The WWE WrestleMania Backlash event features four WrestleMania matches, one title match and a big six-man tag team match featuring five champions.
John: WrestleMania Backlash is the name WWE has decided to go with for this Premium Live Event since it has a heavy focus on WrestleMania rematches. As I mentioned above, there are four WrestleMania matches while a fifth match is because Happy Corbin didn’t like how Madcap Moss got involved in Corbin’s WrestleMania loss to Drew McIntyre. The six-man tag team main event match was originally going to be a Tag Team Title Unification Match, which was built up for several weeks and then we found out via the Wrestling Observer (read about it at Inside the Ropes here) that WWE never intended to do the Tag Team Title Unification Match even though they devoted a lot of TV time promoting it. It’s not like I’m going to complain about outstanding wrestlers like Roman Reigns and Drew McIntyre being added to the show, but a six-man tag with nothing on the line feels like a TV main event rather than a WrestleMania Backlash main event. In terms of match quality, I think there can be some great matches. I just don’t think there’s a lot of excitement or many interesting storylines going into the show.
Joining me for the preview are TJRWrestling writers Joel McIntyre, Alex Podgorski, Matthew Fowler and Kelly Dishnow.
(Note: All graphics are from WWE.)
Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss
Joel: I think Madcap Moss can be a big time babyface on the Smackdown brand. The problem is, his gimmick is getting him nowhere. He’s pretty good in the ring. This feud doesn’t interest me at all. I assume Moss wins and we can move on. I like Corbin as a heel, but I think he is there just to get Moss over.
Winner: Madcap Moss
Alex: I’m trying very hard to care about this feud but it’s not working well. I don’t know who I should support here. Corbin is rightfully ticked because Moss got involved needlessly in Corbin’s WrestleMania match, but Moss is being verbally berated for just trying to help. I don’t know why, but whenever WWE does these sorts of break-ups of heel teams it just doesn’t work for me. As such, I’m going with the simplest prediction possible: the guy with more time on the main roster and more backstage support gets the win here.
Winner: Happy (is he really still happy?) Corbin
Matthew: Hey guys, do you know those two guys who bored you as a team, well now they are facing each other! I have no doubt that both Moss and Corbin are very talented, but this meaningless feud is doing neither any favors. Both guys could benefit from a complete revamp of their characters, similar to what was done with Elias/Ezekiel on Raw. Until then both these guys will be stuck in mid-card purgatory, with this feud being a prime example of that. As for a winner, I will go with Corbin to hopefully end this feud.
Winner: Happy Corbin
Kelly: Perfect for the pre-show. Hopefully, this caps this feud off, but it might go one more match if Corbin wins.
Winner: Madcap Moss
John: My interest level in this match is low. As soon as this duo was together last year, we knew they’d be split up and Corbin blaming Moss for Corbin’s loss at WrestleMania has led to this match. I think Moss has a lot of talent in the ring. I just don’t know if he’s got the personality to be a huge star. It might happen, but I just don’t know. Corbin’s “Happy Talk” segments are so boring on Smackdown. They need to figure out something else with the guy. I can see Corbin winning since he lost at WrestleMania, but I think Moss winning makes more sense.
Winner by pinfall: Madcap Moss
Bobby Lashley vs. Omos (w/MVP)
Joel: I like babyface Lashley, but Omos doesn’t interest me at all. I said it before that the money in Omos was the first time he got slammed and the first time he got pinned. And both happened at Wrestlemania. I’m sure MVP will add to the act, but I wonder what’s left for Omos after this. I’m going with Omos just because.
Alex: I don’t have high hopes for this. Their WrestleMania match was one of the worst on the show and it exposed how poor a wrestler Omos is. Even with MVP’s “shocking betrayal” of Lashley, I don’t see this feud continuing beyond Backlash. This is do-or-die for Omos; either he impresses in this match or he’s done. Hopefully he does better than at ‘Mania, but I’m not holding my breath here. I don’t expect this to go more than eight minutes and that’s including all the interference and shenanigans that’ll be present courtesy of MVP.
Matthew: Bobby Lashley is one of the biggest stars WWE has, and could and should be in the main event picture. Unfortunately for Lashley however, he is stuck feuding with Omos. Omos could someday be a main event player as well, but right now is as green as grass and could have clearly benefitted from some time in NXT. This match is a rematch of their WrestleMania match, which Lashley won. Sadly, I think Omos will win this match, leading to the two having a third match at Hell in a Cell next month.
