Brett Mix’s- WWF Backlash 2002 Review:
“Tonight IS YOUR FIRST OFFICIAL MATCH! You NEVER EVER GET A SECOND CHANCE…TO MAKE A FIRST IMPRESSION!” -Paul Heyman
-WWF Backlash 2002 was a wrestling (PPV) event produced by the Federation. (WWF). The event took place on Sunday, April the the the 21st, 2002 in front of 12,489 fans at the Kemper Arena, in Kansas City Missouri.
-This was the fourth annual Backlash PPV event by the Federation.
-This was the final PPV under the WWF name.
-This was the first PPV to take place in Kemper Arena from the WWF since the death of Owen Hart at Over the Edge 1999, not even three years earlier.
-The biggest storyline for Backlash 2002 going in was between the new Undisputed WWF Champion Triple H and the re-born run of Hulkamania.
-On Sunday Night Heat The Big Show defeated Justin Credible and Steven Richards in a Handicap match before the event at 2:11.
-Jim Ross and Jerry the King Lawler did commentary.
Now onto the PPV…..
1) Opening Contest- Billy Kidman (c) vs Tajiri (With Torrie Wilson) for the WWF Cruiserweight Championship
Kidman was of course dating the opponents valet behind the scenes but here is an underrated and often forgot about opening cruiserweight gem.
We usually saw them from WCW in the 90s but during this time period in the WWF and WWE we saw the rare occurance and these two really brought it here.
For those of you who don’t know, Torrie Wilson at this point in time was nothing but Tajiri’s slave and had to come out dressed in one of those Japanese gowns that fully covers the body. Great.
Torrie’s REAL boyfriend (BEHIND THE SCENEEZZZZ) Billy Kidman comes out to surprisingly a good POP but it was the opening match of the PPV, he was the face, he was a CHAMPION and he IS a good Wrestler so it’s not all that surprising.
A Torrie chant gets going just minutes into the match.
This one should be pretty good and from memory it was.
Tajiri pushed Kidman, Kidman pushed Tajiri and he fell down and Tajiri sprung up, cool.
Kidman hit him with a clothesline, then Kidman hit him with two armdrag take down’s, but Tajiri put Kidman in the corner and gave him a chop, Kidman countered and chopped him back, Kidman then hit Tajiri with a boot up high when Tajiri charged to him in the corner but he was resilient and the Japanese Buzzsaw catapolted Kidman from the ring up to the top corner but since Billy Kidman had a lot of strength he was able to land feet first on the top, switch in mid-move and hit an offensive crossbody from the top! Nice.
Good fast action to start the match!
He scored a nearfall and Torrie Wilson looked mad as she wanted Kidman to win it looked like and she got some Torrie Chants. Kidman sent Tajiri to the outside but Tajiri caught him and hung him from the ring onto the security wall and he landed face first on the wall.
Tajiri had Kidman where he wanted him and hit him with a nice scoop slam before a devistating knee drop from Tajiri to the head Kidman. Tajiri began to choke out Billy Kidman on the bottom rope and then he slid out of the ring and scored with a nice KICK to the head of Kidman, and few can KICK better then Tajiri.
He then snapped Kidman down and held on a headlock. Kidman battled for strength to get out of the predicament as the Kemper Arena clapped him on and he ducked a clothesline then hit a hurricanrauna. He bounced off the ropes for leverage and got caught with a back breaker by Tajiri. Tajiri set up Kidman in the corner upside down and he came off from the other side with a baseball slide into Kidman’s face with both feet hitting him up high, or LOW I guess since he was upside down!
Tajiri from the outside torking Kidman’s back on the ring post with a stretch to apply more pressure before getting back in the ring and toying with him some more, trash talking and stomping and the like. Heel Tajiri is pretty cool actually.
Tajiri with another nice back breaker and Torrie is clapping on Tajiri here so never mind, I guess she just liked being treated like a slave.
Tajiri applying more pressure to Kidman’s lower back kneeing him in the lower back, Kidman battled out with a punch but Tajiri remained the agressor and kicked at him on the canvas, as the damage was done to the champion.
Billy Kidman fought back but got caught in the corner, and before it looked like the challenger Tajiri was going to hit a sunset flip from the outside he locked on the Tarantula.
Kidman had boughten himself time as Tajiri had a tantrum and when Tajiri sprung off the ropes with a back flip Kidman caught him in mid air with a drop kick to the back and the fans applaud the awesome spot.
Kidman wouldn’t remain in control as Tajiri hit him with a reverse elbow before a go behind waist lock, pinning attempt, amazing felxibility by Tajiri to lean back after he bended his body to score another pinfall and he looked pissed that he wasn’t getting him. Tajiri ducked a clothesline, hit Kidman with another great kick to the head but only got another near fall. Kidman countered a move in mid-air but got a nearfall after hiting him in the face. Kidman who had barely any offense at all in the match to this point went to the top for his Shooting Star Press but Tajiri moved out of the way.
Kidman then got hit by Tajiri’s BIG KICK but Kidman kicked out!
Tajiri can’t believe it!
Tajiri then kicked at Kidman’s head again and placed him up high and Kidman hit a high powerbomb in mid-air from the top rope, a sitdown powerbomb which looked awesome but got just a two!
Tajiri went for an irish-whip but got caught by Kidman and he lifted him up high, but in mid-air Tajiri sprayed something into Kidman’s face!
In the end at 9:08 Tajiri became THE NEW WWF Cruiserweight Champion when he pinned Kidman after countering a Powerbomb by spitting Red mist into his face.
Tajiri then spoke Japanese to Micheal Cole outside the ring after his title victory.
Micheal Cole looked like he didn’t know what was going on but he usually never does.
2) Scott Hall (With X-Pac) vs Bradshaw (With Farooq)
Backstage before the match Farooq gave Bradshaw a hug like they hadn’t seen each other in years due to the brand split.
It had been like two weeks.
Either way Scott Hall comes out to his nWo theme with X-Pac who was wearing a KANE MASK.
I guess this was a way X-Pac would stay away from the HEAT. No?
Anyway this didn’t look good on paper and it still doesen’t look good as I have bad memories of this match.
