WWE PPV Flashbacks: Backlash - April 29, 2001

April 29, 2001
Allstate Arena, Chicago, IL

Well, WrestleMania X-7 was in the record books and what a spectacle it was. Of course, the show ended with the unthinkable taking place, as Stone Cold Steve Austin would align with the evil Mr McMahon in his home state to capture the WWF Championship. With Austin now a heel for the first time since 1997, it seemed logical that the Rock would get his rematch at this show. However the Great One would be out until late summer filming the Scorpion King in his first major Hollywood absence. Instead, Triple H would form an allegiance with his former hated adversary to form the Two Man Power Trip and win the Intercontinental Championship (more on that later). Tonight's main event would see the Power Trip looking to win all the gold as they battled the new WWF Tag Team Champions, the Brothers of Destruction (again, see later), in a winner take all match. Now lets get into this one. As always, I welcome all your thoughts and feedback on Twitter at @Mpmcc91.

We kick things off with our opening video package which is all about the winner take all match that I just mentioned. The theme is that whoever has all the gold has all the power. We go into the arena after this, and are welcomed by our announce team of Jim Ross & Paul Heyman following the pyro.

Dudley Boyz & Spike Dudley vs X-Factor
Our opening match of the night didn't have a major storyline going in from memory, it was just about getting some tag teams on the show with the new tag champs in the main event scene. Obviously we saw Spike at WrestleMania, having debuted not long prior, to assist his brothers in the TLC match. The entire Dudley clan teams together here to battle the new heel group on the scene, X-Factor. The group was comprised of X-Pac, Justin Credible & Albert. We saw Credible with X-Pac back at No Way Out, whilst Albert had joined up as their muscle just before Mania. Anyway, the match here starts out as a brawl between all six men with the Dudley Boyz clearing the ring. Once things settle down the match starts off between X-Pac and Spike. Spike continues the early momentum for his team and tags in D-Von after a bit, but the tide turns when Albert attacks him from the outside to put his team in control. X-Pac and Credible work over D-Von before tagging in the big man. Albert does some more damage and gets a two count off a butterfly suplex, but D-Von fights back and gets the hot tag to Bubba. Bubba comes in on fire and cleans house, which leads to the Dudley Boyz hitting the Wazzup spot on Credible. Bubba tells D-Von to get the tables, however Albert takes D-Von out on the outside. This distraction allows Credible and X-Pac to capitalise with a double thrust kick which gives X-Factor the win at 7:59. Nonetheless, after the match the Dudleyz get some revenge when they clear the ring and deliver a 3D to X-Pac through a table to the delight of the crowd. Overall this was a decent enough match to start the show. The crowd were still behind the Dudley Boyz big time here and adding Spike to the group would only help keep them fresh. X-Factor's win here was forgotten by the end of the segment, but they weren't really in line for anything major which makes their victory surprising to begin with. Good stuff here for what it was.
Grade: **1/2

In the parking lot, a limousine pulls out and out comes the Dutchess of Queensbury along with her personal security. Of course, its an actress. Commissioner Regal greets her and she says she can't wait to be away from this horrible city, to which the Commissioner agrees. Regal is facing Jericho later on in a 'Dutchess of Queensbury Rules' match by the way.

Elsewhere, Kurt Angle is interrupted by Lillian Garcia who asks how he feels about his upcoming ultimate submission match with Chris Benoit. Angle says he is confident as he already beat Benoit once at Mania.

Before our next match we see footage from earlier in the evening on Heat, where newcomer and former ECW star Jerry Lynn defeated Crash Holly to win the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship with a handful of tights. Yeah, the title does still exist.

