April 28, 2003
Goldberg suffers BackLash
By JOHN POWELL -- SLAM! Wrestling
If there is something the WWE has been known for in recent years is they
can go from best to worst in the blink of an eye. Last month\'s WrestleMania
broadcast was an exceptional achievement. A milestone in the history of pro
wrestling pay-per-views. Weeks later and the WWE is back to the mundane
brand of sports entertainment that has been the company\'s calling card
since they attained a virtual monopoly on the industry.
BackLash failed at the moment it was conceived on paper. An uninspired
card with predictable results was not the way to follow-up a exemplary
WrestleMania show. All of the positive momentum WrestleMania generated was
sapped by BackLash. Once again, the WWE has made another disastrous
business decision at a crucial time in the company\'s fight to win back a
steadily declining fan base. One wonders how much longer the trend in
shoddy management can continue without severe fallout.
The WWE couldn\'t even get it together when it came to BackLash\'s main
events. Spotlighted by the return of former WCW superstar Goldberg, the WWE
dropped the ball once again by putting him up against one of their most
popular wrestlers - The Rock. In doing so, the WWE has dug another hole
they must somehow climb out of. Though fans may take pleasure out of
mocking The Rock\'s present heel character of the wrestler turned arrogant
Hollywood movie star, in reality, many respect his in-ring abilities and
his sense of humour. Any booker with a brain in their head looking to push
Goldberg as a fan favorite, would\'ve put him up against a prominent WWE
wrestler who the fans despise. Since they didn\'t, it was preordained that
Goldberg, a man who was front and centre in the WCW versus WWE rivalry,
would be booed and he was in a big way at BackLash. Unable to put the past
behind them, the partisan crowd assailed Goldberg every time he turned the
tables on The Rock. It was very clear whose corner the crowd was in. Due to
their own foolish booking, now the WWE has two choices: either do some
major damage control and resuscitate Goldberg as a face or side with
the crowd and make him a heel.
With news of The Rock heading off to film the remake of \"Walking Tall\",
the end result of the \"dream match\" was elementary. Though the bout was by
no means a classic confrontation, the two stars were as intense as they
have ever have been before. To get across the message that the match was
just another day at the office for Goldberg, he entered the ring chewing
gum and smiling. Goldberg won two tests of strength to start things off. He
tossed a bewildered Rock into a corner and then clear out of the ring. An
embarrassed Rock shot back into the ring and slapped Goldberg in the face.
Goldberg smiled, shoulder butted and clotheslined Rock out of the ring
\"Come on, pretty boy! The match is in here,\" jeered Goldberg as The Rock
went for a stroll.
Although he crushed The Great One with his own Rock Bottom, Goldberg
made the mistake of going for his trademark Spear too soon. The Rock deftly
sidestepped the attack. Goldberg sailed into the ring post and through the
ropes. The announcers, not really throwing their support behind Goldberg as
the face, played up the mistake throughout the rest of the match and the
resulting \"injury\" to his right shoulder.
Goldberg and The Rock traded two counts often. Goldberg was booed
vigorously whenever it appeared he could be on his way to pinning The Rock.
\"Goldberg sucks!\" chants rained down as he kicked out of The People\'s Elbow
and delivered two Spears. A Jackhammer gave Rocky a one-way ticket back to
the land of \"Lights! Camera! Action!\".
The co-main event, a hackneyed, throwaway six-man tag team match pitting
Chris Jericho, Triple H and Ric Flair against Booker T, Shawn Michaels and
Kevin Nash served no purpose other than to ink another chapter in the
inevitable and much dreaded Kevin Nash versus Triple H title match. It was
a well-wrestled match by everyone involved but without anything really at
stake, the interest just wasn\'t there. Triple H spent the better part of
the match fleeing from Kevin Nash by tagging out or heading to the hills
whenever Big Sexy stormed in his direction.
To anyone who has watched Raw for the last month or so, it should be no
surprise that the match broke down into another one of those confounding
and redundant melees. HBK labeled Ric Flair with Sweet Chin Music but
Jericho landed a bulldog to prevent him from pinning The Nature Boy. Flair
locked Michaels in the Figure Four while Jericho sprinted to the ropes. A
lionsault on a figure-foured HBK, caught the attention of Kevin Nash who
was readying Triple H for a possible powerbomb through the announcer\'s
table. Seeing his pal in a world of hurt, Nash dropped HHH and charged back
into the ring. Flair knocks the ref outside. Jericho receives a Jack-Knife
Powerbomb. Digging out that sledgehammer for the millionth time (Yawn!),
HHH clobbers Nash in the head, throws it out of the ring and waits for the
ref to count three. Booker T and Michaels check on Nash as Jericho, Flair
and HHH raise their hands in victory as they break for the showers.
