Courtesy of WWE Home Video UK, Matthew Roberts takes a look at their latest DVD offering WrestleMania Backlash
There was a viewpoint that calling this “WrestleMania” Backlash was a mistake in terms of it somehow making “WrestleMania” less of a select thing. To me it was merely a clever way of it showing up to Peacock viewers/streamers who would know the WM name but not much else about WWE.
And at least in a way it was true in advertising with a number of WrestleMania rematches (of sorts at least) on the card.
We opened with the Raw Women’s Championship match that added Charlotte Flair to the Rhea Ripley/Asuka mix. Much to the disgust of many a vocal fan on Twitter. The same people who no doubt would have complained about a straight Rhea/Asuka rematch. The one problem I had with Charlotte being put in was that it kind of made it all about her and somewhat put Rhea in the shadows. The match followed the usual “triple threat match where first decision wins” formula but it was entertaining enough. Rhea beat Asuka with Riptide in around fifteen minutes. A solid enough opener.
The Smackdown Tag Team Titles were next, as Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode defended against Rey and Dominik Mysterio. Expect that the dastardly champs had jumped poor Dom on the kickoff show so his dad had to go it alone. Maybe if Dom was really hurt his father would have stayed in the back to look after him. Naturally, the younger Mysterio limped out but Rey was reluctant to tag him in less he suffered a further injury. Dom tagged himself in to little positive effect but once Rey got back in the two Mysterio’s rallied and Dominik hit the Frog Splash for the win. A bit too long (especially the 2-on-1 bit) but it picked up towards the end.
The less said about the Lumberjack Match between Damien Priest and The Miz the better. The Lumberjacks were Zombies and it wasn’t very good. There are daft things in wrestling and we all should embrace that at times. But when they are as dull and pointless as this, just press the skip button and forget all about it.
Bianca Belair was up next with her first PPV defence of her Smackdown Women’s Title. Her opponent was Bayley, who had feuded with Belair a few months earlier. I’m yet to be totally convinced Belair is ready for the position she finds herself in (as far as the in-ring stuff goes) but putting her in with the work-horse Bayley was a smart move. The Champion looked great in the early going and seemed one step ahead at all times of her opponent. Bayley naturally rallied and the two had a good back and forth. The “controversial” ending let things down a little, but I guess it had to be if this feud was carrying on. Overall a good effort though.
The WWE Championship was another of those “rematches that aren’t quite rematches” as Braun Strowman was added to the Bobby Lashley/Drew McIntyre mix. With three big men in there, they just went all out with big bumps, power moves and all that jazz. I thought it was great to watch and entertaining. It was just what you wanted from these three. Lashley predictably retained by pinning Braun after a spear.
Finally, it was the Universal Championship as Roman Reigns defended against Cesaro. There was little likelihood that the Swiss Sensation was going to walk away with the gold but there was no less drama for that as the two assembled a great match that did keep you guessing most of the way. Anyone in 2021 saying Roman Reigns isn’t a good wrestler should just walk away now. And of course, we all know how great Cesaro is. This was crisp, exciting, action-packed and dramatic. And really well thought through. The twenty-five plus minutes flew by. Post-match Jey Uso and Seth Rollins showed up, which was largely unnecessary for my money. But there you go.
It’s always difficult for a WWE PPV after Mania to really capture the imagination but this was a very good show indeed. Only the “zombie” stuff let things down to any great degree. All four “World Title” singles matches were well worth your time and the tag team match wasn’t that bad either. All in all, a great show.
The DVD includes the kick-off match between Sheamus and Ricochet which is a good effort too.
8 out of 10
Photographs courtesy of Fetch and WWE. Thank you to WWE Home Video for our review copy of WrestleMania Backlash which is out Monday 5 July on DVD. You can buy your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk by clicking here.
You can find me on Twitter @IWFICON