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  • Connor Ewens

Let's Review: WWE Backlash 2023

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

After the roller-coaster that was Wrestlemania 39, we have the first PLE of the new WWE calendar cycle, Backlash. A lot of moving parts going into this show. We had the draft over the last week with many stars swapping between Raw & Smackdown. We also had the announcement of the returning World Heavyweight Championship, which will be a part of Raw after Roman Reigns was drafted to Smackdown. It is currently 4am and I've sank MANY whiskey & cokes so I'll try to remain coherent. Me and my girlfriend watched this and did a little prediction contest with a punishment. We drew, meaning unfortunately both of us are going to have to eat what I've called a 'vomlette', a custom made omelette with no holds barred ingredients. I am positive that I will throw up. Anyways, I'll run through all of the relevant stories as they happen. Let's head down to Puerto Rico and do this Boricua style. Let's review.

May 6th 2023: WWE presents Backlash 2023

Bianca Belair (c) vs Iyo Sky for the Raw Women's Championship

Bianca has had a long term rivalry with Damage CTRL, especially Bayley for pretty much most of last year. Both of these women got moved over to Smackdown, I question the decision to do the draft before this PLE because I found this match to be even more predictable. I hope they don't do one of those horrid title swap segments again. Just rename & redesign the women's belts already.

Iyo Sky comes out without her Damage CTRL allies. The crowd are strongly behind Iyo and booing Bianca, which probably highlights how done a lot of the fan base are with the reign of Belair. Both women show off their agility at the start. Belair gains control but Sky takes over by working the arm. The story here is Iyo working the arm but Bianca continuing to prove her strength powering through the pain. Belair impressively presses Sky with one arm but when slamming her, drops her on her fucking face. It looked nasty but Iyo is fine. Some great back and forth as they kick out and/or reverse out of big moves. Sky hit a beautiful moonsault to Belair on the outside. Belair blocked a top rope hurricanrana for a HUGE super powerbomb. Out comes Bayley & Dakota Kai to try help Iyo Sky, however they hinder as Bayley is caught holding Belairs hair. This gives Bianca the window to hit the KOD for the win.

A great match, I didn't expect Sky to win but these two put in a great effort and a hot opener. I think they're going to continue the story of Damage CTRL dissension, which I'm not too happy with because they've barely been around for that long. Hopefully it's just a fake out for now.

Bianca Belair retains via pinfall (18:01)


-Backstage Rey Mysterio talks with Bad Bunny, out comes Savio Vega!! Huge pop, well deserved. He looks well. Savio gifts Bunny a Puerto Rican kendo stick.

Seth Rollins vs Omos

This feud has pretty much zero build, except Omos identifies Rollins as a big name and wants to take him down. Rollins is hugely over with the crowd, as always. Omos dominates early, with big tackles & splashes. Omos follows Rollins outside but gets pushed into the ringpost. Seth hits a suicide dive, going for a second but eats a chokeslam on the apron. Back inside Omos continues to dominate. Rollins fires back with kicks and knees. He attempts a pedigree but its reversed. Rollins hits a tornado DDT followed by a frog splash but only for a 1 count. Omos resists a stomach because he's so strong. Omos hits another chokeslam. Rollins wears him down with a sleeper and manages to nail a stomp. He hits a second but only a 2 count. Rollins goes up top for a super stomp and finally gets the win.

A fun match here, probably Omos' best match since his debut. Rollins made Omos look like a beast, but fair to Omos he made Rollins look like a slayer. Omos gets a lot of shit but you got to keep in mind how green he still is, he hasn't been around for very long. Sure he's being fast tracked but he's in and around some of the best in the business and he's improving well. Call me an Omosapien, I'm not ashamed.

Seth Rollins wins via pinfall (10:31)


Austin Theory (c) vs Bobby Lashley vs Bronson Reed

Austin won the US title in a triple threat featuring Lashley late last year. He got a big rub at mania when he defeated John Cena. Lashley & Reed have had some intense confrontations. Big beefy bois doing big beefy things. Lashley apparently has announced his intentions to go after Reigns, hearing that made me certain Theory was going to retain.

They all tried to take each other out until Theory & Reed teamed up to wipe out Lashley. Theory gets a bit too cocky with Reed, resulting in being completely run over by the Australian. Lashley fires back with a slam to Reed and a spinebuster & a spear to Theory. Theory took out Reed then tries to finish off Lashley but Bobby reverses into the hurt lock. Theory turns it into a pin attempt to break it. Reed hits a Tsunami go Lashley but Theory breaks the pin. Theory & Reed exchange. Lashley nails Reed with a spear, Theory throws him out and takes the pin for himself.

A fun triple threat, all 3 got the chance to show up and show off. This match was shorter than I expected, but they did well with what they had. Theory looks like the opportunist without damaging his opponents.

