Brett Mix’s- WWE Backlash 2008 Review:
“Can the age of Orton, live on!?” -Jim Ross
-WWE Backlash 2008 took place on Sunday, April The 27th, 2008 from the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore, Maryland and featured talent from the Raw, SmackDown, and ECW brands with over 9, 000 fans in attendance. The official theme song was “All Summer Long” by Kid Rock
-The tagline for the event was “Every Action Deserves a Fierce and Aggressive Reaction.”
-The main feud heading into Backlash on the SmackDown brand was between The Undertaker and Edge, with the two feuding over the World Heavyweight Championship. In February, at No Way Out, The Undertaker won an Elimination Chamber match to become the number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXIV. At WrestleMania, Undertaker defeated Edge to win the World Heavyweight Championship and extend his WrestleMania undefeated streak to 16-0. On the April 4, 2008 edition of SmackDown!, SmackDown! General Manager Vickie Guerrero booked a WrestleMania rematch between Undertaker and Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship at Backlash.
The predominant feud on the Raw brand was between Randy Orton, Triple H, John Cena, and John “Bradshaw” Layfield, with the four feuding over the WWE Championship. On the April 7, 2008 edition of Raw, after General Manager William Regal announced that Randy Orton would be defending the WWE Championship against John “Bradshaw” Layfield (JBL) at Backlash, Triple H said that he deserved another title match. Regal then booked a Handicap match between Triple H and Orton & JBL later that night. The stipulation of the match being if Triple H won, he would become a part of the WWE Championship at Backlash. Triple H won, and made the one-on-one title match between Orton and JBL, a Triple Threat match. After the match, however, John Cena stated that he also deserved another title match, which led to Regal booking Cena in a Handicap match against Triple H and Layfield. Cena won the match, and the match became a Fatal Four-Way match. On the April 21, 2008 edition of Raw, Raw commentator Jim Ross announced that the match was going to be an elimination match, instead of a standard one-fall match. Something I think is fun to watch at times!
-This was the 10th Annual Backlash PPV event.
-Mike Adamle and Tazz, Micheal Cole and Mick Foley, as well as Jim Ross and The King did commentary.
-In a Dark Match before the event John Morrison and The Miz defeated Jimmy Wang Yang and Shannon Moore.
-Now onto the PPV……………
1) Opening Contest- MVP (c) vs Matt Hardy for the WWE United States Championship
MVP’s the longest reigning US Champion in WWE history. He won the title against (THE WWE forgets who I guess) at Judgment Day. Matt was looking to put an end to that reign. The fans get behind him early and chant Hardy to cheer him on.
In the earlier stages MVP was being outworked by Matt Hardy and he takes a de-tour around ringside as Foley nicely points out. MVP does get some offense in and it’s not all Mattitude (that doesen’t fly these days does it?) Okay, it wasn’t MATT HARDY as MVP went for suplexes. Even when Matt attempted at the Moonsault MVP got the knees up just in time to hit Matt.
Foley one of the best all time at psychology (what a brilliant move putting him at the booth) makes it so much easier to get into a match more then you usually would. He clearly points out that Matt now has an injured mid-section from that blow by MVP on top of the injured appendix that kept him out of action a half a year. As I said in my WM 24 Review over a month ago I didn’t even know Matt was out of action that long or at all as I don’t really currently watch but I do enjoy these PPV’s I buy from 2008 as they seem to be quality. Matt Hardy hits what looks like a Samoan drop and using all his weight to do so and Cole points out that it might have done some damage to Matt. MVP takes advantage of that situation and he keeps dropping elbows in the stomach area of Matt smartly and efficiently. I’ve always been a pretty big fan of MVP but I can’t see him ever being a Future Main Eventer or at least a significant one, I just can’t see it. I think he’s pretty great for the mid-card though. Matt kept fighting back despite MVP carrying a lot of the match.
