Backlash 2008

1st Mariner Arena
Baltimore, Maryland

April 27, 2008

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Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler introduced the show at ringside. Lawler said, "The atmosphere is absolutely erect, uh, electric!" Ross threw to Mike Adamle and "The Tazz" (Ross said it; the ribbing of Adamle continues). He threw to Michael Cole who introduced his new color commentator, Mick Foley. Foley has always been better at talking about himself than others and his previous guest color stints haven't been a good as you'd expect, so this will be interesting to watch. Now that he's not an active player in the ring, he may be able to shift his attention fully to the product and other performers with success. Cole seemed very happy.

1 -- MVP vs. MATT HARDY -- U.S. Title match

Minute to minute, the man on offense changed throughout the first ten minutes. Foley attributed it to both men knowing each other so well through studying tape and teaming together. At 10:00 MVP got the most threatening stretch of offense of the match. He knocked Hardy to the floor and Hardy was nearly counted out. MVP kicked Hardy as soon as he rolled back into the ring. Hardy, almost out of nowhere, avoided a running boot from MVP and surprised him with a sudden Twist of Fate and a clean win. Foley did well on commentary. Cole declared it was Hardy's first singles title ever, which isn't even close to true. MVP slapped the match in frustration with the outcome.

WINNER: Hardy in 11:00 to capture the U.S Title.


-They went to Ross and Lawler at ringside. Ross praised Hardy for his win. Lawler and Ross hyped a text messaging contest predicting the winner of the Fatal Four-Way match.

-Backstage, Eve interviewed a winded but elated Hardy who talked about winning the U.S. Title. Hardy then listed that he's been the European Champion, the Hardcore Champion, and the Cruiserweight Champion - making Cole look like a total boob. He said nothing compares to this. He got emotional as he talked about how hard he worked to get that belt. He said it was worth it. He called it the best day of his life. He said he only has one thing to say to MVP. He paused and then said, "I am better than you." He let out a wide smile and walked away. Great old-time promo where it just felt real and not contrived. The sweaty, tired wrestler after a big win is one of the best, and most underutilized settings for wrestler promos.

-Adamle and Tazz previewed the ECW Title match. He looked a little panicked when he was saying "24" when recounting that Kane beat Chavo at WrestleMania 24, but otherwise got the words out.

2 -- KANE vs. CHAVO GUERRERO (w/Bam Neely) - ECW Title match

Tazz messed up on commentary briefly, then told Adamle he's got him flustered and he pulled "an Adamle." Adamle said Tazz can't blame him for that one. Tazz said, "Oh yes I can." Adamle described the three ropes as "the three rings." Tazz explained patronizingly to Adamle how a countout works with the ten count and everything. Adamle said he knew that. He seemed to have a sense of humor about the hard time he was being given. After some early back and forth action, Chavo got a stretch of offense working over Kane's leg, including ramming it around the ringpost at ringside. Chavo came of the top rope with a frog splash at 8:00, but Kane grabbed his throat before he could go for a pin and finished him with a chokeslam.

WINNER: Kane in 5:00 to retain the ECW Title.


-Todd Grisham interviewed Randy Orton backstage. As Grisham ran down the rules, Orton said he knows the rules. He said lately he's been through a lot of advertising, but here he is living through the "Age of Orton." He said he will walk out still WWE Champion.

-They went to Cole and Foley at ringside. Cole previewed the Big Show vs. Great Khali match, calling it the biggest match ever. They billed them at 7-0 and 7-3 respectively, with 18EEEEEE and 18 shoe sizes and 84 and 85 inch reaches. Each were billed at over 400 pounds. Foley asked Cole what shoe size he wears. Cole said nine. Foley said that's a kid size and "smaller than the shoes Coach left me to fill." Yes, Coach did set the bar low for him. Great set-up line for Foley to rip on Coach.


