Phillips Arena – Atlanta, Georgia – April 29, 2007
Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler of RAW welcome us to the ninth annual Backlash, and the first ever tri-branded Backlash. Joey Styles and Tazz will be calling the action for ECW, while Michael Cole and JBL are here for SmackDown.
MATCH #1: World Tag Team Championship Match – The Hardys vs. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch
The Hardys have been the champions since 4.2.07 and this is their first defense. Matt and Cade start the match. They take it to the mat as JR and King talk about how Cade was rained by Shawn Michaels and Murdoch was trained by Harley Race. Cade fights out of a headlock and blasts Matt with a back elbow. Matt fights back with a hiptoss, and has one for Murdoch too. He then takes Cade down with a side headlock again. Cade gets up and pushes Matt back into the corner and tags Murdoch in. Matt ducks a clothesline and hits a scoop slam and a fist drop, and then makes the tag to his brother. Jeff slingshots into the ring with a dropkick for a two-count. The Hardys make quick tags and keep Murdoch isolated. Hardy overshoots Whisper in the Wind a little bit and it looks more like a Blockbuster, but it still takes Murdoch down. The Hardys send both opponents to the floor, and Jeff leaps off Matt’s back and wipes out both challengers on the floor. Back in the ring Matt hits Murdoch with an elbow off the second rope for a two-count. Matt goes for a bulldog but Murdoch pushes him off and makes the tag to Cade. Now the challengers isolate Matt in their half of the ring. Matt hits a Russian legsweep on Cade and then makes the tag. Jeff is all over both men, but when he goes for a baseball slide outside the ring Cade grabs him and pulls him down to the floor hard. Back in the ring Cade gets a two-count. Cade hits the Cade Bomb, and Matt breaks up the cover. The challengers are dominating Jeff, working over his back. Jeff fights back with a jawbreaker on Cade, but can’t make the tag yet. Finally Jeff avoids a couple of Murdoch’s maneuvers and makes the hot tag to his older brother. Matt is a house afire, hitting a bulldog on Murdoch for two. The Hardys try Poetry in Motion but Cade pulls Murdoch out of the way. Matt goes for the Twist of Fate, which Cade blocks, so Matt hits the Side Effect instead. Cade breaks up the cover with an elbow off the top rope. Murdoch gets a hand across Matt’s chest for a cover, but Matt kicks out at two. He hits the Ace of Spades but Matt kicks out at two. He picks Matt up in a fireman’s carry, but Matt slips out and hits the Twist of Fate, which JR calls “almost the Twist of Fate,” but he really did hit the move. Cade pulls Matt to the floor, so Jeff nails Murdoch with the Swanton Bomb. Matt fights off Cade and slips back in the ring to make the cover and get the pin at 15:17. That was a classic tag team formula match with an awesome finish. Tag Team formula never gets old if done right.
MATCH #2: Women’s Championship Match – Melina vs. Mickie James
Melina has been the champion since 4.24.07 and this is her first defense. They take it to the mat right away and James takes goes after the arm. Melina reverses and locks on an armbar herself. James counters with a monkey flip for two. She puts on a headlock and takes Melina down. Melina escapes with a headscissors and James escapes. James now takes Melina down with a headscissors and Melina escapes to a side headlock. Melina appears to be having trouble with her contact lens, but she’s really just trying to get a cheap shot. James doesn’t appreciate that, so she rams Melina into the corner and hits another monkey flip. She then hits a couple of mounted punches to the face for a two-count. She goes up top and Melina shoves her down to the floor. Back in the ring Melina hits a hair mare for two. Melina ties James up in the ropes and chokes her for a four-count, and then gets a near-fall. She then locks on a full nelson with her legs, which is pretty cool looking. The referee sees Melina using the ropes and tells her to break the hold. James gets an inside cradle out of nowhere for two. Melina takes James over to the corner and chokes her, and then hits the Pie in the Sky. She locks on a chinlock, and when James tries to fight out she grabs the leg and forces James to do the splits. James grabs Melina’s leg and forces her to do the same! They slug it out and James wins the battle with a couple of kicks to the face for a two-count. That’s a great spot. James is on fire now, throwing Melina around the ring. She hits a neckbreaker for two. The crowd is into it. James hits a cross body off the top rope for two. Melina fights back with a kick to the face, rake to the eyes, and a reverse DDT to get the pin at 9:03. The finish kind of came out of nowhere, but the match was shockingly good, with a solid story and a couple of really cool spots. They also got more time than the usual women’s match, so bully for them.
