WWE’s big selling point for Backlash 2020 is that it will be host to The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever, when Edge and Randy Orton do battle in a standard one-on-one wrestling match. It’s a promotional tactic that can’t be taken seriously; legends like Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels lose all credibility by saying nonsense like “I gotta be honest, I think you can deliver on it.” Come on HBK, you’re not being honest. You’re lying to my face.
Some people think this is a giant troll job from WWE and the match will only go two minutes, possibly ending with something like an immediate low blow disqualification. I’d be surprised if that’s how this plays out; I expect a typical back-and-forth 20+ minute main event fight at Backlash. I don’t think Edge came back for his matches to devolve into a cheap ploy. But more importantly than that, Vince McMahon is a wrestling promoter who needed a big match to add buzz to Backlash. The top three championship matches are not main event caliber matches.
Braun Strowman’s Universal championship match against Miz & Morrison reeks of desperation booking due to the lack of a suitable top heel in place. This match is in no way, shape, or form a match that should main event a wrestling pay-per-view.
Asuka is defending her Raw women’s championship against Nia Jax. WWE rarely ever main events their pay-per-views with a singles women’s match, especially if the bout doesn’t include Ronda Rousey. Considering the mishaps that have been happening in Nia Jax’s matches lately, this match is far from a must-watch attraction.
Drew McIntyre versus Bobby Lashley for the WWE championship could be good enough to be the main event, but Lashley’s push up the card has been so sudden that I don’t expect Vince McMahon sees this match as the anchor of a pay-per-view. It seems like Bob is more in this spot to be the monthly villain for McIntyre to overcome as the central star of Raw, before moving on to a new challenger next month.
To emphasize that point, keep in mind that Lashley didn’t have an advertised match last month at Money in the Bank, and he later replaced MVP in a nothing match against R-Truth during the show. One month before that, Lashley lost to Aleister Black in less than eight minutes at WrestleMania 36, in a match with zero build or importance. Lashley didn’t wrestle at Elimination Chamber in March, he was pinned by R-Truth on the February pay-per-view, and he didn’t wrestle at Royal Rumble in January. WWE has not presented him as a top guy for quite a long time, and that hurts his match with McIntyre.
So McMahon needed a bigger hook for the main event of Backlash. Considering how the Last Man Standing match between Edge vs. Orton was largely seen as a disappointment at WrestleMania 36, he needed to up the ante. But a standard one-on-one wrestling match does not raise the stakes after a 40-minute Last Man Standing match. So McMahon came up with the most hyperbolic approach he could think of to make this rematch stand out, and that’s why it’s now marketed as The Greatest Wrestling Match Ever.
Backlash needs Edge vs. Orton to be worthy of the main event, rather than a quick troll job, because nothing else on this card belongs in the main event. It’s tempting to think this is all one big joke, but WWE hopes you take it seriously. Vince McMahon really thinks that he’s trained you to believe Randy Orton is one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time. Remember, this is the same guy who thought Batista vs. Randy Orton was a no-brainer slam dunk main event match for WrestleMania 30, despite Daniel Bryan’s overwhelming popularity.
At least that’s my theory. Please let me know in the comments whether you agree or disagree.