Six of the Best – WWF/E Backlash

Continuing with the April Pay Per View theme, today we look at an event that ran every year from 1999 to 2009, with a lot of the events taking place in the month of April (There were some that didn’t). WWE revived the name in 2016, but as it currently stands it doesn’t look like a Backlash event is scheduled for 2019. I’m not really sure why they decided to shelve the name as it’s a good one, but WWE is going to WWE so I usually find its best just not to think about these sorts of things.

This was actually a difficult list to put together, as there were generally some really great matches on these events historically. The huge list of honourable mentions at the bottom will no doubt highlight how stacked a shortlist this was, especially for a B Show. I’m almost certain that I will have missed off at least one match that you will think should have been included, and that’s ultimately because there were so many great matches to choose from. It sometimes felt like WWE would load Backlash up to try and retain any new fans acquired over Mania Season, which isn’t a bad idea if you think about it.

As always, these are just my own personal picks. This isn’t supposed to be some sort of objective list or anything. If I leave out a match that you think warrants inclusion, then please feel free to put it down in the comments section below. As with previous lists, I’ll be listing the matches in chronological order.

So without further to do, let’s take a look at Six of the Best for Backlash!

Read moreSix of the Best – WWF/E Backlash

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems–NWA Championship Wrestling 08.12.78

The SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems – Leroy’s Lasting Legacy

OK, so here’s your crazy content drop of the day: A lost episode of Leroy McGuirk’s NWA Championship Wrestling show from 08.12.78, which was the precursor to Mid-South Wrestling before the relationship between Bill Watts and Leroy went horribly, horribly bad for Leroy.

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for WWE Network Hidden Gems–NWA Championship Wrestling 08.12.78

WWE Fan Council surveying for XFL?


Check out a screenshot from today's WWE Fan Council survey. I haven't even finished watching Wrestlemania yet due to it's length, but WWE wants to know if football is too long because of commercial breaks. And asking if NFL is too politicized when the former CEO and current wife of the WWE owner is in the President's cabinet is rich…

They’re apparently going hardcore on the surveys at the moment and hopefully they actually listen to them.  Although they had focus groups last year that said WM was too long and this year’s was longer.  

Indies and Insanity: April 18, 2019

Fun fact: I was considering renaming this the Independent Insanity Experience, but Scott talked me out of it.

(There you go, Scott; the joke has jumped the shark because I used it.  You’re welcome.)

Today’s Playoff Games: in the NBA, we have Warriors(1)/Clippers(1), Nuggets(1)/Spurs(1), and Sixers(1)/Nets(1).  In the NHL, we have Capitals(2)/Hurricanes(1), Blues(2)/Jets(2), and Knights(3)/Sharks(1).  Also, I hear Steven Stamkos finally scored 1 during the NHL offseason, but it was on the 8th hole.  HEYO!

Okay, let’s do the indie report before everyone demands I lose posting privileges.  Again.

Read moreIndies and Insanity: April 18, 2019

One Night Only – Clash in the Bluegrass

One Night Only: Clash In The Bluegrass
Date: March 2, 2019
Location: Davis Arena, Louisville, Kentucky
Commentators: Gilbert Corsey, Don Callis, Josh Matthews

I don’t usually do these shows but since I was in the audience, it might be appropriate this time around. The Davis Arena is the longtime home of Ohio Valley Wrestling and I’ve always wanted to go there for a show so it was a great surprise when it was announced that Impact was coming around for a One Night Only. Sami Callihan and OVE had been around for the last few weeks and even stole the OVW Title. This is a bunch of promotion vs. promotion matches so let’s get to it.

Read moreOne Night Only – Clash in the Bluegrass

WWF SummerSlam Spectacular 1993

August 22, 1993

From the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie, NY. This show was actually filmed at the 8/16 RAW taping and the RAW banner is in clear view of the hard cam.

Your hosts are Jim Ross and Gorilla Monsoon.

Tonight, we have Yokozuna vs. Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Money Inc. vs. Steiner Brothers in a Steel Cage Match for the Tag Team Titles, and an interview with Lex Luger.

Read moreWWF SummerSlam Spectacular 1993

Which is worse?

The Colons, sons of Puerto Rico become Fernando and Diego, Mexican Bullfighters

Tito Santana, former tag/IC champ is rechristened El Matador

Ricky Steamboat, former IC and NWA Champ is dressed as a lizard and christened The Dragon

War Raiders (Hanson & Rowe), the defending NXT Tag Champs who defended 10-days ago over Mania weekend are now literal Vikings in a team named for an Epcot excursion.

