LECLAIR’S WWE WRESTLEMANIA BACKLASH 2022 REPORT: Alt perspective, detailed coverage of McIntyre & RKBro vs. Bloodline, Flair vs. Rousey, Rhodes vs. Rollins, more

By Brandon LeClair, PWTorch contributor

Full review of the WrestleMania Backlash kickoff show
PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

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LECLAIR’S WWE WRESTLEMANIA BACKLASH 2022 REPORT
MAY 8, 2022
PROVIDENCE, RI AT DUNKIN’ DONUTS CENTER
AIRED LIVE ON PEACOCK (U.S.), WWE NETWORK (Int.)

Announcers: Michael Cole & Pat McAfee (Smackdown), Jimmy Smith & Corey Graves & Byron Saxton (Raw)

-The opening video package highlighted the night’s major matches, honing in crossing over to a new start, with the effects “rippling across the universe.”

-Pyro exploded from the massive LED entrance stage. Jimmy Smith welcomed the audience to the sold out Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence. Smith called tonight a “second chance at history” after last month’s WrestleMania. Byron Saxton hyped up the six man tag team main event. Corey Graves hyped the rematch between Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes. Smith tossed to a video package for the match.

Seth Rollins headed to the ring first, serenaded by the crowd. He wore his lace gear from WrestleMania and orchestrated the crowd to sing along. A “Cody” chant broke out as Rollins motioned toward the stage. The lights went out and Cody’s big time entrance followed. The crowd gave him a strong welcome. He gave his belt to a fan on the ramp, then pounded the steps as he riled up the crowd. Corey Graves said Rhodes has been preparing diligently for Seth Rollins, looking “silence his final doubter.” Saxton wondered if Rollins made a mistake by bringing Cody’s late father Dusty into things.

(1) SETH ROLLINS vs. CODY RHODES

Seth Rollins and Cody Rhodes circled the ring. Seth smiled, sticking his tongue out at Cody. The two locked up and traded quick wrist locks. Rhodes dropped to the mat, looking for his patented uppercut, but Rollins grabbed his arm and laughed him off. The felt out another lock up. Rhodes backed Rollins into the corner but the referee broke them up. Rollins turned the tables and kicked Cody in the gut. Rhodes tried to up-and-over Seth, but Rollins telegraphed it and rolled him up for two.

Rollins ran a few laps around the ring. He and Cody traded more quick waist locks. Seth slapped Cody in the back of the head. Rhodes grew angered, tossing Rollins to the corner and throwing quick hands. Seth rolled to the outside to escape, but Cody stayed on him. Seth baited him, pouncing on him back in the ring and taking control. Seth drove his boot into Cody’s chest and neck, forcing him to the outside. Cody climbed back onto the apron, but Rollins hit a running knee. Cody tumbled to the outside, colliding with the barrier.

Cody blocked Seth’s attempted to drive him into the steel steps. Rollins rounded the ring quickly, but Cody gave chase. Rhodes ran into a clothesline, turning Rhodes inside out. Seth rolled him back in the ring for a one count. A small dueling chant for both wrestlers broke out. Rollins went for a step-over enziguri, but Rhodes dropped to the mat and hit the signature uppercut he missed earlier. Rhodes followed up with the Disaster Kick for a two count.

Seth begged Cody off, then tried to pounce. Cody blocked him and went for another Disaster Kick, but Rollins shoved him over the top rope to the floor. Rollins dropped to a knew and grabbed at his shoulder. He went outside to retrieve Cody, tossing him into the timekeeper’s area, then slamming his head off the announcers desk. Rollins brought Rhodes into the ring and took a long look around the crowd. Rhodes struggled to his knees. Smith said it’s exactly the match Seth wanted, completely different than WrestleMania.

Rhodes and Rollins traded punches as the match crossed 7:30. Seth got the better of the American Nightmare, downing him over the middle rope to choke him out. Seth grabbed a chin lock after the referee’s break. Cody struggled to his knees, then to his feet. He broke the hold with an elbow to the stomach, but Rollins maintained control with a club to the back of the neck. Seth backed Cody into the corner, but Rhodes managed to fight out with some right hands. Rhodes caught Rollins in a roll up, but Seth kicked out at two and leapt to the apron. Rollins climbed to the top rope, Cody climbed to meet him. Rhodes connected with a stalling Superplex from the top.