WWF Hardcore Championship:
Rhyno (c) vs Raven

So when we last left off, Kane had won the WWF Hardcore Championship in a triple threat match against Raven and the Big Show at WrestleMania. Well, fresh of his recent debut before Mania and and interference in the TLC match at that event, Rhyno would go on to defeat Kane a few weeks later on Smackdown to become the new champion. Here he puts his title on the line against a former champion in Raven, who was still floating around the division since losing the gold. He actually gets a pretty decent pop here as well. Anyway, Rhyno attempts to gore the challenger right at the outset here, but Raven drops and sends him into a street sign he had brought to ringside. He follows up with a trash can shot to the Man-Beast and the action goes to the outside shortly after with Rhyno going on offence. Rhyno sets up the ring steps and puts Raven into a chair nearby. He attempts to dive off the steps onto his opponent, but Raven gets out of the way, sending the champ into the steel. Raven follows up with a clothesline from off the steps, but Rhyno kicks out of the pin and gets back in control as the fight returns to the ring. Rhyno proceeds to destroy Raven with trash cans, street signs and even the shopping trolley. He lifts the trolley up above his head at once point, which Raven utilises to hit Rhyno with a garbage can, sending the trolley onto Rhyno's head. Nonetheless, the Man Beast is not phased and he looks to gore Raven through the trolley, only for the challenger to once again move which causes Rhyno to go into the trolley and get trapped in the process. Raven attempts to build some momentum by pounding on the champion, but Rhyno fights back and this time hits a successful Gore which gets the three at 8:10. Rhyno retains the Hardcore Championship in what was a really fun and physical match. This definitely surpassed by expectations as I wasn't thinking this would be anything special. Very solid.
Grade: ***1/4

We now throw back to footage from Smackdown where Shane McMahon reads the story of "Shane and the Beanstalk". Funny stuff. He's taking on the Big Show in a last man standing match later on. Back live, Stephanie finds Shane backstage and tells him he should apologise to Vince and get the match called off. Shane refuses.

Elsewhere, Kevin Kelly attempts to interview Stone Cold as he arrives with Debra. Austin doesn't want any of it and storms past him.

Meanwhile the Dutchess of Queensbury is disgusted by the American catering backstage when Jonathan Coachman attempts to find out what exactly the Dutchess of Queensbury rules are. Regal shows up and tells Coach to bugger off. That match is up next so we get a video package looking at the feud.

Dutchess of Queensbury Rules Match:
Chris Jericho vs William Regal

This is a rematch from WrestleMania, although at that show the Intercontinental Championship was involved, with Chris Jericho retaining the title. Regal would cost Jericho that title to Triple H later that week on Smackdown however. Jericho would respond by continuing to torment the Commissioner, which led to Regal making this match. The idea is that nobody knows exactly what the Dutchess of Queensbury rules are, thus Jericho was at a disadvantage going in. The Dutchess gets her own entrance here and she has some cool instrumental theme that sounds like it could have come right out of Final Fantasy. She sits at ringside on a throne for the course of the match. Jericho gets a good reaction as always when he comes out, and he wastes little time getting on the mic and insulting both Regal and the Dutchess. The match gets under way and Y2J starts out on offence, chopping at the Commissioner to begin. They go to the outside early on, and back in the ring Jericho hits a missile dropkick just as Regal attempts to turn the tide. Nonetheless, Jericho misses a second dropkick off the top which allows Regal to move in with the chinlock. He attempts to go up top moments later, but Y2J knocks him off with a hurricana. Y2J builds some more momentum from here, going for a flying forearm and Lionsault on Regal, but before he can put the Commissioner away, the Dutchess announces that Round 1 of the match is over. Heyman says he forgot to tell JR about that on commentary. Jericho gets distracted by this and Regal capitalises by rolling him up for two. Regal now goes on offence, eventually grounding his opponent and locking in the Regal Stretch. Jericho gets to the ropes and comes back with the Walls of Jericho. This leads to Regal tapping, but just as the match appears to be over, we learn that the Dutchess' rules state that the match cannot be won by submission. Regal takes the Dutchess' sceptre and nails Y2J with it, and we subsequently discover there are no disqualifications. Jericho still manages to fight back though, and he sends Regal into the Dutchess' lap and then goes after her! He brings the Dutchess into the ring and locks her in the Walls. While this is going on, Regal grabs a chair and whacks Jericho with it, and that scores the upset pin at 12:11. I said at Mania that these guys could have a better match with more time, but that wasn't the case here. The Dutchess stuff was fun at first, but it really got in the way as the match wore on. The story was obviously that Jericho had Regal beat on numerous occasions and Regal only could win with the rules constantly being changed, so the loss doesn't hurt Y2J. I'm surprised he didn't win here since the feud effectively ended with this match, but I suppose you really couldn't with the stipulation. The match isn't bad, its just a let down considering who is involved.
Grade: **

