WWE WrestleMania Backlash is almost here, and for the most part, the card feels like a WrestleMania replay, with some variations here and there.
To be clear, each match on Sunday night should deliver solid, if not remarkable, in-ring action. But most of the bouts on the card are problematic, for one reason or another. For this reason, the general feeling surrounding the show could best be described as indifference, with the hope that it will surprise us.
As of this writing, the only non-title bout on the card is a Lumberjack Match between Damian Priest and The Miz. The road to this contest is the exact reason by Sunday’s pay-per-view has been jokingly called “WrestleMania Backwash.” Combined with John Morrison, these two stars have shared the ring in some capacity seven times since February 1.
On paper, that sounds fine, as that period spans roughly three months. But the way WWE has handled this feud has rapidly cooled off any of the intrigue that may have carried over after Bad Bunny’s standout performance at WWE WrestleMania 37. Looking back at the matches, the pattern is clear:
- February 1: Priest beats Miz
- April 10 (WrestleMania 37): Bad Bunny and Priest defeat Miz and Morrison
- April 12: Morrison and Miz pin Priest in a handicap match
- April 19: Priest pins Miz
- April 26: Priest and The New Day beat Miz, Jaxson Ryker and Elias
- May 3: Priest pins Morrison (with Miz at ringside)
- May 10: Priest pins Morrison (with Miz at ringside)
Essentially, the problem with this match stems from the fact that Priest has pinned The Miz twice in singles matches. What does he have to prove, or more importantly, what does he have to gain with a potential victory on Sunday? Yes, he could get the rub by pinning the former WWE Champion again. But from a storytelling perspective, it has been difficult to get the fans’ investment back since the embarrassing way that The Miz, stripped down to his underwear, pinned Priest. From then on, few viewers have wanted to this rivalry continue. While the added stipulation of having lumberjacks surround the ring adds some room for intrigue, like some interference from Morrison, it’s hard to get excited about a match that fans have seen several times in recent months.
“The Archer of Infamy” is more than ready for bigger and better things. Hopefully, Priest will emerge victorious at the pay-per-view to put this repetitive program to bed once and for all.
The father-son duo of @reymysterio & @DomMysterio35 aims to make history TONIGHT when they challenge @HEELZiggler & @RealRobertRoode for the #SmackDown #TagTeamTitles! https://t.co/RYNlfyYbRE
Stream #WMBacklash LIVE at 7E/4P on @PeacockTV ▶️ https://t.co/xpTX4cfSGZ pic.twitter.com/ekYvfs7HqU
— WWE (@WWE) May 16, 2021
“Baby Champ” Derailed The Tag Title Feud
Up until this past episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown, the writing was on the wall. Rey and Dominik Mysterio would probably defeat The Dirty Dawgs (Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler) at the pay-per-view. With the win, they would make history as the first father-son tag team champions in WWE history. Rey is a living legend, and Dominik has mostly excelled since his official debut as a WWE Superstar last year. Even for fans who haven’t fully supported the duo, the idea of Rey winning the gold with his son was easy to swallow because it would have been a heartwarming moment.
But then “Baby Champ” happened. On Friday night, when Roode and Ziggler confronted their challengers, Dominik fired back at the champions’ insults by saying that they’ll call him Baby Champ after the pay-per-view. You could practically hear the WWE Universe groan in unison when he uttered those words. It was a lame line, pure and simple. So lame, perhaps, that now the best approach might be to hold off on crowning The Mysterios as the new champions. Dominik’s corny comeback will be fresh in the fans’ minds tonight, whereas waiting a few weeks would let at least some of the viewers forget about it.
Giving Rey and Dominik the titles is the right call; it’d be a fitting way to give the two stars something to do on SmackDown, and WWE could elevate the gold with a strong run for the duo. But on Sunday, a win for the Mysterios might not garner the response WWE is looking for.
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