Zelina Vega represented her heritage proudly!
Chambea, JALA! You just had to be on the island of San Juan, PR to feel the energy for WWE Backlash. The boricua flag waving from the arena, the loud and intensive crowd, and the memories will never be forgotten. This year’s Backlash became an instant classic and an experience for fans who traveled to watch a Bad Bunny concert as he made his way to take down Damian Priest.
I could go for hours about their match and the moments that made me a proud Afro-Latina. However, this is about Zelina Vega. The biggest moment of her career was not only to become a champion but to wrestle in front of family and friends for the first time in PR.
Vega faced The Eradicator of the Judgement Day and Smackdown Women’s Champion, Rhea Ripley. Ripley made her way to the ring in an all-white gear with purple outlines of “Dom Dom” on the back of her shorts. As Ripley awaits the hometown La Reina music to hit, outcomes Vega dripped in her Puerto Rico pride attire.
Her hair, her gear, THE FLAG! The tears Vega shed as her family was front row watching her compete and live in this moment.
Vega made an effort to avoid the Riptide. The shimmy tribute to Eddie Guerrero to a diving Meteora, dedicated to her husband. She scaled the top rope, but she was only able to score a near fall. With two forearm strikes, Vega attempted to keep Mami in place, but the champion countered with a kick before applying the Riptide for the win.
Vega remained in the ring as Ripley ascended the ramp. As the audience applauded, she rose to her feet. Vega gave her father, who perished in the 9/11 attacks, a special tribute with this match.
Tonight wasn’t just about Zelina Vega, but The EST of WWE became the longest-reigning women’s champion.
Bianca Belair retained her Raw Women’s Champion with the longest active reign after winning Backlash on Saturday. And not only that, but the main roster modern era’s longest-reigning Women’s Champion in general. Becky Lynch previously held that distinction.
Belair opened the show with a standout performance against IYO SKY, who was her toughest opponent to date. The San Juan crowd that was supporting SKY gave her a roaring reception. The challenger spent the second half of the match dodging and countering the KOD while keeping her attention on Belair’s injured arm the entire time.
For most of the match, Damage CTRL’s other members were absent from the ring, but Bayley and Dakota Kai eventually made it there. They tried everything to draw the referee’s attention, involving Bayley holding down Belair’s braid, but the official caught her. The KOD was finally successfully executed by Belair, giving her victory.
Check out our WWE Backlash Aftershow below!