5/8 WWE BACKLASH PPV RESULTS: Keller’s report on Reigns & Usos vs. McIntyre & RK-Bro, Charlotte vs. Rousey, Edge vs. Styles, Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor


SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

KELLER’S WWE WRESTLEMANIA BACKLASH PPV REPORT
MAY 8, 2022
PROVIDENCE, R.I. AT DUNKIN’ DONUTS CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON PEACOCK

Smackdown Commentators: Michael Cole & Pat McAfee

Raw Commentators: Jimmy Smith & Byron Saxton & Corey Graves


-They opened with a video package previewing the key matches on the show.

-Jimmy Smith introduced the show. They went to Smith, Corey Graves, and Byron Saxton on camera. They announced the first match would be Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins. Graves emphasized that it wasn’t an even playing field last time because Seth didn’t know who his opponent would be.

(Keller’s Analysis: That’s a nice story, but considering fans were chanting Cody’s name for weeks before WrestleMania, it’s a flimsy excuse since, storyline-wise,. Seth should have at least prepared for Cody “just in the case the rumors were true.”)

-A video package aired specifically on the Cody vs. Seth match.

(Keller’s Analysis: These long pre-match video packages are divisive. To someone who watches Raw & SD every week, they’re a waste of time. But a lot of people are sitting next to someone catching up on this storyline so the match means something to them. Not every PLE viewer is a regular TV viewer. WWE wants people who tune in for their monthly live PPV-style events to not feel lost. However, Seth’s ring entrance didn’t begin until nine minutes past the start of the PLE. Is that too long? Perhaps.)

(1) SETH ROLLINS vs. CODY RHODES

Seth’s entrance took place first. When Cody came out, a “Cody” chant rang out. Cody played to the crowd as he came out and as his pyro blasted. Cody seemed energized by “Cody” chants right before the bell. Smith talked about Cody being away from WWE for six years. (So far so good.) Then he said maybe we aren’t taking into account his ring rust. (Now Smith is being ridiculous. Being away from WWE doesn’t mean he wasn’t wrestling regularly, and WWE’s storyline isn’t even implying he wasn’t wrestling elsewhere. You can say Cody “isn’t used to this level of competition” or something along those lines, but you can’t claim ring rust unless you’re just talking about a few months of inactivity, but his implication was that he was inactive for six years.) Corey Graves, as he often does, immediately clarified to Smith that Cody wrestled much of that time elsewhere.

Cody and Seth battled back and forth for the first ten minutes. Good, hard-hitting action as they build toward the next chapter of the match where they shift to another gear. Seth settled into a sleeper mid-ring at 10:00. Cody thought of pulling Seth’s hair, but instead elbowed himself free. Seth yelled to the crowd, “Do you understand who I am?” Seth tried to score a leverage pin with his hand grabbing a rope for leverage, but Cody powered Seth over for a one count himself. Cody superplexed Seth seconds later. Both were down and slow to get up at 12:00. They shifted to another gear. Cody powerslammed Seth and then clotheslined him over the top rope. Cody then did a running springboard toward Seth on the floor, but Seth moved. Cody favored his knee after his landing. Back in the ring, Cody surprised Seth with a quick Cody Cutter for a two count. Seth fired back with an enzuirigi and a superkick for a two count.

Seth went for a stomp next, but Cody moved. Cody leaped off the ropes, but Seth caught him and set up a Pedigree. Cody countered with his own Pedigree set-up. Fans rose for that. Seth back-elbowed Cody and landed a Falcon Arrow for a near fall. (Credit to WWE announcers for not shouting “This is it! It’s over” before every two count, which almost always means it’s most definitely not over and there will be a kickout.) A “This is awesome” chant rang out briefly.

Seth threw some knees into Cody’s ribns. Cody leaped at Seth with a leg scissors, but Seth turned it into a buckle bomb. He climbed to the top rope and landed a fast frog-splash for a near fall. Fans popped for the kick out. Seth climbed to the top rope and went for a corkscrew splash, but Cody moved and then superkicked him. Cody got fired up and played to the crowd. Then he climbed to the top rope, but Seth recovered and met him up there. He superplexed Cody, then hung on and went for another. Cody, though, hit the Crossroads. He made the cover near the ropes. Seth put his leg over the bottom rope. Saxton called it a lucky break for Seth. Graves said it was either luck or ring awareness. Cody regrouped as Seth rolled to the floor.

