A lot has been said, discussed, and written about Bad Bunny and his performance at WWE Backlash, and for good reason: it was really, really, really good.
Dubbed one of the best celebrity wrestling matches of all time featuring maybe the greatest celebrity wrestler the WWE has ever seen – which, considering the long and storied history of celebrity wrestlers who have graced a WWE/WWF/WWWF ring, is really saying something – Bunny went to war with fellow Puerto Rican Superstar Damian Priest for the better part of 25 minutes and took some hellacious bumps from “The Punishment of The Judgement Day” inside and out of the ring for no reason other than the love of the game. He came to the ring with a Puerto Rican-themed kendo stick, brought friends to the proceedings, with PR legends like Carlito and Savio Vega coming out to the party, and ultimately secured the win with moves like Bunnies Can Fly and the Bunny Destroyer, the latter of which is a true marvel to see every time the Grammy winner pulls it out of his back pocket.
Sitting down for an interview with Zane Lowe to discuss his very busy 2023, Bunny was asked about his match at Backlash and explained that, in the moment, he genuinely thought he was going to die.
“Wow, that was insane. That was really crazy, the people, the energy was another level. What happened that night, I’m never going to forget it,” Bunny said via Fightful. “I remember, I said before the WrestleMania fight that day was one of my favorite moments of my life, but the Backlash fight in Puerto Rico was another level. It was really one of the biggest and best moments of my life, I really enjoyed that fight.”
“I suffered. Yeah, I got hurt. I got hurt. My back, my back. My whole body, bro. My whole body. I felt that I was going to die after that match. I really thought that I was going to die after the match, but it’s part of it. I was prepared then, and now I’m going to drop a song. I know. I’m a crazy guy. I love it. I love it, and that’s what matters.”
Now granted, is Bunny maybe being a tad facetious about the whole “thinking he was going to die” thing? Probably so; Bunny has worked with Priest in the past and knows as well as anyone that he’s about as professional as they come in the WWE. Still, the fact that thought may have crossed his mind during the match might just explain why he felt so real and why his selling had so much realism. Needless to say, BB is a natural sports entertainer.
Nick Khan explains the importance of Bad Bunny to WWE.
Taking part in a special conference call with investors, WWE CEO Nick Khan discussed what performers like Bad Bunny, Pat McAfee, and Logan Paul mean to WWE. Though neither are regular performers on the promotion’s weekly television programming, bringing stars from outside of the industry in for big shows is a great way to draw additional eyes and additional dollars to the promotion.
“We sat there on Bad Bunny, and this guy, who was not yet the No. 1 artist, but certainly seemed on a path to that, he was not touring. He was sitting at home [during the COVID-19 pandemic] like all the rest of us. We reached out to him, ‘What do you think of this?’ ‘Yeah, I’d love to do it.’ He came in, lo and behold, our Spanish viewership on the show he was on spiked by 30 or 40 percent. Obviously, the relevancy factor mattered. He wanted to do more and more,” Khan said via Bleacher Report.
“We also replicated that in a different demographic category with Logan Paul, who we were getting pitched on internally by our entertainment relations folks. ‘Logan Paul is going to be the next big thing.’ He came in and took is seriously, as did Bad Bunny. It registered. It mattered. Our young audience spiked. Our bread and butter are our full-time Superstars, but to be able to bring in Bad Bunny and Logan Paul and Pat McAfee at different points, it just increases awareness, which is good for us.”
As crazy as it may seem to hardcore wrestling/WWE fans, there is a large segment of the population who either doesn’t like the product or simply stopped watching it a few years/decades ago for one reason or another. If giving some television/PLE time to performers like Bad Bunny can get a few additional eyes on the product, garners some mainstream headlines, and maybe even capture a few new fans in the process, why not give it the old college try, especially since the three stars Khan mentions can all legitimately go?