WWE WrestleMania Backlash results: Powell’s live review of Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro for the WWE Universal Championship, Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman for the WWE Championship, Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair for the Raw Women’s Championship, Bianca Belair vs. Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Championship

By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)

WWE WrestleMania Backlash
Aired live on May 16, 2021 on Peacock and pay-per-view
Tampa, Florida at Yuengling Center

Kickoff Show result: U.S. Champion Sheamus defeated Ricochet in 7:10 in a non-title match.

Batista narrated the opening video. His movie Army of the Dead is the official sponsor for the pay-per-view. The video included clips of the WWE wrestlers and the film…

Pyro shot off on the stage and around the arena. The Raw broadcast team of Adnan Virk, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton checked in from ringside and hyped five title matches and a lumberjack match… They set up a video package on the Raw Women’s Championship match…

1. Rhea Ripley vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Asuka in a Triple Threat for the Raw Women’s Championship. Virk, Graves, and Saxton called the match. Mike Rome was the ring announcer. The virtual fans cheered for Ripley, while it sounded like the production team oped for the boo track.

Ripley and Asuka argued early in the match after Ripley rolled up Flair for a two count. Flair was cleared to ringside and then Asuka got the better of Ripley until Flair pulled Asuka to the floor and performed a fallaway slam. Flair and Ripley jawed at one another inside the ring and took turns going for shoulder blocks, but Flair threw a knee at Ripley and then put the boots to her.

Asuka eventually returned and caught Flair in an armbar. Ripley returned and stomped Asuka to break the hold. Flair worked over Asuka with chops, then Ripley clotheslined Flair twice and clotheslined her before dropkicking Asuka. Ripley hit Flair with knees to the head and then dropkicked her once she was down on the mat. Ripley suplexed Flair and bridged, but Asuka broke up the pin.

Asuka got the better of both opponents for a stretch. She threw kicks at both wrestlers while they were down. Asuka threw a knee strike at Flair and covered her for a two count. Asuka went up top and performed a missile dropkick on Ripley, who went to the floor. Asuka kicked Ripley from the apron. Flair knocked Asuka to the floor. Flair performed her moonsault onto both women at ringside.

Flair rolled Asuka back inside the ring and went up top, but Ripley cut her off and tried to superplex her, but Flair blocked it. Asuka joined Ripley on the second rope and helped her perform a double superplex. Once they stood up, Ripley hit both opponents with headbutts.

Asuka and Ripley teamed up for a double suplex attempt, but Flair slipped out and hit a double chop block. Flair followed up with a double Natural Selection and covered both women for a two count. Flair went for a moonsault, but Asuka landed and Flair landed on her feet. Asuka took out Flair. Ripley went for her finisher on Asuka, who countered into an Asuka Lock attempt that Ripley avoided.

Flair returned and too out Ripley with a kick. Asuka tagged Flair with a kick to the head and then hit a spin kick on Ripley. Flair ended up on the apron. Asuka charged her and ate a big boot. Ripley hit her Riptide finisher on Asuka and then pinned her clean while Flair watched from the floor.

Rhea Ripley defeated Asuka and Charlotte Flair in 15:22 in a Triple Threat to retain the Raw Women’s Championship.

After the match, Ripley stood on the ropes and taunted Flair, who pointed at her…

Powell’s POV: A strong match to open the show. They spent some time early on with two women in the ring while one sold at ringside, but they ended up spending a lot of time with all three women working together. With Ripley beating Asuka on Raw and then pinning her again to win this match, it looks like Asuka will be out of the title picture. On a side note, Virk didn’t bring a lot of energy to the match with his play-by-play.

