This year’s WWE Backlash after WrestleMania was something special. Held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the card was loaded with action-packed matches till the end of the night.
Moreover, the event was made all the more memorable by the electrifying and overly enthusiastic crowd of Puerto Rico. Join us as we do a recap of all the matches of WWE Backlash 2023.
RAW Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair(c) vs Iyo Sky
Although there wasn’t enough hype going into the match, it turned out to be the perfect start to Backlash. The crowd was energetic throughout the match, and even at one point turned Iyo Sky’s babyface by supporting her all the way through.
The match started in Bianca Belair’s favor, with the EST of WWE bodyslamming Sky again and again. The crowd turned against Bianca Belair for some reason, booing her whenever things were in her favor. They would even chant “Let’s go Sky” at some point. It looked like Sky was actually going to win when she had the champ locked in a cross-face submission. There were also distractions from Bayley and Dakota Kai, who tried to help their fellow teammate. However, Belair put Sky away with the KOD and secured the win.
Overall, it was a great start to kick off the show, setting the bar for the rest of the show.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Omos vs Seth Rollins
This match was one of the few matches that got thrown randomly into the card. It got a sour reaction from fans at first, but it proved to be not all that bad.
As expected, Seth Rollins was a favorite of the Puerto Rican crowd. They sang along with his entrance when The Visionary was suddenly attacked by Omos before the match even started. Omos continued to beat him down, and when the match started, things were looking worse for Rollins. Whenever he got a little bit of momentum, The Nigerian Giant would crush it all. At one point, he even blocked out a stomp attempt from Rollins and hit him with a chokeslam, which almost gave Omos the victory.
Rollins fired back with a series of fast-paced moves which got a loud reaction from fans. The match went well over 10 minutes that ended with Rollins hitting a top rope stomp on The Nigerian Giant to pick up the victory.
Winner: Seth Rollins
United States Championship: Austin Theory(c) vs Bobby Lashley vs Bronson Reed
It was a solid match that saw great action from all three competitors. Surprisingly, Bronson Reed was a favorite of the crowd in this match.
As heels typically do, Theory and Reed teamed up to beat up and take down the threat that was Bobby Lashley. And as expected, the alliance didn’t last long as they quickly turned against each other. Lashley tried to turn the tide in his favor when he hit Reed with a spear and tried to cover for the win. However, Theory tossed Lashley outside and stole the win.
Winner: Austin Theory
SmackDown Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley(c) vs Zelina Vega
Zelina Vega looked to win the SmackDown Women’s Championship in her hometown of Puerto Rico. She got a warm welcome from her fellow Puerto Ricans as well.
Throughout the early stages of the match, Rhea Ripley took her time humiliating her opponent while mocking the crowd. Vega did gain some momentum in the match once she grabbed a flipflop from the crowd and threw it at The Eradicator, following it up with a dropkick through the ropes. She even hit Rey Mysterio’s signature- the 619 and an Eddie Guerrero-inspired frog splash on Ripley. After this, it all went downhill for Vega as Ripley caught her with a kick and hit the Riptide for the win. After the match, Zelina Vega got a standing ovation from the Puerto Rican crowd who praised her for her efforts.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
San Juan Street Fight: Bad Bunny vs Damian Priest
In another match between an LWO and Judgement Day member, Bad Bunny took on Damian Priest in a San Juan Street Fight. Prior to their match, Bunny shocked fans as he joined forces with the LWO on SmackDown this week.
The two former friends finally clashed at Backlash, looking to put an end to their rivalry. Both men got appropriate responses from the crowd, who booed Priest whenever he was in control and cheered for Benito whenever he fired back. Despite their size difference, the Puerto Rican rapper showed The Archer of Infamy just how what he was capable of. Bunny almost got the near-fall victory at one point.
Once the two started using weapons, that’s when the crowd went into a frenzy. Bunny unloaded a fury of kendo stick shots on the knee of Priest. Priest informed the referee that something was wrong, but before he could do something, Bad Bunny mercilessly targeted his knee with chair shots and a steel chain. He even hit Priest with a low blow as the big man of the Judgement Day started to fight back. But before he could capitalize, Dominik and Finn Balor interfered and beat down the rapper. Rey Mysterio tried to make the save but was beaten down by Judgement Day as well.
That’s when WWE star Carlito came out to help. He and Rey cleared the ring, while Bunny locked in the Figure-Four Leglock which worsened the injured knee of Priest. When Priest refused to submit, Bunny finished things off with a Canadian Destroyer, which sealed the win for the hometown hero.
Winner: Bad Bunny
The Usos & Solo Sikoa vs Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens & Matt Riddle
The rivalry between The Bloodline and Zayn and Owens goes back a long way. Now with Matt Riddle in the mix, things seemed to even out a bit for the tag champs.
This match almost saw the cracks in The Bloodline worsen as the tension was all-time high between Solo Sikoa and The Usos. At the start of the match, Riddle and the tag champs outclassed the Usos. It was only when Sikoa was tagged in that things took a turn for the worse for their opponents. During the match, Jey and Solo had some kind of communication problem which led to some heated trash-talking between the two, which was broken up by Zayn. Sami Zayn knocked off Solo Sikoa with the Helluva Kick. He took down Jey with another kick and almost secured the victory.
Sikoa saved his brother from being pinned, despite almost hitting him with the Samoan Spike. In the end, the Enforcer of The Bloodline secured the victory for his team by pinning Riddle.
Winner: The Bloodline
Cody Rhodes vs Brock Lesnar
The rivalry that has been building up since the RAW after WrestleMania finally came to an end on last night’s Backlash. It all began when Brock Lesnar turned against Cody Rhodes last month on RAW after Mania. And it came to a spectacular end with The American Nightmare overcoming one of the biggest obstacles in his career and putting an end to this rivalry.
Before the match even began, Cody attacked Brock with a suicide dive. He followed it by unleashing a brutal attack with the steel steps and a steel chair. After the match started, Cody continued to capitalize on the injured Beast by hitting him with two consecutive Disaster Kicks. He went for a third but was caught by Lesnar, who took him to Suplex City. Cody regained his momentum when Lesnar accidentally got busted open in the middle of the match. Cody hit him with a Cody Cutter, followed by two consecutive Cross Rhodes, which almost won him the match.
Lesnar fired back by hitting him with an F5. Rhodes was kicked out but was locked into the Kimura by Lesnar. With what little strength he had left, he turned the submission move into a rollup and got the 3-count. The match saw some great action from both competitors and also had the right outcome. While Cody pinning Lesnar clean might have been the best way to end it, at the end of the day, a win is a win.
Winner: Cody Rhodes