Roman Reigns Defeats Samoa Joe at WWE Backlash 2018 Amid Heavy Boos from Fans

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 7, 2018


Roman Reigns and Samoa Joe renewed their rivalry Sunday at WWE Backlash, and it was The Big Dog who prevailed in the hard-hitting grudge match in Newark, New Jersey.

Joe got Reigns in position for the Muscle Buster. However, Reigns kicked Joe away and leaped off the top rope as Joe was running toward the turnbuckle. From there, Reigns hit a spear for the win:

In general, Backlash underwhelmed for a number of fans, and closing out with a lengthy Reigns match was bound to further alienate the crowd and viewing audience. Many complained about how WWE chose to wrap up the pay-per-view:

Unsurprisingly, fans inside Prudential Center voiced their displeasure:

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After Reigns lost to Brock Lesnar in a Universal Championship match at WrestleMania 34, he appeared on Raw the next night and discussed his intention to get revenge on The Beast Incarnate at the Greatest Royal Rumble.

The returning Samoa Joe, who had been on the shelf for a few months because of injury, interrupted Reigns, however.

Joe was highly critical of Reigns and mocked him for his inability to slay The Beast. Additionally, The Samoan Submission Machine challenged Reigns to a match at the Backlash pay-per-view.

Reigns and Joe exchanged trash talk the following week as well, but a major surprise occurred during the Superstar Shake-up edition of SmackDown Live.

Samoa Joe appeared for the blue brand and announced that he had been traded from Raw to SmackDown, which meant his feud with Reigns would be a brief one.

Although he spoke about taking down AJ Styles, Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan on SmackDown, Joe also expressed his desire to decimate The Big Dog at Backlash before settling in as a key cog for Team Blue.

Sunday's match went forward despite the brand change for Joe since all pay-per-views moving forward are now dual-branded in nature.

Most of the matches on pay-per-view will feature Raw Superstars against Raw Superstars and SmackDown Superstars against SmackDown Superstars, however.

That meant the encounter between Reigns and Joe at Backlash stood to potentially be the final meeting between them for at least a year, save for events such as Survivor Series or the Royal Rumble.

Both Reigns and Joe had a lot riding on Sunday's bout in terms of building momentum and being a top guy on their respective shows.

It can be argued that the match was more important for Joe since he has yet to establish himself as a regular main eventer, but with Reigns coming off disappointment at WrestleMania, he needed to get back on track as well.

Reigns did precisely that by taking down one of his greatest rivals at Backlash, but with Joe getting a fresh start on SmackDown Live, it shouldn't take long for him to rebound from the defeat.


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