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Kevin’s WWE WrestleMania Backlash 2021 Review

May 16, 2021 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
Cesaro Roman Reigns WrestleMania Backlash
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Kevin’s WWE WrestleMania Backlash 2021 Review  

WWE WrestleMania Backlash
May 16th, 2021 | Yuengling Center in Yampa, Florida

On the kickoff show, Sheamus issued an open challenge but his United States Title wouldn’t be on the line since you have to earn those chances.

Ricochet vs. Sheamus
I forget Ricochet is even on the roster at times. I have heard he has been killing it on Main Event with Mustafa Ali. He exploded out of the blocks with a dropkick, taking Sheamus by surprise. Sheamus weathered the storm and started throwing bombs at him. Ricochet takes a beating like few in wrestling, so that worked. He got going again, including a sweet combination of aerial offense and a near fall on a springboard 450 splash. Of course, Ricochet tried hard but ate a running knee for the loss in 7:12. That was good, hard hitting wrestling between two guys who know what they’re doing. I can’t ask for much more from a Kickoff bout. [***]

Post-match, Ricochet attacked Sheamus, dance with his coat, and took his fedora. Rude.

Batista narrated the opening video package.

WWE Raw Women’s Championship: Rhea Ripley [c] vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair
Charlotte was out in Cruella-inspired gear. Rhea has felt like an afterthought as champion. A lot of this was built around Charlotte being a spoiled brat who believed she was better than everyone. She talked a lot of trash in between offense and had the other two ladies jump her at points. Other than that, it followed a lot of triple threat tropes including having one person out of the ring at a time for lengthy bits and the double superplex spot we see in almost all of these. The ending came off awkwardly as Charlotte was sent outside but didn’t seem too hurt to break up a pin, so she might as well have just been hanging around watching. Rhea beat Asuka with Riptide in 15:22 and then did her lame taunt where she acts like a toddler. It’s so out of character. The match itself was solid enough but didn’t do anything new or all that interesting. It was a mis of really good stuff and some truly odd moments. [***¼]

WWE Smackdown Tag Team Championship: Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode [c] vs. Dominik & Rey Mysterio
On the Kickoff Show, Ziggler and Roode jumped Dominik, so Rey had to go it alone. I can’t even bring myself to feign interest in these guys. They’ve all been around for so long and we’ve seen underdog Rey a ton so nothing about this really stood out. I did like some of the offensive moves, like the wheelbarrow Fameasser combo or sliding Rey outside into a superkick the champions pulled out. That last move nearly led to a countout. Pat McAfee stood for most of the show and it was oddly distracting. Dominik limped out like the heroic guy that he is but Rey kept on fighting for his life, hitting top rope bulldog. He hesitated to tag out, not wanting to hurt his son further, so Dominik tagged himself in. He didn’t fare great so Rey rejoined and survived a sweet tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Another tag to Dominik led to the frog splash finish in 16:57. That was actually a lot better than I thought it would be but still not great. The handicap section went on far too long but the stuff after Dominik showed up was good. [***]

Lumberjack Match: Damian Priest vs. The Miz
So the gimmick here was that the lumberjacks were zombies, seemingly as a tie-in to Batista’s Army of the Dead. I admittedly missed the early portions of this match as I had to step outside for a few. When I came back, I saw a lot of The Miz running from zombies. At one point, he and Priest both attacked zombies together. John Morrison, who discovered the zombies in the back earlier, did a run-in that led to a near fall. He did a dive onto some zombies shortly before Priest won with his finisher in 6:54. Wrestling it totally a carny business not to be taken too seriously but yeah, that was pretty lame. The zombies were the focal point and it wasn’t interesting. I’m pretty sure Miz and Morrison were eaten by zombies though. [DUD]

WWE Smackdown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair [c] vs. Bayley
I enjoyed most of their feud a few months back. In the early stages, Bayley was bested at every turn by Bianca. The champion was constantly one step ahead of her in terms of wits, speed, agility, and power. Bayley finally got going and hit a front suplex onto the steel steps to really put herself in the driver’s seat. Bayley took pleasure in talking trash with each bit of offense and whenever Bianca seemed to gain momentum, Bayley had an answer. I liked when Bianca tried a move by the ring post outside but Bayley just slipped free and into position to send her into it. It’s simple but effective. A missed dive from Bayley led to Bianca hitting a Glam Slam style move into the apron for two. The ripcord with the hair into the Bayley to Belly was a great spot though I wish it led to a foot on the ropes and not a finisher. The ending was a controversial one as Bayley had a move countered into a pin with the hair for leverage after 16:05. That was a really well laid out and executed match, though the finish was odd even if it sets up a rematch. [***½]

WWE Championship: Bobby Lashley [c] vs. Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre
BIG MEATY MEN BUMPING MEAT x3! Thankfully, that’s a lot of what this match was centered around. Right off the bat, Lashley tried to get McIntyre to work with him against the larger Strowman. It didn’t matter who was on which side because it was just big guys running each other over. Lashley would take out Drew and then get hit with steel steps by Braun. Braun runs over Drew and eats a Flatliner from Lashley. There was also a sweet suplex spot that stood out as a highlight early on. They did a big stage spot where Lashley got thrown through it. From there, it was Braun vs. Drew for a bit. Drew hitting a MICHINOKU Driver on Braun was nuts. Drew finally hit the Claymore and had the win set but Lashley returned, dumped him outside, and won with the Spear in 14:16. That was just what I wanted in terms of being a glorious car wreck. That ending is so played out though and it hurt the overall score. Super fun though. [***¾]

WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns [c] vs. Cesaro
Last time I saw Cesaro in a singles World Title match was at ROH’s A New Level against Nigel McGuinness and I was disappointed. Roman Reigns is on the run of a lifetime and I’m legitimately liking his title reign more than that of Punk’s 434-day one or Okada’s 700+day run or any other I can think of in recent memory. Reigns had to gather himself early because Cesaro came out hot. Once he did, he managed to turn the tide a bit but Cesaro was still on a roll and delivered a huge popup uppercut. Cesaro began pulling out all the stops, including dives to the outside and off the top rope. As Roman took control, he talked about how he loved wrestling, which was a nod to Cesaro and Bryan saying he didn’t like to get in the ring. The same went for Roman addressing Bryan while having hold of Cesaro’s arm. The closing stretch was fantastic, filled with some big moves but not too many, and some slick submission counters. Finally, Reigns’ guillotine hold was enough to beat Cesaro at the 27:32 mark. At this point, it’s redundant but again, Reigns has delivered in a huge title match. The outcome here was never really in doubt but they made sure to keep me locked in throughout. The wrestling was crisp, there was no BS, they didn’t just throw a bunch of finisher kickouts at each other, and I loved that finish. [****¼]

Post-match, Jey Uso came out and put the lei on Roman. He then attacked Cesaro until Seth Rollins showed up. He stared down Roman but then smirked and went after Cesaro too. Roman, Jey, and Heyman left while Rollins continued the attack, which included hurting Cesaro’s arm with a chair and a Curb Stomp on the floor.

The final score: review Good
The 411
This was one of the better pandemic era shows. The only thing on the card that was bad was the zombie stuff. Otherwise, you get nothing but good to great matches and some that really stood out late.