Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Showing posts with label Backlash. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Backlash. Show all posts

Friday, 29 April 2022

PPV REVIEW: WWE Backlash 2003

WWE Backlash 2003 - Event poster
April 27, 2003, 
Worcester Centrum, Worcester, Massachusetts

The weeks leading into WWE Backlash 2003 saw three major names make their presence felt in World Wrestling Entertainment.

First, Rowdy Roddy Piper had put in a cameo appearance at Wrestlemania 19 and was now back working for the company for the first time since 1996, this time as a manager. 

Then, on the first post-'Mania Smackdown, Sable had returned to the company despite having filed a lawsuit against them following her exit during the Attitude Era.

Really though, the biggest debut of them all was Bill Goldberg.

One of WCW's best home-grown superstars, the man who had been famous for his undefeated streak, limited matches, and awesome entrance hadn't been seen since WCW Sin in 2001, but now that his Turner contract had finally expired, he was back in professional wrestling.

Tonight, here at Backlash, it was Goldberg's in-ring debut.






Would he be able to recapture the magic of his WCW days? 

Let's head down to Worcester, Massachusets to find out.

Goldberg Has Done Nothing

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - King and Coach called the action

Our opening video focused on tonight’s main event match between The Rock and Goldberg.

On one side, we had clips of Bill running rampant in WCW during his undefeated streak with commentary soundbites from Tony Schiavone and Bobby Heenan.

On the other side, we had The Rock dismissing the streak, and Goldberg himself, by saying that the former WCW champion had done nothing while he, The Rock, had done it all.

The video package was well done, sure, but I can’t help but feel like repeatedly telling there world that “Bill Goldberg has done nothing” wasn’t the best way to make him seem like a credible challenger for Rock.

Still, it was really cool to hear Schiavone and Heenan again.

Anyway, with the video over, we got the usual pyro followed by a brief introduction from announcers Jonathan Coachman and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

The duo then sent it to Smackdown announce team Michael Cole and Tazz for our opening contest.

WWE Tag Team Championship
WWE Tag Team Champions Team Angle (Shelton Benjamin & Charlie Haas) vs. Los Guerreros (Eddie & Chavo Guerrero)

With their fearless leader, Kurt Angle, currently out of action due to having neck surgery, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas paid tribute to the Olympic Gold Medalist by carrying his portrait -adorned with gold medals- down to the ring and dedicating the whole match to him.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Charlie Haas puts a hurting on Eddie Guerrero



Unsurprisingly, the duo did Angle proud with a great match against challengers Eddie Guerrero and Chavo Guerrero Jr.

While it wasn’t the greatest tag match of all time or even the best match we’d ever see between these two teams, it was still a solid effort that only got better the longer the match went on.

After a very enjoyable opener, Chavo went to suplex Charlie, only for Shelton to hook the challenger’s leg on the outside.

Haas fell on top of his opponent, Benjamin held the leg down, and Team Angle continued to reign supreme.
Your Winners and Still WWE Tag Team Champions: Team Angle

Post-match, the tag champs embraced Kurt’s portrait, only for Chavo to launch himself over the ropes -with an assist from Uncle Eddie- and onto the champs.

The Guerreros then stole the title belts and made their way backstage where they escaped the arena in a pimped-out green lowrider.

From the opening bell it the match to the moment Eddie and Chavo left the venue, this whole thing was a lot of fun.

Test is a Creep

Backstage, Torrie Wilson warned pervy sex pest Test to stop calling her and trying to hook up with her, reminding him that she was friends with his girlfriend, Stacy Kiebler.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Torrie Wilson is unhappy with Test's flirting


Blinded by his own arrogance, the star claimed that Torrie’s Playboy shoot told him that she wanted him.

The blonde beauty then tried to leave, but in a moment that aged really badly, Test grabbed his arm and forced a kiss on her because sexual assault equals entertainment apparently.

Ouch, that was uncomfortable to watch.

Anyway, as Torrie freed herself from the clutches of Test, the recently-returned Sable appeared in a doorway and smirked, her plan to cause problems for Wilson apparently paying off big time.

For those keeping score of these kind of things, this was Sable’s first PPV appearance since No Mercy UK in 1999.

Sean O’Haire (w/ Rowdy Roddy Piper) vs. Rikishi

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Rowdy Roddy Piper & Sean O' Haire



Rowdy Roddy Piper had returned at Wrestlemania 19, getting involved in the Hulk Hogan/Vince McMahon match.

Since then, he’d taken Sean O’Haire under his wing as the two entered into a feud with Rikishi.

The story was built around Piper planting ‘Kishi with a coconut, a throwback to the time he did the same thing in that legendary angle with Superfly Jimmy Snuka.

Before the bell, Piper came out solo carrying a basket of coconuts and greeted the crowd before introducing his protege who, in this writer’s opinion, looked like a legit badass.

The majority of the match was inoffensive but also uninteresting, and I was ready to write it off altogether until both combatants took each other out with big kicks.

This gave Piper -who had been trying to get involved from the opening bell- a chance to get in the ring ready to coconut-blast (not a euphemism) the Samoan for a second time.

Unfortunately, he failed.

Big ‘Kish got hold of the coconut and took out Piper, much to the delight of the live audience, but then succumbed to O’Haire’s finish.

The first part of the match was nothing, but the finish was at least reasonably entertaining.
Your Winner: Sean O’Haire.

