Backlash 2005

Backlash 2005
Date: May 1, 2005
Location: Verizon Wireless Arena, Manchester, New Hampshire
Attendance: 14,000
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the follow up to Wrestlemania and that means we’re in for a rematch for the Raw World Title with HHH challenging Batista for the title. Other than that, we have the ultimate teaming of Shawn Michaels/Hulk Hogan vs. Muhammad Hassan/Daivari because we need a way to get to what is likely going to be Shawn vs. Hogan at a big show. Let’s get to it.

The opening video is a history of Hulk Hogan’s career, complete with fans shouting ONE MORE MATCH. Then Shawn needed his help and it’s time for the big tag match. The World Title gets some attention as well and thankfully it comes off as a double main event rather than one big match and the World Title as a secondary option. HHH thinks he can win if he hits the Pedigree, which is some mix of insightful and obvious.

Intercontinental Title: Chris Jericho vs. Shelton Benjamin

Benjamin is defending in a long form rematch after he took the title from Jericho in October. Shelton wastes no time in armdragging him into an armbar and a second one annoys Jericho even more. Back up and Jericho slaps him in the face, earning himself some right hands to the jaw. A suplex attempt puts Jericho on the apron so Shelton tries a sunset bomb, which is countered into a hurricanrana to the floor in a nice sequence.

They head back inside for the chinlock but Shelton breaks out in just a few seconds. The Stinger Splash to the back in the corner sets up a belly to back to give Shelton a breather but it’s Jericho back up first. The Lionsault misses so Jericho goes up top, only to have Shelton jump to the top for a superplex, because of course he can do something like that. Both guys get back up before a double clothesline puts them right back down.

It’s Jericho up first with a forearm and shoulder, followed by the running enziguri for two. Jericho tries to throw him over the top but Shelton springboards back in with a bulldog for his own two. A quick Walls attempt is blocked so Jericho catapults him into the corner, with Shelton landing on the middle rope.

The exploder gets two as Jericho has to get his foot on the rope and Shelton isn’t sure what to do. Shelton goes for another exploder but gets pulled into the Walls, meaning it’s his turn to grab the rope. The Lionsault almost hits raised knees but Jericho lands on his feet and tries the Walls, only to get cradled for the pin to retain Shelton’s title.

Rating: B. This was as good as you would have expected it to be with Jericho doing everything that he could do and helping make Shelton look like a star. At the same time, Shelton is on fire right now and showing off the freaky athleticism that made him one of the hottest things in wrestling. Very good opener here and it wouldn’t shock me if this was the best thing on the show.

Post match Jericho is frustrated and has nothing to say. Granted that might be because it was Todd Grisham asking.

Edge is ready to beat Chris Benoit tonight, just like he did in Money in the Bank. Tonight, he’ll be the Last Man Standing.

Tag Team Titles: Tag Team Turmoil

William Regal and Tajiri are defending in a bonus match. There are five teams and it’s the Heart Throbs in first and Regal and Tajiri in second. Romeo shoulders Regal down to start and it’s a cartwheel to frustrate him even more. Antonio comes in to work on the arm but you don’t do that to a British wrestler, as Regal flips out and brings in Tajiri for the kicks.

Tajiri grabs a double underhook and rolls Romeo around a bit before getting two off a butterfly suplex. Antonio comes back in but runs into a sunset flip out of the corner for the first elimination. Maven and Simon Dean are in third and the fight is on in a hurry with Simon dropping a leg on Tajiri (after some exercising of course). It’s off to Maven for some forearms, followed by the generic cheating in the corner. Simon grabs a front facelock as we talk about JR in a Speedo.

Thankfully we move on to anything else as Tajiri gets up and hits a spinwheel kick, allowing the hot tag off to Regal. Everything breaks down and the knee trembler finishes Simon. La Resistance is in fourth and JR has to try and figure out the USA chant given that the only American in the match is Rob Conway.

We settle down to Tajiri spinwheel kicking Grenier and Regal coming back in for some forearms. It’s already back to Tajiri, who looks winded less than eight minutes into a tag match. Regal comes back in for some knees as Lawler praises his stamina. Well to be fair we’re almost at nine minutes now. Everything breaks down and Tajiri can’t get the Tarantula, allowing Conway to roll Regal up and grab the trunks for the pin.

