By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WWE WrestleMania Backlash
Aired live on May 8, 2022 on Peacock and pay-per-view
Providence, Rhode Island at Dunkin’ Donuts Center
Kickoff Show Notes: There was not a match on the pre-show. Kayla Braxton hosted the show and was joined by the panel of JBL, Booker T, Kevin Patrick, and Peter Rosenberg. MVP and Madcap Moss joined the panel briefly. Paul Heyman and the Usos were interviewed backstage. The highlight of the show as Heyman saying that Drew McIntyre needs psychotherapy for naming a sword after his own mother.
WrestleMania Backlash Main Show
A video package opened the main show… Jimmy Smith welcomed viewers to the show. He was joined on commentary by his usual Raw broadcast partners Corey Graves and Byron Saxton. They set up a video package for the opening match involving Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins… Ring announcer Mike Rome stood in the ring and introduced Rollins followed by Rhodes…
1. Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins. There were loud “Cody” chants before the bell. Cody went for the early uppercut from his back, but Rollins blocked it. Rollins taunted Rhodes over it. Cody backed Rollins into the corner and gave him a clean break. Rollins spun him around and then kicked him rather than give Rhodes a clean break.
Rollins taunted Cody with an early slap, which led to Rhodes firing up and throwing punches at him. Rollins took offensive control briefly, but they ended up at ringside where Cody slammed Rollins’ head onto the ring steps. Cody charged at Rollins, who turned him inside out with a clothesline. Rollins rolled Cody back inside the ring and covered him for a one count.
Cody connected with the uppercut from his back a short time later. He picked up Rollins in suplex position and dropped him face first. Cody executed a Disaster Kick and covered Rollins for a two count. Cody set up or another springboard move moments later, but this time Rollins shoved him over the top rope to the floor. Rollins went to ringside and ran Cody into the barricade and then slammed his head off the broadcast table.
Back inside the ring, Rollins remained on the offensive until Cody came back with some punches. Cody went for a sunset flip in the corner. Rollins grabbed the ropes and sat down on Cody, who kicked out at two. Both men ended up on the ropes. Cody powered up Rollins for a nice superplex. Both men stayed down for a brief time.
Cody and Rollins got to their feet and traded chops, punches, and slaps, which got a rise out of the crowd. Cody knocked Rollins down with a shoulder block and followed up with a power slam. Cody clotheslined Rollins over the top rope to the floor. Cody ran up the ropes and dove at Rollins, who avoided him and returned to the ring. Rollins set up for a suicide dive, but Cody hit him from the floor.
Cody hit the Cody Cutter (springboard into a cutter) for a near fall. Rollins set up for a Pedigree, but Cody slipped between his legs. Rollins hit him with a knee strike and followed with a superkick, which led to a two count. Rollins played to the crowd and then went for a Stomp, which Cody avoided. Cody went for CrossRhodes, which Rollins avoided.
Cody went for a top rope move, but Rollins kicked him on the way down. Rollins went for a Pedigree, which Cody stuffed. Cody went for the same move, but Rollins stuffed it. Rollins performed a falcon arrow for a near fall. Both men stayed down and a “this is awesome” chant broke out briefly.
Rollins got to his feet first. Cody caught him with a kick and went for a springboard move, but Rollins caught him and tossed him into the corner. Rollins performed a top rope frog splash for a near fall. Rollins went up top again and went for the Phoenix Splash, which Cody avoided. Rollins landed on his feet, but Cody put him down with a superkick.
Cody went up top and was cut off by Rollins, who superplexed him. Rollins rolled through it to go for another, but Cody countered into a CossRhodes and then hooked Rollins’ leg for the pin, but when he hooked the leg, it caused Rollins’ foot to end up over the bottom rope, which broke the pin.
Cody roughed up Rollins and then went for a top rope moonsault, which Rollins avoided. Rollins put Cody down with a Pedigree and covered him, but Cody kicked out. Rollins showed frustration and jawed at Cody while kicking his face several times. Once Cody was back on his feet, Rollins threw several jabs at him.
Rollins set up for the flip flop and fly, but Cody countered out of it and into a CrossRhodes attempt, which Rollins avoided. Moments later, Rollins shoved Cody into the ropes and then rolled him up and held the tights, but Cody rolled through and held the tights while getting a three count. The broadcast team played it up as turnabout being fair play.
