April 27, 2008
Countdown to WWE Backlash
By SLAM! Wrestling Staff
Backlash comes this year with a bit more intrigue than it usually does. Sure,
we essentially get the standard return title matches, but somehow, there is
a different feeling this year. Perhaps it's two undercard matches which are
eagerly anticipated, or maybe it's the x-factor of JBL in the WWE Championship
match. Either way, we should be in for a pretty good card tonight. Here's what
the SLAM! crew expects to happen at Backlash.
|| MAIN EVENT - WORLD TITLE MATCH
Edge vs. Undertaker
As much as I hate to admit it, I'm starting to tire of Edge in the main event.
It probably has to do with the lame Vickie angle that just doesn't seem to end
as much as anything else, but Edge vs. Undertaker or Edge vs. Batista seems
to be happening on a monthly basis now. Hopefully the Rated R Superstar moves
to Raw in the draft (it is coming, right???) so his character can be as far
away from Mrs. Guerrero as possible. I've got 'Taker, sadly, by DQ in this one.
No way the title changes hands here. The Undertaker is on one last ride (no
pun intended) and he can still draw wherever he goes. Both are injury-prone,
but this should be a decent match. Hopefully there will be no post-match pyro
injuries to any fans at the arena after Taker keeps the belt.
The match will be pretty close to the one at WrestleMania. There will be a lot
of interference by Edge's crew (including Vickie), but they should have a decent
match. Kane should come and help 'Taker out to battle the new heel group. I'll
It's too bad Edge's reign is over; he's the best heel in wrestling right now
and he made Smackdown! so interesting. Undertaker is primed to hold the title
at least through to Survivor Series in November, so 'Taker will retain.
This one falls under the standard rematch clause and hardly seems like a big
deal. Undertaker wins again, and they won't be in the night's final spot this
| GRUDGE MATCH
(Chris Jericho special referee)
Shawn Michaels vs. Batista
I really like the build here, but at the same time the feud feels rushed. That
Jericho is in the equation makes me feel that there's going to be a spinoff
feud in May/June. I'd bank on Y2J turning full heel and KO'ing Michaels, maybe
with a Superkick to re-ignite their WM XIX feud.
If charisma won matches, HBK would be undefeated and Batista would be the eternal
jobber. In this Ric Flair man crush-fest, I see Michaels carrying the match
and winning with Sweet Chin Music out of nowhere.
This has a lot of potential with Y2J in it as the ref. I expect it will be 15-20
minutes with Shawn carrying the load (I mean that figuratively and literally).
Somehow Jericho sticks it to one of them and I think it will be the big man.
I see a rematch here, maybe with Slick Ric down the road involved.
This match is the only reason I'm looking forward to Backlash. HBK can carry
Batista to a great match, the feud has been built perfectly with an old school
style... and the Chris Jericho element adds that much more intrigue. I'm going
with Batista getting the win with Jericho's help, leading to HBK vs Jericho
at the next PPV, and likely a feud with Batista through the summer. I can only
hope HBK gets a title run at some point.
This has been a well thought-out, has had slow build and is an intriguing match-up
to boot. They don't need Chris Jericho as a special referee to make it a better
match, however. Batista has proven he can go if paired with an opponent who
pushes him, like Undertaker. I think they might just steal the show, and Batista
gets the duke.
|| WWE CHAMPIONSHIP FATAL FOUR-WAY MATCH
Randy Orton vs. HHH vs. John Cena vs. JBL
This one may be the hardest to call. I love Orton as champ, simply because it's
different, but he's also in dire need of switching brands. Maybe he and Edge
will flip shows? For that to happen, Randy has to drop the belt, so I'm guessing
Triple H wins, with their next match being a "Loser Leaves Raw" bout.
Meanwhile, JBL and Cena renew acquaintances.
Somehow, Randy Orton leaves with the WWE Title still in his grasp. JBLs
best days are long gone, Triple H is getting ready for those late-night feedings
again and Cena is turning into The Rock with his Hollywood bombs. It only makes
sense for Orton to retain and start a feud with someone like William Regal or
Mike Adamle. This IS the WWE ya know.
This is another match with great expectations. If correct, JBL will be first
to be eliminated and then the real fun begins. With the remaining three, it
should be outstanding. Hopefully, a couple of new holds will be thrown in as
well. The finish should be great. My money is on HHH to get the strap but Cena
would not be a bad second choice (if the boobirds do not come out and get him).
It has the potential to "burn down the place."
WHAT YOU THINK
Who will win the Fatal Four Way at Backlash?
Randy Orton - 33%
JBL - 9%
Triple H - 43%
John Cena - 15%
Orton is going to retain, simply because any time someone goes over in a big
match at WrestleMania, it usually means he's going to be the focal point of the
show at LEAST until Summerslam. Orton retains here and probably goes one-on-one
with Triple H at the next pay-per-view.
