Dominik and Rey Mysterio made history by becoming the first father-son tag team champions in WWE at WrestleMania Backlash. The 46-year-old veteran and his son overcame Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode to clinch the landmark victory in Tampa, Florida.
SmackDown’s tag team scene had shown signs of becoming stale in recent months, with the same mix of three or four teams battling each other in a seemingly endless run of matches.
The Backlash clash always promised to provide something a little bit different, though, and duly delivered. WWE invested a larger amount of time in only one match on the show – the main event – which enabled the four in this one to tell a great story.
Ever the villains, Roode and Ziggler had taken out Dominik prior to the bout in an attempt to isolate Rey and ease their night’s work. It paid off for much of the bout before the starlet arrived to save the day.
Fittingly the younger Mysterio was given the honour of winning the match for his team with a top rope splash before emotional scenes of celebration followed.
If that was enjoyable, the incredible main event certainly didn’t disappoint either as Roman Reigns successfully defended his Universal title against a game Cesaro.
The Swiss Superman was embarking on his first singles world title match in WWE, proving if ever it was needed that the opportunity was well overdue with an outstanding showing.
Amid the backdrop of continued family tensions, Reigns was, in all honesty, always going to retain the title, but that’s perhaps not as important as the story the two men got to tell beforehand. Cesaro is clearly at home in the main event scene of WWE and proved it with a dazzling display of his trademark strength and speed.
In the end, Reigns managed to put Cesaro down with the guillotine choke after the challenger had evaded it on previous occasions. After the bout, Seth Rollins arrived to deliver a post-match attack on the 40-year-old’s arm to hint that it’s their rivalry that’ll occupy Cesaro going forward.
There was more wonderful madness and chaos in the WWE Championship match. Bobby Lashley also retained his gold in a typically hard-hitting triple-threat match against Braan Strowman and Drew McIntyre.
The three big hitters have belied their size with some breath-taking athleticism and agility in their respective matches lately, and followed suit here – notably with Strowman nailing a ridiculously impressive summersault from the apron on to his two foes on the outside.
Again, having Lashley retain here was the right call overall, the champ rising from the wreckage of being planted through an LED board to nail Strowman with a Spear for the pin.
Incumbents also safely negotiating WrestleMania backlash with their reigns intact were Raw and SmackDown Women’s Champions Rhea Ripley and Bianca Belair.
Ripley’s run with the Raw gold has got off to a steady if not spectacular start, but her standing only increased as she saw off both Charlotte Flair and Asuka – pinning the latter – in a frenetic triple-threat.
Much like Ripley, Bianca Belair went into the show looking for consolidation for her first top-tier title reign. She got it in spades with a well-crafted outing against Bayley that ended with the clever finish of Belair pinning the challenger with a roll-up aided by her hair. The champ got to show off her varied skill set throughout the match, while the villain of the piece had the ready-made excuse of crying foul play after her defeat.
Perhaps the blemish on a thoroughly entertaining night was the bizarre inclusion of zombies as lumberjacks for Damian Priest’s win over The Miz. As an entertainment company, a crossover with WWE alumni Dave Bautisa’s new Army of the Dead makes perfect sense for Vince McMahon’s empire. In execution, though. the idea just didn’t flow well enough and, if anything, only served to detract from the bout – which Priest won. It was, thankfully, over quickly.
In the night’s pre-show, Sheamus kept hold of his United States title by defeating Ricochet in an open challenge.
WWE WrestleMania Backlash quick results
WWE Universal Championship: Roman Reigns (c) defeated Cesaro
WWE Championship Triple Threat Match: Bobby Lashley (c) defeated Drew McIntyre and Braun Strowman
WWE SmackDown Tag Team Championship: Rey & Dominik Mysterio defeated Dolph Ziggler & Robert Roode (c)
WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship: Bianca Belair (c) defeated Bayley
WWE Raw Women’s Championship Triple Threat Match: Rhea Ripley (c) defeated Asuka and Charlotte Flair
Lumberjack Match: Damian Priest defeated The Miz
Kickoff Show Non-Title Open Challenge: Sheamus defeated Ricochet