The WWE Raw brand was headed in a new direction post-WrestleMania 21 with Batista as the new World Heavyweight Champion. The rivalry Batista had with former mentor Triple H was going strong as they were set to headline Backlash. The other really big thing about this show is that Hulk Hogan returned to action one month after his 2005 WWE Hall of Fame induction. He teamed up with Shawn Michaels to form a Dream Team on this show.
Backlash is the WWE pay-per-view that followed WrestleMania every year from 1999 to 2009 because I guess WWE got sick of the name after 11 years of it. They brought it back in 2016 and now it’s back in the cycle.
Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire
The show gets a “TV14 Sexual Content” rating on WWE Network. I have no memory of something on this show that would earn the Sexual Content rating, but I guess we’ll find out together.
The opening video package focused on Hulk Hogan returning to action to team with Shawn Michaels. Fans chanted “One More Match” to Hogan at WWE Hall of Fame 2005, so that’s what led to this. The opening video also pushed the main event match between World Champion Batista and former champion Triple H.
The pyro went off, there was a shot of the crowd and the announce team of Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler welcomed us to the show. They are beside entrance area. The Spanish announce team is at ringside hoping nobody will break their table.
Chris Jericho got a big ovation with JR noting that Jericho was a 7-time Intercontinental Champion. He ended up winning the IC Title nine times, which is a record as I type this right now (Miz is close with eight).
Shelton Benjamin was the IC Champion. He won the IC Title from Jericho at Taboo Tuesday in October 2004.
Intercontinental Championship: Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho
Pre-match notes: Both men were faces with Benjamin as the IC Champ and Jericho as the challenger. There was not much of a storyline going into it.
Benjamin got a backslide for a two count early on followed by an armbar. Benjamin showed off some athleticism with a backflip off the top ropes into another armbar. Jericho broke free with a slap to the face and that turned into a slugfest. Benjamin with a kick to the gut, Jericho blocked a suplex and Jericho with a back body drop that sent Benjamin to the floor, Benjamin tried a Powerbomb and Jericho turned it into a hurricanrana. Jericho had a rough landing on his head, but he was fine. Jericho sent Benjamin face first into the top of the barricade. Jericho with a slam followed by his cocky pin attempt. Benjamin ran the ropes followed by a forearm. Jericho came back with a dropkick. Benjamin whipped Jericho into the turnbuckle, splash in the corner and a belly to back suplex. Jericho came back with a bulldog. Jericho wanted a Lionsault, but Benjamin sent him over the top onto the apron. Jericho was on the top rope, Benjamin ran across the ring and jumped to the top rope with a superplex. That was a great spot that drew a big reaction from the crowd. Benjamin slowly crawled over for a two count. Benjamin whipped Jericho into the ropes, tossed him into the air and Jericho bumped onto his chest. Benjamin slapped on a body scissors. They did a double clothesline spot, so both men were down for about eight seconds.
Benjamin missed a corner splash, Jericho with a forearm, Jericho with a shoulder block and Jericho teased a move against the ropes, but Benjamin popped up with a Samoan Drop for a two count. The fans chanted “Y2J” for Jericho, who nailed Benjamin with an elbow to the face followed by an enziguri kick for two. Jericho tossed Benjamin onto the apron, Benjamin with a leap to the top rope leading to a springboard bulldog for a two count. That was a great spot. Jericho got a nearfall of his own. Benjamin went for an attack off the ropes, Jericho avoided it, but Benjamin nailed the T-Bone Suplex for two as Jericho got his foot on the bottom rope. They were too close to the turnbuckle. Benjamin went for a spin kick, Jericho ducked it and Jericho slapped on the Walls of Jericho submission with the crowd screaming for this. They were into it. Benjamin got to the ropes. Jericho kicked away at him, the ref made Jericho go back and Benjamin nailed a leaping kick to the face for two. Benjamin went for a dropkick, Jericho held on to the ropes, Jericho went for a Lionsault, Benjamin avoided it, Jericho went for the Walls of Jericho, Benjamin flipped out of that, Jericho went for a pin, Benjamin rolled through that and Benjamin did a bridging pin for the pinfall victory at 14:31.
