Thursday, 23 January 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Backlash 2000

WWF Backlash 2000 - Event poster
April 30, 2000,
MCI Center in Washington, D.C

For a decade between 1999 and 2009, WWF/WWE Backlash was the one night of the year when all the fall out from that year's Wrestlemania would finally be settled.

Which is just as well given just how much fall out there had been in the wake of Wrestlemania 2000.

Having betrayed The Rock at the aforementioned 'Mania, Vince McMahon had now joined forces with his daughter Stephanie and her husband, WWF Champion Triple H, despite waging an all-out war with Hunter back at WWF Armageddon 1999.

With D-Generation-X now playing the role of HHH's lackeys, the unified McMahon-Helmsley Faction ( boring name if ever there was one) were now fully at war with The Great One, who had earned a rematch for the title on tonight's show.

Just to make things more interesting, Stone Cold Steve Austin -last seen getting mowed down at Survivor Series 1999- had recently made his return and was now inexplicably in The Rock's corner for tonight's show.

Could The Brahma Bull trust The Texas Rattlesnake?

Would the McMahon-Helmsley Faction be able to keep the belt around Hunter's waist?

Let's find out as we head to the MCI Center in Washington D.C for WWF Backlash 2000.





All Hell Breaks Loose

WWF Backlash 2000 - Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler hosted the event
We began tonight's show with the obligatory opening video package recapping everything we've just discussed.

The video also featured an Austin in which he claimed that while he may physically be in The Rock's corner, the only side he was really on was his own.

Cue intense pyro, a crowd with a thousand times more energy and enthusiasm than you'd find at today's WWE shows, and a greeting from none other than Jim Ross and Jerry 'The King' Lawler.

Debra is Your Special Guest Ring Announcer

Much like her real-life partner, Steve Austin, Debra hadn't been seen since the previous year's Survivor Series.

Tonight, she and her puppies made their long-awaited return to the World Wrestling Federation, much to the delight of the perpetually horny Jerry Lawler.

At this point in her career, she was in the same position that Sunny was in before her ill-advised partnership with the LOD. That is, creative wanted her on camera, but since she couldn't actually wrestle, they had to scramble around to find her stuff to do.

Much as they did with Sunny, they put Debra in a Special Guest Ring Announcer role for our upcoming contest.

World Wrestling Federation Tag Team Championship
WWF Tag Team Champions Edge & Christian vs. D-Generation-X (Road Dogg & X-Pac w/ Torri)

WWF Backlash 2000 - X-Pac w/ Tori
I could be wrong, but I swear that Debra introduced the Road Dogg as "Go-Go Jesse James."

Sadly, a helicopter did not appear out of Roadie's helmet, nor did rollerskates pop up from his shoes.

Talk about disappointing.

Speaking of disappointing, I kind of felt bad for X-Pac and Road Dogg - their titantron featured lots of shots of Triple H and lots of shots of Run DMC (who sang the updated DX theme), but not one shot of them.

Fortunately, the one thing that didn't disappoint was this match.

After Roadie got the crowd worked up, he and X-Pac locked up with a tag team championship team who were INSANELY over.

Despite slowly transitioning into a heel role, Edge and Christian got a huge ovation as they battled their more experienced rivals in a very enjoyable opener.

Usually, when you got Road Dogg in a tag team match, he played face-in-peril for half a century and sucked the life out of everything, but as a heel, he was in a much better position to contribute towards a very good bout.

After a lot of back-and-forth action and a red hot finishing sequence, Christian took one step closer to being a true heel by blasting X-Pac with the ring bell behind the referee's back.

A three-count later and this one was over.
Your Winners and Still WWF Tag Team Champions: Edge & Christian

Post-match, a dazed-looking X-Pac sported a nasty gusher on his forehead.

Meanwhile, out in the back, The Rock arrived at the venue.

World Wrestling Federation Light Heavyweight Championship
WWF Light Heavyweight Champion Dean Malenko vs. Scotty 2 Hotty

WWF Backlash 2000 - Scotty 2 Hotty challenged Dean Malenko for the Light Heavyweight Championship
If I was Scotty 2 Hotty, I would definitely rank this Light Heavyweight Championship match up there as a career highlight.

Given how popular the whole Too Cool schtick was with the dancing and the ridiculous but stupidly over Worm, it's easy to forget that Scott Taylor was a good wrestler in his own right.