Backstage, Mr McMahon tells the Big Show to destroy Shane later on tonight. We then get a video package for the upcoming Ultimate Submission match after seeing Benoit getting ready.

30 Minute Ultimate Submission Match:
Chris Benoit vs Kurt Angle

This feud continues on from WrestleMania where Kurt Angle cheated to defeat Chris Benoit in a great match. With all the main eventers in the one match tonight, they needed something to fill out the rest of the card, so here we get a 30 minute ultimate submission match between two of the best on the roster. Its essentially an ironman match where only submissions count. In the weeks leading up to this, both Angle and Benoit had caught each other in their submission holds, so the storyline was basically about who was the better submission wrestler. Angle gets his usual heat before the match by ripping on the crowd. The match starts out with some basic amateur exchanges until the action spills to the outside. Angle actually taps to the Crossface on the floor, but we are told that submissions only count inside the ring. Back in the ring, Angle fakes a shoulder injury from the Crossface,but he uses the opportunity to deck Benoit with a cheap shot and locks him in a leg lock. Benoit taps around six minutes in to put Angle up 1-0 in the match. The announcers play up the fact that Benoit tapped out quickly so as to avoid further damage, which makes sense in a match like this where he can attempt to catch up. Benoit fights back after the 30 second rest period and begins chopping away on Angle. He gets Angle in the Crossface moments later, and Kurt manages to roll through. The resourceful Benoit counters Kurt's reversal into an armlock however, and that causes the Olympic Hero to tap out to even things up at 1-1. As the rest period concludes, Benoit goes right back to work on Angle's shoulder and sends it into the ring post. He follows up with another armlock, but this time Kurt gets to the ropes. Benoit keeps the hold on so the ref intervenes, with Benoit getting pissed and tossing him shortly after. Angle uses the opportunity to whack Benoit with a chair and follows up with the Ankle lock, which Benoit taps out to as we approach the ten minute mark at 2-1. Kurt is not finished though, and he jumps Benoit during the rest period! He locks Benoit in his own Crossface, and that gets another tap out, bringing the score to 3-1 in Kurt's favour. As usual in these matches, the heel has taken the lead. Angle remains on offence as the match continues, going to the outside and sending the Crippler into the ring steps. He gets the Ankle Lock on Benoit outside the ring, but obviously that doesn't count. As they get back in the ring, Benoit gets a burst of momentum and fights back into the match. He traps Kurt in the sharpshooter, and whilst Kurt gets to the ropes, Benoit pulls him back into a leg crab to bring the score back to 3-2. We're getting close to 20 minutes in now by the way. The two men go at it for another five minutes or so from here, with both men getting their offence in on the other. As we get to the 25 minute mark however, Benoit gets another burst of momentum. He hits the triple German suplex on Angle. Kurt comes back with the Angle Lock, but Benoit counters into one of his own to bring the match to a tie at 3-3. There's only a few minutes left though, so both men are fighting hard to get the final submission from here. After some back and forth, Kurt looks to have the match won as he gets Benoit in the Ankle Lock once again. The bell rings as the 30 minutes expires though, after which Benoit subsequently taps. Kurt celebrates thinking he has won, but the match is a tie! The referee decides the match is not going to end like that though, and as Kurt is leaving ringside, Howard Finkel announces the match has been ordered to continue under sudden death rules. In other words, the next submission wins the match. Angle is furious as he returns to the ring and takes out his frustration on his opponent. After stomping at him, he locks in a stretch, but out of nowhere Benoit counters into the Crippler. Kurt has nowhere to go, and he taps out to end the match at 4-3 to Benoit at 31:31. This was a really good match between two of the best in-ring performers on the roster at the time. These guys went out and kicked ass for a good 30+ minutes so you knew they weren't going to disappoint. I've seen people criticise the number of submissions, but I think it adds to the story being told, which the announcers also touched on. Both men would tap out quickly to avoid further damage. Benoit did a great job fighting back from behind to stay in this, whilst Kurt played his part to perfection as well. A very good Mania rematch here.
Grade: ****