Cody went after Seth at ringside and rammed him into the announce desk. He stood on the desk and played to the crowd. He then tossed Seth into the ring and climbed to the top rope. He went for a moonsault, but Seth moved and then hit a quick Pedigree. Graves said, “That is it!” Cody kicked out. (When they don’t overdo it, calling the match over before the ref counts can be dramatic. They overdo it, but it felt appropriate here for Graves to say it because it was a Pedigree.) Seth leaned on the bottom rope and caught his breath as Cody was face down and out on the mat.

Seth told Cody he can’t lace his boots. He rapid-kicked Cody in the face. Seth delivered a Dusty Rhodes-style sequence of quick punches and a bionic elbow attempt. Cody blocked it and hit a Crossroads. Seth hit a knee. Cody countered into vertibreaker attempt, but Seth rolled out of it and yanked on Cody’s tights for a two count. Cody rolled through and yanked on Seth’s tights for the three count.

WINNER: Cody in 21:00. (****1/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: Really smartly paced match. It had really good pacing, didn’t waste moves or wedge in spots for the sake of spots, and built over time as it shifted into higher gears. The finish works because it “protects” Seth from losing clean, but Cody still gains because ht outsmarted and outwrestled Seth using Seth’s own shortcut better than Seth could.) [c]

-A video package previewed the next match.


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(2) BOBBY LASHLEY vs. OMOS (w/Bobby Lashley)

During Omos’s ring entrance, the announcers talked up MVP adding to Omos’s skills and strategy. Lashley’s came out to his new ring entrance special effects including blue laser lights and pyro blasting as Lashley stood on a platform. Graves touted Lashley’s physique. Saxton said he thinks Lashley looks at Omos and sees him as the underdog. Graves said MVP is the X-factor in this rematch.

Lashley opened with a barrage of punches, but then turned and gave attention to MVP who was standing on the ring apron. That DISTRACTION led to Omos recovering and taking over offense. Omos grabbed onto Lashley’s head and torqued his neck. Then Omos shoved Lashley over the top rope. He played to the crowd. Boos rang out. Omos gave Lashley a snake eyes and then a big boot to knock a running Lashley down. He played to the ringside camera and smiled. (Has Omos been watching Sammy Guevara’s matches?) MVP asked Lashley if he’s rethinking his life right now. Lashley leaped onto Omos’s back. Omos threw him off. Lashley charged and speared Omos into the corner. He drove his shoulder into Omos’s gut a few times. He then locked his arms in the ropes and pounded away at him as fans counted along. He broke before the five count. But then went after him again and pushed right up to the five count. The ref nearly DQ’d Lashley. MVP tried to untwist Omos’s arms with his cane. Lashley went after MVP at ringside. He put MVP in a Hurt Lock, but he has his back turned to the ring. Omos grabbed his head with his head.

Lashley broke free and entered the ring. He went after Omos’s leg and then delivered a Flatliner. Lashley set up a Hurt Lock. Graves said, “There is no way in hell.” Lashley tried, but Omos fought him off. Lashley applied it. Omos stood, but then began to fade. Omos powered Lashley hard back into the corner. Omos pounded away at Lashley in the corner. He caught a charging Omos with a boot. He set up a suplex. Omos powered out. Lashley lifted and slammed Omos. Fans popped and then chanted “Bobby! Bobby!” Bobby charged. Omos caught him with a knee and then threw him shoulder-first into the ringpost. MVP jabbed Lashley with his cane as the ref was scolding Omos for not breaking in the corner right away. Omos then gave Lashley the head vice slam for the three count.

WINNER: Omos in 9:00. (*1/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: Omos is progressing and did more here than any previous match. There were a couple spots where he just seemed in sl0-mo during a sequence, but he wasn’t an embarrassment by any means. Lashley gets credit for his role in telling a solid story and making it passable action-wise for a match with low expectations that was a battle of height and power vs. power and experience.) [c]

-A video package aired on the next match.

(3) EDGE vs. A.J. STYLES

Edge came out first. Then Styles. They charged at each other at the bell. Styles got the better of the first exchange. He took Edge down with a dropkick. Edge rolled to ringside. Styles pursued him aggressively and rammed him into the ringside barricade and the ringside steps. Styles broke the count, then swiftly went back after Edge and rammed him face-first into the table. Styles was fighting like he wanted to administer a beating to someone and not give him any breathing room. Styles threw Edge into the ring. Edge rolled out the other side. Styles went with a running dropkick which seemed to graze Edge more than land solid, but the camera angle hid it. Styles then launched off the middle rope with an Asai moonsault. He threw Edge into the ring and signaled for a Phenomenal Forearm. Edge got up and knocked Styles off balance.

