Roman Reigns is still your WWE Champion. In the main event of— the pay-per-view formerly known as Backlash — Reigns defeated Cesaro after a long, excellent match. It was one of several strong bouts on the show, which also saw Bobby Lashley retain his WWE Championship.
But while the show had many highs, it also had a very deep low. The Miz versus Damian Priest Lumberjack match turned into a bad ad for the Army of the Dead movie, as the Lumberjacks were… zombies. Like, really. Like, everyone pretended they were actual, real zombies. It was bad.
Roman Reigns submits Cesaro
Roman Reigns defeated Cesaro via submission when he made Cesaro pass out with the guillotine choke. This was a slow, methodical match similar to the one Reigns had with Daniel Bryan at Fastlane. Reigns worked on Cesaro’s arm throughougt the second half of the bout, and Cesaro did an excellent job at selling it. It made the final stretch so much more dramatic.
Rating: 4 stars.
After the match, Jey Uso came to the ring and attacked Cesaro. He was interrupted by Seth Rollins — who absolutely demolished Cesaro. Rollins jammed Cesaro’s arm in a chair and smashed it into the turnbuckle. The show ended with Rollins hitting a curbstomp on Cesaro and posing in the ring.
Bobby Lashley retains WWE Championship
The triple threat WWE Championship match was a clash of titans in the best way. This match had little psychology, it was just three big dudes beating the crap out of each other for 15 minutes — and it was fun the entire time.
It began with Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre teaming up on Braun Strowman. Minutes in, as Lashley and McIntyre were brawling on the outside, Strowman crashed through both with a flipping senton off the apron. That was a solid indicator of how the remainder of the match would go.
Later, with Braun Strowman disposed of in the ring, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre fought up the ramp. McIntyre threw Lashley through the LED boards on the ramp, with pyrotechnics going off as Lashley crashed through. Strowman then returned, and he and McIntyre went back and forth for the duration of the match. This included Strowman powerbombing McIntyre through the announcer’s table.
The finish came when McIntyre clocked Strowman with a Claymore Kick. Before he could take advantage, Lashley hit the ring, tossed McIntyre out, hit a spear on Strowman for the 1-2-3.
Rating: 4 stars. You knew how the ending would play out as soon as Lashley was “taken out”, but this was a lot of fun.
Bianca Belair retains SmackDown Women’s Championship
I’m going to be honest. I found it very hard to pay attention to this match following the Lumberjack fiasco that preceeded it. Judging by my Twitter feed, I’m not the only one.
Bianca Belair retained her title by pinning Bayley with a roll-up, with extra leverage by hooking her braid around one of Bayley’s legs. It was a creative finish but botched a bit, as Belair fell back at two. Still, it’s fun to see WWE integrating Belair’s braid into her big matches, like how she whipped Sasha Banks with it at WrestleMania.
Rating: This was a long, good match and both women worked hard. I can’t rate it fairly because I was so distracted by how bad the Lumberjack match was.
The worst Lumberjack match of all time
This Lumberjack match between The Miz and Damian Priest doubled as an advertisement for Batista’s new movie, Army of the Dead. The Lumberjacks are all zombies from the movie. Ugh.
It begins with zombies surrounding the ring. The announcer’s flee, and then moments later we hear them say they’re now announcing “from a safe location.” The Miz and Priest then wrestling an awkward, subaverage match. At one point they go on the outside and fight zombies together. John Morrison interfered on behalf of The Miz, then fought zombies on the outside. Damien Priest then hit his finish, Hit The Lights, for the win. Zombies then mob The Miz.
I cannot express how stupid this was. It wasn’t fun, like The Firefly Funhouse from last year’s WrestleMania. It was just silly. Not just bad wrestling, but bad TV.
Rating: 0 stars.
Rey and Dominic Mysterio win SmackDown tag titles
This was formulaic in a bad way. The Dirty Dawgs — Robert Roode and Dolph Ziggler — took out Dominic Mysterio in the Kickoff Show, so Rey was to allegedly take both on in a Handicap Match. As soon as the match began, it was obvious where it would go. Ziggler and Roode would get the advantage on Rey and beat him down until Dominic heroically came to his father’s aid. And that’s exactly what happened — and it took forever.
Ziggler, Roode and Rey are all great, and everything they did looked good. There was a cool fameasser spot, where Roode held Mysterio up and Ziggler hit the move, and gnarly spot where Mysterio tried a suicide slide to the outside but Ziggler caught him with a superkick. But it was hard to be interested because you knew little mattered until Dominic hit the ring.
That said, things did indeed pick up when Dominic arrived. Ziggler and Roode got more heat on both, but then Dominic turned things around with a superkick onto Ziggler. Rey was then tagged in, hit a 619 on Roode, tagged Dominic in and then took Ziggler out on the outside. Dominic then hit a Frogslash for the win.
Rating: 2.25 stars.
Rhea Ripley defeats Charlotte and Asuka
I was a little worried about this match. All three women are typically excellent performers, but Ripley’s bout with Asuka at WrestleMania was a disappointment, and recent matches on Raw have been a bit underwhelming too. But not to worry, this was an outstanding opening match. Rhea Ripley won the triple threat match by pinning Asuka following a Riptide powerslam.
There actually isn’t too much to say about the match. It mostly followed the triple-threat formula, with two women in and one woman out. Each women got their shine in as the match progressed, getting spots where they dominated the other two. But the action was crisp and flowed smoothly, making it fun to watch from the bell.
The ending sequence began when Asuka and Ripley double superplexed Charlotte. There was then a fun spot where Charlotte fought back and hit a double Natural Selection then got a two-count when she tried to pin both Asuka and Ripley at the same time. The three then had a back-and-forth sequence with each other that culminated with Charlotte on the outside and Asuka being pinned after the Riptide on the inside.
Asuka actually shined the most during the match, which foreshadowed her demise.
Rating: 4.25 stars.
Kickoff Show Results
The Kickoff Show saw a United States Championship Open Challenge from Sheamus, which was answered by Ricochet. Sheamus won the match with a pump knee strike but afterwards Ricochet taunted Sheamus and they got into a brief scuffle, meaning we’ll probably see a rematch on Raw tomorrow.