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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: WWE Backlash & TNA Under Siege

We have another double header coming your way, I prefer doing two reviews in one article. Following the monumental Wrestlemania 40, WWE look to continue their inferno momentum forward as they travel overseas to wrestle in Lyon, France. Oui, Oui! Elsewhere, TNA have another one of their TNA+ specials called Under Siege, featuring Matt Hardy's first match back in the company since 2017. Exciting times. Who will be the gagnantes and who will be the perdantes? Let's find out. Let's review.

TNA Under Siege, 3rd of May 2024 in Albany, New York

There was 3 pre-show matches that I didn't watch. Rhino defeated VSK. The FBI, accompanied to the ring by an OG member of the group Guido, defeated The Batiri. Finally, Laredo Kid retained his Digital Media title against KC Navarro.

Eric Young & Josh Alexander defeat Frankie Kazarian & Steve Maclin- ***1/2

Two singles feuds combined into a tag match, the classic wrestling booking. Kaz and Maclin formed an alliance to take out their mutual enemies, which includes Santana who beat Maclin at Rebellion. Young has his ear wrapped up because it was severed during the botched finish of his match with Kaz at Rebellion. Alexander gives him some head gear to wear with him which was cool. I was expecting this to be a pretty standard tag match to open the show, but this was a really fun opener. They kept the interactions between Young and Kaz to a minimum until the final stretch since their feud is the most intense. The competitive back and forth firmly swung in favour of Alexander and Young when Maclin accidently nailed Kaz with a running knee. Young won the match with a piledriver, pinning Kaz and I think properly ending their feud. A great opener to warm the crowd and build a new story arc for Kaz to move away from Young.

Ash by Elegance defeats Havock- *1/2

Yikes. I had reservations about this immediately, I think Ash has improved a lot as a wrestler but she needs to be wrestling better wrestlers. Decay haven't been really over in 10 years and they were never great performers. Ash's concierge throwing holy water and Ash wearing a garlic necklace was fun. Then it span into a bad comedy skit. Ash running away screaming all the time, Havock screaming at her to scare her, Rosemary drinking the holy water and coughing up blood. Ash hit a powerbomb and a roll up to get the victory, neither one of them looked good coming out of that. But, the post match stuff was great! Ash choked Havock with the garlic necklace, beat her with a chair and DDT her on the floor. She looked vicious which is how she should have been presented. I don't mind the chicken shit heel gimmick, but it doesn't mean they have to be a bad wrestler. This was a pretty bad segment and I hope they quickly move Ash away from Decay.

-Hardy does his broken shtick with Speedball Mountain. It is fun, I just hope they do something interesting with it and not just re-hash the same stuff we have already seen 3 versions of.

Joe Hendry defeats Zachary Wentz- **1/2

"I believe in Joe Hendry" is number 6 on UK Apple Music which is mental. He is receiving huge crowd reactions every time, he needs the push. Hendry does a promo how he has beaten the top musicians in the world. This was a short and simple match to feature Hendry and give him a win. Hendry catch a suicide dive on his shoulders was cool. Hendry wins with the Standing Ovation. The story was about how over he is, hopefully he is in the world title picture soon

Alisha Edwards & Masha Slamovich defeat Spitfire (c), Knockouts Tag Champions- **1/4

The Knockouts tag division has been a slump for some time and with the rest of The System all holding gold, it seemed like a certainty that Alisha Edwards would would out as a champion here. I like Spitfire as a team, I think they are a team they could rebuild the division around but that isn't what they want to achieve here. This was a basic TV quality tag match, it was fine. I liked that Edwards was not booked as their equal since she is more of a manager than a wrestler. She gets the pin and the rest of the System come and congratulate her. It seems like Masha and Alicia are willing to work together to remain champions. This was fine, the System now firmly run the place holding most of the gold.