Farooq came out right before the beginning of the match to get in Bradshaw’s corner. Damn.
The two hug, isn’t that nice.
Bradshaw was always pretty over as a FACE before doing the whole JBL thing but I don’t think the crowd was ready for him in a single’s role on PPV, at least it didn’t seem that way but they tried to make him a big star on Raw with the brand split.
Fans chant APA.
Bradshaw with right hands to Hall and then slammed his head on the buckle as Hall looked drunk, probably was.
Bradshaw then hits a nice DDT in mid-ring but only got a two.
Hall was on the outside of the ring and he turns around to see Farooq so he gives him a right hand, and X-Pac one as well for good measure. X-Pac even got X-Pac sucks chant and he wasn’t even in the match!
Bradshaw back in the ring hit Hall with a vertical suplex.
X-Pac just simply turned around at the crowd and the whole front section stood up to BOO him, he could attract heat THAT EASY. My god.
Bradshaw with a near fall and kept beating on Hall till he gave him a thumb to the eye and then Hall with a turn around right hand. Scott Hall’s first offense in the match. Razor err, Hall then choked out Bradshaw on the middle rope with his leg pushing down on Bradshaw’s back on the middle rope, X-Pac choked out Bradshaw behind Keota’s back.
Hall with an irish whip to Bradshaw in the corner then a splash followed by more right hands and stomps to the mid-section grounding the big texan.
Bradshaw fought back in the match as the crowd CHANTED APA, but they are seperated now so it’s pointless. Bradshaw ran towards Hall for a clothesline attempt but Scott Hall hit a drop toe hold and X-Pac marks out on the outside. Hall didn’t look good here, and he seriously looked drunk, not just a joke.
Scott Hall though, caught a reverse elbow and he looked funny whenever he sold as well and then caught a big boot by Bradshaw.
A hard irishwhip to the corner followed by a thunderous clothesline then when Hall attempted to do the same thing he caught a clothesline from hell!
X-Pac broke up the count from the outside though by putting Hall’s feet on the rope. Farooq then chased X-Pac around the ring before ramming his spine to the ring post, with Bradshaw distracted Hall hit a low blow from behind Keota and Bradshaw himself.
Jim Ross says “It was not a pretty victory. It was not a pretty match.”
That about sums it up.
Hall pinned Bradshaw in the end after a low blow at 5:43.
3) Jazz (c) vs Trish Stratus for the WWE Womens Championship
Crowd was silent for a Women’s match.
Some good moves in this one but nothing overly special, Trish was dominated despite hitting some of her signature offense but that was the focus of the match.
Molly Holly came out who was in a feud with Trish (What heel Diva wasn’t?) and declared the fans wanted a Women’s champion who was Pure and Wholesome then she gave Trish a shot. I would like to as well.
She gave Trish a hard Irish Whip on the outside into the steel steps.
Jazz then came out and went to work.
Would the mighty Stratus be able to overcome the odds now with a bad back. No.
She got a nice sit down powerbomb by Jazz but she only scored a nearfall.
Funny when JR says Jazz is Mike Tyson like and Lawler said “Mike Tyson is way better looking then Jazz.”
Trish was choked out continually in the match by Jazz when she placed her boot to the back of Trish’s head on the ring ropes.
Stratus would hit some more moves but Jazz countered her bulldog headlock with a side slam to the canvas and then a boston Crab.
She went from the Crab into another hold and then locked in an STF.
Jazz would go on to retain her Women’s title with the STF at 4:29 making Trish Stratus submit.
Not bad but nothing good. Decent Women’s match.
The crowd was dead and if given more time they could have produced something nice, the potential was there but they decided to go with the pre-match formula of Trish selling an injury.
In the end at 4:30 Jazz retained the Womens title via submission.
4) Brock Lesnar (With Paul Heyman) vs Jeff Hardy (With Lita)
This was Lesnar’s PPV Debut and it was also his first ever TELEVISED Wrestling match.
Lesnar gets pumped up backstage before the match from a Sadistic looking Heyman.
If there was one guy who made an impact early and often it was Brock Lesnar.
This was the perfect way to build him, don’t put him over someone right off the start EXTREMELY credible but simply credible because they were EXTREME.
Lesnar’s manager Paul Heyman was shown playing around with Lita’s panties on Raw’s before Backlash and that helped the feud I guess…..
You can see Kansas City just look at Lesnar and even though he was only two weeks old I spotted 5-6 Lesnar signs in the crowd and he wass just a fucking beast as you all know.
His jump from the ground to the apron is awesome, as you all know he did it a couple of times early.
Jeff from the get go went for Lesnar but he tossed him outside, then Jeff threw Lesnar into the ring post on the outside and hopped off the top and with Lesnar’s hurt shoulder hit a cross body but Lesnar with power threw Jeff off of him and half away across the ring.
Lesnar then showing how much of a beast he could fucking he drilled Hardy on the corner with his huge shoulders.
Lesnar then with a belly to belly suplex, so sound. Most guys are GREEN this early and most big guys can’t hit moves like these but not a former NCAA Champion.
Brock then with another belly to belly just toying with Jeff as he looks hurt and the size difference is huge. I stood next to Jeff, he isn’t small either.
Brock with a back breaker after two belly to belly’s, so nice follow up offense.
Brock hit these moves in succession, back breaker after back breaker and he did it three times before letting Jeff go, to show his power he held onto the 200 pounder in mid-air between each move.
Lesnar then stalked Jeff slowly rising to his feet and despite his attempted comeback with kicks and rights Lesnar irish whipped him very hard into the corner turnbuckle.
Lesnar then did it to the other side extremely hard and he is already impressive.
Brock did it again to Jeff but this time he jumped up top and hit a corkscrew moonsault but Lesnar kicked out amazingly strong and fast again, but Jeff then with a jaw breaker, and then dropped both legs inbetween Brock’s in his signature spot.
A Desperate Jeff went for the Swanton Bomb and hit it but only got a two.
Jeff Hardy looks like he seen a fucking ghost, and I have no idea why he’s dressed like the Riddler in this match.
Jeff grabbed a steel chair on the outside and then Brock hit an F-5!
