News on creative changes at WrestleMania Backlash

May 22, 2021 - by Marc Middleton

WWE reportedly changed WrestleMania Backlash line-up plans last Sunday due to WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and his spot on the roster.

As noted before, there was said to be a lot of re-shuffling of the WrestleMania Backlash card on the day of the pay-per-view. It was noted then that the final decision on the closing match was not made until 5:30pm, right before the Kickoff pre-show began. The show ended up closing with WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns defeating Cesaro, but the match before that saw WWE Champion Bobby Lashley retain over Braun Strowman and Drew McIntyre in a Triple Threat.

In an update, the original idea was for the WWE Title Triple Threat to be the main event. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter adds that original plans called for another match to open the pay-per-view, but they went with the Triple Threat that saw RAW Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley retain over Asuka and Charlotte Flair instead.

Regarding the main event, it was noted that there was a push on the day of the pay-per-view to have Reigns’ win close the show with the idea that Reigns is the only franchise player on the roster, and because of that, he should either go first or last.

There was also the feeling that since Reigns and Cesaro were going to put on a long match, that it might leave the audience flat for the WWE Title Triple Threat to have to follow.

On a related note, WrestleMania Backlash drew a preliminary estimate of 5,500 TV pay-per-view buys. PPV TV numbers are not a major data point these days, but they are still a way to determine interest levels. This number would make WrestleMania Backlash the third biggest show of the year, behind the 6,400 TV PPV buys for the Royal Rumble, and the 6,000 TV PPV buys for WrestleMania 37. Fastlane drew around 3,800 TV PPV buys and Elimination Chamber drew 2,600. It was suggested that the higher-than-usual numbers were for the name because of the WrestleMania brand drawing power.

WrestleMania Backlash also drew a reported 200,000 searches on Google, putting it at #6 for the night on the Google Trends list. This is normal for a B-level WWE pay-per-view. Fastlane did 140,000 earlier this year and that’s a low point. WrestleMania 37 drew around 600,000 searches over both nights. It was noted that some of the WrestleMania Backlash searches were listed under Batista’s name due to the “Army of the Dead” sponsorship tie-in.

Stay tuned for more.

2 Responses

  1. What? says:

    So Reigns is “the only franchise player,” but his match would “leave the audience flat,” so of course a match that leaves the audience flat should be the one to close the show? Yeah, that sounds like WWE booking, all right.

  2. aag44 says:

    @What?: I don’t get the problem with that reasoning, though… I don’t think they’re saying that they thought the audience would be bored with the match. It sounds to me like they thought the audience would be tired after Reigns and Cesaro putting on a long match, and their energy would be flat for the matches that followed — which wouldn’t have looked good for the Raw main event.

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