MVP went for the play maker and Matt countered back with the Side Effect! Matt went up for A Leg drop from the top rope and MVP hit the top ropes and Matt fell down on top of the buckle. MVP them smartly climbed up to the top but Matt battled back so I guess it wasn’t very smart. He ends up hitting the Side Effect from the top rope and Cole points out this could be the opening he needs to get back into the title match!
THIS HAS BEEN A VERY GOOD MATCH SO FAR, NO SLOW MOMENTS, SMART AND ENTERTAINING WRESTLING.
Doesen’t really surprise me though given that these are two great workers.
A series of near falls including a school boy make for interesting moments just after the Side Effect spot.
MVP does a cool drop kick to the head while Matt was sitting on the canvas and it sent Hardy to the outside of the ring. MVP thinks he’s going to win by countout as he celebrates early and the fans cheer when Hardy gets back in the ring. MVP is relentless and will stop at nothing to keep his near year long reign going so he keeps his KICKING ways on Hardy up.
Hilarious when he says “COME ON MATTHEW!”
Hardy can’t get up though despite what Montel said was very humerous. Cole says Matt Hardy can only take so much…..
When MVP went for another kick he got nobody home and hit the top of the buckle when missing Hardy and Matt hit the twist of fate on MVP.
1…2…3 and at 11:24 Matt Hardy picks up his first major single’s victory of his career! Matt has to be proud of this moment as MVP did an excellent job at re-building credibility to that championship that still had credibility before it with Benoit, but it’s just title credibility and belts these days usually don’t follow a familar pattern.
Great match, Great opener!
2) Kane (c) vs Chavo Guerrero (With Bam Neely) for the ECW Championship
Okay off to a good start for this PPV and now we got an ECW title match.
Lets see if these two can put on the five star classic that they did at Wrestlemania 24 in that 9 seconds of greatness.
Chavo looks determined to make it “RIGHT” this time around and despite the size difference as Tazz points out Chavo was ready attempting a single leg take down on the big man but Kane over powers him. He drop kicks him despite Chavo continuing to try and ground the big man. Kane then picks him up by the neck from behind Kane and then drops him. Kane with solid right hands to Chavo’s face then picks him up and he’s EXTREMELY (no pun intended) high up and then gets dropped.
Kane beat on Chavo for a bit more whipping him into a corner but then Chavo using his wrestling smarts tripped Kane into the buckle and then with Chavo on the upperhand (although briefly) has Kane in the corner but Kane throws him over the top rope to the outside. The two switch spots as Kane went out of the ring to meet Chavo but Chavo went inside the ring. Chavo jumped from the outside onto Kane but he caught him in mid-air and drove his back into the ring post Undertaker style.
I guess they are “BROTHERS“ (kayfabe) so it makes sense. Kane then tries to work on Chavo`s back while Chavo tries to work on the lower back and specifically the legs of Kane to make sure he remains NOT vertical because then Chavo would then be in trouble. Smart wrestling for the second straight match.
A pretty nice back and forth match here with a contrast of styles between the big and powerful champion against the small, dirty and sound challenger. More of a slow pace to it compared to the original of course and not as much crowd support as expected besides Kane being well over with the crowd and the Chavo sucks chants, it`s just the opener had amazing support like they usually almost always do. Chavo walks into a “brutal“ boot by Kane as Tazz points out. Chavo kicks out of a side slam.
Kane goes up to the top rope and hits a flying cothesline to the 175 pounder. Chavo then flies off the top attempting the same thing but Kane counters it by catching him in mid-air and slamming him down. Like I said though, this one goes back and forth.
Chavo does the Eddie shake and the fans boo. Chavo then scoops the legs of Kane and drops his elbow into Kane`s backs but it doesen`t effect him a whole lot as Kane gets back up.
The end came at 8:48 when when Kane hit a chokeslam and retained the title. Same result and ending as there Wrestlemania 24 encounter it`s just this edition was A LITTLE more back and forth to say the very least. It also took Kane 8:39 seconds longer to do it this time and I guess he must be slipping.