Austin Theory retains via pinfall (6:51)


Rhea Ripley (c) vs Zelina Vega for the Smackdown Women's Championship

Zelina was born in NYC but is of Puerto Rican descent. The Judgment Day have been feuding with Rey Mysterio & the LWO for a while now, pretty much setting this one up. This will be a nice showcase for Zelina in front of a native audience. But no way in hell she's winning. I bet my partner that if she did win the title I would eat cat litter, I'm that confident. So she better damn win.

Zelina throws a sandal at Rhea #justlatinothings. Pretty dominant showing by Rhea with a powerbomb and some big whips into the turnbuckle. Ripley taunts the crowd, she's a great performer. Rhea wraps Zelina with a brutal submission over her shoulder. Vega dodges a spear and fires some strikes. Vega reverse a Riptide into a DDT. Vega hits a 619 then a meteora for a nearfall. Ripley hits a roundhouse kick then Riptide to retain.

I really enjoyed this. Rhea looked like a dominant force but Zelina got some great moments in here too. The big crowd reactions helped too of course. Zelina got a huge ovation from the crowd after the match which was a lovely moment.

Rhea Ripley retains via pinfall (7:11)


-Butch & Ridge Holland promote FUBAR, a Netflix series starring Arnold Schwartzenegger. I won't be watching it.

Bad Bunny vs Damien Priest in a San Juan Street Fight

This really should have been the main event. The crowd were FUEGO. Both guys natives of Puerto Rico. Bad Bunny one of the biggest music stars in the world with over 60 million Spotify listeners. These two were friends but turned enemies since Bad Bunny helped Rey Mysterio against Dominic. Priest attacked him when Bunny attacked Dom. On Smackdown, Bunny became an official member of the LWO. Bunny gets a HUGE response to his entrance, the crowd singing along to his song was class. He has a shopping trolley full of weapons.

Slow start here as Priest dominates Bunny with wrestling moves, refusing to use weapons because he doesn't need them. Bunny got some licks in but Priest maintains control following a South of Heaven. Priest goes for a dive but Bunny lobs a chair at his bonce. Bunny hits a tornado DDT, clothesline then a big splash to the outside. Bunny wears him down with a trash can lid then a kendo stick. After a falcon arrow, Priest walks to the back. Bunny follows him with a trash can but it was a ruse, Priest boots him hard. Priest pummels him with the trash can and a kendo. They brawl through the crowd, resulting in a falcon arrow through some tables near the tech area.

Back near the ring Priest dominates but Bunny dodges a kick and the leg strikes the ringpost. Bunny targets the leg of Priest with a kendo stick, then with the ringpost, then with a chair. Priest sells the injury well. Priest begs off Bunny and cheap shots him, but BB hits a low blow to regain control. Out comes Finn Balor & Dominic Mysterio to help their partner. The Judgment Day beat up Bunny bringing out Rey to help. Some nostalgic music plays, as Carlito returns!!! Holy shit! Huge pop. He hits Balor with a backstabber. Rey 619s Dom then Csrlito spits apple in his face. Judgment Day try to run but out comes Savio Vega and the rest of the LWO. They take down and run off Balor & Dom. Priest goes for a spin kick but his injury hinders him. Figure four by Bunny, Priest is close to tapping but manages to fight out. A smooth sliced bread by Bunny for a nearfall. Chair shots from Bunny into a Canadian Destroyer for the win.

Wow, what a match. Slow start but it built amazingly and continued to up the ante. The run ins from the Judgment Day & the LWO made sense and it was a great nostalgia pop when Carlito & Savio Vega came out for some action. This exceeded expectations and Bad Bunny once again proved he's one of the most natural celebrities to enter the squared circle.

Bad Bunny wins via pinfall (25:03)


The Bloodline (Solo Sikoa, Jimmy & Jey Uso) vs Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn & Matt Riddle

After losing the tag titles at Wrestlemania, there has been some issues within the Bloodline. It seems that Reigns is losing patience with the Uso's. The Uso's were also drafted separately to Reigns & Solo, though they are all going to Smackdown. The faces are all going to be on Raw so this is an end of the saga between these 6 men, for now at least. Owens & Zayn also retained the tag straps on Smackdown last week.

Hot tag action as the faces take the early advantage with frequent tags and good offence. Solo tags himself in on Jimmy and begins to wear down Zayn. The Uso's work on Zayn and again Solo tags himself in. Jimmy says as long as they get the job done, we all good. Zayn fights back and goes for a tag but Riddle is downed then Jey sends Owens back first onto the steel stairs. That looked nasty. The Bloodline continue to wear Sami down but he gets a breather with a tornado DDT to Jey Uso.

