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411’s WWE WrestleMania Backlash Preview

May 16, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
WrestleMania Backlash

Hello 411 guys, gals, enbies, and everyone else! Welcome to 411’s WrestleMania Backlash preview! I’m Jeremy Thomas as always, and Sunday sees WWE return to PPV with a show that is … well, as of this moment surprisingly light. We only have six matches for the follow-up to WrestleMania, and you have to imagine that more are on the way. But six is what I have to work with for the purposes of this preview. We don’t have a US Title match, a Raw Tag Team Title Match, and much more — but hey, we have a Lumberjack match so at least there’s that? Yeah, anyway let’s down to it, shall we?

Smackdown Tag Team Championship Match
Dirty Dawgs vs. Rey & Dominik Mysterio

When Dominik Mysterio made his debut amid the Seth Rollins vs. Rey Mysterio feud, I didn’t honestly expect that he’d be in it for the long haul. But he’s been a decent enough part of the show (certain storylines aside) and considering how much learning he’s been doing directly in front of the cameras, I’ve been fairly impressed by how much he’s adapted. That leads us to now, where he and Rey are working to become the first father-son Tag Team Champions in WWE. On the other side, you have Roode and Ziggler who have had one of the longer runs with the Smackdown tag straps in the past several years but haven’t been doing too much to be memorable as tag team champions. The math here is pretty easy, to be honest. WWE has been pushing the Mysterios’ goal to make history too hard to back away from it, and while I like Dolph and Roode I don’t think Smackdown loses anything with the title switch. As such, obvious pick is obvious unless they want to extend this feud out to Money in the Bank, which I doubt.

WINNER: The Mysterios (NEW Smackdown Tag Team Champions)

Lumberjack Match
Damian Priest vs. The Miz

For all that we worry when NXT talent goes to Monday or Friday, sometimes WWE does a solid job. Damian Priest is a good example of that. Priest is somebody who Vince clearly sees a lot in, putting him in the middle of the celebrity match at WrestleMania where he rode the wave of Bad Bunny’s headlines and held his own pretty nicely. So far Priest has been capitalizing fine, facing off with Miz & Morrison alone now that Bunny’s gone back to his music. I haven’t always loved Miz & Morrison’s feuds, which they do their best to make work but also feel like afterthoughts in the booking much of the time. But they’re working well against Priest and doing their job to put him on the map. That leads into this match, which became a Lumberjack Match after Priest beat Morrison on Raw. This sets things up perfectly for Priest to get a big win against Miz, a guy who is so entrenched in his spot that he can put over talent without moving down the card one iota. Giving Priest the win here is all reward, no risk and I literally can’t think of a reason that WWE would want to go with a Miz win.

WINNER: Damian Priest

Raw Women’s Championship Match
Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair

Rhea Ripley is only a month out from her Raw Women’s Championship win over Asuka at WrestleMania, and yet her title reign already seems to be in jeopardy. That’s thanks to Charlotte Flair, who returned with Sonya Deville at her back on Raw and got herself inserted into the title match at WrestleMania Backlash. And listen, I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Flair’s involvement in this match isn’t going over very well. We only need ears to hear the boos and eyes to see the comments in order to know that. But that’s also, I think, what Vince McMahon wants. To her credit, Flair is such a natural heel that she’s playing this beautifully. I’m not going to crap on her for being in her position any more than I would crap on Cena back in the day. At least with Flair, she’s getting to play the bad guy instead of trying to be the babyface.

That said, I do think it’s way too soon to take the title of Ripley and WWE wanting to have Flair set the record for title reigns should be able to wait a bit — but they won’t. WWE needs a big title change on this show, and with Asuka in there to (sadly) take the fall it means that Ripley can chase Charlotte for the title from there. With her failed attempt to take the NXT Women’s Championship from Flair last year at WrestleMania, this is a story that writes itself. I very honestly expect that Flair will be walking out of WrestleMania Backlash as the Raw Women’s Champion in a way that allows Rhea to continue the feud with her, whether we all love that result or not.

WINNER: Charlotte Flair (NEW Raw Women’s Champion)

Smackdown Women’s Championship Match
Bianca Belair vs. Bayley

While Rhea’s title reign seems likely to come to an end prematurely, Bianca Belair’s title reign seems to be on much sturdier ground. Belair’s main event win on night one of WrestleMania was a big moment for WWE, and after her win over Sasha Banks it made absolute sense that Bayley was going to be next for her, especially since there aren’t a lot of other viable choices right now. Belair and Bayley’s feud at the start of the year was fun and set Belair up nicely for her WrestleMania moment, so putting them together was a logical move to give the champion a good first title defense. Both women have delivered fairly well in the past month, and I expect them to be able to turn it on for this match. In the end though, I don’t think it’s difficult to predict that Belair will walk away with the title still firmly around her waist.

WINNER: Bianca Belair (STILL Smackdown Women’s Champion)

WWE Universal Championship Match
Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro

Like many of us, I can’t properly express how pleased I am to see Cesaro finally get a chance for a main event spot in WWE — at least for this show. The man formerly known as Antonio has been one of the most reliable under- to mid-card performers in WWE for the past ten years, and if anyone deserved a shot to main event a PPV it had to be him. And to his credit, Cesaro has delivered very nicely in his feud with Roman Reigns, even in moments where it seemed like he’s being slightly overshadowed by the Samoan family drama between Reigns and the Usos. Reigns continues to be one of the most entertaining things going on “main roster” WWE television, and he’s done a lot to help make Cesaro look like a legit main eventer here. This should be a pretty great match, but I don’t think anyone is under any illusions that Reigns won’t be champion after the bell rings. My only hope is that WWE doesn’t just decide to drop Cesaro’s push after the fact, because I think he’s proven he can hang with the top guys.

WINNER: Roman Reigns (STILL WWE Universal Champion)

WWE Championship Match
Bobby Lashley vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman

This triple threat should excite me more than it does. Don’t get me wrong, I like Lashley and McIntyre of course and I think their WrestleMania match was a solid outing. WWE has done a lot to try to justify dragging this feud out further, and it’s been fine. But I’m also kind of done with it. Lashley’s doing good work as champion and I’d like to see him go up against some other potential contenders, while McIntyre would be well served moving onto someone else as well, and WWE does appear to have someone waiting in the wings as Jinder Mahal has made his return to Raw with the new Indus Sher in tow. Say what you want about Mahal, but he has a ready-made feud with his old 3MB teammate, and you can’t imagine that WWE moved Mahal to Raw instead of Smackdown if they didn’t have an eye on giving Drew a new opponent. As for Braun Strowman — well, obviously he’s here to eat the fall. Sorry big guy, but that’s pretty obvious. This will be another Big Guy Match, which all three men can do well, but in the end I absolutely see Mahal taking out McIntyre and Lashley taking out Strowman to walk away with the title still around his waist.

WINNER: Bobby Lashley (STILL WWE Champion)

And that’s all we have for WrestleMania Backlash! Again, I’d kind of be surprised if we didn’t get some more matches added between the time I’m finishing writing this up and the PPV start, perhaps an RKBro vs. AJ and Omos match for the Raw Tag Team Titles or Sheamus defending the US Title against Carrillo. What we have on paper looks very much like the filler PPV until Money in the Bank next month, but the matches have potential to be good at least. Anyway, thanks once again for reading, and remember that we will have live coverage of the show courtesy of the one and only Scott Slimmer right here on 411mania.com. Apparently I have to go, Sonya Deville has announced that I’m being replaced…