This past Saturday night WWE delivered its latest international premium live event, WWE Backlash, and it was the sports entertainment powerhouse’s first major event in Puerto Rico since 2005. Eighteen years ago, WWE closed their New Year’s Revolution show with a brutal Elimination Chamber match, and this time around, the fans were treated to more violence as Cody Rhodes and Brock Lesnar main-evented Backlash with a bloody brawl.
Fightful is reporting that, unsurprisingly, WWE officials were thrilled with the way that the big show came across, especially the match between international music star turned LWO member, Bad Bunny, and The Judgment Day’s Damian Priest. Initially, the bout between Bunny and Priest was going to be a tag match featuring Rey and Dominik Mysterio. However, WWE officials felt confident in Bunny’s ability to perform in the ring and decided to allow the Grammy winner to go heads-up against Priest. The gamble paid off as one source said the match “paid for itself in publicity.”
One rumor floating around in regard to the big celebrity bout is that former WWE Tag Team Champion, and brief AEW star, Brian Kendrick helped Jamie Noble produce the match. Per Fightful’s report, Kendrick was not listed internally as a producer for the match but he did help Priest train for it Whether that was in an official WWE capacity was not clarified.
Carlito made his triumphant WWE return during the chaotic match assisting Bunny and the LWO in running off the other members of The Judgment Day. For good measure, former WWE star and Los Boricuas frontman, Savio Vega, also made his return to aid Bunny, and both former stars received huge pops for their appearances. One source told Fightful that the reaction for Carlito was “better than expected,” and, while it appears this was a one-off for the apple-spitting grappler, the door remains open for a possible return. Various pitches, both full and part-time, have been made for Carlos Colon’s son internally within WWE for years.
Despite behind-the-scenes debate about what match should main event, Rhodes and Lesnar were ultimately given the honors. While the match did not get the same amount of time as Bunny vs Priest, it delivered in action as a bloodied Beast was ultimately toppled by The American Nightmare. The match appears to have gone off as planned, including the blood.
Two full-time roster stars earned praise from the backstage area after their match: IYO SKY and Bianca Belair. While the WWE Raw Women’s title match did not have a lot of momentum going into it, both women more than delivered in an encounter that has received a lot of praise online.
Backstage, former WWE star CJ Perry, pro wrestling trainer, and agent Rick Bassman, and boxter Amanda Serrano were also in attendance. Trinity Fatu and Mercedes Mone shared on social media that they weren’t far away, as they were training at the Puerto Rican pro wrestling training facility, Beast Mode Academy.
In general, it sounds as if the backstage vibe for WWE Backlash was generally positive. Despite some travel delays for talent, everyone seemed to enjoy the show, the crowd, and everything about the experience.