Bad Bunny dazzles in front of raucous Puerto Rico crowd; 2023 Backlash results
The energy and crowd of the Puerto Rican fans at Backlash was next level! There were a lot of positives and negatives from a WWE standpoint after Wrestlemania. However, Backlash was a huge positive and it will drive the momentum to Night of Champions in Saudi Arabia.
The night started off hot as a chorus of chants of "Iyo Sky" broke out as the two women tied up. The San Juan crowd booed every offensive action by the champion. The crowd was extremely pro "Iyo" this match was a breakout performance for Sky. The crowd loved her. Within the aspects of the storyline, it was the interference from her Damage CTRL stablemates Bayley and Dakota Kai that cost Sky the match. It was a fantastic opener that set the night off the right way. This was Sky's breakout performance, her chemistry with Belair was undeniable and the crowd atmosphere was incredible. Sky gained much in defeat and Belair became the longest-reigning women's champion of the modern era. It was a victory all around.
The other women’s title match also carried great crowd engagement as Puerto Rico's own Zelina Vega took on Smackdown women’s champion Rhea Ripley. Vega received a touching welcome in front of her fellow Puerto Ricans. The LWO member's family sat ringside to watch her challenge for the title. She struggled to hold back the tears while being introduced by announcer Samantha Irvin. Vega paid homage to the other latin wrestlers who came before her. Vega landed an Eddie Guerrero frog splash and a Rey Mysterio 619. However, it wasn’t enough as Ripley was the more powerful fighter and she was able to get the victory.
Arguably, the match of the night was Bad Bunny vs Damien Priest in the San Juan Street fight. The crowd reception towards Bad Bunny reverberated around the arena. The crowd sang along to every word as the rapper's music blared through the venue. Bad Bunny welcomed the Street Fight stipulation, pushing a shopping cart chock-full of weapons to the ring. The two wrestlers' chemistry in the ring was fantastic although Bunny isn’t particularly known for his wrestling prowess he was able to make a match outta it by using weapons. The craziest part of the match was when Priest carried Bad Bunny onto an elevated equipment box and drilled him through a table with the Broken Arrow. A crazy spot that drew a loud reaction from Bad Bunny's fans. Priest gave Bunny hell the entire match and couldn’t put him away. In typical heel fashion Priest’s faction “The Judgement Day '' came out and attacked the Grammy winning artist. Rey Mysterio tried to save Bad Bunny but the numbers were too much to overcome. Queue the entrance theme of WWE alum Carlito. Mr. "Caribbean Cool" hit the ring, toppled over Judgement Day and spat an apple in Dominik Mysterio's face. Balor and Dominik Mysterio attempted to flee, but found themselves trapped between Carlito and Savio Vega. The remaining members of LWO – Santos Escobar, Joaquin Wilde and Cruz Del Toro – hit the ramp as the fan-favorites stomped on Dominik Mysterio. Vega cracked Balor and Dominik with a series of chops and strikes. The distraction bewildered Priest and it was enough to help Bunny win. At the end the crowd gave its loudest reaction of the night.
The main event was Cody Rhodes vs Brock Lesnar. The two’s rivalry took on a life of its own the night after wrestlemania. It had the pace of a typical Brock Lesnar match, dominating pace from lesnar landing multiple suplexes and F5’s. Rhodes was able to counteract Lesnar’s offense as he was able to GOAT him into an exposed turnbuckle which caused Lesnar to be busted open. Lesnar snatched Rhodes' momentum as he snatched his foe up into an F-5 for his own near fall. Lesnar, sporting a crimson mask, had Rhodes on the verge of submitting to a kimura lock. Rhodes managed to post up and pin Lesnar's shoulders to the mat for a three-count.
Other matches on the card included Seth Rollins vs Omos. Rollins was able to floor the giant and his popularity took form again as the crowd serenaded him with his battle chant. Austin Theory was able to maintain his United States championship against Bobby Lashley and Bronson Reed. Lastly, the ongoing Bloodline storyline continued to be told as the Usos and Solo Sikoa were able to defeat the undisputed champs Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens and Riddle. The tag match was a very climatic match Jey Uso and his bro Sikoa seemed to be on different pages as at one point it seemed like Sikoa was about to strike his brother. The match ended when Sikoa tagged himself in hitting the Samoan spike pinning Riddle 123. The tension between Sikoa and Jey Uso was handled tremendously. The match started the same way it ended with The Usos appearing to be a step behind their younger brother.
Overall, Backlash will go down as a fantastic PPV. The WWE has struck gold with these international style PPVs the WWE has a few more international summer PPVs to go as far as popularity is concerned WWE is red hot!