Backlash 2002

Backlash 2002
Date: April 21, 2002
Location: Sprint Center, Kansas City, Missouri
Attendance: 12,489
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the first pay per view after the Brand Split and it really is a tale of two shows at this point. Raw is absolutely horrendous at the moment with an unmotivated Undertaker vs. Steve Austin as the main feud (and the Raw main event here) for the next WWF World Title match. That would be your Smackdown main event here as HHH is defending against Hulk Hogan for reasons of pure nostalgia. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 18, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 18, 2002
Location: Compaq Center, Houston, Texas
Commentators: Tazz, Michael Cole

It’s the go home show for Backlash and since this is Smackdown, we have a tag team main event which doesn’t have a lot to do with the pay per view. In this case it’s HHH/Hulk Hogan vs. Chris Jericho/Kurt Angle as Jericho doesn’t actually have a match on Sunday. Then again I’m not sure who he could fight save for Rock, who wasn’t around last week and probably won’t be again this week. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 15, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 15, 2002
Location: Reed Arena, College Station, Texas
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the final show before Backlash and the big Raw main event is the fresh matchup of Undertaker vs. Steve Austin for a title shot at the next pay per view. Raw has been dying in its first few shows and I don’t see that getting any better for a long time. They really need to figure out something with this Brand Split in a hurry because it’s getting bad quickly. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – April 11, 2002

Smackdown
Date: April 11, 2002
Location: Tucson Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona
Commentators: Michael Cole, Tazz

This has to be better than Raw right? I’m almost convinced that it has to be just based on the law of nearly anything would be better than the mess that I sat through earlier this week. The big story continues to be the build towards Hulk Hogan vs. HHH for reasons of pure nostalgia. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – April 1, 2002

Monday Night Raw
Date: April 1, 2002
Location: Pepsi Arena, Albany, New York
Attendance: 9,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s time for the first show of a new generation as Ric Flair is officially in charge of Raw with a roster all its own. I’m really not sure what to expect here as almost all of the stories are restarting, save for Kane vs. the NWO for reasons that I don’t want to understand. Oh and Raven won the Hardcore Title to bring that “division” to Raw. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – March 28, 2002

Smackdown
Date: March 28, 2002
Location: First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 13,600
Commentators: Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler

With the Draft out of the way, this is the final regular episode of Smackdown with the full roster before things split up next week. That means it’s also the last chance for the wrestlers to make one last good impression against their interpromotional rivals. In other words it’s a lame duck show that they’re trying to pass off as something important. Let’s get to it.

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Monday Night Raw – March 25, 2002 (First WWF Draft)

This seemed appropriate given what we’re seeing now.  Starting tonight, I’ll be putting up alternating reviews from the original Brand Split with Raw going up on Wednesday and Smackdown/pay per views going up on Saturdays.  There’s no better place to start than on the original Draft so let’s get to it.

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 25, 2002
Location: Bryce Jordan Center, State College, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 15,550
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This seemed due for a second look since they’re doing it all again this year. We’re just after Wrestlemania XVIII and things are kind of in a lull. With so many wrestlers and no big evil for the WWF to fight (since the WCW/ECW Invasion just had to be started and wrapped up by Thanksgiving), it was decided to split the rosters in two. This was a really cool idea at the time but it should be interesting to see how it worked when the initial Brand Extension isn’t the most fondly remembered concept. Let’s get to it.

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Wrestlemania XXXII

Wrestlemania XXXII
Date: April 3, 2016
Location: AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
Attendance: 101,763
Commentators: Michael Cole, John Bradshaw Layfield, Byron Saxton
America the Beautiful: Fifth Harmony

We’ve finally arrived at what might be the biggest show of all time. The attendance record is going to be set tonight (it just is) and the card is……well did I mention that attendance? Yeah the build to this one hasn’t been all that great with a double main event of Roman Reigns challenging HHH for the WWE World Title and Undertaker vs. Shane McMahon inside the Cell with Undertaker’s future at Wrestlemania vs. Shane controlling Raw on the line in a story that stops making sense as soon as you start thinking about it too much. Let’s get to it.

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Smackdown – February 18, 2016

Smackdown
Date: February 18, 2016
Location: Citizens Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California
Commentators: Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler

We’re three days away from Fastlane and the big story tonight is Brock Lesnar making a very rare Smackdown appearance. There’s no word on what he’ll be doing but you can assume it might have something to do with Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns, who are teaming together to face the Dudley Boyz tonight. Let’s get to it.

