The SmarK Rant for WWE Wrestlemania Backlash 2022: The Return of the Curse of the Creature’s Ghost – 05.08.22
Live from Providence, RI
Your hosts are Michael Cole and the other guys.
Cody Rhodes v. Seth Rollins
They trade hammerlocks to start and Rollins blocks the sliding punch, but he makes the mistake of pointing to his head to indicate intelligence, so he’s already doomed. Seth puts the boots to him in the corner, and then outsmarts him for a cradle that gets two. To be fair, he doesn’t have a huge ugly neck tattoo so he’s already one or two steps ahead to begin with. Cody tries to make a comeback and Rollins bails and suckers in him for a cheapshot before choking him out in the corner. Cody bails to the apron and Seth puts him down with a knee, while the announcers discuss how Cody was away from the WWE for 6 years and thus had “ring rust” at Wrestlemania. That may be the stupidest thing I’ve heard outside of Twitter this week. Are we seriously back in 1988 and pretending other promotions don’t exist? Cody comes back with the disaster kick for two, but Rollins counters another attempt and puts him on the floor. The Disaster Kick is one of those weird finisher names, like the Pedigree, where it endured long past the point of the character that spawned it. Seth sends him into the railing and back in the ring for a slugfest, but Rollins runs him into the corner for a Bret turnbuckle bump. Hey, that’s AEW’s gimmick! Seth with a chinlock, but Cody fights back again and a sunset flip gets two. They fight to the top and Cody brings him down with a superplex. They slug it out and Cody pops into the Cody Cutter for two. Aw, and Cody has been practicing his Shocked Two Count Face, too. Good for him. Rollins tries the Pedigree and Cody escapes that, so Seth superkicks him for two and they both have Shocked Two Count Face for the double down. Seth misses the curb stomp and Cody goes up for a bodypress, but Seth counters that. They trade reversals and Seth hits a Falcon Arrow for two. Cody tries another disaster kick and Seth powerbombs him and follows with a frog splash for two. Seth goes back up and misses the Phoenix splash, and Cody superkicks him and goes up, but Seth brings him down with a superplex, which Cody then reverses into the Crossroads for two. He goes up for a moonsault, but that misses and Seth hits him with the Pedigree for two. Seth slugs away on Cody, but another Crossroads ends that. So Cody tries a Vertebreaker, but Seth rolls him up and Cody reverses and grabs the tights for the pin at 20:55. This was a really good opener, but that was a weak finish and they went five minutes past the peak and kind of lost it at the end. That first Crossroads should have been the finish. ***1/2
Omos v. Bobby Lashley
So MVP has apparently turned on Lashley and is managing Omos now. Lucky him. Lashley slugs away to start, but Omos puts him down with a big boot and a pair of corner splashes. Omos shoves him to the floor as the artificial crowd noise is pretty obvious for this one. Back in, Omos with Snake Eyes and a big boot. My friend, I have watched Kevin Nash and lovingly made fun of him for many years, and you are no Kevin Nash. Bobby comes back with a sleeper and can’t hang on, but keeps coming with shoulderblocks in the corner. Bobby ties him in the ropes and slugs away while the camera zooms and shakes and it’s CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT CUT until MVP frees him. So Bobby goes after MVP and then gets a kind of flatliner on Omos, and then tries the full nelson but can’t lock it in. So Omos beats on him in the corner with the clubbing forearms, but then Bobby hits his own forearms and kind of gets a spinebuster, although Omos can’t really go up for it. But then Omos runs him into the post and MVP gets another cheapshot, allowing the tree slam to finish for Omos at 8:51. Hooray for 50/50 booking. Omos looked blown up in a hurry and this was a drag. *1/2
Edge v. AJ Styles
AJ attacks to start and they fight on the floor, before AJ hits him with a baseball slide and follows with a moonsault. Back in, Edge blocks the forearm with a big boot and hurts AJ’s shoulder, which we know because AJ says “Oh god I think he hurt my shoulder again” into the camera. So AJ bails to regroup and Edge chases him out and catapults him into the post. Back in, Edge rams the shoulder into the mat and goes to an armbar on the mat. They slug it out and AJ wins that with the Pele kick and makes the comeback. Facebuster gets two. They head up and AJ brings him down with a rana for two. Ushigoroshi gets two. Edge takes him down with a neckbreaker and tries for the crossface, but AJ counters to the calf crusher and Edge makes the ropes. AJ with a german suplex out of the corner, but Edge pulls off the turnbuckle and so AJ runs him into the exposed steel for two. But then they miss Edge going something during the replay, which gets two, and then we need a replay of the spear that we missed during the first replay. They actually don’t make gaffes like that very often. Edge tries another spear and runs into a knee, which leads to the Styles Clash for two. AJ goes up while Damian Priest comes out despite being banned from ringside, and Finn Balor brawls with him, but then another mysterious Edge goon crotches AJ and Edge puts him in the crossface and chokes him out at 15:15. And our mystery goth is Rhea Ripley, which probably would have had more impact if she hadn’t already turned heel weeks ago. Match was like a good TV main event, but pretty dull, and why did they need to break their own stipulation if they were just going to have someone else interfere anyway? ***