Solid match though for sure!
3) The Great Khali vs The Big Show
Dreaded this match when I looked at the card.
Who booked this anyway, was the star of Shes All That in charge by this time or what…
What I suspected eventually became a dark reality and of course this match was god awful.
Two big men together don`t make for a good mix, even Big Show vs Kane put on some dreadful matches like at Fully Loaded 1999 and King of the Ring.
It especially doesen`t make for a good mix when Khali slaps on those locks for a good minute or two to ensure that his matches all aren`t extremely short. The man has no workrate and is all just a circus act that isn`t very fun for a lot of people, saying he`s a former World Champion lessens the crediblity of that title IMO.
Big Show beats him with a choke slam at 8:03, it should have been shorter, about five-six minutes too long or better yet maybe the match just shouldn`t have happened.
4) Dave Batista vs “The Heartbreak Kid“ Shawn Michaels with Y2J Chris Jericho as the Special Referee
Both guys were babyfaces but I guess Batista was possibly a tweener here. Jericho came out in his ref shirt first, Batista then came in next and then the Showstopper third and last.
The two get it on and the bell rings as demanded by Special Ref-Y2J.
Batista has a smirk on his face which is pretty cool to start the match as he looks eager to get it on. JR loves Michaels to death as he always puts him over like Christ in every match especially on PPV.
Michaels tries for sweet chin music early and then Big Dave counters the super kick into an attempted Batista Bomb but Shawn escapes and tries to re-group on the outside of the ring. Cool start to the match,
The two lock up onfe back in the ring and HBK kicks the Quads of Batista`s big legs to try and wear him down similarly to what MVP did to Matt and what Chavo did to Kane earlier in this night. Batista hits some power oves with Velocity and Impact like Jim Ross states. A huge clothesline into the corner of the buckle but will those power moves play a significant role against the “most reselient“ wrestler in history, we`ll see. HBK gets the upper hand for a bit as he now has Batista grounded and then begins to work on Batista`s arm. His drives his kneed into the upper shoulder of Batista and holds an arm bar on Batista.
Batista then with all his strength counters that by attempting to pick up Shawn with his one free arm but Shawn keeps it applied from his back.
Jericho counts the 1…2… whenever HBK`s flat on his back with his shoulders to the mat for Batista but as said only gets a near fall. Batista`s power is shown to a great deal when he picks him ALL the way up just with one free arm and the place pops pretty loud in amazement and the two fall to the floor over the top rope. HBK throws Batista`s injured arm into the ring post and now once back in the ring continues to apply pressure to Big Dave relentlessly with a lot more arm work, including a half-nelson and hammerlock. Batista`s strength plays apart in how he counters Michaels offense.
Already this match is much better then the Armageddon 2003 Match and once again on the night it`s a match with pretty good psychology, thus far anyway.
Michaels looks pretty vicious as he aggresively works more on the Left Arm of Batista and JR points out that you can`t perform a Batista Bomb with one arm and that is a very valid point. He catches an elbow after sending Shawn into the corner. HBK holds his arm even falling towards the outside so he is very relentless indeed in this match! HBK climbs back in the ring and to the top rope and then flies off it with the double axe handel to the head of the big man. He once again for like the 7th time in the match slaps on the arm bar and Ross points out it`s all about leverage. Batista as always in this match powers out eventually as he hits a powerful Samoan drop to Michaels. He continues to sell the arm injury even though hitting him with a clothesline among other moves. with one good arm the Animal drives HBK`s lower back into the buckle, a move he likes to do and makes even more sense in this match considering HBK has a bad lower back. Batista now in control loses it by HBK countering a Batista bomb into a Crossface.
I love when someone slaps on the Crippler Crossface, fuck what some people think it`s one of the best submission holds ever. It`s not like there`s anything wrong with the move either. I see it as a tribute him and HHH use for Benoit seeing as they didn`t do it before he died. HBK has it locked on for quite awhile as Batista keeps shaking his head in pain but doesen`t give up as much as Jericho keeps asking him if he`s going to give up. Jericho eventually gets Michaels off Batista and the two have a little interaction which is interesting to see and JR plays it wonderfully saying he doesen`t know if that was neccessary or not.