Better yet, explain why their NXT opponents are still Ricochet and Aleister Black instead of Colonel McFlip, and Crimson Moody?

People are really triggered by this one for some reason.  

Lamer Name Change?

Okay, wracking my brain, but can’t think of a lamer name change than The Viking Experience?  Literally the same guys, same characters, same look.

Anything else historically where the only thing they changed was the name that was this unnecessary?  Aside from the recent “one name only trend”?  Has to be something from the 2000s I’m forgetting about.

There was a point late in the run of the Val Venis character, and I can't remember if it was before or after the RTC change, where he was officially referred to as "The Big Valbowski" exclusively.  That was pretty stupid considering that nickname was supposed to be his penis.  

No ideas for WWE/Universal Titles?

Do they have any idea what they are doing with the WWE Championship and Universal Title moving forward?  This is the 2nd week in a row on both Raw and Smackdown that Seth and Kofi were in meaningless, time killing tag team matches.  I don't think I've ever seen the 2 weeks after WrestleMania where they didn't at least already name a No.1 Contender to 1 of their main Championships.  

Everything just feels like it's killing time right now.  Wrestlemania itself felt like 90% of the matches were just there to fill 7 hours.  Especially with Seth, where the last champion is now gone for the foreseeable future and they didn't bring anyone over from Smackdown who could even be a contender.  Unless they're turning AJ, which is possible I suppose.  I guess there's always Baron Corbin.

Favorite Women’s Wrestler?

I’m not sure I’ve ever heard you proclaim this, so I’ll ask. Who’s your favorite women’s wrestler of all time? 

I’m pretty sure mine is Kairi Sane. Her selling, her pure babyface mannerisms, that Insane Elbow… a buddy of mine called her Ricky Steamboat. That’s an apt comparison.

Also up there for me are Molly Holly, heel NXT Sasha Banks and, of course, Trish Stratus.

Trish Stratus #1, Lita #2, and then everyone else is a distant third for me as far as favorites go. 

AEW as a business

There’s obviously been discussion ad nauseam about AEW and whether they need a TV deal, whether they are or should be viewed competition for WWE etc. 

But my question is more about how exactly they function as a business. I read somewhere that they have 40 some wrestlers signed, plus I would assume they’ve got to have some sort of office staff in place. How are these people getting paid?  Even if their next show is a huge success, is that really enough for guys like Jericho and Jim Ross to get paid, plus enough left over for the 36 executive producers to make something as well?

Tony Khan has a lot of money.  Plus you don't start a business and instantly turn a profit, that's just not how it works.  I'm pretty sure ownership is well aware that things are gonna be deeply into the red for the first while.  

The SmarK Rant for Worlds Collide–When Cruiserweights Collide (04.17.19)

The SmarK Rant for Worlds Collide – When Cruiserweights Collide! (04.17.19)

Anyone else have a Simpsons flashback when reading that title?


So this is part two of the series of shows taped in Brooklyn for Fan Axxess. This show’s theme is pretty easy to figure out, I’m pretty sure!

Brought to you by…

30% Off Orders of $30+ at Valid 4.18.19 through 11:59 PM PST.

Read moreThe SmarK Rant for Worlds Collide–When Cruiserweights Collide (04.17.19)

Rock Star Gary reflects on WCCW 04-02-1983

Taped from Dallas, TX

Airdate: April 2, 1983 (taped 03/18)

Attendance: unknown

Hosted by Bill Mercer

Will Kabuki be victorious in his comeback match against Parsons? Can David defeat Roberts and continue the heated struggle between the Freebirds and Von Erichs? Also, who will shine some light with me today?

Read moreRock Star Gary reflects on WCCW 04-02-1983

BoD Daily Update: April 18, 2019

Shakeup Happening in RoH Offices?


Shane Strickland & Garza Jr. Join the Performance Center


Highspots Free Match

You can watch Dragon Lee vs. Cavernario from the 2019 WrestleCon Supershow



NXT UK – April 17, 2019

Date: April 17, 2019
Location: Brooklyn Pier 12, New York City, New York
Commentators: Vic Joseph, Nigel McGuinness

We’re back stateside again with a batch of shows taped from Axxess. That means things could be all over the place as there is usually something big on the episodes for the sake of making it feel special. I’m not sure what to expect from things here though and that can make things a little more interesting. Let’s get to it.