Winner by pinfall: Shelton Benjamin
Analysis: ***3/4 Very good match. There were a lot of believable nearfalls and cool moves by both men. Benjamin was impressive while Jericho countered things brilliantly like usual. It was fun to watch with the crowd slowly getting into as the men showed off their athleticism. They were hurt because the match was lacking in terms of a storyline. It was smart of Jericho to do the slap early in the match leading to the intensity picking up a bit. Matches with two faces are hard to do because the crowd needs one guy to get behind and when you don’t have that, it can hurt the match. In this case, they had a very competitive match for the IC Title. I didn’t remember this match being that good, but I’m glad I got to watch it again.
Post match, Jericho was shocked about the loss. Benjamin left with his title.
Analysis: Benjamin had a very good reign as IC Champion for 244 days. He lost the title to Carlito on June 20, 2005, which was before the next Raw PPV Vengeance.
Chris Jericho was interviewed by Todd Grisham, but Jericho walked away without saying a word because he was visibly frustrated about the loss.
Edge was interviewed by Jonathon Coachman with Edge talking about how he’s Mr. Money in the Bank. Edge said he’ll be the Last Man Standing in his match with Chris Benoit and said “bank on it” to end it.
There’s a Tag Team Turmoil Title match: The Heart Throbs (Antonio and Romeo) were the first team with a very annoying entrance. William Regal and Tajiri were the World Tag Team Champions on the Raw brand as the second team.
Tag Team Turmoil for the World Tag Team Titles
Pre-match-notes: Five teams. Two teams start, when you are pinned or submit you are out and then another team goes in.
Part 1: William Regal & Tajiri vs. Heart Throbs
Regal started with Romeo with Regal taking control with an armbar. Antonio tagged in, Regal tripped him up and tagged in Tajiri, who connected with a dropkick followed by an arm drag and a kick to the back. Butterfly suplex by Tajiri followed by a standing moonsault. Romeo into the ring and Antonio dropped Tajiri with a back suplex. Quick tags by the Heart Throbs leading to a double team elbow drop for two. Antonio charged Tajiri in the corner, Tajiri avoided it and hit a sunset flip to win.
The Heart Throbs have been eliminated.
Part 2: William Regal & Tajiri vs. Simon Dean & Maven
I have no memory of Simon and Maven as a regular team. They were heels. I think it was just something to fill this match since they were two lower card wrestlers. Dean with a leg drop on Tajiri for two. Double team hip toss by Dean and Maven. Dean worked over Tajiri with a choke. The announcers were talking about the Simon System and JR asked: “Have you ever seen me in a speedo?” No JR, we have not and all due respect to you, we don’t want to. Regal got the hot tag with an Exploder Suplex on Dean, back body drop on Maven and a running knee on Dean. Regal pinned Dean to eliminate them.
Simon Dean & Maven have been eliminated.
Part 3: William Regal & Tajiri vs. La Resistance (Rob Conway & Sylvan Grenier)
La Resistance were heels. They attacked Regal and Tajiri as soon as they got down to ringside. Tajiri hit elbow attacks on both guys, spinning kick by Tajiri on Grenier and a low dropkick on Grenier. Regal back in with a kick to the back. Tajiri worked over Grenier with kicks to the ribs. Conway tagged in and didn’t have much success as Regal slapped on the STF submission. Grenier broke it up, so Tajiri went after Grenier. That didn’t work because Grenier sent Tajiri throat first into the top rope, Regal punched Grenier off the apron and Conway with a ROLLUP OF DEATH~! on Regal while holding the tights was enough to eliminate Regal and Tajiri.
William Regal & Tajiri have been eliminated. That means we will have new World Tag Team Champions.