Out in the back, sh*t-stirrer Sable told Stacy Kiebler that she had seen Torrie Wilson kissing Test.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Sable tells Stacy Keibler about Test


An irate Stacy stormed off as cameras cut to World Tag Team Champions Kane and Rob Van Dam.

The usually calm RVD was fraught with worry about Chief Morley appointing himself as the special referee for their title defence against The Dudleyz and didn’t see how he and Kane could possibly win with Morley calling the shots.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Kane & Rob Van Dam



Thankfully, The Big Red Machine had a solution.

No, he didn’t suggest Rob go roll one up and chill out. Instead, he merely insisted that if the duo were going down, they were going to take Morley and The Dudleyz with them.

WWE World Tag Team Championship
WWE World Tag Team Champions Kane & Rob Van Dam vs. The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray & D’Von Dudley)


As the participants made their way to the ring, Coach told us that Morley had made himself the official because he didn’t trust Bubba Ray & D’Von to get the job done due to the challengers having some dissension between them.

This was despite the fact that the duo had only reunited five months earlier at Survivor Series 2002.



The match got underway and was solid if unspectacular until Morley inevitably began getting involved in the action.

He low-blowed Kane, but when he went to clothesline RVD, he accidentally struck Bubba Ray instead.

Naturally, this raised the ire of D’Von, who proceeded to lay waste to the former Val Venis until Lance Storm randomly ran in.

Storm did nothing but get his ass handed to him and chaos reigned supreme until the champs took out the Dudleyz and a second official ran in to count the fall.

The ending was bedlam, but the rest of the match was nothing out of the ordinary.
Your Winners and Still World Tag Team Champions: Kane & RVD


Backstage, Stacy Kiebler confronted Torrie Wilson about her kissing Test and proceeded to attack her. The entire women’s roster tried to break up the attack and a cat randomly ran across the screen.

I’ve never seen the TV shows from around this time. Did one of the female wrestlers have a cat as part of their gimmick or what?

It also strikes me as silly that the whole Test/Torrie incident was recorded and it would have taken two seconds for somebody to say “Hey, Stacy, watch this!” But then I guess that would be too logical for a pro wrestling show.

WWE Women’s Championship
WWE Women’s Champion Trish Stratus vs. Jazz (w/ Theodore Long)


Prior to the bell, Jazz’s new manager, Theodore Long, took to the microphone to proclaim that tonight was all about vindication for Jazz and that she would undoubtedly become the next women’s champion.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Teddy Long and Jazz



True to Teddy’s word, the challenger emerged triumphant after a decent match.

Arguably better than their last PPV bout at the 2002 Royal Rumble, this wasn’t the most amazing thing you’ll ever see, but both women performed well and it certainly didn’t suck.

After a good effort, Jazz caught the champion off guard with a roll-up to capture the title.
Your Winner and New WWE Women’s Champion: Jazz

Backstage, former nWo teammates Shawn Michaels, Booker T, and Kevin Nash reassured one another that they were all ready to take on their opponents in tonight’s triple threat match.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Kevin Nash, Booker T, and Shawn Michaels prepare for their upcoming match



In a cool nod to his earlier run with the company, Nash had the words “Big Daddy” emblazoned on his top in Diesel-style writing.

The Big Show vs. Rey Mysterio

Rey Mysterio had recently embarrassed The Big Show on a number of occasions leading to tonight’s match.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Rey Mysterio faced The Big Show



A short but entertaining game of cat and mouse, this one saw Mysterio use his speed, cunning, and a well-placed chair shot to constantly get the better of his much larger opponent.

The former Cruiserweight champion even took down his rival with a trio of 619s, first to the gut, then the legs, then finally to the noggin.

However, when he attempted a West Coast Pop, the angry giant caught his opponent in mid-air and chokeslammed him straight to the seventh dimension of Hades.

It was only a couple of minutes long, if that, but these two one-time WCW stars told a good story and entertained the best they could.
Your Winner: The Big Show

Afterwards, they sold the brutality of the match-winning clothesline by having EMTs come out and place Mysterio on a stretcher.

Before he could be carted off though, Show returned, picked up the board that Rey was strapped to, and swung it at the ring post like he was a professional baseball player swinging for a home run.

It was a cool, unexpected moment that put Show over as a monster while also giving us a unique visual.

The Boys are Ready

Backstage, Lillian Garcia interviewed the trio of Chris Jericho, Nature Boy Ric Flair, and World Heavyweight Champion Triple H.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Lillian Garcia interviews Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, and Triple H



The three team mates discussed their upcoming match with HBK, Nash, and Booker, with each man addressing a particular opponent.

Jericho was ready to make Michaels tap to the Walls of Jericho following their classic outing at ‘Mania ‘19, 16 time champion Ric Flair had a problem with Booker boasting about being a five-time, five-time, five-time dubya see dubya champion while The Game had his sights set on rival Kevin Nash.

This was a compelling promo which got this fan excited about the upcoming six man.

Across the way, Torrie Wilson threw Stacy into a wall causing a big box to fall and land on the leggy diva’s head.

This prompted Scott Steiner to appear and show a rare moment of compassion as he picked up Stacy and began carrying her towards the medical room.

Before he could get there, however, the two were interrupted by Test, who was irate at seeing Stacy and Big Poppa Pump together.

Hmm, I wonder if a feud was a-brewin’?

WWE Championship
WWE Champion Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena


It’s interesting to see these two go at it for the title so early in their career given the kind of megastar status the two would enjoy a decade later.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena



John Cena was still a fully-fledged heel here and, to prove it, he declared that he would be a better champion than Bruno Sammartino while also wearing a New York Yankees shirt because, in his words, his home state of Massachusetts sucked.

