WWE announced on this week's SmackDown that it would be shaking up the card for WrestleMania Backlash scheduled for next Sunday in Providence, Rhode Island. Following a brawl involving Roman Reigns, The Usos, Drew McIntyre, Riddle and Randy Orton early in the show, Adam Pearce was bullied into booking a six-man tag match for the pay-per-view with The Bloodline vs. RK-Bro and McIntyre. Not only does this wipe away one of the few title matches scheduled for the show (and arguably the one with the biggest stakes since it was going to unify Raw and SmackDown's tag titles), but it breaks a streak WWE had going since before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Because Reigns holds both the WWE and Universal Championships and isn't booked in a title match, this marks WWE's first pay-per-view without a world championship match since the 2020 Elimination Chamber event. That show wound up being the last event with live fans in attendance before the pandemic began, shunting all of WWE's programs inside the WWE Performance Center and various ThunderDome locations. The only exceptions to this streak are the Survivor Series events, though those have centered around champion vs. champion matches for several years.
McIntyre seems to be the next man up to take on Reigns, given that he's been facing "The Tribal Chief" during the ongoing European Tour. But given that WWE has three stadium shows coming up with Money in the Bank, SummerSlam and Clash at the Castle in July, August and September, it's possible that WWE is holding off on big title matches until then. WrestleMania Backlash will be followed up by Hell in a Cell on June 5 at the Allstate Arena outside of Chicago.
It's also worth noting that Reigns vs. McIntyre is a match WWE has held off on going back to since their last excellent encounter at Survivor Series 2020. McIntyre was brought over to the Blue Brand as part of last year's WWE Draft but distractions (Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss) kept getting in the way of him taking on "The Tribal Chief"
"It would mean a lot to me. You know it's interesting, Roman and I have quite the history since I've returned to WWE and perhaps the roles are a little bit reversed," McIntyre said on Talking Smack after being drafted to SmackDown. "I've been watching what Roman's been doing over this past year and I might not like how he does things a lot of the time but he is operating at a different level. He always talks about these levels, and right now he is at the absolute top. To be honest, not just the top of SmackDown, but the top of this industry. I want Roman. I want that match. I tangled with him last year. He needed a bit of help to get that victory, but I know I can take him down. As much as winning those two WWE Championships meant to me, where Roman's at right now, taking him down, taking the Universal Championship would be the biggest moment of Drew McIntyre's career."