Brock didn’t go for the pin and Heyman said “NO! HURT HIM! HURT HIM!”
The front row is all standing as there amazed by his skill, power and strength.
Lesnar then with an out Hardy kept power bombing him. Jeff looked to be out of it.
The ref checked on Jeff, he’s decent but Brock then went for more powerbombs and slammed him scary hard on the mat and the ref rang the bell due to the pain.
HERE COMES THE PAIN!
In the end The referee stopped the match after Hardy was rendered unconscious by 3 powerbombs at 5:29.
I can’t rate this one very low because it was exciting while it lasted, it got its point across very well and Lesnar did a good job for his first match.
5) Kurt Angle vs Edge
This one had pretty good build up on the RAW AND Smackdown brand and pretty good potential as well.
Edge in 2002 on Smackdown ROCKED.
Then they both were exclusive to the Smackdown brand.
Edge and Angle used to be buddies but then around the 2001 KOTR that went sour.
Edge and Angle costed each other matches before this show, plus Edge wrote “I’m a dork; I have no testicles” on the back of pictures Angle held up and looked at.
This feud was CLEARLY heated.
Anyways, from memory they had a good feud, a nice solid cage match on Smackdown, a hair vs hair match at Judgment Day and another match here from memory that was wrestled quite well, we’ll see how this one is.
Edge crazy over the crowd gets high elevation delivering a tremendous dropkick to Angle in mid-air.
Angle was STILL funny back then and not so much INSANE so he was fairly entertaining as an overall package while Edge as I elluded to before was just simply flat out AWESOME in 2002 in the ring, his series with Regal coming into the year, then all his work with Eddie and the Smackdown six, with Angle, Benoit, Rey, whoever he just owned the show. His great stuff as a babyface before being forced to turn heel in 2004 as the times had changed by then but he obvioussly plays a brilliant heel so there’s no complaints there.
Both guys ready for this match and we’re underway!
Kurt Angle with a side headlock at mid-ring to start the bout and Edge forces him to the ropes but Angle knocks him off with a shoulder block. Angle sucks chants fill the Kemper Arena as he leaps over Edge but catches two clotheslines and Edge pounds him into a corner before irish whipping him to the other corner but then caught a reverse elbow by Kurt Angle, however he comes back with a drop kick and then plants Angle with a face buster before clotheslining him over the top rope to the outside and he gets a great ovation for doing so!
Edge then got dragged to the outside by Kurt Angle but Edge took it to him on the floor and Edge threw him back in the ring.
Edge though was taken down by Angle as the momentum shifted back and forth in the early stages A LOT and the two countered each others moves, Edge scored a spinning heel kick, Angle caught a GERMAN suplex out of no where to Edge then WOO’d a bit. Edge was down and Angle stomped on him but still got HEAT from the crowd with the Angle Sucks chants.
A lot of back and forth action here but nobody in the driver’s seat of the match, fun to watch but little psychology thus far if any at all.
Angle stomps on Edge in the corner then hits him with a few slow but painful looking chops.
Edge with come chops of his own and he reversed Angle’s irish whip, hit him with a boot to the head, but STILL Angle managed a belly to belly suplex and scored a nearfall.
Angle then had Edge down and talked some trash to him before picking him up and levelling him with a hard right hand.
Jim Ross says Angle might be the greatest WWF Superstar in history and I almost threw up. He might crack a top 25 list but come on…
Angle and Edge strike back and forth in mid-ring with right hands and Angle hit another belly to belly suplex and once again got a nearfall.
Kurt then grabbed Edge by the hair.
Angle then with his headlock as both men are down on the canvas and Angle is wearing out Edge, who is quite often a high flying offensive machine.
Angle had that sleeper on Edge for 40 seconds so both men could catch a breather.
Edge back to his vertical base and for some revenge in mid-ring hit a belly to belly suplex to Kurt Angle this time!
Edge and Angle both laying down after the suplex as they are still gasping for air.
Angle to his feet first and hits Edge with some hard right hands and does so until he irish whips Edge and he comes off the ropes with two forearms then a back body drop to try and build some momentum.
Edge then with a nice face plant to the canvas in between Edge’s legs as Angle’s face drove right to the canvas but Edge only got a two.
Edge then leaped over Angle and he applied a stanind bulldog with nice impact but still only got a two yet again.
Edge then got up to his feet slowly but surely and went outside the ring to the top rope but Angle sprung up and did his usual catch up on the top and hit a belly to belly from the top and got a two.
Angle then turned around and went for an Ankle Lock out of no where but Edge kicked him off. Angle worked on Edge’s back a bit with some shots as he stood but hits a belly to belly for the 6th fucking time.
Not the 7th time Angle hits a belly to belly suplex, really original.
Oh now an 8th…I’m serious.
I wouldn’t mind it if it made some sort of sense but it looked like Angle just didn’t know what to do, but Edge then reversed Angle’s waist lock and hit a belly to belly suplex on Angle.
Yeah, an impressive move but we’ve seen it 11 times combined already between the two of them and why? Shouldn’t Edge be hurt and fatigued from all those suplexes?
No he just hits one to Angle, then makes sure he ducks down to back drop Angle over the top ropes to the outside.
All of the sudden Edge flew with a big cross body off the top rope. Both men hurt now on the outside as they’re down and on the mat.
Edge is the aggressor says Ross but I’m still not sure why. Angle’s offense must not hurt Edge. That’s my main beef with back and forth bouts, a lot of material but no REAL substance.
Edge with a high drop kick from the top rope then gets a two and he does that regular EDGE face when he can’t get the three.
Edge stalks Angle as he turns around and goes to plant him with a DDT, Angle turns around and counters it into an Angle Slam!
Edge KICKS OUT.
Angle can’t believe it.
Angle then stood up and meant business so he took off the straps and hooked Edge’s left ankle for the Ankle Lock!
Edge couldn’t reach the ropes but he countered the Ankle Lock into a roll-up but got a near fall. Angle gets up clotheslines Edge out of desperation.
Edge can feel no pain I imagine from the story telling (if there is any) from this match.
