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Building The Ultimate Backlash Card: A Puzzle Game

June 13, 2019 | Posted by Robert Leighty Jr.
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Building the Ultimate Backlash Card: A Puzzle Game

-Back again to do another one of these puzzle games. At one point there was a Backlash PPV on the schedule for the WWE and then it disappeared in favor of the Saudi show. Since there is no PPV until Extreme Rules with a long enough history to do one of these columns, I opted to cover Backlash. I did try to do one for NXT with all the Takeover shows, but it drove me insane and I think it is impossible due to their only being 4-5 matches a show and the last year has been dominated by Gargano, Ciampa, Cole, Black, Dream, Ricochet and it made it impossible to keep from using someone more than once.

-Now on to Backlash as it debuted in 1999 as one of the final shows to be under the In Your House banner. Speaking of In Your House, that is definitely coming in this column soon. The show ran from 1999-2009 and then was on hiatus before coming back after the second brand split as a SmackDown show in 2016.

-As always the rules are to pick 1 match from each card without using a wrestler more than once. The titles I have to use this time: WWE, World, ECW, United States, Hardcore, European, Intercontinental, Cruiserweight, Woman’s, and Tag. Shows like Mania, SummerSlam, etc with 30+ years of history I can get more specific with differentiating Tag and Women’s titles, but for here, just need one representation. Please feel free to post your own cards in the comments below.

1999: WWF Championship: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin (c) vs. The Rock (17:10)

-I mean, you have two of the biggest stars in history facing off for the biggest prize in the business during the height of the Attitude Era. These two had a fun match at Mania the month before, but this one blows that one out of the water. This was a great brawl with crazy crowd heat, and of course the awesome visual of The Rock talking a camera to film the crowd and turn into a double bird and stunner from Austin. Just amazing stuff and an easy choice for my WWE Title spot. The other options I briefly considered were Hogan/HHH (just because) and Ambrose/AJ, but they never really had a chance.

2000: European Championship: Eddie Guerrero (c) vs Essa Rios (8:37)

-Originally I had the hidden classic between Dean Malenko and Scotty 2 Hotty for the Light Heavyweight Title and I wanted to keep it, but I needed a Hardcore Title match and went with the 6 person match, but soon realized that gave me Matt Hardy in 2 different matches. So after moving things around I am happy with this match as it gives me a way to get Eddie on the card. This match was solid and showed off the personality and charisma that would later blossom from Eddie.

2001: Hardcore Title: Rhyno (c) vs Raven (8:11)

-My original choice was the European match between Eddie and Matt Hardy, but as noted I scratched that when I had Matt in the 2000 Hardcore match. When I ditched that I had to use Eddie in the Euro match from 2001 so that left me looking for a Hardcore Title match and what do you know, 2001 had one of the better ones ever in the division. Raven was a perfect Hardcore Champion and he did a lot of hard work in making the division more than just garbage brawling. Here you had 2 ECW veterans and they knew exactly what to do and played to their strengths perfectly. It says something that I remember this match vividly considering all the meandering brawling we got from the division around this time period.

2002: Cruiserweight Title: Billy Kidman (c) vs Tajiri (9:08)

-This is another sneaky good match between two pros that knew how to use their limited time wisely. I really hated giving up the Malenko/Scotty match, but this is a suitable replacement. Kidman was getting on a bit of a roll in the WWE at the time and garnering a good reaction from the fans. Tajiri also had a good run in the WWE no matter if he was heel or face. Who knew that all it would take to help the floundering WWE Light Heavyweight Division was to ditch it and bring in WCW and ECW guys who knew how to work the style. There was a small window where I thought I was going to have to use Hogan/HHH for my WWE Title match, but I was able to get Hogan on the card somewhere else. Also, no way I was giving up Rock/Austin. Edge/Angle also was a worthy choice with the match of the night but needing a CW Title match kind of forced my hand here.

2003: World Tag Team Championship: Kane and RVD (c) vs. The Dudley Boyz (13:01)

-Not going to lie here as I was just looking for a Tag Title match and this is the one that fit the best without having to move anything else around. I will say it has some impressive star power all things considered, so there were certainly worse choices. I can’t remember for the life of me why Chief Morley was the special ref, so I guess I should go back and watch the show. There were no other matches that I really considered. Goldberg/Rock would have been nice to get on the show thanks to the historic nature and crazy star power, but Rock/Austin was etched in stone.

2004: Intercontinental Title: Hardcore Match: Randy Orton (c) vs. Cactus Jack (23:03)

-The match that made Randy Orton the Legend Killer and the best match on this card. This is just a crazy violent brawl where Mick did for Randy the same he did for HBK, HHH, and later Edge: show that they could hang in a violent, hate filled match and show they each had a tough side. Orton was more than up for this as he took some man sized bumps including one into a pile of thumbtacks. This was the other match on this card that was locked in from the moment I started thinking about it and nothing was going to change it. I mean, I guess I could have gone with the World Heavyweight Title 3 Way which is technically a better match, but obviously history wants us to forget that match and personally, I like this Orton/Cactus more.