Backstage we see Undertaker and Kane arguing in the stairwell, but we can't hear what they are saying. Elsewhere, Triple H and Stephanie are looking on via the TV. They say the Brothers are probably coming up with excuses for when they lose to him and Austin tonight. Stephanie then says she tried to stop Shane from going through with his match against Big Show, but he wouldn't listen. This leads us into the video package for the Shane/Show match, which is basically the continuation of the Vince/Shane rivalry.

Last Man Standing Match:
Shane McMahon vs Big Show

These two feuded last year, although back then the roles were quite different - Big Show was the fun loving giant, whilst Shane was the cocky Boy Wonder. This really stems from Shane beating Vince at WrestleMania. In the weeks that followed, Shane would attempt to recruit various superstars to his new WCW brand, now being the owner of that company as mentioned in the last review. Shane would set his sights on the Big Show, who was a former WCW superstar in his own right. On an episode of Smackdown however, Mr McMahon would interrupt Show and Shane in the ring. Big Show would suddenly attack Shane, laying him out and would go on to become Vince's hired gun to take out his son. Vince would make a last man standing match for the PPV and told Big Show he wanted him to destroy Shane in the match. Anyway, Shane has an early version of his famous "Here Comes the Money" theme here. He goes under the ring to get a kendo stick and starts swinging away at Show. It doesn't have much effect though, so Shane trades in his kendo stick for a chair before resorting to a rag soaked with ether. Shane smothers it over Show's face which brings Show down for the ref to count, but shortly after, Vince runs out and smacks Shane with a chair. The ref starts counting Shane down as Show gets to his feet, but the giant pulls Shane up at 8 wanting to do some more damage. Show now destroys Shane, tossing him around the ring before hitting the chokeslam, but once again, Show lifts him to his feet to break the count. At this point, Test runs in to make the save for Shane and hits a big boot on Show, but moments later Show fights him off by throwing him into the steps. Nonetheless, Shane gets the breather he needed and lures Show up to the set. Shane climbs up the set whilst Test comes back and hits a low blow on Show. Test brings Show down and then Shane, right at the top of the entrance set does the sign of the cross, before taking a death defying elbow drop down to Big Show below. Its one of those Holy Shit moments and the crowd goes nuts. Both men are pretty much incapacitated, but Test helps Shane to his feet and rests him up against the scaffolding. Meanwhile Show is down for the ten count to give the win to Shane O' Mac at 11:53. We get numerous replays of the dive after the match as Test carries Shane backstage. Now this was all about the big spot at the end as the actual match was nothing much. The dive though was one of those moments that makes you jump out of your seat watching it. It almost felt out of place with this feud really just being thrown together to let the WCW thing simmer for a bit until later in the year, but I'm not about to criticise Shane putting his body on the line like that.
Grade: **

Backstage Vince is with Triple H and Stephanie. He is furious that Shane won, but Steph calms him down. Vince says that from this day forth, Triple H is his only son.

We now cross to WWF New York where Steve Blackman is the guest of the month. JR asks him about what we just saw, and Blackman says that despite their issues in the past, Shane has earned his respect by not backing down from Show. Grandmaster Sexay interrupts and goes crazy whilst Blackman looks on dumbfounded. They had started teaming when Scotty 2 Hotty was injured earlier in the year and actually wrestled as a team on Heat before Mania last month.

