April 30, 2000
by Samoa Rowe
-Follow me on Twitter: @SamoaRowe
-From Washington D.C. Our hosts are Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler.
-Debra makes her first appearance in months to serve as ring announcer for the opening contest. Jerry Lawler can barely contain his glee.
WWF Tag Team Championship:
Even in 2000, Road Dogg was doing his fan-friendly promo routine despite being a heel. Speaking of dispositions, this is a heel vs. heel match up as Edge and Christian had been acting gradually more obnoxious since winning the Tag Team titles at Wrestlemania. Edge gets the better of X-Pac in the early going. Road Dogg doesn't fare much better, suffering a Christian cross-body off the back of Edge. Road Dogg thumbs the eyes of Christian to isolate him in DX territory. The DX beat down includes X-Pac's Bronco Buster, Road Dogg's dancing jabs, and some cheap shots from Tori. Edge interferes with an uncharacteristic diving head butt on Road Dogg. Christian reverses with a double DDT and makes the hot tag. The match quickly breaks down and X-Pac accidentally clocks Tori in the face among the chaos. With the referee distracted, Christian clocks X-Pac with the ring bell to allow the Edge pinfall at 9:21. The crowd loved that finish. Good opener, **½.
Edge and Christian © vs. D-Generation X (Road Dogg and X-Pac, with Tori)
Winners and still WWF Tag Team Champions: Edge and Christian
-The Rock arrives, as if this crowd wasn't excited enough.
WWF Light Heavyweight Championship:
The usually jovial Scotty is all business, tearing into Malenko at the opening bell. Scotty counters a Tiger Driver with an arm drag and nails a suplex. Scotty moonwalks but manages to foil a Malenko ambush. Dean stops Scotty dead in his tracks with a clothesline to the face. Malenko takes control, targeting a variety of body parts with snug offense. Dean settles into working over Scotty's knee, ramming it into the ring post and applying submission holds. Scotty desperately hits an enziguri, prompting Malenko to target the healthy leg. Malenko cuts off Scotty's comeback attempts and nails a superplex. Scotty bulldogs Dean into position for THE WORM! Dean angrily comes back with the double underhook power bomb. Malenko hangs Scotty on the ropes but gets caught on the top turnbuckles. Dean counters with a top rope DDT for the win at 12:53! This was lots of fun, and one of the few times Malenko really got to shine in the WWF, ***.:
Dean Malenko © vs. Scotty 2 Hotty
Winner and still WWF Light Heavyweight Champion: Dean Malenko
-The McMahon-Helmsley Regime is hanging out in their private room. Vince McMahon has given Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco their marching orders, warning them that tonight it's “All hands on deck.”
Big Bossman and Bull Buchanan vs. The APA (Bradshaw and Faarooq)
Bossman and Buchanan meet the APA at ringside for a brawl. Bradshaw directs Buchanan into the ring for a flying shoulder block for a near fall. Buchanan shows off his surprising athleticism, bouncing off the turnbuckles for a clothesline on Faarooq. Bossman tags and gets immediately overwhelmed. Bossman sidesteps Faarooq and nails a clothesline to shift the momentum in his favor. Faarooq gets isolated with mostly punching and kicking offense. Faarooq catches Buchanan with his patented spinebuster and Bradshaw gets the hot tag. Buchanan counters with a superplex on Bradshaw for a 2 count. Bradshaw delivers the Clothesline from Hell, but Bossman breaks the cover. Bossman clocks Bradshaw with his nightstick, allowing Buchanan's flying scissors kick to end it at 7:38. This was pretty dull, but Buchanan had some fun tricks, *¾.:
Winners: Big Bossman and Bull Buchanan
-Jeff and Matt Hardy agree to not let their relationship get in the way of either of them winning the Hardcore title. Meanwhile, Hardcore Holly intimidates his cousin, :
, that it's every man for himself. Crash offers a friendly handshake, but Hardcore just slaps him across the face. Good character development all around here.
WWF Hardcore Championship:
Crash tries to flee the ring but Saturn drags him back. It's mass chaos in the ring with all six men brawling. Crash once again tries sneaking away, prompting the brawl to head to the entrance aisle. Matt and Crash climb up the meat hook shaped scaffolding. Crash gets stuck hanging by his leg and gets pulled back down by Saturn, setting up a dangerous dive from Matt! Saturn slams Crash through another part of the structure! Back to the ring, the shopping cart full of weapons sitting at ringside comes into play. Crash is everyone's favorite target and barely hangs in there against his more aggressive opponents. The match begins to feel endless with nonstop weapon shots and broken pinfalls. There's a thin ongoing storyline that Tazz and Saturn hate each other, also the Hardy Boyz avoid coming to blows with each other. The Hardyz bring a ladder in and clean house. Jeff nails Hardcore Holly with a Swanton Bomb off the ladder. The Hardyz finally square off, but Tazz breaks it up. Saturn saves Crash from the Tazzmission with a stop sign. The Hardyz eliminate Saturn and Tazz with dives to the floor. Crash pins Tazz at 12:20 to survive another night. This had some tremendously fun moments, but could have stood to lose 5 minutes from the middle, **½.:
Crash Holly © vs. Tazz vs. Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Hardcore Holly vs. Perry Saturn
Winner and still Hardcore Champion: Crash Holly
-Jonathan Coachman interviews Shane McMahon about the conflict of interest of him being guest referee in his brother-in-law's match. Shane feels he's the only man capable of calling it down the middle. Sure.