It was effective work from The Doctor of Thuganomics, really making the crowd hate him to the point that they were ready to see babyface champion Brock Lesnar kick his ass all the way back to New York.

Despite being the next big superstar, it was clear that John Cena’s time wasn’t now and the ending of this match was never in doubt.

While the predictable outcome did put a slight dampener on things, this was nonetheless a good effort from both me , with the challenger taking the fight to his larger opponent and proving that he belonged in the upper echelons of the WWE hierarchy.

Sure, this wasn’t the greatest match of all time. It wasn’t even the best match Cena and Lesnar would have together, but the two young stars gave a good account of themselves before a battered and bloody Brock put his opponent away with a single F5.

Honestly, I like that finish a lot.

As we moved further and further into an era when finishing moves have become meaningless given how many times every one kicks out of them, it was nice to see that just one F5 was enough to put away a man who had really seemed to take Lesnar to his limits
Your Winner and Still WWE Champion: Brock Lesnar

Prior to the next match, we got a look back at Kevin Nash returning to action and saving Shawn Michaels from a beat down at the hands of Triple H, Ric Flair, and Chris Jericho.

The Game had told Nash that he needed to choose between aligning with him or HBK.

Naturally, Nash sided with his former Two Dudes With Attitudes partner which gave us the build up to tonight’s six man.

Six-Man Tag
Chris Jericho, Nature Boy Ric Flair, and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Triple H vs. Booker T, Shawn Michaels, and Kevin Nash


I won’t lie, Big Daddy Cool Diesel was my hero when I was 11 years-old while HHH, HBK, and Y2J have since become my three all-time favourites, so I was more than a little excited to see them all in one match, especially when Big Kev came out wearing that Big Daddy top with a theme that sounded like a rocked-up version of the classic Diesel theme found on WWF Full Metal.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Booker T, Shawn Michaels, and Kevin Nash vs. Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, and Triple H



That theme was certainly better than the lame rehashed theme that Booker would come out to tonight.

What was wrong with the Harlem Heat theme? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

All that aside, this was a fantastic match which was helped in no small part by the fact that the two most consistently capable performers, Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho, seemed to do most of the work for their respective teams.

That’s not to say that the others didn’t play a part, but it was definitely the two men who stole the show at WM19 who did the same thing here in this match.

After a lengthy match which never once felt boring, all hell broke loose, with Nash and Hunter brawling on the outside while Flair put Michaels in the figure four as Jericho hit his rival with a lionsault.

The King of the World then locked the Heartbreak Kid in a Walls of Jericho, only for Big Sexy to abandon his plans of putting HHH through a table and run to the rescue.

Retro Pro Wrestling’s favourite referee, Nick Patrick, then took a tumble, allowing The Game to take out Nash with a sledgehammer.

Hunter made the cover, Patrick made a miraculous comeback, and one three-count later, this very enjoyable match came to a close.
Your Winners: Chris Jericho, Ric Flair, and Triple H

Prior to the main event, The Rock gave an interview to the lady he called “Giggle Panties,” better known to you and me as Terri Runnels.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - Terri Runnels interviews The Rock


As he had been since his recent-ish return, Hollywood Rock was positioned as a heel in his feud with Goldberg, but his promo was so damn captivating and entertaining that the crowd couldn’t help but love him.

The Rock vs. Goldberg

Regular readers will know that I’m usually pretty generous with my reviews, but even I can’t deny that this was absolutely dreadful.

WWE Backlash 2003 Review - The Rock vs. Bill Goldberg



In fact, I’d even go as far as to say that this was one of the worst main events of all time.

The Rock came out brimming from ear to ear, a smile of cockiness and arrogance that told you he had no doubt about his ability to overthrow a man the commentary team had done their best to burry before he even came out.

Goldberg finally made his arrival using his same entrance routine from WCW, albeit without Doug Dillinger and his ever-present entourage of rent-a-cops.

Big Bill’s entrance was genuinely cool, but that was the last good thing in the entire match.

For the first few minutes, The Rock stalled, stalled and stalled some more before finally staring down his opponent.

As all this was going on, Jerry Lawler gave us the line of the night:

I used to be the president of the Bill Goldberg Fan Club but I resigned due to loneliness.

Yeah, I know I just complained about the announcers burying the former WCW star, but that line made me laugh out loud.

The Rock was as entertaining as he could be too, but even his innate charisma and natural talent couldn’t stop this match from absolutely sucking.

It was so dull and so painfully bad that I simply tuned out half way through while the live crowd turned on the babyface Goldberg and began actively booing his every move.

Towards the finish, the “Goldberg Sucks!” Chants became deafening, and though I’ve never thought Bill was as bad as everyone says (wrestling certainly has a place for performers like him), I can’t deny that they were right on this occasion.

Goldberg sucked, and so did this match.

After the better part of 15 minutes, two spears and what Jonathan Coachman called a “Jackhammer Slam,” earned Bill the win and even more boos.
Your Winner: Bill Goldberg

As the show went off the air, The Rock lay dazed and confused in the middle of the ring, perhaps bewildered at how his last match for almost a year had disintegrated into such an absolute shit show.








Honestly, it boggles the mind how the very same company that gave us one of the greatest Wrestlemanias of all time only a few weeks earlier could then go on to deliver such a lackluster PPV at Backlash 2003.

The opening tag match was solid and the six man was better than most people give it credit for, but the rest of the undercard never got better than being decent and that main event was truly one of the most disappointing matches of all time.