Both men rose to their feet slowly, trading chops. Rollins broke the stalemate with a spin kick to the stomach. Rhodes shook it off and hit a snap Powerslam. Cody clotheslined Seth to the outside. He leapt to the top rope and dove to the outside, but Rollins cleared the ringside area. Seth prepared to dive outside, but Cody cut him off. He returned to the ring, hit the ropes, and dropped Rollings with a Cody Cutter for a near fall.

Rollins battled back, setting up for a Pedigree. Rhodes blocked it. Rollins caught him with a Superkick and covered for two. Seth called for the crowd to sing as the match hit 13:30. He went for the stomp, but Cody moved. He set up for Cross Rhodes, but Seth blocked it. Rhodes climbed to the top rope and for a double axe handle, but Seth kicked him. Rollins went for another Pedigree, but Cody blocked him. Rhodes hooked Rollins’ arms, but Seth battled free. Rollins hit the Ripcord Elbow, followed by a Falcon Arrow for a near fall.

Seth dragged Cody to his feet for a Buckle Bomb. Cody dropped to his knees, preventing the lift. Cody went for the Disaster Kick again, but Rollins caught him and executed the Buckle Bomb. Rollins leapt to the top rope and hit the Frog Splash for another near fall. Seth dragged himself up and climbed to the top rope again. He went for the Phoenix Splash, but Cody rolled. Seth landed on his feet and ate a Superkick. Rhodes shook with adrenaline. He climbed to the top rope, but Seth leapt up to meet him. He caught Rhodes with a Superplex and held on. Rhodes countered it into Cross Rhodes. He hooked the leg, but Rollins got a foot on the bottom rope to break the count.

Both men rolled to the outside. Cody pounded on Seth at the announcers desk. He tossed him back inside as the referee hit an eight count. Cody went for a moonsault, but Rollins moved. He scooped Cody up and hit the Pedigree for another near fall. Cody struggled on the mat, grasping at the air. Rollins was incensed. “You can’t even lace my shoes!” he yelled. Seth dragged Cody to his feet after a litany of quick kicks. Rollins used Dusty’s roll up punches. Cody ducked the wind up and hit Cross Rhodes. He hung on for a second one, but Rollins rolled him up for two. Cody set Rollins up for a Vertebreaker. Rollins rolled down his back and rolled him up, grabbing Cody’s tights. Rhodes countered into a roll up of his own. He grabbed the tights and got the three count.

WINNER: Cody Rhodes in 20:45

(LeClair’s Analysis: This one started out a bit slow, but I liked the story they were trying to tell. The announcers went heavy on the explanation that Seth Rollins had studied Rhodes and was far better prepared for him this time around. As a result, Seth seemed to have a significant advantage in the early going. Once these two picked up the pace, though, it was a strong back and forth encounter on par with their great match at last month’s WrestleMania. At one point, though, Jimmy Smith brought up the idea that Cody Rhodes might be suffering from some ring rust after six years away from WWE. Yikes. I can only assume that was a fed line, but regardless, it’s that kind of disdain for the audience that makes this product so hard to genuinely enjoy. Even if you don’t watch AEW, you know where Cody was. And furthermore, if Cody wasn’t somewhere else wrestling and honing his craft, why on Earth would he be back in WWE and being treated like a star? This doesn’t have the effect they think it does – it undercuts the wrestler and shows the company’s propensity for pettiness. While I’m not necessarily a huge fan of #1 babyface Cody Rhodes winning the match by holding the tights, it does make some sense from a storyline perspective. Again, Rollins apparently prepared for every facet of Rhodes’ game the second time around, but he didn’t account for the idea that Cody would potentially cheat to win and steal a page from Rollins’ playbook. The finish leaves things open for a third match in the series if they really want to go that route, but the record also allows them to put a bow on it if they’ve got other plans for Cody.)

-The Raw announce team talked up the match between Bobby Lashley and Omos.

Omos entered first, getting both his height and weight announced by Mike Rome. The crowd barely reacted. Bobby Lashley entered to a decent reaction.

