Promotional poster featuring Shinsuke Nakamura
|Date||May 21, 2017|
|WWE Network event chronology|
Backlash (2017) was a professional wrestling pay-per-view (PPV) event and WWE Network event, produced by WWE for the SmackDown brand. It took place on May 21, 2017, at the Allstate Arena in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois. It was the thirteenth event in the Backlash chronology, and the second Backlash to be held in the Allstate Arena, after Backlash 2001.
Eight matches were contested at the event, including one on the pre-show. In the main event, Jinder Mahal defeated Randy Orton to win his first WWE Championship, becoming the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the title. On the undercard, Kevin Owens retained the United States Championship against AJ Styles, and The Usos defeated Breezango to retain the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The event was also notable for the televised main roster in-ring debut of Shinsuke Nakamura, defeating Dolph Ziggler.
The card included eight matches that resulted from scripted storylines, where wrestlers portrayed villains, heroes, or less distinguishable characters in scripted events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches, with results predetermined by WWE's writers on the SmackDown brand. Storylines were produced on WWE's weekly television show SmackDown Live.
At WrestleMania 33, Randy Orton defeated Bray Wyatt to win his ninth WWE Championship. On the post-WrestleMania SmackDown, Wyatt challenged Orton to a "House of Horrors" match; after Wyatt moved to Raw as a result of the Superstar Shake-up, the match was made a non-title match and scheduled for Raw's pay-per-view Payback. On the April 18 episode of SmackDown, Jinder Mahal, who had moved over from Raw, defeated Dolph Ziggler, Mojo Rawley, Erick Rowan, Luke Harper, and Sami Zayn, who also moved over from Raw, in a six-pack challenge to become the number one contender for the WWE Championship at Backlash. During the match, Mahal received help from NXT's The Bollywood Boyz, who made their SmackDown debut as The Singh Brothers (Samir and Sunil Singh). The following week, Orton defeated Rowan in a no disqualification match and was afterwards attacked by Mahal and The Singh Brothers; Mahal subsequently stole the WWE Championship belt. At Payback on April 30 during Orton's match against Wyatt, Orton easily fought off an attack by The Singh Brothers, but then Mahal attacked him with the title belt, costing Orton his match. On the following SmackDown, as Mahal was having a photo shoot with the stolen WWE Championship, SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon appeared and retrieved the title belt from Mahal and later returned it to Orton. On the May 9 episode, Orton was interrupted by Mahal, who stated that he would be taking the championship back to his home country of India where they would erect a statue of him. The two were later involved in a six-man tag team match that ended with Mahal pinning Orton. The following week, after Orton defeated Baron Corbin, Mahal appeared. Orton was then attacked by The Singh Brothers, but fended them off. Mahal then attacked Orton with the Khallas.
At WrestleMania 33, Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho to win his first United States Championship. On the post-WrestleMania Raw, Jericho was granted a rematch for the title at Raw's pay-per-view Payback, but the following week, Owens was moved to the SmackDown brand as a result of the Superstar Shake-up. SmackDown General Manager Daniel Bryan decided that if Jericho won the title at Payback, he would also transfer to SmackDown. Also on the April 11 episode of SmackDown, AJ Styles defeated Sami Zayn and Baron Corbin in a triple threat match to earn an opportunity for the United States Championship at Backlash. Over the next couple of weeks, Styles defeated Corbin in back-to-back matches, while Owens sat at ringside on commentary. After Styles defeated Corbin on the April 25 episode, Owens attacked Styles and Corbin joined in on the attack. Zayn came out for the save and took out Corbin, but was overpowered by Owens. Afterwards on Talking Smack, Corbin attacked Zayn and shoved an official. He was subsequently suspended for one week. At Payback on April 30, Jericho defeated Owens to win the United States Championship, thus transferring Jericho to SmackDown. On the following episode of SmackDown, however, Owens defeated Jericho to regain the title, making him the defending champion against Styles at Backlash. After the match, Owens continued to beat and injure Jericho, taking him out of action. On the May 9 episode, Owens interrupted a segment between WWE Champion Randy Orton and Jinder Mahal and claimed that he would eventually become the face of the WWE. Styles then came out, followed by Corbin and Zayn, who attacked Corbin. A brawl ensued that resulted in a six-man tag team match where the team of Owens, Corbin, and Mahal defeated Styles, Zayn, and Orton. The following week, Owens hosted his own Highlight Reel with Mahal as his guest, but before Mahal could come out, Owens was interrupted by Styles. Styles then faced Mahal, but was defeated by Mahal due to an attack from Owens while the referee was distracted by The Singh Brothers. Later in the show, Zayn was granted a match against Corbin at Backlash. Corbin then appeared and attacked Zayn.
