WWE Backlash - April 26, 2009
-Live from Providence, Rhode Island. Jim Ross, Michael Cole, and Jerry Lawler are on commentary.
Jack Swagger © vs. Christian
Swagger starts strong, targeting the waist and head. Christian slaps the taste out of Swagger’s mouth and outsmarts, nailing a flying elbow. Headlock by Christian. Shoulder tackles by Swagger and a press slam to the floor! Swagger chokes at ringside and brings Christian back in the hard way. Waist lock by Swagger, into a cover for 2. More waist lock goodness. Swagger counters a clever attack by Christian, stomping him to the mat with authority. Bear hug by Swagger, who lowers Christian’s shoulders down for a cover. Swagger keeps the bear hug locked on. Christian battles out and escapes a press slam. Swagger quickly nails a gut buster for 2. Another waist lock by Swagger. Hard whip by Swagger, but Christian counters into a rope assisted kick. Swagger plants Christian and goes for a bomb off the turnbuckle but it’s countered. Christian is fired up and unleashes a number of strikes. Swagger blocks a DDT but gets caught in a sunset flip for 2.5. Power slam by Swagger. Christian blocks the gut-wrench suplex but gets driven into the turnbuckle. Tornado DDT by Christian gets 2.5! They battle onto the apron, where Swagger attempts a deadly suplex. Christian blocks and flips Swagger back into the ring. Christian goes high risk, but Swagger counters with a back drop off the top! Vader Bomb by Swagger gets 2.9! Christian slaps the face and counters Swagger with a pinning predicament for 2.5. Swagger plants Christian for 2.5. Swagger unties some turnbuckle padding , but Christian does the same. Christian drives Swagger into the exposed steel and nails the Killswitch for the victory at 11:00. This was all over the place at times, but Swagger busted out some cool tricks and Christian took him to school for an exciting opener, ***.
Winner and new ECW Champion: Christian
-Backstage, Tommy Dreamer, Evan Bourne, and Finlay congratulate Christian. Edge storms in and confronts Christian. Christian wants to know when Edge became a bitter, raving lunatic. Edge says he used to be a lot of fun, but that was all before John Cena. Edge says that when he wins the World title and gets rid of Cena, he will be fun again. Great segment.
Chris Jericho vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Jericho cowardly hides in the ropes early on. Steamboat takes Y2J down but there’s a rope break. They shove each other. Steamboat slides through the legs to the floor and drop-kicks Jericho to the floor. Dive to the floor by Steamboat! Back to the ring, Steamboat gets a couple of deep armdrags to set up an armbar. Big “you’ve still got it” chant as Jericho is trapped in the hold. Shoulder tackle by Jericho, but he runs into another armdrag. Jericho busts out of an arm lock but Steamboat chops back. Steamboat skins the cat but gets clotheslined to the floor. Jericho uses the ropes to punish Steamboat on the apron. Jericho talks some smack and locks onto the head. Jericho runs into another arm drag but nails a clothesline. Cover by Jericho gets 2. Headlock by Jericho. Steamboat counters with a back suplex, but Jericho holds on to the head. Steamboat counters the bulldog by driving Jericho onto the turnbuckle. Steamboat gets some shots in nails a back superplex! Steamboat is slow to make the cover and only gets 2. They struggle to their feet and trade shots, with Ricky getting the upper hand. Power slam by Steamboat gets 2.5! Enziguri by Jericho gets 2.5. Bulldog by Jericho but Steamboat counters the lionsault with an electric chair. Jericho counters that with the Walls of Jericho. Dragon reverses and applies the figure four! Jericho rolls into the ropes but gets planted. Steamboat outsmarts Jericho, and nails the high cross body for 2.5! Jericho counters with a sudden code breaker. Jericho slowly makes the cover but there’s a rope break. Surprise roll-up by Steamboat gets 2. Walls of Jericho sadly finish it at 12:31. Another great performance by Steamboat, not to mention an effective way to put Jericho over, ***¼.
Winner: Chris Jericho
-Steamboat receives a nice ovation after the match.
CM Punk vs. Kane
Punk connects first with some quick shots. Kane corners Punk with some hard blows. Punk locks the arm and hangs over the ropes. Punk goes high risk and drives a knee to the arm. Drop-kick sends Kane to ringside. Punk makes a dive, but Kane counters with a chokeslam attempt. Punk lands on the apron and clotheslines. Back to the ring, Punk targets the arm. Kane drives Punk against the ring post and nails a vicious drop-kick. Cover by Kane gets 2. Body scissors by Kane. Punk elbows the injured arm to escape. Punk misses a knee lift and eats a clothesline. Cover by Kane gets 2. Backbreaker submission by Kane. Punk counters a chokeslam, driving the bad arm to the mat. Punk utilizes the ropes again to stretch the arms. Springboard clothesline by Punk but he runs into a big boot. Kane climbs the ropes but Punk nails an enziguri. Punk attempts Go To Sleep but settles for a knee lift and bulldog. Cover by Punk gets 2. Kane counters a springboard move and gains a cover for 2.5. Punk applies a cross arm breaker, but Kane counters into a side slam for 2.5. Punk nails some stiff kicks to the head and blows. Kane fights through with a chokeslam for the win at 9:23. This was highly competitive, and much better than I was expecting. Kane brought his working boots, **¾.
