Saturday, 15 September 2007

WWE Backlash 2006 - PPV Review

It’s that time of the month again, as WWE moves beyond Wrestlemania and into the summer with Backlash, and our hosts for the evening are the returning Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler.

We begin with a battle of the former partners as Carlito takes on Chris Masters. A little slow at times, and perhaps a little confusing for those who haven’t watched Raw in a while, because you wouldn’t know who the good guy was here. Masters was okay, but Carlito was clearly the star, with an impressive display, taking the win with the back cracker, and getting the pin with his feet on the ropes.

Backstage, the lovely Maria catches up with Lita, who basically goes on about Edge’s chances in the title match.

We then go back to the arena as the man from Del Monte introduces the man formerly known as Jamal and Ekmo, now known as Umaga, who proceeds to destroy Ric Flair in what is essentially a squash match designed to make the Samoan look like a monster - and it works, with the Nature Boy getting in a few good shots before Umaga takes him down with the Samoan spike.

In his office, Vince McMahon performs a minor miracle with some bread and fish, and turns Shane O’Mac’s water into wine. Or Ribena. I couldn’t tell.

On to the first title match of the evening, as Mickie James defends her Women’s title against Trish Stratus in what is sadly a shortened match. Trish takes a bad bump to the outside, and immediately looks in big trouble as she grabs her right arm. Moments later Mickie is disqualified for choking Trish out in front of the referee, failing to break after the five count. A shame that this was cut short by Trish’s injury, as this had the makings of a good match.

Back to Maria, who then interviews Shawn Michaels about his handicap match against the McMahons. Am I the only one just a little uncomfortable with the religious slant this angle has?

More title action follows as Shelton Benjamin’s Intercontinental title and Rob Van Dam’s Money in the Bank title shot are on the line. Possibly the two best pure athletes from the Raw brand put on a hell of a match with a great storyline and all the right spots in all the right places, as Van Dam emerged the winner, with Benjamin’s plan to use RVD’s briefcase backfiring, ending up with Van Dam kicking the case into Benjamin’s face and securing the win after a great looking frog splash off the top rope.

Backstage, Todd Grisham interviews the Big Show, who clearly doesn’t want to go up against his friend and former tag-team partner.

Another battle of the former partners next, as the May 19th-obsessed Kane tackles the Big Show. It’s hardly an inspiring match from the two behemoths here, and Jim Ross puts it into words perfectly when he says that it’s not a pretty match. In fact, the most entertaining part of this match is when a red light and a strange unearthly voice fills the arena, driving Kane nuts. The Big Show then wallops Kane with a chair, and then leaves the ring, closely followed by the referee, leaving everyone confused, wondering what the actual result of this match was.

We then get another look at Vince’s office, as the man attempts to heal Candice Michelle’s chest infection. The least said about this the better.

On to “tag-team” action, as Shane and Vince McMahon take on Shawn Michaels and his partner for the evening, God. The almighty one makes an appearance in the form of a spotlight in a segment that really beggars belief as Vince makes this a no holds barred match. It’s an entertaining bout here with Shawn Michaels bumping like a devil, and the sight of a sixty year old man taking the big bump off the stage is something you’re unlikely to see this side of Terry Funk. With the McMahon’s new flunkies the Spirit Squad getting involved, Vince got the winning pin after the most annoying quintet put Michaels through a table.

Backstage, Todd interviews the champion, John Cena, calling him the most controversial title holder in years. Guess we can forget Sgt. Slaughter’s title reign back in ‘92 then, when he was pledging allegiance to the “brave Iraqi nation”.

In the ring, Matt Striker attempts to teach Eugene a lesson in a comedy skit which gets edited out of the repeat showing. Need I say more?

On to our main event, triple threat action as John Cena defends his WWE title against Edge and Triple H. It’s a bruising and highly entertaining match from Raw’s top three stars here, with Triple H again bleeding for his art, and some great three-way spots, including the game of one-upmanship involving Cena, Triple H, and Edge’s head, and a flurry of false finishes, which saw Cena retaining the title, reversing Triple H’s pedigree attempt with a roll-up - a simple but effective way to end the bout, which afterwards saw Triple H laying everyone out with his trusty old sledgehammer, getting the biggest pop of the night.

In conclusion - not a bad effort from the world’s biggest and most successful wrestling promotion, with both good and bad points, capped off by the great triple threat match that have us the result that ninety-five percent of wrestling fans didn’t want to see.