It is officially the Big Weekend. That’s right, after months of building up, we have reached the biggest WWE pay per view of the year?that leads up to Backlash. The pay per view that could really be named ?Wrestlemania Revenge? is only a few short week away. For the past few years, Backlash has been nothing short of a rehash show that should be used to launch new programs but merely gives away the same matches you saw at Mania for a cheaper price. With that said, I do not mean to degrade Backlash. As a matter of fact I love it. I?m going to come right out and say it: Screw Wrestlemania, bring on Backlash!
I?m trying to convey my thoughts I know I will come off as arrogant, but Wrestlemania has grown stale. You know how there is always that buzz around Christmas time, even if you are not a Christian? Well, that’s the way the wrestling world is during Wrestlemania season, even for those who do not care for WWE. And every year, we gather under the tree to open our gifts. Some gifts are small but surprise us, some are bigger but just take up space, and then there is the biggest present of all in the corner we foam at the mouth waiting to tear open. This is that special match we get to see. Dream matches that come to life in forms of HBK-Flair, HBK-Angle, Edge-Foley, Hogan-Andre, Hogan-Savage, TLC and so many more. However, over the past decade or more, there have been some Wrestlemanias that have failed to realize their full potential because writers need to have matches for the next pay per view. With way too many pay per views each year, even Mania gets lost in the shuffle as it’s featured matches which are supposed to be so special are just rebooked again at the next show.
The first Backlash actually complemented Wrestlemania XV quite well as it was part II of the Austin-Rock match, yet this match was actually more significant than it’s WM counterpart. It took the Austin-McMahon feud in a different direction and turned The Rock face, the matches that took place on that show should have been the Wrestlemania card the month before. The following year was no different when WM2000 ended un-climactically but Backlash’s main event was one of the most anticipated and exciting that year.
My favorite Backlash is 2003. Trust me it is not because of quality, but how it provided the ideal framework for the show. Brock Lesnar defended his title against an up and coming mid-card talent named John Cena, Kevin Nash made his pay per view return, and Goldberg debuted against the Rock. It was a great show in terms of going in a new direction and beginning the new wrestling year.
The defining moment in wrestling history for hardcore fans was the end of Wrestlemania XX when Guererro and Benoit stood in the ring with the two world championship titles. As special as this moment was, the following month’s Backlash had the fat trimmed from the steak. The WM rematch told a different story and this time it was possible that any man could win. Another bout on the show was Mick Foley’s greatest match against Randy Orton. For months we had anticipated these two going at it only to see the feud watered down by a Rock’n Sock reunion at Wrestlemania. Again, Wrestlemania seems to become watered down because of the show that follows it and the matches that should have been on the show not making the cut.
In all fairness, Wrestlemania is in a tough spot. The supercard has to showcase as many wrestlers as possible and still provide quality matches. There is also the marketing game when it comes to match making and that game has had its share of victims in the past. While John Cena vs. Triple H was a dream match at the time, Edge deserved to be in that match at Wrestlemania 22. I can’t complain since we got a great match between Edge and Foley and a great singles match from HHH and Cena, but Edge was such a big part of the title picture at the beginning of the year that it felt wrong to leave him out, much like how Foley was left out of WMXV, Jeff hardy at last year’s event, and some would even say Kurt Angle at the great WM X-7, which is why Edge being involved in a triple threat match with Cena and HHH made a great Backlash main event. We can even examine WM XXIII and how Edge and Orton were crammed into Money in the Bank instead of having the four-way match at Mania that they saved for Backlash.
I believe that wrestling continues to challenge itself and I hope that it will continue to grow and expand, but I truly worry about the supercard. If Wrestlemania can be outshined by a rehash show or just rebooked again just for the sake of filling shows then we are in trouble. Could it be that the supercard is dying? I hope that is not the case, but if it is, then it will be fascinating to see where wrestling goes from here.
Since we are in the nosebleeds at Wrestlemania, we are damn far up there, so there is a lot of blood this week.
The ?It’s okay; I had Subway for lunch? Moment of the week: Santino’s mankini. I love that guy. I really hope they do something big with him before he becomes another name on the chopping block. He and Beth Phoenix have the ability to rank up there with wrestling’s all-time great couples like Latino Heat and Macho Man & Elizabeth.
The ?Could the ending to this match be any more obvious?? Moment of the Week: Shawn Michaels once again trick the Undertaker. While the build to this match has been great, HBK has dominated this feud. We know this formula. It means that there is no way Undertaker will win this match.
Have an Awesome Trip: All those traveling to Wrestlemania, including my friends Shane and Marv. I actually went with Shane to Wrestlemania XIX, a great experience which I hope to write about one day. Shane’s favorite is Undertaker while Marv favors Chris Jericho. I hope you guys have a good time watching your heroes become legends.
Drink One for Me: My friend Brian and my brother Dave who I?m sure will be watching the show back home. I?ll be thinking of you guys when some crazy fans start chanting E-C-W.
The ?That is so WWE? Moment of the Week: John Cena’s April Fool’s joke about Vickie Guererro being pregnant. With everything that we have seen over the years a ridiculous storyline like this would not be far-fetched, which is why it was a pleasant surprise to find out it was a joke.
Thanks for reading!