After some advertising, footage aired of Bobby Lashley and MVP arriving at the building earlier in the day. Footage aired from Raw of Braun Strowman attacking Lashley and Drew McIntyre…

Backstage, The Miz complained to John Morrison about being in a lumberjack match and asked if Damian Priest really thought he would run from him. Morrison pointed out that Miz ran away from Priest on Monday. Miz recalled Morrison losing to Priest, which allowed Priest to choose the stipulation. Morrison said he would talk to the lumberjacks on behalf of Miz. Morrison also misused “thirst trap” and was called out on it by Miz…

Michael Cole and Pat McAfee checked in on commentary and set up footage from the Kickoff Show of Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode attacking Dominik Mysterio and dumping what appeared to be a couch on top of him…

Dominik and Rey Mysterio were in the trainer’s room. Dom sold a rib injury and wanted to wrestle, but Rey told him that he had it without him… Entrances for the tag title match took place. Rey came out alone…

2. Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode vs. Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio for the Smackdown Tag Titles. Cole and McAfee called the match, and Greg Hamilton was the ring announcer. Rey started the match by himself with Dom remaining backstage. Rey got off to a quick start, but Roode cut him off with a big clothesline.

Rey was eventually hung up in the tree of woe. Roode kicked him several times and then Rey fell back to the mat. Roode targeted the left knee of Mysterio. Roode sent Rey sliding under the bottom rope to the floor where Ziggler hit him with a superkick. Cool spot. Rey barely beat the referee’s count. Rey performed a double DDT on the champions.

Dominik walked to ringside selling his ribs and took his spot on the apron. Dom called for a tag. Ziggler hit the Zigzag on Rey for a good near fall. Roode tagged in and used a gutbuster on Rey to get a near fall. Roode put Rey on his shoulders on the ropes. Rey fought free and bulldogged Roode.

Rey hesitated make the tag out of concern for his son, but he eventually ended up in his corner and Dom tagged himself in. Roode performed a spinebuster on Dom. The champions hit an assisted neckbreaker move on Dom, which led to Ziggler covering him for a near fall.

Roode taunted Dom by telling him that he should have stayed down and didn’t belong. Dom caught Ziggler with a kick. Both men tagged out. Roode performed a backbreaker on Rey for another near fall. Rey rallied and hit a 619 on Roode, then walked over and tagged Dom. Rey took out Zigger at ringside. Dom performed a top rope frogsplash on Roode and pinned him…

Rey Mysterio and Dominik Mysterio defeated Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode in 17:00 to win the Smackdown Tag Titles.

After the match, Kayla Braxton entered the ring and spoke briefly with Rey and Dom. They spoke about being proud to win the titles together…

Powell’s POV: An enjoyable match with the heels getting heat while the babyfaces showed great heart. It’s a cool moment that Rey and Dom became the first ever father and son tag team champions, but it also felt rushed. They really could have gotten more out of this by extending the feud and building toward the Mysterios winning the titles. Again, though, it was an entertaining match and a nice moment.

Another video package aired with WWE highlights mixed with clips from Army of the Dead

John Morrison entered a room that actually had a “WrestleMania Backlash Lumberjacks” nameplate. He opened the door and found a bunch of zombies, the left the door open and they all started to leave the room…

Jimmy Uso was shown walking backstage and entering Roman Reigns’s dressing room. Jimmy found Jey Uso in the room rather than Reigns. Jimmy said Jey’s name should also be on the door. Jimmy spoke about how they should be going for the tag titles rather than Jey carrying Roman’s bags around. Roman Reigns showed up. Jimmy said he just wanted to say good luck and then left the room…

Morrison told Miz that the lumberjacks are zombies. Miz asked if this was one of Morrison’s weird motivational tactics. He said it was all in his head. After they walked away, the zombies arrived…

The Raw broadcast team spoke at ringside. Graves said he couldn’t believe it. Virk read a Batista tweet that said he was sorry he couldn’t make the show, but some of his friends would be there…

3. Damian Priest vs. The Miz (w/John Morrison) in a lumberjack match. Virk, Graves, and Saxton called the match. The zombie lumberjacks came out. Miz and Morrison tried to leave, but they ended up being cornered. The broadcast team took off their headsets and ran away. The ThunderDome fans were replaced by images of buildings, presumably from the movie.

