Monday, 17 September 2007

WWE Backlash 2007 on Sky Sports - TV Review

Well, it looks like single brand pay-per-views are definitely a thing of the past now, as all three WWE brands band together to bring us the latest PPV offering, Backlash, shown live in Britain on Sky Sports 1.
The show begins with the Hardy Boys defending their World tag-team titles against a team that I’m actually quite fond of, Trevor Murdoch and Lance Cade. If you want a good example of how tag-team wrestling should be, then this is it. Although young Jeff looked a bit sloppy a couple of times, the Hardys again showed what a team they were, and Murdoch and Cade showed just how underrated they are with their best ever performance in a WWE ring. We even saw Murdoch try his version of the Canadian Destroyer, although he didn’t quite manage to pull it off. The Hardys emerged victorious in this one, with Matt taking Murdoch out with a twist of fate, Jeff coming in with the swanton, and Matt getting the pin after a quick brawl on the outside with Cade. I really hope that this little feud continues in the coming weeks and months.
Backstage, the McMahons try to hype up Umaga, with Vince and Shane then deciding just who will become the next ECW champion later in the evening.
Next up, Melina defends her Women’s title against Mickie James. No mention is made of Mickie’s inadvertent title victory during the European tour last week. This was more than your average women’s PPV match, mainly because it lasted more than five minutes and wasn’t used as filler material between the World and WWE title matches. These two girls put on a really good wrestling bout, the sort of match that would put some of their male counterparts to shame, and there were times when you kind of forgot that you were watching two women wrestle. Melina came out on top in this one after taking Mickie out with a reverse DDT.
Backstage, Maria catches up with Edge, who predicts victory for himself in the upcoming four-way, before Mr. Kennedy appears and teases that he may cash in his title shot.
Hype time for Austin’s movie The Condemned. Looks like it needs all the hype it can get from what I’ve heard.
Back in the arena, another rivalry continues as MVP challenges Chris Benoit for the U.S. title. Another enjoyable match between the veteran and the rookie, as MVP slowly but surely eradicates my early memories of his less than enthralling WWE career. Some great wrestling and exchanges from both Benoit and MVP kept this match fresh and exciting, with Benoit getting the pin with a small package. Although these ones are good, I really hope that the bookers don’t over-do the rivalry between these two.
Backstage, Grisham tries to chat with John Cena, but gets interrupted by Randy Orton. Homosexual innuendo follows as the champion turns down the challenger’s offer. Needless to say, Ron Simmons makes an appearance at the end. Can anyone guess what he says?
Handicap match time, as Bobby Lashley defends the ECW World title against Umaga and the McMahons. My only criticism of this match is that it was perhaps a little too long, although the performances from all concerned were very good. Lashley once again showed that he as a great future in WWE by putting in a superb performance. Umaga is, as always, Umaga, and the outcome was a little unpredictable. After Umaga came off the top rope with his second big splash on Lashley, Vince tagged himself into the match to get the winning pinfall, becoming only the third man to hold both the WWE/F and ECW titles. For some reason this just didn’t seem right, and given his push earlier this year, it would have been a lot better if Umaga had won the title.
Backstage, the McMahons taunt the ECW Originals about his title victory. Needless to say that the veterans aren’t exactly too pleased with their new representative.
It’s Smackdown’s turn next, as the Undertaker defends the World title against Batista in a last man standing match. We thought their Wrestlemania encounter was great. Well, this one was a whole lot better. Without any rules to restrict them, Batista and the Undertaker beat the living hell out of each in the ring, around the ring, and on the entrance way, and it was here that the match ended. As the two brawled on the stage, Batista speared the Undertaker off the stage onto the floor below, where the sparks flew and part of the set collapsed. The referee counted to ten, but nobody answered the count, the match being declared a draw, with the Undertaker retaining his title. An epic battle, and if these two were to get it on again then it should be in the confines of the Hell in a Cell.
The final match of the evening is the fatal four way match, as John Cena defends the WWE title against three challengers, Shawn Michaels, Randy Orton and Edge. After the excitement of the previous match, it would take a hell of a lot to better it. Cena, Orton, Edge and Michaels did it, putting on a match that kept everyone watching in the palm of their hands throughout, with great performances from all concerned, and a great finish. Edge speared Orton, then took an FU from Cena. Immediately afterwards, Michaels took Cena out with sweet chin music, but unluckily for Michaels, Cena landed on the fallen Orton. The referee had no other choice, counting Orton’s shoulders down to the mat as Cena retained his title to end an excellent contest.
In conclusion - it’s not often that one of the so-called “B” shows has great matches from top to bottom, but the 2007 version of Backlash was such an event, showing that the powers-that-be in the WWE made the right decision in scrapping the single-brand pay-per-views. This was a great show, with a couple of match of the year candidates, and a worthy follow-up to Wrestlemania.