Angle grabs a chair because he can’t beat Edge but then he ends up hitting the top rope which bounces off and hits Kurt instead, then Edge with a reverse X-Factor but he only gets a two.
Angle rakes the face of Edge and then Edge catches Angle with a high knee to the face before charging towards Angle with a spear attempt in mind and then Angle caught Edge with a solid kick to the head instead as a nice counter.
Angle then hit his move again.
In the end Angle pinned Edge after a 2nd Angle Slam at 13:25.
This match was entertaining, featured solid moves, was back and forth and had a nice climax.
So for that reason, and those reasons alone I will not go too low on this match, however it didn’t feature ANY psychology and the main story featured here was “Who can hit a belly to belly to the other that actually HURTS?”
That was THE ONLY story you got from a match with no psychology at all, but then again it was a regular Angle match.
Still fun though overall.
6) Rob Van Dam (c) vs Eddie Guerrero for the WWF Intercontinental Championship
Jerry Lawler talks about knowing Eddie’s uncle Hector before this match and how much he loved watching Eddie perform.
This next match is amazing by the way but it takes multiple viewings or a good eye to catch what is just so amazing about it.
Eddie’s HEEL psychology in this match is so brilliant. I was high on this match before and had already written out a review for it, so here it is as my feelings are just as high now about this classic encounter, as they were then. I remember Rob taking a sick powerbomb in this bout.
RVD’s unorthadox offense against Eddie’s great aerial;mat offense.
Eddie comes to `Latino Heat` and King says Latino Heaaaaaat (Which I absolutely hate) I know he loves it but I don`t. I much perfer his “WHAAAAAAAT!“ in a squeeky voice.
Anyway Eddie looks disgusted with life as a heel and this was just before he was booked to be in a program with Steve Austin but we all know how that played out, it didn`t. (Which unfortunately as Austin regrets in his book due to the walkout)
RVD comes out with the IC Title and is very much over as expected.
RVD comes in the ring.
This should be a great back and forth high flying bout with a lot of counters just like the last one.
This is the BATTLE OF THE FROG SPLASHES.
HLLARIOUS MOMENT HERE.
Jerry Lawler asks King “Who was the first person to use the Frog Splash in the WWF”
Jim Ross after a few seconds says that would be D-Lo Brown, King comes back with his WHAAAAT. Okay, now that is funny.
Jerry Lawler then realizing he made a mistake says OKAY who is the SECOND person, and JR says Eddie and King says that`s right……
Lawler claims RVD copied it from Eddie Guerrero.
Eddie Guerrero doesen`t like RVD`s taunt when he points to himself so he pushes him and the match is underway, Eddie runs to the side ropes comes off and ducks a potential clothesline from Rob Van Dam and then flips over RVD in a VERY COOL looking spot and then caught a spinning heel kick still from RVD.
Lawler says the match is going to be lightning quick, he is right.
RVD flies to the corner and then monkey flips Eddie before catching Eddie Guerrero with another spinning heel kick, then a near fall.
Eddie then battled back with some hard right hands and then caught RVD`s left leg and torked the knee with a single leg take down. Eddie cornered Van Dam and delivered some hard blows to Van Dam in the corner but RVD despite getting some spears turns around and hits a waist lock on Eddie, then Eddie Guerrero viciously countered that and attacked RVD once again backing him into a corner.
RVD then gets a moment as the ref buys him some time and he utilizes that to hit a heel kick and then a leg drop after a flip. RVD with a big kick to Eddie Guerrero and a nearfall. JR calls RVD hard to scout, that about sums it up.
Both men look to go for a suplex but Eddie hits it yet RVD lands on him…strange. RVD then goes up top for a back flip but Eddie caught him up high. Eddie then punched RVD up high and goes up top with him and this was the aerial assault I was elluding to before that we`d suspect, Eddie Guerrero goes for a suplex but RVD with a unique counter in Mid-Air as he jumps to the outside but bounced Eddie Guerrero`s head off the top ropes. RVD back in the ring from up high hits a kick to the head and then rolling thunder and got a nearfall.
Non Stop Offense!
Eddie with an inside cradle, a two. RVD to his feet, Eddie with a backslide Roll-Up with his leg strength and another near fall.
RVD with a baseball slide then hops off the top and comes off with a cross body to Eddie Guerrero outside the ring. RVD then sets Eddie up on the gaurd rail and hops off the ring apron after his RVD taunt and plants his right leg on Eddie`s upperback. Both men down on the mat by the gaurd rail.
RVD then sends Eddie Guerrero in the ring and only scores a two after those 3-4 big time offensive moves in succession. RVD went for the rolling thunder but Eddie got his knees up resourcefully on the lower back of RVD.
Eddie with nice psychology following that up with a big time back breaker to Van Dam.
Eddie Guerrero then with a back suplex to RVD but gets a two count.
Eddie then kicks at RVD`s lower back and irish whips RVD to the corner and hits a drop toehold to RVD, before stretching both his arms back as he curls his knees on top of him and stretches him back torking the lower back and applies a waist lock; rear chin lock. Brilliant.
Eddie Guerrero`s psychology and workkrate mixed with his holds is scary, he`s pretty much the all around package in the ring.
Eddie viciously continued to attack RVD`s lower back and the IC Champ was in trouble. Eddie then lifted up RVD and stretched his arms in mid-ring while more pressure was exerted to RVD`s lower back.
Ross and Lawler clearly don`t know the name of the hold and quite frankly neither do I so it`s all good but it`s impressive. I`m sure if I thought long enough I could name it, either way…the match continued and RVD caught a high kick then flipped from outside the ring into the ring and got a nearfall.
RVD had sustained so much pressure from a brilliant and aggressive Guerrero to his lower back but the crowd still chanted the champ on with RVD chants.
Eddie Guerrero with a big time hurricanrauna from the top rope. Unbelievable.
Eddie then with a nice suplex dropping RVD on his back. Another suplex impacting the back on RVD then hits a forearm to the face of RVD. Eddie then calls for a Frog Splash as he says he`s feeling FROGGY BABY.
Eddie up high catches a kick from RVD out of no where but still sells the back, adrenaline is what JR`s excuse is for this out of no where RVD offense to Eddie up high.