-fun promo from first class members AJ Francis and Rich Swann

Rich Swann defeats Jake Something- **1/4

So Swann was supposed to face the Laredo Kid apparently and Something had a match with Josh Hammerstone booked, however Hammerstone wasn't cleared to compete so the card has been shimmied a little. This is a case of a late change of plans making things awkward. I think Something losing to Hammerstone would have been fine, but a loss here made him look a bit weak. On the other hand, Swann's heel character is pretty new and probably shouldn't eat too many major losses. I don't know what the right call was for this. The match was decent with a lot of Francis interference that nearly ends in a DQ until Deaner comes out and offers to fight AJ off. Deaner gets dropped immediately, Something wipes out Francis then Swann wipes out and defeats Something. Not bad, but the booking was mediocre.

Jonathan Gresham defeats Kushida- ***1/4

Gresham making his in ring return after his "therapy" which teased a cool as fuck mask and a really interesting persona 'The Octopus'. I was hoping for more pomp and pageantry to the entrance, but the mask with the tentacles was awesome. Kushida is a perfect first opponent for Gresham's return, they have history together and he is just a phenomenal wrestler. These have a very back and forth technical match, I think Gresham is one of the best at dissecting an opponent. Throughout the match Gresham kept coughing, which led to the finish when he coughed up ink and used it to subdue Kushida for the win. I thought it was a creative finish but they rushed it, I think it should have taken more time for Kushida to be pinned from that. Post-match, Kushida began coughing and seemed very physically effected by it. Very intriguing, I'm ready to see where this goes.

Jordynne Grace & PCO defeat Kon & Steph de Lander- ***

This was set up from Rebellion with the incredibly messy Knockouts match full of run ins and surprises. I was not looking forward to this one very much, but it was better than I expected it to be. Grace was willing to fight both Lander and Kon, she looked good against both. She eventually got the tag to PCO who scares Steph into a tag so we can see these 2 brawl again. PCO is then the one taking a beating until he gets the hot tag to Grace. We see more flirting by SdL to distract PCO which nearly leads to a monstruous kiss, Grace hitting a Death Valley Driver to Kon was impressive. She wins the match with a Juggernaut driver. Good match with fun antics.

Mustafa Ali (c) defeats Ace Austin, X-Division Championship- ***3/4

I am a huge fan of Ali's leader gimmick, making the X-Division great again. I was very excited for this one, I think Austin is a future star if he stays on the trajectory. I really liked the arm psychology from both men, it really felt like a "anything you can do, so can I." Some explosive moves in this one like the German suplex from the ring apron to the floor. After a great match Austin's win with The Fold is foiled after Ali's secret service run interference. I didn't mind it, but it was the third heel victory tonight as a result of outside interference. This was still great, but not quite as great as it could have been.

The System defeat Matt Hardy & Speedball Mountain- ****

Hardy, Seven and Bailey all came out together wearing matching jackets. Hardy called them House Hardy earlier, which is interesting as that was a failed attempt at a stable in AEW. Is he reviving the concept? Hardy starts and demands Moose but gets Edwards. We get some fun face offence to start, a bit of Poetry in Motion with Bailey subbing in for the Jeff Hardy spot. Once Moose enters the game changes and the heels dominate Mike Bailey. A few times Bailey tries to get to a tag but Moose has other plans. Bailey did a great reversal to reach a tag to Trent the Seventh, as Matt now calls him. It isn't long until Seven is now at the mercy of the System, bending the rules and using heel antics to remain in control. Hardy finally gets that tag and the veteran runs wild with his signature offence on Edwards and Myers. We finally get the Hardy vs Moose 1v1 and this is when the match really heats up. Moose goes for a crazy top rope springboard which is reversed into a cutter, awesome. Speedball runs wild but he is subdued by a killer spear by Myers. We see 3 bop and bangs and then 3 Twist of fates. Bailey wipes out everyone with a moonsault to the outside. which angers Moose who beats all their asses. Hardy hits a top rope leg drop to floor through Moose on a table, justified holy shit chants. A burning hammer pinfall is stopped by Alisha Edwards, more cheating by the System allow them to hit a backpack stunner/elbow drop combo to win.

