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Roman Reigns Beats Cesaro, Retains Universal Title at WWE WrestleMania Backlash

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 17, 2021

Photo credit: WWE.com

Roman Reigns defeated Cesaro at WrestleMania Backlash on Sunday night to retain the Universal Championship.

The Swiss Superman pushed the titleholder to the brink, but he was undone by an injury to his arm earlier in the contest and was eventually unable to escape the guillotine choke.

Things got worse for Cesaro after the match, when Jey Uso further beat down the challenger before Seth Rollins closed the pay-per-view with a sustained attack on the Swiss Superstar.

WWE had seemingly been building toward Reigns vs. Cesaro since The Tribal Chief beat Daniel Bryan and Edge in a Triple Threat match in the main event of WrestleMania 37 to retain the universal title.

On the first episode of SmackDown after WrestleMania, Reigns claimed there was no one worthy left to challenge him, which led to Cesaro confronting him, only for The Tribal Chief to refuse to acknowledge him and walk off.

Bryan didn't take kindly to Reigns blowing off Cesaro and did all he could to pressure him into agreeing to put the Universal Championship on the line against The Swiss Superman.

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Despite that, Reigns refused to face Cesaro and instead challenged The Yes! Man to a title match on SmackDown with the stipulation that Bryan would have to leave the blue brand in the event of a loss.

Reigns did manage to beat Bryan and then attempted to take him out with a con-chair-to afterward. Cesaro ran out to make the save, but Jey Uso attacked him and tied him in the ropes, thus forcing him to watch Reigns hit his ally with the steel chair.

The following week, Cesaro had a match against Rollins on SmackDown, and it was determined that if The Swiss Superman could beat The Messiah in their WrestleMania rematch, he would get a title shot against Reigns at WrestleMania Backlash.

Jey and Jimmy Uso were ringside for the match in an apparent attempt to cost Cesaro, but botched interference distracted Rollins and allowed the Swiss wrestler to pick up the victory, thus setting the stage for Reigns vs. Cesaro at WrestleMania Backlash.

Cesaro has long been one of the most impressive in-ring talents in WWE, but opportunities to compete near the top of the card have been few and far between, making Sunday's bout the biggest match of his career to date.

The Swiss Superman did not come away with the Universal Championship, but he performed so well that one can only assume he will receive more chances in the near future.

        

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