Part 4: La Resistance vs. The Hurricane & Rosey
The face team of The Hurricane and Rosey were up next. They were faces. Hurricane nailed a cross body block off the top followed by a blockbuster on Grenier. Hurricane went for a move off the ropes, Grenier countered by sending Hurricane over the top to the floor. The heels worked over Hurricane for a bit with Grenier applying a headlock and then he hit a belly to back slam and a body slam. Grenier missed an elbow off the middle rope since Hurricane moved out of the way. Rosey got the hot tag with shoulder tackles, punches, a headbutt and a kick. Rosey missed a corner charge on Conway, but then Rosey caught him and hit a front slam (like Mark Henry’s finish) for a two count as Grenier made the save. Grenier and Conway with a double team spinebuster for two as Rosey powered out. Rosey shoved Conway into Grenier and a slam on Conway. Rosey stood on the middle ropes, Hurricane went on his shoulders and Hurricane jumped off with a splash on Conway. Hurricane covered Conway for the pinfall win after 13:43 of action.
La Resistance have been eliminated.
Winners and New World Tag Team Champions: The Hurricane & Rosey
The crowd gave Hurricane and Rosey a big ovation for their memorable first title win as a team. It was nice to see that reaction for them.
Analysis: **1/4 It was okay with a happy ending due to Hurricane and Rosey becoming Tag Team Champions. It was a bunch of quick matches to get four falls in about 15 minutes. I think the lack of great teams in the tag team division was obvious by some of the names in the match, but I always liked Hurricane and Rosey as a team. It wasn’t a great match by any means, but it was something the fans enjoyed and that’s what matters.
A video package aired to set up Edge vs. Chris Benoit in a Last Man Standing Match. The video showed what happened at WrestleMania 21 in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match when Edge hit Benoit in the arm with the steel chair when Benoit was close to winning the match. Edge ending up winning the MITB briefcase. Edge and Benoit had a match on Raw and Benoit beat Edge with a rollup. After the match, Edge attacked Benoit’s left arm with a steel chair. The two men brawled backstage, so Raw GM Eric Bischoff put them in a Last Man Standing Match.
Analysis: There was a long story going into this that they didn’t include in the video because Edge walked out on Benoit as his tag team partner and that set up Edge’s heel turn also.
Edge entered with the Money in the Bank briefcase in his hands. This was the first MITB briefcase and it was just a black briefcase without a logo on it. Chris Benoit was up next to a good ovation.
Last Man Standing: Edge vs. Chris Benoit
Pre-match notes: Edge was a heel on the rise that won the Money in the Bank briefcase one month earlier at WrestleMania 21. Benoit was a face that was a former World Heavyweight Champion. This match came at a time when Edge was getting a lot of heat in part because it was known that Lita cheated on Matt Hardy with Edge and Matt ended up getting fired about a month before this. Matt was brought back a few months later, but it led a situation where fans would chant for Matt Hardy during Edge matches.
They started out brawling, which is what they should have done. Benoit with a knee to the ribs followed by a suplex. Benoit worked over Edge with several chops to the chest. Edge came back with a hard whip into the turnbuckle that Benoit sold sternum first. Fans were chanting “We Want Matt” at Edge, who hit a body slam. Edge set up a Spear, Benoit tripped him up with a drop toe hold and stomped away. Running forearm by Benoit. Edge with a kick. Edge went out of the ring going for a trash can, but Benoit hit a dropkick. They went brawling into the crowd, they didn’t do that much and went back to in the ring. Benoit slapped on the Sharpshooter submission. Edge tapped out, but there are no submissions in a Last Man Standing match. Benoit with five consecutive German Suplexes in a row with Edge rolling to the floor after the last one. Edge was counted down and got back up at 8. Benoit knocked Edge down with a running forearm and Edge was counted down for 8 again. Benoit went for a suicide dive, but Edge was waiting for him with a trash can lid to the head. Ouch. That looked nasty. When Benoit got back up at 8, Edge hit him in the back with the trash can and Benoit got back up, so Edge rolled Benoit back in the ring. Edge teased a superplex on the garbage can in the ring and Edge connected with the superplex with Benoit’s backside hitting the trash can. Edge got back at 7 while Benoit was up at 8.
