WWE’s Wrestlemania Backlash pay-per-view is set for Sunday and a large portion of the small card looks oddly familiar.
Charlotte Flair vs. Ronda Rousey, Cody Rhodes vs. Seth Rollins, AJ Styles vs. Edge, and Bobby Lashley vs. Omos are among the bouts that are straight up rematches from Wrestlemania 38 just one month ago. While a few of these bouts could potentially top the original in Providence, RI, on Sunday, some fans have wondered aloud why are there so many rematches at the April PPV?
The answer to to that question is, well, that’s more or less always been the point of Backlash. The name itself “Backlash” implies the direct fallout from the biggest show of the year. The company has leaned the concept so much that it started to officially call it “Wrestlemania Backlash” last year.
Introduced as the post-Wrestlemania PPV in 1999, Backlash have often featured either rematches or variations of the matches you just saw at ‘Mania as some of these major feuds continue into the spring. With these performers getting an opportunity to fine tune and perfect their matches on the house show circuit following Wrestlemania, sometimes the Backlash encounter ends up being far superior to the one at the big show.
Examples of this begins with the first Backlash PPV in 1999 as Stone Cold Steve Austin faced The Rock in a rematch from their main event encounter at Wrestlemania 15 the month prior. They were able to build more upon the ‘Mania bout and delivered arguably a better match. A year later, the WWE decided to keep it simple and do The Rock vs. Triple H in the main event of show, a sharp contrast from the overcomplicated Fatal 4-Way match that featured the two at Wrestlemania 16 beforehand. What resulted was one of the greatest PPV main events of the Attitude Era.
Other examples includes the 2005 show where Batista retained the World Heavyweight Championship against Triple H in a rematch from Wrestlemania 21 and 2009 where after participating in a Wrestlemania 25 triple-threat, John Cena and Edge tore the house down in a Last Man Standing match.
Rematches have been the primary purpose of the show since the beginning. And that can be a good things, as sometimes the second act is better than the first.