WWE PPV Flashbacks: Backlash – April 30, 2000

April 30, 2000
MCI Center, Washington DC

Coming off the heels of the biggest show of the year, the ending of Wrestlemania had raised more questions than blown off anything, as Triple H had successfully retained his WWF Championship in a fatal four way. That match saw Vince McMahon return to his role as the evil owner of the company, reuniting his family as the Regime, after hitting the Rock with a steel chair on the biggest stage of them all. Tonight is all about the revenge of the Great One, as he finally gets the chance to go one on one with the hated champion with the title on the line. This is Backlash 2000, lets get it on. Please share all your thoughts and comments with me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91.

The opening video package focuses on the issues between Rock and Triple H, which have also involved the McMahon family and the briefly returning Stone Cold Steve Austin. More on that later in the arena, our usual commentary team of Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler welcome us to the show before throwing it to the returning Debra, who is the guest ring announcer for our opening contest after being off camera for quite some time.

WWF Tag Team Championship:
Edge & Christian (c) vs X-Pac & Road Dogg w/Tori
Our opening match here is rather unusual as there is no definitive face team involved. The challengers are associated with Triple H and the McMahon family as DX members and are coming off a long rivalry with Kane which culminated at Wrestlemania. Meanwhile, Edge & Christian won the titles at Wrestlemania in the great triangle ladder match, but have been showing signs of a heel turn dating back to February. I guess that makes them the de facto faces here, not really having made the jump to the other side of the fence yet, but they had been stepping up there heel characters in recent weeks, running in on various matches and dropping insider terms on the mic. Meanwhile DX gets a pretty good pop as well due to Road Dogg’s always popular schtick before the match. Anyway, the champs start this one out on offence, but shortly after the challengers take control following Christian’s throat being dropped over the ropes by Road Dogg. From there, the DX members work over Christian, drawing some heel heat in the process from the crowd who are just hot all round tonight. Edge gets the hot tag after a bit of action and cleans house. From there all things loose control with all four men hitting one another with their signature spots includingEdge hitting the Spear on Road Dogg. Meanwhile, Tori gets taken out in the chaos whilst X-Pac uses the distraction to connect with the X-Factor on Edge. The action continues on the outside with the ref trying to regain order, but the chaos continues as Christian hops into the ring and smashes X-Pac in the head with the bell. That allows Edge to make the cover on his opponents and retain the titles for his team at 9:24. This was a really good tag team match to kick off the show. Despite the lack of a clear cut face team, the fans were into this big time and it was full of fast paced action. A very good start to the show with Edge & Christian asserting their newly found control over the tag division.
Grade: ***

Before our next match, we briefly cut to the back to see the Rock arriving at the arena.

WWF Light Heavyweight Championship:
Dean Malenko (c) vs Scotty 2 Hotty
Now here is a championship that we have not seen defended on PPV in an eternity. Don’t get used to it or anything though! We saw that Dean Malenko had won the title prior to Wrestlemania, as he had the championship there, however he actually was defeated by Scotty 2 Hotty on Raw is War a few weeks before this show for the title in a major upset. The reign of the Too Cool member would not last for long however, as he was beaten by Malenko a few weeks later on the Smackdown before this PPV, bringing the gold back to the Radicalz. Tonight Scotty exercises his rematch and this is effectively the rubber match of a fun little feud that really could have put the division back on the map. Alas it was not meant to be. Anyway, Scotty starts this one out with a lot of momentum, but the champ takes over fairly early in, targeting his opponents knee to do so. After wrapping Scotty’s leg around the ring post to do a little extra damage, the merciless champion spends the majority of his offence dismantling his opponent’s weak spot. Scotty eventually fights back and regains momentum after a little back and forth offence, which lead to him hitting the champion with the Worm to a huge pop. It doesn’t keep Malenko down though, and we get some more grappling between the two from there. Scotty takes a sick bump following an attempt to Superplex the champion only for Malenko to counter the move into a mid-air DDT. The crowd goes nuts, and that ends the match as Dean retains the title via pin fall at 12:57. Wow, what an awesome match that is often overlooked when talking about great matches from this era. In fact, both of these guys are pretty underrated in the grand scheme of things and its a shame that this didn’t lead to brighter things down the line. The crowd loved the fast paced action, but the Light Heavyweight title would pretty much be relegated to Heat from here, despite Malenko continuing an impressive reign with the gold.
Grade: ****