Edge hit a running knee to the head. Edge grabbed the trash can lid and hit Benoit with it repeatedly. Edge grabbed a ladder from under the ring and set it up inside the ring. Edge with a body slam. Edge slowly climbed a ladder, so Benoit followed him with a German Suplex off the ladder. It made no sense for Edge to climb a ladder in that spot, but it set up that cool spot, so I guess it’s okay. Benoit with another release German Suplex. Benoit climbed the ladder that was against the turnbuckle, Benoit went to the top and went for a diving headbutt, but Edge moved. Rough landing on the mat for Benoit. Edge tried to use the MITB briefcase as a weapon, Benoit moved and Benoit slapped on the Crippler Crossface. Edge tapped out again, but that’s not going to end this match. The ref counted again, but they got back up again. Benoit hit two more German Suplexes and Edge fought back with the Impaler DDT onto the briefcase. Edge got back up at a 7 count and Benoit got back at 9. When Benoit turned around, Edge hit a Spear. Lawler complained about how slow the ref’s count was, which was a valid point because Earl Hebner was going way too slow. Benoit got back up at a 9 count. Edge hit a second Spear. Edge got back up at 8 again. Edge opened up the briefcase, there was the contract and Edge pulled out a brick. Edge hit Benoit in the back of the head with the brick. The ref counted Benoit down and he stayed down, so Edge won the match. It went 18:47.
Analysis: ***1/2 It was a grueling battle that was given a lot of time and ended in a memorable way due to Edge cheating for the victory. The problem with a Last Man Standing match is sometimes it gets boring to see a ref counting the guys down when you know, as an audience, that there’s no chance the match is going to end at that point. The right guy went over since Edge was a heel on the rise while Benoit had already been a main eventer, so he was used to put Edge over in this big match. They also booked this in a way where Benoit looked strong because he made Edge tap out twice, but that’s not how you can win this match. Good stuff here.
Post match, Edge smashed the brick against the steel steps to show that it was real. Edge put his MITB contract back on the briefcase. They replayed the brick to the head finish. Edge left triumphantly while Benoit was selling a head injury after the loss. The crowd gave Benoit a nice ovation.
Analysis: I’ll be honest when I tell you that it’s tough to watch Benoit matches considering the double murder suicide he did in 2007. I can appreciate his skill as a performer, but I don’t have much emotion when I watch his matches again even though he was a favorite wrestler of mine at the time.
Kane and his “wife” Lita were backstage in the locker room with Lita having a crutch for her knee injury. Lita talked about Viscera possibly being with Trish. Lita motivated Kane by giving him a pre-match kiss since they were on good terms at this point.
Jerry Lawler was in the ring with a Divas magazine. Lawler introduced the Raw divas: Christy Hemme, Maria Kanellis, Candice Michelle, Victoria and Stacy Keibler. Ring announcer Lilian Garcia joined the ladies.
The six women stood in the ring while they showed a photo of each woman from the magazine with Lawler providing cheesy commentary on all the photos with things like “you look good vertical, but even better horizontal” and stuff like that.
Analysis: This was just filler while also plugging the latest Divas magazine. My favorite woman in that group is Candice.
Lawler tried asking Christy Hemme, but they were interrupted by Chris Masters’ entrance. The women left the ring while Masters, who was a newcomer at this point, entered to get some heat with the interruption.
Masters said the divas are hot, but they are no work of art like the Masterpiece. Masters pointed out that nobody has broken his Masterlock, so he’s going to offer $3,000 to anybody that thinks they break the Masterlock. Masters pointed out a woman in the crowd with a Boston Red Sox hat that was very muscular. Masters: “Are you a he or a she? Because from where I’m standing, you can be both.”
The individual said her name was Melissa Coates from New Hampshire. I remember the name as a WWE developmental talent at the time. Masters said it looks like she puts the “man” in Manchester. The crowd booed. Masters told “sir” to have a seat. JR: “Obviously it’s not a sir.”
Masters slapped on the Masterlock full nelson very aggressively and the referee Jack Doan quickly called for the bell. JR was yelling about it. Masters told the woman that she shouldn’t have volunteered for it.
Analysis: This was boring. It was a way to get cheap heat for Masterpiece, who they had high hopes for as a muscular guy that had the physique WWE loved. He never lived up to the potential he had based on his looks as a physical specimen.