Edge took over and slide Styles head-first under the bottom rope onto the stairs. He then wrapped Styles’s arm around the turnbuckle. He untied a middle turnbuckle pad as the ref checked on Styles. Edge then went after Styles at ringside and catapulted him into the ringside steps and ringpost. Edge paraded around the ring and was booed. Edge rolled Styles back into the ring and threw off his protective shoulder tape. Edge rammed Styles onto the mat shoulder-first. Graves said Styles might have a separated shoulder. Edge applied an armbar.

Edge methodically remained in control of Styles until Styles surprised Edge with a Pelé kick. Styles swung, but Edge ducked. They collided mid-ring mid-air with crossbody attempts. Styles was the first to stand. He splashed Edge in the corner. He slammed Edge to the mat face-first and scored a near fall at 8:00. Styles mounted edge in the corner, but Edge fougth back. Styles managed to execute a huracanrana for a near fall. Styles countered Edge’s counter into a shoulder breaker for a two count. They battled on the mat next. Styles applied the Calf Crusher. Edge cried out in pain and reached for the bottom rope. Styles torqued. Edge rammed Styles’s head into the mat to break the hold. Styles, though, re-applied it right away. Edge grabbed the bottom rope to force a break seconds later.

When Styles back suplexed Edge, Edge grabbed the middle turnbuckle pad he loosened earlier. It came lose. Edge charged at Styles, but Styles moved and threw Edge shoulder-first into the exposed turnbuckle. Edge scored a two count. Both were down and slow to get up at 9:00. Styles kneed a charging Edge in the head, then dropped Edge over the top rope and delivered a Styles Clash from there for a near fall. Styles set up a Phenomenal Forearm. Graves said Edge has never been hit with that move. Styles shifted instead to a top rope move. Damian Priest walked out. Graves pointed out he was in the aisleway, not at ringside since he was banned from ringside. Saxton told Graves that’s a technicality. Finn Balor ran out and attacked Priest. They brawled in the ring and then at ringside. Styles then stood on the top rope, but a mystery wrestler in a mask yanked Styles off the top rope. Styles landed hard. Edge then put Styles in an STF. The ref determined Styles was knocked out and called for the bell.

WINNER: Edge via ref stoppage in 16:00. (***3/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: This is a situation where each finish so far can be justified in isolation, but it’s just too many instances of a finish that has that asterisk after some sort of interference or distraction. The match itself was good from the start.)

-The wrestler who interfered unmasked and revealed herself to be Rhea Ripley. She and Edge smiled and posed together.

(Keller’s Analysis: While Ripley is probably ultimately better cast as a babyface than a heel, she can play both roles. Being aligned with Edge should elevate her profile. I like the group having a woman wrestler.) [c]

(4) CHARLOTTE FLAIR vs. RONDA ROUSEY – I Quite match for the Smackdown Women’s Title

Rousey came out first, then Charlotte. Rousey got nice applause for her introduction, but not a superstar babyface reaction. Charlotte got nearly all boos. Rousey ducked a big boot attempt at the bell and then kneed her in the head to drop her. “Ronda comes out of the box cookin'” said Cole. Rousey judo threw Charlotte a couple times, but Charlotte fired back with a clothesline. She paraded around the ring, gloating. The ref held a mic up to Rousey. Rousey slapped it away. Rousey then tossed Charlotte to the mat and set up a Piper’s Pit. Charlotte elbowed out of it and landed a German suplex. Rousey landed hard. Charlotte went for a figure-four, but Rousey countered and then hit a high knee to the face. Nice action early.

Rousey took Charlotte down into an armbar, but Charlotte rolled out of the ring. Cole said there are no DQs and thus no automatic rope breaks. He said that’s why she rolled out of the ring. Charlotte rammed Rousey into the ringside barricade and then landed a chop to the chest. The ref put a mic up to Rousey’s face. Charlotte kept chopping away until Rousey reversed Charlotte into the ringpost. Rousey threw Charlotte over the barricade into the time keeper’s area. Charlotte fired back at Rousey with a boot when Rousey pursued her. The ref asked Rousey again. She said, “No!”

Charlotte pulled a kendo stick out from under the ring. She swung it at Rousey, but Rousey avoided it and then grabbed it. Charlotte ran into the ring and then back out of the ring. Rousey chased after her to the entrance area. Charlotte ducked in the back and came back with two kendo sticks. Charlotte swung then at Rousey. Rousey blocked a swing and took them from Charlotte and tossed her over her head. She bashed Charlotte with both sticks rapid-fire at ringside. The ref asked Charlotte if she quit. “Hell no!” Charlotte said. Rousey bashed Charlotte more inside the ring until Charlotte rolled to the floor. Charlotte yanked a camera away from a cameraman and threw it at Rousey. Rousey moved. They fought into the crowd. Charlotte threw a drink in Rousey’s face.