That buys Batsta some time to get up and he hits a side walk slam on Shawn Michaels and then scores a near fall. King keeps saying how much power Batista has with just one arm and while it`s true he does, and he did play that role well earlier on it didn`t seem to be the case throughout as he used both arms rather well at times which hurt the matches psychology a bit but nothing huge. HBK nips up only to get speared by Batista. A very physical match for sure. Batista had HBK on the top rope and then gets pushed off the top rope and Michaels hits the big elbow to Batista.
Michaels goes to the corner after one move of offense (probably not the smartest thing in the world) and goes for a sweet chin music only to have it turned into a Spine Buster. I am very impressed by Batista at times during this match. I knew that was a wrong move for HBK though but his knee looks hurt. He goes over to the ropes to by himself some time and Batista goes for HBK but Jericho pulls him off.
HBK DOES get back up eventually and hits a Sweet Chin Music out of no where and gets thw 1, 2, 3 at 14:59. A sneaky win by Michaels and it kind of pisses me off that he keeps winning all of these matches but what do ya do….it`s still a GREAT match for the most part and pretty entertaining overall. You can`t take anything away from those facts and you can`t underestimate HBK as Lawler points out.
Pretty great! Much better then their Armageddon dissapointment. The later matches are even better.
HBK`s always worked well with big guys like Bret, Benoit and Angle do.
5) Beth Phoenix, Melina, Layla, Jillian Hall, Victoria, and Natalya vs Mickie James, Maria, Ashley,Michelle McCool, Cherry, and Kelly Kelly
Some good female workers in this match, some learning, others not so much.
Unfortunately the good female workers didn`t get a lot of time to work due to the frequent tags, which is why a 12 Diva tag match doesen`t come off so great.
This one was decent at best.
Glamazon hits the suplex on Ashley for the win at 6:30.
I can see why they gave this one some time because 12 women had to work (although all of them got tagged in quickly) and The King said something funny at the end of the match. Can we make it 2 out 3 falls….pretty funny but still a rather crap match to the 7 match card.
I was going to just give this 3/4* for SOME of the effort by the better Women workers in the match but I decided to be nice and push it up a little bit to give it a solid star.
Other then that there’s not much to see here folks, if you’re going to have the eye candy in a match at least let them take off there tops and bottoms, if not then don’t show me them at all. Thanks…
6) The Undertaker (c) vs Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship
Edge the 4 time Champion (at this time) comes out on his own for this match and is looking for revenge on The Deadman for his loss at WM 24.
Taker went 16-0 at Wrestlemania 24 when he defeated Edge with his submission hold in a classic match that I rated highly. I`m pretty curious to see if they can have a better match, a match as good as that one or a match that`s up at least some where close to that one. While I`ve only seen that match twice, I still remember what happened although I might not be incredibally accurate since I`ve only seen it well…twice. Still though I know it was a GREAT match and if this can be anything like that then that`s good enough for me.
Foley points out (as he had MANY wars with Taker) Taker lipping the words “I`m going to hurt you“ and how intimidating it is to begin a match as if going one on one with the Deadman who is also an amazing striker isn`t intimidating enough, oh and he IS the current Champion.
Edge does a good job at selling the fear well as he`s not exactly pulling a Shawn Michaels and running away all over the arena but you can see it in his body language and how he tries to pick his spots or hide throughout the match. His face says it all basically. Taker with some quick moves at the start but Edge counters back and Foley points out how he has to strike first, he hits a couple moves on The Taker but it doesen`t take long before The Undertaker battles right back sending Edge to the corner and then slugging away (like he does SO WELL) with rights and lefts to the head of Edge.
