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OO PPV RECAP
WWE RAW presents Backlash 
May 1, 2005

by The Rick
Undisputed Lord and Master of OnlineOnslaught.com

 

It's all about the Game.... 
  
Those aren't just lyrics, they are a way of life for the WWE's Creative Team Unit. Because even though Batista scored a win over HHH tonight, CTU saw fit to ensure that the Story of the Night was Triple H and how Batista did NOT kick out of the Pedigree, and was only saved by a ref bump. The Fuck? You're telling me you wasted 3 weeks of my Mondays with an  

idiotically-conceived storyline predicated on the unbeatability of the Pedibree (this despite it having been beaten scores of times in the past), and when you finally get me sitting down for a PPV, you can't bother to GIVE ME THE FUCKING PAY-OFF OF BATISTA KICKING OUT OF THE PEDIGREE? It was the only fucking reason to TELL that story: to give us the closure. And to give it to us NOW, because lord knows this story is so unthrilling that I have no desire to wait 2 months to get it.

ARRRRGGGHGHHHH!

But besides that? Backlash was a largely excellent show. Both Shelton/Jericho and Edge/Benoit brushed up against "excellent," while Hogan/HBK had a very fun throw-back-style match. And even the tag title match got in on the action by being way more action-packed than anyone would have guessed. Pissiness over the ending aside, it was hard to muster up real complaints about the rest of the show.

Well, except for the part where WWE crammed not just the Useless Divas, but also Chris Masters, into one Segment of Suck. But hey: put 'em all in one place, instead of spreading them out over 2 segments, and that's probably more than we could have expected.

Anyhoo, here are the full results of tonight's just-completed Backlash pay-per-view (with some additional editorial commentary tacked on in the customary red italics):

  • On Heat: before I left my house, I did see Christian cut a promo promising a Special Appearance on the PPV... also, they hyped a Tomko/Val Venis match which I can only assume Tomko won. Whee.
     
  • Opening Theme/Pyro/Etc: and we are live in Manchester, New Hampshire. And much like Birmingham, England, is way more interesting than Birmingham, AL, I think we can all agree that Manchester, NH, is lacking when compared to its international counterpart. From what we gather during the opening bit, this is a two match show: Hogan/HBK's "dream team" match, and Batista/HHH 2.
     
  • Shelton Benjamin beat Chris Jericho to retain the InterContinental Title. From the get-go, it seemed like they laid the match out for Jericho to play the de facto heel. Somebody forgot to inform the live crowd, though, as they were SLIGHTLY more pro-Jericho than pro-Shelton from what I could make out on the ever-shitty Hooters sound system. After the requisite back-and-forthy opening segment, Jericho settled in on offense, playing all his old Heel Licks for us (including the cocky double-bicep/foot-on-the-chest near fall). Included in this was a sick-looking double-reversey deal where Shelton tried to sunset-flip/powerbomb Jericho from the apron to the floor, but Jericho reversed it into a rana (and in so doing, seemed to crush his own neck, but I guess he was OK). Shelton busted out of that beatdown with one of his 2 or 3 Holy Shit moments of the night, as he broad jumped from the mat to the top rope to hit Jericho with a superplex. Whoa. Awesome. But for Shelton's babyface flurry of extreme high energy, the crowd was actually chanting "Y2J," which I'm guessing is not what they were going for. But hey: I can't exactly argue with any crowd that's pulling for Chris Jericho, especially not on a night when he wound up having his best match in almost exactly a year. Jericho managed to short-circuit Shelton's babyface rally, and got a flurry of his own: but Shelton ended that with another sweet spot, as he hit picture perfect springboard bulldog out of nowhere. That led to a spot where Jericho and Shelton battled, and they triple-reversed into Shelton hitting the T-Bone after a failed top-rope attack. But Jericho got his feet in the ropes for a break. As Shelton tried to figure out something else he could try, Jericho slowly recovered, and when Shelton came back at him, Jericho reversed into the Walls of Jericho. But this time, it was Shelton's turn to get a rope break. Both men have no exhausted their finishers, and we're 15 minutes into a match that is *way* more awesome than even I had hoped for. The "avoiding the other guy's finishes" continues, as Jericho kicked out of Shelton's back-up move, the leg-whip thingy, and Shelton managed to get his knees up when Jericho tried the Lionsault.  Finally, the hit End Game, in which Jericho went for the Walls again, but Shelton reversed it into a pinning combo, but Jericho reversed it into HIS pinning combo, but Shelton reversed, but then Jericho reversed, and then Shelton reversed one more time and landed in that flip-over pinning combo dealy. Awesome closing spot. Shelton gets the pinfall on that exchange. After the match, Shelton takes his belt and leaves, while Jericho seethes and won't even talk to Todd Grisham for a post-match interview. Hmmmm.... [Just an awesome 16-18 minute way to kick off the show. Not only was Shelton once again at his "half-step faster than anybody else" best, but Jericho was as sharp as he's been in a while. You got the very real sense that these two had scouted and prepared for each other's moves the way every sequence had double-, triple-, or quadruple-reversals (instead of having that be a flaccid angle introduced by the announcers). Not even the fact that the crowd was pro-Jericho even though the match was laid out for them to be pro-Shelton mattered since, by the end, you got the impression they appreciated Benjamin, too. And again: if you think I'm gonna fault any crowd that likes Y2J, you're fricking insane.]
     