Charlotte dragged Rousey up the steps in the lower bowl. She wrapped Rousey in the arm railing. The ref asked again. Rousey shouted, “No!” Rousey blocked a swing of a chair. Charlotte fled back to the ring and looked for something udner it. She came out with a chair. She threw Rousey into the announce desk. A “We Want Tables!” chant rang out. Charlotte powerbombed Rousey onto the edge of the ringside barricade. The ref asked. Rousey said no again. Charlotte yelled, “This is my house! This is my show!” Rousey slugged her and had some words for her.

Rousey lifted Charlotte onto her shoulders. Charlotte raked her eyes and shoved her face-first into the ringpost. Charlotte climbed to the top rope. Rousey yanked her off balance and then applied an armbar as Charlotte hung upside down. Charlote shrieked in agony, but said no when the ref asked if she quit. Rousey held on, hanging from her arm. They both dropped hard to the mat. “Holy hell!” said McAfee. Another “We Want Tables” chant rang out. McAfee noted a fan in a Fiend mask and asked, “Is that Fiend in the front row.” (That was improvised and not pertinent or helpful in any way. Not a big deal, but he doesn’t have to express every thought he has outloud.)

Charlotte slammed Rousey onto a chair with a Natural Selection. Rousey yelled “No!” Cole asked if being frustrated helps Charlotte. Charlotte then went for a figure-four. She bridgerd into a Figure-Eight. Rousey cried out in pain. The ref held up the mic. Rousey said, “Never bitch!” She grabbed a chair and bashed Charlotte with it to break free. Charlotte got up and kicked Rousey in the face. Charlotte picked up the chair and set it up. Another “We Want Tables” chant. (Yawn. Just enjoy the match.) Charlotte told Rousey, “This is your last chance. Happy Mother’s Day.” Rousey grabbed Charlotte’s arm and yanked it through the chair and then applied an armbar. Charlotte said no. Rousey said she hoped she’d say that. Then she shifted into a new angle and Charlotte said, “I quit!” Cole said, “What a friggin’ match!” McAfee: “What a fight from beginning to end.” He said Rousey did what she said she was going to do. Charlotte set up and cried.

WINNER: Rousey in 17:00 to capture the Smackdown Women’s Title. (****1/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: That was really good start to finish. And a good closing sequence considering both the special stips and the storyline going in.)

(5) MADCAP MOSS vs. HAPPY CORBIN

As Moss came out, Cole said Moss saw this as the biggest match of his career. Moss was making his weird yip noises and had yellow suspenders and a white belt with brown shoes and red socks. Or more concisely put, he looked ridiculous. Corbin was wearing black pants and boots with a button up flower shirt indicative of someone chilling poolside with a drink and not a care in the world.

Moss leapfrogged Corbin twice and then hip tossed Corbin early. When he charged, Corbin backdropped him over the top rope and then took over offense. Corbin followed with a chokeslam and played to the crowd. He got scattered boos.

They fought at ringside a few minutes in. Corbin beat up Moss right in front of a guy in a Hook t-shirt. I wonder if Corbin, Moss, Vince McMahon, or Kevin Dunn even knew that was a “wrestling t-shirt.” Corbin stayed in control in the ring. He hit a Big Bossman style slide under the bottom rope and return to the ring with a quick clothesline. McAfee referenced Bossman. Corbin landed a senton for a two count. McAfee said Moss’s jokes have been better lately.

Moss made a spirited, hard-hitting, fast-paced comeback and threw Corbin to the floor and then into the ringpost. He let out a big yell to tepid crowd response. Corbin caught a charging Moss with a knee. Moss came back with a fallaway slam for a two count. Corbin came back with a Deep Six for a near fall a minute later. He complained to the ref about the count. Corbin splashed Moss in the corner. Moss came back with a sunset flip for the clean win. Cole called it a massive victory for Moss. Moss leaned against the barricade and celebrated with fans.

WINNER: Moss in 9:00. (*1/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: It’s hard to take even solid action between these two the least bit seriously because their characters are jokes. The action wasn’t bad, though. The pace wasn’t great, but when they turned it up, it was pretty good. Moss can move well for someone his size, and Corbin is solid in his execution of what he does even if it’s not particularly inspiring.) [c]

-Kayla Braxton reported that Charlotte has suffered “a fracture of the radius.”

