WWE BACKLASH KICKOFF SHOW REPORT (5/6/2023): Preview of Cody vs. Lesnar, Bad Bunny vs. Priest, WWE Draft reaction, Panel predictions

By Mike Meyers, PWTorch contributor


MAY 6, 2022

Kickoff Panel: Jackie Redmond, Matt Camp, Peter Rosenberg

A sprawling drone shot showed the exterior of Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum of Puerto Rico. Lines of fans poured out of the building, down its steps, and to the street.

The panel indicated a double main event: Bad Bunny vs. Damien Priest, and Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar.

Video package: Bad Bunny vs. Damien Priest

Matt said that Priest’s world is inside the ring, but Bad Bunny’s world is everywhere else. Peter said we can’t emphasize enough how a star the size of Bad Bunny is taking part in a street fight in WWE. Jackie asked if this match comes down to who is willing to “take it further.” Matt said that Bad Bunny is essentially putting his career on the line against Priest, who would be happy to seriously injure him. Peter brought up the possibility of Bad Bunny being humiliated in this spotlight on top of potential injury.

The panel discussed the WWE Draft and some of the personnel changes coming to Mondays and Fridays. Jackie promoted the tournament for the new World Heavyweight Championship to take place on upcoming episodes of Raw and SmackDown, and that the tournament would culminate in Saudi Arabia at Night of Champions.

Video package: Iyo Sky

Peter said he wasn’t sure what kind of chance Sky has against Belair tonight. Matt thought that Sky doesn’t want Damage CTRL to interfere on her behalf – that she wants to get it done against Belair on her own. The panel mentioned that if Belair wins, she will become the longest-reigning women’s champion “in the modern era.”

Video package: Edge

Video package: Austin Theory vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed

Peter said that he was impressed with Theory, and that he could become “one of the pillars” of WWE. He said Theory was too smart to go toe-to-toe with either Reed or Lashley in their triple threat match tonight.

The panel said that starting tonight, wrestlers would want to shine to earn a spot in the World Heavyweight Championship tournament. Peter said that it can’t be Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins in the final, because the final will have participants from Raw and Smackdown.

Video package: Seth Rollins vs. Omos

Peter said Omos needs to win, and that he “has Hall of Fame potential.” Matt said that an Omos victory over Rollins would give MVP all the ammunition he needs to propel Omos’s career forward.

Wade Barrett was shown wading in the ocean earlier in the day. A woman in a bikini handed him a tropical beverage, and he said the drinks and cuisine have been great. Back at the panel, Pete complained about what position he obviously has in the company to be stuck in a studio with Matt Camp while Wade Barrett roams San Juan beaches with beautiful people.

Video package: Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega

Matt commented how Vega is in “enemy territory” in her match against Ripley tonight. Matt said that Vega has had chances over the years to wrestle in Puerto Rico, but until tonight, they have fallen through. Jackie said that Vega has been mentored by Rey Mysterio to prepare for this match. Peter said a Vega win would be a huge upset.

Video package: Becky Lynch

Video package: Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn vs. The Bloodline

Matt called Owens, Zayn, and Riddle a “pretty cohesive team.” Jackie said the Bloodline is about the gold, and they don’t have any anymore. Matt said that Solo Sikoa is firmly entrenched with Roman Reigns. Peter said the Usos “don’t look right” without the tag team championships.

Video package: Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

The panel repeatedly referred to Lesnar as a “gatekeeper” for Cody Rhodes. Matt questioned whether Rhodes is 100% since WrestleMania. Peter said that back-to-back marquee losses for Rhodes would be damaging. Matt emphasized that Rhodes just has to be better than Lesnar for three seconds to secure a win. Jackie said Rhodes wears his heart on his sleeve, and wondered whether his emotions would help or hinder him against Lesnar tonight.

Find Mike Meyers on Twitter: @themikeshow42

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