Here, he proved that in a long and dramatic war with Dean Malenko that had the crowds on the edge of their seat from start to finish.

The two had recently traded the title back and forth, with Scotty beating The Ice Man for it on Raw before Malenko stole it back on the following week's Smackdown thanks to a ropes-assisted pin.

Here, Dean was once again a step ahead of his opponent, spending a large portion of the match working over Taylor's knee and generally getting the better of him at every turn.

Despite this, the Too Cool member more than held his own and came close to winning with several gripping near falls.

In the end, however, Malenko reversed a superplex into a beautiful top rope DDT to put an end to what was a surprisingly awesome match.
Your Winner and Still WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko

Out in the back, Vince McMahon was hanging out with Hunter, Stephanie, and The Stooges.

Shane McMahon, the referee for tonight's main event, stopped by to show off his new referee's shirt while Vince double-checked that Pat Patterson and Gerald Briscoe were really on board with his evil plan.

All the while, Stephanie flashed her legs, which was just about the only thing this writer could focus on.

Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan vs. The Acolytes (Farooq & Bradshaw)

WWF Backlash 2000 - The Acolytes faced Bull Buchanan and Big Boss Man
After two thrilling matches that really got the crowd worked up, Backlash 2000 needed something that could slow the pace down and allow the D.C faithful to catch their breath.

This was the perfect match for it.

On the face of it, Big Boss Man & Bull Buchanan vs. Farooq & Bradshaw was a perfectly serviceable tag team match.

All four men played their roles well and Buchanan in particular with some impressive athleticism for a man of his size.

Yet as solid as this might have been, it never felt like anything more than filler, or a way to deliberately cool down the crowd.

After a decent all-round effort, Buchanan jumped off the top rope and hit Bradshaw with the match-winning scissor kick.
Your Winners: Bull Buchanan & Big Boss Man

Out in the back, The Hardyz agreed that even though they were brothers, they would have no problem fighting each other in the upcoming hardcore title match should the need arise.

Across the way, Hardcore Holly told Crash Holly that even though they were cousins, he would have no problem beating his ass all over the arena.

The younger Holly tried to convince Cousin Bob to work together, but got a wicked slap across the face for making such a suggestion.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship Six-Man Match
WWF Hardcore Champion Crash Holly vs. Tazz vs. Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Bob Holly vs. Perry Saturn

WWF Backlash 2000 - Crash Holly defended the WWF Hardcore title
This was a lot of fun with a brilliant story.

Poor Crash Holly got his ass handed to him from start to finish. All five of his opponents took turns to beat him, body slam him, suplex and generally kick his head in, yet whenever anybody tried to pin the defending champion, another competitor broke it up.

Though the match started to drag a little towards the end, it was a good effort with a finish that made this writer laugh out loud.

After spending most of the match being dead, Crash got put in the Tazzmission, but Perry Saturn came in and blasted Tazz with the largest stop sign in the world.

Before the former Eliminator could capitalize, however, he was dragged to the outside.

Tazz and Crash both lay dead in the middle of the ring, then Crash got in what was literally his only offensive move of the entire match - draping an arm over a fallen Tazz to retain his title.
Your Winner and Still WWF Hardcore Champion: Crash Holly

Out in the back, Shane McMahon promised interviewer Johnathan Coachman that he would be an impartial referee in the upcoming Rock/Triple H match.

R.I.P Paul Wight's Career

In the 14 months since he had made his WWF debut at St. Valentine's Day Massacre, In Your House, The Big Show Paul Wight had never truly been presented as the kind of credible main event threat that a man of his stature and status should have been.

Putting the final nail in the coffin of his credibility, Show had gone from headlining Wrestlemania 2000 into a terrible angle where he dressed up as midcarders like Val Venis and Godfather and pretended to be them.

At one point, Show was so wrapped up in pretending to be a Scotsman that he cost himself and Kurt Angle a random shot at the WWF tag team titles.

Naturally, this angered the Olympic Gold Medalist, who vowed to beat some sense into the former Giant when the two met on tonight's show.

Kurt Angle vs. The Showster (Big Show)

WWF Backlash 2000 - Big Show dressed up as Hulk Hogan to become The Showster
As was his tradition, Kurt Angle came out talking smack about how he was the greatest thing since sliced bread and how he was going to wipe the floor with his opponent.

