This week’s Nosebleeds is the eleventh column for WrestleView and focuses on the eleventh Backlash/Wrestlemania part 2. A few weeks ago I wrote about how Wrestlemania, because it is the biggest show of the year, is more restricted than enabled to live up to its potential. Wrestlemania has become more of an idea than it is a reality. While there are still great Mania matches, only every few years does Mania truly live up to its concept. Also, with a pay per view just a few short weeks later, some of the good stuff has to be saved for that show. This Sunday’s show is proof of that. While I know not everyone will agree with me, this is the way I see it. Maybe I?m just blind.
For a Backlash rewind, here are the Nosebleeds? ranking for the previous ten shows.
10. Backlash 2005. A Wrestlemania main event rematch between Batista and Triple H for the World Championship was all about Batista proving he was no fluke champion. Triple H pulled this off nicely The Animal. We also saw an I-C title match between Chris Jericho and Shelton Benjamin. The biggest match of the night was Shawn Michaels teaming up with Hulk Hogan to take on Muhammad Hassan and Divari.
9. Backlash 2008. A four-way match where Triple H finally captured the WWE Championship and a WM rematch between Edge and Undertaker headlined this show.
8. Backlash 2006. Edge had a great match at Wrestlemania with Mick Foley a few weeks prior to this event, but he deserved to be in the main event. At Backlash, he got it. The main event featured a triple threat match between Edge, Triple H and John Cena with Cena retaining. Shelton Benjamin and Rob Van Dam went at it for the I-C Title, and Shawn Michaels teamed up with God to take on the McMahons.
7. Backlash 2003. The first and only match between Goldberg and The Rock, a six-man tag featuring the ppv return of Kevin Nash, Brock Lesnar defending the WWE title against an up-and-comer by the name of John Cena, and the Big Show destroying Rey Mysterio highlighted this sweet show.
6. Backlash 2007. A four-way match between John Cena, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton, and Edge for the WWE Championship headlined this show. Once again, Undertaker and Batista had to take a back seat to Cena, but they had a great Last Man Standing match for the World Championship.
5. Backlash 2001. Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle battled in a 30 Minute Submission match that made this show worth the price. While the main event felt underwhelming considering WWE had just purchased WCW and no WCW stars appeared on the show, the main event in which three different championships were on the line was still a good ppv headliner. The Undertaker and Kane took on Steve Austin and Triple H for the WWE, I-C and Tag Team Titles in a pretty good match. Also on the card was Shane McMahon taking an insane dive to defeat the Big Show.
4. Backlash 2002. This was the first pay per view once the brand extension had officially kicked off. It’s simply amazing how jam-packed this card was. There was just so much talent on this card. There was a spectacular match between Kurt Angle and Edge, Brock Lesnar’s ppv debut, a great brawl between The Undertaker and Steve Austin, and a championship match between Triple H and Hulk Hogan.
3. Backlash 1999. The very first Backlash featured a thrilling rematch between Steve Austin and the Rock, a great technical outing between Ken Shamrock and the Undertaker, a fun tag team match between the New Age Outlaws and Owen Hart and Jeff Jarrett, and a bloody Boiler Room Brawl between Mankind and Big Show. Also, the funniest ending ever to a pay per view broadcast where Undertaker kidnapped Stephanie McMahon.
2. Backlash 2004. Chris Benoit defended the World title in his hometown against Triple H and Shawn Michaels, and Mick Foley and Randy Orton had one bloody brawl. Doug Lackey wrote a great column about this event which you can read at the link below.
1. Backlash 2000. Just a fun and thrilling show. Triple H and the Rock went at it in a great championship match, Jericho and Benoit had another great match, Eddy Guerrero and Chyna had a prom date and later Eddy defended the European championship against Essa Rios. Big Show and Kurt Angle had a fun match in which Big Show impersonated Hulk Hogan. I rank this as the top show because it was top to bottom a great card that outshined what I felt was a lackluster Wrestlemania with the exception of the fantastic tag team ladder match.