Hurricane and Rosey come in fifth and it’s a title match against La Resistance. Hurricane wastes no time in hitting a high crossbody for two on Grenier, followed by the Blockbuster for the same. A toss over the top rope gives us a nasty crash with Hurricane’s leg hitting the top of the post, though thankfully he’s fine enough to come right back in. The chinlock goes on for a few seconds but Grenier misses a middle rope elbow (which didn’t look good).

Rosey comes in to a rather nice reaction and it’s time to clean house again. A World’s Strongest Slam gets two but La Resistance is back up for a double spinebuster. Rosey shrugs that off and sends them together before climbing to the bottom rope. Hurricane climbs onto his shoulders and nails a huge splash for the pin and the titles.

Rating: D-. I’ve never been a fan of this kind of match as the longest fall was the final, which barely broke four minutes. There were four falls in just over thirteen minutes and Hurricane/Rosey win the titles after beating a cheating team who had already wrestled a fall. This is the best they can do for a Tag Team Title match? The division has never been a focal point but egads this is one of the low points.

We recap Edge vs. Chris Benoit. Edge damaged Benoit’s arm rather badly during Money in the Bank and Benoit hasn’t been happy since. They’ve had some rather hard hitting fights and now it’s Last Man Standing. It’s always cool to see them get a story out of a big cluster of a match, which is one of the major perks of such a match.

Edge vs. Chris Benoit

Last Man Standing. The fight is on at the bell (makes sense) and so are the YOU SCREWED MATT chants. Benoit chops him down in the corner but gets whipped chest first into the other corner so Edge can choke to his heart’s content. The spear is countered with a drop toehold onto the mat as Benoit might have thought Edge was a little closer to the corner. Edge kicks him in the face and they fight to the floor with Edge going for some trashcans.

That doesn’t work just yet and it’s time to head into the crowd for a lot more punching. Back in and Benoit grabs the Sharpshooter, which makes a lot of sense here. With that not working, Benoit rolls some German suplexes and a shaken up Edge bails for a bit. A running forearm knocks Edge off the apron to start the count again. The fans want tables but settle for Benoit’s dive through the ropes hitting a raised trashcan lid for a nasty crash.

Thankfully the fans seem appreciative as Edge pauses for a breather while Benoit remembers what planet he’s on. That’s good for an eight so they head back inside with Edge superplexing him onto a trashcan. Benoit is (mostly) up at nine so it’s time for Edge to destroy him with the trashcan lid. And now, just because of who is in here (and how Edge first hurt Benoit’s arm), we get a ladder set up in the corner.

Edge goes up and gets German suplexed right back off of said ladder for the big double knockdown. With Edge down, Benoit climbs the ladder but misses the Swan Dive to knock himself out again. Edge can’t follow up so Benoit grabs the Crossface to make him tap a second time.

More rolling German suplexes have Edge rocked but he manages to block one more and hit the Edgecution onto the Money in the Bank briefcase. That doesn’t work either so Edge spears him down, only for nine. Edge can’t believe it so he hits another spear for another nine. With that not working, Edge goes to the briefcase and pulls out a brick (ala Money Inc. at Wrestlemania IX) to knock Benoit cold for the win.

Rating: B. These guys beat the heck out of each other and Edge having the big weapon just in case he needed it was a good ending. Edge is someone who is going to have a last backup plan and that’s what he did here. Benoit tried to come in on his own and came close, whereas Edge was ready to do whatever it took to win. It’s a good way way to show the difference between the two and how much smarter Edge can be, which makes sense in this match.

Benoit has to be helped up and gets a strong ovation. Ignore the large section of empty seats on the shot of the cheering crowd.

In the back, Lita looks on approvingly in a subtle nod to real life. Kane comes in and Lita is ready to see him take out Trish Stratus and Viscera. Actually Lita thinks it would be funny to see Trish have to sleep with Viscera. Lita: “Can you imagine him naked?” She goes into detail of the whole act between the two and Kane dubs it disturbing. Kissing ensues.

And now, on a pay per view, Jerry Lawler gets to bring out some of the Divas to talk about the new Diva Swimsuit Issue. We see each of their favorite photos from the magazine and now it’s time for some questions. Before we can get to those, it’s Chris Masters interrupting and I’m not sure which is the better choice.

