In preparation for this Sunday’s event, Liam Hoofe takes a look back at the best matches in the history of WWE Backlash…
The return of WWE Backlash last year was met with an enthusiastic response from the WWE Universe, and with good reason. The PPV, which traditionally followed on from WrestleMania, has given us some great shows since its birth in 1999. The PPV itself would often be a better wrestling event than WrestleMania in fact, with it effectively being a re-run of the card with all of the pomp and spectacle removed.
Needless to say, the show has given us many great matches and moments over the years as well. So to get you warmed up for this Sunday’s upcoming event, here is a look back at some of the best matches from the PPV’s history, and no, Shawn Michaels and God Vs The McMahons didn’t make the list.
John Cena Vs Edge Vs Randy Orton Vs Shawn Michaels – Backlash 2007
2007 was a pretty dull time to be a WWE fan. John Cena was beating everybody and everything and the product had grown just a little stale.
While week to week programming was tedious, there were several very good PPV matches that year and the main event of Backlash was definitely one of them. After their WrestleMania match, John Cena and Shawn Michaels had put on one of the best matches in the history of Raw in the weeks that followed, leading to Michaels getting a rematch for Cena’s title at Backlash. Chuck Rated-RKO, the team which consisted of Edge and Randy Orton into the mix and you’re in for a cracker of a bout.
Despite the fact it was fairly obvious Cena was going to win, the four delivered a spectacular bout with plenty of great spots and some really nice story telling. The ending came when Michaels hit the Sweet Chin Music on Cena, only for him to fall onto Randy Orton and inadvertently pick up the pinfall victory.
Triple H Vs The Rock – Backlash 2000
While most Backlash PPVs would traditionally feature a WrestleMania rematch as their main event, Backlash 2000 held the match that wasn’t the WrestleMania main-event, but the one that really should have been.
At WrestleMania 2000 Triple H had retained his WWE title in a fatal 4-way match against, Mick Foley, The Rock and The Big Show. The match, like most main events in the year 2000 was overbooked and featured a McMahon representing each superstar. The finish to that match saw The Rock betrayed by Vince McMahon, allowing Hunter to pick up the win.
The showdown between the pair a month later at Backlash 2000 was a classic. While the aforementioned overbooking definitely played its part, it only added to the match here, with Vince and Co interfering towards the end in an attempt to cost The Rock the match.
The best moment of the match though is the return of Stone Cold Steve Austin, which sends the fans into the raptures. The rattlesnake proceeds to beat down Vince and the Stooges before Linda sends out a referee to count the pin after a rock bottom.
Backlash 2000 is one of the best Backlash PPVs ever, perhaps only rivalled by 2004’s exceptional card, and the main event is the best match on the card.
Edge Vs Kurt Angle – Backlash 2002
2002 was a great time to be a wrestling fan. The company had just split the brands for the first time, and the influx of exceptional talent has only recently been matched by the last 12 months.
The first PPV following the brand split, Backlash 2002 features some great matches, but one of them is an absolute gem, and that is the match between Kurt Angle and Edge.
Around this time Edge was finally starting to work off his tag team persona and the company were starting to take him seriously as a singles wrestler. His match with Kurt Angle, who was in the midst of putting on some incredible mid-card matches at this point in his career, could even be considered the start of the part of his career that would end with him being inducted into the hall of fame.
The match is often forgotten, due to the rematch a month later that saw Edge shave Angle bald at Judgement Day, but this was definitely the stronger of the two encounters. Angle did pick up the win in this one as well, pinning Edge after hitting him with an Angle slam.
Chris Benoit Vs Triple H Vs Shawn Michaels
Backlash’s traditional place on the WWE calendar was in May, one month after WrestleMania. Because of this, the card would often feature several WrestleMania rematches and quite often, a rematch of the main event would normally close Backlash.
This was the same in 2004 when Chris Benoit, Shawn Michaels and Triple H squared up in a rematch of their WrestleMania classic. Things were a little different this time around though – while Benoit was still somewhat being sold as the underdog heading into the event, he was now the champion and that changed the dynamic of the match considerably. What was also notable was the fact that the match was in Edmonton, Alberta – Chris Benoit’s hometown.
Because of this the crowd that night were just as loud as the crowd that had helped make WrestleMania 20 such a memorable occasion. Firmly behind Benoit, the crowd were not just booing the heel Triple H, but also Shawn Michaels, who never received a warm reception in Canada, for obvious reasons.
The match itself, while not quite as brilliant as their Mania main event, which is one of the greatest of all time, was still exceptional and featured some great spots, notably Michaels missing a crossbody and going straight through the announce table. Michaels was the one to tap out to Benoit this time around, though, with the Heartbreak Kid rather fittingly submitting to the sharpshooter.
Cactus Jack Vs Randy Orton – Backlash 2004
Back in 2004, the now 13 time and current WWE champion Randy Orton was on a meteoric rise. While still being a member of the Evolution stable, the future world champ was in the midst of his legend killer gimmick – which saw him taking on, and defeating legends, furthering his own name in the process.
Having disposed of several legends, Randy, the then Intercontinental champion, challenged the semi-retired Hardcore Legend Mick Foley to a match – Foley countered his offer by offering Orton a hardcore match for the belt against Cactus Jack.
The two met at the Backlash of that year and gave us one of the last truly great hardcore matches of Foley’s legendary career, one that notably featured the use of thumbtacks and a barb wired bat, which Orton used to pick up the victory – executing an RKO onto the weapon.
The match is awesome and is one of the defining moments of Randy’s rise up the card, it is also, for my money, the best match in the history of the Backlash PPV.
SEE ALSO: WWE Backlash 2017 Predictions
What do you think is the best match in Backlash’s history? Let us know in the comments below, and let Liam know on Twitter, here – @liamhoofe