He then methodically goes to work on Edge`s arm. Working on it dead center in the ring then sending him into the corner applying more pressure to it. It seems like whatever body part was worked on in the match before, the next match of the night follows that pattern for this PPV. (To an extent anyway)
Egde then gets a brief bit of momentum as he hits Taker with a couple of right hands and clotheslines him over the top rope. Edge has a lot of confidence right now and he then does a baseball slide and dropkicks him under the ropes and Taker`s back hits the barricade. Taker then drives Edge`s back to the ring apron to even things up. The two slug it out on the outside Attitude Era style and Taker punishes Edge a bit more by sending him into the corner hitting Edge`s back hard again. Taker keeps breaking his own count in the ring then drops Edge face first on the outside rail. Taker breaks yet another count and drops Edge face first on the ring apron.
I love how Taker drops 300 pounds with his leg drop to Edge`s head outside of the apron area. Micheal Cole tells us all the title can`t change hands on a countout, thanks Mike, we didn`t know that.
Taker applying more pressure to the challenger when Edge countered and drove his knees into the back of the Deadman! Edge then showing No Mercy as he tries to attack Taker as quickly as possible to ensure Taker doesen`t get back IN THE MATCH. He does a spear to the BACK (lower back) of Taker that drives him hard into the corner. I liked how that showed Edge still remembered earlier in the match where he did a baseball slide to Taker and Undertaker went flying into the barricade area and hurt his back.
Back in the center of the ring Taker tried to power out of a hold that was wearing Taker`s body down and making sure he stayed down with rights and lefts he eventually does but Edge hits him right after with another drop kick to the lower back that sends Taker outside of the ring once again.
A few sleeper holds among other submissions hold the matches pace back a bit in my opinion. Edge`s sleeper camel clutch made sense to wear down Taker but it wasn`t an all out war that some people might have expected this to be, still it`s both guys playing there parts tremendously well. Edge continues with that back hold as he rolls right into it when Taker reverses Edge`s modified camel clutch, that Edge actually re-applies until Taker stands up and falls backwards to drop Edge on his back! 300 pounds of Taker dropping to Edge which should even the match right up.
The two then hit a double clothesline on one another. Hey, didn`t I say that the match should be pretty even now after that back drop then the two hit a double clothesline and they both go down, good stuff.
Turns into a slug fest in mid-ring with both guys back on there game and pretty equal in the match and that helps the pace a bit. The momentum shifts back to the Deadman`s favor after a little bit and he goes for Old School and Edge hits him in the head with his boot.
Some near falls here entering the Climax of the match helps the matches pace pick right back up.
I loved Edge`s work on Taker`s lower back though it is just great during this one!
One of Edge`s friends hits Taker in the head with the belt behind the ref`s back but Taker kicks out and the place pops insanely loud.
Edge`s spear gets countered into a DDT as that would have surely put the Deadman out. A Physical match most definately that has gone for the most part back and forth. One of Edge`s other friends went to help Edge but he got knocked off the ring apron. Edge counters Taker`s last ride into a roll up but then Taker smacks on his lethal submission hold.
The finish came at 18:26 when Taker used that same submission move he hit at WM 24 to win the title! Great match!
Definitely worthy of the time it got.
Not exactly as good as there WM 24 match for sure but this one was still good. Very good. I enjoyed it and it was a pretty nice thrill ride although some of the action was a bit slower during this one and the matches flow wasn`t ALWAYS top notch. In saying that I also need to be fair and point out Edge is in his prime and Taker is only seeming to get better so they both put on a pretty amazing match here at times. I was into it the entire time, throughout the whole matches duration.
7) Main Event- Randy Orton (c) vs Triple H vs John Cena vs JBL in a Single Elimination Fatal Fourway match for the WWE Championship
This was JBL`s first WWE title match in 2 years here as he enters second after Triple H who entered first. JBL is also the longest reigning Champion in Smackdown`s history but this battle is for Raw`s WWE title which IS the same belt he carried near a year.