Cody Rhodes defeated Seth Rollins in 20:45.
After the match, Rollins argued with the referee. Cody went to the stage and played to the crowd while Rollins seethed in the ring…
Powell’s POV: A hot show opening match. The WrestleMania match had more emotion due to that show marking Cody’s return to WWE, but this was actually the better of the two matches. It will be interesting to see if this is leading to a Hell in a Cell match at next month’s pay-per-view.
A Bobby Lashley video aired (likely while Peacock was running ads for its ad-tier subscribers)… The broadcast team narrated highlights of the Lashley vs. Omos feud, including MVP turning on Lashley to join Omos…
2. Omos (w/MVP) vs. Bobby Lashley. Smith, Graves, and Saxton remained on commentary for the Raw match. Lashley jumped out to a quick start, but MVP climbed onto the apron and distracted him. Omos took advantage of it by hitting Lashley with a big boot once he turned toward him.
Omos put one hand over Lashley’s forehead and another over his chin and made grunting noises until Lashley stood up and threw punches at him. Omos shoved Lashley by the head over the top rope to the floor. MVP taunted Lashley at ringside. Lashley returned to the ring.
Omos hoisted up Lashley over his shoulder and said, “He is too small.” Omos slammed Lashley and hit him with another big boot. MVP jawed at Lashley from the floor. Omos hoisted up Lashley again, but Lashley slipped away and went on the offensive. Lashley drove his shoulder into the midsection of Omos.
Lashley tied up Omos’s arms in the ropes and then threw punches at his head until the referee stepped in. Lashley went back to throwing punches. MVP tried to free Omos using his cane. Lashley went to ringside and grabbed MVP, but Omos grabbed Lashley by the head and pulled him back inside the ring.
Lashley quickly regained offensive control and applied the Hurt Lock. Omos dropped to his knees, then stood up and broke the hold by backing Lashley into a corner of the ring. Omos threw elbows at Lashley’s head. Omos charged at Lashley, who lifted his boots. Lashley drove his shoulder into Omos’s gut again.
Lashley tried and failed to suplex Omos, who then ran the ropes and was put down with a spinebuster. Lashley went for a spear, but Omos caught him with a knee. Omos ran Lashley through the ropes and into the ring post casing. MVP hit Lashley with his cane from the floor while Omos distracted the referee. Omos followed up with his finishing slam and scored the pin…
Omos defeated Bobby Lashley in 8:50.
Powell’s POV: While not in the same league as the opener, this was also better than the match that Omos and Lashley had at WrestleMania. Lashley did the heavy lifting and made this work. While Omos remains a work in progress, this was his best singles match. All of that said, I can’t say that it left me looking forward to a rubber match.
An ad aired for Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions, and an ad aired for the Hell in a Cell event that will be held on June 5 in Chicago… Highlights aired from the pre-show of Paul Heyman saying Drew McIntyre needs deep psychotherapy after naming his sword after his own mother… A video package recapped the Edge and AJ Styles feud…
3. Edge vs. AJ Styles. Damian Priest was barred from ringside per the stipulation of his loss to Edge on Raw. Smith, Graves, and Saxton called the match again. They played up the injured left shoulder of Styles. The wrestlers went right at one another with punches to start the match. Styles got the better of it and then dropkicked Edge, who rolled to the floor. Styles followed and ran Edge into the barricade and steps.
Styles rolled back inside the ring to break the count, then went back to ringside and slammed Edge’s face onto the broadcast table. Edge returned to the ring and rolled out the other side. Styles dropkicked him from the ring, then followed up with an Asai moonsault. Styles sent Edge back inside the ring and set up for his Phenomenal Forearm finisher, but Edge cut him off with a boot to the bad shoulder.
Edge ran Styles across the ring and he skidded onto the mat. Styles sold shoulder pain. Edge loosened one of the turnbuckle pads while the referee was watching Styles. Edge followed Styles to ringside and catapulted his shoulder into the ring post. Edge slammed Styles’ arm onto the steps, then rolled him back in the ring and followed him.