  • Backstage: Coach interviews Edge, who seemingly runs down his litany of complaints about Chris Benoit. Again: Hooters sound is a crap shoot when you sit up at the bar like we do. I'm sure it was good, though. The important thing I noticed (since I'm a guy who made a briefcase-specific prediction in the PPV preview): Edge called special attention to his Money in the Bank briefcase. Oh yeah, the Rick knows his stuff, kids....
     
  • Hurricane and Rosey survived a 5-team gauntlet match to win the World Tag Team Titles. The first two teams were Regal/Tajiri and the Heartthrobs. And out of the gate, Regal and Tajiri busted out some SWEET science: Regal was Mr. Chain Wrestling, and Tajiri brought the kicks. It seemed like fans might ALMOST be into this thing as a result. If the Heartthrobs got more than 20 seconds of offense in, I missed it (entirely possible, as I did make a piss break during this match). Tajiri pinned the brunette Heartthrob to end this segment. Next up was Simon Dean and Maven. If anything, it seemed like this was even shorter than the Heartthrobs segment, and Regal ended it decisively with his Naughty Knee, pinning Maven. And then entered La Resistance, who took advantage of the worn-down champions (after all of 5 grueling minutes of work!)... and Regal became a Face In Peril for the first time. But the hot tag eventually came to Tajiri, who hit a bunch of cool shit, but when attempted an Inverted Tarantula, got hangmanned, instead. Somehow, Regal got involved again, and was apparently the legal man (hey, don't look at me, I was attempted to carry on a conversation and provide Superior Commentary, as is my style when cocktailing), and in the chaos, he got rolled up from behind, and thanks to a handful of tights, Regal was pinned. And so the champs are eliminated. Hurricane and Rosey came out to complete the five-team cycle. They got off to a quick start, but formula dictated that Hurricane become a Face In Peril pretty quickly. So he did. And then he Hot Tagged Rosey, who came in and hit all his finest Fat Man Offense. In the Pier Four action, one of La Resistance powdered out, allowing Hurricane and Rosey to hit their Big Finish: Rosey stood on the second rope, and Hurricane stood on Rosey's shoulders (whoa!), and hit a Big Splash. That was enough to score the pinfall, and Hurricane and Rosey are your new tag champs. Huh. [Probably in the 12-15 minute range and way more fun than I'd have guessed. But the problem is that Regal and Tajiri were really the reason why this match clicked, and they were gone by the end. Or maybe that's just my own Regal/Tajiri fetish talking? Not sure what segueing the belts onto another babyface tag team accomplishes, actually... whatever job needs to be done, I'm sure Regal/Tajiri could have done it at least as well as Hurricane and Rosey. We'll see...]
     

