WWE Backlash 2023 Highlights



Bad Bunny picks up the win against former partner Damian Priest.

Chris Hay, Staff Writer

The first match of the night was Bianca Belair vs Iyo Sky for the Raw Women’s Championship.  Iyo Sky had an amazing reaction from the crowd, which is very rare to see because crowds aren’t usually cheering for her. After around 15 minutes into the match, Iyo Sky’s Damage Control partners, Bayley and Dakota Kai, came out to help out their friend. This however backfired as Bayley would hold Bianca’s long hair, which would cost Iyo Sky’s chances to use her finisher and win the match. The referee would see Bayley’s interference and Bianca capitalized on her best opportunity to hit her opponent, Iyo Sky, with her finisher, the KOD (Kiss Of Death) to retain her Raw women’s championship. 

The next match was Omos vs Seth Rollins. The Puerto Rican crowd sang Seth Rollins’ theme throughout his entrance till Omos finally had enough and attacked the Visionary. The Nigerian Giant, Omos, continued to beat down Seth Rollins. The crowd however kept singing Rollins’ theme, which made Omos the more aggressive. Seth Rollins finally got an advantage with help from the crowd. Seth would have a chance to hit his finisher, the curb stomp, but Omos was too strong, countered the move, hit a chokeslam, and almost won the match. Seth kicked out with .5 seconds left to spare. MVP, Omos’ manager, inter-fiend costing Omos the match. Seth hit Omos with a curb stomp, then went to the top robe, and hit him with a second curb stomp to win the match. 

The next match was for the United States Championship. Champion Austin Theory would defend against Bronson Reed and former champion, Bobby Lashley. Bronson Reed and Bobby Lashley would get Austin Theory out of the match almost immediately. Lashley and Reed would fight for about five minutes before Theory would find his groove. Austin Theory held his own, getting out of the way of 330 pounds doing a moonsault. Bobby Lashley would then hit the spear on Bronson Reed. Austin Theory would capitalize on the opportunity in hand, throwing Lashley out of the ring to pin Reed and retain his United States Championship. 

The next match was for the Smackdown Women’s championship. Champion, Rhea Ripley, defended her title against hometown hero, Zelina Vega. Vega came to this match for her father, who was a 9/11 victim, Rest In Peace Michael Trinidad. Zelina would have a loud reaction and throughout her entrance till the bell rang, she was very emotional. Rhea had the upper advantage using her strength throughout the entire match. Zelina would turn the tables, however. Paying homage to her mentor, Rey Mysterio, hitting his finisher the 619. Then, headed to the top rope, paid homage to another legend, Eddie Guerro, doing his signature shrug and hitting a frog splash. Rhea would kick out at two and a half. Ripley would then stop playing games, as Michael Cole would say on commentary. Hit her finisher, the Riptide, winning the match, and retaining her title. Zelina gained back consciousness and had an amazing standing ovation. 

One of the two main events was next. Singer and social icon, Bad Bunny would fight against an old friend turned bitter enemy, Damian Priest. Bad Bunny would come out to one of his best songs, Chambea. The crowd was heard singing his song throughout the entrance, which hasn’t been seen in WWE for quite some time. Ten minutes into the match is when it got really exciting. Damian Priest and Bad Bunny had a spot with both on top of equipment, and Damian hit Bad Bunny with a falcon arrow. Five minutes later, Damian’s teammates, Dominic Mysterio and Finn Balor came to the aid of Damian Priest. WWE Legend Rey Mysterio came out to help get Dom and Finn out of the frame. However, they were too much for Rey. “I spit in the face of people who don’t wanna be cool,” echoes throughout the arena. Carlito is BACK!! Best crowd reaction of the night as Carlito came out to help Rey and Bad Bunny out. Finn Balor and Dominic Mysterio try to leave but are greeted by LWO’s Santos Escobar, Cruz Del Toro, and Joaquin Wilde and WWE Legend, Savio Vega. Vega hits Finn and Dom with a couple of jabs and knocks them out. The camera cuts to the ring where Bad Bunny gave Priest the figure-four leg lock. He failed to get the win that way. Around two minutes later, Bunny hits Priest with a Canadian Destroyer to win the match. 

Undisputed Tag Team Champions, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens fought with Riddle to face The Bloodline, Jey and Jimmy Uso, and Solo Sikoa in a six-man tag team match. Jey and Sikoa were seen having some communication errors throughout the match. Solo almost hit Jey with a Samoan spike, but realized he couldn’t do that to his brother. Sami came back into the frame, hit Jey with his finisher, the Helluva Kick, then another one. But Solo was the legal man. Solo picks up Sayn, hits the Samoan spike, and picks up the win for the Bloodline. 

Last Match of the night, the main event, Brock Lesnar vs Cody Rhodes. Cody has been waiting for weeks to get back at Lesnar for the attack he suffered. Before Lesnar got into the ring, Cody hit him with a dive outside of the ring. Continuing to punish Lesnar with the steel steps and a steel chair. Brock gained control and hit Cody with multiple German Suplexes. Brock tried to take more control but hit an exposed turnbuckle he had ripped out. Brock started bleeding, which would make him furious. Hitting Rhodes with an F5. Cody survived! Not many people can say they have survived an F5. Lesnar locked him in his submission move, the Kimura, but it would backfire as Cody would roll over Brock Lesnar to gain the victory. 

I interviewed Bourbon County Journalist Sawyer Kahn about the PPV. The first question I asked was, ‘Is Bad Bunny the greatest celebrity wrestler of all time?” Sawyer answered quickly, “No, he’s good, but Logan Paul is better. His extreme athleticism and thrive to do crazy spots makes him more entertaining. The second question I asked was, “Do you think Brock Lesnar and Cody Rhodes will clash again?” Sawyer answered, Oh absolutely. Especially since on the Raw after Backlash, Brock cost Cody the chance to advance in the new World Heavyweight Championship tournament. The next question I asked was, “Did Bad Bunny ruin Damian Priest’s mini-push?” Sawyer said, “No. If anything, Bunny brought more spotlight to Priest and how good he is. Just like John Cena brought more attention to Austin Theory at this year’s Wrestlemania. I asked one last question, “What would you rate the show 1-10 and why?” Sawyer replied, “A solid seven. Because Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar’s match felt like a rush and an extension to Roman Reigns’ long and dominant title run. 

In conclusion, Bad Bunny and Damian Priest exceeded expectations and the crowd backs that up. Brock and Cody’s match could’ve been better, but it was enough to let the story continue.