Kelly: This will likely be similar to their WrestleMania match, but Omos will win. Lashley needs a better feud. The rubber match will come at the next PLE.
John: I hope Bobby Lashley does well as a face although I think he was a more natural heel. I think his heel run was outstanding. Omos is intriguing because you know WWE loves a tall guy like him, but until he shows us more in the ring, it’s tough to be excited about anything he does. Omos will likely be on offense for most of it, Lashley will hit a few power moves, then I think MVP distracts Bobby enough and that allows Omos to get the win. That should lead to a third match between them even though I would be perfectly fine with Lashley winning to end the rivalry. I just think it’s unlikely that Omos loses two straight PPV matches.
AJ Styles vs. Edge
(Damian Priest is banned from ringside.)
Joel: I think this match may be better than last month at WrestleMania. I think the feud continues after this. It has been okay so far. This Judgment Day faction has been hit or miss so far. The addition of Damian Priest has been good. I feel like we could see another addition on Sunday. I would like to see Edge and Priest vs. AJ Styles and Finn Balor. However, I feel like Finn Balor is the next person to join Judgment Day and that’s going to happen on Sunday.
Alex: I thoroughly enjoyed their match at WrestleMania and was flabbergasted at how dead the crowd was. But because their match at Mania was such a mixed bag, we can expect something much shorter here. I wouldn’t be surprised if this match went twenty minutes maximum and featured a brisker pace with more high spots. This is being built as a grudge match to end what was started at WrestleMania. As such, I expect a solid match that will be good until the very end. Because like my colleagues here, I can see the writing on the wall. Damian Priest might be banned from ringside, but that just means someone else will come in to help Edge. It seems like he’s going full Ministry of Darkness here and thus needs more recruits. It’s hard to predict exactly who will rise up and join Edge’s new stable, but you can be sure they’ll swoop in and save the match for Edge right when Styles will be closest to winning. Because neither of these guys can take a clean loss for whatever reason, even though it’s perfectly normal to build stories out of wins and losses.
Winner: Edge thanks to outside interference
Matthew: This is another WrestleMania rematch, but at least this one should be an excellent match. Damien Priest is banned from ringside for this matchup, which on paper means that Edge will have to face Styles all alone. However, myself and most likely most fans, doubt that will be the case. This feels like a perfect spot for a new member of Edge’s Judgement Day faction to debut. This past Monday on Raw, Finn Balor helped out his fellow former Bullet Club member Styles against Edge. I predict that reunion is going to be short lived, as I see Balor being the one to join Judgement Day and help Edge win.
Kelly: Their WrestleMania match was really good, and this should not disappoint. With Priest banned from ringside, Ciampa is the likely next addition to Judgement Day to help Edge win again. Ciampa appears to have a feud starting with Mustafa Ali so he can help out the face side of things. Maybe Ali appears here to counter Ciampa? Not likely but a possibility, I guess. Rhea Ripley joining now won’t add anything to the match, so she’ll come later after the Liv Morgan feud concludes. The real intrigue lies in who might be joining Judgement Day next than the match itself. I don’t think that will take away from the match and it will be another solid outing for these two.
John: First of all, kudos to both men for having such long hair in their mid to late 40s. That’s not easy to do! The WrestleMania match was a dream match and while it wasn’t a classic, it was still pretty good and I’m glad that the feud has continued. The popular theory is that somebody is going to help Edge win even though his buddy Damian Priest is banned from ringside. Maybe (no longer Tommaso) Ciampa since he’s gone heel in attacking Mustafa Ali or somebody else. It’s also possible that Finn Balor could be the one to turn on Styles, but I think they should remain allies. I’m going to be a little contrarian here by picking Styles to win and then he’ll get beat up by Priest after the match, which will lead to Balor making the save. Edge won at WrestleMania, so Styles gets a win back here and maybe it leads to a Hell in a Cell match at the HIAC PPV next month. Just a hunch. I’m going with Styles here because I think he needs the win.