MATCH #3: United States Championship Match – Chris Benoit vs. MVP
Benoit has been the champion since 10.13.06 and this is his seventh defense. I miss the days when MVP had the entrance tunnel. They wrestle on the mat to start, both guys being slightly cautious. They’ve wrestled several times in the last few weeks (including at WrestleMania 23) so they know each other well. Benoit goes for an early Crippler Crossface and MVP slips out to the floor. Back in the ring they pick up where they left off, wrestling on the mat. Benoit is able to lock on the Sharpshooter and MVP reaches the bottom rope. The champion slugs away, but when he tries an Irish whip MVP reverses it and Benoit takes the Bret Hart bump. MVP then hits a kick to the back of the head for two. He works the champion over, hitting a Greco Roman throw for two. Benoit starts fighting back with chops, and then hits three rolling German Suplexes. He signals for the diving headbutt, but MVP stops him from going up top. He hits a Northern Lights suplex instead, but MVP’s legs landed on the bottom rope. MVP comes back with a Stun Gun for two. Benoit fights back by locking on the Crippler Crossface! MVP luckily makes the ropes to break the hold. The challenger fights back and locks on a submission hold of his own. MVP hits a boot to the face for a two-count. He tries another one but Benoit ducks and hits more rolling Germans, this time five. Benoit goes up top for the flying headbutt but MVP gets his knees up! MVP then locks on a half Boston Crab for some reason but Benoit makes it to the ropes. Benoit fights out of a suplex and goes for the Crossface. MVP rolls through and goes for the half crab again, but Benoit rolls him into an inside cradle to get the pin and retain the title at 13:09. These two just had good matches together. I’d say Benoit is primarily responsible for MVP getting over.
MATCH #4: 3-on-1 Handicap Match For the ECW Heavyweight Championship – Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga, Mr. McMahon & Shane McMahon
Lashley has been the champion since 12.3.06 and this is his fourteenth defense. They really went all out to get Bobby Lashley over didn’t they? Shane starts the match for his team, and Lashley immediately slams him down and hammers away at him. Lashley hits him with a spinebuster and Shane rolls to the floor. Back in the ring Shane makes the tag to Umaga. Lashley avoids a charge, but then gets kicked in his face. Styles says Umaga has only lost twice by pinfall since his debut – against Lashley at WrestleMania 23, and losing the Intercontinental Title to Santino Marella on Raw from Italy. Anyway, Lashley sends Umaga to the floor, and then sends Shane as well. He challenges the Boss, but Vince won’t take the bait. Back in the ring Lashley hits Shane with a vertical suplex, and then drop toeholds Umaga right onto Shane. Lashley goes to bounce off the ropes and Shane pulls the ropes down, causing Lashley to crash to the floor. Now the villainous trio goes to work on the ECW Champion. Shane attacks the left arm, trying to incapacitate it. Lashley powers out of it with a one-armed powerbomb and Umaga breaks up the cover. Shane tags Umaga, who hits a headbutt and a kick to the ribs. Umaga and Shane now focus on Lashley’s ribs and lower back. Lashley fights back with his power-based offense, throwing Shane around the ring. He hits Shane with the torture rack backbreaker, and then smashes Umaga with a Spear. He powerslams Shane and Vince makes his first appearance in the ring to break up the cover. Lashley goes for the powerslam on Vince, but Shane and Umaga stop it from happening. Behind the referee’s back Shane hits Lashley with the title belt, and Vince asks for the tag. Vince goes for the cover but Lashley kicks out at two! He yells at Shane and Lashley rolls him up for two. Umaga gets tagged in and hits a Superfly Splash and Vince gets tagged in once again. Lashley kicks out again so Vince tags Umaga right back in. Umaga hits another Superfly Splash and this time Vince is able to make the pin and win the ECW Title at 15:45. Well the hot streak this show was on just came to a screeching halt. Lashley was so boring as a wrestler and a character, and this match seemed to go on forever. Vince’s over the top celebration is kind of funny though.
MATCH #5: Last Man Standing Match for the World Heavyweight Championship – Batista vs. Undertaker
Undertaker has been the champion since 4.1.07 and this is his first defense. The champion scores the first knockdown with a big boot, and he follows with a couple of elbow drops. He goes for an early Chokeslam but Batista fights him off. Undertaker hits the flying clothesline and Old School, totally dominating the man he took the World Title from. Just as I type that Batista hits a powerslam for a six-count. Batista knocks Undertaker to the floor and continues the abuse. Undertaker fights back and slams Batista’s head into the steps. He slugs away and slams Batista’s head into the steps again. He also attacks Batista’s bandaged leg. Batista reverses a whip and sends Undertaker’s knees into the steps. They finally go back to the ring and Batista goes up top. Undertaker stops the Animal and pulls the straps down. He goes up and hits a superplex and both men are down. They get back up and Undertaker delivers a series of punches. Batista fights back with a clothesline. He hits another one, and it looks like he’s using the count to rest as much as he is to try to win the match. Batista bodyslams Undertaker and hits a legdrop, which is just stupid. Undertaker pulls Batista to the floor and starts taking apart the announce table. Batista reverses another whip and sends Undertaker into the barricade. He goes for a powerslam through the table, but Undertaker reverses it to a sort of backbreaker. Undertaker moves the steps around now, and slams one right into Batista’s face, busting him open. He sets Batista on the announce table and hits a legdrop off the barricade to break the table. Batista makes it back to his feet at the count of nine, much to Undertaker’s chagrin. Back in the ring Undertaker continues to dominate, hitting Snake Eyes, but when he tries the running big boot Batista hits a Spear! Batista hits a spinebuster, and then two more! Undertaker gets back to his feet at nine. Batista goes for the Batista Bomb but Undertaker blocks it and hits the Chokeslam. Batista gets up at nine. Undertaker tries mounted punches, which Batista predictably counters with the Batista Bomb. At least it was Batista hitting the powerbomb and not Undertaker. Undertaker barely makes it back to his feet, and Batista goes outside for a chair. Batista blasts Undertaker in the face with the chair, but when he goes for a Batista Bomb, Undertaker backdrops him onto the chair. Undertaker hits the Tombstone Piledriver and Batista makes it back to his feet! They start fighting up the ramp and make it all the way to the entrance. They slug it out and Batista takes control. Batista sets up for a Batista Bomb but Undertaker blocks it by going after the bad leg. Undertaker picks Batista up for a powerslam but Batista slips out and delivers a Spear, sending both of them crashing through the electrical equipment below! Both men are counted down at 20:26, to the consternation of the crowd. The match was rock solid; a really good example of how to work two powerhouse babyfaces against each other. This means they’ll have to have a trilogy!