Viscera was shown outside of Trish Stratus’ locker. Trish was the Women’s Champion. Viscera said he’s going to destroy Kane for Trish and when he does, it’s going to be “on like a steaming pot of neckbones.” When Trish asked what was, he said “it’s a black thing” and she’ll find out. Viscera had red lingerie for her and she said it’s not going to fit her. Trish tried to motivate him by telling him he must take care of business with Kane if he wants to have any business with her. Viscera slapped her ass as she left.
Kane entered with his “wife” Lita, who walked behind him and she had a crutch to help with her injured left knee. Lita suffered a torn ACL at January’s New Year’s Revolution and was out of action for most of 2005, but she was still on television regularly.
Viscera was joined by Trish Stratus, who had the Women’s Title on her right shoulder.
Kane (w/Lita) vs. Viscera (w/Trish Stratus)
Pre-match notes: Kane and Lita were faces while Viscera and Trish were heels. Trish used Viscera to try get revenge on Kane and Lita with the idea that if Viscera could beat Kane, Trish would sleep with him.
Kane with a punch and Viscera came back with a clothesline. Kane kicked Viscera out of the ring. Kane went up top and jumped off with a shoulder tackle. Fans chanted “We Want Matt” at Lita for reasons that I explained earlier. Back in the ring, Kane with two elbow drops followed by a leg drop. Viscera came back with a heel kick. Viscera made some gyrations towards Trish, which drew some laughs. Body slam by Viscera, but an elbow drop missed after Kane moved. Kane grabbed Stratus by the hair. Viscera came back with a splash on Kane followed by a Samoan Drop for two. Viscera with a Bossman Slam for a two count. Kane came back with a jumping DDT. Kane went up top and hit the clothesline that he does in every match. Viscera came back with a clothesline that sent Kane over the top to the floor. Viscera tried an attack against the ring post, but Kane moved and Viscera hit the post. Trish tried doing a chair attack, but Lita was there to save Kane with a crutch to the chair with Trish selling it like she was knocked out. Back to the match, Viscera hit a sitout spinebuster for two. Viscera brought Lita in the ring and tried forcing a kiss on her, but Lita slipped out of the ring. Kane with a boot to the face followed by a Chokeslam for the pinfall win at 6:09.
Winner by pinfall: Kane
Analysis: * A boring match with two big guys and nobody believed Viscera had a chance in winning since he was barely active on the roster. The key spot was Lita preventing Trish from cheating with the chair because the crowd reacted to that in a major way.
Kane left triumphantly with Lita while Trish was furious about the loss at ringside. JR: “Viscera’s doubleheader is canceled.” Good line.
Trish went back in the ring. Trish told Viscera he’s pathetic. Trish said she asked him to do one little thing and he couldn’t get the job done. Trish told him he failed. Trish said she would never lower herself to being with a big, fat, greasy chicken eating loser like him. Trish said she’ll get a real man that will get a lot of loving when he gets the job done and takes out Viscera. That led to Viscera picking up Stratus and giving her a bearhug where he shook her around. Viscera played to the crowd, they cheered and Viscera hit a running splash on Stratus. Viscera celebrated with some hip gyrations while the crowd cheered Big Vis for beating up a woman.
Trish was put in a neckbrace and then put on a stretcher.
Analysis: It was an injury angle for Trish because she had a back injury, left for about four months and was still the Women’s Champion when she came back. That led to Trish starting yoga, which ended up being her post-wrestling career. This was also the end of Trish as a heel because she was a face in her last year in WWE. I enjoyed her heel act a lot. Trish is my favorite woman in WWE history other than Mickie James, who started her angle with Trish later in 2005.
The video package aired to set up Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels vs. Muhammad Hassan and Shawn Daivari. Hassan and Daivari got in Michaels’ face calling him a loser for losing at WrestleMania. Michaels wanted to face them in a handicap match, but Bischoff told him he had to find a partner. Michaels said if he had to pick a partner he wanted to pick Hulk Hogan. It led to Hogan returning to save Michaels from an attack and Hogan talked about fans chanting “one more match” for Hogan at the Hall of Fame.
Hassan and Daivari entered to a lot of boos like usual.
Shawn Michaels was up for the face team to a loud ovation. Hulk Hogan got an even louder pop for his entrance with a lot of fans wearing Hogan gear. This was Hogan’s first match in WWE in about two years.
Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels vs. Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari
Pre-match notes: Hogan and Michaels were the faces of course. Hogan was 51 years old at the time of this match. Hassan and Daivari were heels that were new on the main roster. This may surprise some of you, but Daivari was only 21 years old at the time of this match.
It took about two minutes for them to decide to let Hogan start the match. Hogan shoved Hassan into the turnbuckle. Hogan hit a shoulder block with Hassan retreating again. The heels double teamed Hogan in their corner with kicks, but Hogan came back with a double clothesline. Running clothesline by Hogan on Hassan and he brought in Michaels. Double team boot to the face by Hogan and Michaels. Body slam by Michaels, but he missed the elbow when Hassan moved and Daivari tagged in. Hogan back in with a double team back elbow on Daivari. Hogan dumped Daivari out of the ring. Hogan whipped Daivari into the ring post. Hogan took a Hogan hat from a fan, put it on Daivari’s head and Hogan punched Daivari. Back in the ring, Hogan with elbow drops followed by a foot to the face. Michaels back with a chop to Daivari’s chest. Michaels nailed a forearm, kip up, atomic drop, Michaels punched Hassan off the apron and Michaels went up top. Michaels hit the flying elbow drop off the top rope. The crowd cheered as Michaels set up Sweet Chin Music. Hassan was on the apron, Hogan punched him off, Hassan got back up and hit Michaels in the back with a lead pipe. The ref didn’t see it. Daivari covered Michaels, but Hogan was there for the save.
The heels took over with Hassan hitting a running back elbow on Michaels. There was a closeup of the lead pipe outside the ring. Hassan with a hard whip that sent Michaels into the turnbuckle. Daivari slapped on knee to the back while pulling on the arms submission/rest spot. Hassan back in with a chinlock of his own. Michaels transitioned to sleeper, but Hassan countered into a backbreaker. A fan in the crowd had a sign that said “But they are from the USA” which is true and also funny. Hassan with a Camel Clutch on Michaels although it wasn’t applied very well. Michaels countered by putting Hassan on his shoulders and dropping back in the Electric Chair Drop. Hogan got the hot tag to a huge ovation while Daivari got the tag for the heels. Hogan with punches, then he did the noggin knocker headbutt to the heels. Hogan with the patented big boot to the face of Daivari. Hogan stalled for a long time, kept looking over at Hassan and that led to Hassan hitting Hogan in the back with the lead pipe. You knew that was coming. Daivari covered, but Hogan powered out and did the Hulking Up routine. The punches by Daivari were no good (shocking), Hogan came back with the finger point, punches to the head, boot to the face by Hogan and Hassan grabbed Hogan’s foot. Daivari got back up, Michaels hit him with the Sweet Chin Music and Hogan covered for the pinfall win at 15:05. JR was screaming about how the Dream Team did it.
Winner by pinfall: Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels
Analysis: **1/4 It was a fun match for the crowd and I’m sure the wrestlers enjoyed it, but I thought the match dragged on too long. They didn’t need 15 minutes for this when nobody watching this show believed that Hassan or Daivari had a chance to win. The formula was obvious with Michaels working as the face in peril, Hogan getting the hot tag and the legends getting the predictable win. If Hassan and Daivari had more credibility and were able to get some believable nearfalls then maybe it would have been a better match. It ended up being a basic tag team match.
Michaels tossed Daivari over the top to the floor. Michaels and Hogan did a long posing routine much to the delight of the crowd. That lasted a few minutes. The crowd was really into it, so it was a very cool moment. When Michaels tried leaving, Hogan brought him back so they can do more poses.
Hogan brought in a fan from ringside, took off his Hulkamania shirt and the dude had a huge Hulk Hogan tattoo on his back. The man was heavy, so Lawler made a joke that the tattoo moves and jiggles. The fan was posing in the ring with Hogan and Michaels. JR said it was a special moment to see Hogan and Michaels entertaining these fans like this.
Analysis: I’m not the biggest Hogan fan by any means, but that was fun to see aside from the big guy with the tattoo on his back. This led to Michaels turning on Hogan a few months later, which set up the SummerSlam 2005 main event: Hogan vs. Michaels in a dream match.
