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WWE Backlash 2023: Bad Bunny Steals the Show, Zelina Vega Is Overcome, Cody Rhodes Defeats Brock Lesnar in Odd Finish

Photo: WWE

Bad Bunny punctuated his astounding global music career with an exclamation point, continuing to live out his childhood dreams by once again becoming part of the WWE Universe.  During the WWE’s first show in Puerto Rico in more than 18 years, the 2023 Backlash pay-per-view streamed on Peacock and had something for everybody.

Backlash was live from San Juan at the Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot in front of over 17,000 people, and this wrestling crowd was hot. It turned out to be one of the best in recent memory, which amped up the action even more with their involvement in all the matches through: vocal chants, singing, rooting for those they love, or booing those on their hit list. The sound was deafening and through the roof.  The introduction to the entire live-streamed event featured a narration from San Benito, himself.

Photo: WWE

Bad Bunny vs. Damian Priest

This marked Benito’s return to action in the WWE, fresh off headlining Coachella just a few weeks ago.  Previously, the music superstar appeared at the Royal Rumble, and in a tag team match at Wrestlemania in 2021.  Now, in what should have been the main event of the night (it was billed as part of a ‘Double Main Event” but went on third from last), Bunny would go up against his former friend and wrestling mentor, Judgement Day’s Damian Priest, also from Puerto Rico in a San Juan Street Fight Match.  This moment would mark San Benito’s first solo match and he more than lived up to the challenge.

Photo: WWE

Tell us what other Grammy Award-winning artist would even dare to do this? Bad Bunny and his match was a showstopper. During his entrance to his music, San Benito came to the ring prepared with a shopping cart full of bats, sticks, folding chairs and chains.  As the match wore on, Bad Bunny astounded the crowd with his high-flying maneuvers, ability to take bumps through a table, no less, and his sheer in-ring talent.

Photo: WWE

Towards the end of the street fight (and so Bunny and Priest got a bit of break from beating each other to smithereens), came the runs-in. Judgement Days’s hated Dominik Mysterio and Finn Balor began their interference against Bunny only to be stopped by the LWO (Latino World Order) with Rey Mysterio Jr. and none other than Carlito … apple and all!  After Rey and Carlito cleared the ring, Dominik and Finn ran into Savio Vega on their way to the back, who leveled both of them out for good measure.

Back to the match, after hammering away at Priest’s leg, Bad Bunny put him in a figure-four before following it up with his signature move, “the Bunny Destroyer.”  In the end it was celebration time in San Juan as Bunny and the LWO celebrated his victory in the ring,

Photo: WWE

Bianca Belair vs. Iyo Sky

Current WWE Raw’s women champion Bianca Belair and her challenger, Iyo Sky, put on a ‘match of the year’ candidate in the opening bout of Backlash.  The red-hot crowd was clearly rooting on Sky, not the babyfaced, Belair. This played throughout the entire match as Sky took to the ‘skies’ numerous times showing her sheer athleticism, while Belair reminded us all of her insane power by lifting Iyo with one arm over her head. It seemed no matter how impressive Belair was, Sky had the crowed with her, and the champ was booed. Belair then tried to play into that by becoming a bit more of the aggressor for this match. When interference from Sky’s partners arrived in Damage CTRL (Bayley and Dakota Kai), it ultimately did not work. Bianca ultimately got the victory becoming the longest-reigning Raw champion in women’s division history. Now that Bianca is headed next week to the blue brand and Smackdown, will the creative team decide to have her turn heel after the reaction she received in San Juan? Stay tuned.

Photo: WWE

Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar

The final match of the night and part two of the billed “Double Main Event” featured ‘The American Nightmare’ and Cody Rhodes against the ‘Beast Incarnate,’ Brock Lesnar in a feud that has yet to be explained as to why it’s happening in the first place.  Why did Lesnar turn on Rhodes several weeks ago when they were about to be tag partners in a redemption match following Wrestlemania 39 against Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa, and beat the crap out of him? If you thought you would get the answer at Backlash, you were wrong.  Instead, we got a head-scratching ending.

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Rhodes went on the attack to beat down Lesnar before the bell rang as retribution for the vicious attack he received from Brock week’s ago. When the bell did ring, the superstars went at it for awhile, with Cody hitting his signature moves the ‘Cody Cutter’ and the “Cross Rhodes” and Brock selling it all.  When Lesnar was thrown across the ring, his head hit an exposed turnbuckle, and he quickly became a bloody mess.  Rhodes wiped some of Lesnar’s blood on his chest for good measure and the match continued.

