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It's Time to Scrap WWE WrestleMania Backlash from the PPV Schedule

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 4, 2022

Credit: WWE.com

WWE will present the annual follow-up to its biggest show of the year Sunday night in Providence, Rhode Island with WrestleMania Backlash.

What was once a show that built on the momentum of The Show of Shows and looked to propel stars and stories forward has become a yearly exercise in creative laziness, a rematch-heavy card that does nothing to enhance the company's product.

It's time to scrap it from the pay-per-view schedule altogether.

        

An Exercise in Repetition

If you need evidence as to why it's time to remove the event from the schedule, look no further than this year's lineup.

There are only two matches on Sunday's card that are not exact rematches from WrestleMania: Happy Corbin vs. Madcap Moss and the six-man tag team match pitting Raw tag team champions RK-Bro and Drew McIntyre against Undisputed WWE Universal champion Roman Reigns and SmackDown tag team titleholders The Usos.

The latter was thrown together at the last minute when someone realized the biggest star in the company was not scheduled for the show. While it is a wise business move to include Reigns, the decision came at the expense of a tag team title unification match between RK-Bro and The Usos that had been built from the first episode of SmackDown after The Showcase of the Immortals.

Every television segment dedicated to those two teams was deemed meaningless because the advertised match was scrapped in favor of a six-man contest that could (and should) have headlined any random episode of Raw or SmackDown.

Corbin vs. Moss is the culmination of a month-long feud that saw the latter break away from his associate to become a babyface on the blue brand. While it is a first-time meeting and a payoff to a storyline, it's hardly the one you point to while attempting to justify the existence of a special event.

Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins has solid creative behind it, but it's a match that fans watched play out on The Grandest Stage of Them All as a Match of the Year candidate. Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair's feud over the SmackDown women's title has underwhelmed and booking an "I Quit" match, in which Drew Gulak has been the focal point rather than intensifying the rivalry, does not help.

Edge and AJ Styles will continue to chase that epic match between two of the greatest Superstars of the last two decades, while Bobby Lashley vs. Omos appears destined to be about as good as their previous showdown.

Worst of all, none of those bouts has a ton of heat or excitement surrounding them. Maybe Rhodes and Rollins, thanks to great performances in the lead-in, but the remainder of the card feels like a solid house-show lineup rather than one that will inspire excitement for the WWE product at a time that traditionally could benefit from it.

So why bother?

Sure, there is money involved and contracts with WWE's streaming partners, but if that is the case, it could produce something unique and different rather than throwing together a PPV card consisting primarily of matches fans have seen before and have minimal interest in sitting through again.

         

Try An Alternative

Once upon a time, WWE produced the King of the Ring tournament as a PPV. It was mostly a placeholder event, a bridge between WrestleMania and SummerSlam, but the gimmick left fans buzzing and drummed up intrigue.

Since the company had such a tournament just six months ago, it could easily look to other options to fill the slot on its live event schedule.

With one of the most talented women's rosters in WWE history, why not look at bringing back Evolution?

In 2018, the company produced its first all-women PPV, headlined by Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella for the Raw Women's Championship and a Last Woman Standing match between Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown title.

Considering WWE has several ongoing feuds within its women's division at the moment (Bianca Belair vs. Sonya Deville, Rousey vs. Flair, Liv Morgan vs. Rhea Ripley, Asuka vs. Lynch, Sasha Banks/Naomi vs. Natalya/Shayna Baszler), there are plenty of matches to justify filling a card with. 

It's a schedule that would have fans buzzing a whole lot more than they are for WrestleMania Backlash's effortless slate of rehashes.

If the company does not want to go that route, it could take the NXT Spring Breakin' special it produced Tuesday night on USA and slot that into the Peacock schedule and give main roster creative teams the opportunity to build rivalries and storylines in time for Money in the Bank event on July 2.

There are other avenues for WWE to explore rather than the cheap creative out that Backlash has become. Let other stars shine, look at giving audiences something different or utilize its young talent to fill one of the PPV holes.

Anything is better than repeating matches with minimal build or anticipation for the sake of satisfying streaming partners and making a few extra bucks. Scrap Backlash entirely, develop something new or revisit a previous concept, and produce an event that shows the audience there is even the slightest bit of effort from the creative powers that be.

The result will be much more accepted by the audience than Sunday's ice-cold PPV will be.

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