Not the worst PPV ever then, but certainly not something you should go out of your way to watch.


Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on FacebookInstagram, or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

PPV REVIEW: WWF Backlash 2002

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Event poster
April 21, 2002, 
Kemper Arena, Kansas City, Missouri. 

Much had changed in the World Wrestling Federation in  the month between Wrestlemania X8 and Backlash 2002.

Following his iconic performance against The Rock, Hulk Hogan had fully severed ties with the New World Order and resurrected the Red and Yellow.

Yes, Hulkamania was well and truly running wild towards a nostalgia-fueled main event run for Hogan, leading to him challenging Triple H for the Undisputed title on tonight's show.

In the meantime, the company had also executed their first draft, telling us that Superstars and owners would be exclusive to either Raw or Smackdown and then completely disregarding that rule.

Literally on the very first show of the Brand Extension era, Smackdown boss Vince McMahon turned up on Raw and basically said "I know I'm not supposed to be here, but F**k it, I am anyway."

This made the show the first PPV since the first draft, as well as the first show at the Kemper Arena since the tragedy of Over the Edge 1999






Yet as much as it was a show of firsts, it was also a show of lasts, being the last PPV to take place in North America before the WWF became the WWE. It wasn't technically the last PPV of the brand era as the company would run a UK PPV a few weeks later, but since I'm not entirely show how much anyone actually gave a damn about those events, this was essentially the last hoorah for WWF PPV in America.

Anyway, with that long and winding intro out of the way, let's get on and review the show. 

The Game vs. The Icon 

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Jim Ross & Jerry 'The King' Lawler called the event
Backlash 2002 show started with a dramatic opening video for tonight’s main event, an all-babyface clash between WWF Undisputed Champion Triple H and Hulk Hogan.

A compelling video, this one saw Hogan talking about how desperately he needed to become the champion to prove that the legacy of Hulkamania wasn’t all a dream while Triple H talked about how he would go to any lengths to retain the title.

It was good stuff as these videos usually always were.

Moving to the live show, crowd shots from the arena and WWF New York followed as Jim Ross and Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler welcomed us to the show and Tajiri’s music hit in readiness for our opening contest.

World Wrestling Federation Cruiserweight Championship 
WWF Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman vs. Tajiri (w/ Torrie Wilson)

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Torrie Wilson
Tajiri
had recently turned heel, placing Torrie in the role of ‘reluctant girlfriend who puts up with her evil boyfriend’s crap but will predictably get sick of it and leave him.’

Almost immediately, this seemed like a way to realign her with Kidman, and honestly, if that meant we got more matches like this one, that’s not a bad thing at all.

This was a stormer of an opening match in which the highlight wasn’t any fancy move or special high spot, but simply the sheer ferocity with which the challenger tried to kick the champion’s head off.

Seriously, these were the kind of kicks that make you wince and go “ooof” even though you know full well that pro wrestling is a work.

It was good stuff, and only part of what made this the best PPV openers of the year so far.

In the end, Tajiri won thanks to Evil Mist and a roll up. 
Your Winner and new Cruiserweight Champion: Tajiri

Post-match, Michael Cole tried to get a word with the new champion but Tajiri gave his whole promo in Japanese so who knows what he said?

An APA Reunion 

Farooq and Bradshaw had been split up in the draft. In the last Smackdown before said draft took effect, the two had closed the APA office for good in what had, surprisingly, been a genuinely touching moment.

The following week on Raw, the New World Order had taken over the office and graffitied the door, leading to a feud of sorts between Bradshaw and Scott Hall.

Those two would meet next, but first, Farooq and Bradshaw reunited backstage with the latter clearly calling his partner “Ron” despite the announcers still exclusively using the name Farooq.

Scott Hall (w/ X-Pac) vs. Bradshaw (w/ Farooq)

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Farooq & Bradshaw reunited after being split by the draft
A year shy of a decade since the 123 Kid upset Razor Ramon, X-Pac accompanied Scott Hall to the ring and proceeded to give the nWo the numbers advantage against a solo Bradshaw until the APA’s music hit again and Farooq stormed to ringside to even the score.

It was a cool moment, sure, but surely it would have been even cooler if they’d made it a surprise and kept the reunion until after the match, rather than before it.

Speaking of the match, all I’m going to say is this:

Jim Ross spent most of the latter part of the bout repeatedly telling us that the match was “bowling shoe ugly,” which as we all know was JR’s way of saying “this is awful.”

Scott Hall won with a bowling shoe ugly roll-up.
Your Winner: Scott Hall 

Backstage, Ric Flair was in his office talking with his assistant/lackey/buddy/whatever-he-was Arn Anderson when Vince McMahon barged in with no other agenda than to basically troll the Nature Boy for a bit.

After spending some time winding up Flair, Vince gave him a sly nod and wink while hinting that Flair may not be the upstanding babyface he was pretending to be.

“I will NEVER be like Vince McMahon,” insisted Flair, adamantly.

“No,” replied Vince. “But you can try.”

OK, I laughed at that.

World Wrestling Federation Women’s Championship 
WWF Women’s Champion Jazz vs. Trish Stratus

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Trish Stratus challenged Jazz for the women's title
Before this one got underway, Molly Holly marched to ringside to have a word with Trish Stratus.

Molly had recently turned heel, first by waffling Hurricane with a frying pan back at Wrestlemania X8, then by kicking his arse on the first post-Mania Smackdown, and then taking the stance that all of the other divas were sluts with low morals.