Edge wrenched the bad arm of Styles while driving him to the mat. Edge applied a shoulder lock. A short time later, Styles rallied with a Pele Kick. Edge ducked a clothesline and then both men collided when they went for cross body blocks. Styles got to his feet first and held his left arm at his side. Styles put Edge down with a couple of clotheslines and a sliding forearm.
Styles clotheslined Edge in the corner. Styles tried to hoist up Edge, but he released him while selling the shoulder. Styles put Edge down with a face first slam and covered him for a two count. Styles placed Edge on the top rope and joined him on the ropes. Edge knocked him down, but Styles fought back with punches and rejoined him on the ropes and then executed a huracanrana, which led to a two count.
Styles performed a Ushigoroshi and got another two count. Edge jabbed the throat of Styles and then went for a crossface that Styles avoided. Styles caught Edge in a Calf Crusher. Edge eventually reached the ropes to break the hold. A short time later, Styles dodged Edge going for a spear. Edge crashed into the exposed turnbuckle and was covered for a near fall.
Edge speared Styles and covered him for a near fall of his own. Edge went for another, but Styles caught him with a knee. Styles performed the Styles Clash and then covered Edge for another near fall. The broadcast team raved about Styles being able to perform the move with only one good arm.
Styles set up for a Phenomenal Forearm, then opted to go to the ropes instead. Damian Priest walked out and stood in the aisle while motioning that he technically wasn’t at ringside. Finn Balor ran out and attacked Priest. They fought in the ring and then at ringside. Meanwhile, a masked person shoved Styles off the top rope. Edge applied a crossface and then countered into a sleeper hold. The referee checked on Styles and determined that he was out.
Edge defeated AJ Styles in 16:25.
After the match, the masked person joined Edge inside the ring. Edge smiled as the masked person dropped to one knee in front of him. Edge motioned for the person to stand up. The masked person revealed herself to be Rhea Ripley. Edge and Ripley held up their arms while the Edge lighting was used…
Powell’s POV: This match was also a step up from the Edge vs. Styles match at WrestleMania. Even though it seemed pretty obvious that someone was going to interfere, it didn’t seem like they live crowd spent the match starting at the stage while waiting for the mystery person to arrive. I wasn’t a fan of Priest coming out given the stipulation, and I’m even less of a fan of him and Balor brawling into the ring. But I did enjoy the match and I like the idea of Ripley joining the Judgment Day faction.
A Bianca Belair video package aired and was followed by some advertising… Michael Cole and Pat McAfee checked in from ringside for the first time. Cole said it was time for the A-show. They set up a video package on the Smackdown Women’s Championship match…
4. Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey in an I Quit match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship. Ring announcer Samantha Irvin delivered in-ring introductions for the title match. Flair performed a wicked German suplex early in the match. They ended up at ringside where Flair ran Rousey into the barricade, then chopped her chest. Flair had the referee stick the mic in Rousey’s face to ask if she quit.
Rousey took control and grabbed the microphone, but Flair hit her with a big boot. The referee got the mic and asked Rousey, who did not quit. Flair pulled a kendo stick out from underneath the ring. Rousey took the weapon from her and chased Flair back inside the ring and out the other side. Flair ran up to the stage and went to the back. Flair returned with two kendo sticks.
Flair used her two kendo sticks to knock Rousey’s away. She hit Rousey with the sticks, but then Rousey blocked her second attempt and ended up taking them away. Rousey worked over Flair with the two sticks. Rousey had the referee ask Flair, who did not quit. Rousey continued to beat Flair with the sticks once they both returned to the ring.
Flair rolled back to the floor and Rousey followed. Flair grabbed a camera from a cameraman and threw it toward Rousey, who then hopped the barricade and fought with Flair in the crowd. Flair threw a drink in Rousey’s face and then ran her into the venue’s hockey boards.
Flair walked Rousey up the stairs and wedged her between a handrail. Flair performed a variation of the Camel Clutch with Rousey’s body stuck between the two pieces of the handrail, but Rousey did not give up. They returned to the main level where Rousey blocked a chair shot. Flair ran back to ringside and Rousey followed with the chair. Flair kicked the chair away and slammed Rousey’s face onto the broadcast table.