The broadcast team checked in again and said they were in a different location. Graves made the obvious joke about how they weren’t launching ECW again. Miz ended up being tossed to ringside. He quickly went under the ring and emerged from a different part of the ring and then rushed back inside where Priest dominated him.

Miz eventually caught Priest going for a kick and then countered into a figure four. Both men ended up at ringside moments later. They both decided to fight the zombies rather than each other. The biggest zombie shoved another zombie aside to confront Priest, who then got the better of him.

Priest and Miz returned to the ring. Miz offered a high five, but Priest hit him with a Broken Arrow instead for a near fall. Morrison returned to ringside and ended up kicking Priest. Miz hit Priest with a knee strike for a near fall. Morrison fought the zombies at ringside. He climbed onto the barricade, but two zombies bulled him behind it. In the ring, Priest delivered Hit The Lights on Miz and scored the pin…

Damian Priest beat The Miz in 7:00 in a lumberjack match.

Afterward, the Zombies all piled onto Miz while Priest went to ringside and shot his imaginary arrow, which triggered a graphic for the movie on one of the screens above the ring…

Powell’s POV: I enjoy pro wrestling. I enjoy zombie movies and television shows. But I don’t need zombies showing up on pro wrestling shows. This was beyond embarrassing for everyone involved. Based on his lack of emotion, my working theory that Adnan Virk was Patient Zero for this particular batch of zombies.

An ad aired for WWE Hell in a Cell on June 20 as the next pay-per-view. Yes, another Father’s Day pay-per-view…

Backstage, Jimmy Uso asked Jey Uso what he would do if Reigns lost the title. He said the name on the locker room door should read “Roman Reigns and his bitch”…

A video package set up the Smackdown Women’s Championship match…

4. Bianca Belair vs. Bayley for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Production pimped in EST chants when Belair was introduced. Cole and McAfee called the match. The wrestlers ended up at ringside where Bayley picked up Belair in suplex position and then dropped her on the ring steps. Bayley brought her back inside the ring and covered her for a two count.

A short time later, Bayley covered Belair, who kicked out, causing Bayley to fall through the ropes and into a camera. Bayley returned to the ring where Belair took offensive control. Belair performed a spinebuster for a near fall. Bayley came back and sent for a suicide dive, but Belair moved out of the way. Belair picked up Bayley and dropped her face first onto the apron, then rolled her inside the ring and covered her for a two count.

Bayley caught Belair in a backslide and used the ropes for leverage, yet only got a two count. She came right back with another pin attempt and held the ropes, but still couldn’t put Belair away. Bayley and Belair traded shots. Bayley raked the eyes of Belair while Cole claimed that her body shielded the referee from seeing it. Bayley hit her Bayley to Belly finisher for a good near fall.

Bayley showed frustration and hit the back of Belair’s head twice. Bayley grabbed Belair’s braid and tired to use it while performing her finisher, but Belair countered into a pin using the braid. She got the pin even though the braid slipped out…

Bianca Belair defeated Bayley in 16:05 to retain the Smackdown Women’s Championship.

Powell’s POV: It was tough to get into this match after the zombie insanity of the previous match. Let’s revisit the stupidity of this for a moment. It’s a zombie movie starring WWE legend Batista. Rather than have Batista make an appearance to promote his movie, they actually went with zombie lumberjacks. Anyway, Belair and Bayley delivered a good match despite having to follow zombies and with no reason to think that Bayley had a chance to win.

