WWE Backlash delivered an epic brawl between Kevin Owens and AJ Styles, the long-awaited debut of a megastar, and one of the most surprising main-event results in WWE history.
Here's a match-by-match breakdown of Backlash.
Tye Dillinger defeated Aiden English
At the end of an entertaining and back-and-forth kickoff contest, English went for a high-risk dive and the move backfired on him. Dillinger rolled out of the way of a flying English, then spun away from an attempted European uppercut and hit the Tye Breaker on English to get the win.
Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler
In his SmackDown pay-per-view debut, Shinsuke Nakamura took Dolph Ziggler’s best shots, and somehow managing to not only remain conscious but then kick out after a devastating Superkick to the back of the head.
Nakamura eventually rallied and rained down elbows and kicks to Ziggler’s head. The match started slowly and Nakamura’s entrance wasn’t quite as epic as some of his previous entrances, but both Nakamura and Ziggler delivered in a lengthy slugfest that ended after Nakamura was finally able to hit his Kinshasa.
The Usos defeated Breezango to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship
Tyler Breeze may have just become one of the most popular stars on the SmackDown roster with some comedy at its finest. He came out to the ring dressed as a janitor from the previous episode of the Fashion Files, and got the entire arena to chant “mop.” Later in the match, he put on a wig and a dress and wrestled as a grandmother. It was fresh, creative, and hilarious work from Breeze, who has always been lauded by his peers for his in-ring ability but has never really had a chance to show what he can do.
Unfortunately for Breeze, the Usos were able to retain. Fandango was Superkicked off the top rope and crashed to the mat after Breeze had been dumped over the barricade and into the front row, allowing the Usos to score the pinfall. This hopefully isn’t the last time we’ve seen this matchup.
Sami Zayn defeated Baron Corbin
Baron Corbin did his best to annihilate Sami Zayn with a slow, methodical beatdown, but Zayn took an astonishing amount of punishment without giving in and eventually pounced on a single Corbin mistake to steal a win.
Zayn caught Corbin with a boot to the face, then delivered a single Helluva Kick to knock Corbin to the canvas.
Natalya forced Becky Lynch to tap out
In a huge upset, The Welcoming Committee beat the three biggest female stars on the roster, as a new-look Becky Lynch tapped out to Natalya’s sharpshooter in the center of the ring. Lynch might be regretting the group's invitation to join right about now.
Kevin Owens defeated AJ Styles by count out to retain the United States Championship
Owens took away one of Styles’ greatest strengths - his agility - by working on the right knee of the Phenomenal One, which likely saved him late in the match. Styles delivered a breathtaking sunset flip powerbomb to Owens, reversing out of a Samoan carry position from the top rope, which gave him an opportunity to try to hit the Phenomenal Forearm. Styles’ knee gave out as he attempted his springboard jump, which allowed Owens to temporarily regain control.
Styles wasn’t finished, though. On one leg, Styles hit a brutal suplex on the apron, and Owens took a glancing blow from the edge of the ring before crashing down to the floor. Styles then delivered a Phenomenal Forearm by jumping off the barricade from the timekeepers area, and was primed to finish off Owens with a Styles Clash through an announce table.
Unfortunately for Styles, Owens reversed the move, and Styles fell through a hole in the announce table. He tried to escape but was caught in the wires underneath, and Owens scampered back into the ring to win by count out.
Luke Harper defeated Erick Rowan
This was a showcase of athleticism for two big men who break the mold of traditional lumbering giants. While it was impossible to follow what Owens and Styles had just done,Luke Harper scored what will hopefully be a breakthrough win with a huge discus slow to his former family member.
Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton to become the new WWE World Champion
It was a near certainty that the Singh Brothers would play a part in Sunday night’s main event, as it’d be all too unbelievable if Mahal would be able to beat Orton on his own in his first title shot.
The Singhs saved Mahal from a pin after he took an RKO out of nowhere, and an enraged Orton became preoccupied with exacting revenge. After dropping the two brothers into the announce table outside, Orton set both of them up for a double DDT off the ring rope. Orton's attack gave Mahal time to recover, though, and he stunned Orton with a full nelson slam to score the pinfall and become a champion in WWE for the first time in his career.