By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
WrestleMania Backlash Hits
Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins: A very good match and another victory for Rhodes. As much as I enjoyed their WrestleMania match, this was actually the better of the two matches. It lacked the pageantry and historical significance of their WrestleMania encounter, but I felt it was the stronger of the two matches. Cody winning while holding the tights seems to suggest that we’ll get a third match. Will it take place inside the Hell in a Cell structure? If so, they really need to put some serious heat on Rollins to justify it being an HIAC match.
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey in an I Quit match for the Smackdown Women’s Championship: This would have been another HIAC match candidate, but the story being that Rousey broke the arm of Flair means that’s not likely to happen. So it appears as though this was the end of the feud, at least for the time being. If so, they went out with a match that felt like a good, gritty battle and was superior to their WrestleMania match. If Flair is taking time away, then it will be interesting to see who is next in line for Rousey. They haven’t built up anyone to be an obvious challenger on Smackdown lately, so perhaps Bayley will be returning in that position.
Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso, and Jey Uso vs. Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton, and Riddle: A hot main event with really good work from everyone involved. Reigns going over clean in the end should not surprise anyone at this point and yet somehow it still did. This seemed like an opportunity for Reigns to take a loss to McIntyre to set up a title match between them. And even if the creative forces wanted to keep Reigns unscathed during his current GOD Mode domination streak, I’m surprised they didn’t have McIntyre beat one of the Usos. But they went with Reigns and that was fine in the moment, but now what? Will they run this match back on television to give McIntyre a win in front of more viewers? If not, no one other than Cody Rhodes stands out as having enough momentum to come off as an even somewhat believable threat to Reigns, and I don’t think they will go to that match this soon.
Edge vs. AJ Styles: I enjoyed their WrestleMania match more than most, but this was definitely an upgrade. It felt rather obvious that someone was going to help Edge once Damian Priest was barred from ringside after losing to Styles on Raw. But that didn’t lead to the live crowd sitting on their hands while waiting for the inevitable interference. Rather, the crowd seemed invested in the match from start to finish. The spot with Priest coming out despite the stipulation was lousy and pointless. The idea that he did not technically stand on the ringside mats was silly, especially when he and Balor ended up fighting on those mats and even inside the ring. Fortunately, they had a good payoff with Rhea Ripley helping Edge and joining his Judgment Day faction. Ripley makes the faction better, but Judgment Day still need a purpose beyond beating up Styles.
WrestleMania Backlash Misses
Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin: A throwaway match involving two wrestlers with terrible gimmicks. At this point, I’m used to Corbin having a bad gimmick that overstays its welcome. But I have no idea why the creative forces continue to saddle Moss with a dead end gimmick and ring attire that makes him so douchey. The Smackdown brand is thin on meaningful babyfaces. Moss has the potential to help fill that void, but he’s already reached the ceiling of how over he can get while playing this dreadful comedy act.
Bobby Lashley vs. Omos: Lashley carried Omos to the best singles match of his young career. It still wasn’t very good and it’s hard to be excited by the inevitable rematch, but at least Omos showed some signs of progress.