This Sunday’s Backlash pay per view event will be headlined by a six-man tag match in which if anyone from the bad guy team pins anyone from the good guy team, Triple H will lose the WWE Championship to Randy Orton. I struggle with Orton winning the championship in a tag match but it is also a great way for a great heel to win the gold. What the Nosebleeds see happening is Batista somehow costing The Game the title, be it intentional or inadvertent. Costing Trips the belt could lead to a huge program with the Animal. It would be a great storyline to have HHH livid over losing the strap to Orton only to see The Animal get the title shot at Judgment Day, where HHH will be sure to cost Batista his shot at gold. WWE could then put these two in the ring at June’s Great American Bash, then in an escalated grudge match at Extreme Rules, and finally the big rubber match at Summerslam. All the while, Orton keeps his belt and quietly walks away having bested the McMahon family.
As great as it was to see Christian in the MITB at Mania, he deserved his shot at the ECW title in a one-on-one match with Jack Swagger. Weeks upon weeks ago, Tommy Dreamer said he is set on winning the ECW title before his contract expires in June. With that angle subtly dropped, Christian seems destined to win this match and engage in title turmoil with Swagger over the next few months, winning and losing the title between the two of them.
While Matt and Jeff Hardy put on a spot fest against one another at Wrestlemania, this Sunday’s I Quit match will be violent and gruesome. While this feud has been criticized as a flop, Hardy and Hardy have one more chance to prove to the world this Sunday that they can go at each other in a great match without relying on a ladder as the third man. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, these two will go back to their perspective brands and stay away from each other for a while. Backlash will be the perfect place to end this feud.
Ricky Steamboat surprised us all at Wrestlemania with his inspiring performance. While his match with Chris Jericho will not be as good as it could have if Steamboat were fifteen years younger, it will still be the show stealer. After all the speculation as to which legend Jericho would fight at Mania fans were left with a three-on-one match that felt underwhelming until Steamboat and Jericho were able to do their thing. This is the match that should have happened at Mania. We didn?t need and Austin or a Hogan to come in and stand up to Jericho , Steamboat was the man all along to fight this war. I can?t imagine what it must be like for Jericho to be going one-on-one with his idol this Sunday.
John Cena and Edge. Edge and John Cena. One of the most consistent rivalries of this decade will have one more go-ahead this Sunday. As happy as I was for Big Show to get a big match for Wrestlemania, these two deserved to have a one-on-one affair, and one-on-one it will be in the most important World Championship match so far this year. If Edge wins, back to Smackdown the championship goes. As likely as this is, it is quite a boring idea. The only way I would enjoy that concept would be for the entire Smackdown roster to be involved in helping Edge win, ensuring they will have a championship to compete for. While that is unlikely, I am, first and foremost, a wrestling fan and a wrestling fan can always dream. But back to reality, this match will determine when CM Punk cashes in his Money in the Bank title shot. After Edge cashing his match in twice and winning both times, and Punk cashing in last year against Edge, Punk and Edge are destined for a big showdown possibly at Summerslam in the battle of the opportunists. However, should Cena retain, I don?t see Punk coming out to cash in against Cena. We are then left with two options. 1. Orton wins the strap and in one last effort to best Orton, Vince demands Punk cash in his title match right on the spot, giving Smackdown the WWE Championship. 2. Raw has both of the main championships on their show. If that should happen, I only hope and pray that we finally unify these two titles at Night of Champions where the two top stars in WWE, Cena and Orton, go at it to determine the best of the best.
Where will this year’s Backlash rank? We shall find out this Sunday. Enjoy the show!
I hope you will join us next week when the Nosebleeds kicks off a multi-week event running down the 1990s; how wrestling changed during that decade, and how it shaped what we see today. It will kick off next week with 1990. I hope you will join us. Until then, have a good week and thanks for reading!