The SmarK Rant for WWE Backlash 2006 – 04.30.06
(Originally written 12.19.17)
Live from Lexington, KY, drawing 14,000. Not sure about the buyrate, but it did well.
Your hosts are Jim Ross & Jerry Lawler
The show opens with the AMAZING visual of the bloodied Vince rising from behind the ring apron at Wrestlemania. Crazy Vince is the best Vince.
Chris Masters v. Carlito
I don’t recall Carlito’s babyface run working out particularly well. Also, he’s wearing a shirt that asks “Do you spit or swallow?”, which would never fly today. Masters attacks and Carlito quickly slugs away on him in the corner, but Masters backdrops him for two. Carlito escapes the press slam and tries his own full nelson, but Masters casual flexes out of it. Masters charges and lands on the floor, so Carlito follows with a dive. Apparently this means he gives a shit tonight. Back in, Masters cuts off his comeback with a turnbuckle bomb, and that gets two. See, that would be the perfect setup move for the Masterlock, but instead it’s just a move here because Masters was so green and didn’t really know how to chain stuff together yet. He chokes away and works on Carlito’s neck with a neck vice. Carlito comes back and Masters goes back to the neck vice again as Carlito is drawing a good babyface reaction from the crowd. When he CARED, he was great. Master drops him with Snake Eyes to set up the Masterlock, but Carlito cradles for two. Carlito comes back with a springboard elbow, then throws the apple at Masters to distract him and dropkicks the knee. He makes the comeback with clotheslines and a dropkick, and that gets two. Masters pounds the back again and they head up, where Carlito comes down with a moonsault press for two. They fight over the Masterlock and Carlito runs him into the turnbuckle, and follows with the Backstabber (with feet on the ropes) for the pin at 10:00. Carlito worked his ASS off here and got a great opener out of Masters. ***1/4
Meanwhile, Lita takes exception to Kentucky fans calling her a ho, and says she’s kept her mouth shut long enough. Maria gets a pretty great burn, noting that she’s heard Lita likes to keep her mouth wide open. Also, unlike the virgins in the crowd, Lita actually gets some. PG-14 era, ladies and gentlemen!
Ric Flair v. Umaga
Umaga immediately attacks him on the floor and lays him out, then beats the hell out of him in the corner, so Flair goes to the eyes and hits him in the nuts multiple times to survive. He dodges the butt splash in the corner and they brawl on the floor, with Umaga taking a sick looking bump into the post off a blind charge. Back in, Flair cheats some more and works on the knee, but that goes nowhere and Umaga shrugs him off and destroys him in the corner. Diving headbutt sets up the ASIATIC SPIKE OF DEATH of 3:30. JR describes this move as “a samoan-like spike”. The hell? Pretty much a squash, which is what it needed to be. *
Meanwhile, Vince has tickets to the GUN SHOW, and he wants Shane to send Shawn Michaels straight to hell this time around. They’re gonna divide and conquer: Shane can handle Shawn, and you can leave God to Vince. He walks on water to demonstrate his awesome powers while Shane gives a hilarious “what the fuck” look in the background. Stage hands throw bread and fishes while Vince declares that it’s a sign: Holy mackerel! Vince is amazing.
WWE Women’s title: Mickie James v. Trish Stratus
Trish quickly takes her down for two and puts her down with a clothesline and dropkick, then puts her on the floor with a high kick and follows with a dive off the apron. Back in, that gets two. Trish slugs away in the corner, but Mickie dumps her to the floor to take over. Back in, she chokes away and the ref calls for the DQ at 4:10. What kind of a lame finish was THAT? ½* Did Trish get hurt on the bump to the floor or something and they had to call an audible?
Intercontinental title vs. Money in the Bank: Shelton Benjamin v. Rob Van Dam
What a cool idea for a match. Winner of the match gets both the title and briefcase. RVD goes for the arm to start, but Shelton flips out of it. Rob takes him down with a bodyscissors for two and a spinkick puts Shelton on the floor. Back in, Rob tries the Rolling Thunder and Shelton escapes to the floor again, so Rob follows with a dive. He heads to the apron, but Shelton powerbombs him to the floor. Back in, that gets two. Shelton with the chinlock and he chokes away on the ropes and boots him down for two. Back to the chinlock, but Rob fights back, only to have the Rolling Thunder reversed into a samoan drop for two. They head up and Shelton brings him down with the pop up superplex for two. And back to the chinlock. Rob fights back with kicks and hits the Rolling Thunder on his third attempt here, and that gets two. Moonsault gets two. Shelton lands on his feet off a monkey flip, so Rob puts him down with a spinkick, then misses the frog splash. Shelton follows with a DDT that gets two. They head out and Shelton runs him into the apron, and back in with a high cross that RVD rolls through for two. Rob ducks a spinkick and takes him down with a rana, but the ref is bumped and Shelton takes a swing with the briefcase. Rob kicks it back in his face, follows with the frog splash, and wins all the marbles at 18:35. Man, so he won Money in the Bank, then the IC title, then the WWE title all in the span of a few months? No wonder Vince was so pissed when he got arrested and blew it. Took them a bit, but they started doing crazy counters and it ended up being a hell of a match. ***3/4
Kane v. Big Show
Oh goodie. We’re still in the buildup to MAY 19th at this point, which was a clever way to turn the release date of the movie into a meme, but led to one of the lamest payoffs of all time. Show attacks and pounds away, but Kane puts him on the floor and goes to work on the arm. Clothesline gets two. Kane with the armbar. HE’S A MURDEROUS MONSTER! UNSTOPPABLE BEAST! Now here’s an armbar. Enjoy. Show comes back with a fallaway slam and tries the chokeslam, but Kane reverses to a DDT for two in the most awkward manner possible. Show with a legdrop for two. JR: “This has not been a pretty match, or a catch as catch can classic.” Don’t forget bowling shoe ugly. Show goes for the stupidest high spot of all time, actually trying to stick his finger into Kane’s eye, but the lights go out and we get the “May 19th” voiceover while Kane freaks out. So Show hits him in the face with a chair and walks out at 9:50. This was apparently Show’s attempt to help Kane deal with his issues. I felt like someone needed to hit me in the face with a chair to get this match out of my memory. -***
Meanwhile, Candice Michelle has a cold, so she asks Vince to lay healing hands on her chest. Shane interrupts and pulls Vince away for their match, which is next. Vince: “DAMMIT!”