Photo: WWE

However, because Lesnar was bleeding badly that had to be an unexpected turning point and it seemed like a quick finish was called. When Lesnar locked in the Kimura, all of a sudden, Rhodes rolled him over into a pin to get a quick victory.  Next, the entire pay-per-view ended with Rhodes retreating to the aisle to head to the back, while Lesnar is left in the ring bleeding.  In a video that surfaced after the match, Lesnar received a standing ovation from the crowd for several minutes to chants of ‘suplex city’.  This was a very odd and messy ending to an unexplained feud.

Photo: WWE

Rhea Ripley vs. Zelina Vega

In the emotional highlight of the night, Zelina Vega who hails from Queens, New York but is of Puerto Rican descent, challenged WWE Smackdown women’s champion, Rhea Ripley.  This was to be Ripley’s first title defense since Wrestlemania 39 when she won the belt from Charlotte Flair.

Courtesy/WWE

When Vega made her entrance, she was draped in the Puerto Rican flag and her ring entire was the colors of the flag, as well. Vega’s family was also at ringside including her mother, stepfather and brother. When she was introduced and with the crowd was firmly behind her, Zelina was visibly overcome and moved to tears, making this a real-life moment that elevated Backlash 2023 even further.  WWE announcer, Michael Cole also revealed that Vega was dedicating this match to her late father, making this all the more hankie-inducing.

Ripley was dominating in the ring, and though Vega put on a good show and tried her best, the ‘Eradicator’ proved to be too much for her. The champ scored the pinfall. Afterwards, and alone in the ring, Zelina had one more heart-tugging moment when she was saluted by the fans before making her exit.

In other key moments and match-ups:

When the Usos and Solo Sikoa faced Matt Riddle, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, the breakdown of the ‘Bloodline’ continued, setting up trouble ahead between brothers, Jey Uso and Sikoa. Despite the tensions, Solo pinned Riddle for the victory.

Photo: WWE

Seth “Freakin’ Rollins defeated the giant Omos with a massive stomp from the top rope.  Austin Theory retained his United States Championship over Bobby Lashley and Bronson Reed, with a clever finisher, taking advantage of Reed’s botched jump off the top rope, throwing Lashley out of the ring, and then securing the pin over Reed.

Photo: WWE

So, what did you think of the matches at WWE Backlash 2023? What was your favorite moment? What was disappointing? Let us know in the comment section and check out some of the highlights from the night below.

Recaps

THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS: Nick Reflects on His Love Story with Sharon, Being Victor and Nikki’s Son, in Joshua Morrow’s 30-Year Milestone Episode

On Friday’s June 21st episode of The Young and the Restless, the top-rated soap delivered Joshua Morrow’s 30th anniversary episode as Nick Newman.

The show utilized plenty of clips from the past (as had been promoted) as a look back from the teenage Nick who grew into the man he is today. At the epicenter of the storytelling vehicle, the show decided to tell most of it through the ups and downs of Nick’s love story with Sharon (Sharon Case).

In the present, the two are together getting ready to welcome home their daughter, Faith (Reylynn Caster), who has been abroad. When she returns, she breaks down in tears. She informs her parents that Moses broke-up with her. Faith says she plans on never falling in love again and is impressed that her parents still get along after splitting up “a zillion times.”

Photo: JPI

Nick chimes in it wasn’t all bad, there were some good times too. Cue the clips and we go to a young Sharon and Nick about to go skinny-dipping on a tropical island.  All of sudden, Mariah (Camryn Grimes) and Tessa (Cait Fairbanks) arrive and then sit down and join the trip down memory lane, wanting to hear all about Sharon and Nick’s past.

From there, we get moments from the Matt Clark (Eddie Cibrian) story and murder, Sharon sleeping with Diego, and Nick sleeping with Grace and then Sharon asking for a divorce, how Cassie came into their lives, and how Nick accepted her as his own daughter.

Photo: JPI

In two pivotal moments, Nick reflects back at Cassie’s death and how Victoria (Amelia Heinle) came to try to comfort him, but he could not cope with the loss and turned to Phyllis (Michelle Stafford). Later, there is the confrontation scene where Sharon tells Nick she knows he has been having an affair with her arch enemy.