Winner: AJ Styles
Smackdown Women’s Championship – I Quit Match: Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey
Joel: This feud has fallen flat. The match is going to deliver, but the feud itself has fallen flat. I feel like Ronda is extremely miscast as a babyface. Hopefully, that changes soon after this. The “I Quit” stipulation takes away a lot of the drama of the finish. I think this is the one where Ronda gets her win.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
Alex: This is the only title match announced for the show and it seems pretty obvious what’s going to happen. Ronda Rousey didn’t come back to WWE after such a long hiatus to lose twice in a row. Once, maybe, but not twice. She got swindled out of her title win at WrestleMania, so a win here makes total sense. And since it’s an I Quit Match, you can be sure Ronda will go medieval on Charlotte’s ass. Rousey won’t stop pummeling Charlotte until she’s pleading for mercy. But that won’t stop Rousey. She’s leaving the show with the title and to do that she’ll punish Charlotte severely. Expect to see Rousey ragdoll Charlotte much more than in their previous match as well as Rousey trying to break Charlotte’s arm. All of this seems like the logical direction; but if WWE decides at the last minute for some swerve to surprise the fans, then you could also expect to see a referee reversing a decision based on Rousey ‘kicking too much ass’ or other shenanigans if the ref for the match happens to be Charles Robinson.
I don’t want any of these latter things to happen, but given WWE’s penchant for random mis-directions, I wanted to put that option out there for viewers so that they’re not too surprised should something nonsensical happen.
Winner and NEW SmackDown Women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey
Matthew: This is another WrestleMania rematch, and is also the only title match on the card. This match should honestly feel like a much bigger deal due to Flair being a long-term champion, but has suffered from a very poor build. For whatever reason since returning at the Royal Rumble, Rousey has lacked the excitement of her previous run with the company. Hopefully this match can change that, as it has the potential be very good or even great. I predict Rousey getting the win here, to capture the title and set up a Hell in a Cell Match for next month.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
Kelly: If Rousey doesn’t win this match, what was the point of bringing her back? I’m sure Fox wanted her doing more than trying to make Charlotte look good. Rousey is the bigger star here. A loss here will ruin Rousey and kill the excitement for the only money match she has left in her, Rousey/Lynch one on one at WrestleMania 39.
Winner: Ronda Rousey
John: A title change seems like a lock here. I think the reason they didn’t do it at WrestleMania is because they did it with Bianca Belair beating Becky Lynch along with the Women’s Tag Team Titles, so if you do three title changes in the women’s division it might be a bit much. Saving it for this show with a stipulation match does make sense. I know Charlotte Flair is getting married soon (she said this summer in Mexico), so it wouldn’t shock me if she’s off TV for a month or two coming in June or July. I don’t think her absence will upset some people, who are probably sick of her repetitive promos.
I have been critical of the build to this match in my Smackdown reviews because it hasn’t been that interesting. However, what they did on this week’s Smackdown was good with the classic pull-apart brawl where both women did a nice job of being aggressive. If they can find the aggressiveness that made their Survivor Series 2018 match so great, it will make people forget that their WrestleMania 38 match was just good. I think they can surprise some people who are doubting them. The Royal Rumble winner Rousey didn’t get the title at WrestleMania, but I think she’ll do it here at Backlash. They can even say she broke Charlotte’s arm or ankle or something like that if Charlotte does take that break. It fits the story anyway.
Winner AND NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion: Ronda Rousey
Cody Rhodes vs. Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Joel: This is the match I’m looking forward to the most. Cody’s return at Wrestlemania was the highlight of the weekend for me. I think Cody’s return has been nearly perfect so far. He has kept his whole AEW presentation which is shocking to me. They had a great match at Wrestlemania. Somehow, I think this tops it. Cody doesn’t need to lose this match. Or any match anytime soon.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Alex: It’s going to be very hard for these two to top their WrestleMania match together. That match had the added benefits of novelty and a (not so) surprised crowd that gave Cody a hero’s welcome. Here, Cody will have to struggle to make lightning strike twice in the same place. He’ll have to beat Rollins knowing that Rollins now knows what his opponent is capable of. But try as he might, Rollins won’t win here.
I think that WWE actually sees dollar signs in Cody, at least for now. I know some people out there think that Rollins would win to set up a tie-breaker match later, but that direction would do Cody a disservice. If Cody loses here, he becomes just another guy treading water. Conversely, beating Seth Rollins – one of the most decorated and heavily-featured guys from the past decade – twice in a row would actually mean something and make Cody come across as special. WWE needs people like that right now and not more generic and replaceable cogs in the machine.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Matthew: This is a rematch of one of if not the best match from WrestleMania 38. Rhodes has been on fire since returning to the WWE, and likely will be a World Champion by the end of the year. Rollins is always great, and has been excellent in this feud. This is another match that I can see being settled inside of Hell in a Cell next month. For that reason, I will go with Rollins cheating to win here, evening the series and setting up the blow-off match.