We now go to the back where the Regime are hanging around. Vince welcomes Pat Patterson and Gerald Brisco back into his service, and they swear loyalty to their boss. The stooges are back!

The Acolytes vs Big Bossman & Bull Buchanan
This is effectively filler as you would expect looking at the teams involved here, but there was some basic build to this one. Essentially Bossman & Buchanan jumped the Acolytes at a bar which resulted in a wild brawl to set this up. Don’t get between those Acolytes and their beer! Anyway, this starts out as a brawl as well, but once things settle down Bradshaw kicks us off against Buchanan. Bradshaw takes control which leads to Bossman coming in. The Acolytes remain in control as the action spills out of the ring, with Bradshaw sending Bossman into the ring steps before tagging in Faarooq, who also takes the fight to his opponents. After taking a beating, the Bossman tags in Buchanan again, which is the turning point as he works over Faarooq, locking him in a chin lock in the process. Bradshaw comes back in shortly after which leads to all hell breaking loose. Bradshaw takes down Buchanan with the Clothesline from Hell in the process, but it only gets two. Bossman then nails him with the nightstick, which allows Buchanan to follow up with a scissor kick to the Texan, which gets the shocking pin fall at 7:32. A bit of an upset here as I expected the Acolytes to go over, with the Bossman/Buchanan tandem not lasting much longer. Nonetheless, decent for what it was but really nothing special sums this match up.
Grade: *1/2

We now head backstage to the Hardy Boyz, who are both participating in the upcoming Hardcore Championship match. They plan on working together so that the match comes down to the two of them. Elsewhere, the Holly Cousins are not so successful in devising a strategy. Crash asks Hardcore to work together, but gets a slap for doing so.

WWF Hardcore Championship:
Crash Holly (c) vs Matt Hardy vs Jeff Hardy vs Tazz vs Perry Saturn vs Hardcore Holly
The 24/7 rule is back in effect after the brief calling off following Wrestlemania’s battle royal which saw Hardcore Holly leave controversially as the new Hardcore Champion. Hardcore would lose the title back to his cousin Crash the following night on Raw is War, and from there he has continued to play the role as the “Road Runner” of the Hardcore Division – the Houdini of Hardcore if you will. Everyone in this match except for Jeff has actually held the title in the past month. Perry Saturn pinned Crash a week after he regained the title on Smackdown, but he was subsequently pinned by Tazz on the same episode, who would then fall to Crash moments later. Crash would hold onto the title for another week or so before dropping it to Matt Hardy on the Raw is War before this show. Later that week on Smackdown however, Crash would pin Matt during a title defence against Jeff to regain his title, leading us to this match. The rules are fairly simple – Crash must either be pinned or pin someone else for the match to end. Naturally that leads to everyone going after Crash and the champion high tailing it, attempting to scale the set to escape his challengers. Matt gives chase and gets stuck up there, only for Crash to head back down. Matt responds by diving onto all five men below though to a big pop from the crowd. Jeff follows up with a swinging hurricana from the set to Saturn, not wanting to be outdone by his older brother. From there, the action heads back to ringside and becomes your usual Hardcore title affair with everyone involved beating on each other with an assortment of objects they get their hands on. After some memorable exchanges, the Hardy Boyz up the ante by bringing in a ladder and using it to clean house. Jeff delivers a Swanton from the top after the brothers work together, but they argue when it comes to deciding who will pin Crash. The argument leads to Tazz recovering and taking both men out. He looks to apply the Tazmission to the champ, but he’s stopped in his tracks by a stop sign shot from Perry Saturn. The Hardy Boyz come back and take everyone else out, but in the frenzy, Crash manages to pin Tazz at 12:16 to once again survive with his championship in tact. A really fun match here that was a lot easier to follow than the battle royal at Wrestlemania.
Grade: **3/4

Up next, Jonathan Coachman gets a word with Shane McMahon, who is the special referee for the WWF Championship match later tonight. Coach asks Shane if he can possibly act as an impartial official, which Shane vows to do. We then go to a video package highlighting our next match.