Holly had tried to beat Trish with a handful of tights to win a shot at Jazz’s title but Stratus had reversed the pin attempt, grabbed a handful of tights of her own and earned the win.

Tonight, Holly confronted Trish about her cheating ways and the two got into it for a bit before Jazz came down to get this short match underway.

Although it wasn’t great, it wasn’t awful either, and it was pretty clear that both women tried to do the best they could with what they had.

After a few minutes or so-so action, Jazz put the STF on her opponent to retain her title.
Your Winner and Still Women’s Champion: Jazz

Post match, some interviewer called Mr. Michael WhoTFAmI RandomDude tried to get a word with Jazz and pointed a microphone in her face but the women’s champion said nothing, probably because she had no idea who this stranger was.

Seriously, who was this dude? For a split second I thought it was Kevin Kelly, but there’s two problems with that theory:

The guy was too young to be Kevin Kelly
The guy looked nothing like Kevin Kelly.

He sounded like Chris Jericho and looked kinda like a British ventriloquist called Paul Zerdin and...never mind, I just found out his name is Marc Lloyd, though personally, I think Michael WhoTFAmI is a way better name.

Paul Heyman - Panty Sniffer

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Brock Lesnar wrestled his debut match against Jeff Hardy
The night after Wrestlemania 18, Brock Lesnar had made his debut by interfering in a Hardcore match between Maven and Al Snow and killing everybody involved dead.

For the next few weeks, the future Mr. Sable went around destroying people at random while his agent, Paul Heyman soaked it up. 

Recently, Heyman had tried to use having Lesnar in his camp to his advantage by playing with Lita’s underwear and insinuating that if she didn’t give him sexy times, he’d have Lesnar take out her boyfriend, Matt Hardy.

Lita didn’t give him sexy times, so Lesnar made good on the promise to beat Hardy up while Heyman frolicked around in a bag of Lita’s panties like a kid rustling through a haul of Halloween candy.

With Matt out of action, it was up to Jeff Hardy to avenge his brother in what would be Lesnar’s first official match.

First though, it was promo time.

In that promo, the sleazy panty sniffer put over Lesnar as The Next Big Thing.

To his credit, Heyman was at least correct on that one.

Jeff Hardy (w/ Lita) vs. Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman)

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Paul Heyman leads Brock Lesnar into battle
And so, Big Brock’s debut match saw him demolish Jeff Hardy from pillar to post in an utterly sadistic fashion.

An elevated squash, this was made all the more entertaining by the last-minute hope spot Jeff pulled out of his pocket, electrifying the crowd with a comeback that made him look -if only for a fleeting moment- that he might actually prevail.

Alas, it wasn’t to be Hardy’s night. 

Lesnar took great pleasure in pulverizing his opponent until Teddy Long was forced to stop the match to stop Jeff Hardy’s organs from literally being splattered all over the ring.
Your Winner via Referee Stoppage: Brock Lesnar  

After a quick look at the rivalry between Edge and Kurt Angle, the two locked up in our next match.

Kurt Angle vs. Edge 

And what a match it was.

This was very good indeed. It was one of those matches that looks like it might be a little underwhelming at first but then builds and builds into an all-out, balls-to-the-wall classic that has you on the edge of your seat.

Though it was definitely Edge’s finest hour as a solo star at this point in his career, that didn’t mean he was to walk away with a victory.

After a scorcher of a match, the Olympic Gold Medalist hit the Angle Slam for the cover, the count, and the fall.
Your Winner: Kurt Angle

Jerry Lawler had enjoyed the match so much that he gave Kurt a standing ovation.

Chris Jericho’s Got Hurt Feelings

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Chris Jericho had nothing to do on the show
After a weird edit that it made it seem like they cut something out of the show, we jumped to Chris Jericho marching down to ringside.

The first-ever Undisputed Champion was out to bemoan the fact that he’d gone from main eventing Wrestlemania to not having a match on tonight’s card, all within the space of a month.

If you think about it, that’s a fairly legitimate complaint.

Still, despite not being booked, Jericho didn’t want all of that bouncing on a trampoline in his underoos to go to waste, so he lambasted the crowd, talked about his feelings being hurt, and then went home.

Taker Warns Flair

Well, he didn’t really warn him as much as he did walk into the Raw boss’s office, stare him down a bit and point a finger at him as if to say ‘just you watch yourself, mister.

World Wrestling Federation Intercontinental Championship 
WWF Intercontinental Champion Rob Van Dam vs. Eddie Guerrero

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Eddie Guerrero battled Rob Van Dam
After recently returning to the company, Eddie Guerrero made his first PPV appearance since WWA - The Revolution earlier that year and his first WWF PPV appearance since facing Brian Christopher WWF Insurrection 2001, all in the name of dethroning Rob Van Dam for the Intercontinental Championship.

To that end, he was successful. A quick smack upside his opponent’s head with the title belt and a beautiful frog splash gave Latino Heat the win, but that wasn’t what was really important here.

What was really important was that this match was awesome. Like, just non-stop solid wrestling that was a joy to watch. 

It even produced a chuckle at one point, though that was due to Jim Ross.

Giving the match a notable backstory, he and King talked about how both men used the frog splash as a finisher.

“Well, let me ask you, JR. Who was the first person in the WWF you saw using the frog splash?” Asked Lawler, insinuating that RVD had stolen the move.

“D’Lo Brown,” answered Ross, bluntly.

“Well, OK then,” replied King. “Who was the second?”