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The SmarK DVD Rant for The Kliq Rules (Blu Ray edition)

The SmarK DVD Rant for The Kliq Rules (Blu Ray)

This feels like we’re really scraping the barrel now, but at least there’s a couple of matches on here that I’ve been anxiously awaiting to be released. And hey, someone bought it for me, so what the hell. Let’s celebrate the 1996-ness of the Kliq, in keeping with the theme of the past few months on the blog. The cynical part of me, small as it is, would suggest that this was thrown onto the market to screw with the Young Bucks by creating a trademark claim on the hand signal.

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Kevin Dunn’s role


Hi Scott

Kevin Owen’s loss to John Cena at Battleground and his new position in the upper mid-card is one of the most disappointing missed opportunities. A real head-scratcher. Whenever a storyline or feud goes wrong, we like to say because Vince or “reasons” or it’s creative’s fault. But from what I’ve been reading on the guy lately, shouldn’t a lot of the blame fall on Kevin Dunn? It sounds like he’s the one who convinced Vince that Cena needed to win supposedly for the sake of merchandise sales but that he also has a beef with future boss Triple H. If so, who’s REALLY in charge of creative direction over there? I know Vince has the final say, but who’s truly next in line? I always thought it was Stephanie or Triple H but this makes it sound like Dunn has a bigger voice than theirs.

As always, I appreciate your time and input. Sure hope Owens can get past this backstage political maneuvering. Cena has done amazing work with the US title but Owens winning would’ve been fresh, different and entertaining.

​Vince always has the final say on stuff, but for some reason he really values and appreciates the input of Kevin Dunn, even though almost literally everyone else in the business hates his guts. I don’t know if it’s a Vince Russo situation where Vinnie Mac is taking advice to the exclusion of others, but yeah, Dunn seems to be a really bad influence on the product being delivered. And as many have noted, HHH actually has made little secret of his intention to deliver Dunn’s pink slip when Vince is gone. At least HHH’s cronies will likely be guys like Nash and Waltman, who have watched wrestling once or twice in their lifetimes.

Why So Serious, NXT?

Scott,

Not sure if this has been asked already, but it’s been sticking in my head for a while now:

NXT is obviously the superior show, from the focus on Trip, less writers involved, better writing, booking, wrestling, etc… Its a developmental that’s actually pretty entertaining.

My question is if its purpose is developing the next people for WWE, why are they operating in almost the opposite philosophy of what the reality of WWE is? Why train guys for long matches/feuds with logical pathways when the reality is 50/50 booking or #CenaWinsLOL? Why train the girls to get to have great time & characters where they’re gonna get turned into "generic crazy/jealous diva" when they move up and have 3 minute matches with non-workers like the Bellas?

It’s not like I want to see NXT become another weak WWE product, but it just seems to me like it does a disservice to the people that go through it. Almost a "false expectations" thing…

Thanks,
Mike

Yup. It’s especially glaring now that the NXT women are starting to come up more. Again, though, NXT exists more for developing HHH as a promoter at this point moreso than any real development of the already-trained indy talent they’re acquiring.

HHH and The Curtain Call

Do you think that his "punishment" is just bullshit that the WWE has made up after the fact? Because, other than not winning the 96 King of the Ring, what was the punishment, exactly? The curtain call happened in May of 96, he won the IC Title 4 months later, which still meant quite a lot back then, lost it to a guy that they clearly had big plans for in Rocky Maivia after a decently long reign, won the blowoff to his feud with Goldust clean at Mania 13, won King of the Ring in June 97, and then started DX in September, at which point it was onwards and upwards for him. Even if he was on TV every Monday jobbing between June and October of 96, that was back when they only had an hour. He would have still been a featured guy every week, and most guys would kill for that kind of exposure nowadays. Doesn’t really seem like much of a burial to me. What gives?

​Uh, you kind of skipped over the entire burial in your description. Him winning the title in October WAS the end of it. You don’t consider him going out and doing literal squash jobs to guys like Sid for five months to be enough of a punishment​? Also, by that definition, Barry Horowitz was a "featured guy" every week. This argument is NO BUYS.

NXT Brooklyn

So i just read that more tix have been sold for the NXT Brooklyn show as opposed to the meaningless Battleground show.(as of Thursday night) Do u see the group that runs RAW try and bully their way into running the big NXT show to save face. In particular Vince and Kevin Dunn.

​No, because really the whole thing is set up for HHH to succeed, given that Vince needs to prove to Wall Street that his doofus son-in-law can run a wrestling company in case the worst happens. So they’re going to give HHH every chance to make it work on his own.

On a similar topic, I’m not really fond of making big power moves against ROH like this deal with Jushin Liger coming in for Takeover. It’s awesome for the fans in a sense, but destroying what is basically your own feeder system seems like some pretty short-sighted manuevering. Unless they’re going all in on this WWN deal and basically have decided that ROH must die as a result.