On the April 11 episode of SmackDown, SmackDown Tag Team Champions The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso) retained their titles against American Alpha (Chad Gable and Jason Jordan). After the match, The Shining Stars (Primo and Epico Colón) appeared, revealing they had been moved over from Raw and renamed to The Colóns. They attacked American Alpha, and defeated them the following week. On the April 25 episode of SmackDown, Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze) won a Beat the Clock challenge to become number one contenders: American Alpha defeated The Colóns, but Breezango defeated The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) in a shorter time, thus earning a title opportunity at Backlash. On the May 9 episode, after Breezango again defeated The Ascension, The Usos came out and claimed that they would still be champions after Backlash. The following week, The Usos again came out and addressed Breezango after their win over The Colóns.
On the April 4 episode of SmackDown, NXT's Shinsuke Nakamura made his main roster debut by interrupting The Miz and Maryse, who were both transferred to Raw the following week. On the next SmackDown, Nakamura interrupted Dolph Ziggler's in-ring promo. Ziggler attempted a superkick on Nakamura, but Nakamura countered and Ziggler retreated. On the April 25 episode, Ziggler interrupted Nakamura's in-ring interview by Renee Young. After the two traded barbs, Ziggler attacked Nakamura, who retaliated with an Inverted Exploder Suplex on Ziggler, who retreated. It was then announced that Nakamura would have his SmackDown in-ring debut at Backlash against an unknown opponent. On the May 2 episode of SmackDown, Ziggler criticized Commissioner Shane McMahon and General Manager Daniel Bryan for hyping Nakamura for Backlash, even though he had not had a match on an episode of SmackDown yet. The following week, Ziggler cut a promo touting his accomplishments before calling out Nakamura. Nakamura called for a referee, but before the match could begin, Ziggler backed out and said he would face Nakamura at Backlash and then attacked Nakamura, but Nakamura overpowered Ziggler. On the final SmackDown before Backlash, Ziggler dismissed Nakamura as a real competitor since he had not done anything on the main roster yet.
At WrestleMania 33, Naomi won a six-pack challenge to win her second SmackDown Women's Championship, and she subsequently retained the title against former champion Alexa Bliss on the post-WrestleMania SmackDown. As a result of the Superstar Shake-up, Bliss and Mickie James were moved to the Raw brand, and Charlotte Flair and Tamina, who was a free agent, were moved to the SmackDown brand. The following week, Flair demanded a title shot. She was confronted by the champion, and SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon decided that if Flair could defeat Naomi in a non-title match, she would be granted a title match the following week, which she did. This angered Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella (with James Ellsworth), as they each felt that they should have been the number one contender. The following week, Flair and Naomi's title match ended after they were both attacked by Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella. On the May 2 episode, Flair, now a face, was attacked backstage by the three heels, now calling themselves The Welcoming Committee, who also tried to convince Becky Lynch to join them. Naomi and Flair then teamed up, but were defeated by Natalya and Carmella. After the match, The Welcoming Committee teamed up on Flair and Naomi. Lynch then came out and acted like she was going to join the three, but then attacked them, but got overwhelmed. The following week, during a match between Natalya and Lynch, Flair kept Naomi from attacking Tamina, who was trying to cause a distraction, and Natalya got the win. Later, after some arguing backstage, Flair, Naomi, and Lynch got on the same page, and were scheduled to face The Welcoming Committee at Backlash. On the final SmackDown before Backlash, the six women, along with Ellsworth, traded barbs before Naomi faced Carmella, who defeated Naomi due to distraction.
On the post-WrestleMania SmackDown, The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt and Erick Rowan) were defeated by WWE Champion Randy Orton and former Wyatt Family member Luke Harper. The following week, Wyatt was moved to the Raw brand as a result of the Superstar Shake-up, effectively disbanding The Wyatt Family. Rowan and Harper then both competed in the WWE Championship number one contender's six-pack challenge, but were unsuccessful. On the May 9 episode of SmackDown, Rowan defeated Harper in a singles match. The following week on Talking Smack, Rowan said that he disliked the fact that Harper had left The Wyatt Family. He said that although he defeated Harper the previous week, he felt that Harper deserved more punishment and requested a match against him at Backlash, to which Commissioner Shane McMahon granted.
On the April 4 episode of SmackDown, NXT's Tye Dillinger made his main roster debut and defeated Curt Hawkins, who was transferred to the Raw brand the following week. On the April 11 episode, former Vaudevillain Aiden English began a solo career, but was defeated by Dillinger, who also defeated him the next week. On May 16, a match between the two was scheduled for the Backlash pre-show.
|English commentators||Tom Phillips|
|John "Bradshaw" Layfield|
|Spanish commentators||Carlos Cabrera|
|German commentators||Tim Haber|
|Ring announcer||Greg Hamilton|
|Backstage interviewers||Dasha Fuentes|
|Pre-show panel||Renee Young|
|Talking Smack panel||Renee Young|
During the Pre-Show, Tye Dillinger faced Aiden English. Dillinger performed the Tye Breaker on English to win the match.