WWF European Championship:
Matt Hardy (c) vs Eddie Guerrero vs Christian

Well its certainly been a busy month for title changes in the WWF huh? When we left off at WrestleMania, Eddie Guerrero had defeated Test to win the European Championship, with the assistance of his Radicalz buddies. Well that reign would come to an end on the episode of Smackdown before this show when Eddie was defeated by Matt Hardy, in what was a bit of an upset (much as Jeff had done to Triple H on a larger scale for the IC title) with the Hardy Boyz not being known as singles performers yet. Eddie gets his rematch here, although he's reaching the end of his initial run with the company, as he'll only make our next PPV and be gone for a while after. Also in the match is Christian who begged Regal to add him, which is playing off the history between the Hardy Boyz and E&C (who are obviously no longer the Tag Team Champions despite their win in TLC). Its just the three guys in the match to start with nobody else at ringside by the way. Eddie and Christian double team Matt to start, but Christian ends their alliance early on by jumping Eddie from behind after Matt is thrown to the outside. The two heels go at it before Matt returns to the ring and goes for the Twist of Fate on Eddie, only for Christian to stop it. We get some back and forth with Matt and Christian going at it before Eddie gets back in the fray. Matt rips off his shirt after delivering a tornado DDT to Christian on the outside, but back in the ring Eddie gets him with a brainbuster. Latino Heat attempts to follow up with a top rope hurricana, but Christian stops it and sends Eddie down to the mat. Matt has another burst of momentum and sends Christian down as well before following up with the Legdrop for a near fall. This brings out Edge spears Matt, but this is followed by Jeff Hardy coming in and fighting Edge off as well. Meanwhile Christian hits Eddie with the Unprettier, only for Jeff to break the pin with a Swanton. Matt follows with the Twist of Fate on Christian to score the victory at 6:52. A solid, albeit short title defence for the new champion here. I actually enjoyed the match quite a bit for the time it was given. Matt Hardy would have a lengthy, albeit uneventful reign with the title so it was cool to see him get a PPV defence here.
Grade: **3/4

We now get a video package highlighting the formation of the Power Trip and the events leading to the main event.

WWF Championship & WWF Intercontinental Championship vs WWF Tag Team Championship - Winner Take All Match:
Steve Austin (c) & Triple H (c) w/Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley vs Undertaker & Kane (c)

