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WWE Backlash 2023 preview: Bianca Belair will make history right before they end her title reign in a very dumb way

WWE Backlash 2023 takes place tonight (Sat., May 6) from Coliseo de Puerto Rico in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The main card begins at 8:00 pm ET on on pay-per-view (PPV), Peacock, and the WWE Network.

Bianca Belair will make history right before they end her title reign in a very dumb way

Bianca Belair has been a dominant Raw Women’s Champion, taking on all comers and retaining her belt for over one year. Her latest challenge comes from Damage CTRL member IYO SKY, who earned a title match at Backlash by taking Bayley’s spot in a triple threat match and winning it on Raw. Belair is the solid favorite to win tonight’s fight, as SKY has been more of a sidekick in Damage CTRL, rather than the leading star.

The bigger story here is what’s going to happen to Belair’s title reign after Backlash is over, assuming she wins. On the go home episode of SmackDown, Belair said she is on the cusp of making history:

“After Backlash, when that clock strikes midnight, the EST of WWE will become your longest reigning women’s champion of the modern era.”

The reason why this is worth discussing is because Belair has been drafted to SmackDown, and new rosters go into effect after Backlash. WWE once again decided to move the women’s championships to the wrong show, with Raw champion Belair going to SmackDown, and SmackDown champion Rhea Ripley drafted to Raw. In doing so, WWE has created a situation where another title swap might be necessary. (IYO SKY is also drafted to SmackDown, so this problem will exist no matter who wins the match).

Based on Belair’s own words, it sounds like she plans to walk into next week’s SmackDown as the SmackDown Women’s Champion, even though that’s not the belt she currently holds. It would be really dumb to end Belair’s record length run as Raw women’s champion due to technicalities of a draft and a title swap, but it appears that is exactly what will happen. Going further, it looks to me like WWE will try to have it both ways by also talking about Belair continuing her record length run as champion after the swap, as long as they don’t refer to one specific championship.

It’s not clear yet how WWE will handle this situation. I’m making a lot of assumptions here, some of which could end up being wrong. One of those assumptions is that Belair will beat SKY at Backlash and retain the Raw women’s championship. Who knows, maybe WWE’s plan is to keep Belair from breaking the modern record with a loss here, and not creating the complication of counting days for two separate title reigns as one championship record. I’d be shocked if Belair loses at Backlash, but crazier things have happened in WWE.

The rest of the card

Here are the six remaining matches that are currently advertised for Backlash:

Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

Lesnar teased teaming up with Rhodes on the Raw after WrestleMania, but he instead beat the shit out of Cody for the better part of 10 minutes and left him for dead. Brock has never explained his actions, leaving Cody to speculate that maybe Brock was jealous of his spot in the main event of WrestleMania 39. Cody has admitted that he’s afraid of Brock, but he knows he has to beat him if he’s ever going to be the top guy in WWE and finish his story.

The booking here will be very interesting. Cody is coming off a tough loss to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania and could definitely use a win over a star like Brock. But this might be the first chapter of a multi-match feud, so it’s not a lock that Cody is going over just yet. Will WWE put more hard times on Cody’s path to finishing his story with a loss at the hands of The Beast?

Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest (San Juan Street Fight)

Bad Bunny was on hand at WrestleMania 39 to watch Rey Mysterio teach a lesson to his disrespectful little shithead kid, Dominik. Bunny played a role in the finish of the match when he prevented the rest of The Judgment Day from aiding Dom, leading to a win for Rey. Bunny paid for those actions the next night on Raw when Damian Priest chokeslammed his ass through a table. That’s what set the stage for this street fight.

Bunny is not a trained pro wrestler, so there is sure to be a ton of interference in this match from the rest of The Judgment Day and the LWO, including nuclear heat magnet Dominik. If last night’s episode of SmackDown is any indication, the live audience in San Juan will be insanely loud for this match as they cheer on their hometown hero Bad Bunny to victory.

Kevin Owens, Matt Riddle, Sami Zayn vs. The Usos & Solo Sikoa

The Usos’ place in The Bloodline has come into question after losing the WWE tag team titles to Owens and Zayn at WrestleMania. Sikoa has emerged as the Tribal Chief’s most reliable assassin, and Paul Heyman has been teasing that Solo might even turn on Jimmy and Jey if they continue to drop the ball. And they did drop the ball again by losing in a championship rematch against Owens and Zayn in a bout that the Usos dedicated to Roman Reigns. They better not also fail here at Backlash, or else there will be painful consequences when part-timer Reigns returns to TV next week.

Meanwhile, Owens and Zayn have their disagreements on how to deal with The Bloodline. Zayn is still trying to talk sense into Jey Uso and is welcoming of Matt Riddle as an ally in this feud, whereas Owens doesn’t give a crap about Jey and would rather not deal with Riddle’s eccentricities. For his part, Riddle has a clear motivation to get revenge on The Bloodline after they dismantled RK-Bro last year and put both him and Randy Orton on the shelf with injuries. But Sami was part of The Bloodline when Riddle was injured by the group in December. Can Zayn really trust that Riddle has forgiven him and is willing to overlook that fact?

Austin Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley vs. Bronson Reed for the U.S. championship

Lashley and Reed have been going at it of late, trying to assert their power over each other, while Austin Theory is just kind of there as the third wheel. Even so, Theory is the champion and the man who beat John Cena at WrestleMania, so he is favored to win this bout. It’s a triple threat match, so Theory can use weapons if necessary to weaken his opponents. Reed might be there to take the fall if WWE wants to protect Lashley before he potentially moves into a program with The Bloodline this summer on SmackDown.

Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Zelina Vega for the SmackDown women’s championship

Vega is playing the role of the underdog here as she tries to represent Puerto Rico and find a way to topple the champ. Ripley was Raw’s number one draft pick earlier this week, so it would definitely be a shocker if she dropped the title to Vega, who rarely wins in WWE. This match is part of the ongoing faction war between Ripley’s Judgment Day and Vega’s LWO.

Seth Rollins vs. Omos

WWE threw a curveball at its fans when this match was announced out of nowhere, before Rollins and Omos had any kind of interaction with each other. MVP says he pushed for this match because a win over Rollins would be huge for Omos’ career. Meanwhile, Seth is confident that he will stomp Omos’ head into the mat and make him famous. The Visionary seems to be overlooking Omos to some degree and more concerned with winning the upcoming tournament for the brand new World Heavyweight Championship.

Rollins is one of the best workers on the WWE roster while Omos is one of the worst, so there is some curiosity to see what kind of match Seth can get out of the (very) big man.


Last night’s episode of SmackDown showed just how excited the live fans in San Juan are for Backlash, and that kind of energy also creates a much better viewing experience for everyone watching at home. The crowd is going to be hot all night long, especially when Bad Bunny comes out for the main event.

Bunny’s match and the Zayn tag match should both be great, while Cody vs. Brock, Belair vs. SKY, and Lashley’s three way all have a chance to reach that level, depending on the finishes and the time they are given. The winner of Rollins vs. Omos might give us a better idea of what WWE’s plans are for the World Heavyweight Championship tournament and Night of Champions in Saudi Arabia. Overall, there’s a lot to look forward to tonight in Puerto Rico.

What will you be looking for at Backlash?

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