(2) OMOS (w/ M.V.P.) vs. BOBBY LASHLEY

Bobby Lashley squared up and circled Omos. Omos stared on stoically. Bobby threw some punches, but Omos shrugged them off. Lashley continued pounding, causing Omos to slouch against the ropes. M.V.P. leapt on the apron, distracting Lashley. This bought Omos enough time to recover and drop Lashley with a boot to the face. Omos tossed Lashley to the corner and sandwiched him. Lashley collapsed to the mat. Omos grabbed a chin lock, but Lashley quickly fought out of it.

Omos grabbed Lashley by the face and forced him over the top rope to the floor. M.V.P. jawed with Lashley on the outside. Bobby slid back inside in the ring. Omos scooped him up in Powerslam position and delivered Snake Eyes into the corner. Lashley stumbled out and ate another boot. “He is too small!’ Omos said. Omos draped Lashley over the middle rope and drove his knee into Bobby’s neck. The referee admonished M.V.P. for crowding Lashley near the ropes.

Lashley bought some time with a pair of elbows to the stomach of Omos. Bobby jumped on Omos’ back grabbed a chin lock, but Omos shook him off with ease. Lashley speared Omos into the corner, then drove his shoulder repeatedly. Lashley worked Omos to the ropes. He tried to clothesline him over, but Omos didn’t budge. Lashley smartly transitioned, tying Omos’ arms up in the ropes. He hit ten punches and the crowd counted along happily. M.V.P. used his cane to try to free Omos.

M.V.P. swung the cane at Bobby, but Lashley put him in the Hurt Lock. Omos broke it up. Lashley gave Omos a basement drop kick to bring him to a knee. He followed up with a Flatliner. Lashley set up for the Hurt Lock. Omos fought, but Lashley hooked it in. Omos dropped to a knee, almost out. He mustered the strength to stand and back Lashley into the corner to break the hold. Omos drove his elbow into the shoulder of Bobby as the match hit 7:00.

Lashley raised his boots to fight out of the corner. He hit the ropes and speared Omos in the corner again. Bobby set up for a suplex, but Omos easily blocked him. Omos hit the ropes, but got caught by a Spinebuster from Lashley. Bobby set up for a spear, but Omos kneed him in the face and tossed him into the ring post. M.V.P. hit Lashley in the head with the butt of his cane. Lashley stumbled backward, right into the double handed Chokeslam from Omos for a three count.

WINNER: Omos in 8:50

(LeClair’s Analysis: Not a good match. This felt like it was moving in slow motion throughout. Lashley did his best to lead Omos around and create a passable affair, but the reality is simply that Omos is not good enough to be working 8 minute matches. For a man his size, his offense looks weak. He’s slow to his moves, he struggles to be in position, and you can see how much Lashley had to hold back just to avoid getting into positions that Omos simply couldn’t handle. I just don’t get how anyone wins here. Omos doesn’t look like a winner – he looks like a guy who can’t beat Bobby Lashley without M.V.P.’s help. If a heel that size needs help to win a match, and can’t even do so convincingly, what is so menacing about him?)

-Jimmy Smith tossed to a clip from the Usos and Paul Heyman interview on the pre-show. The announce crew hyped the main event.

-Corey Graves tossed to a video package for Edge vs. A.J. Styles

Edge entered first. Mike Rome announced his various accolades, including Grand Slam Champion and Hall of Famer. A.J. Styles followed, receiving a strong reaction from the crowd. Graves said Styles knows no fear, but should learn some for the sake of career longevity. Edge leaned in from the corner, looking ready to pounce.

(3) EDGE vs. A.J. STYLES

Edge and A.J. Styles charged at each other as soon as the bell rang. Styles took Edge to the corner, grounded him, and stomped away. “I’m gonna kick his ass!” Styles yelled to the crowd. They cheered. Styles tossed Edge to the outside and followed him. He launched Edge from barricade to barricade, quickly hitting the ring to break the count. Styles headed back out to bonce Edge off the announcers desk. He tossed him back in the ring. Edge rolled out the other side. Styles hit a brutal sliding dropkick through the bottom rope, dropping Edge.  A.J. didn’t stop there, climbing to the apron and hitting a springboard moonsault onto Edge on the outside.

