WrestleMania Backlash picked up where WrestleMania 38 left off and improved on it. The aptly named special event featured four WrestleMania rematches and, arguably, exceeded the quality of the superstars’ first encounters.
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey, AJ Styles vs. Edge, Bobby Lashley vs. Omos and Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins all got the WrestleMania rewind at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The SmackDown women’s championship match had the added wrinkle of an “I Quit” stipulation. Sunday’s superstars built upon the foundations of their feuds, delivering great in-ring action and new components to their storylines.
Headlining WrestleMania Backlash was the most recent stage of a heated rivalry featuring The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) vs. Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle). Reigns exhibited moments of hesitation in fighting the physically imposing McIntyre. They tangled briefly, but it was ultimately Riddle who Reigns speared through for the victory.
CBS Sports was with you the whole way through the event, providing updates and highlights as the action went down in the live blog below.
2022 WWE WrestleMania Backlash results, grades
Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins: Rhodes and Rollins exchanged holds to begin the match with Rollins generally getting the better of the counters. This played into the story that Rollins has studied his opponent and is better prepared than he was at WrestleMania 38 when Rhodes was a mystery opponent. Rhodes chased Rollins around the ring. Mr. “Freakin'” cut him off inside the ring and firmly took control of the match. Rhodes won back some momentum by slamming Rollins’ face into the corner steps. It was short-lived as Rollins turned Rhodes inside out with a clothesline ringside.
Rhodes bounced back from Rollins’ control period by landing some trademark techniques. Rhodes popping Rollins in the throat, faceplanting him off an extended suplex spot and then hitting a Disaster Kick. Rhodes attempted the Disaster Kick a second time and was firmly shoved over the ropes and to the outside. The action picked up back in the ring with Rollins leading the dance, before a Sunset Flip and a couple of near falls.
Chaos broke out as the chops and palm strikes turned into a full-on slap fight. Rollins with a spin kick to the midsection. Rhodes ducked a strike and clotheslined Rollins out of the ring. Rhodes dived off the rope but Rollins moved out of the way and “The American Nightmare” ate the barricade. Rollins went for a suicide dive but ate a forearm for his efforts. Rhodes entered the ring, sprung off the ropes and nailed Rollins with the Cody Cutter. Rhodes ducked the pedigree, Rollins countered and planted him with a superkick. Two count for Rollins.
After the two traded high spots “This is Awesome” chants broke out from the crowd. Rhodes tried to hit another Disaster Kick but Rollins caught him and turned it into a Buckle Bomb followed by a high-elevation Frog Splash led to a near fall. Rollins continued the assault before Rhodes got a reversal into a Cross Rhodes that led to a near-fall with Rollins getting his foot on the ropes.
Rhodes missed a big moonsault and Rollins made him pay with a Pedigree. It was a close count but only two. An irate Rollins repeatedly fed Rhodes his boot. Rollins made the mistake of mimicking Dusty Rhodes’ moveset and Rhodes planted him with a Cross Rhodes. Rhodes transitioned for a second one but Rollins escaped. A chain of transitions followed for each competitor. Rollins rolled up Rhodes with the tights; however, Rhodes rolled through and grabbed the tights for a three-count. A fantastic match, even better than their first. The Cody Rhodes formula is thrilling, but the constant false finishes can diminish the impact of their finishing moves. Nevertheless, a terrific match that could have been an instant classic with higher stakes. Cody Rhodes def. Seth Rollins via pinfall. Grade: A
Bobby Lashley vs. Omos: Lashley immediately took the fight to Omos, clubbing him with blows early. Lashley tried to run the ropes but was intercepted by his ex-manager MVP. Omos took over. He dropped Lashley’s head into the corner and stuck him with a big boot. Omos choked Lashley against the middle rope while MVP talked trash. Lashley then climbed onto Omos’ back and snatched a rear-naked choke but Omos flung him off. After a spear into the corner by Lashley, “The Almighty” tied up Omos’ arms in the ropes and pummeled him with unprotected strikes.