Big Show vs Kurt Angle
Hey its another Big Show face turn! Whats that now? Five turns or something in just over a year that he’s been on the roster at this point. Since Shane has dumped Show to join the rest of his family with Triple H, Show split away and began to show his comedic side in the weeks following Wrestlemania, as he would begin to dress up as various characters in parodies. A memorable one of these came about on an episode of Smackdown that saw Show set to team with Kurt Angle against Edge & Christian in a tag title match. Show would show up as ‘Fat Bastard’ from Austin Powers however and clowned around, which resulted in Kurt blaming the giant for their loss. It was a fun time as Show was being able to demonstrate how funny he was when he was allowed to be. Anyway, Angle comes out and rips on the crowd as per usual here, but he is interrupted by the famous theme of Real American. Enter the Big Show, doing a hilarious spot on Hulk Hogan impersonation. Classic stuff! Almost as good as another Hogan parody we’d see many years later. Angle has enough and jumps Show from behind to get the match started, but this leads to Show hulking up and going for the legdrop, only for Angle to kick out and clip the big man’s knee. Angle works over Show’s leg as the crowd chant Hogan, with JR getting in a good dig on WCW by saying there are more people chanting for Hogan now than they have in years. Show recovers and comes back with a chokeslam to pick up the victory at 2:35. Quick comedy stuff here that worked really well. Angle losing wasn’t a big deal despite coming off a loss at Mania, as there were big plans ahead in his future. The match itself wasn’t much, but it wasn’t supposed to be. An awesome moment that cemented Show’s new face status.
Grade: *1/2

Up next we get a quick look at the events leading to our next match, particularly Trish Stratus’ seduction of Bubba Ray Dudley. We then go to Trish along with T&A. She makes some more remarks towards Bubba before we go elsewhere to the Dudley Boyz, with D-Von telling Bubba to get his head in the game.

Dudley Boyz vs T&A w/Trish Stratus
Since losing the tag titles at Wrestlemania, the Dudley Boyz have effectively turned face as their antics involving driving women through tables had become incredibly popular. Only in the Attitude era do you turn face through man on woman violence. The crux of this feud revolved around Bubba constantly attempting to put Trish through a table, but Trish using her feminine wiles to get out of it whilst continuing to play mind games with the Dudley. As a result, the popular tandem battle Trish’s team here. This starts out as a brawl with Buhba giving chase to Trish around ringside until Test takes him out with clothesline. Meanwhile D-Von and Albert start us off in the ring. T&A work over D-Von whilst Bubba yells profanities at Trish. D-Von is absolutely destroyed in the early going by the heels as the ref misses a tag to Bubba which results to more punishment at the hands of T&A for D-Von. Bubba eventually distracts Albert which allows D-Von to fire back and get the hot tag to Bubba who subsequently cleans house. They take out Albert with a double neck breaker whilst Test misses a flying elbow. This leads to the Dudley Boyz setting up for the 3D, but Trish takes off her robe and distracts Bubba in the process. The distraction allows Test to nail Bubba with the big boot and he picks up the pin fall victory for T&A at 11:07. Overall a decent little match that was really just about continuing the issues between these teams. Nothing spectacular, but not bad by any stretch. After the match however, the Dudley Boyz look to get some revenge by setting up a table. Trish kisses Bubba to attempt to escape her fate, but Bubba shakes it off this time and powerbombs Trish through the wood, which results in her being stretchered out. Good pay off to the angle despite the match being nothing great.
Grade: **

Backstage, Trish Stratus is loaded into an ambulance. We then see Eddie and Chyna arrive at the arena all dressed up from a prom they had been at. Eddie is told his match is up next, so they drive out to the ring whilst Eddie gets into his gear on the way. We then get a video package looking at our next match.