MVP was interviewed by Kevin Patrick in front of Bobby Lashley’s locker room door. MVP said Braun Strowman lacks the intellectual capacity to be WWE Champion. He said he’s not concerned about the match, but everyone knows that Lashley is at a disadvantage in a Triple Threat match…

Drew McIntyre was shown backstage and then a video package set up the WWE Championship match…

5. Bobby Lashley (w/MVP) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman in a Triple Threat for the WWE Championship. Virk, Graves, and Saxton called the match. Lashley and McIntyre ended up righting at ringside early. Strowman dove off the apron and performed a summersault while performing a double clothesline. Back inside the ring, Strowman chokeslammed Lashley and covered him for a near fall.

McIntyre returned to the ring and got the better of both men. McIntyre performed a cross body block onto Lashley. He followed with a Zigzag style move on Strowman and covered him, but Lashley broke up the pin. Lashley performed his one-armed spinebuster on Strowman for a near fall.

At ringside, Lashley picked up McIntyre on his shoulders and ran him into the post. Strowman grabbed a piece of the ring steps and hit Lashley with them twice. McIntyre blasted Strowman with a Claymore Kick that sent him over the barricade. McIntyre and Lashley fought their way to the stage. McIntyre slammed Lashley’s head into the LED boards, then threw him to the side of the stage where pyro went off when Lashley was out of the picture.

McIntyre looked for Lashley, but he wasn’t in the area. Strowman attacked McIntyre from behind and took him back to the ring. Strowman clubbed McIntyre’s chest and then performed a running senton splash for a near fall. McIntyre dodged a charging Strowman and then performed a falcon arrow for a near fall.

Strowman dumped McIntyre over the top rope to the floor and followed him. Strowman charged at McIntyre (minus the train sounds), but McIntyre caught him and suplexed him on the floor. McIntyre charged at Strowman, who caught him and powerbombed him through the broadcast table.

Strowman brought McIntyre back inside the ring went for his finisher, but McIntyre slipped away and took him out with a Claymore Kick. Lashley returned, cleared McIntyre from the ring, and then speared and pinned Strowman…

Bobby Lashley defeated Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre in a Triple Threat in 14:15 to retain the WWE Championship.

Powell’s POV: A well worked match that lacked suspense due to it feeling obvious that Lashley was going to retain. Everyone worked hard and I guess this gets them to the singles rematch between Lashley and McIntyre since they don’t seem to be building up any other contenders. I assume they will meet in a Hell in a Cell match next month as the blowoff to their feud, but nothing is official.

The WWE vaccination PSA aired… The Hell in a Cell ad aired again for the June 20 pay-per-view…

Cole and McAfee stood in front of the broken broadcast table and spoke briefly about the previous match and then hyped Hell in a Cell as being five weeks away… A video package set up the WWE Universal Championship match…

Cesaro made his entrance for the main event. Backstage, Roman Reigns, Jey Uso, and Paul Heyman stood on the Gorilla Position set. Jey tried to pump up Reigns, who said that Jey sounded like his brother and should go find him. Reigns and Heyman made their entrance…

6. Roman Reigns (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Cesaro for the WWE Universal Championship. Cole and McAfee called the match. Hamilton delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Reigns controlled the slow packed offense for several minutes and then Cesaro hit him with a Popup Uppercut around 9:30. Cesaro followed up with running uppercuts in various corners and then hit Reigns with a big boot and covered him for a two count.

Cesaro applied a Sharpshooter, but Reigns quickly grabbed the bottom rope. Reigns rolled to the floor. Cesaro performed a corkscrew dive over the top rope onto Reigns at ringside. Cesaro rolled Reigns back inside the ring, but Reigns rolled out the other side. Cesaro left the ring and hit Reigns with a running uppercut.

Back inside the ring, Cesaro performed a cross body block from the top rope for a near fall. Reigns came back by catching Cesaro with a kick while holding onto his arm. Cesaro fell to the floor. Reigns followed and kicked Cesaro into the ring post. Cesaro sold a shoulder injury. In the ring, Reigns covered Cesaro for a two count.