Lashley met MVP outside of the ring. MVP swung with his cane but Lashley dodged. Lashley snatched The Hurt Lock on MVP. Omos interfered, grabbing Lashley’s head with his palm. Lashley countered and planted Omos. Lashley locked in The Hurt Lock while Omos was on his knees. Omos appeared to go out but roared to life and pushed Lashley into the corner. That forced the referee to break the hold. Big elbow strikes to Lashley’s dome in the corner. Lashley took back control and landed another spear in the corner. Lashley managed to hoist Omos up and drop him onto his back.
Lashley took off for the match-ending spear but Omos dodged it and MVP struck Lashley with his cane while the referee was distracted. Omos picked up Lashley and dropped him for the pinfall victory. It was a fine match, especially considering Omos’ relative inexperience. Omos def. Bobby Lashley via pinfall. Grade: C+
AJ Styles vs. Edge: Styles immediately jumped on Edge, beating him back to the corner and creaming Edge with a baseball slide followed by an Asai Moonsault to the outside. Styles committed to the Phenomenal Forearm too early and Edge countered with a boot to Styles’ injured shoulder. Edge continued to work on the shoulder, throwing Styles into the ring post. Edge tore the Kinesio tape off his opponent’s shoulder and continued to target the injured body part.
Following extended abuse to the shoulder, Styles managed to duck under one of Edge’s attacks and clock him with the Pele Kick. A double crossbody left both competitors reeling on the floor. “The Phenomenal” one tried for a fireman’s carry but his shoulder did not hold up. Styles found a more creative way to plant his foe. Styles mustered the energy to prop up Edge for the fireman’s carry into a shoulder breaker. Edge responded with a backbreaker variation into a crossface. Styles transitioned into his signature Calf Crusher and Edge managed to reach for the ropes to break the submission.
Styles restarted the action with a german suplex, before Edge held onto the corner turnbuckle pad and it tore it off. Styles dodged a spear and Edge went into the exposed buckle. Styles then got a two-count on the pinfall attempt. Edge slammed Styles. Edge set up for The Spear but Styles countered and planted Edge with the Styles Clash before Damian Priest emerged but remained on the aisle way as he was banned from ringside. Finn Balor appeared and attacked Priest. The chaos allowed a masked assailant to knock Styles off the top rope while the referee was distracted. Edge locked up a chokehold and Styles went unconscious. Rhea Ripley was revealed to be the masked woman, officially aligning with Edge’s Judgement Day stable. Edge and Styles pieced together a solid match. Ripley’s initiation into Edge’s stable plus Balor’s involvement in the feud give the match a half-grade bonus. Edge def. AJ Styles via pinfall. Grade: B+
Charlotte Flair (c) vs. Ronda Rousey — SmackDown women’s championship (“I Quit” match): Flair opened with a clothesline before a brief flurry of offense by Rousey which Flair stopped by spiking Rousey with a German suplex. Rousey countered an early Figure Eight attempt and landed a flying knee. Rousey hunted the armbar but both women fell out of the ring and Flair repeatedly ran Rousey into the barricade before repeated chops by Flair. The two made their way up the ramp where the pair each got a hold of kendo sticks. “The Queen” got her hands on two kendo sticks and struck Rousey in the ribs with the weapons. “Rowdy” then turned the tide and got a hold of two kendo sticks and repeatedly struck Flair.
After making their way back down to the ring, Flair grabbed a video camera from a ringside cameraman and hurled it toward Rousey and their fight boiled over into the crowd. Flair blinded Rousey with a drink to the face and chucked her into another barricade. Flair trapped Rousey between stair railings and locked on a camel clutch. Rousey refused to quit. Flair tried to strike Rousey with a chair but the former UFC champion ripped it from her hands. Flair escaped back to ringside amid “we want tables” chants from the crowd. Flair powerbombed Rousey into the ringside barricade. Rousey won back control but a rake to the eyes snuffed that out.