Triple H was interviewed by Todd Grisham going into Triple H’s return World Title match. Triple H said that Batista had a great night at WrestleMania, but Triple H holds the great equalizer and it’s called the Pedigree. Triple H said he’ll have a great night and walk out of there for the 11th time as the World Heavyweight Champion.
Christian made his entrance with his entrance in street clothes with his Problem Solver buddy Tyson Tomko. Christian was a midcard heel that a lot of us wanted to see get a more serious push, but it didn’t happen until later in his career.
Christian spoke about how there would be Backlash if Captain Charisma was on this show. Christian said this may be the last time we see him on a Raw pay-per-view because later in the month, there will be a draft and nobody is exempt. Christian said since he’s a main eventer, he’ll take this time and address his fellow main eventers. Christian said he’d like to do it in the form of a rap. The fans booed, but there were some cheers as Christian said the “cap’n is about to make it happen.”
Here’s the rap:
“On Raw you’ve got Batista with muscles to spare, but he’s got charisma like Tomko’s got hair.” Tomko touched his bald head. “You’ve got Triple H and Ric Flair, their legend still grows...26 titles between them, and the world’s biggest nose.” That drew some ooh’s and aah’s.
“Have you heard the one about JBL, you know the rich guy on Smackdown? Well I hear his taxes are still soaring, but he’s no wrestling God, just a God of boring.”
“Seems to me I’m forgetting somebody. Who am I forgetting? Oh yeah, he’s the guy who inspired this little rap, the WWE champion, John Cena. Well I got a little something for him.”
Hey Cena, you think I’m jealous of your fortune and fame? Well you talk like Snoop Dogg, but you look like Corey Haim. So after the draft, whether it’s RAW or Smackdown, JR or Michael Cole, I will be champion ‘cuz that’s how I roll!”
Christian celebrated his rap as his music played to end it.
Analysis: That was good. There wasn’t much of a reaction to the Corey Haim part because he wasn’t that relevant, but it was nice effort anyway. I was also a huge fan of Christian, so I was driving the bandwagon in these days. The rap was about four main eventers and he ended it on Cena because Cena was moved to Raw later that month in the draft. It was foreshadowing what was to come.
The video package aired for Batista defending the World Heavyweight Champion vs. former champion and mentor Triple H. The rematch was being called “Batista/Triple H II” and was standard stuff because the former champion gets a rematch most of the time (I'd say all the time, but it doesn't happen always). There wasn’t much of a story to the match, so they just put over how deadly The Pedigree was.
Ric Flair entered first in a suit with the crowd chanting “woo” for him like usual. Flair walked to the ring with a serious look on his face. Flair introduced his friend, the greatest wrestler in the world today and the soon to be 11-time World Champion, Triple H.
Triple H made his entrance to his classic “The Game” theme song. He was booed as usual. JR said that Hunter was a soulless, heartless, no good human being that would Pedigree his own momma to get what he wants, but he can’t discount the accomplishments of Triple H and said he may be the best ever. JR was great at ripping on a heel and finding a way to compliment them.
Batista entered to a nice reaction with the World Heavyweight Title aka “The Big Gold Belt” around his waist. The pyro went off for his entrance. The crowd response to Batista was good. It got better as he became more established as a top guy.
World Heavyweight Championship: Batista vs. Triple H (w/Ric Flair)
Pre-match notes: Batista was the face World Champion that was defending the title for the first time on a pay-per-view at Backlash. Triple H, who I usually just refer to as Hunter when writing about his matches, was in his usual heel role as the former 10-time World Champion going into the match.
