Cody Rhodes def. Seth Rollins
Not really much to say here other than that these two knocked it out of the park once again. It looks like all of the house shows they have been working has done wonders for their chemistry, because their matches have been flowing very seamlessly. The transitions from rest spots into other sequences were flawless and the reversals at the end were pretty gnarly as well. If I have a gripe, however, it would be the non-selling of the Cross Rhodes late by Seth. Rhodes delivers a clean Cross Rhodes onto Seth and when he goes up for another one, Seth just reverses it into an O’Connor Roll. At WrestleMania, what made the finish great was that it took 3 Cross Rhodes to take Seth down.
Here, Cody’s finisher was somewhat treated like another transition move when it should be a finisher that creates drama. Is it the biggest deal in the world? Probably not, and I understand it is the nature of pro wrestling today. However, I wish some attention to detail with those things were focused on more. These days, finishers are now just meant to elongate matches and not, well, finish them. Aside from that, this was an outstanding opener that got the crowd fired up. Probably a tier below their WrestleMania showing, but that act was hard to follow given Cody’s triumphant return. These two get an A+ for trying to top themselves. And I’d have to believe given the finish, that there’s more in store for these two. ****1/4
Omos def. Bobby Lashley
I think this was a much better effort than at WrestleMania and I think Omos is getting a little better at pacing himself. Of course, having a seasoned powerhouse like Bobby to string things along certainly helps as well. Predictable 50/50 booking aside, this was a good little sub 10-minute power match. **3/4
Edge def. AJ Styles
This match was solid, but once again suffered from somewhat of the same issue that I emphasized with their match at WrestleMania. The pacing is too methodical for my liking. Edge said that in this final run, he wants to focus on more nuanced storytelling, and I can see what he means by how his matches have been playing out. Clearly, he wanted the focus to be on taking away the use of one of AJ’s shoulder, and AJ did a pretty solid job of selling it. He would often use some of his signature moves with only one arm, or sometimes need to move his arm around to get some of the feeling back while Edge would continue to attack it. It was. a simple and solid story to tell, and they told it pretty well. I just think they surrounded the match with some bells and whistles that didn’t really help the match any. For example, Edge removing the 2nd turnbuckle padding in the corner ultimately proved inconsequential. As a quick aside, Edge hitting the Spear on AJ wasn’t fully visible as the broadcast was too busy showing the replay of Edge kicking out of it.
Rhea Ripley being introduced as the newest member of Edge’s faction was somewhat of a predictable move, but a good one. Rhea’s a fully-fledged heel now, looks the part and may look to Edge for a revitalization of her career. Seeing factions that have both men and women are always interesting. Overall, match was solid and told a good story, but there were certain areas where it fell short. ***1/2
Ronda Rousey def. Charlotte Flair (C) – SmackDown Women’s Championship (I Quit Match)
This was a much better showing than their WrestleMania bout in my opinion, and the stipulation surely helped. I’m not usually a fan of I Quit matches, at least not the modern-day incarnation of them. Usually, it’s because the pacing is often terrible because the ref is asking everyone if they quit after every punch and suplex. I’m glad to see that there was more patience here and the ref waited until highly impactful moves were hit or when submission moves were locked in to ask the question.
The match was physical, featured a lot of weapons, had outside drama and featured great spins on typical submission moves. Charlotte crying out in pain when she would be asked the question was a good touch. I’ve seen better use of them, but I can’t complain too much about it. It was a pretty good brawl overall all things considered. I think they used the term “bitch” a tad much, though. ***3/4
Madcap Moss def. Happy Corbin
The outcome was pretty obvious here, and this was just the cool-down match for the main event, so it is what it is. This was a match that could have been had on SmackDown, so that’s all I gotta say about that. Madcap looked good. Corbin is Corbin. Yeah. **1/2
So Charlotte Flair has a fractured radius. The reporter looked confused reporting that for a second.
The Bloodline def. Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro
This was a great main event, one that blew away my expectations. I was really expecting something on the level of a house show. One where The Usos do most of the work and Roman just plays to the crowd to the sidelines for the majority of the match, only to come in at the very end and hit his best hits. But this was a fantastic tag match that featured great contributions from all six men. Randy’s RKO on Roman. Drew’s Claymores everywhere. The Usos’ superkick party. Riddle’s top rope RKO. Honestly, there were too many spots to describe off-hand, but all I know is that this was just action packed from the start, excellently paced and had rising action throughout the entire match that gradually intensified as the match progressed.
I initially thought this PPV would be hurt by canning the unification match in lieu of a six man tag, but honestly, I can’t complain too much after seeing that. It actually reminded me of some of the matches that The Shield had back in the day (can’t believe I’m already using that term for The Shield, where has the time gone?). It’s no doubt that Drew and Roman is being saved probably for a big show over the summer. The bigger question is who will be challenging The Usos, because outside of RK-Bro, there’s literally no one that’s beefing or challenging them right now. Regardless of such, we had an electric six man tag that I dare say might contend for an early Match of the Year candidate. Yes, I enjoyed it that much. ****1/2
A PPV with little expectation blew them all out of the water, so I think it’s safe to say this gets a thumbs up. I think what helped this PPV a lot was the six-match format. Each match got sufficient time to have a focus and tell a story and it kept the crowd engaged throughout. Much better than your 8-10 match cards where there are too many matches and too many people to keep track of. In addition, storylines were advanced, we have a new women’s champion, Edge has a new member of his faction and we got two four-star caliber matches, with some others that were nearly in that range. Not sure I can ask for a better 3 hours given what I was expecting. Not some all-time great show or something you may look back on, but for a show that was basically a 6 match card rehash of WrestleMania, can’t ask for much better. Thumbs up for WrestleMania: Backlash 2022.