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The Backlash 2007 Breakdown

May 3, 2007 | Posted by J.D. Dunn

Backlash 2007
by J.D. Dunn

  • April 29, 2007
  • Live from Atlanta, Ga.
  • Your hosts are Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Joey Styles and Taz.

  • Opening Match, World Tag Team Titles: The Hardy Boyz vs. Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch.
    This would be the Hardyz first PPV title defense in…well, a long friggin’ time. Survivor Series 2001, IIRC. They dominate early, in spite of the size differential, until Jeff misses a dropkick to the outside. Jeff plays face-in-peril, and it’s like 2000 all over again. Cade hits a uranage spinebuster for two. That should probably be his singles finisher. Cade blocks a jawbreaker once, but Jeff hits it on a second try. It doesn’t get him out of trouble, though. They work in a great suspense sequence where Jeff kicks Murdoch to counter a backdrop, so Cade tags in and takes a reverse giri, but Jeff…just can’t…reach his corner. Murdoch knocks Matt off the apron. Matt eventually does get that hot tag, but the West Texas Mafia blocks Poetry in Motion. Matt hits the Side Effect on Murdoch, but Cade comes off the top with a double ax-handle. WEST TEXAS DESTROYER~! ONE, TWO, THR-NO! Murdoch throws a tantrum and scoops Matt up into the Fireman’s Carry. Matt slips out and counters to the Twist of Fate, allowing Jeff to hit the Swanton at 15:02. Fun little opener. I think Cade and Murdoch need a manager to really get over. **1/2

  • Umaga gets psyched up in the back. Shane McMahon tells him to follow instructions, and everything will be all right. Vince and Shane discuss who should be the ECW Champ when they win.
  • Women’s Title: Melina vs. Mickie James.
    Mickie has reverted to the “Alexis Laree” attire. Thankfully, the hair is still lightened because the quart-of-Quaker-State look made her look like a meth-head. They actually do a brief mat wrestling sequence, and what’s more shocking is that it’s pretty good. Crowd chants, “Let’s go, Mickie!” while Melina adjusts her eyelashes. Lawler jokes he’s never seen a match grind to a halt because a wrestler got something in their eye, which used to be one of Lawler’s Memphis stalling tactics. Of course, it’s all a ruse. Mickie goes up but gets knocked to the floor. Melina works in a Tarantula Sleeper and a rope-assisted leg-scissor Full Nelson. What’s with all the wrestling all of a sudden? Melina hits a one-woman Bomb de Rougeau, nearly turning the match into a Skinemax movie. Melina blocks a kick and yanks Mickie into the splits! OUCH! Mickie returns the favor, and we get a SPLIT FIGHT! SPLIT FIGHT! SPLIT FIGHT! Mickie hits a crossbody block for two but falls victim to the reverse DDT at 8:03. This was a surprisingly entertaining match that got the crowd into it by the end, and it wasn’t just chanting for T&A. The split fight was inspired. They just need to work on not telegraphing so many moves in advance, which dragged this way down. **1/2

  • Edge tells us how smart he is for cashing in his Money in the Bank shot and winning his first title after Cena was exhausted and beaten. Mr. Kennedy pops in and reminds him that lightning can strike twice. Kennedy is so awesome.
  • U.S. Title: Chris Benoit vs. MVP.
    Notice how MVP’s star has been on the rise since he started taking himself more seriously? The irony of his push is they brought him in as a potential superstar only to push him as a disappointment for storyline, but the truth was he really is a potential superstar. MVP starts out strong, showing off his stiff kicks. Benoit goes for the Crossface, and they do the Flair-Steamboat reversal sequence. Benoit locks in the Sharpshooter, but MVP makes the ropes. Benoit takes the Bret-bump off a corner whip and gets booted in the back of the head. MVP snaps off a belly-to-belly suplex. Nice! Benoit comes back with ROLLING GERMANS, but MVP is in the ropes on a Northern Lights Suplex. MVP’s Breathe Right strip is a nice touch. He locks in a reverse stepover armbar that segues to a crucifix-style hold. The ref catches him using the ropes, though. Benoit ducks a boot and hits more ROLLING GERMANS! MVP gets his knees up to block the Diving Headbutt, though. MVP grabs the half-crab, but Benoit makes the ropes. Benoit goes for the Crossface, but MVP blocks, and Benoit is forced to counter to a small package for the win at 13:10. Although this didn’t have the same, easily recognizable storyline of WrestleMania, it actually works better in the overall narrative. MVP had an excellent defensive strategy in the WrestleMania match, but he was constantly on defense. This match was much more even, showing MVP not only has more competence, but confidence as well. While the match is fine on its own, if you watch it in the context of a series, I think you’ll get even more enjoyment out of it. ***1/4

