WWE Backlash 2024 Recap, Tony Khan-NFL Network & more musing

Its been a wild two weeks and instead of doing a column on every single thing that has happened, figured I would just combine everything into one blog.

You can call me lazy but there is so much to cover and so little time to write the columns, do my interviews and handle life. So sue me for all I care as I delve into this and much more.

Tanga Loa is the third man for Solo Sikoa’s group and that is awesome

The biggest question going forward with the Bloodline has been how to make each group strong without an imbalance. Roman Reigns is out of action (Shooting a movie which is a sign of things to come), Jimmy Uso has been written off TV and so its fallen to Solo Sikoa to be the big star.

So far its working and you can also thank Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa for adding a new layer.

Tanga Loa made his long awaited return to the WWE at Backlash, aiding Tama and Solo in their win over Kevin Owens and Randy Orton. The Guerilla’s of Destiny have long been considered one of the best tag teams in the world and staple’s of The Bullet Club, with Tama being a founder.

For Tanga, its has been a long road back as he originally debuted as Camacho and paired with Hunico. After cutting his teeth and flourishing in New Japan, the return must be sweeter for him.

For one, they are one of the best tag team in professional wrestling in every way possible. They are big, fast, athletic and unlike other past members of The Elite, understand how to get over no matter where they go. Already WWE is leaning heavily into their history by bringing up Guerilla’s of Destiny, being sons of Haku and from New Japan.

Already the battle lines are being formed for the eventual Bloodline Civil War.

The Rock’s behind the scenes antics and the truth behind all of it.

In the last week Dwayne Johnson has had more accusations of bad behavior charged against him than anyone west of Donald Trump or Joe Biden. From charges of being late 6-8 hours on set, peeing in water bottles, enabling family members to run his movie company who are not qualified to everything else short of punting baby seals.

As usual there is more to this story than meets the eye and I am here to explain.

First some of what people are saying about Rock is true; he has had a history of being late to set, of flexing his political muscle and has some diva tendencies to him.

In other news water is wet and Hollywood is full of people like this. I rarely disagree with Mr. Tito but when he said that nobody would hire Dwayne if he was pulling this behavior, he is dead wrong and history has proven it.

Just google Alex Baldwin, Val Kilmer, Marlon Brando, Julia Roberts and Bill Murray for examples of pain in the ass actors. As long as you make money, bad behavior will not only be tolerated but rewarded in the land of tv and film production.

But the timing is the ironic part as all of this starting coming out right after The Rock spoke out against voting for Joe Biden.

On FOX News of all places mind you.

Hollywood is run by liberals and alot of the power brokers are not just huge Democrat voters but also donate to Democrats. So Rock going on FOX News and just saying that he won’t vote for Biden was an act of war in Hollywood.

Meanwhile, TKO Sports is more than willing to put up with the occasional diva demand or attitude from The Rock. He did big business for WWE leading up towards WrestleMania and at the event. Plus he also gives them a topic to use when they want people to not talk about Vince McMahon and his shenanigans.

So while The Rock being late and being at times a pain in the ass. sounds bad, in Hollywood its just par for the course.

France was wild and raucous and a sign of WWE’s future going forward.

Over the last decade, every sports league in America has had eyes on expanding the market overseas. With the American market tapped to its full potential, every league from the NFL to NBA to MLB is looking for extra cash. Its why the NFL will be having a game this year in Brazil of all places and why the NHL is allowing their players to play in the Olympic Winter Games in China.

Now that TKO Sports is in full control of the WWE, we can expect not just more European tours but also more PLE’s in Europe and Southeast Asia. Backlash in Franch had the crowd celebrating and hot from the opening match and drew big business for WWE.

Expect more and more PLE’s and big tent pole events in the coming years.

Already this year will feature PLE’s in Saudi Arabia, Germany, France, Scotland and Canada. Infact the only PLE so far in the United States is SummerSlam which will be held Cleveland Browns Stadium.

Welcome to the Global WWE and get used to it as both the UFC and WWE are being targeted towards an international crowd. It allows them to get more money, increase their exposure and eventually have their own leagues/divisions in overseas markets.

Several years ago WWE tried to do NXT UK and planned for NXT Mexico and Japan but Covid put a crimp in all of those plans. Now with TKO Sports backing them and wanting to be a global company, expect WWE to go back to that well and make it happen by any means nescessary.

Making sense of the Cody Rhodes debate.

The hottest debate right now is that either Cody Rhodes is a true main event star or if he is a mid-carder who now that the story is over is going to cool the WWE off.

I wrote about this earlier but the truth is that right now WWE has put Cody in a tough spot for the immediate future.

Cody Rhodes right now is the biggest active star in the WWE and is over like rover with the crowds. The trouble is that he finished the story at sort of the worst time possible regarding the roster.