Offering a response, The Big Show came down doing his best Hulk Hogan impression, complete with wig and Real American blaring through the PA.

Credit where it's due,  Show's impression was spot on as he took to the microphone to go through the whole "Whatcha gonna do, brother?" routine.

Once the bell rang, Show stayed in character, no-selling Angle's offense, Hulking up and planting him with the Leg Drop of Doom for a near fall.

The crowds ate it up and a loud Hogan! Hogan! chant broke out through the arena.

"There's more people chanting for Hogan than there has been in years," said Jim Ross, a man who could never resist getting in a cheap pop at the competition.

Angle mounted a comeback, but eventually, Big Show snapped out of his silliness, dismantled the Olympic athlete in the corner then put him away with a chokeslam, ending the match in less than three minutes.

OK, so this was tremendous fun and Big Show was hilarious, but I'd still rather see him be utilized as the monster that he was.
Your Winner: The Big Show

Prior to the next contest, we got a look back at the rivalry between The Dudley Boyz and T & A.

Honestly, it was the kind of rivalry that could have only existed in the Attitude Era.

WWF Backlash 2000 - Michael Cole interviews Trish Stratus
As the story went, Bubba Ray Dudley had some kind of fetish for putting women through tables. Over the previous weeks, he had slammed Terri Runnels, Mae Young, and Lita through the wood, but every time he tried to do the same to Trish Stratus, she would either flirt with him or kiss him, sending Bubba into some kind of trance.

Trish had flaunted this by writing around on a table in her undies talking about how much tables made her horny.

I bet she was great fun at Ikea.

She was fun here too, as she gave a backstage interview to Michael Cole while Test and Albert stood by.

Trish teased Cole while talking about how she had the ability to make men lose their minds.

As a perfect example of her hypnotic powers, Bubba Ray was seen staring at the Trish/Cole interview on a TV screen, completely in a trance.

Of course, he was snapped out of it by Devon Dudley, who gave his half-brother a good talking to before tonight's match.

WWF Backlash 2000 - future NWA owner Billy Corgan was in the crowd Despite All His Rage, He Is Still Just a Fan of T & A

Before the competitors made their way out, we were shown Billy Corgan and Smashing Pumpkins sitting at ringside.

This all makes a lot of sense now.

Corgan was such a big fan of Test and Albert that, fifteen years later, he would try to buy the wrestling company named after them.

The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D'Von Dudley) vs. T & A (Test & Albert w/ Trish Stratus)

Like the earlier Acolytes/Boss Man & Buchanan bout, this was a straight-up big man brawl, but it worked brilliantly.

WWF Backlash 2000 - Bubba Ray Dudley glares at Trish Stratus
Though it was far from the best tag team match of all time, both teams played to their strengths to keep this at an acceptable level from start to finish.

After a decent ten minute outing, Trish shook her sexy self against the ring ropes to distract Bubba Ray, allowing her men to attack and pick up the three count.
Your Winners: T &A

Post-match, The Dudleyz battered Test and Albert. Trish tried to kiss her way out of getting put through the wood, but this time it didn't work, allowing Bubba to finally get what he wanted, drilling Trish through a table.

I have to say that all of the other times he did this with women, it looked like he fully protected them, but not this time. Man, he slammed Trish hard through that table.

That said, even though they had to stretcher her out of there, I'm sure Trish didn't actually mind. After all, she loved her some table.

Latino Heat is Back from Prom

With Trish firmly on the stretcher, a bunch of referees and Sgt. Slaughter escorted her backstage into a waiting ambulance. This was a perfect excuse to take a camera backstage in time to catch Eddie Guerrero and Chyna arriving back from Eddie's prom.

Apparently, Latino Heat had just completed his GED and had been to prom to celebrate with The Ninth Wonder of the World.

Jack Doan ran up to tell Eddie that his match was next, and if he didn't get to the ring immediately, he'd have to forfeit his European title.

Not wanting that to happen, Eddie shrugged his shoulders and drove his car to the ring, the first instance of a gimmick that would become his trademark for the rest of his career.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship
WWF European Champion Eddie Guerrero (w/ Chyna) vs. Essa Rios (w/ Lita)

WWF Backlash 2000 - Eddie Guerrero & Chyna
As Eddie was stripping out of his tuxedo (he wrestled in suit pants and a bow tie, which looked awesome), a video played which informed us how this match came about.