2005: Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels vs. Muhammad Hassan and Daivari (15:05)

-I picked this because it is Hulk Hogan and Shawn Michaels teaming up together. That is an ultimate dream team and the fact that Hassan really didn’t get any heat in a match against two legends like that kind of showed he had no real chance. This match was very much paint by numbers as nobody was buying Hassan and Daivari as threats to the super team across the ring from them. It could have been a handicap match against either Hogan or Michaels and most fans wouldn’t have believed they had a chance in that one either. Batista vs HHH for the World Title was the only other match I considered, but I wanted the World Title match for later.

2006: Carlito vs Chris Masters (9:58)

-This is the spot where I needed a match and had to find one with no title on the line and no real huge stars involved that I was using elsewhere. Thus we get Carlito vs Masters in a perfect match that encapsulates the midcard in 2006. Both guys were getting some serious screen time and looked to be people the company were going to rely on in the future, but it never really happened for either guy. My only other option was Trish/Mickie for the Woman’s Title, but they only got 4 minutes with a DQ finish and I felt the woman’s division deserved better.

2007: ECW Championship: Lashley (c) vs Umaga, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon (15:45)

-Thankfully the ECW Title was defended from 2007-2009 which means I had some options for the title. This match seemed like the best bet as it was actually treated as a priority since the McMahons were involved. Lashley’s push was reportedly a pet project of Vince McMahon and it shows as he made sure to do all he could to help get Lashley pushed to a new level including letting him shave his head at Mania 23 (along with Donald Trump and Steve Austin). Today Shane beats Lashley himself while kicking out of his finisher, but back in 2007 it took 2 McMahons and a great monster in Umaga to get the ECW Title on Vince. The Undertaker and Batista had another great match to follow up their Mania classic as they had freaky good chemistry, but again, I wanted to save my World Title match for later.

2008: The Big Show vs. The Great Khali (8:05)

-Another one where I needed a match and these two weren’t anywhere else on the card and weren’t going to cause me to have to change things. The ECW Title match on this show was Kane/Chavo rematch from Mania 24, but I already had Kane in the Tag Title match, and really I wasn’t picking that unless I was forced to. All cards need a battle of the giants/freaks match and the spectacle of these two in a ring is worth something.

2009: World Heavyweight Title: Last Man Standing: John Cena (c) vs. Edge (28:26)

-We finally get to my World Title match and it is a great one. This was effectively the blow-off to their 3 year feud and shockingly Edge gets the final win. Sure, Big Show helped by throwing Cena through a spotlight in a spectacular bump, but Edge was always billed as the Ultimate Opportunist. These two were made to feud with each other and it showed. This match probably should have been the World Title Match at Mania XXV a month earlier, but rumors were that Show was included as kind of a reward for doing business the previous year with Floyd Mayweather. If I didn’t need to fill a title match, Jericho/Steamboat had a fun match that would have been sweet to include just because it still amazes me that RICKY STEAMBOAT was working WWE matches in 2009 and was better than half the roster.

2016: SmackDown Woman’s Championship: Becky Lynch vs Alexa Bliss vs Carmella vs Nikki Bella vs Naomi vs Natalya (14:40)

-Backlash returned in 2016 following the second brand split and was a SmackDown only PPV that featured the inaugural SmackDown Tag Champs crowned and this match, which crowned the first ever SmackDown Woman’s Champion. This was an easy choice for the Women’s match as the WWE finally started booking them as more than just eye candy and treated them as athletes. This is where Becky kind of got out from under the shadow of Charlotte and Sasha who were battling on RAW. It seemed she was going to be the cornerstone of the division, but it was Alexa Bliss that became the breakout star of the division when she got the title a few months later. Ambrose/AJ had a great match to close the show for the WWE Title, but they weren’t bumping Rock/Austin.

2017: United States Championship: Kevin Owens (c) vs. AJ Styles (21:10)

-The US Title finally appears and I am happy it’s here. AJ and KO feuded over the title the entire summer and each match seemingly got better as they worked out some early kinks. This mach had a screwy finish as KO won by count-out but it fit his character of getting away with his title anyway he could. No other match on the card was really considered though this show will be remembered for Jinder Mahal winning the WWE Title.

2018: Roman Reigns vs Samoa Joe (18:10)

-We wrap things up with the Main Event of the 2018 show. These two have good chemistry and I always enjoyed that Joe was booked strongly against Reigns. He was the guy that Reigns couldn’t beat and finally got over that hump at this show. The only other match I could have picked that wasn’t a title match was Bryan going over Big Cass to end his push, but Cass didn’t have the star power to compete with Reigns and Joe.

Well, there you have it! That’s another Ultimate Card in the books and this one went together rather easily all things considered. The 7 year gap between shows certainly helped things as the final 3 shows look so detached from the show’s initial run and that meant a lot of new faces to choose from. All totaled the 14 matches clock in at 3 hours 30 minutes and 29 seconds. The card also features 3 great matches from Orton/Jack, Edge/Cena, and Austin/Rock while a bunch of the other matches were very good. As far as people missing from the show I am kind of amazed I left HHH and Taker both off the show, but the card I made works for me.

-Up next should be Extreme Rules unless I can get a WCW PPV card done before then.

-As always thanks for reading.

article topics :

Backlash, WWE, Robert Leighty Jr.