WWF European Championship:
Eddie Guerrero (c) w/Chyna vs Essa Rios w/Lita
First of all, the change in the European title picture. Whilst Chris Jericho left Wrestlemania with the gold, his reign was short lived, being defeated by Eddie Guerrero the very next night on Raw is War in a title match. During that very match, Jericho was betrayed by Chyna who assisted Guerrero in winning the match, revealing her attraction to Latino Heat after weeks of acting disgusted towards him. Eddie’s opponent tonight is relative newcomer Essa Rios, although he is the former Aguila from the Light Heavyweight division back in early 98. He’s actually a former Light Heavyweight Champion, having been the man to defeat Gillberg on Heat in February, only to lose the title to Dean Malenko a few weeks later following Eddie power bombing his valet Lita during that match. Essa is out for revenge here, with Lita back at his side after being out of action for a few weeks. Eddie comes out wearing a bow tie here, as he and Chyna have apparently just come from a prom whilst Latino Heat was studying for his GED. Anyway, Rios gets tossed out of the ring early on but he comes back with a missile drop kick before the champion takes control. We go back and forth a little before the action goes back out of the ring where Eddie powerbombs Rios on the floor. Lita attempts to intervene by jumping onto Eddie’s back, but Chyna throws her off onto the announce table. The distraction served its purpose though, as Rios capitalises with a moonsault off the top onto Eddie. He attempts to go up again, only for Chyna to stop him in his tracks, allowing Latino Heat to hit his opponent with a superplex. Eddie sets up for the frog splash, but Rios gets up and arm drags the champ off the top and goes to follow up with another moonsault. Before he can connect though, Guerrero gets his knees up and follows with a spinning neck breaker drop to put Essa Rios away at 8:37. A pretty good title defence for Latino Heat despite a few missed spots on Essa Rios’ side of things. Eddie helped him along though to a pretty solid match. It was effectively the end of Essa’s relevance though, as he would become a jobber shortly after this whilst Lita would break out on her own. Anyway, after the match Lita strips Chyna down to her under wear. Chyna decides to flaunt it rather than get distressed, and hey, she looked good doing it.
Grade: **3/4

We now go backstage to Triple H along with the McMahons. He says he is called the Game for a reason, whilst Vince seems pleased that Austin has not been seen in the arena. Next, we hear from Chris Benoit who says that whilst Jericho talks the talk, he is the reigning I.C champion, which makes him the better man. That match is up next, but before we get there, we see a mysterious video promoting a certain return next month at Judgment Day. Who could that be? We’ll see when we get there.

WWF Intercontinental Championship:
Chris Benoit (c) vs Chris Jericho
With Angle moving away from the I.C title picture to bigger things, this is effectively the fall out of Chris Benoit winning the I.C title at Wrestlemania in the triple threat match. Of course, Chris Jericho also won the European title (by pinning Benoit) in the second fall of that match, but has since lost it to Eddie Guerrero. Thats basically the deal here with Jericho looking to regain the I.C title he lost back in February. Y2J has actually had a pretty busy month as he has been involved in a mini-feud with WWF Champion Triple H in recent weeks, memorably defeating the Game to win the title on an episode of Raw is War, only for the decision to be reversed by way of a quick count moments later. It was just a teaser though as Jericho is back to the midcard here. Needless to say, he gets a good pop as he makes his entrance here. The two men lock up to get started, but they quickly head to the outside before returning to the ring. Benoit gets the better of a chop battle between the two and takes control with a series of German Suplexes. Benoit remains in control, despite Jericho avoiding being sent into the ring steps, and the Crippler soon locks in an abdominal stretch whilst doing a number on the challenger’s ribs. Jericho fights out of it and begins to build momentum following a lionsault attempt, but after launching an assault against the champion, Benoit traps Y2J in the Crippler Crossface. Jericho manages to get out of it and counters into the Walls of Jericho, but Benoit gets to the ropes to force the break. Jericho attempts a forearm shot to follow up, but Benoit ducks and the ref goes down in the process. This leads to the champion taking advantage of the situation, whacking Jericho with the I.C title belt and then suplexing him on top of it. The Crippler then follows by going up for the Diving Headbutt. Jericho manages to grab the title out of instinct and blocks the Headbutt with it, but the referee recovers in time to see it. With that, he disqualifies Jericho and awards the match to Benoit at 15:09. A really good match as you would expect when you give these two fifteen minutes with one another, but the ending brings this one down a little. I understand not putting Benoit over clean since a rematch was on the way, but the DQ was a lame cop out here. Having said that, its still an awesome match between two hreat technicians. After the match, a frustrated Jericho gets a little revenge by locking the ref in the Walls of Jericho to a big pop from the crowd. There’s much more to come between these guys.
Grade: ***3/4

