WWE WrestleMania Backlash 2022 was a throwback to the In Your House era in that it was very clearly a B or even C-level pay-per-view rather than a true “premium” live event.
With only one championship on the line, nearly everything being a copy-and-paste rematch from a few weeks back and some rather bland filler to spread out the time, this could have easily been the worst show of the year.
Thankfully, despite the bad, there were some good moments too and some decent matches to pass the time.
Looking back on what transpired, here are some of the best and worst overall booking decisions from the show.
Understanding why WWE did something doesn’t mean that makes it okay. Omos is a giant who towers over nearly every person on the roster and has destroyed mostly everyone who has stepped in his path.
What good does it do, then, to have him lose to Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania clean, then get punked out for a good portion of this rematch and require assistance multiple times from MVP in order to win?
That is how you destroy the mystique of someone. When they are no better than anyone else, they’re no longer unique.
Yes, WWE gave Lashley the original win to pop the crowd and make him look like a big deal. Yes, Omos won this one in part to make them “even” with each other, and used MVP’s help because he’s a heel, so that will get you to boo him and not respect him. Plus, it keeps Lashley looking strong.
But was Lashley in any danger of looking weak if he had just failed to beat this giant?
It was a predictable outcome that ultimately accomplishes nothing but to stretch this feud out anymore, and one thing WWE doesn’t need any more of is feuds that overextend their welcome.
At the end of this storyline, Omos will probably look worse than he did heading into WrestleMania, and Lashley will have gained no more credibility than where he was months ago but will have lost the mouthpiece manager who got him to reach this next level.
Damian Priest was banned from ringside for Edge’s match against AJ Styles. However, if anyone could find a way to bend the rules, it would be The Ultimate Opportunist.
It was a false sense of security to have that stipulation. Styles still would have had to fight a Hall of Famer who is more decorated in accolades than entire classes combined. But even when Priest was attacked by Finn Balor, it was still Edge’s match to lose.
That is because a hooded assailant interfered from the other angle, pushed The Phenomenal One off the ropes and helped The Rated-R Superstar secure a victory. Rhea Ripley unveiled herself and is now a member of Judgment Day.
This checks a few positives off the list. It was a surprise to anyone who doesn’t overanalyze things, it gives more momentum to The Nightmare for her heel turn, she’ll learn much sitting under Edge’s tree of knowledge, and it means Styles was protected in a loss yet again.
If WWE decides to continue this feud into Hell in a Cell, the two cases of interference could justify the cage being used to keep everyone out so Styles and Edge can settle this once and for all. It will likely also lead to Ripley becoming one of the next challengers to Bianca Belair’s title to provide for a much-needed fresh feud.
WWE doesn’t have someone like Ronda Rousey on the roster without giving her the championship. Everyone and their mother knew she’d capture that belt sooner or later. Since WWE swerved everyone with Charlotte Flair retaining at WrestleMania, Backlash became the next obvious time to run it back and go with the end result we all saw coming from a mile away.
If it had just been a regular match and Rousey won with a pinfall, it would have fallen flat. Repeating the same match and just doing a different outcome is cheap.
With the I Quit stipulation, though, there is more weight to the win. The Queen didn’t get caught by a quick pin or anything she can write off as a fluke. She shrieked in pain, gave up and left the arena with a storyline injury—a definitive loss.
That will give Flair time off to heal any legitimate nagging injuries she might have. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and people will appreciate her more when she returns than if she stuck around and stole the spotlight. This also avoids the problem that WWE has wherein Creative doesn’t seem to know what to do with Flair if she’s not holding a title or challenging for one.
Meanwhile, Rousey’s inevitable title reign has begun. Whether she has an interesting run or not remains to be seen. It can be a dud where she’s holding the title until WrestleMania and we all know nothing is changing, so nobody’s worth getting invested in for a year, or it can be the best work of her career.
At least it is a break from Flair for the time being, and Fox can be happy that its mainstream media sports star can be front and center for a while.
The end goal of nearly every tag team in WWE is to split them up and have at least one of the Superstars walk out of the feud better than before. With Madcap Moss and Happy Corbin, the clear side that needs more of a leg up is Moss.
He’s by far the least established of the two. In order to become something, he needs wins over guys like Corbin to boost his credibility.
Beating Corbin isn’t the equivalent of capturing a title, but it’s a nice follow-up to his Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal victory. This shows WWE didn’t just give him that win for the sake of picking a name out of a hat but that he’s actually being invested in.
The more wins he accumulates like this, the more believable he’ll be as a contender for something like the Intercontinental Championship. It may be baby steps, but those are still on the same path to success.
Overall, the biggest flop was how this event was mostly meaningless. If you skipped it and saw the predictable outcome of Rousey beating Flair coming, catching up on the quick results slide above was all you really needed to know.
Nothing here was must-see or can’t-miss. It’s all going to be recapped to death on Raw and SmackDown. You can check out YouTube clips. The Bump will talk about it ad nauseam. Almost none of it actually mattered.
So what if Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins had a good match? They did the last time, no stakes were attached, and this feud is just going to continue, so they’ll have a third one.
Who cares that The Bloodline beat RK-Bro and Drew McIntyre? That didn’t progress any storylines, nor does it have more value to it than what a tag team title unification would have meant. If it didn’t happen, everything would be the same as it was after WrestleMania.
It’s hard to argue that Moss against Corbin was better for this card than a United States Championship defense, or that Omos beating Lashley will do more for the overall roster than the Intercontinental Championship being defended for the first time on a pay-per-view in months.
WWE shouldn’t get into a habit of being praised for a lackluster build, weak repetitive stories, the Raw Women’s Championship not being on the card, the unified world champion fighting in a tag team match and for all that to be okay just because the performers did their jobs and wrestled well.
That leads to bad creative where you don’t need to watch any of the television shows. Then, if nothing matters until the bell rings, it’ll be just like the kickoff here, where it brought no extra value, had no matches or announcements, and no one bothers to watch.
Anthony Mango is the owner of the wrestling website Smark Out Moment and the host of the podcast show Smack Talk on YouTube, iTunes and Stitcher. You can follow him on Facebook and elsewhere for more.
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