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So I finished watching Backlash an hour or so ago.  I think that it was a decent show given the amount of time they had to book the show.  Three weeks is not enough time honestly to book a really good PPV, but they did as best they could.  I’ll start with my celebrating that I got 4 out of 6 picks correct, and I was feeling silly for picking Matt Hardy to go over Jeff in an I Quit Match.  I should have changed it, giving me 5 out of 6 correct picks.  But I didn’t, so I’ll live with a 67% success rate for this PPV.  I’ll go through my thoughts on the matches in the order they were presented.

Christian defeats Jack Swagger to win the ECW Title – I think this was actually the highlight of the evening for me, in the first match.  Christian finally wins his first World Title in WWE, and it was worth watching.  I’m going to go on a tangent for a moment and talk about what I like to call “Swagger Tactics.”  Jack Swagger has an awful habit of blocking even the tiniest bit of momentum any opponent starts to build during his segments of dominance.  A guy like Christian hits him with one punch or kick or elbow and Swagger retaliates with a scoop slam or a suplex of some sort.  I’m chalking it up to Swagger not being ready for the big time.  He needs to learn to give the faces just a tiny bit of momentum every once in a while to keep the audience interested.  Let your opponent get three solid punches on you, bounce off the ropes, and THEN hit a big slam of some sort.  It’s as though his mentality for each match goes thusly: “The face gets his initial offense, then I get the middle of the match, and only when the face’s designated time to fight back arrives do I let him do anything.”  Let the faces have glimmers of hope every once in a while.  Otherwise, it’s as though you’re blocking any entetainment from happening in the ring.  It also shows how apparently weak he is, because his opponents never get a chance to start wearing him down by punching him or anything like that.  It’s as though when the face gets his time to shine, Swagger immediately becomes a weakling, which shouldn’t honestly happen.  He needs to go back to FCW for some more training.  Putting the ECW title on him was a huge mistake.  But we don’t have to worry about that anymore since Christian finally was given a chance to shine.  The match itself was a typical Swagger Tactics match, but Christian tried his hardest to make Swagger look good.  I actually kind of liked the dirty tactics Christian used to win the match.  Here’s hoping he gets to hold onto the title for a good long while.  At least until Tommy Dreamer either wins it from him or retires because he couldn’t beat Christian.

Chris Jericho defeats Ricky Steamboat – As I said in my column yesterday, Jericho needs to win in order to retain any semblance of momentum now that he’s a part of Smackdown.  These two had a very good match for one week of build and Steamboat being 56.  One thing I didn’t understand was why did Steamboat dye his hair black?  It actually made him look older than he did at WM 25.  When you see a guy who’s obviously in his 50’s with gray hair, then see him a week later with black hair, it looks ridiculous.  He should have stayed the silver fox.  As it stands, these two had a pretty good match, going about 12 minutes and ending with Steamboat tapping, which I wasn’t expecting to see.  I thought the Codebreaker with Steamboat jumping off the second rope was going to be the finish.  I’m guessing Steamboat’s in-ring time is done, but he had a hell of a three-match comeback.  I actually have even more respect for him now.

Kane defeats CM Punk – This was the one match where I was a little surprised by the outcome.  I thought Punk was going to start riding a huge wave of momentum going into Judgment Day, since it is in his hometown and all.  Maybe he’ll cash in his MITB briefcase then, though that would mean yet another three week title reign for Edge.  Which would be a shame considering what he went through to get the title back.  The match itself was decent, for one week of build and it being the shortest match on the card.  On the plus side, Kane and Punk crammed in a ton of stuff into a 9 minute match, and I was keps interested the whole time.  Kane’s huge chokeslam at the end was pretty impressive-looking.  We haven’t seen the last of these two.

Jeff Hardy defeats Matt Hardy in an “I Quit” Match – The show-stealer, the match of the night.  Much better than their Extreme Rules match at WM 25 and far better than their Stretcher Match on Smackdown.  The emotion was really there this time.  Lots of painful moves and submissions.  Surprisingly few weapons were used in this match.  Though I did really love the setup for the finish, how Jeff had knocked Matt out, then pulled a table into the ring, laid Matt on it, bound Matt’s hands and feet with duct tape, tied Matt down to the table, and set up a ladder and was going to dive onto him.  Matt’s pleading was a great touch before he quit.  Jeff went ahead and jumped off the ladder, breaking Matt’s hand unintentionally.  There are reports that Matt is going to miss 4-6 weeks and he has to wear a cast.  Too bad considering he was likely going to get a push on Raw right out of the gates following Backlash.  Guess Creative is going to put that plan on hold until Matt’s hand is okay.  What does this mean for the brothers Hardy?  Well, it gives Jeff (and the audience) some closure, it helps give him a little momentum going into Smackdown this week, and it gives Matt some time off before he can forget about this whole thing and move on to his new life on Raw.

