Verizon Wireless Arena – Manchester, New Hampshire – May 1, 2005
This is the only Backlash event ever to take place in May. Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler are calling the action for this RAW brand pay-per-view.
SUNDAY NIGHT HEAT MATCH: Val Venis vs. Tyson Tomko
They lock up and Tomko backs into the ropes to break it. Venis lands a couple of waist lock takedowns, and Tomko comes back by shoving Venis into the ropes. They scuffle a bit and it looks like Tomko loses his contact lens. Tomko baits Venis in and then slugs him down. He backs Venis into the corner and chokes him, and then rams his shoulder into the midsection. He charges but Venis avoids him and gets a schoolboy rollup for two. Tomko comes back with a hard clothesline for two. He slams Venis down but misses a falling forearm and a charge in the corner. Venis hits a clothesline and a back elbow, and then hits Delirious’ Never Ending Story clotheslines. He hits the Blue Thunder Driver for a near-fall. He slams Tomko down to the mat and goes up for the Money Shot. Tomko knocks Venis down on the top turnbuckle, but Venis shoves Tomko back down to the mat. Once again Tomko knocks Venis down and he tries to slam him off the top rope but Venis counters with an inside cradle for two. Venis hits a forearm but Tomko comes back with a huge boot to the face for a two-count. Tomko goes for a suplex but Venis reverses to a fisherman’s suplex for a two-count. Back on their feet Tomko tries to put Venis to sleep with the sleeper as the crowd chants “We Want Christian.” Venis escapes the sleeper but runs right into another big boot to the face and Tomko gets the win at 5:41. That was your typically solid Sunday Night Heat match. Val Venis had that match down to a science.
MATCH #1: WWE Intercontinental Championship Match – Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho
Benjamin has been the Intercontinental Champion since 10.19.04 (when he beat Jericho), and this is his twelfth defense. Jericho is already a seven-time Intercontinental Champion. They take it right to the mat and exchange holds. Benjamin comes out on the better end of that exchange, as he cinches in an armbar. Jericho reverses it but Benjamin outmaneuvers the veteran to regain control of the arm. The match turns personal when Jericho slaps Benjamin across the face, and they roll around on the mat punching at each other. Back to their feet they volley for a suplex, and that takes the fight to the apron. Benjamin almost sunset bombs Jericho to the floor, but Jericho counters with a hurricanrana and both men are down on the floor. Jericho exposing the security wall and then drops Benjamin’s upper torso right across that wall. He certainly has a clear-cut advantage as the match gets back in the ring. Benjamin fights back with a flying forearm but Jericho cuts him off with a low dropkick. Jericho goes for an Irish whip but Benjamin reverses it and follows Jericho in with a Stinger Splash, and then hits a belly-to-back suplex. Benjamin tries to whip Jericho into the turnbuckles but Jericho reverses it and comes out with the bulldog. Jericho tries the Lionsault but Benjamin stops him and pushes him to the apron. They climb to the top rope and Jericho pushes Benjamin down to the mat. Benjamin hops up to the top rope and hits a superplex. I remember Brad and I popping big for that at the bar we were watching this at – I think it was the first time we saw Benjamin do it. Benjamin heaves Jericho into the air and he crashes down on his chest for a two-count. He then locks on a chinlock with a body scissors. Jericho fights up and then both men clothesline each other. Both men rise to their feet and Benjamin tries a Stinger Splash but Jericho avoids it and takes the champion down with a clothesline. Jericho unleashes a flurry of offense but Benjamin catches him out of nowhere with a Samoan Drop for two. Benjamin tries a charge in the corner but Jericho hits him with an elbow and then a running enziguiri for two. Jericho thinks he throws Benjamin to the floor, but really he landed on the apron and he springboards back in the ring with a bulldog for a close near-fall. Benjamin tries an Oklahoma Roll but Jericho counters it for a near-fall and then rolls it into a Walls of Jericho attempt. Jericho switches gears and tries a catapult but Benjamin lands on the ropes and jumps down into the T-bone suplex but Jericho is able to get his foot on the bottom rope! Benjamin pulls Jericho out to the middle of the ring and tries another cover but again only gets two. He tries the T-bone again but Jericho blocks it and this time locks on the Walls of Jericho! Benjamin makes the ropes, much to the chagrin of the crowd. He gets up and hits a spin kick out of nowhere for two. A sweet reversal sequence ends with Benjamin getting a jackknife pin to retain the title at 14:31! That was a terrific back and forth match, definitely one of Shelton’s best ever.
