18 years of excitement poured out of the crowd in Puerto Rico this past Saturday night at Backlash. Saturday WWE made its long-awaited return to the island of Puerto Rico for the live event Backlash. Often looked at as a throwaway show that probably wouldn’t be much of anything. This card was anything but that. From start to finish this card delivered and had the fans on the edge of their seats. Beauty is ultimately in the eye of the beholder. But match for match Backlash was the best WWE event of the past six months maybe even the past year. You could feel the emotion and excitement from the wrestlers and the crowd. It was pouring through the screen and speakers. There honestly wasn’t a bad match on the card but some left a lasting impression more than others. The much hyped-up Bad Bunny vs Priest Street fight delivered and then some. The opening match of the card Bianca Belair vs Io Shirai was also a match that put this show over the top.
Priest vs Bad Bunny
When you put Bad Bunny in any event live in his home island of Puerto Rico. You’re in for a treat, add in WWE and a street fight and you’re truly cooking with gas. This match had it all surprise returns. High spots and crow participation have not been seen in years. The crowd was red hot for these two wrestlers. Both of which are of Puerto Rican descent. These fans support their own and it was truly chilling seeing this. Ultimately Bad Bunny got the win. But how we got there was truly a roller coaster ride.
This was an action-pack back-and-forth match until Judgement Day ran down to give Priest the numbers advantage and laid a beat down on Bad Bunny. Rey Mysterio tried to even up the number advantage, but he was no match for Judgement Day. It looked like Priest would get the easy victory thanks to the number advantage. However, we then got a return that no one was expecting. Carlito Colon WWE vet and fan favorite ran down and made the save evening the odds. Carlito is almost like royalty in the Puerto Rico wrestling community. His father Carlos Colon a legendary promotor from Puerto Rico. The return of Carlito was so well received gaining over 8.2 million views on social media. Thanks to Carlito’s help he sent Judgment Day running to the back for their life.
While making their way to the back Savio Vega a true ledged in the Puerto Rico wrestling game helped lay a beat down on Judgement Day one more time. This match was action-packed and had an excitement level to begin with. Add in the surprise returns and it took an already red-hot crowd to a level unimaginable. I could not be remised if I didn’t talk about the unforgettable entrance from Bad Bunny before this match began.
Bianca Belair vs Io Shirai
Bianca won her title Apr 2, 2022. That’s over 400 days as the women’s champion in the WWE. Bianca is the pure baby face that everyone loves. Io the ultimate heel who uses her group damage control to steal wins. The fans in Puerto Rico should have been behind Bianca and booing Io. But for some odd reason, the crowd was well behind Io and was booing Bianca. Before this match, I thought there was no doubt that Bianca was winning and keeping her belt.
Halfway through this 18-minute match that was 5 stars for sure. I’m not sure if it was due to the crowd or just the amazing storytelling taking place in the ring. I truly thought Io was leaving Puerto Rico with the belt. Bianca was able to overcome the number games. And an amazing performance and fight from Io to keep her legendary title run alive. This match was so much more than I expected and far exceeded my wildest dreams of what this match could be. I truly hope WWE keeps this feud going on SmackDown because we need to see them two in the ring together again soon.
Puerto Rico Return
The fans of Puerto Rico waited 18 years. They let all 18 years of emotion out on Saturday night at Backlash. Hopefully, the crowd and their involvement in the show overall is enough for WWE. The WWE should make Puerto Rico an every-year stop because these fans show they know the business and love the product. This was by far the best crowd in years at any event. Reward them with a return it’s only right. Next up for WWE is Night of Champions live from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on May 27th. The main event will be a match to crown a brand-new Champion for the title on RAW. Hopefully, Night of Champion and the crowd in Saudi Arabia will bring it like the fans in Puerto Rico and make this truly an unforgettable event.
Joe Wood was born and raised in the Mayfair section of Philadelphia. A dedicated father of 2, a boy and a girl. Who is a lifelong Philadelphia 4 for 4-er. Joe found a passion for Professional wrestling from a young age thanks to his father, who took him to live events. Currently, Joe is studying at Full Sail University to achieve his bachelor’s degree in sports marketing and media. Once completed, he hopes to be able to cover sports full-time.