The next WWE pay-per-view is Judgment Day on May 18th.
BackLash 2003 Results
Los Guerreros (challengers) versus Team Angle (champions) (WWE Tag
Team Championship Match)
Team Angle dedicates the match to their fallen leader by bringing a
portrait of him to the ring. Team Angle blows the gimmick by not being able
to put the easel together properly. Eddie and Chavo cheat...and then cheat
some more. Team Angle follows suit by mirroring their infractions mere
moments later. The highlight of the match is Eddie executing a series of
crisp and clean snap suplexes on Haas. Eddie also Frog Splashes him. Too
bad Chavo is the legal man and can only manage a two count. Eddie is thrown
into the steel ring stairs. Chavo tries a suplex on Haas. From outside the
ring, Benjamin pulls Chavo\'s feet out from under him and then holds down
his legs as Haas falls on top for the pin. Bobby Heenan would be proud.
Benjamin almost flubs the finale. After the bell has rung, Chavo dives onto
Team Angle taking out them and their portrait of Kurt Angle. Los Guerreros
steal the tag belts and scamper off to the backstage area where their car
is waiting. Los Guerreros speed off as Team Angle can do nothing but watch
the happenings on the Titantron.
Los Guerreros rip off the WWE Tag Team Championship belts.
Winners: ... and still WWE Tag Team Champions...Team Angle at 15
minutes and 4 seconds.
Match Rating: 6 / 10.
Here begins the only backstage storyline of the night. You thought the
cat fight at WrestleMania was bad. You ain\'t seen nothing yet. Test
harasses Torrie. She wants him. She knows it. Torrie wonders why Test can\'t
take \"No!\" for an answer. As she walks away, Test grabs her by the arm,
yanks her back and forces a kiss on her. As Torrie escapes Test\'s clutches,
Sable looks on with satisfaction. The camera focuses on her butt as he
saunters off pleased with herself.
Rikishi versus Sean O\'Haire
Piper comes to the ring first carrying a basket of coconuts. You know
that can\'t be good. Piper extols the virtues of O\'Haire as \"the wrestler of
the new millennium\". He will be the man who teaches Rikishi that \"everyone
pays the Piper\". Why Piper can\'t or won\'t take Rikishi to school is not
explained. The menacing O\'Haire comes out to some cruddy dance song which
really doesn\'t bolster the sinister persona he is playing. As Rikishi and
O\'Haire pummel each other, most of the crowd is observing some altercation
in the stands. Piper interferes often, distracting the ref and getting a
few cheap shots in. When Rikishi goes for the Stink Face, O\'Haire puts up
his feet, pushes Rikishi and sends him flying. Rikishi and O\'Haire take
each other out with high kicks. Piper enters the ring with a coconut in
hand. Piper gives the coconut to the ref. Rikishi takes it and smacks Piper
in the head with it. O\'Haire capitalizes and puts Rikishi out with a
spinning slam. A bleeding Piper shouting...\"This thing is not over!\"... as
he is led away are not the words wrestling fans don\'t want to hear. Yikes!
Winner: Sean O\'Haire at 4 minutes and 54 seconds.
Match Rating: 3 / 10.
Staci is snacking. Sable stops by and it isn\'t for some carrot sticks.
She hates to be the bearer of bad news...but...her boyfriend\'s kissing
another woman. Staci doesn\'t believe it. Sable wonders who Test got an
advanced copy of Torrie\'s issue of Playboy. That cinches things. Staci
slams down her plate.
With Chief Morley assigned as the guest referee for their match, RVD
and Kane assume their collective goose is cooked. If they are going down,
they promise to take everyone else with them.
The Dudley Boyz (challengers) versus Kane, RVD (champions) (WWE
World Tag Team Title Match)
As announced on Heat, Chief Morley is the guest referee. Morley\'s
counts are consistent although he allows the Dudley Boyz to double-team and
bend the rules. An in-your-face tag bout with high-flying acrobatics by RVD
to balance the rough neck stuff. Morley low-blows Kane as he prepares to
Chokeslam Bubba. Morley heaves Kane through the ropes. Morley accidentally
clotheslines Bubba. D\'von takes exception to that. He lays a beat down on
Morley. Lance Storm hits the ring and takes a Bubba Bomb. 3-D for Morley.