Cena comes out third and Orton the Champion enters last appropriately.
The four men all stare each other down in each corner while Lillian looks like a piece of meat inbetween four tigers introducing all four to the crowd. Makes more of a dramatic effect when they do this for Main Events so I can see why they do it that way. Also a good way to see who is how over with the crowd and no music playing to distract you at the same time.
I should also note CM Punk threatened Orton`s with MITB the same way Kennedy did to Edge last year incase he won but nothing happened just like last year with that part.
JBL and Cena who have had wars in the past (some good, some dreadful) go at it for a part in this match in the corner brawling away. Trips and Cena who have also had some wars and would continue to this year go at it as well. JBL also took it to Triple H and we don`t see that match up very often. JBL and Trips had a face to face confrontation at WM 21 backstage when they were both Champions so I found that rather interesting. The Heels teamed up on The Game in the ring as JBL held back Triple H while his former Evolution member Randy Orton hit him with rights and lefts.
Really loved on second thought how the guys didn`t care if a pinfall happened so there wasn`t as many pin break up`s like the year previous. As said both fatal four way styles have there strengths and weaknesses and THAT is a huge Strength to this match where it`s near falls and the superstars themselves kicking out rather then every man in the four way constantly breaking up a pin-fall.
Infact at one point in this match it was hillarious, JBL laughed at Orton while Cena had the STFU on him. As said he didn`t care if he was to be eliminated even though he was the champion because it was you lose, you`re out of the match aka single elimination.
Trips then applied a Crossface on JBL which was pretty funny.
High intensity just like the Backlash 4 way from the year before as to be expected and a great part of this match was how it stayed that way for the most part while all four men were in the actual match. While all four weren`t in the match the whole time then not so much. When it came down to two men it had a slower pace to add drama and make it have a more one on one feel to set up that upcoming feud but then there were four it was fast paced action for half of the match and this one runs a little long so that is a good thing for sure!
The typical “Boo-YEAH-Boo-YEAH“ spot which is always interesting makes the Cena-HHH back to back action fun to watch. I just hate when Cena goes for a five knuckle shuffle it is so corny as all fuck. I loved how Trips hit a Double A Spinebuster to Cena and the place pops. JBL missed his clothesline from hell on HHH who ducked and then Cena hit the F-U on JBL. Cena then takes HHH to the outside and locks on a STFU to JBL. JBL then taps out immediately and he is the first one eliminated and the place pops.
and I mean `Seconds` later Orton kicks Cena in the head (Who was the leading candidate to win this title match in a poll) and pins him to eliminate him as well!
Lillian announces that both JBL and Cena are gone.
The match is now down to Orton and Triple H.
The 4 way while they were there was fun while it lasted but as said the pace got a little slower when it just came down to Orton and Triple H in the end of the match. That`s what ultimately brings this 4 way down a bit in comparison to others but the in ring action was still pretty decent between Trips and Orton as they`ve provided a few *** plus matches over the years together which is pretty impressive. (Especially considering some happened during Orton`s miserable failure as a babyface)
Trips dominated Orton for a lot of time on the outside and the inside of the ring although Orton still had his moments in the match. Orton countered the Trips offense by sending him into the steel steps. Orton sent Trips into the security wall right into the concrete.
A lot of back and forth action from then on…..
In the end at 29:22 Triple H hit the pedigree on Orton and defeated him to win the WWE Title.
Great 4 way just not as good as the 07 one for reasons stated mid way through the review due to pacing.
Still pretty awesome though and a good way to close out the show with a new champion!
Final Rating for WWE Backlash 2008 = 7/10
Any higher of a rating for the overall show wouldn`t seem very justified to me. While both main events were Great they weren`t quite GREAT enough to carry the show to higher then a 7 rating. A couple of other three star matches on the card helped maintain the shows average rating and then two piss poor matches brought it down a little and then there was an average match in the middle. So a pretty good PPV overall and if you want the Backlash`s as a whole pick this one up, it`s still solid overall!