MATCH #2: Tag Team Turmoil for the World Tag Team Championship
William Regal & Tajiri have been the champions since 2.7.05, and this is their sixth defense. They will start the match against the Heartthrobs, Antonio and Romeo. Regal and Romeo are first in the ring. Romeo grabs a side headlock and takes Regal down to the mat. Of course Regal is very comfortable with mat and chain wrestling. Antonio tags in and picks up where his partner left off. Regal comes back with some chain wrestling and makes the tag to Tajiri. The Japanese Buzzsaw unloads with a series of kicks, and then traps Antonio in a very unique submission. He hits a butterfly suplex and a standing moonsault for two. Romeo interferes to give Antonio the advantage, and then he officially tags into the match. The Heartthrobs are isolating Tajiri now, making quick tags in and out. Out of nowhere Tajiri traps Antonio in a sunset flip to get the pin at 3:09 to eliminate the Heartthrobs.
Simon Dean & Maven are the next team to compete for the titles. They quickly go after the champions, and pick up where the Heartthrobs left off in double-teaming Tajiri in their half of the ring. Regal takes a cheap shot at Dean, which allows Tajiri to make the tag. Regal is a house afire, throwing Dean and Maven around with suplexes and slams. He hits Dean with a running knee to the head to eliminate their second team at 5:51.
Rob Conway and Sylvain Grenier, La Resistance, quickly make their way out and attack the champions. Tajiri fights back with a springboard elbow on both of them, and hits Grenier with a spinning heel kick and a low dropkick. Regal tags in and they hit a double hiptoss. The champions work Grenier over for a bit, making quick tags. Grenier fights back and makes the tag to Conway, who aggressively goes to work. Regal makes the comeback and traps Conway in the STF but Grenier breaks it up. The match breaks down to a brawl and Conway gets a schoolboy rollup on Regal to get the pin at 9:15! The champions are gone and now we are guaranteed new World Tag Team Champions.
The Hurricane & Rosey are the last team to enter the match, so one of these two teams will be the New World Tag Team Champions. Rosey battles Conway on the floor while Hurricane hits Grenier with a high cross body off the top rope for two. Hurricane follows up with a blockbuster for another two-count. Grenier comes back by violently throwing Hurricane to the floor, and Conway hits an elbow drop off the apron. Back in the ring Grenier gets a two-count. The former champions work Hurricane over for a few minutes before Grenier misses an elbow off the second rope. Hurricane makes the hot tag and Rosey is a house afire. Conway tries a cross body block but Rosey catches him and powerslams him for two. La Resistance tries to double-team Rosey and hits a double-chokeslam for a two-count. Rosey comes back and throws Grenier to the floor. He then slams Conway and makes the tag. Hurricane gets up on Rosey’s shoulders and hits a big splash for the pin 13:43! Rosey and the Hurricane are the new World Tag Team Champions. This is actually Hurricane’s second reign. As far as the match goes it was rarely slow but the structure generally prevents anything really worthwhile from happening.
MATCH #3: Last Man Standing Match – Chris Benoit vs. Edge
Edge charges right away and Benoit takes him down. It’s all Benoit in the early going, and he’s so confident that he demands the referee count after a vertical suplex. Edge reverses an Irish whip and Benoit takes the Bret bump. He slams Benoit down and goes for the Spear but Benoit counters with a drop toehold. Benoit viciously attacks Edge with a series of knee strikes. Edge battles back and targets Benoit’s head. The battle spills to the floor and Benoit backdrops Edge into the front row. They fight in the crowd briefly and then make their way back to the ring. Benoit locks Edge in the Sharpshooter, and Edge taps out but that of course means nothing in a Last Man Standing match. He follows up with rolling German Suplexes, hitting five of them and Edge rolls to the floor. The referee gets an eight-count before Edge gets back to his feet. Edge gets to the apron and Benoit knocks him right back down to the floor. Once again Edge rises to his feet, and Benoit comes charging between the ropes and takes a brutal shot with a trash can lid on his way to the floor. No one should take that bump. Benoit struggles back to his feet and Edge waffles him with the lid again. He gets back to his feet at six, and Edge takes the match back in the ring. Edge goes for a superplex, and it lands right on a trash can! Benoit barely makes it back to his feet and Edge hits a running knee to the head and then wears Benoit out with the trash can lid. Edge goes under the ring and produces a ladder. For reasons unexplained, Edge climbs up the ladder with his back to Benoit, and he pays for it with a German Suplex down to the mat. Benoit hits a release German Suplex and the referee starts the count. He climbs to the top of the ladder and tries the diving headbutt but Edge rolls out of the way! Edge tries to hit Benoit with the Money in the Bank briefcase but Benoit catches him and locks on the Crippler Crossface. Once again Edge taps out but that’s not how you win! Both men rise to their feet and Benoit hits more rolling German Suplexes until Edge counters with an Impaler DDT on the briefcase! Benoit barely gets back up and Edge immediately hits him with a Spear. Once again Benoit rises and Edge drills him with the Spear again. Benoit will not be denied, as he gets back to his feet once again. This time Edge goes into his briefcase and pulls out a brick! Edge clobbers Benoit in the back of the head with the brick, and that’s enough to keep him down at 18:48. Why wouldn’t Edge have just pulled the brick out earlier? That aside this was a tremendously brutal match that really made it feel like these two hated each other. The hardcore spots weren’t overly contrived and really helped put over the hatred, not just the fact that they could do it.