Eventually, Sharon tells Faith, Tessa and Mariah, how before Cassie died, she had the premonition that she and Nick would have another little girl, and that turned out to be Faith. Sharon and Nick recall their ‘almost wedding, where she slapped him at the altar. Even through all of this, they explain to the young woman that they still share a lot of love between them.

Photo: JPI

At the end of the episode, Nick comes by to see his parents, Victor and Nikki. At first, he comes upon a photo of his sister, Victoria. Nick remembers seeing her again and welcoming her back to Genoa City (and when Amelia Heinle took over the role), and when Nick and Victoria shared a classic sibling moment before her wedding to Billy.

Next, Nick’s parents, Nikki (Melody Thomas Scott) and Victor (Eric Braeden) walk-in. They sit down and Nick says there is something he needs to say to them. It is then where it felt to us, that Joshua was speaking to Melody and Eric, just as Nick wouspeak to Nikki and Victor.

Courtesy/CBS

With tears in his eyes, Nick says that he wants them both to know how much he loves them and how indebted he is for the life they’ve given him. Nikki asks where is all this coming from? Nick reveals that he and Sharon told Faith the good and bad of their relationship and it reminded him of some of the mistakes he’s made.

Reflective, Nick says he hopes he has become wiser in the process. In the touching final moments, Nick tells his parents that he couldn’t have asked for better role models. Victor says they couldn’t have asked for a better son as Nikki holds Nick’s hand tightly. The camera pans up to a few photos of Nick through the years that are with his parents.

What did you think of the special episode in honor of Joshua Morrow for his 30 years as Nick Newman? Comment below.

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GENERAL HOSPITAL: Mac Comes Home

You probably needed the hankies during today’s Wednesday, June 19th episode of General Hospital, for it marked the return of fan favorite John J. York to his role as Mac Scorpio.

This was to be York’s first episode back on-screen since he underwent treatment for two blood cancers and revealed his health diagnosis and battle publicly back in September of 2023.

The scenes involving Mac gave viewers all the feels, and it looked as if reality and the soap blurred, especially in York’s scenes with his on-screen children, Maxie (who Max raised) and grandchildren, Georgie, James, and Bailey Louise, and wife, Felicia (Kristina Wagner).

Courtesy/ABC

Since Mac was out of town supposedly down in South America helping a ‘friend’, some things have changed, including Spinelli (Bradford Anderson). having moved in with Maxie and the kids, to which Mac does not disapprove.

Courtesy/ABC

In the meantime, Cody (Josh Kelly) is a man in conflict when he has second thoughts about not telling Mac he is his biological son.  When James shows up Maxie’s with Cody in tow, he lays his eyes upon the just-arrived-back-in-town Mac. The two share pleasant “hellos.” Later, back at the Quartermaine stables, Cody tells Tracy (Jane Elliot) the long and winding road story of not knowing who is father was for most of his life. Cody shares he finally found his father in Port Charles, but his father doesn’t know he has a son. Tracy thinks Cody now has a chance to re-set some things and should come clean.

Courtesy/ABC

Meanwhile, Felicia keeps getting calls from Maxie while she is work at General Hospital and does not pick up. So, Felicia is unaware that her husband is back. Eventually, Felicia arrives at Maxie’s and is in for a big surprise when Mac appears and the two hug and share a kiss.

After the episode aired, and seeing the reaction from GH fans, John J. York took to his account on X. York expressed, “WOW!!! I’m just so humbled by your warm, kind and gracious words as Mac returned to PC! Your support has been monumental! I have a feeling, things are about to get interesting!”

So, what did you think about Mac’s homecoming on GH? Were you touched just seeing John J. York back in action on the ABC soap opera? Comment below.

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Recaps

WWE Clash at the Castle: CM Punk Costs Drew McIntryre Title Victory in His Home Country

On Saturday, the WWE visited Glasgow, Scotland for the first time in company history for the PLE on Peacock, Clash at the Castle. Five matches took place inside OVO Hydro Arena, and each one had a title on the line.

There were four wrestlers on the card from Scotland, making this even more dramatic, and the crowd in attendance was electric throughout singing, chanting, booing and cheering for their favorites.

DREW MCINTRYE VS. DAMIAN PRIEST for the WWE Championship

The man of the hour in Glasgow was supposed to be Drew McIntyre. This was to be the Scottish warrior’s opportunity to win the WWE Championship belt from Damian Priest. Things looked like a McIntrye win was on the way, but when the referee accidentally got knocked out and Drew hit a Claymore on Priest, he clearly won the match with over a three-count, only with no referee there, it could not be made official.