Read moreNXT UK – April 17, 2019

Impact Wrestling – April 12, 2019

Impact Wrestling
Date: April 12, 2019
Location: St. Clair’s College, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
Commentators: Don Callis, Josh Matthews

We’re about two weeks away from Rebellion and you can see most of the card from here. That’s a good sign as you should be able to know what you’re getting this close to the pay per view and it’s looking pretty solid on paper. The problem is they rarely get beyond solid and it would be nice to move forward for a change. Let’s get to it.

Read moreImpact Wrestling – April 12, 2019

NXT – April 17, 2019

Date: April 17, 2019
Location: Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Commentators: Nigel McGuinness, Percy Watson, Mauro Ranallo

It’s time to get back home after New York after another incredible Takeover. With last week’s recap edition out of the way, things are back to normal here as we start the long build towards the next Takeover in a few months. The big draw is Johnny Gargano’s first comments as NXT Champion and you can hear the chants from here. Let’s get to it.

Read moreNXT – April 17, 2019

The Wednesday Night Thread

Holy shit did the Lightning suck in the playoffs this year.  Woof.  The Canucks didn’t exactly light the playoffs on fire the years they won the President’s Trophy, but getting swept in the first round?  Yikes.

Smackdown’s ratings were up slightly, but overall the draft shows were still a dumpster fire.  And yet the stock is nearing $100 / share.  As Meltzer noted this morning, they could literally have no one watching on TV and no one at the house shows and Wall Street would still buy the stock because they have guaranteed money for the next five years.

Speaking of money, AEW announced a Brandi Rhodes v. Allie match for their July show in Jacksonville.  I have nothing to add to this, but I would like to post this picture of Brandi from her Twitter.


There you go.  Enjoy your night!

Which WM was better?

Hi Scott,

I noticed your WM 35 rant had circa 800 comments compared to the 1600 comments for the WM 34 rant. It's similar on other sites too, so it seems WM 35 overall had noticeably less interest from fans than WM 34, which I find interesting. 

I saw WM 35 receive a lot of praise among IWC, which do you think is better? 35 or 34?

And what in your opinion is the best WM since WM 25 (including)? Outside of 30, that one is obvious.

Oh yeah, interest in this year’s show was WAYYY down.  Last year did 24,000 pageviews, which stands as an all time record for the blog, and this year’s show did 17,000.  Both this year’s show and last year’s suffered from the same problem quality wise, in that they started good and then trailed off badly at the halfway mark.  But 34 had some tremendous matches by that point. Whereas this year had Kofi vs Bryan and little else.  
As for the best one if I’m not allowed to pick the actual best one, I’m gonna have to say the one with the first Rock vs Cena match. At least I can remember that match.  

Monday Night Raw – November 15, 2004

Monday Night Raw
Date: November 15, 2004
Location: Conseco Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, Indiana
Attendance: 5,500
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

It’s the night after Survivor Series and that means it’s time for Team Orton to take over the show for the next four weeks. Assuming it’s not Randy Orton’s week to be in charge, you can all but guarantee the boss for the week getting a World Title shot against HHH. Then repeat that for two of the next three weeks. Let’s get to it.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – November 15, 2004


Do you think they pull the trigger on Elias soon? He's not a great wrestler, but he has a ton of charisma who gets some of the best reactions each week and the company seems to love him.

I'm hoping he weasels his way into winning Money In The Bank this year. I'd love to see him with the briefcase and eventually cash in on Kofi.

No one ever argues about his charisma, but he’s got NOTHING in the ring.  Seth Rollins got one good match out of him a year ago and that’s pretty much it.  If all you’ve got is charisma and a funny character, that’s the Honky Tonk Man.  Honky is great at what he did, but that’s not a top guy.  IC title, sure, put it on Elias all day long.  But I think he’s already been exposed at the higher level they thought he could be and that’s why his push got killed. 

Worst Time Of The Year For Wrestling?

Do you think this is the worst time of the year to be a pro wrestling fan?  I read this somewhere recently, but I don't agree with it.  I think Fall will always be the worst in my view;  Monday Night Football comes back on, so the WWE starts phoning it in until January.  Much worse than the post Wrestle-Mania lull period, IMO.   

It’s not bad if there’s interesting stuff coming out of the draft, but this year was just shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic as far as creative direction. Like, what are they gonna do once they’ve finished milking the Shield “last ever” matches and have to come up with actual storylines again? 
But yeah, September through December is DEATH.  Brand supremacy?  Table matches? Wake me for the Rumble.