The Master Lock Challenge
This is a 10-minute segment that starts with Jerry Lawler asking all of the Raw Divas what their favorite picture of themselves from the new Divas Magazine was their favorite. Newcomer Chris Masters breaks up the compelling use of my money and makes his way toward the ring. He offers to put up $3,000 for anyone who thinks they can break the Master Lock. He picks a very muscular woman named Melissa. Masters mocks her manliness and then proceeds to manhandle her for about two seconds before the referee calls for the bell and awards the $3,000 to Masters. I actually don’t mind Masters but this is the kind of segment you run on Raw. If you’re going to do it on pay-per-view at least advertise the Master Lock Challenge and try to make it sound like a big deal so that Masters might actually get over. It’s a crazy concept I know.
MATCH #4: Kane with Lita vs. Viscera with Trish Stratus
This match came about because Kane was terrorizing Trish, so she promised Viscera sexual favors if he could take Kane out for her. In a huge shock, the match starts out as a brawl. Kane knocks Viscera to the floor and hits a shoulderblock off the top rope down to the floor. Back in the ring Kane drops a couple of elbow and a leg for two. Viscera comes back with that sort of spinning heel kick that he does. He easily slams Kane but then misses an elbow drop. Kane turns his attention to Trish and gets squashed in the corner as a result. Viscera hits a Samoan Drop but Kane kicks out at two. A Boss Man Slam gets another two for Viscera. Kane comes back with a DDT, and then goes up top. He hits a clothesline and then goes for the Chokeslam but Viscera blocks it. Viscera clotheslines Kane to the floor and quickly joins him out there. He charges at Kane against the ring post, but Kane moves and Viscera crashes into the post. Kane throws Viscera into the post one more time. Trish tries to sneak up on Kane with a chair, but Lita blasts her with her crutch, much to Kane’s delight. Back in the ring Kane goes up top once more, but Viscera catches him and hits a sit-down powerbomb for a near-fall. Viscera drags Lita into the ring and the distraction gives Kane the chance to hit a big boot to the face. Kane then hits the Chokeslam to get the pin at 6:10. You know, they kept it short and simple, and it really wasn’t that bad.
Trish gets on the mic and verbally berates Viscera for losing the match. She says she would have never put out for a “fat, greasy, chicken-eating loser.” She’s racist. Viscera picks Trish up and swings her around like a rag doll. He then crushes her with a gigantic splash! The sadistic crowd cheers for Viscera. That was weird, and I’m not sure how I’m supposed to feel about either Trish or Viscera after it.
MATCH #5: Shawn Michaels & Hulk Hogan vs. Muhammad Hassan & Daivari
Muhammad Hassan was one of the best characters they had in years, but I think a combination of WWE losing their balls and Hassan sucking balls in the ring it failed. Michaels wanted to fight Hassan and Daivari in a handicap match, but Eric Bischoff wouldn’t allow it so Michaels asked for the one partner who loved America as much as he does, which is always Hulk Hogan. The pop for Hogan is absolutely enormous. Hassan and Hogan start the match, and Hassan seems wary of locking up with the Hall of Famer. Hogan easily overpowers Hassan early on and locks on a headlock. He knocks Hassan down, and then goes to work on his arm. Hassan backs Hogan into the corner and makes the tag to Daivari. They double-team Hogan for a lot longer than five seconds, but Hogan clotheslines both of them at the same time. Hogan then levels Hassan with another clothesline, and then slams his face into Michaels’s boot. That counts as a tag, and Hogan and Michaels hit a double big boot. Michaels dominates just like Hogan did. He misses an elbow drop and Hassan makes the tag. Daivari hits a few chops in the corner and then Michaels reverses and hits chops of his own. Michaels hits a back body drop and tags back out to the Hulkster. Hogan is all over Daivari. This has been quite the one-sided match. Hogan tags Michaels back in, and Daivari kicks him square in the face. No matter, Michaels stays in control. Michaels hits the flying forearm and the inverted atomic drop and then knocks Hassan off the apron. He bodyslams Daivari and hits the top-rope elbow drop. He tunes up the band but Hassan is able to hit Michaels with a lead pipe behind the referee’s back. Daivari goes for a cover but Hogan breaks it up. Finally Hassan and Daivari have gained an advantage in the match. They isolate Michaels and work over his previously injured back. Michaels fights back with a sleeper out of nowhere, but Hassan counters it with a nice backbreaker. Hassan then locks on the Camel Clutch and Michaels actually powers out with an electric chair drop! Both men are down, and then tags are made. Hogan is a definition house afire here. He throws Hassan to the floor and then hits Daivari with the Big Boot. As he bounces off the ropes Hassan drills Hogan with the lead pipe from the floor! Daivari makes the cover but Hogan Hulks Up! He hits the Big Boot again and bounces off for another Leg Drop but this time Hassan grabs his foot. With the referee distracted by Hassan on the floor, Michaels sneaks in the ring and hits Daivari with Sweet Chin Music and Hogan gets the pin at 15:14. That was good old fashioned tag team formula fun. The crowd reactions alone made it enjoyable, and watching Shawn Michaels dance to Hulk Hogan’s music is just hilarious. This match made me smile. I quickly turn horrified when Hogan brings a fan in the ring and reveals that he has a full color tattoo of Hogan on his back. But hey, he gets to get in the ring and pose with Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels, so at least he got something out of it. Good for him ya know?