Winner: Seth “Freakin” Rollins
Kelly: Their WrestleMania match was so great that this one has a high bar for it. Rhodes is riding tremendous momentum since returning to WWE and I’m sure the mega push continues here. Rollins will make Rhodes look phenomenal again in defeat. If the plan is to put the WWE/Universal Title on Rhodes at one of the upcoming stadium shows, I’d keep him strong leading into the title match. Rollins losing again will not hurt him. Rhodes should move on from here to a new opponent.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
John: The rematch of the best match from WrestleMania 38. I really don’t think Cody should lose here. If he does, even if it’s cheap, then it’s a bad booking decision. WWE needs to build up Cody as a babyface threat to everybody he faces in the ring until he gets to Roman Reigns. I like Seth Rollins as much as anybody in WWE. He might be my favorite wrestler in the company, but he can lose this match just like he lost at WrestleMania, just like he lost to Edge, just like he lost to Cesaro at last year’s WrestleMania and Kevin Owens the year before that. Rollins is a “made man” meaning he can lose 100 matches in a row, yet if you put him in a title match for match 101 and he won the title, you’d believe it. That’s because Seth is constantly getting TV time, promo time and being placed in big matches. By the way, Seth beat Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble by disqualification and it was never followed up on. Poor booking by WWE to ignore that because logically they should use it in a storyline to do Reigns vs. Rollins again.
I rated the Cody/Seth WrestleMania match at ****1/2 out of five. I think they could reach those heights again here, but it might be a bit below that. WrestleMania is special, plus the crowd reaction to Cody was incredible and while I think the crowd will be good here as well, I have a hard time buying into the idea that the atmosphere at WM Backlash is going to be like WrestleMania itself. Anyway, Cody and Seth have been wrestling each other at many live events as well as dark matches at TVs, so they are likely to put on an incredible match again. I expect them to get around 20 minutes or perhaps more than that. Lots of counters, maybe some kickouts of finishers and in the end, I’d like to see Cody get the win again.
Winner: Cody Rhodes
Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton & Riddle vs. The Bloodline – Roman Reigns, Jimmy Uso & Jey Uso
Joel: I’m confused as to why they would promote a Tag Title unification match that they had no intention of doing. Nevertheless, The match is set up for Roman to take the loss without being pinned. There are six world class athletes in this match. The match will be good as usual. It is obvious they are saving Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns for a bigger show. That’s why I feel like Drew gets the win here over one of The Usos. Save Roman and Drew for a stadium show.
Winners: RK-Bro and Drew McIntyre
Alex: This match is the easiest for me to predict: McIntyre pins one of the Usos to send a message to Roman. It’s simplistic booking straight out of New Japan where such six-man tags are their bread and butter. This way, McIntyre gets to send his message and Reigns’ record remains unblemished. This can setup the eventual one-on-one match between them while The Usos don’t have to worry about the loss since it’s from a former world champion. It might not be as exciting as a title unification match, but at least this direction makes logical sense.
Winners: Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton & Riddle
Matthew: If you go back to just last week, this match was advertised heavily as a Tag Team Unification match between Raw Tag Team Champions RK-Bro and Smackdown Tag Team Champions The Usos. This all changed last Friday on Smackdown, with McIntyre and Reigns being added to the match and the unification stipulation being completely dropped. Card subject to change is nothing new with wrestling, but removing a huge stipulation like title unification and replacing it with a meaningless six-man tag team match does seem wrong to me. I have no doubt these six guys will have a great match, that could easily be 4 stars or higher (John Canton’s ratings > Dave Meltzer’s of course!). I just wish that WWE had advertised this match from the start, and not promised a title unification that they had no plans of delivering on. As for a winner I will go with McIntyre pinning Reigns, to set up their feud for the future.
Winner: Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton and Riddle
Kelly: We still have this massive logic hole as to why, after all of these weeks, Reigns does not care about his cousins holding both sets of tag team championships anymore. Shinsuke Nakamura was set up as Reigns next victim, but McIntyre jumped the line and here we are. It feels like that sloppy corner booking WWE is famous for doing. As for this match, it will be really good.