How badly does the creative team want to swerve people? They did it with Cena-Orton-HHH
at Mania, with Orton retaining against all odds. The ultimate swerve here would
be to give JBL the belt. My vote, though, goes to Orton retaining.
|| ECW TITLE MATCH
Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero
Yikes. This is a horrible feud and should end, pronto. I like giving Kane the
belt, but he needs a believable opponent. Chavo's not going to win this match
without help from La Familia, and I think they'll be too focused on Edge tonight.
Had this been the old ECW, Kane is the ideal champ. But hes now the champ
of Tuesday Night Velocity and the title means NOTHING. Hed be better off
losing it to Chavito. But he wont. Kane wins with an ever-boring chokeslam.
Wake me when this is over and please do not have Mike Adamle call this match.
Hes likely to butcher names right and left.
This one is hard to call but it may have its moments. I expect Chavo's new friends
do to some interfering at the end. Chavo is a great cruiserweight but as a heavyweight
he still has lot to work on. I would like to see Kane hold on the strap a little
longer (he is way overdue for the big belt - like 10 years overdue. That's a
long time in wrestling years folks). I'm taking Kane by DQ.
I hope Chavo wins, because Kane bores the hell out of me. He's been a snore
ever since he lost the mask. But, sadly, he's going to retain the title here,
and likely in dominating fashion, because titles rarely, if ever, change hands
Well, it'll last longer than their match in Orlando, but not by much. Kane wins.
Great Khali vs. Big Show
This reminds me of the match that Stephanie and Vince McMahon had a few years
ago. It was so terrible that I actually kept the DVD for a while, just so I
could go back and relive the horridness of it. I expect that the same will happen
when Backlash arrives in my mailbox. Show will get the win here and I half expect
him to either injure Khali (in storyline, not the way Khali does in the ring)
or for the Indian Giant to be moved away from Smackdown/ECW. Either way, Paul
Wight wins here.
Ugh. Why does Khali keep getting PPV matches??? Oh thats right
because hes big and can raise his arms in the air and bellow. Thats
right. Show wins with one of his many finishers that Khali will, as always,
fail to sell miserably.
This should not be too long here with Khali. A true match of the year candidate,
NOT. Khali takes the W.
Big Show needs a win after jobbing to Floyd Mayweather at WrestleMania. This
match's purpose is to clearly to re-establish Big Show as the true "giant"
in sports entertainment, and with Khali about to take a little vacation to start
his wrestling school (ha!) in India, look for Big Show to get the win and possibly
put Khali out of action for a little while.
Poor Big Show. He goes from being the focus of WrestleMania 24 to, well, this.
Sigh. I don't expect a true finish, probably with Khali being DQ'd. I also don't
expect much of a match.
US TITLE MATCH
MVP vs. Matt Hardy
Matt's return to TV has been terrible. Losing to Orton and then beating MVP
didn't do much of anything, and the KOTR match should have had some sort of screwy
finish. The exchange on Friday certainly helped, but this feud needs a serious
kick in the pants. MVP goes over, barely here (foot on the ropes seems like
a good step), leading to a stipulation match next month.
MVP has been US champ for almost a year, yet we never hear on TV who he beat
for the title. Hardy has had a roller coaster last few months and a title run
would benefit him. That being said, this is WWE and MVP will retain his title
in what should be a four-star match. (And MVP beat Chris Benoit back at Judgment
Day on May 20, 2007.)
Boy I can not wait for this one. They have both shown great chemistry in the
past, so I would not expect to much to change here. If Hardy is going to win
the big prize at the end of this year or at WM 25, this will be his practice
belt for a while. There should be a lot of back and forth action here, and if
given enough time, it should get both over huge. Lots of potential if done right.
Matt wins the title.
Well, this one has been in the making for almost a year now. This is a feud
done right. MVP has been the champ for as long as I can remember now, but this
match is finally going to be the big blow off for what I think was the feud
of the year in 2007. I've got to go with Matt Hardy.
This feud has lost some momentum, but it still should be a good match and hopefully
kick it up a notch again. I think it's best to leave the strap on MVP at this
PPV, but lead to a gimmick match down the road on Smackdown! or the next pay-per-view.
12 WOMAN TAG MATCH
Mickie James/Ashley/Cherry/Maria/Michelle McCool/Kelly Kelly vs. Victoria/Natalya/Beth
If this match serves to transition the title focus to Natalya, then it's worthwhile.
Otherwise, f'get about it. I'm guessing Beth Phoenix gets the duke over Mickie
to further the notion that James's title win was a fluke.
The perverts delight. Ah yes. The odds of a wardrobe malfunction in a
cluster like this are endless. The team with Beth Phoenix on it wins after she
pins Mickie James.
This should be ok when Victoria, Beth and Natlaya are in. I'm betting this will run about
eight minutes or so. Look for Natlaya to get the fall for her team. I hope they
do some wrestling here.
Mickie James' team wins. Whoopee.
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-- compiled by Jon Waldman