WWE Backlash - April 27, 2008
-The Age of Orton faces a tough challenge in the forms of JBL, Triple H, and John Cena. Can Randy Orton hang on to his championship against three former champions?
-They are airing live from Baltimore, Maryland. Our hosts for the evening are Jerry Lawler and Jim Ross for Raw, Mike Adamle and The Tazz for ECW, and Michael Cole and Mick Foley for Smackdown!
United States Championship:
Montel Vontavious Porter © vs. Matt Hardy
MVP has held on to the U.S. title for eleven months, winning the title in a 2/3 falls match last year at Judgment Day against Chris Benoit. Hardy has been chasing MVP for the belt for over five months, with injuries and other circumstances getting in the way. MVP targets the previously injured knee of Matt Hardy in the early going, but Hardy dodges. Some ground and pound work by MVP until Hardy fires away. MVP flees to ringside to regroup, but Hardy directs him back to the ring. Hip toss by Hardy gets him a cover attempt. Elbow drop by Hardy for another cover. Side headlock takedown by Hardy. Elbow off the turnbuckles by Hardy gets yet another cover. Even Michael Cole admits that these covers are not designed to end the match, but wear down MVP. MVP rebounds with a suplex and plants Hardy on the top rope. MVP climbs, but Hardy knocks him off, but MVP blocks a moonsault! Snapmare by MVP and a knee drop for a cover. MVP stretches Hardyís midsection. Knees to the gut by MVP, using the ropes for leverage. Hardy counters and gets a cover. Belly to belly suplex by MVP for a near fall, followed by a series of elbow drops (for yet another cover). MVP drops Hardy with a back press slam. Hardy hitís a desperate clothesline, and both men are down. Corner clothesline and bull dog by Hardy gets a 2 count. MVP blocks a side effect and hangs him up on the ropes. Hardy blocks the playmaker and hitís the side effect for a close 2 count. Hardy goes high risk, but MVP drop-kicks him. MVP climbs up, and gets a side effect off the top for good measure! Hardy is slow to gain the cover, so MVP kicks out. MVP blocks the twist of fate with a backslide, Hardy kicks out and goes for a school boy. MVP blocks the twist of fate again and punishes Hardy in the corner. MVP kicks Hardy in the head, sending him to ringside. Hardy is almost counted out, rolls back to the ring, only for another kick to the skull. MVP sizes Hardy up for the win, charges and misses a kick in the corner. Hardy hitís the twist of fate and gets the pin fall victory at 11:29! MVPís 11 month reign is over! The match was solid, but not as lively as some of their previous outings, **Ĺ.
Winner and new United States Champion: Matt Hardy
-Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler put over Hardyís U.S. title win. They pimp a mobile phone poll on who the winner of tonightís fatal four-way will be.
-Some random diva I donít recognize interviews Matt Hardy. Oh, itís Eve (thanks to Matt for addressing her by name). Hardy lists off all his previous title victories and how they were all complete crap in comparison to this U.S. title win. All kidding aside, this is a nice moment. Matt caps it off by declaring his superiority over MVP.
Kane © vs. Chavo Guerrero (with Bam Neely)
The most entertaining aspect of this match is bound to be Mike Adamle on commentary. Chavo goes for the knee, but Kane just tosses him around. Snap mare and a drop-kick to the head by Kane. Chavo gets some wild shots in, but Kane just hangs him up over his head. Press slam by Kane. Chavo runs away and gets the upper hand briefly with a drop kick. Kane charges him into the apron, his title doesnít appear to be in any jeopardy. Kane goes high risk, but Chavo pushes Kane off to the floor. Gee, would have it been too difficult to just let them have this exact match at Wrestlemania in place of that 10 second abortion? Not saying this match has been too spiffy, but at least Chavo isnít being booked as a joke. Chavo continues his vicious streak, leaping over the ropes to slam Kaneís head into the apron. Chavo ties Kaneís legs up around the turnbuckles. With Kane weakened, Chavo manages to land several kicks to the supposedly injured knee. Leg lock by Chavo, who unfortunately also has to deal with the uninjured arms of Kane. Chavo climbs the turnbuckles to punch Kane and gets caught on his shoulders. Kane drops Chavo onto the mat hard with an electric chair! Mike Adamleís back felt that one. Chavo takes too much time and gets caught in a choke slam predicament. Chavo breaks free, but gets dropped with a big boot. Kane hitís the side slam for a cover for 2. Back drop by Kane, who then goes high risk. Flying clothesline by Kane connects. Chavo drops Kane neck-first on the ropes, goes for the flying cross body, but gets caught. Chavo counters with a DDT and picks up a close near fall. Chavo counters a suplex and jumps Kaneís knee from behind. Chavo goes high risk, but Kane grabs him by the throat and climbs up. Chavo luckily blocks the choke slam and hitís the frog splash! Kane no-sells the frog splash and choke slams Chavo for the victory at 8:50! What a load of help Bam Neely was, eh? Very decent match, it would have fit in well at Wrestlemania. **ľ.
