WWE deciding to run this Backlash PPV in Puerto Rico was clearly a very smart move. This crowd was louder than any WWE audience has been in years and was ready to make this one of the most exciting WWE shows in years. All that was left was for WWE themselves to actually pull of a well excecuted show without dropping the ball much like they did on night 2 of WrestleMania. Did they achieve this? Let’s find out.

Raw Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair vs. Iyo Sky

Is there anybody, male or female, more reliable in these big time events than Bianca Belair? Although the red hot Puerto Rican crowd undoubtedly wanted to see a title change here, Belair still put on her usual fantastic baby face performance.

Personally I could have done without the interference from Bailey and Dakota Kai, even if it is leading to that failure of a faction eventually breaking up. Overall this was still a really hot opener to an exciting show, good stuff.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Seth Rollins vs. Omos

I should preface this match review by saying I generally think Rollins is overrated and is only over because of his annoying theme song. Also Omos is Omos.

Having said all that, I felt this match was worked very well as a classic David Vs Goliath pro wrestling match, even if everybody watching knew David was 100% winning. I probably won’t remember much of this a week from now aside from the very cool top rope curb stomp, but it did its job.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

U.S Championship: Austin Theory vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed

I really don’t have a lot to say about this one. It was quick, it was inoffensive, and the crowd were into it. This crowd was so hot that they would have carried anything on this night, and this slightly clunky and forgettable triple threat was the best example of this.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Smackdown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega

This was the perfect babyface Vs heel dynamic and I was all here for it. It’s no secret that Vega isn’t on the level of some of the top wrestlers in the women’s division such as Ripley, however her genuinely emotional hometown reception made her the perfect underdog in this one.

It didn’t overstay it’s welcome and although the reaction to a Vega win would have been amazing, Ripley winning clean was the right call long term.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Street Fight: Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest

I’m one of those wrestling fans who had never heard of Bad Bunny before he began showing up on WWE programming, well I know who he is now and clearly so do Puerto Rico! What an entrance this was, even people who don’t know Bad Bunny’s music must have appreciated this all time epic entrance from the hometown mega star.

The match itself was a lot of fun. A celebrity of this stature really doesn’t have to be working street fight matches to this level, but the fact he does just shows how much he must love this business and I respect the hell out of that. I just wish Michael Cole also understood this business, it’s insane to me that the voice of the biggest wrestling company on the planet still doesn’t know the names of half the moves he’s calling, let alone the general fact he’s annoying and takes away from more matches than he adds to.

Despite Cole’s god awful commentary, this match was an absolute triumph and even more so when you remember it’s a celebrity match. Speaking as somebody who doesn’t necessarily enjoy WWE, I cannot argue that nobody does spectacle matches like they do. The ending sequence with Judgement Day, Carlito, Rey Mysterio and Savio Vega was nothing short of electric. Honestly this was perfect for what it was. Genuinely great stuff.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Bloodline vs. Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly why this match didn’t quite hit like many people might have hoped given it branches from one of WWE’s best storylines in recent years. The most obvious reason is probably the fact that Owens & Zayn have defeated the Usos twice now, that part of the story is essentially done. Adding Matt Riddle to the mix may enhance this depending on your personal tolerance for Riddle being back on television. Personally I think he’s a piece of shit that leaves a dark cloud over every match/angle he’s involved in but that’s only one person’s opinion, a lot of people still enjoy him.

The internal strife in the bloodline is what drove this match and that particular part of it was interesting. However, having the bloodline then win the match clean not only made Riddle and the tag champs look a bit weak, but also just delays the inevitable exit of the Usos from the bloodline. The match in general was worked well but the shine has definitely gone from this story.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodes

As is usually the case with Brock Lesnar matches, this one was kept short, sweet, and violent. Sadly, WWE didn’t quite have the balls to well and truly pull the trigger on a decisive Cody win. Although Cody winning was, of course, the right call, having him do it in an almost cowardly heel way was disappointing.

Brock getting colour the hard way added so much to this match, as blood often does. Maybe it’s time for WWE to loosen their stance on this but that’s highly doubtful. Either way, Brock drenched in blood as the beloved underdog Cody chased down the beast felt like it was set up for the feel-good babyface win. So when Cody basically stole the win with a cheap looking roll up, it felt like the air was well and truly let out the building, even if it was the right man getting the 3-count.

There’s no doubt WWE stupidly dropped the ball by not giving Cody the title at WrestleMania. This was obviously meant to act as a course-correction. Whether or not it succeeded is hard to say, but it certainly wasn’t the triumph many had hoped for. Cody literally running away as the show goes off the air does not exactly sound like he’s anywhere near “finishing the story”.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Final Verdict

Overall Backlash was a great show in front of a molten hot crowd in Puerto Rico. It maybe says a lot about the current WWE product that the hottest name coming out of this show was Bad Bunny who isn’t even an active wrestler. Though there’s no arguing that this show was a lot of fun and got more right than it did wrong.

It got off to a hot start and was paced perfectly leading to Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest which was easily the standout match of the night. The co-main events somewhat burst the bubble and the tired crowd were proof of that come the end. Had they properly stuck the landing with a convincing Cody win then this would have ended on much more of a high. Sadly, it ended up just being really good rather than great.