Styles set up for the Phenomenal Forearm as soon as Edge rolled into the ring. He leapt, but Edge caught him with a kick to the arm and shoulder. Styles pulled it in close. The announcers talked up Styles’ injury. Edge immediately began working over the arm. He tossed Styles to the outside, then loosened a middle turnbuckle in the ring. Edge went outside and catapulted Styles shoulder first into the ring post. Graves said A.J. might be out already.

Edge slammed Styles’ arm onto the steel steps. He ripped the tape off of A.J.’s shoulder. Edge twisted the arm, laughing maniacally and throwing his arms out. Edge grabbed a grounded arm lock. Styles fought to his feet, but Edge took him down by the arm again. Edge applied a shoulder lock. The crowd clapped A.J. to his feet. Styles walked Edge to the corner to force a break. Edge took him down and stomped at the shoulder. Styles dragged himself up and managed to connect with a Pale Kick. Styles went for a clothesline, but Edge ducked. Both men hit the ropes and connected with stereo Cross-Bodies.

Both men dragged themselves up. A.J. hit rapid fire clotheslines. He lifted Edge up in Fireman Carry, position, but the injured shoulder gave out. Styles managed to hit a sit out front facebuster and roll Edge over for a two count. A.J. worked Edge into the corner and hoisted him onto the top rope. He managed a top rope ‘rana for another two count as the match approached 9:00. Styles shook out the shoulder. He set Edge up for the Styles Clash. Edge blocked it and went for Edgecution, but A.J. fought out of it and connected with the Ushigoroshi. Styles clutched at his shoulder again. Edge returned to his feet and lured Styles in. He hit a reverse DDT onto his knee, then transitioned into a Cross Face. Styles managed to roll through it and apply the Calf Crusher. Edge screamed in pain, reaching for the ropes. He couldn’t get there, but managed to briefly break the hold by slamming Styles’ head into the canvas. Styles grabbed the hold again, but Edge managed to stretch to the bottom rope for a break.

Edge removed the turnbuckle pad he untied earlier. Styles gave him a German Suplex. Edge shot up and went for a Spear, but Styles side-stepped him. Edge collided with the exposed turnbuckle. Styles rolled him up for a near fall. Both men rose slowly. Styles charged, but Edge caught him with a Spear. He covered for a near fall of his own. Edge set up for another spear. Styles caught him with a knee to the face. He tossed Edge on the top rope, then caught him on the rebound, transitioning into the Styles Clash. A.J. rolled him over for a believable near fall. Great sequence.

Styles set up for the Phenomenal Forearm, but Damien Priest showed up. He stood just beyond the ringside mats. Styles climbed to the top rope. Finn Balor appeared, attacking Priest from behind. They fought into the ring. Finn tackled himto the outside and they disappeared off screen. A woman, dressed fully in black and wearing a mask and hood, shoved Styles off the top rope. Edge immediately grabbed a Cross Face. Styles passed out and the referee called for the bell.

WINNER: Edge in 15:23

The masked woman entered the ring. “Who is he?” Saxton asked, despite it clearly being a woman. She knelt before Edge. Edge beckoned her to stand. She threw her hood back and whipped toward the camera. It was Rhea Ripley, hair freshly dyed black. She and Edge smiled and posed in the center of the ring.

(LeClair’s Analysis: Good match that, like their WrestleMania encounter, just never moved into second gear. Last month’s match suffered because of the intense focus on the Styles shoulder injury, and instead of moving away from that story here, they leaned into even more heavily. As a result, it felt a little redundant. The finish felt obvious from the start – banning Priest from ringside immediately made me assume they’d be introducing a new member of the stable. I like Rhea Ripley getting a prominent role, but I still think the entire idea of Judgment Day is dead on arrival. The crowd was only minimally invested in this match featuring two huge stars, and I think that’s very much related to the fact that people just don’t appear to be into this Edge character at all. Tonight did nothing to change that. It’s forced, it’s illogical, and it’s mind-numbingly derivative.)

-Michael Cole and Pat McAfee took their places at the announcers desk. Cole said it’s time for the “A Show” to kick things off. He and McAfee wished everyone a Happy Mother’s Day, then tossed to a video package for the Smackdown Women’s title match.

Samantha Irvin announced the rules for an I Quit match. Ronda Rousey entered first. Cole called her a “defining athlete of the century.” Charlotte Flair entered in a new, dark featured robe accented in purple. She winked at the camera as the crowd woo’ed and booed. Irvin provided standard Championship introductions. Rousey crowded Flair in the corner as she was announced. Flair was hit with strong boos.