Eddie with an amazing Springboard Sunsetflip from the top rope to RVD and he LANDS HARD against the mat which takes more out of the lower back of RVD.
God, this match is AMAZING.
Eddie Sucks chants but Eddie sets up RVD for a powerbomb it looks like but RVD lands on his feet and hits another kick out of desperation to buy himself some time. Eddie grabbed the IC title in attempt to cheat. Tim White didn`t see it but Eddie pushed RVD into Tim White.
Eddie Guerrero then planted RVD with a neck braker onto the IC Title belt with the ref down!
Eddie up high and hits the frog splash, Tim White gets up and counts the three.
In the end Eddie Guerrero pinned Van Dam after a Frog Splash at 11:43 to become the NEW Intercontinental Champion!
Okay, this is much more then an underrated gem.
This is a Classic!
Great storytelling, with beautiful offense and submission holds, the psychology added up picture perfect, the only thing this match missed was more time and crowd involvment.
Yeah, we heard some Eddie sucks chants, and RVD chants but seriously, the action was so amazing in the ring and the crowd was rather dead and that was very undeserved in comparison.
Brilliant. Some of the best heel tactics displayed by Eddie here.
It is material like this that makes me a mark for Pro-Wrestling in general.
7) The Undertaker vs Stone Cold Steve Austin (With Special Guest Referee Ric Flair)
Talk about going from great to not-so great…
Flair still had a bias against Taker, but he was not close friends with the Rattlesnake making this match build suspense going in.
It would need it.
It certainly had the star power but not much substance. The last time the WWF was in this arena for a PPV these two battled for the WWF title at Over the Edge 1999 where Undertaker won the title.
Here it is…the infamous bad match from these guys.
These two have a long series with each other and all of them are usually great if NOT at the very least good and this is the one exception in most people’s mind.
I remember hating it and thinking it was painfully long the last time I watched it and we’ll see if that opinion holds up.
Jim Ross said this one had slobber knocker written all over it.
It should of been, I mean given the two men`s track record to this point they had done some brilliant work.
Some good Raw matches in 1996 and 1997.
Fully Loaded 99 was over four stars, as was Summerslam 1998 at four stars even, hell I even rate A Cold Day in Hell from 97 just over four as it was brilliant with both guys in there prime wrestling technically.
Some other decent bouts in 99 and as good one at Judgment Day 01 and at Rock Bottom 98 as well, so they had a good history anyway.
The bulk of THIS feud had to do with Ric Flair and Undertaker`s feud and the follow up from Mania.
Ric Flair drafted Taker first overall to Raw surprisingly and Austin and Taker argued over who should be the number one contender and yada yada yada, you know the regular build up.
Austin said his watch was telling him he should be the number one guy again.
Sure Austin was still funny but humor can only go so many ways.
Steve Austin was burned out, bottom line. Austin was not the same Austin in 2001,
BECAUSE of his run in 2001. He was BURNED OUT, period.
His body wasn`t in great shape in the mid 90`s with a bad neck and bad knees then the Owen incident fucked him up BIG time then he should have wrestled at all. He adjusted his style to an attitude era brawling style then all of the sudden after surgery and a heel turn later goes on a tear, a rampage as he wins WOTY in 2001 and owns the s*it out of the company with countless **** plus matches and one five star match with HHH at NWO 01.
By this time Austin went on Byte This and publically stated the booking sucked. It did. Not the best thing you want your top star to tell the fans, but hey, we all agreed.
It was fucking brutal at times but the company didn`t know how to utilize the brand split effectively from the get go due to inexperience.
The bad booking, Austin`s health and his inability to admit he was in too much pain to do a lot played a big part into this match being below par and ultimately his walk out. (Not to mention his personal life.) It wasn`t all about LESNAR like some think or the fact he didn`t headline Mania that year. Hell Austin with his beef with Hogan probably hated the fact Hulk came back and got the title at his age that fast while Steve took the company to arguably bigger heights and arguably better then Hulk did. Definately a possibility.
Flair had his issues with Austin as he was stunned by him before this, and then obvioussly he had his issues with Taker so would any BIAS come in to play during this match, was one of the questions.
The crowd chanted WHAT and Austin took off his vest and the bout began and Austin looked at Taker in disgust.
Steve didin`t want to be intimidated by Booger Red or whatever Mark was being called in that heel run.
As said Taker had his good and his bad matches but was arguably a Wrestler of the year Candidate in 2002 with some of the good stuff he did and how dynamic he was as the bad ass.
The two tie up and Austin got taken to the outside early after Taker won a power war.
Steve didn`t like that so he went for a walk and King says maybe Austin just couldn`t believe it.
Taker with a cold stare looked at Austin on the outside who took his time coming back to the ring.
Austin tied up with Taker in mid-ring and Taker with his size advantage held Austin down, till Steve held a side headlock on him but Taker had his strength advantage. Steve came off the ropes but caught a shoulder block from Undertaker. Some fans applaud Taker`s power, hey, Taker has always been populasr heel or face and Austin was a little stale.
But just when you think Austin is beyond stale, he does something to change your mind. Austin checks his watch that of course isn`t there and then does push up`s and the crowd laughs, then Steve does his BMF walk as the two circle the ring as Steve shrugs off Taker`s power attempt and makes it seem like Taker`s strength and size-power advantage means very little since he`s the TEXAS Rattlesnake.
Victorian Texas Mind Games by Doctor Austin says JR.
Austin then sends Taker to the ropes but Taker hits a shoulder block, Austin with finally an offensive move and hits Taker with a hard right hand then flips the bird and tells Taker he`s number one while on his knees, and the place goes crazy.
Taker then measures Steve weith a test of strength and before Taker can slap the hand on Austin`s, Steve gave him the middle finger.
Place pops and Austin with more mind Games.
Steve then with two quick arm drag takedown`s to Taker then a drop toe hold followed by an arm bar as he tried to hyperextend the elbow of Taker.
Steve was still technical here a little bit, surprising, that mixed in with the fact they paced the match good was a compliment to the match and Austin`s tactics were hillarious so it`s safe to say I`m liking this match a lot more then from memory.