Flair performed a barricade bomb. Rousey declined to quit. Flair pie-faced her a couple times and jawed at her. Rousey got man and hit Flair. Rousey set up for Piper’s Pit, but Flair raked her eyes to avoid it and then ran Rousey into the ring post. Flair ran Rousey into the ring steps.
Flair went to the ropes and was cut off by Rousey. With Flair upside down with her legs over the top rope, Rousey applied an armbar. Flair said no repeatedly. Rousey eventually pulled Flair off the ropes and they both tumbled to the floor and remained down at ringside. Flair got a chair and hit Rousey with it. Rousey declined to quit.
Flair rolled the chair and then Rousey into the ring. Flair performed a Natural Selection onto the chair. Rousey declined to quit. Flair put Rousey in the Figure Eight. McAfee said Rousey has gone through multiple knee surgeries. Rousey said never, and then grabbed the chair and hit Flair with it to break the hold. Flair got up first and put Rousey down again.
Flair set up a chair and motioned for the referee. “Ronda, this is you last chance,” Flair said. “Happy Mother’s Day.” Rousey reached up and hooked Flair in an armbar through the chair. Flair declined to quit. “I was hoping you’d say that, bitch,” Rousey said. Rousey wrenched on the arm and then Flair gave up…
Ronda Rousey defeated Charlotte Flair in 16:35 in an I Quit match to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship.
Powell’s POV: This was another gritty fight between Rousey and Flair. It’s official, every WrestleMania rematch on this show was better than the WrestleMania match, at least in my opinion. Of course, this show lacks the pageantry of the biggest show of the year, but every rematch has delivered. Unfortunately, the live crowd seemed most concerned with chanting for tables that never came, but I’m sure they’ll get their wish in the main event.
An ad aired for the Money in the Bank event featuring Cody Rhodes promoting the event for Las Vegas, Nevada at Allegiant Stadium for the Saturday, July 2 show. Cody oddly stated that one man and one woman will compete for a chance to main event WrestleMania…
Powell’s POV: I could see Cody winning MITB and even holding off on cashing in until WrestleMania, but it did seem strange to make it seem as if the winners will automatically challenge for titles at WrestleMania. Has something changed? If we’re eventually going back to two men’s world championships, I suppose they could have the two MITB winners and the two Royal Rumble match winners all challenge for titles at WrestleMania, but it would be quite the change from what they normally do with MITB. For that matter, how do they decide who challenges for each title?
A video package aired on the Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin feud…
5. Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin. Cole and McAfee called the match. Corbin went on the offensive and dominated the first five minutes of the match. He did his usual run around the ring post spot and returned to the ring and clotheslined Moss before covering him for a near fall. Corbin played to the crowd and then dumped Moss and followed up with a senton splash for another near fall. The broadcast team made a big fuss over Corbin adding a new move to his repertoire.
Moss came back and used a shoulder block to send Corbin to ringside. Moss followed and ran Corbin into the ring post. Moss played to the crowd and got a tame response. Back in the ring, Corbin stuffed a shoulder block by hitting Moss with a knee to the head. Moss came right back with a fallaway slam for a near fall. Corbin stuffed Moss’s finisher and slammed him to the mat and covered him for a two count.
A short time later, Corbin hit the Deep Six for a close near fall. Corbin did his run around the ring post spot again, but this time Moss avoided it. Moss ended up using a sunset flip on Corbin and got the pin…
Madcap Moss beat Happy Corbin in 9:50.
Powell’s POV: I’d love to know how the same match would have been received had it featured Baron Corbin vs. Riddick Moss minus these awful gimmicks and ridiculous attire. There were some who cheered the finish, but there seemed to be even more sitting on their hands. If they wanted to bring the crowd down for the main event, then mission accomplished.
A Drew McIntyre video package aired…The Hell in a Cell event ad aired again… Kayla Braxton announced that Charlotte has suffered “a fracture of the radius” from Rousey’s finisher…
The broadcast team spoke at ringside and recapped Rousey’s win, then a video package set up the main event. Entrances for the main event took place with the babyfaces out first. Animated grasshoppers appeared when Riddle kicked off his flip flops…
6. Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and Smackdown Tag Team Champions Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso (w/Paul Heyman) vs. Drew McIntyre and Raw Tag Team Champions “RK-Bro” Randy Orton and Riddle in a six-man tag match. Cole, McAfee, and Graves called the main event. Cole said NBA legend Charles Barkley acknowledging Reigns earlier in the week. Orton and Jimmy started the match for their respective teams. There was a loud “Randy” chant. Orton teased grabbing McIntyres sword from its ring post holder, but then locked up with Jimmy.