It started when Chyna admitted that, following months of trying to woo her, Eddie's Latino heat had proven too much for her to handle.

Then, the pair had somehow gotten tangled up with former Light Heavyweight Champion Essa Rios and his manager, Lita, leading to a tag team match pitting Eddie and Essa against The Dudleyz.

Lita ended up costing the team the match, causing Chyna to toss her to The Dudleyz for the table spot mentioned earlier and, ultimately, causing tonight's match.

I won't lie, I was excited about this one. Although he mainly competed on Sunday Night Heat, I had a soft spot for Essa Rios back in 1999 - 2000, and I was wondering if he'd ever show up on one of these PPV events.

Thankfully, this one didn't disappoint.

Clocking in at just shy of nine minutes, this was a fast-paced, high-flying affair with plenty of captivating spots that did more than enough to keep this fan entertained.

An exceptional effort on both men's part, this very enjoyable bout ended with Eddie lifting Essa up for a Gory Special but then spinning him around and planting him with a neckbreaker instead.
Your Winner and Still WWF European Champion: Eddie Guerrero

WWF Backlash 2000 - Eddie Guerrero & Chyna
Afterward, Essa dropkicked Eddie into Chyna, allowing Lita to strip Chyna out of her prom dress and down to her underwear.

Jerry Lawler nearly had a braineurysm, yelling "BRA AND PANTIES! BRA AND PANTIES!" so excitedly that you'd be forgiven for thinking it was the first time the then-50 year-old had ever seen such things.

Chyna was mortified at first.

Then she lightened up and posed for the crowd, much to the delight of Latino Heat.

Stone Cold May Not Show Up

Out in the back, Jonathan Coachman interviewed Triple H, who said nothing interesting but did remind us that he was The Game.

Turning his attention to Vince McMahon, Coach asked the Chairman what his 'big surprise' was going to be for tonight.

Vince couldn't say, but did allude to the fact that Stone Cold Steve Austin hadn't arrived yet, and insinuated that he may have had something to do with Austin suffering from 'transportation issues' that would prevent him from appearing.

Chris Benoit Has Emotions

Elsewhere in the arena, Michael Cole interviewed WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit about his upcoming match with Chris Jericho.

"Chris Jericho likes to compare me to a robot," said Benoit. "But the difference between me and a robot is that I have emotions, and tonight I'm going to express my emotions all over Chris Jericho."

Right you are then.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship
WWF Intercontinental Champion Chris Benoit vs. Chris Jericho

WWF Backlash 2000 - Chris Jericho puts the Walls of Jericho on Krispin Wah
Before the two locked up, Jericho cut a promo on "Chris Ben-oyt," likening him to a politician and promising to beat him up. Though it may not have been Jericho's finest moment on the mic, he was, naturally, very entertaining.

Then the bell sounded, and the two had their first PPV singles since WCW Fall Brawl 1996.

Four years after that encounter, the two held nothing back to deliver an incredible match which, up to this point in the show, stood out as Match of the Night.

That's really saying something when you consider just how high the bar had been set by some of the earlier matches on this show, but trust me, this was excellent.

Working pretty stiff, the two traded strikes, submissions, and the occasional aerial move. They chopped one another, they chain wrestled one another, and they even gave us a wicked brawl on the outside.

Almost everything about this match was perfect, apart from the finish.

Referee Tim White got knocked down, so The Crippler picked up his IC belt and smashed Jericho in the face with it. He dragged White over and got the nearest of near falls, then scaled the ropes for his patented head butt.

However, as Benoit came into landing, Jericho smashed him in the face with the belt, prompting White to call for the bell.
Your Winner via Disqualification and Still WWF Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit

Man, that was awesome. Even the DQ finish wasn't so bad when you consider it gave the two Canadians a perfectly valid excuse to do battle again further down the line.

The Wrath of Jericho

One person who wasn't happy with the finish was Y2J himself. After the bell, Jericho snapped and slapped Tim White in the Walls of Jericho, prompting a gaggle of officials to rush to his rescue.

Jericho looked like a maniacal man possessed here. White looked like he'd never even seen the Walls of Jericho, selling the move awkwardly and unconvincingly. Still, I suppose we should cut him some slack since he wasn't actually a trained performer.

Austin 3:16 Said I Just Wrecked Your Bus

WWF Backlash 2000 - Michael Cole interviews The Rock
Before the main event, we got another look back at the rivalry between The Rock and WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin.