  • Edge beat Chris Benoit in a Last Man Standing Match. Here's how good this one ended up: at the start, Matt Hardy was the most popular man in the match, but by the end, the fans were completely satisfied to chant their asses off for Chris Benoit. That's how you take care of bidness! This is a tough match for me to recap, because by the time it got over, it felt like it was only 5 minutes long, but a glance to the clock said it had been 20. So there's another indication of how good this was: time just flew by. Here's what I remember: Benoit jumpstarted the match and controlled early, even hitting a set of Germans. But Edge turned that around when he introduced a trashcan into the mix (that culminated in a superplex that landed Benoit on the trashcan, collapsing it). Edge also decimated Benoit's ribs with the trashcan lid. Edge decided to keep the UltraViolence rolling by getting a ladder. But the ladder was not to be his friend. In yet another Holy Shit spot, Benoit actually German Suplexed Edge off the top of the ladder. Neat. But Benoit foolishly decided to try to follow up with a Swandive Headbutt off the ladder. There was no water in the pool, and Benoit did more damage to his tender ribs. Edge went on the offensive, but could not keep Benoit down for the 10 count, so he went to his secret weapon: the Briefcase. But in so doing, he delayed long enough to allow Benoit to recover, and Benoit ducked the briefcase shot and locked Edge in a Crossface. Edge tapped out to the Crossface, but you can't win a Last Man Standing Match by submission. Eventually Benoit released the hold and tried to get the 10-count, but Edge struggled to his feet. Benoit hit more Germans. But on the attempted final German, Edge reversed into an Impaler DDT, with Benoit's head landing on the briefcase. Ouch. Still only a 7 count, though. So Edge hit a Spear. Still only an 8 count. So another Spear. Still only a 9 count. And now Edge is frustrated as hell. So he goes into his briefcase and pulls out a brick. And he whacks Benoit in the back of the head with it. This time, Benoit stays down for 10, and Edge celebrates like it's 1999. Edge leaves (packing up his briefcase before he goes), but the cameras linger on Benoit, who eventually struggles to his feet, gets a standing ovation, and leaves to his own music. Nice touch. [This one, like I said, was brushing up against 20 minutes according to the clock, but flew by more like it was 5. I think this accomplished exactly what it needed to, as it gave Edge a cheap win via a New Gimmick, and still left Benoit looking strong. That this was, excitement-wise, the equal of the opener was also very cool.]
     
  • Backstage: Kane and Lita went over preparations for their match. From the sound of things, Lita actually mentioned the "Kane lays down on purpose" idea that I mentioned in my preview, but like me, she also dismisses it. And then she and Kane made out to the general disgust of the audience.
     
  • That Which Sucks, That Which Used To Suck, and That Which Ever Will Suck: Jerry Lawler carts out the Useless Diva Brigade (which, for reasons unfathomable, also includes the usually-useful Victoria). This is all to hype the Diva Magazine. Except that: all the girls are fully fucking dressed! Arrrrggggghhh. If you're gonna waste my time, at least give me some thongage, dammit! Lawler goes through each girl, allowing them to say something stupid, I'm sure. And then before he could complete the segment, Chris Masters came out to interrupt. The useless divas scattered, Masters opened up his Full Nelson Challenge, ended up getting a pretty-built chick out of the audience, and she was, predictably, unable to escape. So this shit is sure to continue for yet another week. Yippee. [Hey, at least they crammed all the suck into one 15 minute segment. That was kind of considerate of them. Also: this Shitty Recap of a Segment Not Worthy of the Rick's A-Game has been brought to you by the Ghost of Wade Keller.]
     
  • Backstage: Viscera is waiting outside of Trish Stratus' dressing room. They have some banter, the gist of which (judging by the silly lingerie displayed by Vis) is probably quite suggestive. But Trish puts an end to that by getting down to Bidness: Vis had better take care of Kane tonight, or else there will be no sweet, sweet loving, so get your head cleared, Big Man, and focus. Cuz your match is up next. As Trish leads the way, Vis supplies her with a companionable pat on the rump. Trish knows what she's doing, though, and just kind of rolls her eyes and keeps walking....
     