  • Randy Orton finds John Cena and proposes a truce. It actually kind of sounds like he’s hitting on him, a fact which Cena points out to much hilarity.
  • ECW Heavyweight Title, Handicap Match: Bobby Lashley vs. Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon & Umaga.
    Shane starts. That was his first mistake. Lashley tosses him around like a rag doll and sends him flying. Umaga tags in and gets more of the same. Shane charges and gets tossed again. Shane is taking some wicked bumps already. Vince just stands on the apron spewing bile, but he refuses to get in. Finally, Shane yanks down the ropes, spilling Lashley to the floor. Shane works in his bad-ass UFC skills with a series of armbars. Lashley powers up and slams Shane down, so Umaga has to tag in and maintain the advantage while Shane recovers. Shane comes back in and works the back, but Lashley makes his own save and cleans house. Vince is finally forced to come in to make the save on a cover. Shane saves him from a powerslam and hits Lashey with the title belt. Umaga adds a pair of splashes and allows Vince to get the pin at 14:40. The McMahon celebration is pretty funny. Thankfully, they went with the numbers. Shane McMahon actually carried the match, which was a good idea. Too one-sided to be any good, but it got its point across. *3/4

  • Vince and Shane stop off backstage and mock the ECW Originals. You know, looking at all the talent involved there, Vince McMahon is actually a better in-ring performer than 75-percent of the ECW Originals. Compare Vince’s matches with the Sandman atrocities during his reign. Sabu only had good matches with Van Dam. Dreamer was good as a storyteller, but when it came time to put on the match, he needed someone like Raven to carry the other half. I know Vince only wrestles 2-3 times a year, but his matches have been consistently entertaining since 1999. That’s more than I can say for most of the ECW champions, which makes it all-the-more hilarious that Taz and Styles are sickened by Vince holding the title. I mean, how can he ever hope to live up to the legacy that Justin Credible provided? Or Mikey Whipwreck? Or a ten-years-past-his-prime Jimmy Snuka?
  • World Heavyweight Title, Last Man Standing: The Undertaker vs. Batista.
    Batista charges right into a boot to open. The crowd definitely sides with Taker. He goes for the chokeslam early, but Batista battles out. Taker has to settle for a flying clothesline. Batista comes back with a sloppy powerslam for a six count. They brawl on the floor with Taker going after Batista’s bandaged hamstring. Batista whips Taker to the steps but makes the mistake of going up and gets superplexed in a nice reference to the WrestleMania match where he hit the flying shoulderblock. They slug it out, and Batista levels him with a clothesline for eight. Taker slings Batista to the floor and sets up the Smackdown announce table. Batista whips Taker to the barrier, but Taker hits a sloppy backbreaker move and smashes the ringsteps into his head. Batista is busted open but on his feet. Taker tosses him onto the table and hits a LEGDROP THROUGH THE TABLE! JBL and Cole have to do play-by-play from the crowd. It only gets a nine count, though, and Undertaker gets grumpy. Back in, Taker hits a corner clothesline but runs right into a spear. SPINEBUSTER! ANOTHER! ANOTHER! Batista is starting to generate serious heel heat here. Taker blocks the Demonbomb and hits a chokeslam for nine. Taker mounts Batista for some corner punches, and Batista counters to a powerbomb in yet another cool play on their Mania match. It gets about 9 1/2. Batista gets desperate and SMASHES Taker with a chair. He sets up for the Demonbomb, but Taker backdrops out of it and hits the TOMBSTONE! Taker staggers over to the corner and puts his head down to rest, but Batista makes it up behind his back. Taker’s “He survived? Seriously?!” reaction is awesome. They brawl all the way up to the entrance platform. Taker goes for the Tombstone, but Batista slips out and spears Taker off the platform, sending them both through the production equipment below. The scaffolding from the set, which actually did look superfluous, suddenly collapses on top of them, and neither man is able to answer the ten count at 20:26. Give it a real (as in “not so contrived”) finish on that, and it’s a MOTYC. They took the main complaint I had about the WrestleMania match — that it was nothing more than hitting one big move after another with little substance — and turned it into a positive because that’s precisely the strategy you employ in a match like this. Plus, they worked in a lot of nods and counters from their previous match. Besides the ending, the only other thing that dragged this down is Taker not continuing work on the bandaged leg, which we know he’s capable of doing and would have worked the stipulations without going to the nuclear option right away. A gargantuan step up from their Mania match, though. ***3/4

