WWE WrestleMania Backlash - As It Happened
Featuring a feel-good title change, excellent in-ring action and zombies
Outside of a zombie-filled middle act, WWE's first pay-per-view since WrestleMania 37 was an enjoyable affair that featured excellent in-ring action and a feel-good title change. Check out what happened below:
Sheamus' Open Challenge - Kickoff Show
Before Sheamus headed to the ring, The Dirty Dawgs beat down Dominik Mysterio backstage and left him lying underneath a wrapped-up sofa. Would he be able to fight in the SmackDown Tag Team Title match on the main card?
After The Celtic Warrior entered the squared circle, Ricochet answered the challenge. The former United States Champion went straight after the current champion in the early going, but Sheamus quickly gained the upper hand.
Sheamus dominated the match for the next several minutes before Ricochet fought back with a Running Shooting Star Press and a Springboard Moonsault for a near fall. He then followed up with a Backstabber and a 450 Splash but The Ginger-Headed Juggernaut, as Adnan Virk called him, kicked out at two.
Sheamus then avoided a 630 Splash a few moments later and capitalised with a knee to the face for the victory.
The United States Champion didn't have long to celebrate his victory after the bell as Ricochet attacked him from behind and danced in his hat and coat.
Rhea Ripley vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair - Raw Women's Championship
The opening minutes involved Rhea Ripley and Asuka fighting off Charlotte Flair so they could square off one on one, but The Queen consistently fought back.
Flair eventually took out Ripley and she worked over Asuka in the ring until The Empress Of Tomorrow managed to lock in a Cross Armbreaker after a few minutes.
Ripley broke up the submission, though, and all three women enjoyed time on top over the next couple of minutes. Asuka then got rolling soon after until Flair knocked her to the floor and decked The Empress Of Tomorrow and Ripley with her patented Moonsault to the outside. Ripley and Asuka fought back with a Double Superplex back inside the ring.
All three women exchanged bombs in the centre of the ring and Flair got the better of the exchange and connected with Double Natural Selections. She then channelled her inner Roman Reigns and tried to pin both women, but Ripley and Asuka kicked out at two.
Soon after, Flair was on the apron and caught Asuka with a Big Boot. This caused Charlotte to tumble to the floor and Ripley took advantage inside the ring and decked Asuka with Riptide for the win.
Winner: Rhea Ripley
Ripley celebrated her victory after the match and lauded the win over Flair. A match between the two women looks to be on the horizon.
The Dirty Dawgs vs. Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio - SmackDown Tag Team Championship
As mentioned earlier, The Dirty Dawgs took out Dominik Mysterio during the Kickoff Show and WWE's medical team refused to clear him for in-ring action.
This left Rey to fight on alone and the former World Heavyweight Champion embarrassed the SmackDown Tag Team Champions in the opening minutes but Robert Roode stopped him in his tracks with a brutal Clothesline.
The Dirty Dawgs then worked over Mysterio with methodical offence and the champions dominated for several minutes. They put together one cool spot after Roode sent Mysterio sliding to the outside, only for Rey to eat a Superkick from Ziggler.
Mysterio managed to make it back in the ring before the 10 count and he fought back with a flurry of offence. Dominik then made his way to the ring but this only distracted Rey and Ziggler capitalised with a Zig-Zag for a close near fall.
Soon after, Roode carried Rey to the top turnbuckle but Mysterio countered with a Bulldog. Rey then hesitated making the tag to Dominik, but he eventually did so and the younger Mysterio got in a few punches before Roode connected with a Spinebuster.
Ziggler tried to capitalise and set up for Sweet Chin Music but Dominik fought back with a Superkick of his own and tagged in his father. Mysterio and Roode then battled back and forth and Rey connected with 619 before Dominik followed up with a Frog Splash for the victory.
The Mysterios are your new tag team champions!
Winners: Rey Mysterio & Dominik Mysterio
Before the next match, John Morrison tried to speak to the lumberjacks but he instead encountered a room full of zombies.
Jimmy Uso also spoke to his brother backstage until Roman Reigns appeared.
Damian Priest vs. The Miz - Lumberjack Match
WWE heavily plugged Zack Snyder's Army Of The Dead ahead of the match and the lumberjacks were indeed zombies.
Adnan Virk, Corey Gaves and Byron Saxton ran away from a zombie under their desk and they commentated on the in-ring action from a safer location.
The Superstars weren't safe, though, and The Miz and Damian Priest both tumbled into the zombies in the early going.
Priest later connected with a Spinning Kick from the top rope and he went for Hit The Lights but Miz blocked it and locked in a Figure Four. The zombies dragged both men to the outside, though, and Miz and Priest worked together to take out the undead.
They then re-entered the ring and Priest connected with a Broken Arrow for a near fall. The Archer Of Infamy tried to follow up but Johnny Drip Drip provided the distraction and Miz capitalised with the Running Knee for his own near fall.
Morrison then took out more zombies but he was eventually dragged off and eaten. His friend's murder ultimately distracted Miz and Priest connected with Hit The Lights for the win.
Winner: Damian Priest
Zombies then devoured The Miz following the bell. If the former SmackDown Tag Team Champions are both on Raw tomorrow, they are truly invincible.
Hell In A Cell is also a lot earlier this year and WWE announced the annual pay-per-view will take place on June 20.
Bianca Belair vs. Bayley - SmackDown Women's Championship
Both women had an initial feeling out phase in the early going and Bianca Belair showed off her athleticism. This allowed the champion to gain the upper hand and she picked up a near fall with a Standing Moonsault.