Kane Chokeslams Bubba. D\'von is tossed outside. RVD hits the Five Star Frog
Splash on Bubba. RVD and Kane retain the straps.
Winners: ... and still WWE World Tag Team Champions...RVD, Kane
at 7 minutes and 17 seconds .
Match Rating: 7 / 10.
Staci finds Torrie in the women\'s locker room. Torrie doesn\'t explain
what happened with Test properly. Staci misinterprets the situation. Cat
fight! Cat fight! We are wasting good match time with this drivel?
Jazz (challenger) versus Trish Stratus (champion) (WWE Women\'s World
Heavyweight Title Match)
Teddy takes the mike. Tonight is a night for vindication. Jazz will
rise above the...ummm...bigotry of the WWE. \"The bitch is back! The bitch
is black,\" bellows Jazz. Who writes this stuff? Trish heads to the ring
holding her ribs. The announcers say that the trainers told her not to
wrestle tonight. Solid action with both women showing some depth to their
abilities. Trish even locks on an STF. How cool is that? Trish lands
Stratisfaction but...get this...Teddy Long makes the most goofiest save in
pro wrestling history....he stops the pin by throwing his shoe into the
ring and nailing Trish in the head! Huh? Jazz puts the flustered Trish in a
crab-like pin while holding onto the ropes.
Winners: ...and new WWE Women\'s World Heavyweight Champion...Jazz
at 5 minutes and 49 seconds.
Match Rating: 6 / 10.
Another example of the WWE staff not having their act together. Booker
T asks Shawn Michaels if he is ready for the six-man tag match. Shawn says
he is. Booker wonders if Nash is. No problems, says Nash. He just asks that
Shawn and Booker leave HHH for him. Whatever. Why bother?
Rey Mysterio versus Big Show
Just what you think it would be with Mysterio using hit and run tactics
while the Big Show displays power moves. Mysterio suckers Big Show with
three or four 619\'s. He goes for the West Coast Pop. Big Show catches him
in mid-air for the Chokeslam. Medics come to the ring to put an \"injured\"
Mysterio on a body board. Big Show returns, picks up the body board with
Mysterio on it and swings it into a steel post. Impressive. You can bet
that Lesnar challenges Big Show for being a bully on the next edition of
Big Show prepares to slam Rey Mysterio and the back board he is on into the steel ring post.
Winner: Big Show at 3 minutes and 46 seconds .
Match Rating: 2 / 10.
Torrie and Staci are still clawing at each other. Staci is pushed into
a cabinet of sorts. A tray full of food falls and cracks her on the head.
Scott Steiner rushes to Staci\'s aid. Test shows up and wonders what Steiner
is trying to pull. Steiner skulks off.
John Cena (challenger) versus Brock Lesnar (champion) (WWE
Not a bad match...but not a terribly good one either especially when
Cena is really no threat to Lesnar\'s reign. Lesnar dominates rapping Cena\'s
head off the announce table and shoving the championship belt in his face.
Cena finally gains the advantage by reversing an Irish whip into the ring
stairs and then posts Brock. Brock is busted open. Cena gets a two count
from a low blow. Cena retrieves his chain. The official yanks it out of his
hands. Lesnar drops Cena like a bad habit.
John Cena puts the hurt on a bloody Brock Lesnar.
Winner: ...and still WWE Champion...Brock Lesnar at 15 minutes and
Match Rating: 6 / 10.
Triple H, Ric Flair, Chris Jericho versus Booker T, Shawn Michaels,
Winners: Triple H, Ric Flair and Chris Jericho at 17 minutes and 51
Match Rating: 6 / 10.
Tazz and Cole have an update on Mysterio\'s condition. His vital signs
are good. Gee, thanks guys. That explains so much.
The Rock cuts a promo on Goldberg. He mentions himself 19 times. No
promo from Goldberg.
The Rock versus Goldberg
Winner: Goldberg at 13 minutes and 6 seconds.
Match Rating: 7 / 10.
Total Event Time: Two hours and 45 minutes.
Overall Event Rating: 5 / 10.