-Kurt Angle cuts a long-winded promo on his way to the ring. He's caught off guard by Big Show coming out to “Real American” and dressed up as Hulk Hogan.
Kurt Angle vs. Big Show
Angle jumps “The Showster” from behind but quickly gets overwhelmed with punches and a Hogan big boot. Show delivers the Hogan leg drop for a near fall. Angle shoulder blocks the back of the knee and goes to work on the leg. Show angrily rips off his Hogan wig and aggressively bats Angle around the ring. Show delivers the choke slam from Hell for the win at 2:36. Not a productive night for Angle, but a fun squash nonetheless, *.:
Winner: Big Show
-Michael Cole asks Trish Stratus for her thoughts on Bubba Ray Dudley. Trish admires Bubba for keeping all his rage and desires pent up.
-D-Von tries to talk some sense into Bubba Ray, who has let Trish Stratus get completely into his head.
The Dudley Boyz (Bubba Ray and D-Von) vs. T&A (Test and Albert, with Trish Stratus)
The story here is Bubba likes to put women through tables and Trish has been playing with fire by producing seductive videos of herself on tables. The match begins with a brawl, but Bubba wants a piece of Trish. Test saves Trish with a clothesline on Bubba, while Albert and D-Von square off. Bubba has one eye on Trish as he tags in to face Albert (he finds time to call Trish a “bitch” which I certainly do not approve of). T&A manage to isolate D-Von with quick tags and power moves. D-Von is isolated for an eternity before hitting a superplex on Albert and making the hot tag. The Dudleyz hit Test with a double team neck breaker (not the “3D” like J.R. thinks) for a near fall. Test misses a flying elbow drop, which would have allowed a 3D but Trish distracts Bubba with some sexy moves on the apron. Test finishes Bubba with the big boot at 11:05. This was a boring match with an edgy story, **.:
-The Dudley Boyz are sore losers and attack Trish, who tries to save herself by making out with Bubba. Trish becomes the latest woman to suffer a power bomb through a table. The crowd LOVES this.
-Video recap of Chyna deciding she was into Eddie Guerrero after beating him up at Wrestlemania. They're now a gushing, happy couple. Meanwhile, Eddie and Essa Rios tried forming a tag team, but they imploded in record time.
This is kind of a heel vs. heel outing, as Eddie is still loosely affiliated with the Radicalz. Eddie gets a hot start after attacking Rios from behind. Rios rebounds with some arm drags but misses a dive to ringside. Eddie slams Rios into position for the slingshot senton. Missile drop-kick by Rios sets up a chinlock, but Eddie counters with a jawbreaker. They run the ropes until Rios scores a monkey flip. Chyna repeatedly takes opportunistic cheap shots at Rios, helping her boyfriend hit a plancha. Lita climbs the turnbuckles but Chyna pushes her off toward the announce table. Rios delivers an Asai moonsault and lands on the table. Rios scores again with a running seated senton to the floor. Chyna trips Essa on the ropes, allowing a Guerrero superplex. Brainbuster by Guerrero but Rios counters with a top rope arm drag. Eddie counters a moonsault and delivers an airplane spin neck breaker for the win at 8:42. They had to pull out some cool tricks to keep the crowd into it, **½.:
Eddie Guerrero © (with Chyna) vs. Essa Rios (with Lita)
Winner and still European Champion: Eddie Guerrero
-Rios is a sore loser and drop-kicks both Guerrero and Chyna to the mat. Lita rips off Chyna's dress and retreats. Chyna would be humiliated to be standing there in her underwear, but Eddie is checking her out so she just goes with it.
-Jonathan Coachman interviews Triple H and Stephanie in their private room. Triple H says his whole “Game” moniker is not a gimmick, he's the best so he will beat The Rock. Vince McMahon adds that Stone Cold hasn't shown up to the arena and might not make it due to traffic.
-Michael Cole interviews Chris Benoit about his match with Chris Jericho. Benoit reminds us that he's the Intercontinental Champion so Jericho's name-calling doesn't mean much. Benoit is looking forward to taking out all his frustrations on Y2J in front of all the Jerichoholics.