Photo: WWE

All of a sudden a ref was seen running to ringside and when he slid in the ring to do the official count, he stopped at two! Drew looked up and the camera revealed it was McIntyre’s arch enemy, CM Punk. Next, Drew started to attack Punk, but the “Voice of the Voiceless” gave him a low blow, costing him the match as Priest went on the offense while the original knocked out referee got back the ring just in time for Priest to pin McIntyre with a three-count.

Photo: WWE

It should be noted there was a major botched move and scary moment within the match.  riest tried to jump off the ring but he got his foot caught in the ropes and could not easily be extricated. After minutes, McIntyre was able to flip him up and over to get him out of the ropes. It was clear throughout the match that Priest was injured as he hobbled around for most of it.

Photo: WWE

CODY RHODES VS. AJ STYLES “I Quit” match for the Universal WWE Heavyweight Championship

Has there ever been a babyface as over as Cody Rhodes? We don’t think so. His popularity continues to soar and on this night in Glascow, Scotland, there was nothing but chants of “Cody! Cody Rhodes!”

In the rematch between Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles for the Universal title, it was an “I quit” match, where the only way you can lose is by saying the word “I quit!” when the referee puts a mic in front of your face, so everyone can hear the words.  That means, it would be an often brutal match.

Photo: WWE

One of the key moments occurred when Mamma Rhodes slapped AJ at ringside, which allowed Cody to recover and throw a chair at Styles who then went backward over the top rope and landed on a table and crashed through it (it was the table strategically placed there earlier in the night that most forgot about during the match).

At that point, Rhodes landed three Cross Rhodes and handcuffed Styles to the ropes as he relentlessly hit him with the chair. Styles didn’t quit yet but when Rhodes brought the steel steps into the ring, Styles all of a sudden uttered, “I Quit.” Cody retains the title. For good measure, and to show he can be a badass too, we guess. Rhodes threw the steps at Style for a punctuation point ending their feud for now.

Courtesy/WWE

As Rhodes walked back from the ring, he was accosted by the Bloodline – Solo Sikoa, Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga. However, Kevin Owens and Randy Orton came to “The American Nightmare’s” defense. It was not lost on the WWE Universe, that “The Viper” looked like he may take aim at Cody’s title with some serious looks captured on social media. Could SummerSlam in August feature Randy vs Cody for the title? Stay tuned.

Bianca Belair and Jade Cargill vs. Zoey Stark and Shayna Baszler vs. Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn for the Women’s Tag Team titles.

The champs, Belair and Cargill have looked unstoppable and unbeatable with their sheer strength and ability to overpower their opponents. However, on this night, the crowd was firmly behind Scotland’s Alba Fyre and Isla Dawn. In a three-way for the title, the belts can change hands even if the current champions are not involved in the pin. That was the case here. In a shocker, as Belair and Cargill looked like they were about to win after their power combo on Shayna Baszler, it was Isla Dawn who snuck in and got the pin.

Photo: WWE

Cargill and Belair are stunned outside the ring, and Alba and Isla celebrated their massive victory in their home country in front of their families who give them bouquets of flowers at ringside. It should be noted, that Alba Frye tragically lost her mother, less than a month ago when she was hit by a driver in Florida. During the post-show press conference, Triple H said Alba and Isla winning the titles had nothing to do with the loss of Frye’s mother; in terms of the timing of the decision to have the duo win the belts. Now, could this be the end for Jade and Bianca? Will Jade turn heel on Bianca?

OTHER MATCH-UPS

Sami Zayn defeated Chad Gable to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship – the main takeaway coming out of the match is the continued disfunction in the Alpha Academy and Otis walking away with an ‘injured’ Maxine, and not helping Gable out when he needed it to win the match. Will Otis now officially turn on Gable?

Bayley defeated Scotland’s Piper Niven to retain the WWE Women’s Championship – Niven gave it her all for the hometown crowed, but Bayley’s in-ring savvy and finisher were too much for her.

What did you think of WWE Clash at the Castle? Let us know in the comment section. 

Make sure to catch the Michael Fairman Channel’s latest episode of ‘What’s Up? Wrestling’ with our ‘Clash at the Castle’ post-show streamed immediately following the PLE below.

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