Smackdown Women’s title, I Quit match: Charlotte Flair v. Ronda Rousey
Charlotte charges and runs into a knee and Ronda takes her down a few times, but Charlotte clotheslines her. Ronda tries Piper’s Pit, but Charlotte puts her down with a suplex. Ronda with a high knee, but she goes for the armbar and they land on the floor and trade shots out there. Ronda tosses her over the railing, but Charlotte boots her down and finds a kendo stick under the ring. Apparently this ties back to Survivor Series 2018, which is the weirdest time to be remembering stuff from 4 years in the past. But Charlotte goes to the back and finds TWO kendo sticks, which is 200% more than Ronda has, but then Ronda steals them and beats on her with them. So Charlotte steals a camera and throws it at her before running away into the crowd. Charlotte uses a cold drink to take over and they do a chinlock in the railing, which shockingly does not elicit a submission from Ronda. Back to ringside and Charlotte powerbombs her onto the railing and then runs her into the ringpost. Charlotte goes up for a moonsault, but Ronda hangs her in the Tree of Woe and does a hanging armbar, and they both take an awkward bump to the floor off that. And then while they’re dramatically selling, Pat asks “Is that the Fiend in the front row?” which I’m sure thrilled Vince. Back in the ring, Charlotte hits Natural Selection on a chair and gets the figure-eight, but Ronda uses a chair to escape. Charlotte talks trash about Ronda’s mom, however, so Ronda puts her in a chair armbar and Charlotte quits at 16:40 to make Ronda the champion. This was pretty solid for what it was, although I was expecting some cool submission trading and instead we got Attitude Era throwback. Didn’t feel like it had a lot of heat but they did a shit job of building it up so that’s probably a factor. ***1/4
Madcap Moss v. Happy Corbin
Turning Moss into a babyface is certainly a choice. Wait, this isn’t a rematch from Wrestlemania! Well now the whole concept is down the toilet. They fight to the floor and Corbin beats on Moss while the camera actually focuses on some guy in the front row with a HOOK shirt. They’re really slipping tonight. Back in the ring, Corbin beats on him in the corner and goes to a chinlock. Moss fights out and Corbin hits the Dine N Dash clothesline for two. Corbin with a senton for two. Moss fights back with a shoulderblock to put Corbin on the floor. Back in, Moss makes a comeback with a fallaway slam for two. Corbin counters a neckbreaker into a uranage for two. Moss tries to go up and Corbin counters with the Deep Six for two. And then Moss finishes with a sunset flip at 9:49? Well this was a thing that happened. *1/2
Drew McIntyre & RK-Bro v. Roman Reigns & The Usos
RK-Bro double-teams Jimmy in the corner to start, and Riddle gets a gut wrench and brings in Drew for some chops. Jimmy decides to bring in Roman, but Heyman tries to talk him out of it. So then Roman tags right back out to Jey and he gets to be beat up instead. Back to Riddle, but the Usos double-team him in the heel corner and Jey stomps on the hand and chokes him out. Roman finally comes into the match as we’re nearing 10:00 with basically nothing happening, and runs Riddle into the corner. Roman with a chokeslam for two. Jimmie comes in and misses a charge, but Jey cuts off Riddle and superkicks Orton off the apron for good measure. Riddle blocks a charge with a kick and it’s hot tag Drew, giving us the showdown with Roman. They slug it out and Drew hits him with a suplex and runs wild on the Usos as well. But then Roman puts him down with the superman punch and puts the boots to him. Roman beats on him with corner clotheslines and stops to pose with the belts for an extended time, which allows Drew to hit the Claymore. So it’s hot tag Orton and he runs wild on the Usos with the draping DDT and powerslams, and then hits Roman with the RKO out of nowhere. RKO on Jimmy gets two. Jey blocks the Claymore with a superkick and everyone is down, so Riddle gets a hot tag this time and runs wild on Jey. Fisherman’s suplex on Jey sets up the Floating Bro for two. RKO is reversed to a rollup for two, and Jey follows with a neckbreaker for two. Orton beats on Jimmy outside, so Roman takes him out with a superman punch on the floor, and then Drew sends Roman into the stairs, but gets slammed through the announce table. And then everyone dives and everyone is out. Back in the ring, Jey and Riddle trade kicks, but Jey goes up and Riddle gets an RKO for two. And then Roman spears Riddle and pins him at 22:00. Ended up being a hell of a match, but why couldn’t the babyfaces win if it was a non-title match anyway? You could have made any of the three babyfaces into an interesting challenger for Roman for a couple of months and instead they just lose and Roman goes over again. ****
Really, this was on a level of an episode of RAW as far as interest and it will likely be forgotten by next weekend. As a wrestling show, I’d give it a thumbs up, but it did not feel like a big deal in the least.