less fat. No filler, only substance. It also provides an opportunity to create feuds and interactions between brands. While they should utilize this sparingly, it’s bound to happen, and culminate at a major event, like SummerSlam. But tonight, we have enough on our plates. It’s not an amazing lineup, but its an adequate portion. A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura continue their feud tonight, which will likely proceed onward into SummerSlam. We also get to see Daniel Bryan in his first singles PPV match after coming out of retirement. Despite the fact that the premise of this match is about Big Cass being big and Daniel Bryan being small, this might end up being more of a squash match in Bryan’s favor. Not only does Bryan needs to remind us of how good he really is, but in weaning him back into the ring, they should keep his matches relatively short.
Not only do we see Daniel Bryan in action, but this is also the first PPV in a while for the likes of Samoa Joe, Jeff Hardy, and Bobby Lashley. WWE did a great job in shaking up the roster this time around, as well as bringing back some talent. It’s almost a different product than it was at WrestleMania, so Backlash can be considered a fresh start for WWE. Even though the idea of a “new season” of WWE is sort of silly and fabricated, they’ve been successful in setting that tone. Even if it’s not the most exciting event, Backlash will be sufficient. It will be enough to consume.
Thankfully, WWE finally realized that we don’t need to gorge ourselves on the product to the point of overexposure. A few good matches on a show will do just fine. The wrestling year is a marathon and every week doesn’t need to be WrestleMania. A slow build with fewer PayPerViews is better than an overdose of unmemorable minor events. In the end, we as fans will have something to look forward to, instead of treating our wrestling viewing like a chore.
Nathan Burke is a standup comedian based in Boston and can be found on Twitter @IamNathanBurke