The bell rang, Flair grabbed Batista’s foot and Hunter connected with a punch right away. Hunter went for a Pedigree, but Batista slipped out of it. Batista went for the Batista Bomb shortly after and Hunter slipped out of that, so each man went for finishers early. Batista with a back body drop. Hunter tried to come back with a Pedigree, they were near the ropes and Batista hit another back body drop that sent Hunter over the top to the floor. Batista went after Hunter on the floor, but Hunter caught him and sent him spine first into the barricade. Hunter sent Batista over the barricade. Suplex by Hunter on the floor. They went back into the ring with Hunter working over the back with shoulder tackles to the lower back of Batista. Hunter with a hard whip that sent Batista back first into the turnbuckle. Batista went to the floor, so Flair shoved him back first into the ring apron and hit him with chops. Batista tried to fight back, but Hunter stopped that with a spinebuster for two. Batista finally got some offense with a clothesline followed by a sidewalk slam and a clothesline that sent Hunter over the top to the floor. Batista whipped Hunter shoulder first into the steel steps. Batista sent Hunter into turnbuckle and hit a powerslam. Flair was on the apron, so Batista punched him. The ref had to forcibly get Flair out of the ring, Hunter had the title in his hands and when Batista picked up Hunter for a Batista Bomb, it was countered by a belt shot to the face by Hunter. The ref turned back around and Hunter covered for a two count.
Hunter went for a Pedigree, but Batista fought out of it again with a back body drop. Boot to the face by Hunter, Batista charged in, Hunter ducked and Batista hit the ref with a clothesline that sent the referee out of the ring. Hunter hit a Pedigree. Hunter covered, but the ref was on the floor. Flair rolled the ref back in the ring, but Mike Chioda was too hurt to count. Chioda was unable to count the fall. Hunter picked the ref up, slapped him in the face and Chioda went down face first. Another referee, Jack Doan, ran down to the ring to take over. He was just putting his ref shirt on. Hunter wanted a Pedigree again, but Batista countered and hit a Spinebuster. Facebuster by Hunter got a two count. Batista fought back with three corner clotheslines and when the ref checked on Hunter, he was met with a kick to the groin. Flair got into the ring, so Batista hit a clothesline on him. Batista countered a Pedigree with a slingshot into the turnbuckle. Batista wanted a Batista Bomb, but Hunter hit a low blow punch to the groin. Ouch. Triple H did the punches against the turnbuckle, Batista powered out of it with a Batista Bomb and covered for the pinfall as the original ref, Mike Chioda, returned to count the pin.
Winner by pinfall: Batista
Analysis: *** It was a good match with an outcome that was expected with Batista retaining the World Title. There was no reason to take the title from him. The match was slow for the most part with Hunter controlling the action, but they turned it up to the next gear when Batista made his comeback and that belt shot by Hunter that earned a good nearfall. The ref bump was done to set up another match because Triple H could complain about how he had the match won if the ref was in the proper position. The finish was a spot that we saw dozens of times in Undertaker matches, so it didn’t feel original at all. I thought that could have been better. I think Batista could have sold the back injury more because he sold it well in the first half of the match and then he ignored it.
Batista celebrated with the World Title while Hunter and Flair were down in the ring.
Batista left up the ramp holding the World Title up in the air. Triple H was making angry faces in the ring while the referee and Flair helped him back up. Hunter even shoved Flair down. Triple H hit a Pedigree on Mike Chioda, which led to JR calling him a “sore losing son of a bitch.” That was a great call by JR haha. Batista pointed at his title as the show ended.
Analysis: The feud continued leading to a Hell in a Cell match between them at Vengeance on June 26, 2005, which was nearly two months after this. That was their best match.
This event had a run time of 2 hours, 46 minutes on WWE Network.
Show Rating (out of 10): 6
It was a slightly above average show with three matches hitting the three-star level, but there wasn’t anything that memorable either. The Benjamin/Jericho match was really good and a smart choice to open the show. Edge’s win over Benoit was crafty. Batista overcoming the cheap tactics of Triple H was the right way to book that match. It was cool seeing the crowd response for Hogan even if I don’t like the guy much. I respect what he’s done in his career. Everything else on the show was mostly forgettable.
Best Match: Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho (***3/4 out of 5)
Worst Match: Kane vs. Viscera (*)
1. Shelton Benjamin
2. Chris Jericho
4. Chris Benoit
5. (tie) Triple H
5. (tie) Batista
Next up: Judgment Day 2005. I remember a bloodbath main event match with Cena/JBL and also a great Eddie/Rey match and angle on that show, so I'm interested to see it again.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton – firstname.lastname@example.org