Legacy defeats HHH, Batista, and Shane McMahon, Randy Orton becomes the new WWE Champion – I was expecting Orton to win, but not in the way that he did.  The ending of this match was a total clusterfuck, and not the good kind of clusterfuck.  The ending was butt-ugly, with Cody Rhodes smacking both Shane and Batista with a chair but the ref somehow not noticing it, HHH kicking out of the RKO but the bell still rang, and the really quick setup for the punt and Orton’s win with that.  Legacy high-tailed it out of there as quick as they could, probably to avoid getting booed out of the arena.  Not because they were the victorious heels, but because the ending was botched so horribly.  Up until the end, the match was okay.  Except for the beginning, when Orton was apparently chased off by HHH, leaving Rhodes and Dibiase to fight in a 3 on 2 handicap match, only to return a few minutes later and be let into the match anyway.  From what I understand, if a match starts as a 3 on 2 handicap match, that’s how it’s going to go until it ends.  It doesn’t matter if it was supposed to be a 6 man tag match.  I’ve seen plenty of matches where one guy in a tag team gets knocked out before the match starts, and the other guy has to wrestle in a handicap match, even if his partner is okay after a few minutes.  Now that I think about it, this match wasn’t all that great.  It was very basic and fairly dull.  Lots of same-y tactics used throughout, and the botched ending left a sour taste in my mouth, which made me all the more happy they didn’t end Backlash with this match.  Otherwise, I might have given up on WWE.

Edge defeats John Cena in a Last Man Standing Match to win the World Heavyweight Championship – If you didn’t see this coming, you are a fool.  Smackdown didn’t have a world champion, and the only Smackdown guy in a championship match was Edge.  So it stands to reason that there was no way he was going to lose this match.  However, the way he DID win I was very disappointed with.  Big Show, as far as I can tell, has nothing whatsoever to gain from his interference in the match.  Edge is on Smackdown, Show is on Raw, so unless Vickie Guerrero promised a WWE Title shot to Show against Orton provided Show helped Edge win, I see no reason to have Show in this match.  Up until then it was a very emotionally charged match, full of close calls and nice spots.  The spot of the night for me was Cena hurling the ring steps at Edge’s head when Edge was standing outside the ring.  I thought for sure Edge was going to duck, but he took the ring steps right in the face.  You knew that with a 6 match card and three hours to fill, these two were going to go for a while, especially considering that the first half of the card only took up one hour of the PPV.  These guys gave us a hell of a 25 minute brawl, only to have Big Show come in and fuck it up for the rest of us.  Why couldn’t Edge have speared Cena off the ramp and into the stage light?  It would have been loads more epic to see Edge spear Cena into the light, the light explode, and have Edge manage to walk away as the champion.  Show continues to ruin things for the fans.  He needs to just retire and go away.

Now, I’m going to give you one major complaint that wasn’t already covered in my recap of Backlash, and that is the endings of the last two matches.  Not the endings of the matches, but the actions after the matches had ended.  Why have both HHH AND Cena end up on stretchers?  I can understand Cena being put on a stretcher, seeing as how he got tossed into a big flood lamp (yes, I know it wasn’t rigged up or he would have been electrocuted to death), but there didn’t need to be BOTH guys getting wheeled out of the arena.  HHH should have lost the match with the RKO and just carried out of the arena with Shane and Batista’s help.  It actually worried me a bit when HHH didn’t move at all following the Orton punt.  I thought he might have a broken neck, or even worse, he’d died from the kick to the head.  It looked that bad.  I was thinking how Orton should be fired for doing such a stupid thing.  But there are no reports of HHH being seriously injured or even killed, so I guess Orton’s off the hook for now.  But I don’t like him using the punt.  It’s seemingly far too dangerous to use.  I saw how Mr. McMahon took that punt.  He didn’t move.  Orton’s foot moved McMahon’s head and neck.  It’s too scary.  Too much potential for serious injury.  Anyway, I was not enjoying how the final two matches of the show ended exactly the same way: with the top face being wheeled out on a stretcher.  We don’t need deja vu in a WWE show, thanks.

I’m also quite shocked that there wasn’t a Batsita heel turn at Backlash.  I was certain that he was going to betray HHH by spearing him or something and letting Orton get the win.  It’s as though the last three weeks of build were all for naught, like they were forgotten the moment Backlash started.  I don’t like that at all.  There should have been some serious tension in the air between HHH, Batista, and Shane throughout the night.  But they just worked as a normal tag team would.  Hopefully this will put this feud to rest and we never have to think about it again.

At least, that’s the hope.  We’ll have to wait and see what happens on Raw tonight.  I may do a short recap of it tonight or tomorrow, depending on how frisky I feel.


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