Vince McMahon & Shane McMahon v. Shawn Michaels & GOD
“God’s” entrance, with a spotlight slowly moving towards the ring, is hilarious, and then Vince interrupts to cut a promo on him, before turning it into a dance party. The spotlight ends up in the corner, so Vince sends the referee to check him out and make sure he’s not cheating. But then he changes his mind and makes it a no holds barred match, which means God is free to pack whatever weapons he wants. I could watch Vince cutting wacky promos on the Almighty all day. Shane wisely just stands in the background and lets Vince hog all the crazy. Shawn attacks and puts both McMahons on the floor, and hits Shane with a dive, and they brawl up to the entrance, where Shane wants a piledriver off the ramp but gets interrupted. Shane takes the inevitable bump into the Backlash props, and Shawn hits Vince with a crossbody off the stage and through the table. Thankfully, the donuts survived. Shane nails him with a chair and Shawn is wearing the crimson mask. It’s the parting of the Red Sea! It’s a miracle! Back to the ring, Shane runs him into the post and his dorky jersey is now covered in Shawn’s blood, which adds one star automatically. It’s a rule, look it up. Back in the ring, Shane slugs away in the corner and goes up for the flying elbow, which misses. Vince beats him down with his belt and adds a trash can to the head, then stops to cut a promo on God. He actually picks up Shawn and tries to deliver a superkick, but Shawn thankfully catches his foot before he can embarrass himself with the attempt and makes the comeback. Shane charges in with a chair to make the save, but hits Vince instead and Shawn cleans house on Shane while he can. Flying elbow to “the demon seed” while JR finds every way possible to call the McMahons evil, and the superkick puts both McMahons down. But he’s not done! Tables are brought in and Shawn puts the McMahons on them, then grabs a ladder while JR makes reference to DX. This brings the Spirit Squad down to save, so Shawn dives onto them from the ladder to the floor. Random note: Some indy promotion is doing a show here in January, and one of the featured acts is Kenny and Mikey of the Spirit Squad. And they’re billed underneath midgets, and champion Wavell Starr. Anyway, the Squad overcomes Shawn by virtue of being five people, and puts him through the table to allow Vince to get the win at 19:41. Had Shawn just pinned Shane after the superkick it would have been GREAT, but everything afterwards sunk the match and they took forever to get to the finish. Still a tremendously entertaining match most of the way, though. ***1/2
Meanwhile, Todd Grisham tells John Cena that “not everyone has been cheering you lately.” Well there’s a hot take.
Matt Striker has an interview segment to waste some time before the main event, and Eugene is the guest. So he asks Eugene to write his name on the blackboard, but it’s a SWERVE from Eugene and he writes “Matt Striker likes poop” instead, and then picks his nose and shoves the booger in Striker’s mouth. Remember when PPVs cost $60 and this was something you actually had to PAY to see?
WWE title: John Cena v. HHH v. Edge
Edge steps aside to let the other two start, so Cena hits HHH with a fisherman’s suplex for two. Edge saves and then exits again while directing them to continue fighting for him. HHH gets a high knee for two, and Edge saves that one as well. They slug it out (with Edge cheering them on) and then they finally realize he’s standing there and beat him up. To the floor, where Cena and HHH take turns ramming him into the table and trying to out-do the other. Back in, Edge tosses Cena and goes to work on HHH, but Cena pulls out HHH and hits Edge with a top rope splash for two. Lita pulls Cena out of the ring, so HHH goes after Edge again and gets a clothesline for two. Spinebuster for two. Edge gets the Edge-O-Matic for two, but walks into a sleeper. And then Cena just comes in and hurks them both onto his back for an FU, but Edge escapes and spears him. Cena is just freaky strong. Edge beats on HHH outside and catapults him into the post to get rid of him for a bit, and HHH decides to out-bleed Shawn. Edge gives him the Impaler onto the Spanish table and HHH is just gushing everywhere. Back in, Edge hits Cena with a missile dropkick for two. Spear in the corner, but Cena reverses him to the STFU. So HHH grabs the mic and whacks Cena in the head to break, then puts Edge into the front row with a chairshot. Back in the ring, Cena immediately takes HHH down with an STFU again and HHH’s face is a horrifying wall of blood. He fights out and tries the Pedigree, but Cena reverses to the STF again. Edge tries to come in via the top rope and Cena cuts him off, but the ref is bumped. Cena tries a top rope FU, but HHH brings them both down and everyone is out. So Lita brings a chair into the ring and HHH takes her out with a spinebuster, but can’t bring himself to smash a chair into her face. Because he’d rather use the sledgehammer. Edge stops that nonsense with a spear, however, and Cena tries the FU on HIM, so HHH goes low on Cena, only to have Cena roll him up for the pin at 17:24 to retain. This was a HELL of a main event. ****1/2 You could say it was a hidden gem.
Couple of terrible missteps aside, this was a fantastic show and well worth watching. Thumbs strongly up.