After a long staredown after the bell, Khali shoved Show. Show shoved back. They exchanged forearms and punches. Khali headbutted Show. Show was barely phased. They exchanged headbutts. Khali clotheslined Show to the mat at 2:00. Foley said he's never seen Show taken down like that. Khali dominated for the next several minutes including a chinlock and a nerve hold. Khali chopped Show over the head, then applied a surfboard. The crowd chanted "Boring!" Show eventually broke free of Khali's grip on his neck and chokeslammed him for the clean win. Show favored his shoulder afterward.

WINNER: Show in 6:00.


-They cut backstage to John Cena talking to Jimmy Wang Yang about country music and must-have artists in a CD collection. Orton walked up behind Cena. Orton leaned in and told Cena that a victory for him wouldn't happen and he'd go home disappointed just as he did at WrestleMania. Cena said win, lose, or draw, Orton is going home a broken man.


We got another long pre-match staredown. Ross noted Batista had a shiner from the Michaels superkick. He did. He also said Batista displayed a determined smirk. Michaels and Batista took turns giving each other forearms. Batista backstepped a superkick attempt, then went for a Batista Bomb. Michaels rolled out of the ring to regroup at 1:00. At 3:00 Michaels settled into a new style figure-four armbar type hold. Special ref Jericho kept checking to be sure Michaels's shoulders weren't on the mat. Batista lifted Michaels into the air and then both tumbled over the top rope to the floor. At ringside Michaels rammed Batista's arm into the ringpost. Michaels continued to work over Batista's arm and shoulder. Lawler said he was impressed with Michaels and how one-sided he's made the match so far. Jericho was a non-factor early in the match. Michaels did the Flair flip into the corner on a reverse whip by Batista at 8:00, then he took Michaels down with a hard clothesline. Both were slow to get up. Batista hit a powerslam at 9:00 for a near fall. Batista went for a Batista Bomb next, but Michaels slipped out and dropped Batista into a crossface. He held it at least a minute before Batista reached the bottom rope. Michaels didn't release right away, so Jericho physically yanked him off and then chewed him out. Batista hit a sideslam for a two count afterward. He scored another two count after a spear. Michaels went to the top rope. Batista met him there. Michaels shoved him to the mat and then hit a top rope elbow. At 13:00 Michaels stomped the mat for his Sweet Chin Music. Batista blocked it and gave Michaels a quick spinebuster. He shook the ropes afterward and set up a Batista Bomb. Michaels escaped. When he landed, he clutched at his left knee and rolled into the bottom rope. Jericho pushed Batista away to check on Michaels. It was a nice touch that Michaels moved to the bottom rope to create a justification for the ref forcing Batista away from going after him. Michaels got to his feet and surprised Batista with a superkick out of nowhere for the pin. Rather than admit he faked the knee injury, Michaels needed help getting to the back after the match from Jericho. He can claim he didn't lie about the injury

WINNER: Michaels in 14:00.

STAR RATING: ***1/4 -- Good match, borderline very good. I'd like to see the feud continue, and based on the finish and Jericho's lack of major involvement in it, I suspect there will be a rematch.

-Orton walked up to Triple H backstage and said he will leave as he came - the WWE champion. Triple H responded: "There's an old saying, Randy: Pride comes before the fall."


Ross noted that Mickie is a four-time WWE Women's Champion, and only Fabulous Moolah and Trish Stratus have held it more often. Lawler said this must be what heaven is like. Lawler called Ross a "speed bump on the information super highway." He noted that Michelle McCool was the no. 1 search on Yahoo yesterday, above the NFL draft. McCool began against Glamazon. In the end, after everyone got a turn wrestling for a few seconds, Glamazon finished Ashley with "fisherwoman suplex" (as Ross called it) for the win. Lawler asked if it could be a two-out-of-three falls match.

WINNER: The Heels led by Glamazon in 6:00.


-A video package aired on the Undertaker vs. Edge match.