I’ve liked the RK-Bro/Usos interactions in the lead up to the title unification match. I’ve also liked the slight edge that the Street Profits have been given to be the first challengers for the unified champions. All of that seems to be out the window for now. I think a little bit better explanation would be better here as to why things changed at the last minute. I think McIntyre will score the fall to get his feud with Reigns rolling.
Winners: Drew McIntyre & RK-Bro
John: Drew McIntyre playfully referred to his team as RK-McBro. I don’t know if that name is going to work, but I like it. This match should be excellent because I expect them to get 20+ minutes, which should mean the heels working over the babyfaces like Riddle and Orton for extended periods leading to Drew getting the hot tag. Lots of nearfalls, cheap tactics by Roman/Usos and a hot finish most likely. With that said, I think doing a six-man tag as a PPV main event (assuming it goes last) is a bit peculiar, but it’s a way to avoid doing the Reigns/McIntyre title match too soon. We know this show isn’t as big or as important as the last one or what’s coming up in July and September.
I think Drew McIntyre pinning one of The Usos (probably Jimmy) is the most likely finish. I also assume it’s a popular prediction because it makes sense. Reigns is protected by not being pinned and one of The Usos losing is fine because Drew is a former WWE Champion that is arguably the top babyface in the entire company. It’s a way to progress the Drew/Roman story leading into their eventual Universal WWE Title match either at Hell in a Cell next month (not a stadium show) or one of three consecutive stadium shows like Money in the Bank, SummerSlam and Clash at the Castle in Wales in September. I don’t know when Drew gets his one-on-one title match with Reigns, but when he does, he might finally be the guy to be the new champion.
Winners: Drew McIntyre, Randy Orton & Riddle (RK-McBro?)
The Match I’m Looking Forward To The Most
Joel: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.
Alex: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.
Matthew: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.
Kelly: Edge vs. AJ Styles.
John: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.
The Match I Care About The Least
Joel: Bobby Lashley vs. Omos.
Alex: Bobby Lashley vs. Omos.
Matthew: Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss.
Kelly: Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss.
John: Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss.
Joel: Bloodline vs. RK-Bro/Drew McIntyre.
Alex: Cody vs. Rollins II (~25 minutes).
Matthew: Edge vs. AJ Styles.
Kelly: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.
John: Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins.
Joel: Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin.
Alex: Bobby Lashley vs. Omos (eight minutes max, please).
Matthew: Bobby Lashley vs. Omos.
Kelly: Bobby Lashley vs. Omos.
John: Bobby Lashley vs. Omos. Keep it under ten minutes.
Excitement Level on a Scale of 1-10 (1 being low, 10 being high)
Joel: 6. This is essentially a filler show. Every match has world class athletes in it. I just feel like nothing of importance will come of this show. It’ll still be a good show.
Alex: 5. This is a pretty weak lineup. There’s only one guaranteed good-to-great match scheduled and the main-event is a disappointment. Like many of you I was intrigued by the tease of another title unification, but the company got cold feet and changed their minds. Just like that the other biggest reason to tune into this show disappeared and what we’re left with is more or less a slightly better version of RAW.
Matthew: 4. On paper there are several matches that will be good or even great. The problem is besides the Women’s match, none of them feel like they actually mean anything. Changing the Main Event made me a lot less interested in this PPV, as a Six-Man Tag Match just doesn’t excite me as much as a Title unification. It is clear to me that WWE is saving it’s best stuff for the stadium shows this summer, and is just cruising to then.
Kelly: I’m at a 6 here. RematchMania usually delivers and has several big matches on the card. It is still mostly rematches and a little hard to get really excited for.
John: 7. I can’t go higher than that due to the lack of excitement with this card. However, I can’t go lower than that either because I think the 6-man tag, Cody-Seth, Edge-Styles and Charlotte-Ronda all have the potential to be four star plus level matches and if all four of them reach that level then it’s going to be an outstanding show. That’s the optimist in me. The realist in me knows that all of them might not get to that level, so then it becomes more of a “good but not great” show and that’s where a 7 out of 10 rating comes into play. You would think with a roster as deep as WWE that they could put on a more intriguing with seven or eight matches, but instead it’s just this lineup with six matches. At least the four big matches are all going to get a lot of time.
John: I’ll be back with a review of WWE WrestleMania Backlash on TJRWrestling.net on Sunday, so check that out live or any time after it’s over.
If you want to send an email, send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org as well. Thanks for reading.