Biggest Takeaways from WWE WrestleMania Backlash 2022 Results

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2022

Biggest Takeaways from WWE WrestleMania Backlash 2022 Results

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    What many considered a simple rehash of WrestleMania matches and uninteresting rivalries instead resulted in the best WWE pay-per-view of 2022 to date, including a Match of the Year candidate, an interesting storyline development and a defining performance from a former world champion.

    The show also featured a brutal I Quit match for the SmackDown Women's Championship that provided Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair with the bout they and their fans deserved, not to mention a fantastic six-man tag team main event won by the still-dominant Bloodline.

    What were the biggest takeaways from the extravaganza and why? Find out now with this recap of Sunday's overperforming WrestleMania Backlash. 

Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins Deliver Another Match of the Year Candidate

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    The best match of WrestleMania 38 saw Cody Rhodes make a triumphant return to WWE and defeat Seth Rollins in a genuine Match of the Year candidate.

    The two men ran it back Sunday night with a contest every bit as good as the original and, in some regards, even better.

    Their WrestleMania Backlash encounter built on the previous bout, telling the story of two athletes who game-planned and studied their opponent's moves, reversing and countering throughout before Rhodes fought fire with fire and used the tights to score a roll-up victory.

    The fans inside the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island were red-hot for the match and rewarded the efforts of the opponents with thunderous ovations for key spots throughout.

    Rhodes winning in the manner he did almost certainly sets up a third showdown, with Rollins likely campaign for one last chance to beat The American Nightmare.

    Given the fact that Hell in a Cell is up next on June 5, do not be surprised to see the top Raw Superstars do battle inside the steel structure.

    Whether their feud is hot enough for that particular gimmick is a question for another time, but there is every reason to believe they would tear the house down and add a third Match of the Year candidate to their impressive resumes. 

Bobby Lashley's Evolution on Full Display in Better-Than-Expected Omos Match

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    Bobby Lashley and Omos delivered a match infinitely better than it had any right to be and was a significant improvement over their underwhelming showing in Dallas last month.

    And much of that can be attributed to the best version of The Almighty we have seen to date.

    Five years ago, Lashley would not have been able to have a match as solid as he did against Omos. He was not as good or as comfortable as he is with his position in WWE as he is now. He was fresh off a lengthy run with Impact Wrestling, where he improved his in-ring skills but had still not developed into the wrestler he needed to be to achieve consistent excellence in a main event role.

    The All Mighty found it during his run with MVP and The Hurt Business, where he developed his style, evolved as a performer and is now thriving early in an unexpectedly strong babyface run.

    The crowd is behind him, and his ability to feed off that energy and his understanding of when to do what helped Sunday's battle against Omos achieve a quality it would not have had prior to this latest run. 

    Look no further than the spot that saw The Nigerian Giant break the Hurt Lock and the crowd break out in a chant of "Bobby" as he tried to fight his way back into the contest. 

    It was Omos' best match but it was a defining one for Lashley, who proved he is a top-tier performer and deserving of screen time, exposure and accolades. 

Rhea Ripley Addition Sets Up Judgment Day for Raw Dominance

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    Wrestling history is brimming with great factions and stables that have dominated different divisions. The Four Horsemen carried multiple titles in Jim Crockett Promotions in the 1980s, New World Order replicated that success in the '90s, as did Evolution in the 2000s. Today, The Bloodline has a stranglehold on SmackDown and its titles.

    Rarely has a faction come along that was able to achieve success in the women's division, too. 

    Enter Judgment Day and its newest member, Rhea Ripley, who pledged her allegiance to Edge after getting involved in his match against AJ Styles on Sunday night.

    The Nightmare's alliance with The Rated-R Superstar and Damian Priest may have been expected from the moment she turned heel on Liv Morgan, but that does not lessen the impact it will have on Raw.

    Edge is a main event guy, someone who can carry the weight of a top-tier program against the likes of Styles, Finn Balor and Cody Rhodes. Meanwhile, Priest is the future, a guy who will learn from the WWE Hall of Famer and evolve into a main event star.

    Ripley can be for Judgment Day what previous factions did not have: a presence in the women's division. She can oppose the likes of Morgan, Becky Lynch, Asuka and Raw women's champion Bianca Belair and ensure domination of Raw for the stable.

    She fits the group's dark, brooding aesthetic and has the same edge of danger her teammates in Judgment Day possess. Given the fact that Belair is a babyface champion, switching to the dark side provides Ripley with greater opportunity to compete for the top prize on the brand.

    It's a title she can use to help further establish Judgment Day as the premier threat to everyone's favorite red-brand acts.

Charlotte Flair and Ronda Rousey Deliver the Match WrestleMania Deserved

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    Neither the build nor Ronda Rousey and Charlotte Flair's first match at WrestleMania 38 left fans particularly excited about their I Quit bout for the SmackDown Women's Championship on Sunday night.

    Instead of being underwhelming, though, the two women delivered a fantastically brutal contest that put an exclamation point on their feud.

    Both Rousey and Flair were left battered and bruised, with the marks on their bodies reflective of a match that achieved a level of intensity fans and competitors deserved a month earlier on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

    It was the first match where The Baddest Woman on the Planet looked comfortable. Too often, she has seemed uncertain since her return at the Royal Rumble in January.

    Rousey entered the industry via a five-star Match of the Year with Kurt Angle vs. Stephanie McMahon and Triple H in 2018, and she went on to have one of the greatest rookie years in pro wrestling history.

    However, the former UFC fighter became a victim of her own success, and her struggle to live up to the standard she set brought some question marks.

    Those criticisms should be tempered by her performance Sunday against, arguably, the best female wrestler in the world. 

    Rousey hung with Flair, delivering a physical match in which she defeated The Queen by getting her to yell "I quit."

    Where this leaves The Queen is anyone's guess, but SmackDown belongs to Rousey, and a showdown with the recently returned Lacey Evans feels like the most obvious path for the new champion.

WWE Protects Marquee Reigns-McIntyre Match in Stellar Main Event

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    Credit: WWE

    Two things needed to happen in the main event of WrestleMania Backlash: The six men involved needed a great match to dampen any criticisms of what was, effectively, a house-show headliner, and WWE Creative had to protect the Roman Reigns-Drew McIntyre match that central to its storytelling in the future.

    Both of those things happened at WrestleMania Backlash.

    Reigns and The Usos defeated McIntyre, Randy Orton and Riddle in an action-packed main event that had the fans hanging on every near-fall en route to The Tribal Chief planting Riddle with a Spear for the victory.

    It is what occurred moments before the finish that was the most significant moment of the contest, though.

    On the floor, Reigns caught McIntyre in a uranage and slammed him through the announce table, taking The Scottish Warrior out of the match. In doing so, he ensured the feud with his perceived top contender has legs beyond Sunday's PPV.

    McIntyre was spared a loss as Reigns pinned The Original Bro following a Spear from out of nowhere. The look on his face as The Tribal Chief made his way up the ramp with The Usos suggested the issues between the two men are far from over. If anything, they are just getting started.

    That is exactly where WWE needed the story to be as it looks to propel things forward and officially set in motion the Reigns-McIntyre main event program.

    On top of it all, we got a brilliant main event featuring six of the best WWE has to offer. The crowd was hot, the biggest star in the industry went over, and WWE overdelivered with a show that outperformed expectations and set in motion the start of what should be an eventful summer for the company.