Everything about this match was a lot of fun.
Your Winner and New Intercontinental Champion: Eddie Guerrero

After Jim Ross spent time shilling The Rock’s movie, The Scorpion King as though his life depended on it, we got a video package looking at how Steve Austin and The Undertaker had come to face off to earn a title shot.

That match was next.

Number One Contender’s Match for a shot at the Undisputed Championship 
The Undertaker vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin 

Special Referee: Ric Flair

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Undertaker wrestled Steve Austin
Steve Austin
and The Undertaker had a weird of history of sometimes having excellent matches and sometimes being dull and tedious. 

Their matches at WWF Rock Bottom and WWF In Your House 15: A Cold Day in Hell didn’t do it for me at all whereas their their bouts at Summerslam 1998 and Judgement Day 2001 absolutely delivered. 

This one somehow managed to be the best and worst of Austin/Taker all rolled into one match. 

The first half was a very fun, engaging match with a lot to enjoy, but then the second half of a match that went nigh-on half an hour really started to drag.

The first part saw Austin bust out some technical wrestling and both match bringing their A-Game, but as time went on it gradually deteriorated.

At one point, Hall and X-Pac came and stood in the entranceway and watched the match.

They didn’t interfere or get involved in any way, they just stood there. By the time the match was over they were nowhere to be seen, making their presence entirely pointless.

Later, Flair got ref-bumped and spent ten days knocked out. I know Naitch was getting on a bit, but let’s not forget that he just wrestled a whole match with ‘Taker a month before and now we’re supposed to believe that one little bump could knock him out for ages?

Was there really something about putting on a referee shirt that made people absolute weaklings?

Anyway, after a long effort, Undertaker kicked a chair in Austin’s face and pinned him.

Stone Cold got his foot on the ropes but Flair didn’t see it and gave the fall to Booger Red.
Your Winner: The Undertaker

Afterwards, Austin gave his rival a stunner and drank a beer while Jonathan Coachman showed Flair footage of the finish.

“Mr. Flair, what do you have to say about that?” Asked Coach.

“Aw, shit,” replied Flair.

Weird that they didn’t beep that.

World Wrestling World Tag Championship 
WWF Tag Team Champions Billy & Chuck (w/ Rico) vs. Maven & Al Snow

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Billy, Chuck, and Rico
I don’t care what anyone says, Billy & Chuck were an entertaining tag team. Adding Rico, their stylist, into the mix only made them more so.

Maven & Al Snow?

Not so much.

Maven’s whole gimmick was that he won Tough Enough yet wasn’t quite good enough to hang with the main roster, which doesn’t really say much about Tough Enough, does it?

Anyway, the match was fine and had some fun spots which elevated it above and beyond the ‘ cool down the crowd before the main event’ role it was so obviously meant to fulfil.

Unsurprisingly given that nobody cared about Maven & Al Snow, Billy & Chuck retained their titles.

Finally, it was time for our main event.

Undisputed World Wrestling Federation Championship 
Undisputed WWF Champion Triple H vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan 

WWE / WWF Backlash 2002 - Hulk Hogan vs. Triple H
Earlier in the show, a fan’s sign pointed out that Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan was essentially Triple H vs. Triple H and that’s all I’ve been able to think about for the whole show.

Obviously, this wasn’t a technical masterpiece, but if you’re watching a Hulk Hogan match for technical wrestling then you’re probably the same person that watches hardcore nudey films for the romance.

Besides, it was still very good, and probably the best actual wrestling match Hogan had been involved in for years. OK, so it didn’t have the same kind of Once in a Lifetime feel as his ‘Mania match, but Hogan vs. Rock was a spectacle first and a wrestling match second.

Hogan vs. Triple H was all about Hogan putting in some decent effort to prove he could hang with The Game...

...At least it was until the whole story boiled down to the champion wearing down the challenger with a figure four, a sleeper, and other “let’s lie on the mat and do nothing” holds which nearly sent this writer to sleep.

Eventually, things picked up and we got cameos from Chris Jericho and The Undertaker.

Y2J tried to help Hunter to win while ‘Taker apparently had his eye on using his title shot to face Hogan for the gold.

Neither were successful as both HHH and HHH saw off the invaders and proved that they wanted to do this without anyone’s help.

Eventually, after a good bit of Hulking Up, Hogan dropped the leg on Helmsley to win his first WWF title since Wrestlemania 9.
Your Winner and New Undisputed Champion: Hulk Hogan

Afterwards, a battered and bloody Triple H stared down Hogan with a vengeful look in his eye but then shook his hand before leaving the new champion to celebrate as this enjoyable show went off the air.








And yes, it really was an enjoyable show.

The main event may not have been the best match on the card, but it certainly exceeded expectations given the kind of stinkers Hogan had been putting on in WCW for the last few years of that company’s existence.

Elsewhere, Tajiri/Kidman, Edge/Angle and Guerrero/RVD were all great matches and even Austin/Taker had its moments.

All in all, Backlash 2002 was a fun show that you probably won’t regret watching.



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Thursday, 15 October 2020

PPV REVIEW: WWF Backlash 2001

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Event Poster
April 29, 2001,
Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois

A month prior to Backlash 2001, the World Wrestling Federation had presented Wrestlemania X-Seven, an event that would go down in history as arguably the greatest Wrestlemania event of all time. 

That incredible show was the peak of a tremendous run of great shows for the company, with the quality of their in-ring product as good as it had ever been.

Still, a lot had changed in the few weeks since 'Mania.