  • Kane beat Viscera. I was trying real hard to get the level of the room, here, but the crowd sure as shit seemed close to dead silent. So not total anti-Lita mutiny, but also not fans willing to toe the WWE partyline. There was one "We Want Matt" chant early on, but that was about it. Kane controlled early, Viscera rallied (punctuating his offense with pelvic thrusting, which in turn motivated Trish to gesture in everybody's favorite fashion -- Broadly -- as if to say, "Um, dumbass? Kane."), and then when the match spilled outside, Kane regained the edge, while Lita got the better of Trish by whacking her with a crutch (yeah, that's real sportsmanlike!). So Kane dragged Viscera back into the ring, and maybe there was one other bit of back-and-forthy, but it all ended up with Kane hitting an Alleged Chokeslam (creative camerawork kept us from seeing the elevation, or lack thereof) to get the pinfall win. [4-5 minutes of not-quite-crap. I think there would have been a billion better ways to book this so that you could get the fans into it by the ending. But Kane going over so easily is just kind of boring and predictable, and doesn't advance any elements of the story that fans have responded to in the last few weeks.]
     
  • After the Match: Kane and Lita left, and Trish grabbed a mic. She berated Viscera, mocking his futile effort. And then, just because we want to undo all the good that had been done in terms of keeping Trish as a realistically strong character (instead of as a caricature of bitchiness), she reveals that even if Viscera would have Taking Care of Bidness, she still wouldn't have slept with him. Hey, I'm not saying I don't agree with the sentiment, but if we accept my notion that Trish is Very Smart and Cool, then she'd know not to bother MENTIONING this little secret to Vis at this point. Nothing is gain: she ALREADY doesn't have to sleep with him. I guess maybe this is WWE's play to just make sure that fans NOT like The Rick can boo Trish because she's reverted to one-dimensional evil? Of course, Vis doesn't care for the revelation that he never had a chance with Trish, so he beats her up. Yes, that makes sense, too: he wants to bone her, but now he can't, so he beats her up. Bleh. It all builds up to Viscera hitting a Big Fat Ass Splash on Trish, and yes, I am told I cringed visibly. Damn Trish Sympathy Gene. Trish did an entire Stretcher Job and everything, so this is your explanation for why she won't be wrestling actively while she nurses a real-life back injury.... you know what? I can't imagine a more lazy or cookie-cutter way to get to this point. The specific booking I laid out in the preview would have been TONS more interesting, and left you with tons more interesting things in the near term than this Russorific display of one-dimensionality.
     
  • Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels beat Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari. On this one, I don't even need to Recap. During the video pacakge, I laid out how the match would go to my friends just because as a Student of the Game, I roll like that... and the end result? With one minor exception, it was dead on perfect. So I practially PREcapped this one. Hogan starts, does all his power spots, dominating the heels. Michaels comes in, and controls some more. Hogan tags back in, and gets in trouble. He mini-Hulks-Up with a double clothesline and tags Michaels back in. And then Michaels proceeds to do all the work for the next 8 minutes or so. After an offensive flurry (in which he suspiciously exhausted his Flying Burrito/Nip-Up/Macho-Man-Elbow sequence), Michaels got caught in the wrong part of town and became your Face In Peril. This was done well, but also done By The Book. Finally: Hot Tag to Hogan, while Hassan had to tag in Daivari. Hogan cleans house, and is about to hit the Leg Drop o' Doom on Daivair when Hassan hits him from behind with a lead pipe. Daivari has about 3.7 nanoseconds of offense before Hogan Hulks Up on him. Again, this seems to be leading to a Leg Drop o' Doom, but again Hassan interrupts. So while Hogan takes out Hassan for good, Michaels sneaks back in and hits Daivari with the Sweet Chin Music. Hogan, in the only surprise of the match, does NOT hit the Legdrop, and just covers Daivari for the win.  And the posedown beginulates; and for some reason includes some dude called into the ring out of the crowd who has a massive Hogan tattooed on his back, but who also had no excuse for ever appearing shirtless in public; and fuck my luck, I'd arranged to have my food arrive at 10pm sharp, just in time to lose my appetite looking at that dude jiggle around the ring. [Probably close to 15 minutes, and thanks to Michaels carrying the load in the middle of the match, it never dragged. And of course, when Hogan provided the bookends, it was VERY cool. He wasn't asked to do too much, and what he did do, he did about as well as he ever did. I'm not asking you to put this on your Year End Best lists, but I'm saying if you didn't have fun with it, you're probably beyond help, you jackoff!]
     