It’s time for a $3000 Masterlock Challenge as Lawler is back on commentary to complain about Masters interrupting his questions. Masters picks a muscular woman, which seems to surprise him as he thought it was a man. I guess he thought it was a man who REALLY liked chest day. Her name is Melissa Coates, who has wrestled in the indies for years. Masters puts her in the Masterlock and knocks her out in a hurry. This was a horrible waste of pay per view time, which you have to expect on a six match card.

Viscera is waiting outside Trish’s locker room so they can get to the ring and get it on like a steaming pot of neckbone. Trish: “Neckbone?” Viscera: “It’s a black thing. You’ll get used to it.” He has lingerie for her and a room booked for them, at a bed and breakfast for two of his favorite things. Trish says he still has to beat Kane.

Kane vs. Viscera

Lita and Trish are here too. Kane bounces off of him to start and gets dropped with a single clothesline. A missed charge in the corner lets Kane hit a running splash from behind as JR makes it clear that this won’t go long. Viscera gets sent outside for a top rope clothesline as the fans want Matt. Back in and some elbows keep Viscera in trouble as Lawler makes jokes about Viscera rising to the occasion later.

Viscera gets in a knee to the ribs, setting up the pelvic thrusting at Trish. The women get in an argument so Kane grabs Trish, allowing Viscera to crush him in the corner. A Samoan drop gets two and a Boss Man Slam is good for the same as the slow yet high impact offense continues. Kane gets in a DDT to set up the top rope clothesline and it’s Viscera’s turn to lay down for a bit.

The chokeslam is broken up and the head outside with Viscera splashing the post by mistake. Trish’s chair shot is broken up by Lita’s crutch and we get a rather effective evil smile from Lita. Back in and Viscera gets two off a sitout chokebomb but he stops to go after Lita. Tongue is extended so Kane kicks him in the….I’m not sure where but we’ll call it blubber. A chokeslam (well protected by some camera cuts) puts Viscera away.

Rating: D. You know, this could have been a lot worse. They didn’t try to do anything more than the high impact stuff and while it should have been about two minutes shorter, it was far from some disaster that will haunt fans for years to come. If nothing else the chokebomb and Lita’s evil smile worked well. I’ll call this a rather surprising result, even if it wasn’t very good.

Post match Trish yells at Viscera and says she never would have lowered herself to sleeping with him anyway. He’s a chicken eating loser you see. She’s going to find a man to take Viscera out and that man will get a lot of loving. Viscera bearhugs her down and hits a splash, setting up the hip thrusts to a rather big face pop. I don’t see this going anywhere positive. Trish does a stretcher job to fill in more time.

We recap Muhammad Hassan/Khosrow Daivari vs. Hulk Hogan/Shawn Michaels. Hassan and Daivari don’t like how America has treated them so they beat up Shawn Michaels. That meant Shawn needed a Real American and there just happened to be one who the fans had been begging for one more match. It’s a big deal for Hassan and Daivari, even though they have as much chance to win as I do of winning Ms. Nevada 1978.

Hulk Hogan/Shawn Michaels vs. Muhammad Hassan/Khosrow Daivari

The fans waste no time in starting the HOGAN chants as soon as Shawn’s entrance is done and the legendary hero pop blows the roof off of the place as soon as the music hits. We stall for a good bit for the sake of more cheering before Hogan and Hassan get things going. Hogan draws a line for him to cross and then shoves Hassan into the corner, meaning we hit the posing. The shoulder has Hassan sprawling into the corner and it’s a wristlock so Hogan can get in his grunting.

After a quick double teaming in the corner, Hogan beats them both up and drops Hassan with a clothesline. A poke to the eye allows Shawn to come in and there’s a double big boot to keep this one sided. Daivari gets in a few chops but Shawn shows him how to do them properly as the beating continues. Hogan comes back in and sends Daivari into the barricade and post for good measure. Back in and the greatest hits continue with some elbow drops and the boot rake.

More Shawn chops keep up the control and the top rope elbow means it’s already time to tune up the band. Hogan goes after Hassan though and the distraction lets Hassan get in a pipe shot to Shawn’s back. That’s good for two because Hassan and Daivari have no chance of winning here. Hassan drops some elbows on the back and Daivari pulls on both arms at once. With the match going nowhere, Lawler lists off some countries getting to watch the show live.

Shawn’s sleeper is countered with a quick backbreaker and it’s off to the worst camel clutch I can remember in a long time. Shawn powers up into an electric chair for the break and the hot tag brings in Hogan. The double noggin knocker sets up a big boot to Daivari but since the legdrop isn’t available (due to hip replacement), Hassan hits Hogan in the back with a pipe. That’s good for two, but more importantly it triggers the Hulk Up with the big boot hitting Daivari. Hogan gets rid of Hassan and Sweet Chin Music is good for the pin.