  • WWE Heavyweight Title, Fatal Fourway: John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels vs. Edge vs. Randy Orton.
    Four-way jabberfest starts, and the babyfaces clear the ring. Michaels goes right after Cena and hits a few chops. Cena comes back with the Fisherman’s Suplex but gets neckbreakered. Rated RKO clears the ring and slug it out. The babyfaces act like lumberjacks, taking shots at the heels as they fall out. A big scrum erupts on the floor, allowing Shawn to go up and hit a moonsault on the pile. Shawn tosses Edge in, but Cena hits a double guillotine legdrop on both guys! Orton sneaks in and hits the Stretch Backbreaker on Cena. Cena fights back but posts himself. Orton and Edge take turns trying to pin Shawn before Edge calls a truce. It basically turns into a tag team match with Rated RKO reuniting to beat down Shawn with one of them stopping long enough to make sure Cena can’t recover. They lock in a double Boston Crab, which prompts Lawler to wonder who the champ would be if Shawn taps out. Well, according to the King of the Ring 2001 precedent, the match would have to continue. It’s a moot point because Cena makes the save. HE’S A HOUSE OF FIRE! Orton and Michaels team up to toss him into the post, but Shawn immediately turns on Orton and takes him to the Raw table for a piledriver. Edge sneaks in and takes out both guys with chairshots. So much for that Rated RKO reunion. Back in, Edge swings at Cena but winds up in a crappy STFU. The whole idea of the crossface is that it goes across the opponent’s face. It’s not a ‘stepover to a reverse hug.’ Compare that with Samoa Joe, who nearly snaps his opponent’s neck off by twisting it backward. Anyway, Orton also takes an STFU but gets saved by Shawn. Shawn rolls up Cena for a nearfall, and they all work in the Tower of Doom car wreck spot. Cena scoops up Edge for the FU, and Shawn stalks him for Sweet Chin Music. Orton comes out of nowhere to kill Shawn dead with the RKO. Edge hits Cena with the Edgecution, but he’s too out of it to cover. Instead, he readies for the spear. Orton nearly hits him with the RKO but gets speared himself. That allows Cena to hit Edge with the spear, but by now Shawn has recovered and hits SWEET CHIN MUSIC! Unfortunately for Shawn, Cena falls backwards onto Orton and gets the pin at 19:24. Again, great finish because in the 50+ minute Raw match Shawn kicked Cena and fell forward on top of him for the win. In this case, he fell the other way, and it cost him. The last 3-4 minutes were just wall-to-wall action and the intrigue with all the forming and fading alliances just added to the match. The only knock is that I never had the feeling that Cena’s title was in jeopardy to anyone but Michaels, making the heels little more than props. Minor gripe, though. ***1/2

    The 411: Backlash usually delivers every year, and this one was no exception. It’s like a more relaxed version of WrestleMania where they can let it all hang out. The aspect that really stood out for me was the actual booking of the matches. Most of the matches had some sort of new spot or something that played off other matches. Give the agents a raise! Two very good World title matches and a quality U.S. Title match add up to a fun PPV overall.

    Easy thumbs up for Backlash 2007.


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