  • EC-DUB, EC-DUB: A promo for the ECW One Night Only PPV ran. If I hadn't been busy talking, I'd have kept track of who was featured in all the old school footage and who wasn't, so I could make a smart-ass comment about the likely line-up for the reunion show. But instead: all I really noticed is that they seemed to capture the spirit and lo-fi production values of a real ECW PPV, which was kinda neat.
     
  • Backstage: Todd Grisham interviewed HHH. Even without the sound being crystal clear, I managed to get bored by this. Blah blah blah Pedigree blah blah The Truth blah blah blah blah blah. OK, we get it: Batista is going to kick out of the Pedigree to beat you, and you won't be happy about it, Trips. Please, stop sledgehammering it home.
     
  • Hot Lottery Action: Christian comes out to address his Peeps, but isn't met with quite the same overwhelming reaction he's had the past couple weeks. But he also does a sweet job of goosing the fans when necessary to get them to give him some sugar. Basically, his big appearance amounts to re-affirming his belief in his Main Event Status. And to convince the fans, he has a little rap about some other Main Event Superstars. He has one verse about Batista (and how he's not very charismatic), another about HHH (and how he and Flair combine for the single biggest nose in the entire multiverse), and one about JBL (who is simply boring as far as Captain Charisma can tell). Who's he leaving out? Oh yeah: John Cena, who gets special treatment in the form of visual aids. Because Cena talks like Snoop Dogg, but he looks like Corey Haim. HA~! Nice pop for XTian's punchline. Anybody else instantly punch Christian's ticket for SummerSlam, where he'll be facing John Cena for the WWE Title? Cuz now that's kinda what I'm feeling. [And as a sidebar, I on-the-fly fantasy booked that Kurt Angle should come over from SD! to even the sides, since then he can resume his issue with HBK.]
     