Taker with some body work on Steve once back to his big tall vertical base then scored a nearfall on the Texas Rattlesnake. Undertaker then trying to re-apply what Steve did and that was an arm bar take down and then pushed Austin towards his chest with a big time block and then went for an Old School move, hit it and got another nearfall and he stared down Flair.
Flair says two and Taker is pissed.
Austin reverses Taker`s irish whip, Taker ducks an Austin clothesline bounces off the ropes and Steve Austin hits the Lou Thesz press! Austin drops an elbow as King says the can of whoop ass has been open but gets a two. Taker sits up and drags Austin outside the ring. Taker with a BIG TIME SLAP to Austin`s face by the security wall and then he throws him back in the ring.
This MATCH IS better then I remembered, that`s a fact, I had it at * 1-2 by memory.
Austin clotheslines Taker to the outside yet again and the brawling continues. God knows these two have had some wonderful brawls over time.
Austin rams Taker`s head hard into the table and then chops Taker`s big chest and then slams his head into the top of the table again. Austin throws Taker back in the ring and fixes up his knee braces which buys Taker some time and then he hits Austin with a big boot to the head that sends Steve down by the table, what flexibility and presence of mind by Booger Red to do such a thing. Taker then slams AUSTIN`S head this time against the table and while Steve can barely stand, Taker was relentless as he slammed Austin`s head into the steps.
The fans chant for Austin as he fought back with right hands that found the mark and then clotheslined Taker over the security wall. The two guys were not as fast as they were when they brawled outside the ring as say in 1999 at Fully Loaded in the fantastic First Blood match but it was still fun to watch and definately acceptable.
Stone Cold Steve Austin then chased Taker down and threw him into the ring post and then chopped him a numerous amount of times and then Austin went for a piledriver to Taker on the mat but Taker reversed it and backdropped him on the mat on the outside, which had to hurt Steve considering his health.
Both guys were outside the ring for over 3 minutes but Flair just lets them go as he is determined to crown ONE Number one contender so he wont count them out.
With the action continuing outside the ring all of the sudden X-Pac is back. Great. He still has Kane`s mask on him for god knows what reason and Hall is with him probably after pounding another six pack down after that big win over Bradshaw. Probably the biggest win of his career next to defeating Michaels at Wrestlemania 10 in the Ladder match.
They both walk down the ramp as the match continues.
nWo had big problems with Flair and Stone Cold so people wondered what the point was. X-Pac sucks chants again, hillarious.
Taker then sent Austin into the steps and he sells the right leg on the outside. Two of the greatest ever on the outside as Flair checks on Austin`s condition and then Taker shoves Flair away and drives his knee into Austin`s head before hitting Steve with another hard right hand on the outside.
Ever since Austin`s Lou Thesz press the action has been on the outside of the ring for a good five minutes.
Finally Steve gets in the ring by Taker but he plants Steve chest first to the canvas with his head hanging over the apron, Taker is still on the outside of the ring. Taker drops an elbow to Austin. Taker then with Austin`s neck in a vulnerable state has his head hanging outside the ring and Taker drops the huge leg over the head of Austin.
Austin then in a ton of pain and he doesen`t even need to sell it, he just WAS.
The reason why this didn`t work for him and the fans is Steve Austin was supposed to be the baddes SOB in the company.
But Austin is limping in pain like a bitch and that just wasn`t his character but this isn`t 1996, it`s not 1998, this is 2002 and his body couldn`t do it anymore. That`s it.
Taker in the ring working on a beaten and battered Austin from limb to limb, and worked over his ankle in mid-ring as Austin tried to reach for the ropes and finally got there.
Austin able to somehow kick out but Taker hit a reverse chinlock on Austin.
All of the sudden the entire front section of the audience looks back behind them and it even forced Taker who meanwhile had Autin in that chinlock to turn his head and check what the fuss was all about. King tries to cover it up by saying the fans were checking on the nWo..right King.
Anyways for the HATERS of the match and I WAS one of them, this was a bad spot in the match but the pace picked up when Austin maintained his vertical base out of desperation and hit a sleeper on Taker, however Taker with a back body suplex.
Taker got a nearfall and Flair counts a two, then King asks if Flair has arthritis as that was the slowest count in the history of the WWF. Funny stuff.
Austin hit some right hands with WHAT CHANTS, went for the Stunner but Taker found a clothesline then Steve kicked out. Taker glared at Flair again. Taker clearly dominating most of the match with a forearm punishing Austin`s face as the nWo on the outside looked on. Austin was down and Taker slammed his head to the top of the turnbuckle and then he grabbed Steve went for a forearm blow but Steve fought back with rights as the crowd chanted WHAT after each blow, the two bounce off the ropes then Taker goes in the air and catches a flying clothesline and Steve kicked out again with everything he had.
Undertaker frustrated as he wasn`t able to put Steve away.
This match feels like it`s gone on for an eternity but its had its moments. Taker takes off the turnbuckle padding but Austin irish whips Taker`s back to the exposed buckle and then both men hit a double clothesline off the ropes.
JR says both men are no doubt Hall of Fame bound (which was cool since the HOF was on hiatus at that time) and this bougth Austin time but Taker still got back to his vertical base first.
Stone Cold with right hands in the corner on Taker as he gets low then he begins to stomp on Taker in the corner and then gives him the finger.
Steve Austin irish whipped Taker hard to the buckle but caught a reverse elbow by Undertaker and then Undertaker looked for A tombstone but the two got mixed up and pushed Flair down. Flair was down and Austin got a move in!
Steve Austin hit Undertaker with the Stunner!
Austin covered Taker and the fans chanted….1….2…..3…..4…..5…6..7….8…..hilarious.
Taker with a low blow though behind Flair`s back which was undetected by Slick Ric and then Flair got to his feet and Taker hit Steve Austin with a choke slam hard to the mat.
Taker then in mid-ring went to pin Austin but somehow he kicked out. Taker looked insanely pissed off and amazed at how Austin could keep kicking out, and King keeps blaming Flair`s SLOW COUNTS.
Taker gets a chair but Flair says NO and grabbed the chair away and Austin came off with a low blow, Taker doesen`t sell it and catches Austin with a low blow. Gross, that was bad.