Rousey tied up Flair in the corner in a Tree of Woe with Flair hanging upside down, facing ringside, while Rousey locked on a deep armbar. Flair repeatedly refused to quit despite having her arm fully extended. Both women fell to the floor. Flair then repeatedly struck Rousey and planted the challenger with a Natural Selection against the chair in the ring. Flair locked in her Figure Eight finishing move. Rousey refused to quit and smashed a nearby chair against Flair’s head. Flair taunted Rousey, wishing her a happy Mother’s Day and then Rousey took advantage of Flair’s arm inside a steel chair and snatched the armbar. Rousey torqued the armbar and Flair screamed “I Quit!” A big improvement on their WrestleMania match with nice spots and good momentum swings. Ronda Rousey def. Charlotte Flair under “I Quit” stipulations to win the SmackDown women’s championship. Grade: A-
Madcap Moss vs. Happy Corbin: A tussle for strength kicked off the match. Moss doubled up on leapfrogs and hip-tossed Corbin. Corbin responded with a high-angle chokeslam. Corbin pummel Moss’ face against the barricade. Corbin with a hard Irish whip into the corner. Corbin flipped Moss onto his back and delivered a senton. Moss took the lead with an explosive spear in the corner and then chucked Corbin with a fallaway slam. Corbin took control and belittled Moss while delivering punches. Moss eventually fought off Corbin on the top rope but missed with aerial offense. Moss ran into the Deep Six but got his shoulder up for the two-count. Moss took advantage of an emotionally-charged Corbin, dodging a clothesline and landing a sunset flip to score the pinfall and celebrated as a frustrated Corbin looked on. A fine match for what it was. Madcap Moss def. Happy Corbin via pinfall. Grade: C+
The Bloodline (Roman Reigns, Jey Uso and Jimmy Uso) vs. Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle): Riddle took early control of Jimmy, much like their recent match on SmackDown. McIntyre planted Jimmy with a suplex and called to face Roman Reigns. Paul Heyman insisted that Reigns had nothing to prove, but the undisputed champion tagged in. Reigns faked out McIntyre by immediately tagging in Jey, eliciting boos from the crowd. Jimmy then tagged himself in and the brothers swarmed Riddle. Heyman only implored Reigns to tag in once Jimmy had Riddle in a bad position, which he did.
Reigns beat down on Riddle, clobbering him with an elbow and taunting the crowd. The undisputed WWE universal champion planted Riddle with a ura nage. Riddled dodged Jimmy’s corner splash and nearly tagged in his partners; however, Jey intercepted by blindsiding both Riddle and Orton. A flying kick by Riddle opened the door for a much-needed tag to McIntyre. Reigns, who tagged himself in the ring moments prior, had a look of concern painted on his face. Reigns psyched himself up and met his larger foe in the center of the ring. McIntyre and Reigns exchanged blows. McIntyre took control, tossing Reigns across the ring and landing neck breakers on both McIntyre and Jimmy. A distraction from Jey created an opening for Reigns to land a signature Superman punch.
Reigns wore down McIntyre in the corner with thudding blows as the crowd chanted for Orton to tag in. Reigns cheap-shotted Riddle and antagonized Orton, setting up McIntyre to land the Claymore Kick. The audience roared for Orton, who tagged in and punished The Usos with his signature powerslams. “Vintage Orton” reared its head with a rope-assisted DDT. “The Viper” struck Reigns with an RKO. He ate a superkick by Jimmy Uso but snapped back and scored another RKO. McIntyre set up Jey for the Claymore; however, The Usos caught him with a double superkick.
Riddle and Jey tagged into the match and Riddle exploded to life. He punished Jey with various moves including suplexes and sentons. He kept Reigns and Jimmy at bay with flying knees. Riddle landed his signature Floating Bro for a near fall on Jey. Jey struck Riddle with a pop-up neckbreaker but Orton broke up the pin attempt. Reigns lept off the steel stairs and slept Orton with a Superman punch. McIntyre attempted to put Reigns through the announcers’ table. A distraction from Jimmy allowed Reigns to slam McIntyre through the table with a uranage. Riddle dove onto Reigns and Jimmy. Riddle and Jey exchanged moves in the ring. Riddle landed a top-rope RKO onto Jey but Reigns managed a blind tag at the final moment. An unsuspecting Riddle fell victim to a match-ending spear from Reigns. Great intensity from all participants, good action and solid character work from Reigns and McIntyre. The Bloodline def. Drew McIntyre and RK-Bro via pinfall. Grade: B+