6 -- UNDERTAKER vs. EDGE - World Hvt. Title match

Foley asked if he just noticed Taker mouth the words, "I'm going to hurt you" to Edge. He said Taker doesn't make idle threats. Foley said Undertaker's new submission hold is a new kind of hold in that there's no escaping, no gutting it out. He said as best he can tell, once it's on, it's over. Taker opened with a flurry of punches at Edge in the corner. He said Taker has so many tools in the shed. He said Taker has improved over time, "seemingly defying both logic and mother nature," and become stronger and faster. He said no one seems able to counter it. Foley talked about once being locked in a submission hold by a wrestler named "Exotic" Adrian Street. He said it stuck with him for years and he feared that being repeated. He said Edge's memory of Taker's submission finisher is just one month old.

Taker dominated Edge methodically in the opening minutes. It went to ringside at 4:00 where Taker dropped Edge over the ring apron. At 6:00 Edge came back and took control of the match. He settled into a body scissors. At 8:00 he went for a Camel Clutch and applied it half-way with Taker still on his knees. Taker made a comeback at 12:00 and crushed Edge with a charge into the corner. Edge moved out of a second attempt, but Taker followed up with snake eyes and a big boot followed by an elbow drop for a near fall. Nice pace to that sequence.

At 13:00 Taker went for a top rope elbow, but Edge moved and made the cover, scoring a two count. Edge grabbed the title belt. As he stepped onto the ring apron, eh dropped it. Taker dropped his neck over the top rope. Back in the ring, Edge countered a chokeslam attempt with a Russian leg sweep for a near fall. Foley said he knows he's new to Smackdown, but Edge may have Taker's number. Cole said Edge has only lost to Taker once and he's been around ten years. Edge climbed to the top rope. Taker met him there and press slammed him to the mat. Taker made the cover, but Edge draped his left leg over the bottom rope.

At 16:00 Taker tried to set up a Tombstone. Edge grabbed the top turnbuckle (yanking it loose), slipped out, and shoved Taker away. Edge charged Taker, but Taker clotheslined him to the mat. Taker set up Edge for another piledriver, but Curt Hawkins hit Taker over the head with the title belt. Ref Charles Robinson was tending to the detached turnbuckle pad. Taker, though, kicked out of Edge's pin attempt, popping the crowd. Edge charged at Taker. Taker DDT'd him for a two count. Taker set up a chokeslam. Zach Ryder ran to the ring. Taker shoved Edge into Zach, then set up a Last Ride. Edge countered with a sunset flip. Taker slipped into his new submission hold. Edge tried to fix his tights first, which were pulled down in the back a few inches. Then he began to fade. Foley couldn't believe how long Edge lasted, but he eventually tapped out. Taker didn't release it after the bell. Teddy Long wheeled Vickie Guerrero to ringside. Taker finally released it.

Vickie began to panic when Edge didn't wake up after the match. Edge was placed on a gurney. Vickie couldn't contain her emotions. As Edge bled from the mouth and nose, and his hands trembled, Vickie shouted, "I love you!" to him.

WINNER: Undertaker in 17:00 via tapout to retain the World Hvt. Title.

STAR RATING: ***3/4 - Very good, borderline four star match.

-Cole and Foley were shown on camera. Foley said at one time Undertaker was the personification of evil, and tonight we saw a touch of that.

-Backstage, as Orton knocked on JBL's locker room door, Punk walked up behind him and tapped him on the shoulder and wished him luck. He held up his briefcase. Fans chose Cena as the favorite with 48 percent, followed by 36 percent for Triple H, 12 percent for Orton, and just 4 percent for JBL. JBL was the added factor to this match to freshen it up from WrestleMania, and this poll reveals to an extend the poor job they did building him up as a legit contender to win the match.

7 -- RANDY ORTON vs. JBL vs. JOHN CENA vs. TRIPLE H -- WWE Championship Match

As the bell rang to start the match, Orton yanked the belt from the ref and charged at JBL. JBL met Orton with a boot, knocking the belt into Orton's face. He spilled to the floor. Hunter held the ropes open for Orton so he could return, but Orton wasn't ready yet. Since it's an elimination match, it's to Orton's benefit to sit out as much as possible. Cena and JBL fought; Hunter joined in. Cena got his usual mixed reaction during ring intros and during his early offense, with screams of praise from girls and boos from the men. Cena tackled Orton on the floor at 2:00. Seconds later, as Cena tried to reenter the ring, Orton knocked him off, sending him flying onto the top of the announce table. Hunter whipped JBL into the ringside steps at 5:00. JBL fought back by dropping Hunter onto the ramp and beating on him.