Reigns got cocky by smiling and jawing at Cesaro, who responded with forearms and then sold his bad arm again. Reigns looked into the camera and talked smack while wrenching Cesaro’s arm over his shoulder. Reigns clotheslined Cesaro and covered him for a two count.

Reigns talked more trash to Cesaro and told him to stay down as he punched him. Reigns threw several strikes and then worked over Cesaro with knees in the corner. Cesaro eventually came back and performed a superplex for a near fall. Cole gushed over Cesaro being the strongest man pound for pound in WWE.

Cesaro went for a Sharpshooter. Reigns blocked it. Cesaro responded by stomping on the abdomen of Reigns. Cesaro went for his Neutralizer finisher, but he sold his bad arm. Reigns applied a submission hold on the bad arm. Cesaro countered into a pin for a two count. Cesaro went for a spring board move, but Reigns dropped him with a Superman Punch and covered him for a near fall.

Reigns set up for a spear, but Cesaro hit him with an uppercut. Cesaro tried to follow with an popup move, but his shoulder gave out again. Reigns put him in a guillotine. Cesaro powered up Reigns and drove him into the mat to break the hold. Cesaro went for the Sharpshooter. Reigns tried to block it, but Cesaro punched him repeatedly and then applied the hold. Reigns tried to reach the ropes, but Cesaro rolled him into a crossface.

Reigns escaped the hold and threw several punches at Cesaro. Reigns powered up Cesaro and powerbombed him for a near fall. Reigns applied the guillotine again. Cesaro powered him up and slammed him to the mat to break it. Reigns hit Cesaro and reapplied the hold. Cesaro pulled the arm of Reigns away from his face to break the hold for a moment, then Reigns was able to reapply it. The referee called for the bell.

Roman Reigns defeated Cesaro in 27:35 to retain the WWE Universal Championship.

After the match, Cesaro came to and protested the referee’s decision. Jey Uso came out and presented Reigns with a lei. Jey superkicked Cesaro and then roughed him up. Jey went up top, but he was interrupted.

Seth Rollins made his entrance in one of his loud suits. Rollins entered the ring and went face to face with Reigns, then smiled and started laughing. Rollins walked past Reigns and attacked Cesaro. Rollins asked Cesaro what he thought was going to happen. There was a production hiccup for a moment, and then they cut back to ringside where Rollins worked over Cesaro with a chair.

Rollins wrapped Cesaro’s bad arm inside a chair and then backed him up against the ring post. Rollins yelled at Cesaro and then slammed the chair into the ring post. Reigns and his crew were no longer in the ring. Rollins put Cesaro down with a Stomp at ringside. Rollins entered the ring and mugged for the camera to close the show…

Powell’s POV: A terrific main event. They did a great job. There was no reason to think Cesaro would win, but I must admit that I didn’t expect him to lose clean either. I thought Jimmy Uso would reveal that he’s been in cahoots with Reigns so they could get more out of Reigns vs. Cesaro. No complaints, but it will be interesting to see what’s next for Reigns since he beat Cesaro without any help, and Cesaro is obviously back to feuding with Rollins.

Overall, a good night of wrestling aside from the zombie madness. The bigger matches had predictable outcomes, so that worked against the show to some extent. If you can get past the zombies (and I can’t blame you if you can’t), this was a good, wrestling heavy show. I will be teaming up with Jake Barnett and Will Pruett for our Dot Net Members’ exclusive audio review coming up shortly. Let us know what you thought of the show by grading it and voting for the best match below.

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Readers Comments (19)

  1. Charlotte is dressed as Cruella de Vil and Sonia Deville put her in the match… Am I reading too much into this?

    • I noticed that too. But then, I’m a nerd. Welcome to the club, friend!

      • I was raging thinking Sonia gonna help Charlotte win ANOTHER title start managing her I planned out 3 months of storyline before Rhea made her entrance

  2. Why in the hell did Charlotte kick Asuka and then just wait off the apron to let Ripley pin her nstead of breaking it up?

