HEYDORN’S TAKE: Don’t hold me to this – WWE Backlash 2023


WWE Backlash 2023 preview


If Friday’s episode of Smackdown is any indication, WWE Backlash 2023 is going to be a can’t miss event.

No, not because of the matches, top star power, or huge stakes. Because of the audience. The Puerto Rico audience was on fire during Smackdown. They were loud, invested, and fully tapped into the stories being told. This made for a special environment that will magnify an otherwise B minus level card on B level PLE.

Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest is going to a high point of the show due to Bunny’s incredible popularity and willingness to do business in WWE. Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar isn’t far behind in terms of interest, but things fall off after those two matches. WWE Backlash 2023 has some predictable outcomes lined up, but if the matches are built correctly, that predictability shouldn’t play a factor into whether or not the show is a hit or not.

Call this a preview, a calm look into the distant future, or a gaze into a wondrous crystal ball; just don’t hold me to anything, ok?

Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest – San Juan Street Fight

I’ve loved the build to this match. It’s simple and straightforward, but it works. Good guy Bad Bunny has regularly stood up to Priest and has the audience fully on his side to take him out once and for all. Priest has played the part of heel foil well and has sold for Bunny in a way that balanced not being over the top, but being significant enough to give Bunny credibility. Bunny wins definitively.

Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega – WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship

Well, look, Zelina Vega has not been treated even close to a championship level wrestler since she returned to WWE. For that reason, Ripley shouldn’t have problems here. This should clock in under three minutes and feature Ripley strongly decimating Vega. That’s what should happen. Will it? Probably not. I see WWE working to present Vega as the ultimate underdog in this to keep things going longer than they should. Still, though, Ripley takes it clean in the end and retains her championship.

Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn & Matt Riddle vs. The Usos & Solo Sikoa

It seems like WWE is trying to setup Sikoa turning on The Usos if they can’t pull things together to get a win. With Reigns appearing next week on Smackdown and Zayn and Owens leaving for Raw, The Bloodline need a new story to run with throughout the summer and Sikoa/Reigns vs. Usos works to that end. To get there, Owens, Zayn, and Riddle need to win and they will.

Bianca Belair vs. Iyo Sky – WWE Raw Women’s Championship

Iyo Sky is a fresh opponent for Bianca Belair and one that can work a very strong match with her. Sky is a lot like Vega in terms of being a viable threat to the champion, though. She’s been a background player to this point and though she’s front and center here, it doesn’t feel like it’s her time to take that next step. Belair wins and becomes the longest reigning Raw Women’s Championship in modern history.

Seth Rollins vs. Omos

This one is easy. Real easy. Rollins defeats Omos and moves on to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship tournament on Monday night. Rollins says he can be the one to pull a great match out of Omos. We’ll see.

Austin Theory vs. Bronson Reed vs. Bobby Lashley – WWE United States Championship

I kinda would rather just see Reed vs. Lashley here. Those two have had some great chemistry together when they’ve clashed and the styles of each would make for quite the spectacle. Austin Theory is involved too and his involvement all but gives away the finish. Reed hits the Tsunami on Lashley, but gets rolled out of the ring by Theory. Theory covers Lashley and retains the title. That’s it. That’s the only way this can go and the only way it will go.

Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

Cody Rhodes delivered a thorough go-home babyface promo on Smackdown, which all but guarantees a victory. He needs it. Rhodes losing at WrestleMania is still a big question mark in my eyes, but beating Lesnar on the road back to a title match helps cushion that mistake in my eyes. Lesnar is a major opponent for anyone in WWE and if Rhodes gets the nod to beat him clean, you know that he’s still a key part of WWE’s top championship picture. Expect these two to beat the hell out of one another, but Cross Rhodes to end things in Cody’s favor.

CATCH-UP: WWE announces Roman Reigns return to TV

1 Comment on HEYDORN’S TAKE: Don’t hold me to this – WWE Backlash 2023

  1. What is the “modern history” of the Raw Women’s Championship? The title is only 7 years old LOL. And she already broke the record anyways, several weeks ago (Lynch’s title reign ended at Money in the Bank 2020 when she forfeited the title, the event was taped in April but aired in May and WWE considers the reign to end when it aired, not when it taped). Even counting that, Belair still broke the record today anyways as she has held it for 399 days (though Wikipedia can’t count as says 398).

    And if you mean all women’s titles in WWE. The modern record belongs to Trish Stratus at 446 days (January 9, 2005-April 2, 2006). I know that record is tainted by the fact that she was injured for 4 months of that reign but the company kept the title on her anyways

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