Christian in Ring
Even though he doesn’t have a match, Christian said he feared the backlash that would occur if he wasn’t on the show. He talks about the upcoming draft, and how this could be his last appearance on a Raw pay-per-view. He then performs a rap about his fellow main event superstars, paying particular attention to John Cena. Man, the Cena versus Christian feud had tons of potential and went nowhere.
MATCH #6: World Heavyweight Championship Match – Batista vs. Triple H
Ric Flair gets his own entrance, and then he introduces Triple H himself. Batista has been the champion since 4.3.05, and this is his first defense. Flair interferes about five seconds into the match and HHH takes control. HHH goes for an early Pedigree but Batista escapes. They battle in the corner and Batista unleashes with a series of right hands. Batista goes for a back body drop but HHH makes another Pedigree attempt, which Batista reverses to a Batista Bomb attempt, but HHH reverses that. Good stuff. HHH backs Batista in the corner and hits a couple of punches. Batista reverses an Irish whip into the corner and hits a back body drop. HHH once again tries a Pedigree and Batista backdrops him over the top rope to the floor. Batista goes out to the floor and charges, but HHH grabs him and drives his back into the guard rail. HHH runs Batista into the guardrail again, sending Batista into the crowd. He suplexes Batista back to ringside, and then throws Batista back in. He works on Batista’s back, which is a smart move. Batista briefly comes back and tries the Batista Bomb but his back is too injured. HHH zeroes in on the back now, really working him over. He throws Batista to the floor and distracts the referee, allowing Flair to take several cheap shots. Back in the ring Batista hits several punches but HHH cuts him off with a spinebuster, which gets several near-falls. HHH throws Batista into the turnbuckles, and Batista explodes out of the corner with a clothesline. Both men rise to their feet and Batista hits a side suplex and clothes HHH to the floor. Batista follows him out and whips him into the guardrail and the steel steps. Back in the ring Batista drives his shoulder into HHH’s midsection and then hits a powerslam. Flair slides the World Heavyweight Title belt into the ring and then distracts the referee, allowing HHH to hit Batista in the head with it. The referee turns around to make the count and Batista kicks out at two! HHH goes for the Pedigree again and Batista back body drops him. Batista accidentally clotheslines the referee to the floor, and HHH hits the Pedigree! Flair throws the referee back in the ring, but he is out and can’t make the count. A frustrated HHH slaps him around a little bit, and referee Jack Doan comes out to replace Mike Chioda. With all that time to recover, Batista is able to hit a Spinebuster for a two-count. Batista goes for ANOTHER back body drop and HHH hits the facebuster for two. HHH tries the Pedigree but Batista avoids it once again. Batista throws HHH into the corner and hits three consecutive running clotheslines. HHH is holding himself up with the ropes and when the referee comes to check on him, HHH kicks him square in the nuts. Batista goes for the Batista Bomb but cuts himself off to clothesline a charging Flair instead. HHH goes for the Pedigree again but Batista reverses it to a catapult. Batista goes for the Batista Bomb but HHH drops down and hits a blatant low blow. HHH stupidly goes for mounted punches in the corner and Batista comes out with a Batista Bomb for the pin at 16:23. It’s weird – these two were great rivals but were not great in-ring opponents. This match was okay because it was really tightly focused, but Batista did about 849 back body drops, and the finish was so weak. How many times does HHH have to get burned by that before he stops trying?