-Hype package for Jeff vs. Matt Hardy. I haven’t been watching Smackdown, so I missed a neat moment highlighted in the video where Jeff surfs down the ramp on a stretcher and dives onto Matt. This turned out to be a pretty decent feud.
“I Quit” match:
Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy
Jeff ducks a clothesline and unloads on Matt. Matt retreats to ringside but Jeff drop-kicks him through the ropes. Jeff dives over the ropes onto his brother. Jeff leaps off the ring steps, slamming Matt into the barricade. Back to the ring, Jeff mule kicks Matt in the turnbuckles. Series of leg drops by Jeff followed by a second rope leg drop. Jeff goes for a sleeper but gets dropped into the turnbuckles. Matt blocks the Whisper in the Wind by pushing Jeff to the floor. Matt crotches his brother in the ring post and slams his legs into the steel. Matt is now targeting Jeff’s leg and applies a figure four. Matt breaks the hold but continues the assault on the leg. Back to the figure four, but this time Jeff reverses. Jeff misses an enziguri, allowing Matt to stretch his leg. Matt places Jeff in a tree of woe and chokes. Jeff fights out of a back superplex and they trade slugs. Jeff applies a Texas cloverleaf. Matt taps but won’t verbally quit. Matt blocks the Twist of Fate but eats a leg drop. Twist of Fate by Jeff connects. Swanton Bomb connects! Matt refuses to quit, so Jeff nails a second Swanton. Jeff brings in a table but Matt crawls to ringside. Twist of Fate on the floor by Jeff! Back to the ring, Jeff places Matt on the table and ties him down duck tape and rope. Jeff brings in a ladder but gives Matt the chance to quit before setting it up. Jeff climbs to the top. Matt tries to save himself with “I’m sorry, I love you, we’re brothers, brothers are the strongest bond you can have in the world.” Matt says their mom wouldn’t want this and she’s watching from heaven. Daddy wouldn’t like this either (yes, he says “daddy”). Matt quits, giving Jeff the win at 19:04. Jeff jumps off the ladder, driving Matt through the table anyway. This was a stop up from their Wrestlemania bout, as they were connecting on an emotional level and brought a sense of urgency, ***½.
Winner: Jeff Hardy
-Randy Orton cuts a promo backstage. Orton is proud that he’s off doing his own thing, but Batista is still working for Triple H. Good point.
-It’s time for the Khali Kiss Cam with Santina Marella. Santina says she can’t kiss Khali because she’s not who she said she is. You see, it turns out that she’s not single, she loves another man. Ranjin Singh demands to know who. Santina reveals that she loves none other than… Jim Ross! Khali will let Santina off the hook if she can prove her love by giving J.R. a big kiss. This is hilarious. J.R. assures us that this isn’t going to happen. Santina decides to faint, but we’re joined by Beth Phoenix and Rosa Mendes. Beth is furious and challenges Santina to a match for the Ms. Wrestlemania crown. Ranjin is offended at the interruption. Beth explains to Khali that Santina is a man. Beth asks if all the women in Punjab are so ugly that he finds Santina to be attractive. Beth says Khali is the biggest idiot walking the face of the Earth, so Khali drops her with a chop block. The bell rings and Santina pins Beth in about four seconds. Khali hasn’t gone anywhere and he wants his kiss. Santina tries to run away, but Khali steals her top. Santina covers her chest and flees from the arena. This was a total waste of pay-per-view time, but it was hilarious, so I’ll forgive it this time.