Winner and still ECW Champion: Kane
-Todd Grisham is standing by with WWE Champion Randy Orton. Orton puts over the Age of Orton and promises to retain the title in the main event.
The Great Khali vs. Big Show
Epic stare down to open the match. Khali has every right to be upset with Big Show, he offered him a goat and that still didnít settle their issues. Show gets into Khaliís face and they talk some smack in gibberish. Weak shoving contest erupts, and Khali starts firing away. Big Show ducks a strike and hits some shots of his own. They trade head butts and then chops. Short clothesline by Khali drops the Big Show. ďYou canít wrestleĒ chant breaks out in the crowd. Khali corners Big Show with the usual offense. Khali blocks a body slam and clotheslines Big Show to the floor. Khali maintains control while the crowd threatens to turn on this. Khali applies a crossface of all moves. Big Show almost escapes but Khali falls on top of him for a cover. Neck vice by Khali doesnít help things. Show fights out but runs into a chop to the head. Cover by Khali only gets 2. A full blown ďboringĒ chant breaks out as Khali works a surfboard stretch. Big Show backs Khali into the corner to escape. Bodyslam by Big Show wakes up the fans. Cover by Big Show only gets 2.5. Khali attempts his double choke slam, but itís blocked. Chokeslam by Big Show ends the suckfest at 8:05. Note to Khali, if Big Show can get a more entertaining match out of Floyd Mayweather than he can with you, you are doing something very wrong. ľ*.
Winner: The Big Show
-Randy Orton interrupts John Cena and Jimmy Wang Yangís lively conversation about country music. Orton shoos Yang away and promises disappointment for Cena tonight. Cena doesnít care, as long as Orton leaves a broken man. In other words, heís preparing the crowd to not be disappointed if Triple H wins instead of himself.
Shawn Michaels vs. Batista
Special Referee: Chris Jericho
Itís been a good long while since these two tied up, so this should be an interesting bout. Batista gets the early upper hand, but Michaels fires back. Batista shoves HBK off, sending him to ringside to reconsider his plan of attack. The match restarts with HBK kicking at Batistaís legs. Batista corners HBK and has to be peeled off by Jericho. Hard Irish whip by Batista and a clothesline to the corner. Michaels rebounds and shoulder blocks the back of Batistaís knee. Michaels hitís a DDT and stretches Batistaís arm with his legs. Itís hard to tell where theyíre going with this match. Batista fights to his feet and tries to roll HBK onto his back before succumbing to the hold again. Batista rebounds and hoists HBK into the air, causing both men to spill over to the floor. HBK is up first and rams Batistaís weak arm into the ring post. Meanwhile, Chris Jericho is being so impartial as referee that I keep forgetting itís him. HBK stretches Batistaís arm and rolls into a pinning predicament. HBK continues the nasty arm work (including a neat spot where HBK hangs onto Batistaís arm over the ropes). Batista fires away with his good arm after a lengthy heat segment. Shoulder blocks in the corner by Batista and a one armed power slam. Considering that Batista has been the antagonist in this feud, Iím surprised that heís been booked in the baby face role in this match. HBK locks on the crossface (sheesh, everyone is using that move now) and a submission here would be believable. Michaels prevents a rope break, gains a near fall, and goes back to the crossface. Batista finally gains a rope break, but Jericho has to shove HBK off to break the hold. Michaels tries to work the arm again, but Batista hitís a side slam for a cover for 2. HBK dodges a clothesline and hitís a forearm shot. Batista surprises with a spear and gets a near fall. Batista plants Michaels on the top and attempts a superplex, but gets shoved off. Flying elbow drop by HBK, who then signals the Sweet Chin Music. Instead, Batista catches Michaels with a spine buster and signals the Batista Bomb. Michaels blocks the bomb and suddenly grabs his knee in agony. Jericho checks on HBK and prevents Batista from dishing out some more punishment. Hey, Michaels was playing possum! HBK hitís the Sweet Chin Music and pins Batista at 15:00! Looks like we have a new dirtiest player in the game. The match told a good story once things got rolling, **ĺ.
Winner: Shawn Michaels
-Randy Orton ruins Triple Hís meditation session. Ortonís pissing everyone off this weekend, from Jimmy Wang Yang to hotel employees.
