One month after the biggest show of the year in wrestling, WWE will return to pay-per-view with WrestleMania Backlash, a rebrand of the Backlash PPV that served as WWE's post-WrestleMania event from 1999 to 2009. As the name of the event implies, a host of rematches from WrestleMania are expected on the event.
One headline match that is already confirmed will see Bobby Lashley put the WWE championship on the line against Drew McIntyre in a rematch of their WrestleMania clash. Many more matches will be made official in coming weeks as weekly television will continue the build to the event.
WWE WrestleMania Backlash goes down on Sunday, May 16 at Yuengling Center in Tampa. The main show will begin at 7 p.m. ET and stream live on Peacock with kickoff shows starting the festivities an hour prior. So let's have a look now at the WrestleMania Kickoff matches that have been confirmed as well as break down what else could be added to the match card based on current weekly television direction.
WWE WrestleMania Backlash matches
WWE Championship -- Bobby Lashley (c) vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Braun Strowman: Despite a clean win by Lashley to kick off the first night of WrestleMania, WWE announced they were running back the clash between the two. It's was an odd decision, to be sure, with a McIntyre loss seemingly guaranteed to take him out of the title picture for the foreseeable future. A McIntyre win would also mean WWE passed up on giving him a "WrestleMania moment" in front of a crowd after winning the title in the empty Performance Center at WrestleMania 36 in 2020. McIntyre earned the rematch with a win on Raw over Randy Orton and Braun Strowman before being attacked by T-Bar and Mace, formerly of Retribution. WWE may have found their out for Lashley or McIntyre taking the loss when Strowman beat McIntyre on Raw -- with help from Mace and T-Bar -- to turn the match into a triple threat.
SmackDown Women's Championship -- Bianca Belair (c) vs. Bayley: After defeating Sasha Banks at WrestleMania to capture the title, it seemed a rematch may be in order for Belair at WrestleMania Backlash. Instead, she gets Bayley, Banks' former best friend. Bayley didn't do much of anything at WrestleMania, interrupting various segments backstage or between matches and getting embarrassed by the Bella Twins. Bayley's bona fides are certainly solid, however, as the longest reigning SmackDown women's champion in WWE history. She'll be on a mission to get the title back while renewing an old rivalry with Belair that came on Belair's ascent to the title.
Raw Women's Championship -- Rhea Ripley (c) vs. Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair: Flair was a surprising WrestleMania absence, but once the biggest show on the calendar was in the books, Flair returned and made it known she had designs on once again becoming champion. Then, she attacked both Asuka and Ripley during the rematch of their WrestleMania showdown on Raw. After it was announced Ripley would defend the title in a rematch with Asuka, Flair demanded she be allowed in the match as well, a request granted by Sonya Deville.
WWE WrestleMania Backlash predictions
Universal Championship -- Roman Reigns (c) vs. Cesaro: It's possible that Reigns could face Edge in a one-on-one match, or something involving Daniel Bryan. However, Cesaro issued a challenge to Reigns on SmackDown that was laughed off by the champion before he was matched with Jey Uso. Seth Rollins interrupted the match, so his issues with Cesaro continued and the two are now set to face off on SmackDown in May. But Reigns and Cesaro have continued to have tense interactions that built to Cesaro being tied up in the ropes and forced to watch as Reigns delivered a con-chair-to to Daniel Bryan after their match on SmackDown.
Intercontinental Championship -- Apollo Crews (c) vs. Big E: Another WrestleMania rematch that would make some sense. Crews had to resort to having some big help from Commander Azeez -- formerly Babatunde/Dabba-Kato -- at WrestleMania to finally beat Big E. With the somewhat shady end to the match, it only makes sense for Big E to get his PPV rematch. That's especially true after Crews was saved again by Azeez in their title rematch on SmackDown, with Azeez pulling Big E from the ring for the disqualification after Big E had hit Crews with the Big Ending.
United States Championship -- Sheamus (c) vs. Humberto Carrillo: Sheamus has issued a series of "open challenges" on Raw, though with no intention of having his title on the line. Carrillo has answered those challenges, leading to brawls rather than matches. The match hasn't been announced, but seems a sure thing based on the booking that has tied the two together without any official matches.