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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Insane Action And a New Bloodline Member

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  • Street Fight opens WWE Backlash with Tonga Loa joining The Bloodline, Owens splashes Tonga through a table.
  • Tiffany Stratton impresses in Triple Threat match, Bayley wins. Crowd fully invested in every move.
  • Damian Priest retains title after help from Judgment Day. New Women’s Tag Team Champions crowned in epic match.

Saturday’s 2024 WWE Backlash took place from Lyon, France and like they were on Friday for SmackDown, the crowd was the star of the show. WWE smartly kicked things off with crowd favorites Kevin Owens and Randy Orton and pulled out a huge tag match to start the show. From there, the Women’s Triple Threat match was unbelievably good. Damian Priest wasn’t happy he got help from Judgment Day, there were new Women’s Tag Team Champions, and the main event between Cody Rhodes and AJ Styles was a banger.

Here are your winners and losers for WWE Backlash 2024:

Winner: Street Fight… Tonga Loa Joins The Bloodline

After slipping up on Friday that Heyman hadn’t spoken with Roman Reigns and was having a hard time keeping control over The Bloodline, the anticipation was that another member might show up on Saturday. If Solo was pulling the strings and Reigns didn’t know about it, what else did he have up his sleeve?

All four men started out with an all-out street fight, battling into the crowd. Officials came down trying to separate everyone. Owens started giving Stunners to security. Nick Aldis came out and stopped everything. He officially turned it into a Street Fight Match, to which the crowd erupted. It was picture-in-picture until all four men worked their way back to the ring. Tonga got suplexed onto a couple of announce tables and Orton went for trash cans under the ring. “We want tables” chants started. Owens and Orton were having a field day. After a few more shots, the obliged the fans and got tables out.

Owens splashed Tonga through a table on the outside, but Sikoa was able to deliver a Samona Drop to Orton through a table inside the ring. It turned the tide of the match. Tonga snapped while the announce team rattled off his NJPW resume. Owens continued to try and fight back, but he was constantly overwhelmed. Orton and Tonga wound up in the ring together and Orton hit an RKO, only for Tonga to be saved by Sikoa. Sikoa and Orton battled outside and Orton hit an RKO on the announce table. Owens played the crowd while setting up chairs.

Tonga Loa showed up and pulled the official out of the ring when he tried to make a pin. Sikoa planted Owens through a chair and a Samoan Spike for the win. Tonga Loa is the younger brother of Tama Tonga and it looks like he’s the newest member of The Bloodline.

This was a crazy and awesome way to start the show. The match was incredible, entertaining, nasty and The Bloodline got a new member. It wasn’t the person many thought was going to join the group, but having the other son of Haku in the group is still a nice surprise. WWE couldn’t have found a better way to open the show.

Winner: Tiffany Stratton vs. Naomi vs. Bayley

In another incredible match, Tiffany Stratton was the standout performer in the Triple Threat match for the Women’s Championship. She didn’t win, but she further cemented herself as a future Women’s World Champion and she had the crowd completely buying into every move. She delivered multiple Alabama Slams to Naomi and Bayley on the announce tables.

Naomi and Bayley worked together to take Stratton out the equation and the two friends ended up going toe-to-toe, with the veteran Bayley rolling up The Glow for the win. This match was a great follow-up to the Street Fight bout that opened the show. The performers are picking up the pace in front of a wild crowd and the PLE is reaping the benefits as a result.

This might be one in the conversation for the best women’s matches of the year when all is said and done.

Winner: Jey Uso vs. Damian Priest

The crowd was universally behind Jey Uso, who catered to them for much of the match. This was a much slower match than the first two, but the change of pace worked. The back-and-forth strikes mid-match gave the crowd a chance to get involved. JD McDonagh tried to get involved, which annoyed Priest. Jey hit a big spear, but Priest kicked out. Finn Balor came to the ring as well, perhaps not knowing that Balor had gotten involved. Priest his a South of Heaven Chokeslam that Uso kicked out of.

More back and forth and after Uso hit a frog splash, McDonagh put Priest’s foot on the rope, saving the match for the champion. Uso hit a dive on McDonagh and a spear on Balor. That opened the door for Priest to hit a South of Heaven chokeslam from the middle rope to retain the championship.

Priest might not have wanted the help, but Judgment Day made sure to keep the title around Priest’s waist. Priest snapped after he realized that he needed help to retain the title and started pushing around his factionmates. The big tease here is that Priest is growing more and more frustrated with the group.

Winner/Loser: New Women’s Tag Team Champions

Another solid match, the Women’s Tag Team Championship match showed off why the women’s division is so improved. Cargill was easily the least experienced competitor in the bout, but the other three women did a great job of showcasing Cargill’s strengths. The Kabuki Warriors are solid technicians and Belair is the ideal tag team partner for Cargill. They showed some great tandem offense.

Cargill looked for the crowd’s approval a couple of times in the match and the Lyon, France crowd was happy to oblige. The match lost momentum when there was some confusion about who the legal competitor in the match was. It took everyone a second to sort things out. The inexperience of Cargill then kicked in and control was lost as it became all four women in the ring and all four women down.

The Kabuki Warriors hit the Insane Elbow and Cargill made the save. Kairi Sane went for a move off the rope and Cargill hit a wicked sequence of moves taking out Sane. Belair then hit the Kiss of Death on Asuka for the win. The dream team of Belair and Cargill won the Women’s Tag Team Championships. It might be early considering Cargill’s inexperience, but this is a dominant team.

Winner: AJ Styles vs. Cody Rhodes

The crowd stayed hot for the entire show, but none more than in the main event where they chanted all the way through, helped Samantha Irvin do the introductions and sang every word to Cody’s theme song. The match started with both men showcasing their amateur experience. Styles went for the rumored injured shoulder, which Cody sold and the announce crew then started talking about it as if the rumor might have been true. Styles went to work on the shoulder and tried to set a slow, deliberate, pace.

Both men continued to go back and forth. Styles hit a brain buster onto the apron. Cody then powerbombed Styles through the French announce table. Both men beat the count back in, but were exhausted. Both hit kicks to the head and both went down again. When they found a second wind, each hit a series of punches until they were drained again. Styles hit the springboard 450 splash and Cody kicked out of the burning hammer. Cody hit a Cutter and Styles kicked out of that. Styles went for the Phenomenal Forearm but got hit with a Superkick. Cody applied a Kimura Lock. Styles got out. Cody hit a Cody Cutter from the top rope. He then hit a Cross Rhodes for the win.

This was a fantastic match. Both men left everything on the table and if this is how Cody’s title defenses are going to go, WWE fans are in for a treat.

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