    • To get Asuka out of the way while claiming that Ripley can’t beat Charlotte 1-on-1, setting up the title defense for Ripley vs Flair.

      They didn’t do it well, but that’s what they’re doing most likely.

  3. Thanks Graves for making the ECW Zombie joke we all made at home

  4. “ Based on his lack of emotion, my working theory that Adnan Virk was Patient Zero for this particular batch of zombies.”

    This was hysterical. Jason, take the rest of the night off!! You earned it

  5. “Let’s revisit the stupidity of this for a moment. It’s a zombie movie starring WWE legend Batista. Rather than have Batista make an appearance to promote his movie, they actually went with zombie lumberjacks.”

    You’ve consistently and repeatedly praised the absolute shitshow that was the Stadium Stampede last year, that featured shit like a guy getting hit by a golf cart for 100 yards and a guy changing characters in an ice machine. This was bad, but it’s not remotely close to as bad as the AEW shit you praise.

    • Attention. You clearly crave it with that idiotic comment, so I hope you enjoyed it.

    • Ivan homeless May 16, 2021 @ 8:15 pm

      Thotless. You are a dweeb. Yr handle is nice and clever. Credit where it’s due.

    • Oh look, it’s Thotless and his consistent moaning about AEW. Knock that chip off of your shoulder and find a better hobby.

    • FKA “Write This Way”. Same moron. Different name.

    • With the Stadium Stampede, people were expecting a spectacle, and they got a spectacle. A highly entertaining spectacle.

      Tonight, people were expecting a basic lumberjack match. WWE did not reach those very basic expectations.

      You dick.

      • Bullshit is bullshit. If it’s in the confines of pro wrestling, and it’s bullshit, then it should be criticized.

        One company is currently allowed by dirt sheet writers to do bullshit and get away with it while the other isn’t. That’s not journalism or anything close to it, that’s people being shills.

        The zombie bullshit was stupid and business killing. The stadium stampede bullshit was stupid and business killing. As long as either is happening then the literal millions of lapsed pro wrestling fans will continue to stay away from this neckbeard gamer bullshit knockoff version of a business that worked for over a century without this garbage.

        It’s not too much to expect Meltzer, Keller, Powell, and others to hold all pro wrestling companies to the same standards instead of clearly singling out one of them for far more constant criticism.

        • I enjoyed something more than you did. Waaaa!!! I’ve said hundreds of times that I’m not a fan of cinematic matches. Naturally some are better than others. But leave it to you to play the “What about?” game when you see zombies show up on a WWE pay-per-view. Nothing short of me writing “Everything AEW has done and will ever do is terrible” would make you happy. Of course, you’d still watch every Dynamite and pay-per-view and write constantly about AEW because you are an obsessive AEW fanboy who just can’t admit it. Let go of the hate. You will be so much happier once you are finally honest with yourself.

  6. With the way Cesaro was treated during and after the main event, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that he has given his notice and plans on leaving the WWE. This was pretty much a one sided squash match and then he continued getting the shit kicked out of him after a match that absolutely no one expected him to have any chance of winning. Reigns is the heel version of the Hulk Hogan from the 1980’s (win all the fucking time till it gets beyond a point where you know he’s going to win and therefore there isn’t a reason to watch his matches.)

  7. I knew cesaro wasn’t going to win but why the fuck can’t the ref raise his arm 3 times like in the old days “to make sure he’s out” all of a sudden he taps his shoulder and the match fuckin ends wtf, 5 seconds earlier he was moving around.

  8. Patrick Peralta May 16, 2021 @ 10:09 pm

    ” I doubt it was embarrassing for everyone involved. all the Zombie stuff as for Batista Vince mostly changed his mind on bring him in to plug his movie.

    since there was a report of Batista critizeing WWE and thinking WWE is burying Asuka. Just a guess but maybe Vince changed his mind he’s never been fond of anyone talking bad about WWE.

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