-Chris Jericho cuts a short promo in the ring. He makes fun of Benoit some more, comparing him to the politicians of DC. He's going to veto the title reign of Senator Roboto.
I used to point to this match as when I started to appreciate work-rate, so I'm hoping it holds up. They lock up and tumble to ringside, where they exchange slaps. The match restarts in the ring with rapid fire counters. They trade chops until Benoit rakes the eyes. Benoit connects with rolling Germans and drops Jericho to ringside for a MISSED suicide dive! Jericho has plans for the ring steps, but Benoit drop-kicks them into his legs. Back to the ring, Benoit goes to work on the midsection. Benoit was in his absolute prime here and everything he does looks great. Jericho desperately retaliates with a Lionsault but is slow to cover. Benoit rakes the eyes and throws more chops, but Jericho hits a bulldog for 2. Jericho attempts a belly to back superplex, but Benoit counters in mid-air! Jericho shakes it off for his patented double power bomb, but Benoit kicks out and rolls into the Crossface! Y2J gets the ropes and counters into the Walls! Jericho accidentally wipes the referee out, allowing Benoit to clock him with the IC title. The ref is back but doesn't notice Benoit suplexing Jericho onto the gold. Benoit goes for the flying head butt but Jericho moves out of the way, causing Benoit to hit the title belt! The referee disqualifies Jericho at 15:00. This match was a WAR and that DQ finish did not take anything away, ****¼.:
Chris Benoit © vs. Chris Jericho
Winner via DQ and still Intercontinental Champion: Chris Benoit
-The Attittude Era is all SHADES OF GRAY so baby face Chris Jericho puts referee Tim White into the Walls of Jericho.
-Michael Cole interviews The Rock backstage about the M.I.A. Stone Cold. Rock makes it clear that he's not counting on Austin being there and will become WWF Champion one way or another.
-Triple H and the McMahons come to the ring for the main event. Vince takes an opportunity to point out that the event's program states "Card subject to change" so he has to inform us that Steve Austin will not be in attendance.
Special Referee: Shane McMahon:
Triple H © (with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley and Vince McMahon) vs. The Rock
Stone Cold Steve Austin is supposed to be in Rock's corner, but so far he's a no-show. The crowd chants “We want Stone Cold” but luckily they still pop big for HHH and Rock trading punches. Rock counters the Pedigree and stomps The Game into the corner, but Shane separates them. HHH capitalizes with a neck breaker, but Rock answers with a back suplex. HHH tosses Rock to the floor and bats him around. Vince tosses Rock into the ring post while Shane intentionally looks the other way. A high knee by Triple H gets a series of fast 2 counts by Shane. HHH wears Rock down with a sleeper but can't put him away. HHH gets overconfident with corner punches and Rock drops him on the turnbuckle. They both go down after a double clothesline spot. Rock gets up but Vince knocks him back down with the WWF title. Rock survives another fast 2 count and makes a comeback. Facebuster by HHH, but Rock retaliates with a DDT, but Shane won't count the pinfall! HHH looks for a Pedigree on the announce table, but Rock nails a low blow and a double Rock Bottom, putting HHH and Shane through the table! Rock drags HHH to the ring, but Vince attacks from behind. Rock attacks Vince, allowing a low blow and Pedigree from HHH! Vince summons Patterson and Brisco (both dressed as referees) but they're too late and Rock kicks out! The match turns into a mugging, with Patterson and Brisco holding Rock still for Triple H to punch him. Triple H holds Rock in place for a while chair shot from Vince. Finally, Austin's music hits, and the building EXPLODES. Austin marches into the ring and takes everyone down with chair shots! Linda McMahon brings the recently fired Earl Hebner to the ring! Stephanie gets in Linda's face and gets shoved down as a result. The Rock catches Triple H with the Spinebuster and Peoples' Elbow for the win at 19:19! HUGE pop for that finish. This was one of the best booked main events I've ever seen in terms of an emotional rollercoaster ride, ****½.:
Winner and new WWF Champion: The Rock
-The Rock is celebrating his title win when Austin returns to offer his approval and congratulations. Why, yes, they would go on to headline the following Wrestlemania together.
Final Thoughts: Backlash 2000 might be the greatest example of a pay-per-view being the climax of every television feud coming to a head at once. The back to back ****+ matches at the end of the show in addition to a solid undercard, make this an easy thumbs up. I would also like to point out that during this time in the WWF, every division was flourishing. Every championship that was defended on this show felt important and credible (even the Hardcore and Light Heavyweight titles) and almost every member of the active roster got showcased well on this card. I highly recommend Backlash 2000.
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