Rating: D+. This was a case where it depends on what you were looking for. The match wasn’t about having something competitive or really anything close to it. This was about getting Hogan out there and having him in a dream team with Shawn. It might not do much for Hassan and Daivari, but it’s not like the team is really working in the first place. It’s not like you can have Hassan and Daivari as a serious threat to these two anyway, so this was as good as it was getting.

Post match, a lot of posing ensues and they bring in a fan with a huge Hogan tattoo over his back. Yeah he’s rather out of shape but there’s something awesome about a mega fan like that getting the moment of a lifetime.

HHH promises to win the title with the Pedigree tonight.

Here are Christian and Tyson Tomko for a chat. Christian might be heading to Smackdown in the upcoming Draft, so this could be his last Raw pay per view. Therefore, he would like to address his fellow main eventers….in rap form. Batista has muscles to spare, but he has charisma like Tomko has hair, HHH and Flair have 26 titles between them and the world’s biggest nose and JBL has money but he’s boring.

That leaves us with John Cena, who talks like Snoop Dogg but looks like Corey Haim. That one even gets Tomko and Lawler is asking if JR got it. After the Draft, whether it’s Raw or Smackdown with JR or Michael Cole, Christian will be champion, because that’s how he rolls. This was funny stuff and Christian’s mega push seems imminent. The fans are certainly buying into him and that’s what matters most.

We recap Batista vs. HHH. Batista won the title at Wrestlemania and HHH wants it back because he never hit the Pedigree and knows that’s enough to put Batista away. It’s not much of a story but it’s all they have here.

Raw World Title: Batista vs. HHH

HHH is challenging and Ric Flair, who gets his own entrance, handles the introduction. They circle each other for a good while until Flair offers a distraction so HHH can hammer away. It’s too early for the Pedigree as Batista slips out, with HHH showing him how close it was. Some right hands in the corner have HHH in trouble but it’s also too early for the Batista Bomb.

A backdrop works just fine and a second gets Batista out of a second Pedigree attempt. They head to the floor instead with HHH driving him back first into the barricade for a flip over into the crowd. Back in and HHH’s chops have no effect so he turns Batista around and drives shoulders to the back for a painful looking shot. A hard whip into the corner hurts Batista’s back again and Flair gets in a few shots to earn his keep.

The spinebuster cuts off the comeback for two but one heck of a clothesline drops HHH. Batista knocks him to the floor without much effort and there’s the hard whip into the steps. Back in and the powerslam plants HHH again, meaning it’s time to shake the ropes. Flair offers a distraction though and HHH gets in a belt shot to counter the Batista Bomb ala the Last Ride and the sledgehammer at Wrestlemania XVII. The big clothesline hits the referee and the Pedigree connects immediately thereafter because of course it does.

Cue another referee (putting his shirt on as he runs down the ramp) as Batista hits the spinebuster for two. Some running clotheslines in the corner have HHH rocked but he kicks the referee low. Flair has to be dealt with again and the Pedigree is countered with a catapult into the buckle. That’s shrugged off for a low blow so HHH can hammer away in the corner, only to get Batista Bombed out for the pin (again, just like Wrestlemania XVII).

Rating: C-. There was a lot in this one and a good chunk of it was a bunch of stuff that felt like the finish. I’m not sure why they were going with so many big spots from a four year old Undertaker match but at least it’s being taken from a good match. The other problem was how much this felt like a HHH match/story instead of Batista’s. Heaven forbid we don’t go a month without a HHH moment, but the match itself wasn’t that bad.

Post match Batista poses as HHH shoves Flair and Pedigrees the referee. Just in case you had lost focus on what really matters you see.

Overall Rating: C. It came, it went, it was a show. This was one of those pay per views that felt like it was only there because a pay per view was scheduled. The Hogan match felt big and really, that’s about it. The main event came off like a long form house show match and nothing has really changed. That’s not to say it’s a bad show, as the opener and the Last Man Standing match are both good, but it’s a show that doesn’t feel important in any way. It’s time for something fresh and the fallout from Wrestlemania doesn’t quality. Perfectly watchable show, but nothing interesting or memorable aside from Hogan.

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