  • Batista beat Triple H to retain the World Heavyweight Title. Oy, as if the bludgeoning anviliciousness of the past 3 weeks wasn't enough, we drive the psychology of the match home yet AGAIN here, right out of the gate. Triple H, in the first 90 seconds, attempted no fewer that THREE Pedigrees. Christ, jerkos, I COMPLETELY UNDERSTAND the story you want to tell, but anytime telling it means that a guy has to earnestly attempt his finishing hold 3 times in the first 2 minutes of a main event match, you're not just insulting our intelligence, you're making HHH look like a dumbass. Batista, of course, countered each of these, and in so doing, took nominal control of the match during the opening 2-3 minutes. But then the match spilled outside, and HHH was able to ram Batista's back into the ringpost, starting an all-out assault on Batista's lower back area (supposedly to take away the "back-drop escape" from the Pedigree? I dunno). This went on for several minutes, and then, before you knew it, Batista was rallying. Not a usualy rally, though, that has a defined beginning. He just kind of over-powered HHH in the middle of some move, and that was it. It left the fans unaware that he was Batista-ing Up. Hell, even I kinda felt like it was a Hope Spot, and not his actual comeback, and I pride myself on being pretty sharp. It's like they laid the match out for Batista to make the least possible impact on fans. But nope: this was his real rally. It all led up to Batista dominating to the point that Flair decided to get involved (and introduce the World Title Belt), but the ref managed to intercept him. But while the ref was doing that, HHH had grabbed the title belt, afterall. And when Batista went for a BatistaBomb, HHH plastered him in the head with the belt. The ref turned around, but HHH only got a 2 count, much to his chagrin. He went for Pedigree attempt #4, but Batista escaped again, and then shortly thereafter, we got a ref bump. With the ref down, Batista managed to hit the Pedigree on try #5. But FUUUUUUUCCCCCCKKKK! With no ref, Batista can't kick out of it to put an end to this ludicrously inane story. Batista actually stays down while HHH counts to three and beyond. Jesus. And so yet again: what SHOULD be Batista's match to shine turns into being HHH's Showcase. The Pedigree is, indeed, Unbeatable. And it's only the fluke of a ref bump that stopped HHH from regaining the title. Retarded. Downright retarded. A second ref comes in, but by this point, Batista has had enough time to recover, so HHH doesn't even make a cover. (And so Batista didn't even get the Token Kickout After a Lengthy Delay; that's just how extremely awesome the Pedigree is, folks.) Batista began a rally, but in the chaos, the second ref got bumped, too. D'oh. So Flair came in and ran interference, allowing HHH to hit a low blow on Batista. Batista crumped in a corner, and HHH mounted the turnbuckle to rain down fists upon him.... but Batista suddenly found hidden reserves of power, and hoisted HHH up off the turnbuckle and into a Mighty BatistaBomb. The original ref came to just in the nick of time to make a dramatic 3-count. Batista retains. But after the match, he just leaves and doesn't celebrate. Because in the ring, the story must ONCE AGAIN be all about HHH, who shoves Ric Flair down in frustration and then Pedigrees the referee. That's right: Batista retains, but the final ass-kicking is administered by HHH. On a ref. You couldn't write a less productive finish to the show. [Around 15 minutes, and pretty fun for the most part. At least until End Game revealed that the entire match was booked not only to "protect" HHH and the Pedigree, but also to prevent Batista from getting what seemed like the entirely logical and NECESSARY boost from beating the Pedigree. Instead: he was laid out by it, and we have 2 more months now of listening to asinine 80s style, intelligence-insulting promos by HHH which demand that we forget the many times the Pedigree has been beaten in the past. Because you can bet your bippy that this match was laid out this way to ensure that HHH gets a re-rematch where his Extremely Awesome Pedigree will yet win him his 11th World Title. Massively unsatisfying finish, and I again have to wonder if WWE really ever intends to let RAW be about Batista instead of about HHH. I say that as a guy who generally defends HHH, too: but christ, there's a time to just fade away and let another guy have the spotlight. Your 11th will come in time, don't worry. But for now, how's about we put somebody on the Stupid Patrol to prevent counter-productive shit like this from being the ostensible climax of a PPV, OK?] 
     

Definitely more good than bad on the night, though... and again, even the main event was eminently watchable (just with a lame finish that signaled 2 more months of HHH working a C-Grade angle about the Pedigree). And other than that, really the only other complaint I had on the night would have been the finish to Kane/Viscera (which was also about as unoriginal, uninteresting, and un-tied-to-what-made-the-past-two-weeks-fun-to-watch as it could possibly be).
 
Everything else ranged from good to excellent. The Hogan/HBK match was unabashed fun. The tag title match was way crisper than I could have imagined. And the other two matches? Just awesome.

A definite Thumbs Up as a whole. But with plenty of eyeball punches earned by the Creative Team Unit, nonetheless. I'll have more thoughts and fall-out tomorrow in OO. See you then, kids....

E-MAIL RICK
BROWSE THE RAW RECAP ARCHIVES


  
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PPV RECAP: SummerSlam 2012
 
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RAW RECAP: Countdown to 1000
 
PPV RECAP: WWE Money in the Bank 2012
 
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SMACKDOWN RECAP: In-BRO-pendence Day
 
RAW RECAP: Crazy Gets What Crazy Wants
 
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PPV RECAP: WWE WrestleMania 28

 

 

 


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