Bayley didn't seem to know what to do until she grabbed Belair's earring. She then worked over The EST Of WWE with methodical offence over the next several minutes, which included her dropping Belair on the steel steps before she followed up with a Suplex onto the floor.
Bayley started laughing at Belair, such was her dominance, but this only lit a fire within the champion and she ran roughshod over the challenger with Strikes, Dropkicks and a Spinebuster.
Belair then set up for the KOD but Bayley blocked it and capitalised with a Flying Elbow for a near fall. More counters between both women followed and Bayley crashed and burned after Belair avoided a Suicide Dive.
Belair couldn't capitalise, though, and Bayley used every trick in the book to gain an advantage. Bayley used the ropes for leverage during two roll-ups, but the official spotted what she was doing. The referee was more blind when Bayley raked Belair's eyes, though.
Bayley then used Belair's hair to connect with the Bayley To Belly, but the champion managed to kick out.
Having survived that, Belair picked up the win moments later after she rolled Bayley up and used her hair for leverage.
Winner: Bianca Belair
Bobby Lashley vs. Braun Strowman vs. Drew McIntyre - WWE Championship
Bobby Lashley offered to form an alliance with Drew McIntyre in the opening moments and while Drew initially rejected the offer, they did work together to beat down Braun Strowman and deck The Monster Among Men with a Delayed Vertical Suplex.
Lashley and McIntyre then battered each other on the outside until Strowman recovered and took them both out with a Diving Clothesline. He followed up with a Chokeslam to Lashley for a near fall and he went for a Running Powerslam but Lashley blocked it.
McIntyre then came diving off the top rope to take out both of his opponents and he caught Strowman with a Zig-Zag for his own near fall.
After that flurry of action, Lashley took control of the match until Strowman pulverised him with repeated steel step shots to the head. McIntyre managed to catch Strowman with a Claymore moments later, though, sending The Monster flying over the barricade.
Lashley and McIntyre then battled up the ramp and Lashley was sent into oblivion after The Scottish Warrior threw him through the LED boards, causing sparks to fly everywhere.
After all of this, Strowman had recovered from the earlier Claymore kick and the former Universal Champion decked Drew with the Strowman Express. He followed up with a Senton for a two count and McIntyre fired back with a Michinoku Driver.
Strowman tried to fight back with another Strowman Express but Drew blocked it and connected with a Belly To Belly Suplex before he tried to follow up with a Claymore. Strowman caught McIntyre, though, and Powerbombed him through the announce table.
Braun then dragged McIntyre back into the ring and went for the Running Powerslam, but Drew escaped and fired back with the Claymore. Lashley appeared from out of nowhere before Drew could capitalise, however, and he tossed McIntyre out of the ring before he decked Strowman with a Spear to retain the WWE Championship.
Winner: Bobby Lashley
Roman Reigns vs. Cesaro - Universal Championship
The drama between Roman Reigns and The Usos was consigned to before the match as The Head Of The Table told Jey to stay backstage.
The champion and the challenger felt each other out in the early going and Reigns scurried to the floor after Cesaro caught him with a couple of Shoulder Tackles. Reigns got back in the ring after a while and Cesaro caught him with a Springboard European Uppercut before Roman blocked a Swing attempt.
It was Reigns' turn to take control moments later after he sent Cesaro tumbling to the floor and the Universal Champion worked over Cesaro with a Crossface and vicious blows back in the ring. A Samoan Drop followed and Reigns got more and more frustrated with every kick out.
Reigns set up for the Superman Punch but Cesaro ducked and capitalised with a Pop Up European Uppercut. He followed up with repeated Running European Uppercuts and locked in the Sharpshooter but Reigns quickly made it to the ropes. The Challenger hit a Corkscrew Plancha moments later and he caught Reigns with a Running European Uppercut, sending Roman crashing into the barricade.
Both men brawled on the apron soon after and Reigns targeted Cesaro's right arm before he followed up with a Drive-By to The Swiss Superman's right shoulder. Reigns targeted Cesaro's arm some more back in the ring and he stared into the camera to goad Daniel Bryan, who might be watching at home.
Reigns dominated the match for the next several minutes until Cesaro fought back with a Clothesline. Both men then exchanged blows and Cesaro gained the upper hand with more European Uppercuts before he connected with an Inside-Out Suplex for a near fall.
Cesaro set up for the Neutraliser but Reigns blocked it and locked in an Armbar. Cesaro escaped and went for a Springboard European Uppercut but The Big Dog countered with a Superman Punch. Cesaro somehow kicked out of the ensuing pinfall.
Reigns tried to follow up with the Spear but he only ran into a European Uppercut. Cesaro then went for a Pop-Up European Uppercut but his arm gave out and Reigns locked in the Guillotine.
Cesaro managed to power out and he locked in the Sharpshooter in the centre of the ring. The challenger then transitioned into a Crossface after he couldn't hold the Sharpshooter. Reigns managed to survive, though, and he pummelled Cesaro. The Swiss Superman tried to avoid being pummelled but Reigns transitioned into the Guillotine again.
Cesaro managed to escape briefly but Reigns locked the Guillotine in yet again for the submission victory and the clean win.
Winner: Roman Reigns
After the match, Jey Uso placed the tribal beads over Roman Reigns and beat down a defenceless Cesaro as The Big Dog watched on.
"Burn It Down" then suddenly blared over the titantron and Seth Rollins made his way to the ring in another wonderful suit. The two former Shield brothers locked eyes before Rollins also beat down Cesaro.
The pay-per-view went off the air after Rollins Stomped Cesaro's lights out shortly after he swung The Swiss Cyborg's arm into the ring post while it was trapped in a steel chair.