Quite a bit has happened to get to this point. As we all know, Stone Cold sold his soul last month at WrestleMania and joined up with Mr McMahon to defeat the Rock for the WWF Championship. The next night on Raw is War, Rock would get a rematch inside a steel cage. Mr McMahon would enter the cage during the match and would proceed to beat on Rock with the new champion, however the beating was interrupted by Triple H, who seemed to have a disagreement with Vince earlier in the night. Rather than making the save however, Triple H would nail Rock in the skull with his sledgehammer, and the Power Trip was formed. Vince would meanwhile suspend Rock indefinitely, which would write him off TV whilst he filmed the Scorpion King. Later that week on Smackdown, JR would conduct an interview with his long time friend Stone Cold, questioning him about his recent actions. Austin would respond by attacking his best friend, cementing his heel status. On that same night, Triple H would defeat Chris Jericho to win the Intercontinental Championship, bringing more gold to the heel tandem. The Game would lose that title briefly to Jeff Hardy on an episode of Smackdown, but regained the title on the very next episode of Raw is War. Meanwhile, a couple of weeks later on Smackdown, the duo of Undertaker & Kane defeated Edge & Christian to win the WWF Tag Team Championship. Wanting all the gold, the Power Trip would set their sights on the new tag champions, but once the challenge was accepted, newly reinstated CEO Linda McMahon would stipulate that the WWF & I.C titles would also be on the line for the match, invoking the old winner take all stipulation from In Your House 3. Anyway the match starts out with Austin and Trips stalling, not wanting to take on the Brothers of Destruction, but Kane and Triple H end up beginning the match in the ring. Kane controls the early going, with Trips constantly going outside, but the tag champs get sick of the shenanigans and start brawling with the Power Trip outside. All four men go back in the ring with Taker & Kane in control, with Austin attempting to beg Taker off. Taker does not fall for it and continues to beat on the WWF Champion, whilst Kane does the same to the Game. The heels flee yet again, but Kane gives chase, sending Austin right back into a last Ride, only for Triple H to break up the pin. At this point the Power Trip turns the tables and go on offence working over Taker's knee. Kane tags in moments later, but after a short burst of momentum, Austin starts to target the Big Red Machine's arm which had been injured heading into this show. Austin delivers a few chair shots to Kane's bandaged arm and Trips comes in to do some more damage. From here its basically the heels in control other than the occasional comeback attempt by Kane until Trips connects with the Pedigree on his opponent. Instead of going for the pin, he tags Austin in to do so, but Taker breaks it up. Stephanie attempts to distract the official as the order starts to break down, which causes a tag to Taker not to be seen. Taker hits a Last Ride on Triple H all the same, but Austin follows with a low blow to the American Bad Ass and a Stunner to his younger brother. Stephanie gives Trips the title belt but the Game is caught in a chokeslam. Steph intervenes and takes a big boot for her trouble, but Vince rushes out as well whilst Austin is brawling with Taker. Vince hands Triple H the sledgehammer and the Game hits Kane with it twice to score the victory for the Power Trip at 27:11. Stone Cold & Triple H retain their respective titles and are also the new tag team champs. The story made sense here as the new heel faction was getting a hold of all the gold to assert their dominance of the company. The feud with Taker & Kane would not end here though. As far as the match here goes, I feel like it was a bit too long and this probably would have served better with ten minutes taken off. The beatdown on Kane in particular and the stalling at the start really detracted from the match in my view. Aside from that though, this was a fairly solid match. The heels are looking strong with all the gold right now and I think the Austin heel run is working so far.
Grade: ***

This show had a lot to follow from the epic Mania that preceded it one month prior. Obviously this show was nowhere near the level of greatness we saw there (or even a month before at No Way Out) but this was still a fairly enjoyable show. Losing the Rock for a good portion of the year was quite the blow to the main event scene, but the Power Trip storyline was interesting, and the Brothers of Destruction made for a decent first feud for them. That would carry across to next month, but there are plans being made for the future at this stage. The highlight of the night here was the ultimate submission match between Angle and Benoit which was just as awesome as their Mania match. The Hardcore title match was also very good, and Shane's dive was one of those moments you don't forget. There was nothing particularly bad on this show, which is always a positive. The main event was a bit long as I mentioned, but it was still decent and the lesser matches were fine for what they were. Overall a slightly above average follow up to Mania.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. Chris Benoit - part of the awesome ultimate submission match and did a great job as the babyface who had to fight against the clock to catch up and ultimately defeat Angle to even up the feud.
2. Kurt Angle - strong showing in the ultimate submission match that really showed he was ready for another run at the top down the line.
3. Rhyno - victorious in a very enjoyable Hardcore Championship match. Coming off his time in ECW, Rhyno was right at home in this environment.

FINAL THOUGHTS: 6.5 out of 10

What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1.

Steve Austin = 99
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
The Rock = 52
Triple H = 49
Mick Foley = 38
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 26
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Diesel = 15
Chris Jericho = 14
Matt Hardy = 14
Jeff Hardy = 14
Kurt Angle = 14
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 12
Christian = 12
Edge = 11
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Chris Benoit = 9
Ric Flair = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Bubba Ray Dudley = 7
D-Von Dudley = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Rikishi = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Shane McMahon = 3
Chyna = 3
Kane = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Test = 1
Big Show = 1
Dean Malenko = 1
Scotty 2 Hotty = 1
Rhyno = 1

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