As soon as one big event finishes for the WWE, there is another one right around the corner. After putting on a sold out Greatest Royal Rumble show April 27 in Saudi Arabia, the WWE turned around and spent its shows this week hyping up the Backlash pay-per-view Sunday. It will be the first co-branded pay-per-view (outside of the Royal Rumble, WrestleMania, Summerslam and Survivor Series) since 2016, meaning Raw and Smackdown superstars will appear on it. In preparation for the event, many developments occurred this week to set up the matches for this weekend and farther in the future. Here are the top WWE slams of the week.
Rollins has eventful night
“Monday Night Rollins” was in full swing this week on Raw, as Seth Rollins put on a show. Shortly after the fiery Montreal crowd booed supposed top good guy Roman Reigns out of the building, Rollins came out to a monstrous ovation. The crowd reaction for him was so loud that he couldn’t start his promo for several minutes. Once Rollins was able to talk, Finn Balor came out to talk about Rollins’ Intercontinental championship, and both agreed to a match for the title later on the show. The match was the main event, and it did not disappoint. A vocal crowd backed the 14-minute match, which was arguably one of Raw’s best this year. Rollins won with a curb stomp, successfully defending his championship for the second time in four days. He will defend it again at Backlash on Sunday against former champion The Miz. Rollins is slowly becoming the face of Raw, especially with performances like this week’s.
Nakamura ambushes Styles again
Days after A.J. Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura fought to a double count out in their WWE championship match in Saudi Arabia, the two continued their problems on Smackdown. Styles came down to the ring to talk about their championship rematch at Backlash, but Samoa Joe, who stated he would wait for whoever won on Sunday, interrupted Styles. With Joe’s distraction, Nakamura came from behind, hit Styles with a low blow and followed with several taunts. Nakamura sent his message to Styles, but Joe is lurking in the shadows for the person who emerges from the feud victorious.
Orton, Hardy prepare for U.S. championship match
The United States championship has been a hot potato recently in the WWE. Randy Orton held it going into WrestleMania but dropped it to Jinder Mahal, who lost it to Jeff Hardy just a week later. Mahal lost his rematch to Hardy in Saudi Arabia, but Orton is still owed his. Smackdown general manager Paige announced Orton and Hardy would battle it out at Backlash. To tune up for their matchup Sunday, Orton and Hardy teamed up for the first time in their careers to defeat The Miz and Shelton Benjamin. The U.S. championship match at Backlash should be a solid one between two of the best veterans in the WWE.
Murphy makes his return
After disqualification for a few weeks from competition for failing to make the 205-pound weight limit, Buddy Murphy made his return to the cruiserweight show 205 Live. Murphy came back with his same aggressive attitude of the past, squashing a local competitor in under two minutes. He didn’t even win by pinfall. Instead, the victory came after Murphy delivered four powerbombs and his opponent was deemed unfit to continue the match. Afterward, Cruiserweight champion Cedric Alexander entered and the two brawled, renewing their differences from before Murphy was overweight. It seems a championship match between the two is inevitable as soon as Backlash this Sunday.
NXT starts over with women’s division
Following the departures of Ember Moon, Billie Kay and Peyton Royce in an already thin division, NXT has had to introduce many new characters the past few weeks. This week’s NXT started off with one of the few recognizable names left in Kairi Sane getting a quick victory. Later in the episode, Bianca Bel-Air topped Candice LeRae. Other women such as Dakota Kai and Lacey Evans made appearances. The yellow brand is on the search for new contenders for Shayna Baszlers’ NXT Women’s championship, and this week’s episode took several steps toward building up possible options.