Once sworn rivals hell-bent on homicide, Steve Austin and Triple H were now on the same page, a whole host of ECW stars were integrating themselves into the roster, and the creative clusterf**k that was The Invasion was drawing ever closer.

With all that going on, could the WWF keep up their hot streak and deliver a show every bit as awesome as Wrestlemania 17?

Let's head down to the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois to find out.







No Power. No Gold. Know Power. Know Gold

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Paul Heyman and Jim Ross called the event
Once upon a time, Triple H had arranged for Stone Cold Steve Austin to be run over by a car at Survivor Series 1999.

A year later, Austin got his revenge by carrying out the attempted murder of The Game at Survivor Series 2000.

Now, the two were a tag team because that’s how pro wrestling logic works.

Tonight, as our compelling opening video told us, the two would take on The Undertaker and Kane.

This was a pretty good video that played up the Two Man Power Trip aspect of the whole story while glossing over the whole part about Austin and HHH literally trying to kill each other prior to teaming up.

Then, after the obligatory pyro, crowd shots and a greeting from announcers Jim Ross and Paul Heyman, it was on with the show.

The Dudley Boyz (D-Von Dudley, Bubba Ray Dudley, and Spike Dudley) vs. The X-Factor (X-Pac, Albert and Justin Credible)

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - The Dudleyz faced The X-Factor
Throughout tonight’s opening contest, JR constantly tried to get ‘the wizards of the wicked wood,’ over as a new nickname for The Dudleyz. It sounded ridiculous and it’s no surprise that name didn’t stick.

When he wasn’t coming up with goofy names, Ross joined Heyman in calling what was a pretty decent match.

Were this any other bunch of wrestlers, this may not have gone down so well, but The Dudley Boyz were so insanely over that everything they did elicited a huge response from the live audience.

Combine that with the fact that all six men turned up motivated and ready for action and what you had here was a solid opener that came to a close with a win for The X-Factor.
Your Winners: The X-Factor

Post-match, The Dudleyz got their revenge by putting X-Pac through a table.

Speaking of which, here’s something that I’ve noticed on the last several PPVs:

Every time Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley did the whole ‘D-Von! Get the tables!!’ bit, the tables were never actually got. The other team always stopped them from either setting up the table or putting somebody through it. As such, the table either never came into play at all or else did so only in the post-match shenanigans.

Speaking of shenanigans:

Meanwhile, Backstage...

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - William Regal greets The Duchess of Queensbury backstage
‘The Duchess of Queensbury’ (a woman in a pompadour) arrived in a limousine with two close protection officers. William Regal was delighted to see her.

Across the arena, Kurt Angle told Lillian Garcia that he owned Chris Benoit and would take him out in their upcoming Ultimate Submission match.

Back in the arena, the announcers told us that Jerry Lynn had defeated Crash Holly for the Light Heavyweight Championship earlier on Heat.

World Wrestling Federation Hardcore Championship
WWF Hardcore Champion Rhyno vs. Raven

Taking the WWF Hardcore division to another level, Rhyno and Raven gave us an awesome brawl that was way better than expected.

In one sense, this was every hardcore match you’ve seen from this time period; the two littered the ring with garbage weapons and proceeded to beat the crap out each other with them.

Yet they did so with such an intensity and with such stiffness that it made the whole thing an exciting match to watch.

After the better part of ten minutes, Rhyno murdered babyface Raven with a gore to retain his belt.
Your Winner and Still Hardcore Champion: Rhyno

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Michael Cole tries to interview Shane 'The Pain' McMahon
Up next, we were taken back to Smackdown where Shane McMahon read an awesome fairytale called ‘Shane & The Beanstalk’ about his rivalry with his dad and, more specifically, his Dad’s hired goon, The Big Show.

Live in the arena, Michael Cole tried to get an interview with Shane but Stephanie McMahon interrupted and tried to get Shane to call off his Last Man Standing match with Show.

Naturally, Shane O’ Mac refused.

More Backstage Buffoonery

Kevin Kelly had better luck than Michael Cole in getting an interview. He interrupted WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin who was strong-arming Debra as they made their way into the arena.

Given the accusations of Austin’s real-life domestic abuse against Debra, that looked pretty uncomfortable.

Anyway, The Texas Rattlesnake told Kelly that there was no way he was losing the WWF title tonight as long as HHH did his part.

Elsewhere, Jonathan Coachman tried to ask the Duchess of Queensberry what the rules were to the match named after her.

Before she could answer, however, William Regal interrupted, thus keeping up the long-standing joke in wrestling that the rules for such a match don’t actually exist.

Duchess of Queensberry Rules Match
William Regal vs. Chris Jericho

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - The Duchess of Motherflippin' Queensbury
These two had met in a decent match at Wrestlemania 17. Since then, Chris Jericho besmirched Regal by peeing in his tea, leading to this match.

Needless to say, this was a quality match even if the whole Duchess of Queensberry stuff did get a little silly.

With Her Majesty herself looking on (even though Her Royal Highness would have been the correct title) Jericho and Regal put on a wrestling clinic for the first half of the match until Y2J looked to get the win with the Lionsault.

Before he could make the cover, however, the Duchess declared that the time had expired on Round 1.

Jericho then made Regal tap to the Walls of Jericho, but she declared that you couldn’t win by submission. Next, Regal blasted his opponent with the Duchess’s scepter, causing her to make it a No DQ match.

Having finally had enough, Jericho threw Her Ladyship into the ring and put the Walls on her, but Commissioner Regal came in, destroyed him with a chair and that was that.