The video package recalled everything we discussed at the start of this review, though there were two details I forgot to mention:

1: The reason why Stone Cold was in The Rock's corner is that Linda McMahon -the only babyface member of the McMahon clan- had decreed it so.
2: After being teased for weeks, Austin finally made his return on the pre-Backlash Smackdown and used a crane to drop something heavy on DX's tour bus, prompting Michael Cole to yell "Austin 3:16 says I just wrecked your bus!"

Speaking of Cole, he was standing by with The Rock for a pre-match promo.

The Great One guaran-damn-teed to make history with Triple H tonight and walk out of Washington D.C as our new WWF Champion if our noses were capable of detecting what The Rock had in the oven.

World Wrestling Federation Championship
WWF Champion Triple H (w/ WWF Women's Champion Stephanie McMahon & Vince McMahon) vs. The Rock (w/ Stone Cold Steve Austin)

Special guest referee: Shane McMahon

WWF Backlash 2000 - The Rock beat HHH for the WWF Championship
The WWF Champion was the first to arrive on the scene, his 'My Time' theme music blaring through the PA with its anti-McMahon lyrics while Vince himself stood next to The Game.

Brandishing a copy of the night's event program, Vince brought our attention to the old 'Card Subject to Change' caveat, earning a rousing chorus of boos for announcing that Stone Cold Steve Austin wouldn't be there after all.

The boos may have been loud, but it's not as though anybody took the news seriously.

Every time The Rock was in trouble -and he was in trouble *a lot* in this match- the fans chanted not for him but for Austin.

Was it any good?

Yes, absolutely.

Triple H and The Rock always worked well together, and while the first half of this match wasn't quite on par with their excellent Summerslam 1998 encounter, it was still a very good effort, with Hunter gaining the advantage thanks to biased officiating and McMahon interference.

Then the whole thing spilled to the outside, and things took a dramatic turn from "very good" to "all-out awesome."

Referee Shane McMahon tried to prevent The Rock from blasting Hunter with a Rock Bottom on the ever ill-fated Spanish announce table, so Rocky just grabbed Shane and killed both men with a  wicked double rock bottom.

With Shane totally out of it, Vince gave up any pretense of this being a fair fight by joining Hunter in the ring and blasting Rock with the title.

WWF Backlash 2000 - The Rock and Stone Cold celebrate with a beer
At one point, Patterson and Briscoe came out in referees shirts to make the cover following a Triple H pedigree. When The Great One kicked out, The Stooges put the boot to him and held him in place ready for a Triple H chair shot.

Inevitably, the glass shattered and Stone Cold Steve Austin stormed to ringside, taking out both Stooges, Shane, Vince, and Triple H with vicious chair shots before storming off as Linda McMahon walked stoically to the ring with Earl Hebner in tow.

HHH had recently fired Hebner, but it seemed as though Linda had reinstated him.

The place went crazy as Rock hit the People's Elbow, then Hebner took about five years to get in the ring and put himself in the right position to count the match-winning pinfall.
Your Winner and NEW WWF Champion: The Rock

Finishing what had been an almost perfect main event, Steve Austin came back to the ring in his Stone Cold pickup truck, towing the damaged remains of the DX bus with him.

He shared a beer with the new champion, and that was all she wrote for what had been one of the best WWF PPVs in years, if not of all time.






I don't make such a statement lightly, either.

I've seen a lot of disappointing, underwhelming, and just plain terrible wrestling shows lately, so WWF Backlash 2000 was truly a breath of fresh air.

Though some matches were better than others, practically everything on this show delivered in one way or another.

The opening tag team match was explosive, the hardcore match was crazy good fun, Benoit and Jericho put on a classic and Malenko/Taylor and Guerrero/Rios all proved mighty enjoyable. The main event was, naturally, on another level, not necessarily in terms of technical wrestling action, but certainly in terms of drama, suspense and compelling action.

Overall, this was an awesome show that I highly recommend you check out.




For other 2000 pro wrestling reviews see:
Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

0 comments:

Post a Comment

Retro Pro Wrestling

New reviews of classic WWF/WWE events recalling every moment from Wrestlemania 1 - 30. You'll also find reviews of WCW, ECW, TNA and the occasional indie event, along with a look at old school magazines, merchandise and more.