Beth Phoenix, Victoria, Natalya Neidhart, Jillian Hall, and Melina vs. Mickie James, Kelly Kelly, Cherry, Ashley Massaro, Maria, and Michelle McCool
Beth kicks off the match with Michelle McCool. They have heat from the last episode of Raw, when Michelle slapped Beth across the face. Beth dominates Michelle in the early going, hitting a hard Irish whip. Michelle doges a charging Beth and lands some kicks. Body slam by Beth, who then shoves Michelleís head to the mat. Melina tags and continues to dish out punishment on poor Michelle. Michelle rolls through a sunset flip and kicks Melina in the face. Mickie James tags in and stomps away on Melina. Melina clubs back with an elbow shot, but gets taken to the mat with a head scissors takedown. Natalya Neidhart tags and slugs it out with Mickie. Neckbreaker by Mickie gets a cover for 1. Natalya knocks Cherry off the apron and makes a tag to Victoria. Bodyslam by Victoria, but she misses the standing moonsault. Mickie takes down Victoria, as Cherry attacks Natalya on the apron. An epic diva brawl erupts at ringside. Ashley and Jillian tag into the match. Beth gets a cheap kick in on Ashley, which allows Jillian to direct her into hostile territory. Beth tags and snapmares Ashley into a rest hold. Double arm chicken wing by Beth, but Ashley escapes and kicks Beth away. Mickie runs in to make the save with a tornado DDT. Victoria hitís the widowís peak on Mickie! Michelle runs in and kicks Victoria down. Melina drops Michelle, Kelly Kelly removes Melina, Jillian plants Kelly, and Natalya and Maria get involved. It boils down to Ashley and Beth again. Beth drops Ashley with the fisherwoman suplex and gains the win at 6:30. This was lively and the women worked hard, no complaints here, *Ĺ.
Winners: Beth Phoenix, Victoria, Natalya Neidhart, Jillian Hall, and Melina
World Heavyweight Championship:
The Undertaker © vs. Edge
Taker mouths ďIím going to hurt youĒ towards Edge. Edge uses his speed to avoid getting caught by Undertaker early on. It doesnít last long as Taker tosses Edge to the floor. Taker takes control of the match, causing Edge to utilize a bit more caution. Taker punches and stomps, but Edge lands a clothesline. Taker corners Edge and unleashes a furious flurry of strikes. Taker drives Edge into the corner again and hits some more methodical shots. Edge clotheslines Taker to the floor and hitís a baseball slide. Taker catches Edge off the apron and drives him back first into the ring post. Hard Irish whip into the barricade by Undertaker. Taker drops Edge chest-first onto the apron. The slow action returns to the ring, where Taker continues his methodical assault. This slow start will be okay if it builds to a hot finish. Edge fires back with repeated shots to the back of Undertakerís head. Edge hitís a spear variation to thrust Undertaker into the corner, and gets a cover for 2. Edge applies a leg scissors and Undertaker appears to be in trouble. Taker twists himself around enough to lay some shots on Edge and breaks the hold. Edge ducks a clothesline and drop-kicks the back of the Dead Man. Edge baseball slides Undertaker off the apron. Back to the ring, Edge applies a camel clutch. Taker powers to his feet, but Edge transitions back into the body scissors. Taker breaks it, so Edge goes back to a modified camel clutch. Taker powers to his feet and drops Edge back-first to the mat. They bounce off the rope and collide, and both men go down. Both men attempt big kicks and lay each other out. They get up and a slug fest erupts. Edge suffers snake eyes on the turnbuckles and gets dropped with a big boot for a near fall by Taker. Taker attempts ďold schoolĒ but Edge kicks himself to freedom. Superplex attempt by Edge is almost turned into a last ride from the top. Taker goes high risk and misses a big elbow drop/senton. Edge is slow to go for the cover and only gets 2. Edge grabs the World title, but ends up just dropping Taker neck-first on the ropes. Edge counters the choke slam and hitís a side Russian legsweep. Edge has been consistently attacking Takerís back for quite a while now. Edge goes high risk, but Taker catches him and throws him to the mat. Cover by Taker is foiled by a rope break from Edge. Edge blocks the tombstone and drives Taker into the corner. Taker rebounds with a clothesline. Kurt Hawkins runs in and slams Taker in the head with the World title. Edge gets the cover, but Taker somehow manages to kick out! Taker blocks the spear and hitís a DDT. Cover by Taker gets 2.5. Taker goes for the choke slam, but Zach Ryder distracts. Edge counters the last ride into a sunset flip, but gets caught in the triangle choke! Edge has no choice but to tap out at 18:23! This was on par with their Wrestlemania match, ***ĺ.
Winner and still World Heavyweight Champion: The Undertaker
-Vickie Guerrero comes out to check on her lover boy. They end up putting Edge on a stretcher as he bleeds from the mouth.
-Randy Orton is looking for JBL, but bumps into none other than Mr. Money in the Bank, CM Punk. Punk wishes Orton luck in his match. Foreshadowing? Perhaps!