But the match like I said has had its moments. Both men off the ropes again and Austin hits a NICE SPINE BUSTER considering the punishment he had sustained to this point but only got a two. Austin called up Taker for another stunner attempt but he got pushed into Flair again. Another ref spot.
Taker grabbed the Chair and as Austin turned around he caught a chair shot and then Flair gets up and he obvioussly didn`t hear the chair shot. (Pffft)
Austin kicked out! AGAIN! Taker clearly doesen`t believe this then signals Austin is about to go for his last ride. But Austin hits a clothesline out of no where and scores a nearfall.
Austin with a reverse choke hold but Taker reversed the offense into the corner.
Taker grabs a chair and hits the top of the buckle as Steve dodged it and in the same spot of the night from earlier with Angle it bounced up and caught Taker in the head.
With Taker down Austin grabbed the chair and as Flair distracted Austin Taker with a boot to Austin`s face with the chair in hand and Taker pinned Austin with his foot on the rope.
So yeah, to sum up this never ending match, In the end The Undertaker pinned Austin after a Big Boot to a chair to become #1 contender for the Undisputed WWF Championship at Judgment Day when Flair made the three count despite Austin’s foot being on the bottom rope. (Which he didn’t see quite obvioussly.)
Austin was pissed off and the fans were as well. Taker finally got the win and Stone Cold looked at Flair as he left and Steve knew he got screwed as his foot was on the bottom rope.
Steve and Taker went face to face as Taker said he was the Number one contender but Austin fought back and hit a Stunner so the crowd could leave the match happy.
I respect the first half of the match more this time around, Steve bumping and SOME technical work surprised me, Taker looked vicious and the screw job ending was good.
The lack of selling, the boring parts, the sloppy brawling on the outside hurt the match.
However this did have enough quality in the half an hour of work between these two legends to warrant at least a GOOD rating despite being underwhelming from the calibre of WRESTLING these two usually can bring out for reasons all mentioned above.
In the end at a dreadful time of 27:03 (Who the hell thought that would be a good idea) Undertaker finally got the victory over Austin in an insanely boring match.
This match was a big dissapointment.
8 ) Billy and Chuck (c) (With Rico) vs Maven and Al Snow for the WWF Tag Team Championship
So it is Team Tough Enough against the Champs here.
Billy Gunn has been in so many teams in his career but never one this gay I would imagine.
Maven taken out with a ddt early.
Al Snow saves Maven on numerous occasions.
Nobody could care less about this match and it was used soely as filler setting fans up for the main event.
Maven ducks a clothesline from Chuck and hit an inziguri.
Al Snow comes in and dominates untill Gunn shoved him into the buckle. Snow then with a drop toe-hold from Chuck landing into the groin into Billy and the fans laugh.
Al Snow gets a tag to Maven and he dropkicked Chuck out of the ring. Gunn off the ropes hit the Fameasser and Al Snow pulled Maven out of the ring. Al Snow comes in and runs into a boot from Chuck.
Rico hit a spinning kick on Chuck.
Gunn working over Maven and Al Snow hits a spinebuster. Maven goes to the top rope and hits a flying crossbody and Gunn just kicks out.
Chuck with a thrust kick behind the officials back on Maven.
Gunn covers Maven.
You look so good to me hits the *pa….
In the end at over 5 minutes they retain the gold.
This match was not bad at all actually.
9) Triple H (c) vs Hollywood Hulk Hogan for the WWF Undisputed Championship
Hollywood Hulk Hogan and The Game have their pre-match stare down.
Will Hogan get get is 6th title reign in the WWF was the question.
He last held the title at King of the Ring 1993.
Triple H told Hogan to not pay any attention to the Hulkamaniacs and to focus on the The Game.
Hogan pushed Triple H to the corner and flexed to the crowd and then the crowd exploded but not half as much as they did in Toronto at Wrestlemania X8.
Hogan and HHH with a test of strength, The Game took Hogan down which was realistic.
They set the pace up similar to Hogan-Warrior so that it could go long but not long enough to completely wear out the crowd with boredom.
I mean it`s Hogan.
It`s his age, it`s academic basically.
He had a ton of rust and Triple H stalled time with an overhead wrist lock for about a minute but then Hogan battled out and hit a shoulder block to Trips then flexed as Hunter looked on rather scared.
Hogan and H tie up again in mid-ring and HHH pushed Hulk to the corner.
HHH with a lot of pressure and gives Hogan a slap, Hogan charged towards him but Hunter kicked him in the groin and slammed his head into the top turnbuckle on two different sides.
Triple H in complete control as you`d come to expect but then Hogan comes out of no where with some hard clotheslines and then he punches Triple H in the corner of the ring before hiving him some chops. Hogan actually goes up top and pounds Hunter as the crowd chant along up to 10 and he gets there.
Hulkster then irish whips Hunter but Triple H retaliates and pounds Hogan with an elbow to the back of his neck. HHH runs towards Hogan off the side ropes for leverage but when he catches up to him Hogan back body drops Helmsley over the top rope and to the mat on the outside of the ring.
Hogan with rights to HHH`s head and then irish whips HHH to the security wall on the outside. Both go for a vertical suplex on the mat but of course it`s HHH that has to take the back bump on the ground and not Grandpa Hulk, so Hogan suplexes Hunter on the mat. Hogan still looks like his offensive move gave him a sh*t load of pain though.
Triple H though much younger, in better shape, and the reigning champion in better condition gets back in control and slams Hogan`s head on top of the steel steps. Triple H then battles Hogan into the corner, hits a hard chop on him back inside the ring and irish whips Hulk into the corner and he collapses down.
HHH then picks Hulk up slowly and sends him hard into the buckle and then sets up for the pedigree but Hulk countered and grabbed HHH by the legs and catapolted him into the corner then with a roll-up but a near fall. Hogan sent Helmsley to the corner and came off with a clothesline. Hogan then with strong right hands to Hunter in both corners and then hit a Diamond Cutter on HHH or an RKO, a formation of either one, different looking offensive move for Hulk Hogan anyway and he gets a two count.
