WrestleMania 38 ended, like the one before it, with. At WrestleMania , with Brock Lesnar seemingly vanquished, it appears WWE is setting up a new challenger for the title in Drew McIntyre. The two aren’t clashing for the gold, but rather head two respective teams in a six-man tag: Reigns teams with The Usos to take on McIntyre and the team of RK-Bro.
There are no titles of the line — or at least, such a stipulation hasn’t been announced yet — so it’s possible that we see Reigns pinned for the first time in forever on Sunday night.
WrestleMania Backlash is unusually bereft of title matches, but there is one in Ronda Rousey’s challenge for Charlotte Flair’s SmackDown Women’s Championship in an I Quit match. Elsewhere, AJ Styles takes on Edge and Cody Rhodes battles Seth Rollins, two WrestleMania rematches, which both have the potential to be classics.
Check back to this page when WrestleMania Backlash starts at 5 p.m. PT/8 p.m. ET as I’ll be updating with results and analysis.
AJ Styles vs. Edge
Damian Priest is barred from the ringside for this WrestleMania rematch.
Omos beats Bobby Lashley
Watching Omos wrestle Bobby Lashley is novel for about a minute, then increasingly underwhelming as the bout drags on. These two fought for 10 minutes and, other than the finish, there’s really not much to say about it.
After 10 minutes of mostly generic brawling, Omos threw Lashley into the turnbuckle, making his shoulder crash into the post between the top and middle rope. As the ref was busy keeping Omos off Lashley, MVP smashed Lashley in the face with his cane. Omos then gave a dazed Lashley a two-handed chokeslam for the win.
At one point in the match Lashley put the Hurt Lock on Omos, but Omos, after nearly passing out, managed to break free. Later, Lashley was able to plant Omos with a spinebuster. Other than these spots, there’s little to report about this.
Rating: 1 star.
Cody Rhodes pins Seth Rollins
The American Nightmare’s return WrestleMania match against Seth Rollins kicked off Backlash. It ended with Cody, surely on the road to a Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns, rolling up Seth for the win.
The match was much different to their WrestleMania encounter. Whereas that was an exchange of big moves, this had more storytelling to it. For the first half of the match, Rollins was one step ahead of Rhodes. It’s not just that Rollins got heat on Rhodes, but that Rollins had a counter for all of Rhode’s attempted offense. The commentators did a good job at explaining that Rollins had clearly watched tape on Rhodes and had prepared for his moves.
Halfway through, Rhodes gave Rollins a big slap and it turned into a slugfest. Rhodes got the better of Rollins, which began his comeback. Cody got some offense in, countered a Suicide Dive and landed a Cody Cutter for a two count — getting the first “This is awesome!” chant of the night.
The two then brawled on the outside. Rhodes threw Rollins into the ring and attempted a Moonsault from the top rope, but Rollins moved out of the way and then planted Rhodes with a Pedigree for a two count.
Rollins yelled that Cody can’t lace his boots, and then taunted him by doing Dusty Rhodes’ punching combination. Rhodes countered, yanking Rollins into a Cross Rhodes. He tried to roll into a second one, but Rollins caught Rhodes with a knee. Rollins attempted a roll up, pulling on Rhodes tights, but Rhodes reversed the roll up into one of this own and, with a fistful of Rollins tights, got the three count.
Rating: 4.5 stars. Fantastic match. These two had the match of WrestleMania, and this was better. It’s hard to communicate this in a recap, but Rollins and Rhodes work super well together. Everything they do is smooth — they’re fun to watch. As noted, this bout had a greater storytelling element to it than their original clash, which to me made it easier to get invested in.