-Cole hyped WWE Hell in a Cell on June 5. Graves joined Cole and McAfee for the main event which is a mixed brand event. They narrated highlights of the Charlotte-Rousey match. Then Graves then thanked the artist for the official theme of Backlash.

-They went to the announcers on camera. McAfee explained what the radius is. He then said it’s a broken arm and Rousey did what she promised to do.

-A video package aired on the main event.


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(6) ROMAN REIGNS & THE USOS (w/Paul Heyman) vs. DREW MCINTYRE & RK-BRO (Randy Orton & Riddle)

RK-Bro and McIntyre ring entrances were first. Then the Bloodline. By the time the bell rang for the main event, it had been 18 minutes since the finish of the Corbin-Moss main event. A few minutes in, Drew asked for Roman. Roman tagged in. They eyed each other and exchanged some words. Reigns circled Drew, but then tagged back out to Jey Uso. McAfee laughed uproariously. Reigns yelled to the crowd, “I’m the shot-caller around here! I’m the head of the table!”

The Usos took over on Riddle, including a cheap shot by Jimmy on the ring apron as Jey distracted the ref. Orton and Drew complained to the referee. Reigns then tagged in. He raked at Riddle face and threw him hard to the mat. He punched away at Riddle in the corner. He turned to the crowd and got booed. Riddle fought out of the corner, but Reigns cut hiom off with a knee ot the gut and a hard elbow to the chest. Reigns held Riddle just out of reach of his corner. He slammed Riddle and covered him with an elbow on Riddle’s face while looking up to taunt Orton and Drew. Reigns looked at the camera and talked about being the Tribal Chief.

Reigns tagged himself in just as Riddle leaped and tagged in McIntyre. Reigns looked disappointed. Cole emphasized this as “a rare mistake made by the champion.” He said he has to engage with Drew now because the Usos were both on the floor, unavailable for a tag. They met center-ring. They exchanged words, then wild swings. Drew got the better of Reigns including a neckbreaker. He fended off Jimmy with a neckbreaker when Jimmy charged into the ring. Drew then knocked jey off the ring apron. Reigns recovered and surprised Drew with a Superman Punch.

Reigns took Drew down with a leaping clothesline. He asked for his two title belts. Heyman handed them to Reigns. Reigns held them both up. Reigns handed the belts back to Heyman, then turned and punched Riddle. McAfee laughed uproariously. Drew recovered and caught Reigns with a Claymore. Drew then hot-tagged Orton. The crowd popped big. Jimmy also tagged in. Orton went after him with a barrage of offense including his snap powerslam. Jey tried to sneak up behind Orton, but Orton gave him a snap powerslam too. Orton then gave Jimmy a draping DDT. He played to the crowd, then signaled for the RKO. Jey ran into the ring. Orton threw him out of the ring. Reigns snuck up behind Orton, but Orton gave him an RKO. Jimmy recovered and superkicked Orton. Orton gave him a quick RKO in response. Jey broke up the cover.

Drew entered the ring and beat up Jey in the corner. Then he charged with a Claymore attempt, but Jey superkicked him. The Usos gave Drew stereo superkicks. Everyone was down just as Riddle made his way back onto the ring apron. Jey dragged Jimmy to their corner, then tagged himself in just as Orton also tagged in Riddle. Riddle got the better of Jey. He knocked Reigns off the ring apron, then kneed Jimmy at ringside. He landed a Broton and a fisherman’s suplex followed by a Floating Bro off the top rope for a near fall. Fans chanted, “This is awesome!” Riddle pounded the mat to signal for an RKO. Jey countered into a roll-up and then he hit a pop-up neckbreaker. Orton broke up the cover.

Orton tossed Jimmy around ringside. Reigns surprised Orton with a leaping Superman Punch at ringside. Drew threw Reigns into the ringside steps. Drew cleared the announce desk, then set up a powerbomb of Reigns. Jimmy came up behind Drew. Drew gave him a Glasgow Kiss. Reigns recovered and gave Drew a uranage through the table. Riddle dove onto Reigns. Jey dove onto Riddle. Jey threw Riddle back into the ring. Jey and Riddle exchanged kicks. Riddle caught Jey on the top rope and landed a RKO. Reigns then speared Riddle for the win.

WINNERS: Reigns & The Usos in 23:00. (***3/4)

(Keller’s Analysis: A strong WWE-style six-man tag match with the pattern of working toward a hot-tag, hitting some near falls, building to chaos with everyone in ring and at ringside, followed by a big move to end it suddenly.)

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