(4) CHARLOTTE FLAIR (c) vs. RONDA ROUSEY – Smackdown Women’s Championship, I Quit match

Charlotte Flair shot out of the corner, looking for a big boot. Ronda Rousey ducked. She gave Flair a quick kick to the midsection and grabbed an early waist lock. Flair struggled free. Ronda immediately gave her quick arm drags. Cole said she’s weakening her for the Arm Bar. Flair went for a body slam, but Rousey countered into a quick overhead throw. She went for Piper’s Pit, but Flair slid down her back. Flair delivered a brutal looking German Suplex, then kipped up and brushed her shoulders.

Flair went for the Figure Four, but Rousey rolled through it. She climbed Flair’s shoulder and went for the Arm Bar. Flair rolled herself, and Ronda, to the outside. Charlotte drove Ronda into the barricade and gave her a chop. She asked the referee to check with Ronda. “You can chop harder than that,” Ronda gasped. Flair gave her another one. The two women traded words. Rousey tossed Flair into the ring post. “Who wants a Charlotte souvenir?” Rousey yelled. She tossed Flair into the timekeeper’s area and took the referee’s microphone. Rousey went to retrieve Charlotte, but Flair popped up out of nowhere and caught Rousey with a big boot.

Charlotte found a Kendo Stick underneath the ring. She cracked it over Ronda’s back. Ronda shrugged it off and stole the stick. Flair ran all the way to the back with Ronda in pursuit. Flair emerged from the stage with two Kendo Sticks. Flair managed to de-stick Rousey temporarily, but Rousey gave her a monkey toss and got both her sticks. Rousey broke a stick over Flair’s back. They walked and brawled all the way back to the ring. Rousey continued cracking the stick over Flair’s back. Both sticks fell apart. Flair took a camera man’s camera and tossed it at Rousey’s head. Ronda ducked. Flair leapt into the crowd. Ronda gave chase.

Rousey tried to spear Flair into the hockey barriers in the lower level, but Rousey threw a drink in her face. Flair walked Rousey up the steps of the lower level. She pulled her between the stair railings and kneed her in the face. Flair bent Rousey’s back over the steel bar and told the referee to ask her. Rousey refused to quit. Ronda tumbled down the steps. Flair retrieved a steel chair. She swung it Rousey’s head, but Ronda caught it and ripped it from her hands. Flair ran. Rousey returned to ringside and swung the chair wildly, but Flair kicked it out of her hands.

Flair slammed Rousey’s head on the announcers desk as the match approached 10:00. A “we want tables” chant broke out. Flair gave Rousey a Powerbomb into the barricade. Rousey crumpled to the floor awkwardly, clutching her shoulder. She refused to quit. Flair talked to trash. Rousey caught her with a punch, then scooped her up. Flair raked Ronda’s eyes and shoved her into the ring post. Flair threw Ronda haphazardly into the ring steps. Rousey rolled around the floor, clutching her forearm. The crowd began another “we want tables” chant. Flair climbed to the top rope. Rousey leapt up to meet her. She dragged Flair into a Tree of Woe and applied the Arm Bar. Flair screamed in agony. The two eventually tumbled to the floor together, breaking the hold. Flair clutched her arm and propped herself up against the ring steps. She grabbed the chair left at ringside.

Ronda ate a chair shot to the elbow and midsection. “Ask her!” Flair demanded. Ronda said no, emphatically. Rousey pulled herself into the ring. Flair gave her Natural Selection onto a steel chair. Ronda still refused to quit. Flair began talking to herself in frustration. She applied the Figure Four. Rousey tried to block it, but Flair fought her off and bridged into the Figure Eight. Rousey screamed in agony. The referee asked her if she’d quit. “Never, bitch!” Ronda screamed. She swung the chair wildly at Flair, breaking the hold. Charlotte gave her a boot. She set up the chair. “Ronda, this is your last chance. Happy mother’s day.” Rousey shot up. She pulled Flair’s arm through the chair and rolled into the Arm Bar. Flair’s arm was caught in between the opening of the chair. Flair refused to quit. “I was hoping you’d say that, bitch!” Rousey pulled back harder, bending the arm and forcing the weight of the chair into Flair’s shoulder. Charlotte quit.