The main event is coming up next so we get a video package highlighting the issues between the Rock and the Game. We then go to the Rock backstage. The Great One says that Stone Cold has not arrived, but he’ll still become the next WWF Champion tonight.

WWF Championship:
Triple H (c) w/Mr McMahon & Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley vs The Rock
Special Guest Referee: Shane McMahon
The odds were certainly stacked against the Great One in the weeks heading into this one. Vince McMahon had cost the Rock the title at Wrestlemania after aligning with long time adversary Triple H, whilst Shane has also gotten back onto the same page as his father and sister backing Triple H as the chosen champion of the McMahon family. There was one McMahon acting as the voice of reason in all this though, and that was Linda McMahon, the CEO of the WWF. Linda would grant Rock a one on one rematch with Triple H at Backlash, and promised that in order to combat the inevitable heel interference, Stone Cold Steve Austin would return for one night only in the Rock’s corner. Austin would actually make a memorable appearance, his first since Survivor Series, on the Smackdown before this event, destroying the DX Express bus with a crane whilst Triple H and the Regime looked on from the ring. Anyway, the big story here is that Austin has not arrived, and thus Rock makes his way out to the ring along for this one. Triple H meanwhile has Vince and Stephanie in his corner, whilst Shane is the guest referee. The Rock starts out talking trash with the Game as this one gets started and we get an opening brawl between the two adversaries. Triple H attempts a Pedigree early on, but the Rock manages to backdrop out of it, only for Shane to intervene, allowing Triple H to regain control as the action spills to the outside. Plenty more McMahon interference follows and as the action returns to the ring, Shane attempts to quick count the Rock at every pinning predicament, but the challenger keeps kicking out. Rock and Trips end up taking each other out with a double clothesline, but as Rock starts getting up, Vince comes in and nails him with the WWF title belt. Rock kicks out and unloads on Triple H with all he has, taking him down with a DDT, but as he goes to cover, Shane refuses to make the count. Rock throws Shane out of the ring which allows Triple H to jump the challenger, taking him to the announce table and attempting to Pedigree him through it. Rock counters into a Rock Bottom though, which sends the champ crashing through instead. As Rock gets back in, Vince jumps in from behind, leading to the Game recovering and levelling Rock with a Pedigree. With Shane down, Patterson & Brisco rush down to make the count, but Rock kicks out yet again. The stooges now start beating on a downed Rock, with Vince joining in when suddenly the glass shatters and the place goes nuts. Austin comes out wielding a chair and whacks everyone in sight on the heel side. Linda follows with the recently fired Earl Hebner (he had been fired for fast counting the Jericho win over Triple H on Raw) before shoving her daughter down. Among all the chaos, Rock hits Triple H with a spinebuster and follows up with the People’s Elbow. Rock covers and Earl counts three at 19:23. The Rock is FINALLY the WWF Champion once again! A really good main event full of non-stop action and drama leading to the moment of the Rock finally getting his revenge and reclaiming the gold. For all intents and purposes, this should have been the match that headlined Wrestlemania, but I understand why Triple H had to win there to get Vince back on side. A really good match here that would be topped at our next major PPV. After the match, Rock celebrates his win by sharing a beer with Austin as the crowd goes wild before we go off the air.
Grade: ****1/4

