Get the latest and greatest in the world of wrestling from columnist Rob Pasbani.
Now that Backlash is in the peripheral, WWE is moving full steam ahead with it’s World Heavyweight Championship tournament. The tournament kicked off on RAW. Here were how the brackets shaped up:
The first two matches took place on Raw last night, Finn Balor defeated Cody Rhodes and the Miz when Brock Lesnar showed up to attack Cody Rhodes just as he had the Miz beat. This allowed Finn to steal the victory. I will have more on the Brock/Cody feud in a bit. Meanwhile, Seth Rollins defeated Damien Priest and Shinsuke Nakamura in a fun match to advance to the semi-finals. Later in the night, Rollins and Finn Balor squared off and Rollins advanced to the finals at Night of Champions.
His opponent will be determined on Smackdown this Friday. The two first round matches on Smackdown are AJ Styles facing off against Edge and Rey Mysterio; plus Sheamus, Bobby Lashley, and WWE United States Champion Austin Theory in the second quarterfinal match. Later that night, the winners of the two triple threat matches will face off and that winner will advance to face Seth Rollins.
Lashley is probably being saved for Roman so I assume he won’t be victorious. I think the person winning the Smackdown side of the tournament will be AJ Styles, because that seems like the most exciting match, but I can also see it being Edge because he is the bigger name. Ultimately, I see Rollins winning the whole tournament. If anybody deserves the title, it’s him. Plus, he has the built-in brag that he’s the real champ since Roman has never beat him.
WWE Backlash will end up being one of the most memorable PPVs of 2023, and it’s all thanks to the wild Puerto Rican crowd. They were so loud all night, especially for local stars Zelina Vega and of course Bad Bunny. It was infectious!
Bad Bunny himself was floored by the reactions, writing on Instagram (translated from Spanish) “I’m still processing this. There are no words to describe what I felt that day… wow! it was a dream. Thank you PUERTO RICO!!! You were the stars these two nights! There is no energy like the one you provided!! people now know who the best wrestling fans in the world are!!”
The crowd was so loud, WWE complied a video showing their best reactions:
But seriously, this Bad Bunny entrance will be remembered for a long time:
WWE managed to get some local flavor in there with WWE legend Savio Vega appearing to a huge pop, in addition to a surprise appearance from Carlito. Again, listen to the crowd!
Brock Lesnar vs. Cody Rhodoes finished the night. It was a bloody affair:
When the match was over, I wasn’t crazy about the finish, I felt Cody sneaked out a win. Here are the final moments:
I thought it made Cody look a bit weak since he said he wouldn’t run from a fight, but turns out that was the intention, as the next night on Raw, Brock looked scarier than ever and challenged Cody to another match.
WWE NXT is on tonight at 8pm on USA Network. Here’s the lineup:
AEW Dynamite has a big show tomorrow night at 8pm on TBS:
Impact Wrestling on Thursday at 8pm on AXS has:
Smackdown on Friday at 8pm on Fox announced:
WWE Raw on Monday has announced:
Savio Vega credits his surprise appearance at Backlash to Damian Priest and Bad Bunny telling Cultaholic “[WWE] got in contact with me because this is the mastermind of Damian Priest and Bad Bunny,” Vega said. “They’re both fans of me and I discovered that when I went to the farewell of The Undertaker. I saw Damian Priest there and I went to him, ‘Hey man, how you doing? I want to take a picture with you.’ He said, ‘No, I want to take a picture with you.’ So I talked to him a little bit there. We don’t talk too much but we keep in touch by phone. This idea was them, more Damian Priest.”
Meanwhile Carlito joked on Twitter: “Well….looks like my Indy booking price just went up!!”
WWE Night of Champions card is shaping up to be Seth Rollins vs. the Smackdown finalist for the World Heavyweight Championship, Brock Lesnar vs. Cody is some sort of street fight, Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus. Roman Reigns is expected to defend his title as well. It’s unclear if all titles will be defended at the show like in previous years.
Trinity revealed she will be in Impact Wrestling at least through July.
Eddie Kingston revealed at a recent Ring of Honor taping that he is set to undergo hernia surgery and is expected to be out four to six weeks.
The LWO and Judgment Day each got matching tattoos in Puerto Rico.
The first three matches for the New Japan/All Japan/NOAH supershow on June 9th have been announced and they’re pretty wild for Japanese fans: