WWE Backlash 2023: 5 Thoughts

bianca belair wwe backlash

Backlash has come and gone and what a fun show it was. It was probably my favorite WWE Backlash PLE of all time in terms of just the overall atmosphere of the event.

It was special for the fans of Puerto Rico and it came across well to those watching at home. All of the booking decisions made sense and still delivered some great and nostalgic moments for the fans. I hope WWE does more premium live events in Puerto Rico because the fans sure as hell brought the intensity Saturday Night at Backlash.

bianca belair raw womens title backlash


I knew Bianca Belair was likely going to retain her Raw Women’s Championship. She was just one day away from breaking Becky Lynch’s record as longest reigning Women’s Champion of the modern era. She was approaching 400 days. It just made sense for her to go over here. Iyo Sky put on a star-making performance. I was a little surprised at how pro-Iyo this Puerto Rico crowd was and how many boos Bianca got. I don’t think they didn’t like Bianca as evidenced by the pop she got when she won. I just think Iyo was over with the crowd here and they wanted her to win.

The match was great. It was my second favorite match of the night as Iyo proved she belonged in the ring with top stars like Bianca. I enjoyed Bianca adapting to the boos she was getting and working more heelish early on. That’s the mark of a pro that can adapt on the fly like that.

You knew Damage CTRL would get involved. One thing I did notice was that it looked like Dakota Kai may have been pleading with Bayley not to come down to the ring as they were making their way down the ramp. Of course, Bayley didn’t listen but that is something to keep an eye out for. The interference didn’t hurt the match too much as eventually Bianca hit the KOD for the win but Iyo cemented herself that night. She’s going to be a top babyface in a few months.


The result of this match was never in doubt. Rhea just won the Smackdown Women’s Championship at WrestleMania. No need in having her lose it a month later. The story was really about Zelina Vega and wrestling in front of her family and all of her people. She was born in Queens, New York, and is of Puerto Rican descent so this was extra special for her. You could tell in her face. She was crying her eyes out before the match even started. You could tell this meant a lot to her.

The match itself was okay. The Raw Women’s Title match was better, but this was fine too. The crowd made it that much better by how firmly they were behind Zelina. Rhea eventually won with the Riptide so we will see what is next for her on Raw.

bad bunny wwe backlash damian priest


This was my match of the night. Damian Priest has really leveled up these last few months. He deserves a lot of credit for being the ring general for this match. Bad Bunny’s entrance was probably top 5 of my favorite entrances of all time. The sustained pop he got during his entire entrance was amazing. He’s, to me, the greatest celebrity wrestler of all time.

I know Pat McAfee has been great. Logan Paul has been great. None of them did what Bad Bunny did Saturday Night. It was phenomenal. Priest deserves a lot of credit too, but Bunny delivered. The amazing part is, he doesn’t have to do this. He’s the biggest musical star in the world right now and he’s out there taking Falcon Arrows off a platform and through a table. It was unbelievable what this guy was willing to do.

The Judgment Day got involved which led to the returns of CARLITO and Savio Vega to take out Finn Balor and Dominik along with Rey Mysterio and the rest of the Latino World Order. It was a great way to pop the Puerto Rican audience by seeing two of their own coming out to help another one of their own even the odds. Savio did his thing but Carlito looks in amazing shape. He’s in better shape now than he was when he was full-time in WWE. I’d like to see him make a semi-full-time return once this hiring freeze is lifted within the company.

Bad Bunny eventually won with the Canadian Destroyer (a Bunny Destroyer in this case), which still amazes me that somebody with so little formal wrestling training is able to pull off. I could argue that this should have been the main event, but I think it served its purpose of keeping the crowd hot. I’m usually not a fan of celebrity wrestlers. Never have been. However, the last few that WWE has chosen to work with in McAfee, Paul, and Bad Bunny, I wouldn’t mind them doing more with those guys. They actually love the business and respect it enough to put in the work.


The Bloodline beating Owens, Zayn, and Riddle should’ve been apparent once Owens and Zayn retained the Tag Team Titles on the Draft edition of Smackdown. The match was good but I feel like it could’ve probably been done on Smackdown.

The interesting part here is the continued tension between Solo Sikoa and Jey Uso and how Jimmy is oblivious to it all. Solo almost hitting the Samoan Spike on Jey got a good reaction from the crowd. The Bloodline story isn’t as interesting as it was before WrestleMania, but I am still intrigued at where it goes. I think it would’ve been way more interesting if Roman had lost his titles but I think teasing Solo and Jey has been interesting, to say the least.

I still think Solo ultimately turns on Jey and Jimmy is left stuck in the middle of his two brothers and deciding who to side with. If Cody Rhodes doesn’t do it, Jey Uso could be the one to dethrone Roman and I wouldn’t hate it.

cody rhodes wwe backlash brock lesnar


I was worried about this one. I was worried they might have Cody lose again as a way to build him back up, but I’m glad they went the other way here. The match was your typical Brock match. I’m glad the blood was allowed in this match as it added to the story. I’m not a fan of it every week but once in a while definitely adds to the match. Seeing Brock Lesnar’s bloody face as he had Cody locked in that Kimura is a great and scary visual. It was also a creative finish with Cody using Brock’s momentum with the Kimura to roll him up for the win. It protected Brock while keeping the momentum going for Cody Rhodes.

I’ve seen discourse online about how Cody looked weak by getting the win like he did and getting out of there as fast as he could. Cody had basically the use of one arm and got a quick roll up on an angry Brock Lesnar. What Cody did was prove that he’s actually smarter than 95% of the babyfaces in wrestling because he got the win and bailed rather than celebrating in front of an angry Beast while only having the use of one arm. He had nothing left to prove so he got out of there as he should have.

I still think Cody dethrones Roman Reigns. It’ll just be interesting to see how they do it. I’m thinking Ford Field at SummerSlam.

That’s it for Backlash. Again, it’s probably my favorite Backlash of all time. Even Seth Rollins defeating Omos was surprisingly entertaining and probably Omos’ best match to date. Austin Theory retained his United States Title but they did a good job in protecting Lashley and Bronson Reed in defeat. We will see how they follow up with Night of Champions in Saudi Arabia.


Thanks for reading. Check out my TJRWrestling writing archive here. I’m on Twitter @GiftedMoney talking about wrestling among other things, so feel free to message me on there with any thoughts or comments. Until next time.