MATCH #6: Fatal 4-Way Match for the WWE Championship – John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton
Cena has been the champion since 9.17.06 and this is his seventh defense. I expect to not be able to call all of the action in this one. Michaels has words with Cena, and then Edge and Orton come over to interrupt. Cena and Michaels respond by sending them both to the floor with clotheslines, and then tearing into each other. Michaels hits a couple of chops, and Cena counters with a fisherman’s suplex for a two-count. Cena goes for a back body drop but Michaels counters with a swinging neckbreaker. Orton and Edge rejoin the battle and send Cena and Michaels to the floor. They trade shots now, with Orton taking the advantage, hitting a dropkick to send Edge outside the ring. Cena throws Edge right back in the ring and then Edge reverses a whip and Michaels pulls Orton to the floor. They slug it out and Cena comes over to clothesline both of them. Edge hits a baseball slide to take Cena out. He grabs Orton and throws him into the steps, and then bodyslams Cena. He tries to bodyslam Michaels, but Michaels reverses it to one of his own. Michaels goes to the top rope and takes out all three opponents with a moonsault. He throws Edge back in the ring and they clothesline each other. Meanwhile Cena goes up top and hits a double Cena Slice. Cena covers Michaels for a two-count, and then Orton comes in and clotheslines Cena down. Orton throws Michaels and Edge to the floor, and then slugs it out with Cena. He hits the inverted backbreaker for two. Cena reclaims the advantage and throws Orton into the turnbuckles. He charges but Orton moves and Cena’s shoulder crashes into the ring post. Michaels gets back in the ring now and chops away at Orton. He hits the flying forearm and pops up, but Edge hits him with a heel kick. Orton and Edge both try pinning Michaels and they both stop each other. They argue briefly, and then decide that double-teaming Michaels is the best way to go. Edge knocks Cena off the apron and they continue to focus on Michaels. They each grab a leg and apply a Boston Crab. So who wins if Michaels taps? Cena comes in and breaks up the hold with simultaneous Throwbacks for Edge and Orton. He throws clotheslines and shoulderblocks at everyone. Michaels and Orton get dumped to the floor, and Edge suffers the Five Knuckle Shuffle. Now Orton and Cena join forces to pull Cena to the floor and whip him into the post. About five seconds later Michaels breaks up that team by throwing Orton into the post. Michaels sets Orton up for a piledriver on the announce table but Edge breaks that up with a steel chair shot to the back. Orton thanks Edge and Edge responds by cracking Orton across the skull with the chair. Edge brings the chair into the ring and tries to use it on Cena, but Cena gets a drop toehold and locks on the STFU, and Edge reaches the ropes. Orton is back in the ring and now Cena locks HIM in the STFU. Michaels comes back in and breaks that up, and seems to have gotten his second wind. He hits the fling forearm and starts throwing inverted atomic drops. He sends Edge to the floor and Orton soon follows. He bodyslams Cena and hits the flying elbow off the top rope. The band tunes up but Edge breaks that up. Michaels bodyslams Edge and delivers the elbow on him. Orton is back in and Michaels tries to make the third time the charm, but Cena blocks him and goes for a Super F-U. Orton and Edge break that up and they do a Tower of Doom spot. Edge and Cena get up first and trade counters, and Cena has Edge in position for the F-U. Michaels looks to hit Cena with Sweet Chin Music but Orton busts in with the RKO on Michaels while Edge slips out of the F-U and Cena breaks up Orton’s cover. Edge hits Cena with the Impaler for a two-count. A sweet series of reversals sees Edge hit Orton with the Spear, Cena hit Edge with the RKO, and Michaels hit Cena with the Sweet Chin Music. Unfortunately for Michaels, Cena fell right on top of Orton and the referee counted three at 19:21. Boy these four guys were just on at this time weren’t they? The action almost never stopped through that entire match and the finish was cleverly awesome. Michaels loudly expresses to Cena that he did not deserve to win this match. There’s certainly an argument for that.