WINNER: Ronda Rousey in 16:34, new Smackdown Women’s Champion

(LeClair’s Analysis: This was a lot of fun. The feud has left a lot to be desired, and I don’t think WWE got all that they bargained for, but I expect they’ll be happy with how things went tonight. This was a fairly significant improvement over their WrestleMania encounter. The crowd was far more engaged, and the stakes felt bigger despite the build leaving a lot to be desired. This was Ronda’s best showing since her return, and a good night for Charlotte, too, even in defeat. I’m not a big fan of “I Quit” matches, because they usually end in a heel victory by way of some poorly booked shenanigans, but I thought this worked well. Flair dominated much of the match and looked poised to put Rousey away, and only uttered “I quit” when staring down a broken arm. Going forward, they’ve got some work to do to keep Rousey a strong babyface, but if they keep putting her positions like they did tonight, it has a real shot of succeeding.)

-Cole and McAfee tossed to a video package for Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss. Cole and McAfee talked about how big of a night it is for Moss.

(5) HAPPY CORBIN vs. MADCAP MOSS

Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss locked up in the center of the ring to begin the match. Moss backed Corbin toward the ropes, but Happy kicked him in the calf to create space. McAfee said both men spent some time in the NFL. Moss leap frogged Corbin twice, then gave Corbin a quick hip toss. Corbin hoisted Moss onto the apron, then kneed him in the face. Happy gave Madcap a big chokeslam, then growled at the crowd. McAfee said Corbin is trying to prove that he’s worth a damn. Cole defended Corbin, listing his WWE accolades. McAfee shrugged them off.

Moss stumbled around on the outside. Corbin hit him with a flurry of punches. Corbin tossed Moss back in the ring, then taunted the crowd. He gave Moss a running elbow and covered him for a two count. Corbin whipped Moss into the corner, dropping him. Corbin grabbed Madcap by the ponytail and drove his elbow into Moss’ shoulder. He grabbed a chin lock. Moss tried to will the crowd to life, but they could only muster a murmur.

Corbin hit the ropes and slid out of the ring for his signature ’round the post clothesline. He covered Moss for a two count, then shushed the crowd. Corbin slammed Moss then hit a standing senton for another two count. Corbin tried to toss Moss to the outside, but Madcap blocked it, hit the ropes, and kicked Corbin through the middle rope. Moss shot out of the ring to meet him. he shoved Corbin into the ring post and brought Happy back inside just before the referee’s count of ten. Moss caught Corbin with a knee at the 7:00 mark. He followed up with a Fallaway Slam for a two count.

Moss went for the Punch Line, but Corbin countered it with a back drop. He delivered more right hands, then went for a short-arm clothesline. Moss blocked it, but Corbin remained in control. He cornered Moss and lifted him to the top turnbuckle. Moss fought him off. Moss went for a middle rope clothesline, but Corbin caught him with Deep Six for a near fall. Corbin splashed Moss in the corner. He went for the ’round the post clothesline again, but Moss ducked it and rolled Corbin up with a sunset flip for a three count.

WINNER: Madcap Moss in 9:47

(LeClair’s Analysis: Nothing match with total disinterest from the crowd. You could’ve heard a pin drop throughout the majority of this one. Slow, and plodding, with Corbin dominating the vast majority of the bout and Madcap Moss’ comebacks being completely dulled by a crowd that simply did not care. It’s clear they see something in Moss, but with this gimmick, he’s already hit the ceiling. The right guy won, I guess, but again, there’s just no upside with a character as ridiculous as this. Meanwhile, Corbin, who at least used to be able to muster a ton of heel heat with minimal effort, has become so over-exposed that it appears the crowd is simply disinterested in his shtick entirely. This felt like so much more than ten minutes, and marked yet another cheap-feeling roll up finish.)

-Cole recapped the finish to the Smackdown Women’s title match. He tossed to Kayla Braxton backstage, outside the trainer’s room. Kayla said Flair suffered a fracture of the radius bone. McAfee gave a quick breakdown of the upper arm and concluded that Charlotte has a broken arm.

-Corey Graves joined Cole and McAfee for the main event. He thanked Set It Off for the WrestleMania Backlash theme song. Cole tossed to a video package hyping the main event.