Look at the main event roster and you can see how many stars are either out with injuries or for “sabbatical” purposes. CM Punk, Roman Reigns, Drew McIntyre, Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar and The Rock are all unavailable. And with no big name feuds to put Cody in with until SummerSlam, WWE is going to have to get creative.

For now they can lead into some of their younger stars like Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, Creed Brothers and Gunther to develop into stars.

Unfortunately for Cody, its going to be a challenge for him to get main event caliber opponents. The recent Draft didn’t help him as his list of potential opponents are slim to none. WWE is not going to put Cody in with LA Knights as they have plans for him to be the #2 babyface and don’t want to ruin that.

The rest of the top male talent on Smackdown is either guys Cody has already feuded with (Nakamura, AJ Styles) are tied up with long term plans (Solo, Guerillas, Owens, Orton) or need to be heated up (Andrade, Lashley). You can argue its not fair for Cody but that is the life of being the face of the WWE.

Tony Khan continues to put his foot in his mouth and shoot AEW in the foot.

Just when people thought that Tony Khan MIGHT have something of a hot angle, he continued to ruin it by opening his mouth. This time he went on the NFL Network to talk about the draft and compared AEW to Pepsi, that they were the most popular sports startup since the AFL and compared WWE to Harvey Weinstein.

If anything Tony continues to make Dixie Carter look like a genius with every growing day.

Lets start off with the startup comment as both the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Major League Soccer are MILES bigger than AEW. And considering Tony is involved in the world of soccer, he would know that for a fact. But never let truth get in the way of Tony’s bullshit which leads to the second part of his statement.

Painting WWE as a whole in the same light as Harvey Weinstein shows how tone death and stupid that comment is. Hell the NFL Network studio hosts couldn’t get away from that segment any faster after he muttered those words.

Vince McMahon is a creep and all the trouble he has caused is on record but the new owners of the WWE are not. Plus these are the same guys who have a huge business deal with the NFL in their licensing deal. Anyone who knows the NFL, understands that they don’t want to jeopardize any money deals if they can help it.

At some point with all of this nonsense from Tony, you have to wonder if several NFL owners pressure Shad Khan to reign him in. This is a league that prides itself on positive PR and image and Tony keeps making them look bad by association. AEW continues to have no momentum, low ratings and a general feeling that things are getting worse and it all is because of Tony’s continuing to say stupid and offensive things

A strong and sensible business man would have hired a PR firm or a media manager to handle the Twitter and media appearances. But Tony continues to ignore the calls to do so and once again showed on the NFL Network, why he should not be on TV at all as he continues to put his foot in his mouth

Jade Cargill puts WWE in a tight spot with her Backlash performance.

We all knew that when Jade came to the WWE, she was going to need more seasoning in terms of her ring work. The look, the personality and the charisma is there in spades but this Saturday’s match exposed some of the flaws of her wrestling.

Watching her in the ring reminds of former WCW star Steve McMichael in a sense of just how green she is. Go back to her AEW matches and they never had her do anything out of the basic speed. Which is great for starters but eventually you have to be able to be fluid and make things happen quickly.

I am willing to chalk it up to the fact that it was with Auska and Kairi Sane who are smaller, extremely fast and a bit dynamic. Maybe it was even an off night but the growing problem is that it is probably more.

Alot of people from Mr. Tito to Duke Loves Rasslin have stated that AEW did a bad job training and preparing her. In a perfect world, WWE could have sent her for extended time in NXT and let her develop.

But with the deal that they signed her to, and the expectations fans and WWE have for her, it’s going to be a trial by fire with the hope she picks things up quickly.

For everyone’s sake it has to be sooner rather than later.

Paul Levesque having the best week of all combat sports promoters.

If you follow the world of boxing, MMA and pro wrestling, you realize most of the promoters in the industry are either immature, at times incompetent or straight up crooks.

Check out the Canelo Alvarez vs. Jaime Munguia where Golden Boy Promotions promoter Oscar De La Hoya got into it with Canelo. After calling out Canelo for drug tests and telling him to respect him, he then threatened a slander suit when Canelo accused Oscar of stealing from his fighters.

Between him, Tony Khan, Bob Arum’s tantrums and Dana White’s antics, Levesque comes across as gentlemanly.

Alot of us at NoDQ.com (me and Mr. Tito especially) have often poked fun at his booking and his past actions but it’s time to recognize the good work he has done.

In the last few years, the former WWE champion and Hall of Famer has turned into an excellent booker and promoter. He has been able to help lead WWE to huge business, domestic and international. He has helped create positive relationships with TNA, Pro Noah and GCW to the point of even doing business with them.

While a lot of people thought at one point, WWE would collapse with the end of the Vince McMahon era, Levesque has not just picked up the ball and ran with it but helped guide the company through a tumultuous time and into a fruitful period for the foreseeable future.

It’s time to give the man his flowers and acknowledge.

To listen to more Fighters/Boxers/Sports Reporters interviews and more check out www.lastcallpodcast.com or follow me on Twitter.com/LastCallwChrisC.