Riddle and McIntyre tagged in quickly and took turns working over Jimmy. McIntyre powered up Jimmy and suplexed him. Jimmy ended up in his corner. McIntyre pointed at Reigns. Heyman asked what was left to prove. Reigns held his hand out and tagged in while Heyman pleaded with him from ringside. Reigns circled the ring and then tagged in Jey without making contact with McIntyre. Reigns barked at the booing fans that he calls the shots because he’s the Head of the Table.
A short time later, Riddle was isolated by the heel trio. Reigns tagged in for the first time and worked over Riddle. Reigns tagged in Jey, who continued to get the better of Riddle and then superkicked Orton off the apron. Jey played to the crowd for a bit and then charged Riddle, who cut him off with a flying knee. Reigns tagged in and then Riddle made the hot tag to Reigns while Orton and Jimmy were both down at ringside.
Reigns and McIntyre jawed at one another as they met in the middle of the ring. They traded punches with McIntyre getting the better of it until Reigns threw a knee to his gut. McIntyre came right back with a couple of clotheslines, a suplex, and a neckbreaker. One of the Usos ran in and was also put down with a neckbreaker. McIntyre kipped up and set up for his finisher, but he opted to punch Jey off the apron. Reigns took advantage of the distraction by hitting McIntyre with a Superman Punch.
Reigns worked over McIntyre and then stopped and got his title belts from Heyman. Reigns held up the titles and handed them back to Heyman. Reigns knocked Riddle off the apron with an uppercut punch. When Reigns turned around, McIntyre blasted him with a Claymore Kick. Orton fired up the crowd and took a hot tag and ended up working over Jimmy, who had tagged in, and Jey. Orton put Jimmy down with a Draping DDT.
Orton struck the Viper’s Pose. Jey ran in, but Orton tossed him to ringside. Reigns charged at Orton, who dropped him with an RKO. Jimmy superkicked Orton, who then dropped him with an RKO. Orton had the pin, but Jey broke it up. A short time later, Jey dragged Jimmy to his corner and tagged in, then Riddle also tagged in for his team. Riddle worked over Jey with his signature offense and dumped him with a suplex. Riddle went up top and hit the Floating Bro, which led to a near fall.
Riddle struck the Viper’s Pose and went for an RKO, but Jey rolled him into a pin for a two count. Jey followed up with a popup neckbreaker and covered Riddle, but Orton returned to break it up. Jimmy returned to the ring and ended up being dumped to ringside where Orton roughed him up. Reigns leapt off the ring steps and blasted Orton with a Superman Punch. McIntyre ran Reigns into the ring steps. McIntyre cleared the broadcast table and set up for a powerbomb, but Jimmy distracted him. Reigns uranage slammed McIntyre through the table.
Jey and Riddle ended up in the ring together and Jey got the better of the exchange with a superkick. Jey went up top, but Riddle ran up and pulled him down with an RKO. Reigns tagged the leg of Jey as he was being RKO’d. Reigns speared Riddle and then pinned him…
“The Bloodline” Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso defeated Drew McIntyre and “RK-Bro” Randy Orton and Riddle in 22:20 in a six-man tag match.
Powell’s POV: This felt like an opportunity to have Reigns take a rare pinfall loss to set up McIntyre as his top challenger. They may still go there or perhaps they want to save that match for Labor Day weekend when they run the stadium show in Cardiff, Wales. Either way, it was an action packed main event with really good work from everyone involved.
Overall, the build to the rematch heavy show felt largely phoned in, but the wrestlers stepped up and made this an enjoyable event. Let me know what you thought of the show by voting for the best match and grading the overall show below. Jake Barnett and I will team up shortly for our same night WrestleMania Backlash audio review, which will be available exclusively for Dot Net Members (including our Patreon patrons).
Pro Wrestling Boom Live returns Monday at 1CT/2ET with “Survivor” Hall of Famer Jonny Fairplay and I taking your pro wrestling calls at PWAudio.net.