In the ring, Orton took control of Cena. Cena came back with a blockbuster type move followed by a legdrop off the top rope to the back of Orton's neck. He applied an STFU to a mix of cheers and boos. JBL entered the ring and was going to stomp Cena, but then stopped short and just watched Orton struggle. Then he got on his knees and trash-talked Orton. Hunter snuck up behind JBL and applied an STFU of his own. Orton broke free with a thumb to the eye. Orton then got in JBL's face. Cena shoved Orton into Hunter, breaking the STFU on JBL. Orton tossed a charging Cena over the top rope, which as mistimed a bit. JBL went to work on Orton. Orton caught a charging JBL with a boot. JBL set up Orton for a superplex at 9:00. Cena and Triple helped out by giving JBL a powerbomb of sorts as he suplexed Orton. Hunter covered Orton as Cena covered JBL. Both scored a two count in stereo.

Cena and Hunter then went at it. Cena got the better of the battle. He went into his boo-inducing finishing sequence. Hunter countered with a spinebuster. Hunter set up a Pedigree on Cena. JBL went for a Clothesline from Hell on Hunter. Hunter ducked. Cena then gave JBL an FU. Hunter set up Cena for another Pedigree. Cena backdropped Hunter over the top rope to the floor. Cena then applied an STFU on JBL in center-ring. JBL tapped out at 12:00 (10:31 p.m.). Orton then gave Cena the Legend Punt to the side of the head and scored a pin to eliminate him quickly. The ref was shown explaining the results to Lilian Garcia at ringside, who announced the two eliminations.

Hunter and Orton squared off one-on-one in the ring with a exchange of punches. The pace was fast, as Hunter hit a quick snap suplex followed by a kneedrop for a two count. At ringside Orton catapulted Triple H over the ring barrier and into the front row. Back in the ring Hunter clutched his ribs and yelled in agony as if he had a cracked or broken rib. Orton methodically stomped on Hunter, including his ribcage. At 20:00 Orton settled into his obligatory chinlock. Hunter fought it, but Orton settled in with a legwrap for added leverage. Orton stalked Hunter, waiting for him to get to his feet. When Hunter reached his feet, Orton went for an RKO. Hunter threw him off to avoid impact. With both men down, the ref began counting them both down. Lawler said he's at a loss why the ref was counting in the first place. Ross said he had no idea, but maybe because he was caught up in the match and just went with his instincts. Both got to their feet just before 10. Hunter took Orton down with a high knee.

The match went to ringside where Orton set up a piledriver on the steps. Hunter battled out and dropped Orton backward onto the steps. Orton grabbed the back of his head and rolled back into the ring. Hunter stalked Orton from behind, kicked him in the gut, and set up a Pedigree. Orton against countered with a backdrop. When Orton went for an RKO, Hunter countered by shoving him away. Orton rammed into the ref. Orton hit an RKO as the ref regained his composure. It didn't look like the ref collision was going to factor into the finish, which is good to do now and then as not every "accidental ref bump" should lead to the ref missing a key aspect leading to the finish. Hunter kicked out of the pin attempt at 28:00. The crowd began a "Triple H" chant. Ross called this battle one for the ages. Lawler said Orton must be wondering what's left in his arsenal. Orton went for the Legend Punt, but Hunter avoided it. They countered each others' finishers a couple times and Hunter finally hit the Pedigree for the pin.

WINNER: Triple in 29:00.

STAR RATING: **** -- Very good PPV main event. I'd say a notch or two short of a match of the year contender, but still satisfying and fulfilling with a newsworthy title change.

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