Drew McIntyre entered first, sword in hand. He received a good, but tepid reception. RKBro followed, with a good pop for Orton’s music and entrance. Riddle bumped fists with fans down the ramp and hugged a fan at ringside. Orton gave McIntyre a fist bump. Riddle kicked his flip flops off and new AR grasshoppers flew from his feet. The crowd immediately broke into a big “Randy” chant. Randy blew them a kiss.

The Bloodline’s music broke up the party. The crowd immediately turned toward the stage. Roman Reigns emerged, flanked by The Usos and Paul Heyman. They held up their tag team titles. Reigns wore the WWE title on his waist and held the Universal title high above his head as pyro filled the stage. Reigns passed the Universal title off toe Heyman and began his descent toward the ring.

A loud Randy Orton chant broke out again as the teams settled into their corners.

(6) DREW McINTYRE & RANDY ORTON & RIDDLE vs. ROMAN REIGNS & THE USOS (Jimmy & Jey, w/ Paul Heyman) – Six Man Tag Team match

Randy Orton began the match with Jimmy Uso. He teased reaching for McIntyre’s sword, but thought better of it. Orton took down Jimmy quickly, then tagged in Riddle for some quick double team moves. Jimmy recovered quickly. He whipped Riddle into the corner and gave him a big chop. The announcers talked about the chemistry Orton and Riddle have crafted in such a short period of time. Riddle gave Jimmy an impressive delayed Gutwrench Suplex, tagging in McIntyre with Jimmy still in tow.

Drew McIntyre entered and took Jimmy Uso to the corner. He stared down Roman Reigns in the opposing corner. McIntyre dropped Jimmy, then gave him a dead-lift Suplex. Jimmy rolled to his corner. McIntyre called for Roman Reigns. Paul Heyman talked to Reigns, telling him “not now.” Roman asked for the tag anyway. Jimmy obliged. Reigns stepped in the ring slowly. Roman rolled his wrists and circled the ring. Roman looked ready to lock up, but then casually tagged in Jey Uso. “I call the shots, I’m the shot caller around here,” Roman told the crowd. They booed heavily. Pat McAfee laughed uproariously.

McIntyre gave Jey Uso an overhead toss. He continued to jaw at Reigns. Drew tagged in Riddle. Riddle shot Jey off the ropes, but Jimmy tagged himself in. The Usos took down Riddle and stomped away at him in their corner. They taunted the crowd, throwing up their fingers. Jimmy draped Riddle over the middle rope and choked him. Jey got a cheap shot in. McIntyre tried to get in the ring, but the referee stopped him. Jey tagged in at 5:30. He gave Riddle a body slam and stomped on Riddle’s open palm. Jimmy took another cheap shot with the referee’s back turned. Jimmy tagged in. The Usos hit a combo knee and backbreaker and covered Riddle for two. Reigns tagged in after consulting with Paul Heyman. Cole said it was convenient, with Riddle hurting. Reigns cornered Riddle and beat him to the mat.

Roman waved at Drew McIntyre on the apron. He tossed Riddle off the ropes and gave him a violent shoulder tackle. The crowd booed him loudly. McAfee said there won’t be enough CBD in Rhode Island for Riddle to recover from the beating he’s taking from the Bloodline. Graves suggested they just cross the border into Massachusetts. Reigns tagged in Jimmy Uso and the Bloodline continued isolating Riddle. Jey cut off a brief attempt at a tag. He tossed Riddle into the ring post, then delivered a Super kick to Orton. Randy melted off the apron onto the floor. Riddle managed to buy some time with a running kick. Jey rolled to the outside . Reigns retrieved him, tossing him in the ring and tagging himself in. At the same moment, Riddle tagged in Drew McIntyre.

Drew entered the ring. Reigns hesitated. He finally joined McIntyre in the center and threw a punch. The two traded blows. Reigns caught him with a knee to the gut. He whipped McIntyre to the corner, but Drew exploded out with a clothesline. He delivered a quick neckbreaker. Jimmy Uso hit the ring and ate a neckbreaker, too. Jey rushed in and got taken down. Drew set up for the Claymore, but Reigns cut him off with a Superman Punch. Drew rolled to the outside. Reigns followed, tossing him against the barricade and the ring apron. He brought Drew back inside.