The actual pay-per-view opened with Shinsuke Nakamura facing Dolph Ziggler. Ziggler performed a Zig Zag on Nakamura for a near-fall. Ziggler performed a superkick to the back of Nakamura's neck for a near-fall. In the end, Nakamura performed an Inverted Exploder Suplex and a Kinshasa on Ziggler to win the match.
Next, The Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso) defended the SmackDown Tag Team Championship against Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze). During the match, Breeze disguised himself as a janitor and an elderly woman, which allowed him to get some offense on The Usos. The match ended when Jey performed a Superkick on Fandango to retain the title.
Afterwards, Sami Zayn faced Baron Corbin. In the end, Zayn performed a Helluva Kick on Corbin to win the match.
Later, SmackDown Women's Champion Naomi, Charlotte Flair, and Becky Lynch faced The Welcoming Committee (Natalya, Tamina, and Carmella). In the climax, Natalya forced Lynch to submit to the Sharpshooter to win the match.
Next, Kevin Owens defended the United States Championship against AJ Styles. In the end, Styles performed a Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade on Owens. As Styles attempted a Styles Clash atop the announce table, Owens countered, trapping Styles' leg in the announce table. Styles was eventually counted out, thus Owens retained the title.
In the penultimate match, Luke Harper faced Erick Rowan. The match ended when Harper performed a Discus Clothesline on Rowan to win the match.
In the main event, Randy Orton defended the WWE Championship against Jinder Mahal. Orton performed an RKO on Mahal, only for The Singh Brothers (Samir and Sunil Singh), to pull him out of the ring. Orton performed Belly-to-Back Suplexes onto the announce tables and an Elevated DDT on the Singh Brothers. Mahal then performed the Khallas on Orton to win his first WWE Championship, becoming the first wrestler of Indian descent to win the title.
On the post-Backlash SmackDown, Commissioner Shane McMahon announced that Randy Orton invoked his championship rematch against Jinder Mahal for Money in the Bank. Later in the show, Mahal celebrated with his new championship in Punjabi style.
Shane McMahon also announced the five participants for the Money in the Bank ladder match at Money in the Bank with the contract being for a WWE Championship match: AJ Styles, Baron Corbin, Sami Zayn, Dolph Ziggler, and Shinsuke Nakamura. United States Champion Kevin Owens complained that he should also be in the match since he defeated Styles at Backlash. Shane then decided to add Owens to the Money in the Bank match. A rematch between Corbin and Zayn was then scheduled that Zayn won, as well as a tag team match where Styles and Nakamura defeated Owens and Ziggler.
In the tag team division, Tyler Breeze defeated Jey Uso and Fandango defeated Jimmy Uso. The two teams then immediately had a SmackDown Tag Team Championship rematch that The Usos won. The following week, after declaring that no team could defeat them, The Usos were interrupted by The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods)–their first appearance on SmackDown since moving to the brand during the Superstar Shake-up–and The Usos were scheduled to defend their titles against The New Day at Money in the Bank.
Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch teamed up and defeated Natalya and Carmella. Later backstage, Natalya asked Shane McMahon for a SmackDown Women's Championship match, followed by Carmella, Becky, Tamina, and Charlotte, who each felt that they should have a title opportunity. Shane then scheduled an elimination fatal five-way between them for the next SmackDown where the winner would face Naomi for the title at Money in the Bank. However, the match did not happen as all five women attacked each other. Shane then scheduled the five to compete in the first-ever Women's Money in the Bank ladder match with the contract being for a SmackDown Women's Championship match.
|1P||Tye Dillinger defeated Aiden English||Singles match||8:20|
|2||Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Dolph Ziggler||Singles match||15:50|
|3||The Usos (Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) (c) defeated Breezango (Fandango and Tyler Breeze)||Tag team match for the WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship||9:15|
|4||Sami Zayn defeated Baron Corbin||Singles match||14:35|
|5||Natalya, Tamina and Carmella (with James Ellsworth) defeated Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair and Naomi by submission||Six-woman tag team match||10:05|
|6||Kevin Owens (c) defeated AJ Styles by countout||Singles match for the WWE United States Championship||21:10|
|7||Luke Harper defeated Erick Rowan||Singles match||9:00|
|8||Jinder Mahal (with The Singh Brothers) defeated Randy Orton (c)||Singles match for the WWE Championship||15:45|
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