Wrestlemania Backlash

By Josh Dodd

WWE hosted a pay-per-view event on the island state of Puerto Rico for the first time in 18 years, back when they hosted New Year’s Revolution in January 2005. The crowd in San Juan showed their energy and excitement as there was some local superstars putting on a show. With scores to settle in the aftermath of Wrestlemania, this was bound to be an intense event.

Grand Slam winner Seth Rollins looked to end his rivalry with The Giant Omos, in a singles match. Rollins, who was backed by the crowd, added small bursts to the match which was met by the brick wall of the Giant. In the end, Rollins stood tall after a stomp from the top rope led to the Three count.

Selena Vega was given a hero’s welcome in San Juan as she looked to dethrone the Smackdown Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley. The match was fast paced, as Vega used her quickness and high energy to avoid any severe punishment from Ripley in the opening stages. Vegas’ mother also assisted by giving her a flip-flop to use as a distraction before landing a drop kick, sending the champion through the ropes. However, the title was retained by Ripley as she was able to pin the challenger with the riptide.

The match of the night belonged to a San Juan street fight between Damian Priest and global rap superstar, Bad Bunny. With both competitors coming from Puerto Rico, the match was boosted by the high energy from the crowd, and it showed throughout the match. Bunny did not look out of place, displaying very complex moves throughout and utilising the weapons as well as the arena to perfection. The Judgement Day (Balor and Dominik Mysterio) interfered with the match, however Bunny was rescued with the aid of Hall of Fame-r Rey Mysterio, and the Latino World Order. There was also a large Pop as Carlito made his return and used his signature apple spit on Dominik. Legendary Puerto Rican wrestler, Savio Vega, also came to the aid of the LWO and helped draw The Judgement Day away.

Bunny attempted to win by submission by using Ric Flair’s renowned figure four lock, but it would be a Canadian destroyer which allowed Bad Bunny to claim victory in the match of the night.

The main event was the rivalry match between Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar. Before the bell even rang, Rhodes attacked The Beast with a suicide dive from the ropes and used the steel steps to continue his assault. After the match officially started, The American Nightmare assaulted Lesnar with two consecutive disaster kicks before being caught with a German suplex.

Rhodes was then taken to Suplex City by Lesnar, in a match that went back and forth and resulted in the former UFC champion busted open and bleeding. Rhodes kicked out of an F5 and then reversed a Kimura lock to roll over Lesnar and get his deserved win.

The pay-per-view overall was a success as it helped give Latin American wrestling more mainstream exposure, with high-energy crowds and entertaining spots it will be remembered as one of the best events outside the US mainland.

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