Reigns delivered a boot to McIntyre and paced the ring as the match approached 14:00. Randy Orton and Riddle finally returned to their apron. Reigns battered McIntyre with clotheslines in the corner. He followed up with a leaping clothesline. Paul Heyman handed Roman both his titles. Reigns held them up and showed them off to each side of the arena before returning them to safety. Reigns gave Riddle an uppercut, dropping him to the floor. Orton grew enraged. Reigns turned around and ate a Claymore from McIntyre. Reigns tagged in Jimmy Uso. McIntyre got the hot tag to Randy Orton.

Orton gave Jimmy a snap Powerslam. Jey entered the ring and took one, too. Orton gave Jimmy the draping DDT. He willed the crowd to their feet and pounded the mat for the RKO. Jey cut him of. Orton tossed him from the ring. Reigns ran in, but Orton dropped him with an RKO. Jimmy gave Orton a Superkick. Orton stumbled back, but hit Jimmy with an RKO. He hooked the leg, but Jey broke up the pin attempt just in time. Drew McIntyre entered. He tossed Jey Uso to the corner and pounded on him. He tossed him across the ring, then went for a Claymore. He ate a Superkick instead. The Usos followed up with a tandem Superkicks on McIntyre.

Riddle returned to the apron, begging for a tag. Jey Uso dragged his brother to his corner so he’d be able to tag out. Jey tagged in, Riddle tagged in. Riddle gave both Usos quick kicks. He hit Jey with an overhead suplex out of the corner. He missed a sliding knee, but connected with a standing Moonsault. Riddle gave Jey a Fisherman Suplex and then hit the Floating Bro. He hooked the leg for a near fall just before 19:00.

The crowd broke out a big “this is awesome” chant. Riddle pounded the mat and went for an RKO, but Jey rolled him into a cover for two. He gave Riddle a big pop-up Neckbreaker. Orton broke up a pinfall attempt. Orton and Jimmy Uso spilled to the outside. Orton took Jimmy out. Roman Reigns appeared to drop Orton. Drew McIntyre threw Reigns into the ringside steps. He cleared the announcers desk. Drew set Reigns up for a Powerbomb. Jimmy tried to make the save, but ate a Glasgow Kiss. Drew turned and walked into a Uranagi from Reigns through the table.

Back in the ring, Riddle and Jey traded big Superkicks. Jey stumbled to the corner. He climbed to the top rope. Riddle leapt to the top rope to meet him. He hit a Super RKO. On the way down, Reigns tagged himself in off of Jey’s falling body. He speared Riddle and covered him for a three count.

WINNERS: The Bloodline in 22:18

(LeClair’s Analysis: Fast paced, hard hitting and chaotic match that was fun from start to finish. In totality, it still feels like an underwhelming main event for a Premium Live Event, especially replacing a very well built title unification match. The announcers tried their hardest to make this feel consequential, but it just never felt like a big deal. The crowd, for their part, was invested throughout and thoroughly engaged, thanks largely to Randy Orton, who is more popular now than perhaps at any other point in his career. Reigns was treated like a mega-star, too. WWE went heavy on the idea of the eventual Reigns/McIntyre match being a big deal, and I like that they’re making moves to position it that way. Still, they’d be in a whole lot better place had McIntyre been doing something other than feuding with Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss for what felt like an eternity and then-some. Booking aside, this was a great match well worth going out of your way to watch, even if it didn’t mean a whole lot.)

FINAL THOUGHTS: Strong night of wrestling, but a show that felt very inconsequential. I hadn’t realized until the main event that they’d only booked one title match all night. Granted, they had two big grudge feuds anchoring the undercard, and a great six-man main event, but I don’t think they did enough tonight to make anyone feel that they were witnessing a special event or anything resembling “another shot at history” like they billed. I’m a bit torn, because I think they over-delivered in the ring and under-delivered on story development and general progression. They kicked the can down the road on Edge/Styles again, left the door open for a third Rhodes/Rollins match, and got out of the Corbin/Moss match with a roll up finish. On the flip side, Rousey and Flair improved greatly upon their WrestleMania encounter, and the main event, while feeling sort of pointless, was excellent for what it was. This one is worth a watch for some good action, but don’t expect to be impressed with story direction.

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