Hulk was in control but then HHH took out the left leg with a hard right handed blow to the lower part of Hulk. Triple H then grabbed Hogan`s left leg and worked on it from outside the ring while Hogan was on his back inside the ring and slammed it hard down on top of the ring apron. He then dragged him from the outside while he was still on the inside and smacked his left leg hard into the ring post from the outside of the ring to ground The Immortal Hulk Hogan.
Smart game plan by H.
With Hulk limping HHH got back in the ring and took out the leg again methodically with a hard forearm shot and he collapsed. Hogan sells pretty good and HHH sets Hogan`s left leg on the bottom rope and he drops his body weight down onto Hogan`s injured left leg. Hogan then in a ton of pain gets pulled to mid-ring where H drops his elbow and gives Hogan a leg lock, but Hulk out of desperation grabs onto HHH`s hair and the hold kept getting broken, but HHH was relentless and made sure it was locked in correctly. Triple H squeezed on the Ronald McDonald like colors Of Hogans tights and boots. Hogan battled out of it but it only lasted a moment as HHH charged right back towards him and took the leg out yet again. Hunter then dropped his big elbow down on the leg before applying another leg lock to Hogan.
This was definately a slower part of the title match but at least it made sense and it helped an old Hulk catch a breather. HHH went to work on Hogan`s leg again but with Hogan`s right good leg he kicks Trips to the corner of the ring and he hits the buckle, with Helmsley then pissed he aggresively jumps back on Hogan and hits him with hard right hands before slapping on the figure four leglock.
Hogan in a ton of pain now.
The Figure Four after all that brilliant leg work by Helmsley would surely put Hogan away right, I mean at this age for sure.
Oh yeah, he is IMMORTAL after all.
Hogan reversed the figure four some how with super powers I guess but H grabbed onto the ropes to break the move, Hogan still in a s*it load of pain and Helmsley reversed it back on.
Earl Hebner asked Hogan if he was going to quit. How nice. Sometimes he just rings the bell out of no where without listening to the opponent, but he listened to Hulk here and he said no.
Trips FINALLY dropped it and Hogan is limping, good selling by Hulk and he is caught in a sleeper.
More power and Triple H with a lot of tenacity grounded Hulk to the mat with a side headlock as both bodies layed flat on the canvas floor as Triple H had been on a mission to kill Hulkamania, he needed to prove it to himself that he could do it.
Hogan got tested by Hebner to see if he could stay in the match but he got just a two on the arm drop. Hogan felt power and hit Trips with a side slam. Both men now on there backs as the ref counts to 10 and he`s at 5 when they both stand up slowly, Hogan limping but begins to fight back at HHH with right hands to the temple of the Cerebral Assasin. Hogan surprisingly hits a clothesline.
Hulk then with an irish wghip and a big boot then a leg drop.
Jericho runs down and hits the ref with a right hand and a chair in hand. He then smacks Hogan with the chair with the ref down. Jericho throws the official back in the ring as HHH was going to cover Hulk but HHH to remain and save FACE quite literally hit a face buster to HHH followed by a clothesline to the outside. Hulk slowly getting to his feet but Trips hit a right hand onhim and Hulk started to gain momentum.
He`s HUUUULKING UP!!!!
Blow after blow, but WAIT Trips stops it!
Can HHH stop Hulkamania!……Taker runs down and Trips hits the pedigree, ref cant count and Taker hits HHH with a shot to the head with a steel chair and remember Taker meets the winner of this match at Judgment Day. Hogan fights off Taker but with Helmsley down from Taker`s chairshot Hogan takes advantage and hits his devistating leg drop!
Hogan pinned Triple H after The Undertaker interfered and hit Triple H with a steel chair followed by a Leg drop from Hogan at 22:04 and BAW GOD The HUlkster has done it.
HULK HOGAN IS THE WWE CHAMPION! In 2002!
If I was Triple H I would make sure to marry the Boss’s Daughter so I didn’t to job to a middle aged 80’s Star after my long comeback for the Undisputed Title as well.
Triple H then applauds Hogan for beating The Game and the two men show respect for each other.
Better then remembered.
Nice psychology by HHH, the ending made sense, but a lot of the work throughout wasn`t exactly top notch as expected. Still pretty decent to good, considering all things.
Final Rating for WWF Backlash 2002 = 5.5/10
This show was full of ups and downs. Many matches dissapointed, the crowd was not exactly lively throughout and outside a couple of mid-card matches with Angle and Edge, and Eddie and RVD, there was not much to see here and Hogan winning the World title. Not one of the better Backlash events but still not exactly bad.
The only good match in my opinion off this whole PPV was Undertaker v Austin.
when the ppv starts there is a promo with hogan and hhh does anyone know the music being played while the promo is on???
Great reviews Brett. I like the backstories you do and your thoughts on the match as well as the play-by-play. I am really starting to doubt if they’ll do the rest of the survivor series anthology. I don’t get what the holdup is. I hope I’m wrong. Do you happen to know what the stalling is?
can anyone please remind me why was jericho helping triple h? weren’t they enemies at the time? and why was taker helping hogan?
@jeff What do you mean the start of down hill in 02 imean judgement great vengance good summerslam great and no mercy survivor series were great two do u know what your talking about
Thanks bud, I am going to wait until they release the Survivor Series Anthology sets to do 1997 on. I will however after Backlash either go to Judgment Days, In Your House PPV’s, Old 80’s NWA, 90’s WCW PPVs and individual releases I haven’t finished yet like Austin, Rock, LOD, Cena, Taker, McMahon, etc.
Can’t wait for 2003. Keep this going Brett! I come to this site daily to see a backlash review!
P.S: When you’re done with the Backlash reviews can you finish up the Survivor Series Reviews?
I agree, it was a weak ppv. Thanks for finding humor in my review as well.
“Bradshaw with right hands to Hall and then slammed his head on the buckle as Hall looked drunk, probably was.”
Absolutely terrible pay per view
ehh this was the start of the down hill in 02 i liked angle edge rvd eddie was good austin taker was just bad but austin was so burned out at this point he did not give anymore hogan hhh was meh but ya this was probly one of the worst backlashes until like 06
Hulk Hogan go to hell