Randy Orton © vs. JBL vs. John Cena vs. Triple H
This is a fatal four-way elimination match. Orton is immediately dumped to ringside. JBL jumps Cena, which gives HHH an opening. Cena clotheslines Triple H, but soon gets Irish whipped into the corner. JBL attacks HHH, pummeling him into the corner. Meanwhile, Cena attacks Randy Orton at ringside, who had previously been waiting things out. Cena tries to reenter the match, but gets whipped off the apron by HHH and smashes into the announce table. Meanwhile, Orton and JBL double team Triple H with the ground and pound style of offense. Triple H rebounds with a double clothesline on the heels. JBL is dumped out, leaving Orton and Triple H to slug things out. Triple H side steps a charging Randy Orton, who collides with the ring post. The fight heads to ringside, where Triple H takes the time to send JBL crashing and burning into the steel steps. HHH attempts a pedigree on JBL on the steel, but JBL counters and drops an elbow. In the ring, Orton and Cena are slugging it out. Cena hitís the blockbuster and hitís the top rope leg drop. Cena locks Orton into the STFU! JBL almost makes the save, but decides to stand back and enjoy Ortonís suffering. Thatís awesome, I hate it when wrestlers make pinfall saves when it doesnít benefit them. Triple H jumps JBL and locks him into the crossface (making Triple H the third wrestler to use that hold tonight). Cena shoves Orton into Triple H and JBL, forcing the break of the crossface. Cena is dumped to ringside by Orton. Big boot and elbow drop on Orton by JBL, who then picks up a near fall. Hard Irish whip on Orton by JBL, but Orton gets a boot up and clotheslines the Wrestling God. Orton goes high risk, but JBL shakes the ropes and kicks him in the head. JBL attempts a superplex, but Triple H and Cena power bomb JBL off, which suplexes Orton in the process! Triple H and Cena make stereo cover attempts on JBL and Orton, but both kick out. Triple H and Cena slug it out, with Cena gaining the advantage (to boos). Suplex by Cena gets a cover for 2. Cena dominates Triple H with his trademark offense, but Triple H counters the five knuckle shuffle with a spine buster. Triple H attempts a pedigree, JBL distracts. Cena hitís a bizarre F-U on JBL and then body drops Triple H to the floor. Cena locks JBL into the STFU, who taps at 10:25. Orton immediately hits his douche bag kick to Cenaís face and pins him at 10:48. And just like that, weíre down to Orton and Triple H.
Triple H and Randy Orton have a main event stare down. They slug it out, with Triple H getting the upper hand. Suplex by Triple H and an elbow drop gets a cover for 2. Orton gets tossed over the ropes and hitís the floor hard. HHH uses the announce table as a weapon, but Orton whips him into the steel steps. Orton attempts a catapult, but HHH fights off. Orton tries again and catapults The Game chest-first into the barricade! Orton suplexes Triple H back into the ringside area, and breaks out his douche bag pose for the first time that I can remember in months. Orton directs the match back to the ring and he picks up a 2 count near fall. The match takes a methodical turn, as Orton grounds and pounds Triple H. Orton lands his inverted back breaker and finally goes for chinlock that heís so famous for. It takes Triple H a while to fight out, but once he does he ends up getting taken down by an Orton slam. Orton prepares himself for the RKO, but Triple H counters! It takes a while for both men to get up and they slug it out, this time Orton gains the upper hand. They run off the ropes and Triple H hitís a high knee shot. Facebuster by Triple H gets a cover for 2.5. Triple H tosses Orton to ringside and then tosses him over the announce table. After taking some abuse, Orton pushes HHH into the barricade. Orton sets up the steel steps and attempts a pile driver. HHH counters and drops Orton back-first onto the steps! The action returns to the ring, where Orton counters a pedigree attempt! Orton attempts the RKO and accidentally takes out the referee. Orton tries again and hitís the RKO on HHH. Orton is slow to make the cover and only gets a 2.5. Orton isnít sure what else he can possibly do and stands around looking dorky. Triple H dodges the douche bag kick, Orton counters the pedigree, Triple H counters the RKO and finally hitís the pedigree! Thatís enough for the win, as Triple H claims his 12th world title at 28:15. While I canít say the idea of another Triple H world title run thrills me, this was a very good match. At times this walked the fine line between dragging and building to the finish, but it worked. ***Ĺ.
Winner and new WWE Champion: Triple H
Final Thoughts: This was a decent show. Nothing sucked and both main events delivered. It was also a fairly significant show in that two long-term champions were dethroned. I wouldnít question the logic in putting the WWE title back on Triple H, I canít say Iím excited about the idea. At least it opens up some new storyline opportunities on Raw.
Mild thumbs up for Backlash.