Triple H ©, Batista, and Shane McMahon vs. Randy Orton, Ted Dibiase, and Cody Rhodes
If Triple H’s team wins, he retains the WWE title. If Orton’s team wins, Orton become the champion. Triple H jumps Orton before the match begins and they brawl at ringside. HHH chases Orton to the back and returns to the ring. Rhodes and Dibiase have been left alone and the bell rings for a 3 on 2 situation. Batista brings Rhodes in the hard way and unloads on him. Shane tags and continues to work over poor Rhodes. Triple H tags and methodically pounds away on the son of a son of a plumber. Hard Irish whips by HHH. Rhodes gets a knee lift and tags Dibiase, but he runs into a clothesline. Shane tags and double teams with Triple H. Cover by Shane gets 2. Shane targets the lower back. Batista tags but Dibiase fights him off long enough to tag Rhodes. Rhodes eats a delayed vertical suplex. Rhodes rakes the eyes and tags Dibiase. Rhodes and Dibiase keep the tags coming but Batista clotheslines them both and nails a Spinebuster on Dibiase. Batista signals the end, but Dibiase retreats to ringside. Orton times his return well, jumping Batista from behind and slamming him into the ring post. Orton tags himself in and aggressively unloads on Batista. Legacy keep the tags coming, making Batista the face in peril (shouldn’t that be Shane’s role?). After a lengthy beat-down, Batista spears Orton and makes the hot tag to Shane (of all people). Shane cleans house and gains a near fall on Cody. Shane tries to clear off the ring post, but Dibiase stops him. Shane hangs Cody on the ropes and nails a flying elbow drop. Cover by Shane is close but Dibiase pulls him to ringside and drives him into the ring steps. Everything is in it’s right place as Shane becomes the new face in peril. Legacy are very good at making quick tags and using the most basic of wrestling moves to isolate opponents. Shane takes a beating from all three men for about ten minutes before countering Dibiase with a DDT and making the hot tag to Triple H. The Game cleans house on Legacy. With Rhodes and Dibiase dispatched, HHH nails a Spinebuster on Orton for 2, but Dibiase makes the save. Batista pursues Dibiase and dropped into the barricade. Cody plants HHH but gets dumped out by Shane. Shane clotheslines Cody over the rail, but he cracks a chair over Shane’s head. Rhodes attacks Batista with the chair as well, the referee missing all of this. In the ring, HHH blocks the RKO but is distracted when he sees Batista about to use a chair. HHH doesn’t want the DQ. Orton nails the RKO and gets a 2.9! The bell rings, but the ref waves it off. The punt kick of death finishes HHH at 22:37 and we have a new WWE Champion! That finishing sequence was outstanding. Very nice old-school tag team formula match that dived into chaos, color me impressed, ***¾.
Winners: Randy Orton (new WWE Champion), Cody Rhodes, and Ted Dibiase
-Batista and Shane check on HHH, who isn’t moving after taking the death punt. The crowd amusingly chants “Na na na na goodbye” as Triple H gets taken out on a stretcher.
-Video package for Cena/Edge. It nicely includes highlights from their rivalry dating back to 2006.
Last Man Standing match for the World Heavyweight Championship:
John Cena © vs. Edge
They lock up and have a shoving contest. Edge blocks a bulldog and heads to ringside. They chase around and Cena leaps over a spear. Shoulder tackle by Edge. Cena reverses a whip and nails a fisherman suplex. Edge plants the back of Cena’s head. Series of clotheslines by Edge. Cena fights back but runs into a big kick. A slug fest erupts but Edge nails a flap jack. Sleeper by Edge but Cena drives him into the corner. Edge reapplies the sleeper. Cena rebounds with some shoulder tackles and a slam. Edge kicks Cena in the head during “You can’t see me” and applies a sharpshooter. Edge drives Cena off the apron and into the announce table. Cena side steps, causing a rampaging Edge to crash into the ring steps. Edge whips Cena into the opposite steps. Cena responds with yet another whip into the steps. Cena struggles to throw the steps into the ring (which the crowd finds rather funny) but gets them in. Edge takes the steps and rams them into Cena, leaving them on him in the corner. Edge drop-kicks the steps into Cena! Cena back drops Edge to the floor. Cena lifts up the steps and throws them over the ropes onto Edge! DAMN! Edge makes it up by the 8 count. Back to the ring, they trade blows and knock each other down. After a series of reversals, Edge nails a back suplex. Edge goes to mock Cena but gets caught in the STF. Edge blocks the Attitude Adjustment and nails the spear. Edge climbs the ropes but Cena nails the Attitude Adjustment off the top! Edge makes it up at the 9 count. Cena attempts the top rope leg drop but Edge counters with a spear. Cena is up at 7 but falls to ringside. Edge looks to put Cena through the announce table, but Cena hits the Attitude Adjustment on Edge… into the crowd! HOLY SHIT! I think we can assume all those fans are members of the FCW roster, but still a killer spot. Somehow, Edge is still up. Cena chases Edge up the stairs into the lobby. They brawl back into the arena, with Cena hitting a bulldog onto some equipment. Edge fights Cena off and they head onto the stage to continue brawling. DDT on the stage by Edge! Edge grabs a chair from backstage and nails Cena’s back. Edge uses the chair to drive Cena’s head against the floor. Cena is up and goes for the Attitude Adjustment when the Big Show appears out of no where! Big Show throws Cena into a spot light! Cena has been killed and fails to meet the 10 count, giving Edge the win and his NINTH world title at 28:21. This was a hell of a main event, lots of great brawling and exciting high spots, complete with a unique finish, ****½.
Winner and new World Heavyweight Champion: Edge
-Edge celebrates with his belt as a group of wrestlers come out to help Cena out to check on Cena has he’s helped out of the spot light.
Final Thoughts: So, what did I think of this show? Well, the worst match of the night was just ¼* shy of being a *** match, so what does that tell you? What a terrific Backlash. I can really tell the WWE is getting serious about their pay-per-views again, and while some may complain that the World titles are changing hands too often, it’s really making it so that these shows are a little more must-see because it’s harder to predict the outcomes. This was an all around big step up from Wrestlemania and I would just rank it ahead of No Way Out as WWE pay-per-view of the year. No Way Out had a slightly better main event, but this card was all around more solid.
Big thumbs up.