An all around excellent show, which makes for another great show from the WWF in 2000. Wrestlemania was a little underwhelming, but otherwise the company has been on fire since the turn of the new millennium. This show is obviously remembered for the main event, as it should be because its awesome. Rock regains the title against all odds, and it was great seeing the Rattlesnake again, even though he would disappear after this show again before returning full time later in the year. The rest of the card was really good as well. We had a really good I.C title match setting things up down the line for a rematch, a fun opening tag match, a hilarious comedy match in Show/Angle, and a forgotten classic between Dean Malenko and Scotty 2 Hotty for the Light Heavyweight title. Overall, this PPV rocked, as there was nothing outright bad on the show either. Great stuff WWF.

Three Stars of the Night:
1. The Rock – regained the title that had alluded him for over a year at this point in an awesome main event. His win tonight marked his official take over as the face of the company in Austin’s absence, although that had been the case for quite some time already.
2. Triple H – likewise with Rock, and awesome showing as the hated heel champion that finally got him comeuppance after months of abusing his power to hold onto the gold. He’d be back in strong form from here though.
3. Dean Malenko/Scotty 2 Hotty (tie) – a forgotten classic. Really good performance in what many would have looked at as a filler match on the show.

FINAL GRADE: 9 out of 10

What I do here is add the three stars of the night with each review so as to keep track of who we can say overall is the greatest PPV performer to any given time. First place scores 3 points, second 2 and third 1. The Rock and The Game tie for fifth place.

Steve Austin = 84
Bret Hart = 83
Shawn Michaels = 67
Mick Foley = 38
The Rock = 37
Triple H = 37
Randy Savage = 28
Undertaker = 25
Owen Hart = 21
Hulk Hogan = 18
X-Pac = 18
Diesel = 15
Ultimate Warrior = 13
Vader = 13
British Bulldog = 12
Ted DiBiase = 10
Razor Ramon = 10
Vince McMahon = 10
Ric Flair = 8
Matt Hardy = 8
Jeff Hardy = 8
Jim Neidhart = 7
Jerry Lawler = 6
Christian = 6
Dynamite Kid = 5
Arn Anderson = 5
Roddy Piper = 5
Mr Perfect = 5
Marty Jannetty = 5
Bob Backlund = 5
Chris Jericho = 5
Edge = 5
Ricky Steamboat = 4
Ax = 4
Smash = 4
Bobby Heenan = 4
D’Lo Brown = 4
Bubba Ray Dudley = 4
D-Von Dudley = 4
Greg Valentine = 3
Tully Blanchard = 3
Tanaka = 3
Bam Bam Bigelow = 3
Sato = 3
Jake Roberts = 3
Hakushi = 3
Yokozuna = 3
Savio Vega = 3
Ken Shamrock = 3
Shane McMahon = 3
Chyna = 3
Brutus Beefcake = 2
Paul Orndorff = 2
Andre the Giant = 2
Rick Rude = 2
Sgt Slaughter = 2
Jeff Jarrett = 2
Jesse Ventura = 1
Texas Tornado = 1
Tito Santana = 1
Virgil = 1
Scott Steiner = 1
Rick Steiner = 1
Lex Luger = 1
The Roadie = 1
Billy Gunn = 1
Bart Gunn = 1
Marc Mero = 1
Flash Funk = 1
Animal = 1
Hawk = 1
Taka Michinoku = 1
Test = 1
Big Show = 1
Kurt Angle = 1
Dean Malenko = 1
Scotty 2 Hotty = 1

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter at @Mpmcc91. Thanks for reading.

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