I loved this match! It was paced brilliantly, standard tag action that built up to an exciting finish. This is the best Matt Hardy has looked in the ring in years, since the early beginnings on his AEW run. Everything served a purpose and it was all executed crisply. The System winning makes sense to build their dominance. I am excited to see where it goes from here for Hardy and his new friends.

Overall, This was a pretty standard TNA 'B' Event, A great opener and some solid stuff in the undercard apart from the weak Ash vs Havock match. The show built up to the final 2 matches being the best on the card. I had a really good time watching this. With the show being under 3 hours long, I definitely recommend it.

WWE Backlash France, 4th of May 2024 in Metropolis of Lyon, France

Not only the first Backlash outside of North America, but it is the first WWE PPV to air from the land of frogs legs and baguettes. I had my reservations about this purely because I wasn't sure how good of a crowd we were going to get, I didn't know how popular wrestling was in France. I would like to apologise to Lyon for my reservation, because holy shit this was one of the best live crowds I've seen. They were so loud from top to bottom and reacted to everything. They deserved this for sure. WWE, continue to do more shows outside of America, they suck.

The Bloodline (Solo Sikoa & Tama Tonga) defeat Kevin Owens & Randy Orton, Street Fight- ****1/4

We thought the Bloodline was done cooking until Tama Tonga debuted and we all realised that it was just the end of a chapter. 2024 is the rise of Solo Sikoa who is leading the faction now with Roman Reigns and The Rock gone, also Jimmy Uso who he banished for his failures. Owens has a long history with the Bloodline which continues tonight, teaming with his new BFF Orton to kick some Samoan ass. The crowd sang Orton's song word for word so damn loud it was crazy. This did start as a normal tag but it started off so chaotic that Nick Aldis came out, spoke a little French and made it a street fight. Great decision. This was a chaotic action packed brawl wherever the wrestlers could access, really selling the hatred between these 4. Orton and Owens beat the hell out of them for the first half, a real initiation to WWE for Tama Tonga, being splashed through a table. Sikoa Samoan drops Orton through a table and begins to turn the tide. Commentary do a great job bigging up Tama as a veteran of wrestling with a lot of success. Solo is always directing Tama which is good storytelling. Owens drops Tama with a top rope brainbsuter through 4 chairs! 1-2-no! It is Tanga Loa! The brother Tama! Solo drops Owens with the Samoan Spike to win.

Awesome match, WWE have debuted the original Guerrillas of Destiny brilliantly and we have a new era of the Bloodline now. This was so much fun. AEW, watch and take notes on how to debut and introduce new stars and maybe Okada can draw the ratings he should be.

Bayley (c) defeats Naomi & Tiffany Stratton, Women's Championship- ***3/4

This has been a solid build with Stratton inserting herself into the picture by interrupting Naomi's match with Bayley. It is indeed Tiffy time, I see her being a shout for Money in the Bank winner. The crowd were hype for the Naomi entrance. Bayley is wearing the tassles on the jacket again, though a lot more grown up than the ones she wore during her first face run. Whilst this was a predictable outcome, it was an amazing contest and they made the most out of the time they were given. Great chemistry and it didn't fall into to trap a lot of triple threat matches and be a series of mini singles matches. All 3 worked hard, but Stratton was the absolute star in this one. Naomi and Bayley hitting a 3-D to Tiffy was cool. Bayley wins quite suddenly using her veteran skills to reverse a pin from Naomi into one of her own. I'm happy with that, Tiffy can claim she never lost for a rematch.

-Jey Uso is warming up as the Bloodline walk past. OMG I want to see The Uso's vs the GOD so badly. I smell Bloodline Civil War come Survivor Series.

