Strong Backlash Provides Hope for the Future

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By all accounts in watching last night’s WWE Backlash, I can say that this PPV was one of the best “B” PPV’s the company has put on in about 6-7 years. There seemed to be a different tone last night, where wrestling was the focus, and the usual stupid backstage stuff or silly things that go on in the ring really took a back seat to what the company should be focusing more on, which is wrestling and good storylines. The company has a solid couple of main event stories going on right now, and last night they did a great job in keeping them going and developing them.

The first and biggest story of the night was the ongoing saga of John Cena vs Shawn Michaels. These two were two of the four men in the fatal four way match for the WWE Title along with Edge and Randy Orton. Many felt, including myself, that Cena would win, and that Orton would be the man to get pinned, almost to punish him for the high school trashing of a hotel room on the company’s recent tour of Europe. While that happened, how it happened and the action in between made that seem like an afterthought. The action in ring for the main event was top notch, and the final ending with Cena getting superkicked by HBK, only to then have him fall on Orton for the pin was really well done. Whoever was the agent for the match and the ending should get a solid round of applause, as it was very, very good. All four men put forth a great deal of effort, and there really were not many lulls to this solid main event.

The ending and in ring action also leaves a lot of doors open. Shawn of course now should get his WrestleMania title rematch with Cena, and I can see this at Judgement Day, or possibly One Night Stand. You also now have the options of a few other matches that have some push behind them from last night, like Cena vs Orton, Edge vs Orton, and HBK vs either Orton or Edge. I expect to see all these four go back and forth, leading to a pair of PPV matches for either Judgement Day or ONS, with it being Cena vs HBK for the title, and Edge vs Orton. A great showing by all four that really showed what the WWE can do when it puts wrestling at the forefront of a main event.

As for the Last Man Standing Match with Undertaker and Batista, I once again think that while Taker is the focus of SmackDown and the company, longterm my hopes of Batista turning back around and being at the point he was two years ago have returned. I thought he was strong again, and while there was a few points in this match where things got a little slow, I think that overall the match lived up to its hype and they went in the right direction with the double 10-count finish. I kind of saw this coming earlier in the week, and even mentioned it in the preview that I could see that and then a 3rd match possibly at Judgement Day in a Hell in a Cell, or just a regular cage match. After last night, there is no doubt that is where they are headed. The final spear off the stage was a bit over the top, but it was a pretty cool visual that did its job.

The ECW 3-on-1 that concluded with Vince McMahon pinning Bobby Lashley for the belt basically did nothing more than make my worst fears come true. That fear of course is more McMahon on TV, and that is what we are going to get for sometime now. This was by far the weakest of the main events, but that was to be expected. I think I could also suggest that we need to get Lashley off TV for a few weeks to give his character, which has been pushed to the upmost, a bit of a break. That won’t happen either, but I guess one could hope. Lashley will get the belt back within a few weeks, so if we can just bear this latest round of McMahon ego, we’ll see what happens. The most interesting part of the match that bears watching is the facials that Umaga made when he was getting slapped for tags from McMahon. Its almost as if they are teasing a face turn for him, which would be really wild.

The other pleasant thing about this show was that they did a very good job giving time to the three undercard matches. I can’t remember a WWE PPV recently with just six matches, but this one was just that, and it really kept my interest. The opener with the Hardy’s vs Cade and Murdoch was a good match and strong open, with a good conclusion with Jeff giving Murdoch the swanton bomb and then Matt getting the pin. I still like the Hardy’s with the belts.
Melina vs Mickie James should have been the women’s match at Wrestlemania, as these two put on a solid match that we have not seen from the women’s division for sometime. While they both have beauty, there is no doubt that these two have worked hard to get better in the ring. The only downer was the ending, which was about as plain as any women’s match. Here’s hoping they do what they can to keep these two going at it.

The MVP vs Chris Benoit match was also very good, and very much like the strong match they had at Mania. They are really mixing it up with it looking like at each and every turn MVP will get the belt, yet he keeps coming up short. The only thing I can think of is either they are waiting to do the switch on SmackDown, or they have someone else in line for the strap. Sure seems to me like its MVP’s time though.

All in all, this was about a good a PPV as you are going to see for following up Mania, and this could have been the best Backlash since the HHH-Rock headlined show back in 2000, that saw a title switch with Steve Austin helping the Rock win the title.


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