Again, the whole ‘making up the rules on the fly’ stuff got a bit much, but this was otherwise a very good performance.
Your Winner: William Regal

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Vince McMahon orders Big Show to destroy Shane
Backstage, Vince McMahon made Big Show promise that he’d hold nothing back against Shane McMahon. Show promised and the two shook hands, both laughing maniacally as this somewhat awkward and slightly cringe-inducing segment came to an end.

We then got a video package featuring shots of Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle making most of the roster tap out, followed by a quick shot of Krispin Wah himself warming up backstage.

He and Angle would go head to head next.

30-Minute Ultimate Submission Match
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Benoit

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Kurt Angle faced Chris Benoit in an Ultimate Submission iron man match
In case you’re unsure, an Ultimate Submission match was basically a submission-based iron man match.

Before the bell, Angle got himself some heat by insulting Chicago’s most famous figures and promising to make Benoit squeal like a pig.

The match eventually got underway and turned out to be every bit as good as you probably expected.

Regardless of whatever happened away from the ring, Benoit and Angle were two masters of their craft. Here, they proved it by delivering a masterclass of professional wrestling that remained captivating from start to finish.

The two held nothing back as they wrestled each other to a 3-3 draw in the allotted half hour.

Harkening back to Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 12, the match then went into overtime with sudden death rules applying.

A few more minutes of action followed before Benoit slapped Angle in the crossface to take home the 4-3 victory.
Your Winner: Chris Benoit

Backstage, HHH and Stephanie McMahon were watching Undertaker and Kane have a heated discussion on a television monitor.

The Game thought that The Brothers of Destruction were trying to come up with an excuse for losing to him and Austin, but Steph was more concerned with insisting that her brother Shane was living in a fairytale.

Last Man Standing Match
The Big Show vs. Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Big Show faced Shane McMahon in a Last Man Standing match
If the last match has been as good as expected, this one was certainly better than expected.

Shane and Show had last met on PPV in a street fight back at Judgement Day 2000. That had been OK but a little underwhelming.

This was much better.

Early on, Shane knocked Show out with chloroform, only for Vince to run in and destroy his own son with a chair.

The match continued to the point that Big Show was just toying with Shane O’Mac, letting the referee count him up to right before picking up the WCW owner and chokeslamming him again.

It was at this point that Test put in an appearance, and this is where things got really good.

(I bet that sentence has never been written before).

Test and Show brawled to the entrance. Shane followed and ended up climbing to the top of the structure around the entrance while Test planted Big Show.

Then, in typical Shane McMahon fashion, he plummeted fifty feet to his doom, crash landing on his opponent.

Test helped his former almost-brother-in-law to his feet and this utterly enthralling bit of entertainment was done.
Your Winner: Shane McMahon

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Grandmaster Sexay gets weird on Steve Blackman
Backstage, Vince wrote off Shane and declared that Triple H was his only son.

Meanwhile, over at WWF New York, Steve Blackman started to tell Jim Ross that despite having issues with Shane in the past, he hoped he was OK after that match.

‘I never thought I’d see him do something like that,’ said Blackman, referring to McMahon’s epic leap of faith. That’s funny because Shane pulled an almost identical stunt in their match at Summerslam 2000.

Before he could get much further, Grandmaster Sexay turned up and freaked out in Blackman’s face.

World Wrestling Federation European Championship Triple Threat Match
WWF European Champion Matt Hardy vs. Christian vs. Eddie Guerrero

Although this kind of felt like filler, it was at least pretty entertaining filler.

All three men worked hard to deliver a fast-paced stormer of a match, but who knows how much better it could have been if they’d been given more time to shine.

Edge ran in towards the finish to try and help Christian win, but Jeff Hardy then put in an appearance to even the score.

That allowed Matt Hardy to hit Eddie Guerrero with the match-winning Twist of Fate.
Your Winner and Still European Champion: Matt Hardy

Afterward, we got the eight-thousandth replay of Shane’s big fall.

All Titles on the Line
WWF Intercontinental Champion Triple H (w/ Stephanie McMahon) & WWF Champion Stone Cold Steve Austin WWF Tag Team Champions Kane & The Undertaker

WWE / WWF Backlash 2001 - Steve Austin pleads with The Undertaker
The last time all the titles were on the line was back at In Your House 3: Triple Header when Intercontinental Champion Shawn Michaels and WWF Champion Diesel faced WWF Tag Team Champion Yokozuna and British Bulldog, with the Bulldog standing in for Owen Hart.

Speaking of Michaels, Jim Ross reminded us that if The Game won tonight, he’d be only the second man in history besides HBK to win the WWF title, European Championship, Intercontinental title, and tag team titles.

There were times when it felt as though this really long match was never going to end and there were times when it was so good that you didn’t really want it to end.

At one point, Kane played face-in-peril for six years and it really started to drag, but then just like that the whole thing picked up again and the match got utterly compelling.

Towards the finish, Undertaker and Austin went for a walk through the crowd. Stephanie McMahon tried to help her man but got Kane’s foot in her face.

That brought out Vince McMahon and a sledgehammer. Hunter used it and one three count later we had new tag team champions.
Your Winners and NEW tag team champions: Triple H & Stone Cold Steve Austin

Afterward, the new champions celebrated their hard-fought victory as Backlash 2001 came to a close.







I may be wrong, but I’m willing to state that Backlash was a fairly flawless show.

Every match was good in its own way, with the Benoit/Angle submission match really standing out as match of the night.

Coming on the back of one of the best Wrestlemanias ever, this was a great time to be a fan.




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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.




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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.