Damian Priest (c) defeats Jey Uso, World Heavyweight Championship- ***1/2

The Judgement Day is in a new story too with Rhea out injured, Priest has asserted himself officially as the leader of the faction. He doesn't want the faction getting involved with his match, he is going to prove he can beat him on his own. Jey Uso got such a hype entrance thanks to the crowd being so over for him, he comes out through the crowd and they go wild. Well over 10K people all yeeting and bouncing for him. It was an absolute spectacle. No surprise people received decibel warnings due to the crowd noise. Priest has some Bam Bam Bigelow inspired attire which is cool. Whilst this wasn't as action-packed as the first 2 matches, it told a good story of Priest wanting to prove he deserves to be world champion, whilst Uso tries to do the same. They kept it simple, not every match has to be 100 mph work rate and nor should it. The crowd erupted after a great near fall and Priest became more vicious. Uso uses his kicks and a splash to have the match won until another case of Judgement Day interference. Uso wipes the faction, but receives the South of Heaven chokeslam from the top rope. Post-match, Balor and McDonagh attack Jey but Priest very quickly threatens them to stop. Very good booking, I foresee a Priest face turn and a singles feud with Balor over the title down the line. I thought this match was great, a nice way to keep the momentum going through the show.

Jade Cargill & Bianca Belair defeat Kabuki Warriors (c), Women's Tag Championships- ***1/2

I know people are gonna jump on Jade Cargill for this match, but remember she has only been a wrestler for 3 years and for 2 of those years she primarly wrestled squash matches. This is the longest match I think she has been in. In WWE, she is definitely going to improve a lot and she already has, being paired with Bianca is a great way to develop that. That being said, I should mention the awkward botch that derailed the match a little. It's not even her fault, Kairi forgot she was not the legal person and I think it rattled Jade and knocked her off her game. For a couple minutes after she was a little lost and sloppy, but I don't think it hurt the match that much. Outside of that though, this was really great, the best we have ever seen Jade. The good stuff that Cargill did looked brilliant, she really feels like a superhero. Her springboard was clean and her hot tag was awesome. Kairi and Asuka worked their asses off, bumping like maniacs to put over their opponents. They really are two of the greatest wrestlers on the planet. Some great sequences and moves here, especially that reversal from Jade into the Jaded looked SICK. Great match, wrestling fans need to stop being haters. Jade has IT, she is just still finding it.

-hype for the upcoming King & Queen of the Ring tournaments. I love a good tournament. We're getting Gunther vs Sheamus again! On a bloody Raw! Awesome.

Cody Rhodes (c) defeats AJ Styles, Undisputed WWE Championship- ****3/4

Cody said that his dream opponent was AJ Styles. Styles ended up winning a tournament to earn himself this match and he looks in the best shape of his career. A blockbuster first time ever match, seemingly with little story yet the video package does an amazing job at telling both men's stories over the past decades. Like with every other match, the crowd noise for entrances and beyond was electric. Props to Jessica Carr, the first female referee for a WWE championship main event. Two former Bullet Club leaders going face to face was mentioned by Michael Cole. Of course, this was another predictable finish, but that doesn't change how amazing this was. I think people have been sleeping on Styles for a little while, forgetting that he is still one of the best of all time. Perfectly paced and perfectly wrestled. Styles even dropped Cody with a Kenta Kobashi quality Burning Hammer and only got a one! One of the most dangerous moves in wrestling that we never see in WWE. This was a classic, an amazing first title defence and absolutely lived up to the expectations.

Overall, this show has earned a place on my shortlist for best show of the year. A digestible 5 match card with every match ranging from great to near-perfect. Sure it was a predictable one, but that was counteracted by a stellar set of matches and one of the best crowds in WWE history.

Thanks for reading, I don't have a review scheduled now until the end of the month for WWE and AEW shows. If there is anything worth reviewing in-between then I'll give it a looksie. Until next time, see ya!


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