Riddle tags in and gets some hot offence in, exploder auplexes and sentons galore. A slick corkscre senton to the outside to all of the heels. A lovely spot when Riddle flips back in right into a super kick. Owens is finally up and gets a hot tag, immediately with a Swanton bomb. Owens dodges a super kick and Jimmy nails Jey by accident! Owens super superkicks Jimmy & Solo, a big pop-up powerbomb on Jey for a nearfall. Owens goes for a second Swanton but Jey gets the knees up. Trading of superkicks then Zayn gets the tag in. Zayn gets a Blue Thunder bomb for a nearfall. He jumps off the tope into a brutal double superkick from the Uso's. Jey yells at Zayn for causing trouble in the Bloodline. Jey goes for a big move BUT Solo tags himself in again. Jey tags himself back in, arguing with Solo. Zayn runs at him with a Helluva kick, Jey dodges and Solo eats it instead. Later Sami hits the Helluva kick to Jey but Solo breaks it up.

With Solo back up, he looks between Jey & Sami and appears to choose to attack Jey but Riddle comes in with a big knee. Jey sends Riddle out, Owens stunners Jey. Solo hits the Samoan Spike to Owens. He almost nearly spikes Jey too. He shoves him off and they argue, Jey calls him his brother. Zayn is in to attack Solo. A great exchange as they all exchange big moves. Riddle hits the Bro Derek on Jey but Solo got a blind tag. Solo spikes Riddle and gets the pin for his team. Solo is staring daggers through Jey Uso but Jey is trying to celebrate. Jimmy seemingly breaks the tension and the three celebrate together.

An excellent tag match, not on par with the Wrestlemania tag but that's difficult to match. Great action, great psychology but more importantly excellent storytelling within the Bloodline. I was shocked to see them win. Riddle ate the pin so the tag champs are protected. Hopefully this draws a line under this part of the Bloodline feud, moving forward with the new story of Bloodline infighting.

The Bloodline wins via pinfall (22:05)


Cody Rhodes vs Brock Lesnar

A proposed match on Raw after Mania was Cody & Lesnar vs Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa. However, Brock turned heel and attacked Rhodes. We still haven't really got a full explanation why I don't think. I honestly didn't know how this was going to go. After a big loss to Reigns, I expected Rhodes to lose emulating his father's tough journey to finally winning a world title. A run of losses into a streak of success. However I also saw the issue of Rhodes losing too much. There's a lot of ways this could go and I'm very excited.

The crowd are loudly singing Cody's theme, always good to see. During Lesnar's entrance, Rhodes hits a big suicide dive. The bell hasn't rang yet. Cody assaults Lesnar with steel steps and a steel chair. Back in the ring the bell finally goes. Cody doing all he can to get an advantage. Rhodes hits two disaster kicks. He goes for a third but is caught with a German suplex. Brock continues to dominate with a variety of suplexes and slams. During a German suplex, Cody tears off a turnbuckle pad and launches it into the crowd. That looked cool, a nice souvenir for someone. After a belly-to-bellt suplex, Lesnar goes to Rhodes who drop toe holds him into the exposed turnbuckle. Lesnar busted himself open hard way and pisses blood. It looked brutal. It made Cody look opportunistic but also Lesnar looked like even more of a killer.

Cody hits a Cody cutter, a disaster kick and another Cody cutter. He hits Lesnat with two crossroads for a two count. Lesnar avoids a third crossroads into an F5 for a nearfall. They exchange blows but Lesnar catches him in a kimura lock. Rhodes can't escape, so he rolls Lesnar on to his shoulders for a 1-2-3! Rhodes wins in unexpected fashion.

This was a very good match, it felt like a real war. I think Cody did really need a win after Wrestlemania. The finish was sudden but I thought it was the best way to finish. Cody didn't "beat" Lesnar, he survived and got a clever victory over him but it wasn't decisive. Rhodes tried everything to get the win and he succeeded. Lesnar didn't look weak, if anything he looked bad ass. From the look of it, Lesnar looked pissed that Cody got a lucky pin and I wouldn't be surprised if Lesnar is gunning for a rematch. A good match but I think it was a minorly deflating finish.

Cody Rhodes wins via pinfall (9:43)


Overall- 69.3%

This was a very enjoyable show. It flew over for me. Nothing bad on this show at all. Some great matches on this card, especially Bad Bunny vs Damien Priest. Even the weaker matches were good fun and told a good story. I think they should have had Bunny vs Priest as the main event. The crowd weren't as hot for anything else on the card, it would have been a nice babyface win to close the show. "Double main event" means nothing. The last match is the main event

The only thing I'm sad about is failing to win a predictions bet. Now I have to eat a disgusting omelette. The crowd were hot throughout which was great for the card. This show exceed expectations.

MOTN- Bad Bunny vs Damien Priest

Did you enjoy Backlash? Lemme know what you thought and thanks for reading. I don't have anything planned to watch and review anytime soon, not until the end of the month PPVs so if there's anything I'm missing please let me know. Until next time, see ya!


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